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Title: The Infant System

Author: Samuel Wilderspin

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #10985]
Most recently updated: December 23, 2020

Language: English


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Proofreading Team.




"Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me." Matt. xviii. 5.

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones." Matt. xvii. 10.




In again presenting this volume to the world, I trust I feel thankful to God for the favour with which the Infant System has been received, and for all the aid I have enjoyed in my course of labour. Had the measures I originated for the development of the infant mind, and the improvement of the moral character, been sanctioned at first, as many now think they should have been, their progress would, undoubtedly, have been far greater; but when I consider what has been accomplished under the divine benediction, and amid greater difficulties than ever beset the path of an individual similarly occupied, I know not how to express the gratitude of which I am conscious. It seems proper and even necessary to remark, that the system explained in this volume, is the result of many years of labour. Thousands of children have been attentively observed, and for the necessities that arose in their instruction, provision has been made. Others have doubtless reached some of the conclusions at which I have arrived, but this is only another instance of the coincidence in judgment and effort, often discoverable in persons far apart, whose attention has been directed to similiar subjects; but with the exception of the elliptical plan, devised by Dr. Gilchrist, I am not aware that I owe an idea or contrivance to any individual whatever. Upwards of twenty-five thousand children have been now under my own care, in various parts of the United Kingdom, whose age has not exceeded six years; myself, my daughters, and my agents, have organized many score of schools, and thus I have had opportunities of studying the infant mind and heart, such as none of my contemporaries have ever possessed.

Still I am aware I have much to learn. I am far less satisfied with the extent of my knowledge, and far less confident of its perfection and completeness now than I was in the earlier part of my course. The whole energies of my mind, however, having been thrown upon the subject, and the whole of my time for the third of a century having been zealously devoted to it, I trust the volume will contain knowledge of a more plain, simple, and practical character than is elsewhere to be found:—perhaps it may not be presumption to say than can elsewhere be found. Should I have the pleasure to labour for years to come, I trust I shall have much more to communicate on the subject.

Two editions of this work in its former state have been printed in German; and it has also been reprinted in America. I have, however, felt it due to the friends of education, to make this volume as complete as possible, and though still occasionally engaged in superintending and organizing schools, I have felt it necessary to revise this eighth edition very carefully throughout, and commence it with a new and additional chapter.

Moor Cottage,
Westgate Common,
Nov. 1552


It is said that we are aiming at carrying education too far; that we are drawing it out to an extravagant length, and that, not satisfied with dispensing education to children also have attained what in former times was thought a proper age, we are now anxious to educate mere infants, incapable of receiving benefit from such instruction. This objection may be answered in two ways. In the first place, it should be observed, that the objection comes from those very persons who object to education being given to children when they arrive at a more advanced period, on the ground that their parents then begin to find them useful in labour, and consequently cannot spare so much of their time as might be requisite: surely, that, the education of the children should commence at that time when their labour can be of value to their parents. But the other answer, in my opinion, is still more decisive: it is found even at the early age of seven or eight, that children are not void of those propensities, which are the forerunners of vice, and I can give no better illustration of this, than the fact of a child only eight years old, being convicted of a capital offence at our tribunals of justice; when, therefore, I find that at this early period of life, these habits of vice are formed, it seems to me that we ought to begin still earlier to store their minds with such tastes, and to instruct them in such a manner as to exclude the admission of those practises that lead to such early crime and depravity. A Noble friend has most justly stated, that it is not with the experiences of yesterday that we come armed to the contest: it is not a speculation that we are bringing forward to your notice, but an experiment.'—The Lord Chancellor.

"In leaving poor children to the care of their parents, neglect is the least that happens; it too frequently occurs that they are turned over to delegates, where they meet with the worst treatment; so that we do not in fact come so much into contact with the parents themselves as with those delegates, who are so utterly unfit for the office they undertake. Infant Schools, however, have completely succeeded, not only in the negative plan they had in view, of keeping the children out of vice and mischief, but even to the extent of engrafting in their minds at an early age those principles of virtue, which capacitated them for receiving a further stage of instruction at a more advanced school, and finally, as they approached manhood, to be ripened into the noblest sentiments of probity and integrity."—The Marquis of Lansdowne.

"I am a zealous friend, upon conviction, to Infant Schools for the children of the poor. No person who has not himself watched them, can form an adequate action of what these institutions, when judiciously conducted, may effect in forming the tempers and habits of young children; in giving them, not so much actual knowledge, as that which at their age is more important, the habit and faculty of acquiring it; and it correcting those moral defects which neglect or injudicious treatment would soon confirm and render incurable. The early age at which children are taken out of our National Schools, is an additional reason for commencing a regular and systematic discipline of their minds and wills, as soon as they are capable of profiting by it; and that is at the very earliest opening of the understanding, and at the first manifestation of a corrupt nature in the shape of a childish petulance and waywardness."—The Bishop of London.

"The claims of this Institution were of such a nature, that they required no recommendation but a full statement of them. The foundation of its happy results had been pointed out to exist in the principles of policy, and of religion paramount to all policy—a religion that appealed to every feeling of human nature. He would recommend this charity, as one less attended with perplexity in its operations or doubt as to its utility, than many, which, though established with the best possible motives, frequently failed in effecting the good proposed; but in this the most acute opponent could not discover any mischief that would arise from its success."—Sir James Mackintosh.

"I have always thought that that man that would be the greatest benefactor to his country who did most for the suppression of crime; this I am sorry to say, our legislature have neglected in a great degree, while they have readily employed themselves in providing for its punishment. Those acquainted with our prisons must know that those found to have sunk deepest into vice and crime were persons who had never received any education, moral or religious. In the Refuge for the Destitute, an exact account was kept, and it was found that of the great mass of culprits sent there by the magistrates on account of their youth, two-thirds were the children of parents who had no opportunity of educating them. By this institution they would at once promote virtue and prevent vice."—Dr. Lushington.

"The real fact is, that the character of all mankind is formed very early—much earlier than might be supposed: at the age of two or three years, dispositions were found in children of a description the most objectionable. In these schools the principles of mutual kindness and assistance were carried as far as could well be conceived, and it was most delightful to regard the conduct of the children towards each other. Instead of opposition, they displayed mutual good-will, inculcated to the greatest degree, so as to destroy in the minds of the children that selfishness which was the bane of our nature. Such effects appeared almost to realize the golden age, for the children appeared always happy, and never so happy as when attending the schools."—W. Smith, Esq. M.P.

"I feel, having witnessed the happy effects produced by these schools, a warm zeal in support of such institutions. We cannot begin too soon to impress religions principles on the minds of the young; it is an affecting consideration, that while great statesmen have been busied in their closets on some fine scheme or speculation, they have neglected these salutary principles which the Almighty has given to mankind. It is remarkable how eagerly the young mind receives the histories of the Bible, and how well they are fitted to work on their dispositions; and when I consider the miserable state of the poor, I cannot but feel that the rich are in some degree, the authors of it, in having neglected to afford them the means of education."—W. Wilberforce, Esq.

"I am much delighted with what I have seen and heard. I confess I entertained doubts of the practicability of the Infant School System, but these doubts have this day been removed. If in one month so much can be done, what might not be expected from further training? I now doubt no longer, and anticipate from the extension of such schools a vast improvement in the morals and religion of the humble classes. I conclude with moving a vote of thanks to Mr. Wilderspin."—Lord Chief Justice Clerk.

"Sir John Sinclair, rose, and in addressing Mr. Wilderspin, said, that he was astonished with the results of five weeks training in these perfect infants. He had never seen a greater prodigy. He too had had his prejudices—his doubts of the possibility of infant education; but these doubts had now vanished, and for ever. The arrangements for bodily exercise, connected with mental and moral improvement, especially delighted him. He was amused as well as instructed by the well-applied admixture of diverting expedients to keep the children alive and alert. It was 'seria mixta jocis,' but there was practical sense in the seemingly most frivolous part of the plan. He trusted that the time was not far distant when there should be many such institutions. He called on all present to join him in returning cordial thanks to Mr. Wilderspin."—Scotsman.

"The grand secret of the improvement found to be derived from these establishments, is their constant tendency to remove evil example and misery from the little creatures during almost the whole of their waking hours. Consider how a child belonging to one of these passes his day. As soon as he is up, the indispensable condition, and the only one of his admission to the school, that of clean face and hands, is enforced, and the mother, in order to be relieved of the care of him during the, day, is obliged to have him washed. He then leaves the abode of filth and intemperance, and squalid poverty, and ill-temper, for a clean, airy place, pleasant in summer, warm and dry in winter; and where he sees not a face that is not lighted up with the smile of kindness towards him. His whole day is passed in amusing exercises, or interesting instruction; and he returns at evening-tide fatigued and ready for his bed, so that the scenes passing at his comfortless home make a slight impression on his mind or on his spirits."—Edinburgh Review.




Days and scenes of childhood—Parental care—Power of early impressions—School experience—Commencements in business—Sunday school teaching and its results—Experiment on a large scale—Development of means and invention of implements—Heavy bereavement—Propagation of the system of education in the neighbourhood of London, and ultimately in most of the principal places in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland—Misapprehension and perversion of the principles of infant education—Signs of advancement—Hope for the future



Teachers of theft—Children the dupes of the profligate—An effort at detection—Afflicting cases of early depravity—Progress of a young delinquent—Children employed in theft by their parents—Ingenuity of juvenile thieves—Results of an early tuition in crime—The juvenile thief incorrigible—Facility of disposing of stolen property—A hardened child—Parents robbed by their children—A youthful suicide—A youthful murderer



Degraded condition of parents—Dreadful effects of drunkenness—Neglect of children inevitable and wilful—The tutorship of wicked companions—Tricks of pantomines injurious—Mischiefs arising from sending children to pawnbrokers—Fairs demoralizing—All kinds of begging to be repressed



Means long in operation important—Prisons awfully corrupting—Deplorable condition of those released from jail—Education of the infant poor—Its beneficial results—Cases of inviolable honesty—Appeal of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet—The infant school an asylum from accident and a prevention of various evils—Obstacles in the way of married persons obtaining employment—Arguments for the plan of infant training—Prevalence of profane swearing—The example often shewn by parents—Anecdote in illustration—Parents ill used by their young children—Christian-like wish of George III.—Education for poor children still objected to—Folly of such objection illustrated—Lectures on the subject of infant training



Moral treatment—Importance of exercise—Play-ground indispensable—The education of nature and human education should be joined—Mental development—Children should think for themselves—Intellectual food adapted for children—A spirit of enquiry should be excited—Gradual development of the young mind—Neglect of moral treatment—Inefficacy of maxims learned by rote—Influence of love—The play-ground a field of observation—Respect of private property inculcated—Force of conscience on the alert—Anecdote—Advantages of a strict regard for truth—The simple truths of the Bible fit for children



The master and mistress should reside on the premises—Interior arrangements—A school and its furniture—Lesson-posts and lessons—The younger children should not be separated from the older—Play-ground arrangements—Rotary swing—Its management and advantages



Teachers should practice what they teach—Necessity of patience—Mere automatons will not do for infant teachers—Disadvantage of using excessive restraint—A master and mistress more efficient than two mistresses—Objections to the sole government of females—Too frequent use of the divine names should be avoided—General observations



Classification—Getting the children into order—Language—Lessons on objects—Rules to be observed by parents—Daily routine of instruction—Opening prayer and hymn—Object or developing lessons—Synopsis of a week's instruction—Cleanliness—Never frighten children—Guard against forgetfulness—Observe punctuality—Be strictly accurate in your expressions—Guard against the entrance of disease—Maxims for teachers—Resolutions



Original intention of the gallery—What lessons are adapted for it—Its misapplication—Selection of teachers—Observations—Gallery lessons—on a feather—a spider—a piece of bog turf—a piece of coal—Observations on the preceding lessons—Scripture lessons in the gallery—The finding of Moses—Christ with the doctors—Moral training—Its neglect in most schools—Should be commenced in infancy—Beneficial effects of real moral culture—Ignorance of teachers—The gallery most useful in moral training—Specimen of a moral lesson—Illustrations of moral culture—Anecdotes—Simpson on moral education—Observations—Hints to teachers



Necessity of some punishment—Rewards to monitors—Trial by jury—Illustrative case—Necessity of firmness—Anecdotes—Playing the truant—Its evils—Means for prevention—Devices for punishment—Sympathy encouraged—Evil of expelling children—Case of Hartley—Difficulty of legislating for rewards and punishments—Badges of distinction not necessary



Means for conveying instruction—Method of teaching the alphabet in connection with objects—Spelling—Reading—Developing lessons—Reading lessons in natural history—The arithmeticon—Brass letters—Their uses



The arithmeticon—How applied—Numeration—Addition—Subtraction —Multiplication—Division—Fractions—Arithmetical tables—Arithmetical songs—Observations



Method of instruction—Geometrical song—Anecdotes—Size—Long measure—Observations



Its attraction for children—Sacred geography—Geographical song—Lessons on geography



Pictures—Religious instruction—Specimens of picture lessons on Scripture and natural history—Other means of religious instruction—Effects of religious instruction—Observations



Object boards—Utility of this method



Exercise—Various positions—Exercise blended with instruction Arithmetical and geometrical amusements



Infant ditties—Songs on natural history—Moral lessons in verse—Influence of music in softening the feelings—Illustrative anecdote



Method of instruction—Grammatical rhymes



Method Explained—Its success



National schools—British and foreign societies—Sunday schools—Observations



Introduction to botany—First lessons in natural history—First truths of astronomy—Geographical instruction—Conclusion


* * * * *



Days and scenes of childhood—Parental care—Power of early impressions—School experience—Commencement in business—Sunday-school teaching and its results—Experiment on a large scale—Development of plans and invention of implements—Heavy bereavement—Propagation of the system of education, in the neighborhood of London, and ultimately in most of the principal places in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland—Misapprehension and perversion of the principles of infant education—Signs of advancement—Hope for the future.

* * * * *

  Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
  We love the play-place of our early days;
  The scene is touching."—Cowper

  "What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under
  the sun?"—Ecclesiastes i. 3.

* * * * *

How came you to think of the Infant School system of teaching?—is a question that I have often been asked; and my friends think it advisable that it should, in part at least, be answered. I proceed therefore, in compliance with their wishes, to give some little of the required information in this place, as perhaps it may throw light upon, or explain more clearly, the fundamental principles laid down and advocated throughout this volume. In few words, then, I would reply,—circumstances forced me to it. Born an only child, under peculiar circumstances, and living in an isolated neighbourhood, I had no childish companions from infancy; I was, consequently, thrown much on my own resources, and early became a thinker, and in some measure a contriver too. I beheld a beautiful world around me, full of everything to admire and to win attention. As soon as I could think at all, I saw that there must be a Maker, Governor, and Protector of this world. Such things as had life won my admiration, and thus I became very fond of animals. Flowers and fruits, stones and minerals, I also soon learned to observe and to mark their differences. This led to enquiries as to how they came—where from—who made them? My mother told me they came from God, that he made them and all things that I saw; and also that he made herself and me. From that moment I never doubted His wonderful existence. I could not, nor did I have, at that age, any correct idea of God; but I soon learned to have elevated notions of His works, and through them I was led to adore something invisible—something I was convinced of within, but could not see. My mother, to my knowledge, never deceived me, or told me an untruth: therefore, I believed her implicitly; and to this day I never doubted. So much for the implanting an early faith in the Unseen. But the beautiful world and the things in it which I saw, and with which I came in contact, Oh! how wonderful they appeared to me! They were my companions! Other children were strange to me, and they were not nigh either to help or to thwart me.

My mother was my oracle during the first six years of childhood, resolving my difficulties and answering my questions. I was happy—very happy! and still look back to those days with indescribable pleasure and satisfaction. I had no tasks. I was not pestered with A.B. C., nor ab. eb. ib. From things my parents chiefly taught me my first lessons, and they have been as durable as life. For days and weeks did I study such lessons. My parents waited till I asked for information, and when it was required it was never denied. The world and the wonders in it formed as it were a heaven to me. I am told I gave but little trouble at this age. In the beautiful fields and wild coppices about Hornsey, as yet unencroached upon by suburban extension; and by the side of the then solitary banks of the New River, I was always to be found. In cold and wet weather I had a stock of similar lessons in my home. Small live animals were my constant companions; they taught me that love begets love. I did love and delight in them, and when they died I mourned their loss. Every day brought me new information, which my parents perfected. At length the alphabet was mastered, and afterwards spelling, reading, and so forth. My mind being thus previously filled with ideas, the acquirement of words and abstract terms became less irksome, and I cannot remember that thus far it cost me any trouble, much less pain. Information of every kind fit for childhood then really gave me pleasure. No doubt I am greatly indebted to my parents for their judicious management. My father always in the evening, took great pains to explain things to me; he nurtured but never crammed; he knew when to teach and when to let alone. Unfortunately, through very peculiar circumstances, I was removed from the immediate care and superintendence of both parents rather early in life; and, at an age the most dangerous, was left to grapple nearly alone with the wide world and the beings in it, with little of either parental guidance. It was then I saw the immense importance and advantage of early impressions. To me they were of incalculable benefit, and no doubt led, when I became a man, to the thoughts which ended in the development and practical working of the Infant System and method of education.

Schools for infants then existed, but what were they? Simply dame-schools, with the hornbook for boys and girls, and perhaps a little sewing for the latter. Their sign was—"Children taught to read and work here," and their furniture the cap and bells, the rod in pickle, and a corner for dunces. The finishing stroke was seen in the parlour of the inn, or the farm-house, in the shape of needlework as a samplar;—"Lydia Languish, her work, done at —— school, in the year of our Lord, 1809." Such were the schools in country places then in existence, the little ones doing nothing. In after-life, I thought a remedy was required and might be found, and therefore set about working it out. How it was done shall be hereafter explained.

I knew my own infant state had been a happy one, and I wondered to see children crying to go to school, when learning had been such a delight to me. But I soon ceased to wonder when I was sent there myself. At my first school I can truly say I learnt nothing, except it be that I had especially the sense of feeling. I often had raps with the cane on the head, across the shoulders, and on the hand, and I found it was mainly for not learning what the teacher had forgotten to teach me. The terms used were "master" and "mistress," and they were tolerably appropriate as far as I was concerned, for to me both became objects of terror, so much so, that for the first time in my life, I really fretted when the hour of teaching came. My parents were not long in perceiving this although I did not complain. They told me it was for my good that I should go to school, and I thoroughly believed them. Yet I could not understand why it should be associated with so much dislike and pain on my part, when my first school,—the beautiful world of nature, had been so lovely, and my first teachers had always increased the delight by removing my difficulties, and this so much so that I now longed for evening to come to have fresh light and instruction given. My father now decided that I should not go to school, and he became my teacher as before, the world being my great book. I was delighted with Robinson Crusoe, and this work became my companion, and to which was added the Pilgrim's Progress. After these, my great favourite was Buffon's Natural History. I used to go alone, taking a volume at a time, to read amidst the pleasant country around, but most frequently in the quiet nooks and retreats of Hornsey Wood. It seems, however, that I was always watched and superintended by my mother during these readings and rural rambles, for whenever danger was near she generally appeared, but seldom otherwise, so that I had perfect freedom in these matters. I have every reason to believe that the first seven years of my life laid the basis of all I know that is worth knowing, and led to the formation of my character and future career in life. Of my schooling afterwards it is unnecessary to say much, as it was the usual routine such as others had, but it never satisfied me, and I even then saw errors throughout the whole, and this strengthened my first impressions, and tended to mature the after-thought in me, that something wanted doing and must be done. It is not my intention in this introductory chapter to write an auto-biography; but my object is simply to show, how one impression followed another in my case, and what led to it; to point out briefly the various plans and inventions I had recourse to in carrying out my views and intentions; and, finally, to allude to their propagation through the country personally by myself, on purpose to show, in conclusion, that although infant education has been extensively adopted, and many of its principles, being based on nature, have been applied with great success to older children, yet especially in the case of infants, that strict adherence to nature and simplicity which is so fundamental and so requisite, has been often overlooked, and in some cases totally discarded.

It will, I trust, appear from what has been already said, that even from early childhood I both saw and felt that there was a period in human life, and that the most important period, as experience has proved to my full satisfaction, not legislated for, that is, not duly provided with suitable and appropriate methods of education. To see this was one thing, to provide a remedy for it and to invent plans for carrying out that remedy, was another. The systems of Bell and of Lancaster were then commencing operations, but were quite unsuitable for children under seven years of age at least, and therefore took little or no cognizance of that early period, which I had been inwardly convinced was of such eminent importance. I was destined for business, and served the usual apprenticeship to become qualified for it, and also continued in it for a short period on my own account. Even at this time the thought ever haunted me as to what should be done for young children. At length the germ was developed at one of the Sunday Schools, which were then rising into general notice. For years I attended one of these in London, and here circumstances again befriended me, regarding the matter so frequently in my thoughts. The teachers mostly preferred having a class to superintend that knew something, and I being then a junior, it fell to my lot to have a class that knew little or nothing. I mean nothing that it was the object of the Sunday-school to teach. It soon appeared clear to me, that such a class required different treatment to those more advanced, and especially the young children. Nobody wanted this class, it was always "to let," if I did not take it. The result was, I always had it. Others looked to the post of honour, the Bible-class. I soon found that to talk to such children as I had to teach, in the manner the others did to the older and more advanced children, was useless, and thus I was forced to simplify my mode of teaching to suit their state of apprehension, and now and then even to amuse them. This succeeded so well, that in the end my class became the popular class, and I became still further convinced of the desirableness of an especial plan for teaching the very young. I, however, still thought that the alphabet should be taught first, with the usual things in their order. At length, shortly after my marriage, which was rather early in life, an opportunity presented itself for trying an experiment on a larger scale; from having explained my views on early education to a friend, I was solicited to take the superintendence of an asylum for young children, about to be formed in a populous part of London. Having thus an opportunity of carrying out my wishes, thoughts, and feelings, in a way that I could not have anticipated, I gave up my connexion with business, and devoted myself to the object. Great and unforseen difficulties however had to be encountered. The first week was dreadful. I began with too many children, and we had six whom the mothers afterwards confessed they sent to wean. These not only cried themselves, but set all the others crying also, and we regretted having begun the experiment. At length, driven almost to despair, it became evident that something new must be done to still the tumult. As an expedient, I elevated a cap on a pole, which immediately attracted their attention and occasioned silence. Thus I obtained a clue to guide me, and my mind instantly perceived one of the most fundamental principles in infant teaching, in fact of most teaching, and which long experience has proved true, and that is, to appeal to the SENSES of the children. After this, every day developed something new to me, the children became happy beyond my expectations, and my course onward was gradually progressive. Children and teachers became happy together; difficulties vanished as we proceeded, and at length my wife and I made up our minds to devote our whole lives to the perfecting of our plans, and the carrying them out extensively. The novelty of the thing drew numbers of visitors to a district, where the carriages of the nobility and gentry had not been seen before; but the labour to us was so greatly increased by this, that my wife sunk under it, and I was left with four young children, to prosecute my plans alone in the world.

From the day I caught the idea, that a great secret in teaching the young was to teach through the senses, the various implements now in such general use in infant schools, were step by step invented by me. Objects of all kinds were introduced, and oral lessons given upon them, to teach their qualities and properties, and amongst the various visitors most frequently present at such times, was the gentleman who has acquired fame by publishing "Lessons on Objects," which little work has elsewhere been highly commended by me, albeit it came forth into the world several years after the period I now speak of. To give such lessons I found it requisite to have the children altogether, so as better to attract their attention simultaneously. This was first attempted by placing them at one end of the room, but it was found inconvenient; then parallel lines were chalked across the floor, and they sat down in order on these; but though attention was gained, the posture was unsuitable. Cords were then stretched across to keep them in proper rank, and various experiments tried with seats, until they ended in the construction of a permanently fixed gallery of regularly ascending seats. This implement or structure has now come into almost universal use in infant schools, and, in fact, they are considered incomplete without one; and also they are in much request in schools for children of every age. To give an idea of number through the eye, I had recourse at first to buttons strung on strings across a frame, and this led to the substitution of wooden balls on wires, and other improvements through experience, until the arithmeticon, hereafter described, was fully formed. It having been found a useful instrument, the credit of contriving it has been impugned, by liking it to the Roman Abacus and Chinese Swanpan; but were those instruments like in structure, or designed especially to teach the multiplication table? if not, they are no more similar than "a hawk to a hand-saw." The former I have never seen, and the first time I saw one of the Chinese instruments was some five or six years ago in the Museum at Hull. The clapping of hands, the moving of arms, marching in order, and various other motions, all of which are now become the especial characteristics of an infant-school, were gradually introduced as circumstances or nature dictated, partly to obtain simultaneous action and obedience, and partly to provide that physical exercise which beings so young perpetually require, and which they are constantly taking when left free and unrestrained. It is not requisite to make mention here of the swing—the play grounds—the flower borders—and various other matters which are fully treated of in the following portions of this work, further than to add, that they are now generally adopted in schools, and especially in some of the principal training establishments in the British Empire. As these plans and instruments are used by a certain religious infant-school society, which professes to have imported its system from Switzerland, where such things never had their origin, I feel it necessary most emphatically to repeat, that they are entirely of my own invention.

After the severe bereavement mentioned above, I still persevered in my favourite study, and learned more from my own children than I did before, having to act in the double capacity of father and mother. I am well aware of the loss my children sustained by the above calamity. In the matter of training, nothing can replace a good mother,—and such indeed she eminently was! I felt the heavy stroke more severely, and my children did also; but I consoled myself with the reflection, that my loss was her gain, and that she had lived to witness fruits of her unparalleled labours, to the thorough abandonment of self, and the glory of her Maker. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these little ones, ye have done it unto me." Night and day, when I had time to think, such promises as these cheered and sustained me in doing what I could for my own motherless children, and more and more cemented my affections on the children of others, and, finally, enabled me to mature my plans, and gave me strength and courage to carry them out, first in the villages and places near London, and, ultimately, single-handed and alone, through more than a quarter of a century, in many of the chief cities, towns, and villages of the United Kingdom. Simply to state this fact is all that is requisite here to answer my present purpose, and to enlarge more upon it is needless, as a full detail of the whole career is given in my "Early Discipline Illustrated; or, the Infant System Progressing and Successful," third edition, published in 1840, and to which much more would require adding to bring it down to the present time, if a further edition should be called for.

That prejudice should assail me, and objections be started as I came more out into the world, was to be expected. I knew my own intentions, but the world did not, and I came in for a full share of obloquy and persecution. This did me much good, and was a preparatory discipline, to make me careless of the opinion of mankind in the matter, so long as I felt that I was in the right, and had the approval of my own conscience. The more I was opposed, the more were my energies lighted up and strengthened; opposition always sharpened my faculties, instead of overcoming and depressing me. The whole gradually prospered from the first, under every disadvantage and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of the short-sighted and bigoted. These things laid my first patrons prostrate, and the Society of great names which followed, was soon dissolved. Every effort was made by the enemies of true training and education, to crush the thing in the bud, and not only the thing, but also the man who developed it and worked it out. Thank God, these inimical aims did not succeed. Though worldly patrons failed, I had one Patron who never deserted me, but Who upheld and encouraged me from first to last, until the end was gained. Not, however, all that was aimed at, but much of it, and the rest will follow or I am greatly mistaken. I have in various places seen things that I earnestly contended for, but which were rejected at the time, at length established and their value seen. Look at the schools in existence now, bad as some of them are, and compare them with those which existed a third of a century ago, and it will be found that they have progressed, and it may safely be anticipated that they will still further progress, for there is much need of it. The system pourtrayed in this book is intended to act on all the faculties of a child, especially the highest, and to strengthen them at the time the mere animal part of his nature is weak. The existing schools were not found fit to take our children when they left us. The dull, monotonous, sleepy, heavy system pursued, was quite unadapted to advance such pupils. At this point of the history much damage was done to our plans. The essence or kernel was omitted and the mere shell retained, to make infant schools harmonise with the existing ones, instead of the contrary. There were and are however two great exceptions to this rule. The Model Schools at Dublin under the Government Board of Education, and the Glasgow Training Schools for Scotland. At Dublin all is progression. The infant department is the best in Europe,—I believe the best in the world. The other departments are equally good in most things, and are well managed, as far as regards a good secular education being given, and better I think than any similar institution in England. At Glasgow the same master whom I taught still exists. I have not seen the schools for many years, but I hear from those who have been trained there, that nothing can work better. The Glasgow Committee, with Mr. Stow at their head, deserve the thanks of the whole community for having applied the principles on which the Infant School System is based, to juveniles, and carried out and proved the practicability of it for the public good. I told them this in lectures at Glasgow long ago, and exhibited before them children to prove the truths I promulgated, both there and in other parts of Scotland, to convince a doubting and cautious public that my views were practicable. I may add, in passing, that I found the Scotch took nothing on trust. They would listen to my lectures, but it always ended in my being obliged to prove it with children. To David Stow much credit is due, for having written useful books and performed useful works. I am not the man to deprive him of this his just due, but I have such faith in the honour of his countrymen in general, that I believe the time is not far distant when some one of them will give to me that credit which is fairly and justly due to me with respect to the educational movements in Scotland. No class of men are better able to appreciate and understand the principles on which a system of true education should be based than Scotchmen, and hence, though cautious in taking up new things, or new views of things, they can do justice to, and appreciate, that which is worthy of their attention.

At the time I have been speaking of there were no lessons published suitable for us. I searched the print shops in the metropolis, and with the aid of drawings from friends, supplied this deficiency. Next I had suitable lessons printed to accompany them, and also spelling lessons of such words as could be acted and explained. Then followed suitable reading lessons, prints of objects, and the simple forms of geometry. When a demand was created for all these, the publishing trade took them up, and thus the numerous excellent plates and lessons now published for the purposes of teaching, had their first origin.

I ant thoroughly convinced that the first seven years of a child's life is the golden period, and if I can induce mankind generally to think with me, and to act on the principles humbly laid open in the succeeding chapters of this book, I may feel some consolation that I have not lived in vain. Sure I am that if the world will only give man a fair chance, and train him from the beginning with care, with prudence, with caution, with circumspection, with freedom, and above all with love, he will bear such fruit, under the blessing of God, as will make even this world as a paradise. From childhood up to age has this truth been perfecting and strengthening in me, and I have no more doubt that it is a truth, than I have of my own existence. Who can look upon a child without admiring it, without loving it? With my feelings it is impossible! When I compare the Revealed Will of God,—the Scriptures, with His other Great Book, the book of nature, which I read so early in life, and read with delight to this present hour, I see the one illustrates the other. I see that the best ground produces the rankest weeds—but not if cultivated. What does not care do for all things in nature, why not then for man? Let him run wild through neglect, and undoubtedly he produces weeds; but this, to my mind, is an argument in his favour, and shews the ground is capable of producing rich fruits. When we study the true nature of his mind, with the same assiduity as we now do study the nature of his body, then will mankind see it in this light, begin at the right end, and cultivate from the first the beautiful faculties of his own species. I say beautiful! and are not the budding faculties of childhood both beautiful and lovely? "Feed my lambs," saith the Lord Jesus. But, reader, are they all duly fed in this rich, wealthy, and christian country? How many, on the contrary, are fed with evil influences, street associations, and are thus poisoned at every pore, until their being is thoroughly contaminated through neglect, public and private, and, when not orphans, even parental neglect also; and then after having increased our county rates, enlarged our prisons, and built union workhouses (with respect to morals and training for the young, I say pest-houses) we add ragged schools. We allow them to become contaminated, and when that is accomplished, we go to work to undo what has been done. If this does not succeed we punish by law the poor neglected beings for taking the poisons we really offered them! Oh, rare consistency in this boasted age of light, and science, and learning! Let us, therefore, first seek an education worthy of the name, and then find the best means of carrying it out. What exists at present is fundamentally defective, especially by beginning too late, and as regards the plans and principles laid down for infants in many cases, much has been merely travestied, and many of the most essential parts entirely set aside or overlooked.

The amount of solid information that may be given to an infant by a wise and judicious mother, during the first two years only, would appear to many persons astonishing. I have as clear a recollection of what my mother taught me at two years old, as I have of that which she taught me at the age of six. The facts crowd upon me so fast that I scarcely know where to stop. Those lessons were the germs of the inventions and babyisms—the hand-clapping, arm-twisting, and the like—with which the infants are so delighted in their schools, and which, at the time they were developed, about a third of a century since, were scouted, and the inventor looked upon as a good natured simpleton, or a well-meaning fool. I have a rather vivid recollection of this fact, but in the end, as we proceeded, many who came to sneer, went away with very different feelings. The plans were for infants, for infants they answered well, but I wish I could say that no excresences had grown upon them.

Now the ends to be answered in Infant Education, as intended by me, are as follows. First, to feed the child's faculties with suitable food; Second,—to simplify and explain everything, so as to adapt it properly to those faculties; Third, not to overdo anything, either by giving too much instruction, or instruction beyond their years, and thus over-excite the brain, and injure the faculties; and, Fourth, ever to blend both exercise and amusement with instruction at due intervals, which is readily effected by a moderate amount of singing, alternating with the usual motions and evolutions in the schoolroom, and the unfettered freedom of the play-ground. If these rules be attended to, the following results are certain,—a higher state of physical, mental, and moral health. Physical health is essential to mental vigour if it is to come to manhood. If the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual constitution be properly acted upon, fed, and trained, it adds to the happiness of the child; but if this is not done, it becomes miserable, and as a consequence restless, troublesome, and mischievous. Such facts were made very evident to me by the infants under my care in the earlier part of my career, and also have been fully confirmed throughout it, and they have forced me as it were to that more lively, interesting, and amusing mode of instruction, which I have through life endeavoured to propagate. I found children to be highly delighted with pictures and object-lessons; hence their value and high importance is so strongly insisted on in all my books, and the best methods of using them distinctly laid down. The trouble of rightly using such lessons has caused them to be almost entirely laid aside in very many existing infant schools, and in too many instances the mere learning and repeating of sounds by rote, or what may very properly be called the "parrot system," has been introduced in their place. But I yet hope that the good sense of the public will in the end remedy such defects. In such cases the memory is the only faculty exercised, and that at the expense of those that are higher. Where this is persisted in, the infant system is rendered nugatory, and my labours are in vain. It therefore cannot be too strongly insisted on, and too frequently repeated, that one of its most fundamental principles, as regards the unfolding, properly and easily, of the intellectual faculties, is to communicate notions and ideas rather than words and sounds, or at least to let them be done together.

As before stated, the gallery had its origin in my desire to teach the children simultaneously. It enables a teacher more readily to secure their full attention in all oral lessons, and establishes a sympathy between them. More real facts may be taught children simultaneously by the master, than can be taught by all the monitors in a school. The little infants should always sit at the bottom, and by no means be confined to another room. They can see and hear all that is going on, and understand it far more than you would suppose, though they cannot yet tell all they learn and know; but when the power of speech comes, they will surprise you with what they have learned. It is therefore a great error to separate children and cut them off from the advantage of all object-lessons, and gallery-teaching, because they are the youngest. They learn more through sympathy and communion with their five or six year elders, than the most clever adult can teach them. An infant-school, is, in many respects, a community in a state of nature. What one does, the other almost involuntarily learns. The merest infants are not an exception to this rule, and therefore the separation in many infant-schools of the children, invariably into two classes, sometimes in two rooms, is a great mistake, and can only arise from ignorance of the laws under which the young mind unfolds itself, and a misunderstanding of the first principles of infant-teaching.

Perhaps one reason that infant-school teaching has not been kept up to its proper point and true standing, is, the desire to make a striking shew before the visitors in a school. I fear the grounds for this opinion are not slight. Perhaps nothing has lead more to the multiplication of singing, even to the injury of the children. The ease with which they learn a metrical piece by rote, and the readiness with which they acquire a tune to it, is surprising, and as the exhibition of such attainments forms a striking sinew, in many cases little else is taught them. But to a sensible and thinking mind, one single piece understood, that is, one where clear ideas are annexed to the words in the minds of the children, is worth a hundred where this is not the case. Intellectual improvement, and moral training, are not thus easily exhibited, especially, the latter; but on dilligent attention to these, the real and permanent utility of the schools depends.

Many things have been taught most unsuitable for young children, and that simplicity which is so absolutely requisite, both as regards matter and language, seriously departed from. Let but the great principle of teaching through the senses be borne distinctly in mind, and of giving ideas in preference to sounds, and it will have a strong tendency to put an end to the evil complained of. How much may be taught by the simplest object, such as a stone? Form—weight—hardness, colour, sound, and numerous other qualities and properties, all of which must be clearly understood, because they are demonstrated by the sight and other senses. Once give to the mind a store of clear ideas in regular and natural order, and a series of words that are distinct and definite in meaning, and you have laid a firm foundation whereon to exercise the higher faculties of reflection and reasoning. Still more is it of paramount importance to educate and bring out the moral faculties, to cultivate the sense of right and wrong, to enlighten and strengthen the young conscience, to teach the love of good, and the hatred of evil, and to strive to bring the whole being under the new commandment of Christ, "that ye love one another." The golden rule, "to do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you," is one of the most powerful precepts that can be applied to awaken just moral feelings; and innumerable instances must occur, in the varied events which happen in a school, to bring it home powerfully to the heart, and illustrate it appropriately.

Perhaps in nothing has that simplicity of teaching so requisite for the young, and so earnestly contended for by me throughout, been so much disregarded, neglected, and preverted as in the matter of religion. I taught from the first, by means of pictures properly selected, scriptural truths and facts, histories and parables; and also suitable texts, and simple hymns and prayers were added. This surely was enough for infants. I thought so then, and I think so still, for an overdoing always ends in an undoing, and the mind of a child should never be crammed with that which it cannot understand, to the neglect of that which it may. I have opened schools for many sects and parties, and have been sorry to find them so prone to bind the "grevious burdens" of their own peculiar dogmas on the feeble minds of little children, to the neglect of the "weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and the love of God." I hope a time will come when the distinct precepts of Christ, in this respect, will be more faithfully regarded. The religion for infants should be a simple trust in "the love and kindness of God our Saviour," a desire of grace and strength from Him, and an aim to live thereby in love and duty to their parents and teachers, and in kindness and affection with their brothers, sisters, and schoolfellows. Such things as these, their young minds may apprehend, feel, and apply, and thus be strengthened and benefitted, but scholastic subtelties, and controverted dogmas, such as the grey-headed are perpetually disputing about, surely should never be taught to infants by any one who has carefully considered the subject, and properly studied the nature of the infant mind.

In all probability advancing years will prevent me in future from personally labouring much in the cause, and from personally overcoming objections, by presenting publicly, facts that cannot be refuted. It is out of my power now to employ agents and pay them. I cannot take infants by sea and land to convince unbelievers, and silence gainsayers. Neither circumstances nor remaining strength, will allow me to repeat these things. I must trust then to my pen, to the thinkers amongst us, and above all to the good Providence of God, for further success in behalf of the rising generation. Those who doubt what I assert about children should recollect one fact—twenty-seven thousand have passed through my hands, and were for a short time under my training, and have then been examined by me to convince a doubting public, on the spot where they happened to be in each town and country, all this for the period of one-third of a century. Ought not this to entitle me, as respects the education of children, to say such a thing is right, or even such a thing is wrong? The abuse of a plan is no argument against its use. That it has been abused I am well aware,—that the parrot-system has been revived and also applied in infant-schools. It was never intended to injure the young brain by over-exciting it, or to fill the memory with useless rubbish; yet this is done. I cannot help it. I have done and will do my best to prevent such a violation of the very first principles of infant teaching. To conclude, there is much to be thankful for! Since the infant-system was evolved, a very great improvement has taken place in the character of school-books, and also in prints. The graphic illustrations and the simplicity of style, on a variety of subjects, is admirable. The same may be said with respect to nursery books; I see a great improvement in all these. This is comforting to one situated as I am, and leads me to hope much from the future. I trust the intellectual character of the age will advance, and not only the intellectual but also the moral and spiritual, and "that truth and justice, religion and piety may be established amongst us for all generations."



Teachers of theft—Children the dupes of the profligate—An effort at detection—Affecting cases of early depravity—Progress of a young delinquent—Children employed in theft by their parents—Ingenuity of juvenile thieves—Results of an early tuition in crime—The juvenile thief incorrigible—Facility of disposing of stolen property—A hardened child—Parents robbed by their children—A youthful suicide—A youthful murderer.

* * * * *

"An uneducated, unemployed poor, not only must be liable to fall into a variety of temptations, but they will, at times, unavoidably prove restless, dissatisfied, perverse, and seditious: nor is this all, even their most useful and valuable qualities, for want of regular and good habits, and a proper bias and direction from early religious instruction, frequently became dangerous and hurtful to society; their patience degenerates into sullenness, their perseverance into obstinacy, their strength and courage into brutal ferocity."—The Bishop of Norwich.

* * * * *

It has long been a subject of regret as well as of astonishment to the reflecting and benevolent, that notwithstanding the numerous institutions which exist in this country for the education and improvement of the poor, and in defiance of the endeavours of our magistracy and police establishment, crime should rather increase than diminish. Many persons have been induced to conclude from this fact that our Sunday, parochial, and national schools, as well as our Bible Societies, and institutions of a similar nature, are of little or no use. Absurd as the inference is, I have known more than one or two persons draw it; not considering, that although these means may be insufficient to counteract the cause of crime, or to prevent all its evil effects, yet, nevertheless, they must certainly check its progress;—that if there be many offenders, despite of these institutions, there would, doubtless, be many more were they not in existence; and hence to revile or neglect them is unworthy of good sense or good feeling.

It is not my purpose in the present chapter to dwell on the commission of crime generally, but on juvenile delinquency in particular; and on this only so far as regards the case of young children. I will, therefore, make public a collection of facts, some of which were obtained at considerable personal hazard and inconvenience, which will place it in a clear yet painful light.

It is said, that in the year 1819, the number of boys, in London alone, who procured a considerable part of their subsistence by pocket-picking and thieving in every possible form, was estimated at from eleven to fifteen hundred. One man who lived in Wentworth-Street, near Spitalfields, had forty boys in training to steal and pick pockets, who were paid for their exertions with a part of the plunder; fortunately, however, for the public, this notable tutor of thieves was himself convicted of theft, and transported. This system of tutorage is by no means uncommon, nor is it confined to the male sex. I remember reading some time back, in the police reports, of a woman who had entrapped eight or ten children from their parents, had trained them up, and sent them out thieving; nor was it until one of these infantile depredators was taken in the act of stealing, that this was made known, and the children restored to their homes. Here we see eight or ten children, probably from the neglect of their parents, enticed away, no doubt by the promise of a few cakes, or of some other trifling reward, and in imminent danger of becoming confirmed thieves, from which they were rescued by this providential discovery of their situation; and we know not how many children may have been led to evil practices in like manner.

I will give another instance which occurred at the office at Queen
Square.—A female, apparently no more than nineteen years of age,
named Jane Smith, and a child just turned of five years old, named
Mary Ann Ranniford, were put to the bar, before Edward Markland,
Esq., the magistrate, charged with circulating counterfeit coin in
Westminster and the county of Surrey, to a vast extent.

It appeared that the elder prisoner had long been known to be a common utterer of base coin, in which she dealt very largely with those individuals who are agents in London to the manufacturers of the spurious commodity in Birmingham. She had been once or twice before charged with the offence, and therefore she became so notorious that she was necessitated to leave off putting the bad money away herself; but so determined was she to keep up the traffic, that she was in the habit of employing children of tender years to pass the counterfeit money. On one occasion two Bow Street officers observed her at her old trade, in company with the child Ranniford. The officers kept a strict eye upon her movements, and saw her several times pass something to the little girl; and she, by the direction of her instructor, went into different shops (such as hosiers, where she purchased balls of worsted, pastry-cooks, tobacconists, and fruiterers), where she passed the bad money, and received in return goods and change. On the other side of the bridge, the patroles saw the prisoner Smith deliver something to the child, and point out the shop of Mr. Isaacs, a fruiterer, in Bridge Street, Westminster. The child went in, and asked for a juicy lemon, and gave a counterfeit shilling in payment. Mrs. Isaacs had no suspicion from the tender age of the utterer, and its respectable appearance, that the money was bad, and was about to give change, when one of the officers entered, and took the deluded child into custody, whilst his companion secured the elder prisoner (Smith), and on searching her pockets he found twelve bad shillings, some parcels of snuff, several balls of cotton and worsted, and other trifling articles, which the child had purchased in the course of the day. The officers who had secured them, learned from the child that her parents lived in Cross Street, East Lane, Walworth, and that Smith had taken her out for a walk. The patrol instantly communicated the circumstance to the child's parents, who were hard-working honest people, and their feelings on hearing that their infant had been seduced into the commission of such a crime, can be more easily conceived than described. They stated that the woman Smith had formerly lived in the same street, and was frequently giving half-pence and cakes to the child, who would, in consequence, follow her anywhere. Some time since, she removed to Lock's Square, Lock's Fields, and they (the parents) had not seen her for some time. On the day referred to the child was playing in the street, and not finding her come home they became alarmed, and went everywhere, broken hearted, in quest of her, but they could hear no tidings of her till the sad news was brought them by the officers. The poor mother was now in attendance, and her feelings were dreadfully affected, and excited the commiseration of all present.

The prisoner Smith made no defence, and held her head down during the examination. The child stood by her, and took no notice of the proceedings, and they were both fully committed for trial. The mother, on seeing her infant consigned to prison, became quite frantic, and wept hysterically, and had it it not been for the gaoler, she would have inflicted some violence upon the woman Smith, for seducing her infant.

Facts of this kind are sufficient to shew the utility, indeed I may say, the most absolute necessity of providing some means, far, very far more efficient than those at present in existence, for the protection and improvement of the infant poor; that they may not thus fall into the hands of evil and designing wretches, who make a living by encouraging the children of the poor to commit crimes, of the produce of which they themselves take the greatest part.

The younger the children are, the better they suit the purposes of such miscreants; because, if children are detected in any dishonest act, they know well, that few persons will do more than give the child or children a tap on the head, and send them about their business. The tenth part of the crimes committed by these juvenile offenders never comes under public view, because should any person be robbed by a child, and detect him in the act, he is silenced by the by-standers with this remark,—Oh! he is but a child, let him go this time, perhaps the poor thing has done it from necessity, being in want of bread. Thus the delinquent is almost sure to escape, and, instead of being punished, is not unfrequently rewarded for the adventure, as was the case in the following instance.

Having had occasion to walk through Shoreditch some time since, I saw a number of persons collected together round a little boy, who, it appeared, had stolen a brass weight from the shop of a grocer. The shopman stated that three boys came into the shop for half-an-ounce of candied horehound, and that while he was getting down the glass which contained it, one of them contrived to purloin the weight in question. Having some suspicion of the boys, from the circumstance of having recently lost a number of brass weights, he kept his eyes on them, when he saw one put his hand into a box that was on the counter, take out the largest weight, and then run out of the shop, followed by the other two. The boy who stole it, slipped the weight into the hand of one of the others; but the shopman, having observed this manoeuvre, followed the boy who had the weight, who, being the youngest of the three, could not run very fast; he, finding himself closely pursued, threw the weight into the road, and when he was taken, declared that it was not he who took it. The man wished to take the child back to the shop, in order that his master might do with him as he thought proper, but the by-standers, with a charitable zeal which evinced little knowledge, prevented him; one man in particular seemed to interest himself much in the boy's behalf, stating that he knew the child very well, and that he had neither father nor mother. The child immediately took up this plea, and added that he had had no victuals all day. The individual before mentioned then gave him a penny, and his example was followed by many more, till I think the boy had obtained nearly a shilling. I put several questions to him, but was checked by this fellow, who told me, that as I had given the child nothing, I had no right to ask so much? and, after a great deal of abuse, he ended by telling me, that if I did not "take myself off" he would "give me something for myself."

Feeling, however, a great desire to sift further into the matter, I feigned to withdraw, but kept my eye upon the boy, and followed him for nearly two hours, until I saw him join two other boys, one of whom I had not seen before, and who had a bag with something very heavy in it, which, I have every reason to believe, were weights, or something which they had obtained in a similar manner. Wishing to ascertain the fact, I approached them, but they no sooner perceived me, than the little fellow who had been the principal actor in the affair, called out "Nose, Nose,"—a signal-word, no doubt, agreed upon amongst them,—when they all ran down some obscure alleys. I followed, but was knocked down, as if by accident, by two ill-looking fellows, who continued to detain me with apologies till the boys had got safely away. I have little doubt that this was an instance of that organized system of depredation of which I have before spoken, and that the man who took so active a part at the first, was at the bottom of the business; and, in fact, the tutor and employer of the predatory urchins. His activity in preventing the boy from being taken back to the shop—his anxiety to promote a subscription for the boy,—and, lastly, his threat of personal violence if I interfered in the matter, by continuing to question the child,—all these circumstances confirm me in the opinion.

It is only by the knowledge of this fact—the association of infant offenders with those of maturer and hardened habits—that we can account for such cases as the following.—On the 17th of July, 1823, a child only seven years old, was brought before the magistrate at Lambeth Street office, charged with frequently robbing his mother, and was ordered to be locked up all night in the gaol-room. In the evening, however, when his mother returned, he forced his way out of the room, and behaved with such violence that the attendants were obliged to iron both his hands and legs! There can be no doubt that this child had been for a long time under the instruction and evil influence of some old and hardened offender; he must, indeed, have undergone much training before he could have arrived at such a pitch of hardihood, as to make it necessary to handcuff and fetter a child of so tender an age; and to enable him to hold even the magistrates, officers, and his own parent, at defiance.

The following cases afford further proof of the same lamentable truth; the first is extracted from a morning paper of the 20th of September, 1824. "A little boy, not more than six years of age, was brought before the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, on Saturday, the 18th instant, having been found in a warehouse, where he had secreted himself for the purpose of thieving. At a late hour on Friday night, a watchman was going his round, when, on trying a warehouse in which there was much valuable property, to see whether it was safe, he heard the little prisoner cry. The persons who had the care of the warehouse were roused, and he was taken out. In his fright he acknowledged that a man had taken him from his mother, and induced him, upon a promise of reward, to steal into the warehouse; upon a concerted signal, he was to act as directed by the fellow on the outside; but becoming terrified at being confined so long in the dark, he had cried out and discovered himself. His mother came forward, and received a good character as the wife of a hard-working man. The Lord Mayor gave her son up to her, with an injunction to act carefully and strictly with him. There was reason to believe, he said, that several considerable robberies had been recently committed by means of children like the prisoner, who stole in and remained concealed until midnight, when they gave admission to the robbers. The police should have their eyes upon him."

The other instance is from a report of one of the sessions in

"William Hart, an urchin seven years of age, was indicted for stealing twenty-two shillings in money, numbered, from the person of Mary Conner. The prosecutrix stated, that on the day named in the indictment, she took twenty-five shillings to get something out of pledge, but as there was a crowd in Mary-le-bone, assembled to witness a fight, she was induced to join the mob. While standing there she felt something move in her pocket, and putting her hand outside her clothes, she laid hold of what proved to be the hand of the prisoner, which she held until she had given him a slap on the face, and then she let him go; but on feeling in her pocket she discovered that the theft had actually been committed, and that only three shillings were left. A constable took the urchin into custody, and accused him of robbing her of twenty-two shillings. The prisoner said, 'I have twenty-two shillings in my pocket, but it is my mother's money; she gets so drunk she gives me her money to take care of.' The officer stated to the same effect as the prosecutrix, and added, that in a secret pocket in his jacket he found fourteen shilling and sixpence. It was the practice of gangs of pickpockets to have a child like this to commit the robbery, and hand the plunder to them. Witness went to his parents, who said he had been absent seven weeks, and they would have nothing to do with him. Mr. Baron Garrow, in feeling terms, lamented that a child of such tender years should be so depraved. He added, 'I suppose, gentlemen, I need only to ask you to deliver your verdict.' His lordship then observed, that he would consult with his learned brother as to the best manner of disposing of the prisoner. They at length decided, that although it might seem harsh, the court would record against him fourteen years' transportation, and, no doubt, government would place him in some school; if he behaved well there, the sentence might not be carried into full effect."

I remember a query being once put to me by a person who visited the Spitalfields Infant School at the time it was under my management: "How can you account for the fact, that notwithstanding there are so many old and experienced thieves detected, convicted, and sent out of the country every session, we cannot perceive any dimunition of the numbers of such characters; but that others seem always to supply their places?" The foregoing instance of the systematized instruction of young delinquents by old adepts in the art of pilfering, affords, I think, a satisfactory answer the interrogatory.

The dexterity of experienced thieves shews, that no small degree of care and attention is bestowed on their tuition. The first task of novices, I have been informed, is to go in companies of threes or fours, through the respectable streets and squares of the metropolis, and with an old knife, or a similar instrument, to wrench off the brass-work usually placed over the key-holes of the area-gates, &c., which they sell at the marine store-shops; and they are said sometimes to realize three or four shillings a day, by this means. Wishing to be satisfied on the point, I have walked round many of the squares in town, and in more than a solitary experiment, have found that not one gate in ten had any brass-work over the key-hole; it had moreover been evidently wrenched off,—a small piece of the brass still remaining on many of the gates. Having practised this branch of the profession a considerable time, and become adepts in its execution, the next step, I have been informed, is to steal the handles and brass knockers from doors, which is done by taking out the screw with a small screw-driver: these are disposed of in the same manner as the former things, till the young pilferers are progressively qualified for stealing brass weights, &c., and at length, become expert thieves.

The following fact will shew what extensive depredations young children are capable of committing. I have inserted the whole as it appeared in the public papers:—"Union Hall; Shop Lifting.—Yesterday, two little girls, sisters, very neatly dressed, one nine, and the other seven, years of age, were put to the bar, charged by Mr. Cornell, linen-draper, of High Street, Newington; with having stolen a piece of printed calico, from the corner of his shop.

"Mr. Cornell stated, that the children came to his shop, yesterday morning; and while he was engaged with his customers at the further end of the shop, he happened to cast his eyes where the prisoners were, and observed the oldest roll up a large piece of printed calico, and put it into a basket, which her little sister carried: the witness immediately advanced to her, and asked if she had taken any thing from off the counter; but she positively asserted that she had not. However, on searching her basket, the calico was found; together with a piece of muslin, which Mr. Cornell identified as belonging to him, and to have been taken in the above way. Mr. Allen questioned the eldest girl about the robbery, but she positively denied any knowledge as to how, or in what manner, the calico and muslin had got into her basket, frequently appealing to her little sister to confirm the truth of what she declared. When asked if she had ever been charged with any offence, she replied, 'O yes, sir, some time back I was accused of stealing a watch from a house, but I did not do it.' The magistrate observed, that the father should be made acquainted with the circumstance, and, in the mean time, gave the gaoler instructions that the two little delinquents should be taken care of.

"Hall, the officer, stated that he had information that there was a quantity of goods, which had been stolen by the prisoners, concealed in a certain desk in the house of the father; and that a great deal of stolen property would, in all probability, be found there, if a search warrant were granted, as the two unfortunate children were believed to be most extensive depredators.

"Mr. Allen immediately granted the warrant; and Hall, accompanied by Mr. Cornell, proceeded to the residence of the father of the children, who is an auctioneer and appraiser, at 12, Lyon Street, Newington.

"Hall returned in half an hour with the father in his custody, and produced a great quantity of black silk handkerchiefs, which he had found on the premises; but the desk, which had been spoken of by his informers as containing stolen property, he had found quite empty. The father, when questioned by the witness as to whether he had any duplicates of property in his possession, positively denied that fact. At the office he was searched, and about fifty duplicates were found in his pockets, most of which were for silk handkerchiefs and shawls. There were also a few rings, for the possession of which the prisoner could not satisfactorily account. He was asked why he had assured the officer he had no duplicates? He replied, that he had not said so; but Mr. Cornell, who was present during the search, averred that the prisoner had most positively declared that he had not a pawnbroker's duplicate in his possession.

"Mr. Watt, a linen-draper, of Harper Street, Kent Road, stated that he attended in consequence of seeing the police reports in the newspapers, describing the two children; he immediately recognised the two little girls as having frequently called at his shop for trifling articles; and added, that he had been robbed of a variety of silk handkerchiefs and shawls, and he had no doubt but that the prisoners were the thieves. It was their practice, he said, to go into a shop, and call for a quarter of a yard of muslin, and while the shopkeeper was engaged, the eldest would very dexterously slip whatever article was nearest, to her little sister, who was trained to the business, and would thrust the stolen property into a basket which she always carried for that purpose. Mr. Watt identified the silk handkerchiefs as his property, and said that they had been stolen in the above manner by the prisoners.

"The father was asked where he had got the handkerchiefs? He replied, that he had bought them from a pedlar for half-a-crown a piece at his door. However, his eldest daughter contradicted him by acknowledging that her sister had stolen them from the shop of Mr. Watt. He became dreadfully agitated, and then said—'What could I say? Surely I was not to criminate my own children!'

"Mr. Allen observed, that there was a clear case against the two children, but after consulting with the other magistrates, he was of opinion that the youngest child should be given up into the charge of the parish officers of Newington, as she was too young to go into a prison, and desired that the other girl should be remanded, in order to have some of the pledged goods produced. The father was committed in default of bail for receiving stolen goods. The child has since been found guilty. The prosecutor stated that the family consisted of five children, not one of whom could read or write!"

Another very cruel practice of these young delinquents is, to go into some chandlers shop as slily as possible, and take the first opportunity of stealing the till with its contents, there being always some older thief ready to take charge of it, as soon as the child removes it from the shop.[A] Many a poor woman has had to lament the loss of her till, with its contents, taken by a child, perhaps, scarcely six years of age. There is always a plan laid down for the child to act upon. Should he be unable to obtain possession of the till himself, he is instructed to pretend that he has missed his way, and to inquire for some street near the spot; or, he will address her with, "Please, ma'am, can you tell me what it is o'clock?" The unsuspecting woman, with the greatest kindness possible, shews the child the street he inquires for, or leaves the shop to ascertain the hour, and for her civility, she is sure to find herself robbed, when she returns, by some of the child's companions. Should he be detected in actual possession of the property, he is instructed to act his part in the most artful manner, by pretending that some man sent him into the shop to take it, who told him that he would give him sixpence to buy cakes.

[Footnote A: So complete is the science of pilfering rendered by its perpetrators, that they have even a peculiar vocabulary of their own, rendering their conversation, to those who may chance to overhear them, as mysterious and incomprehensible as though they were conversing in a foreign tongue; for instance, the scutcheons they steal from the key holes are called porcupines; brass weights, lueys; while purloining the contents of a till, is called taking the ding. In short, they have a peculiar name for almost every thing.]

It is not uncommon for these young offenders to stop children, whom they may meet in the street unprotected, and either by artifice or violence, take from them their hats, necklaces, &c., thus initiating themselves, as it were, into the desperate crime of assault and highway robbery.

Young as the subjects of the foregoing narrations mostly were, I have little doubt their pupilage commenced at a much earlier age; they could not otherwise have attained so much proficiency in the practice of crime, and hardihood on detection. However possible it maybe thought to reclaim children of so tender an age, I am convinced that thieves of more advanced years become so thoroughly perverted in their wills and understandings, as to be incapable of perceiving the disgrace of their conduct, or the enormity of the offence. I was once told by an old thief that thieving was his profession, and he had therefore a right to follow it; and I could plainly discover from further conversation with him, that he had established in himself an opinion that thieving was no harm, provided he used no violence to the person; he seemed, indeed, to have no other idea of the rights of property, than that described as the maxim of a celebrated Scottish outlaw,—that

  "They should take who have the power,
  And they should keep who can."

When this most lamentable state is reached, it is to be feared all modes of punishment, as correctives, are useless; and the only thing left is to prevent further depredation by banishment.

The incorrigibility which a child may attain, who has once associated with thieves at an early age, is apparent from the following fact. "Richard Leworthy, aged fourteen, was indicted for stealing five sovereigns, the property of William Newling, his master. The prosecutor stated, that he resided in the Commercial Road, and is by business a tailor; the prisoner had been his apprentice for four months, up to the 28th of August, when he committed the robbery. On that day he gave him five pounds to take to Mr. Wells, of Bishopsgate Street, to discharge a bill; he never went, nor did he return home; he did not hear of him for three weeks, when he found him at Windsor, and apprehended him. The prisoner admitted having applied the money to his own use. He was found at a public house, and said he had spent all his money except one shilling and six pence. A shopman in the service of Mr. Wells, stated that in August last the witness owed his master a sum of money; he knew the prisoner; he did not bring money to their shop, either on or since the 28th of August. The prisoner made no defence, but called his master, who said he received him from the Refuge for the Destitute, and had a good character with him. He would not take him back again. Mr. Wontner stated, that he had received two communications from the Rev. Mr. Crosby, the chaplain of the institution, stating they would not interfere on his behalf. The jury returned a verdict of guilty. Mr. Justice Park observed, that the best course would be to send him out of the country."

Here we see, that notwithstanding the discipline he had undergone, and the instructions he had received during his confinement in the establishment of the Refuge for the Destitute, he had not been more than four months from that place before he fell into his old habits. It is moreover to be remarked, that such had been his conduct during his confinement, that the directors of the establishment thought themselves war ranted in giving a good character with him. They were probably little surprised on hearing of this relapse on the part of the boy,—experience had doubtless taught them it was no uncommon thing, and we plainly see they were convinced that all further attempts at reclaiming him were useless.

The facility with which property maybe disposed of, should be mentioned as a powerful inducement to crime. The following case suggests it to the mind:

Thomas Jackson, a mere child, not more than nine years of age, was charged some time ago at the Town Hall, with committing a burglary on the premises of Mr. James Whitelock, a master builder, Griffith's Rents, St. Thomas's, Southwark. Mr. Whitelock, it appears, resided in an old mansion, formerly an inn, which he had divided into two separate tenements, occupying one part himself, and letting the other to the parents of the prisoner. In this division he had deposited building materials to a considerable amount, one hundred weight of which, in iron holdfasts, hinges, nails, clamps, &c., he missed one day on entering the room, the door of which had been blocked by a large copper, and the partition door forced. The character of the prisoner being of the worst description, he was apprehended, when he confessed he had taken all the property, and disposed of it to a woman, named Priscilla Fletcher, the keeper of a marine store, 34, James Street. The receiver, who is the last of the family that has not been either hanged or transported, refused to swear to the prisoner, though she admitted she believed he was the person she bought the property produced from, at the rate of one penny for each three pounds. It was proved to be worth three half-pence per pound. Alderman J.J. Smith regretted that the deficiency of evidence prevented him sending the young delinquent for trial, and thereby rescuing him from an ignominious death, and told Mrs. Priscilla, who was all modesty, that he was convinced she had perjured herself,—and not to exult at her own escape from transportation, a reward he could not help considering she richly merited, and which in due season she would doubtless receive.

The hardened child laughed during the hearing, and on being sentenced, by the oath of the officers, as a reputed thief, spit at his accuser, and exclaimed, as he was taken from the bar to be conveyed to Brixton,—"Is this all? I'll torment you yet!"

To add one more case, I may state that, at the Exeter Sessions, some time since, two children were convicted, who, it is believed, were not above ten years of age. Previously to this they had been convicted of felony, and had suffered six months imprisonment at Bodmin; and it appears that two years before, they started alone from Bristol on this circuit of youthful depredation.

Having collected the foregoing instances of juvenile delinquency, and presented them to the public, I cannot refrain from adducing a few other cases which came under my own observation.

Whilst conducting the Spitalfields' Infant School, several instances of dishonesty in the children occurred. On one occasion the mother herself came to complain of a little boy, not more than four years old, on the following grounds. She stated, that being obliged to be out at work all day, as well as her husband, she was under the necessity of leaving the children by themselves. She had three besides the little boy of whom she was complaining. Having to pay her rent, she put eighteen-pence for that purpose in a cup at the top of a cupboard. On stepping home to give the children their dinners, she found the boy at the cupboard, mounted on a chair, which again was placed on the top of a table. On looking for the money, she found four-pence already gone; one penny of this she found in his pocket, the rest he had divided amongst the other children, that they might not tell of him. After this relation I kept a strict watch on the child, and three or four days afterwards the children detected him opening my desk, and taking half-pence out of it. They informed me of this, and while they were bringing him up to me the half-pence dropped out of his hand. I detected him in many other very bad actions, but have reason to hope, that, by suitable discipline and instruction, he was effectually cured of his sad propensities.

About the same time, I observed two little children very near the school-house in close conversation, and from their frequently looking at a fruit-stall that was near, I felt inclined to watch them; having previously heard from some of the pupils, that they had frequently seen children in the neighbourhood steal oysters and other things. I accordingly placed myself in a convenient situation, and had not long to wait, for the moment they saw there was no one passing, they went up to the stall, the eldest walking alongside the other, apparently to prevent his being seen, whilst the little one snatched an orange, and conveyed it under his pinafore, with all the dexterity of an experienced thief. The youngest of these children was not four years old, and the eldest, apparently, not above five. There was reason to believe this was not the first time they had been guilty of stealing, though, perhaps, unknown to their parents, as I have found to be the case in other instances.

Another little boy in the school, whose mother kept a little shop, frequently brought money with him,—as much as three-pence at a time. On questioning the child how he came by it, he always said that his mother gave it to him, and I thought there was no reason to doubt his word, for there was something so prepossessing in his appearance, that, at the time, I could not doubt the truth of his story. But finding that the child spent a great deal of money in fruit, cakes, &c., and still had some remaining, I found it advisable to see the mother, and to my astonishment found it all a fiction, for she had not given him any, and we were both at a loss to conceive how he obtained it. The child told me his mother gave it to him; and he told his mother that it was given to him at school; but when he was confronted with us both, not a word would he say. It was evident, therefore, that he had obtained it by some unfair means, and we both determined to suspend our judgment, and to keep a strict eye on him in future. Nothing, however, transpired for some time;—I followed him home several times, but saw nothing amiss. At length I received notice from the mother, that she had detected taking money out of the till, in her little shop. It then came out that there was some boy in the neighbourhood who acted as banker to him, and for every two pence which he received, he was allowed one penny for taking care of it. It seems that the child was afraid to bring any more money to school, on account of being so closely questioned as to where he obtained it, and this, probably, induced him to give more to the boy than he otherwise would have done. Suffice it, however, to say, that both children at length were found out, and the mother declared that the child conducted her to some old boards in the wash-house, and underneath them there was upwards of a shilling, which he had pilfered at various times.

The reader may remember too, that during the autumn of 1833, a boy of fourteen committed suicide, and that another of the same age was convicted of the dreadful crime of murder.

It appears he knew a boy a little younger than himself, who was going to a distance with some money, and having taken a pocket-knife with him, he way-laid him and threatened to murder him. The poor little victim kneeled down,—offered him his money, his knife, and all he had, and said he would love him all the days of his life if he would spare him, and never tell what had happened; but the pathetic and forcible appeal, which would have melted many a ruffian-heart, was vain:—the little monster stabbed him in the throat, and then robbed him. On his trial he discovered no feeling, and he even heard his sentence with the utmost indifference, and without a tear.

It would have been easy to multiply cases of juvenile delinquency, both those which have been brought under the cognizance of the law, and those which have come to my own knowledge, but I think enough has been related to shew how early children may, and do become depraved. I have purposely given most of them with as few remarks of my own as possible, that they may plead their own cause with the reader, and excite a desire in his bosom to enter with me, in the next chapter, on an inquiry into the causes of such early depravity.

Since the above incidents and facts were observed, and reports from the public prints were recorded, general attention has been drawn more fully to the very great increase of ignorance, demoralization, and crime, amongst the lower classes, both old and young. These things call on us most loudly for active effort and exertion; and it becomes the patriot and philanthropist, but especially the Christian, to look around, to think and to consider what effectual means may be found, and what efficient plans may be adopted to strike the evil fatally at its roots, and cause it to wither away. If these things be not done, the moral pestilence must increase, and eventually deprive us of all that is dear to us as men, and citizens.



Degraded condition of parents—Dreadful effects of drunkenness—Neglect of children inevitable and wilful—The tutorship of wicked companions—Tricks of pantomimes injurious—Mischiefs arising from sending children to pawnbrokers—Fairs demoralizing—All Kinds of begging to be repressed.

* * * * *

  "Why thus surprised to see the infant race
  Treading the paths of vice? Their eyes can trace
  Their parents' footsteps in the way they go:
  What shame, what fear, then, can their young hearts know?"

* * * * *

Appalling as the effects of juvenile delinquency are, I think we may discover a principal cause of them in the present condition and habits of the adult part of the labouring classes. We shall find, very frequently, that infant crime is the only natural produce of evil, by the infallible means of precept and example. I do not intend to assert, that the majority of parents amongst the poor, actually encourage their children in the commission of theft; we may, indeed, fear that some do; as in the instance of the two little girls detected in shop-lifting, whose case was detailed in the preceding chapter; but still, I should hope that such facts are not frequent. If, however, they do not give them positive encouragement in pilfering, the example they set is often calculated to deprave the heart of the child, and, amongst other evil consequences, to induce dishonesty; whilst in other cases we find, that from peculiar circumstances the child is deprived, during the whole day, of the controling presence of a parent, and is exposed to all the poisonous contamination which the streets of large cities afford; and hence appears another cause of evil. Here children come in contact with maturer vice, and are often drawn by its influence from the paths of innocence; as we have already seen in many instances. What resistance can the infant make to the insidious serpents, which thus, as it, were, steal into its cradle, and infuse their poison into its soul? The guardians of its helplessness are heedless or unconscious of its danger, and, alas! it has not the fabled strength of the infant Hercules to crush its venomous assailants. Surely such a view of the frequent origin of crime must awaken our commiseration for its miserable victims, and excite in us a desire to become the defenders of the unprotected.

It will, however, be said by some, "Where are the natural guardians of the child? Where are its parents? Are we to encourage their neglect of duty, by becoming their substitutes? It is their business to look after their children, and not ours." Frequently have I heard such sentiments put forth, and sometimes by persons in whom I knew they were rather owing to a want of reflection than of philanthropy. But a want of thought, or of feeling, it must certainly be; because, on no principle of reason or humanity can we make the unnatural conduct of fathers and mothers, a plea for withholding our protection and assistance from the helpless objects of their cruelty and neglect. If we do so, we not only neglect our duty towards such children, but permit the growth and extension of the evil. We must recollect that they will not merely play their own wicked parts during their lives, but will also become models to the next generation.

It should be remembered here, that I am treating of an evil which extends itself to all classes of society; I am appealing to the prudence of men, that they may, for their own sakes, investigate its cause; I shall hereafter appeal to them as philanthropists, and, still more urgently, as Christians, that they may examine the merits of the remedy I shall propose.

The culpability of many parents is beyond dispute. They not only omit to set their children good examples, and give them good advice, but, on the contrary, instil into their minds the first rudiments of wickedness, and lead them into the paths of vice. Their homes present scenes which human nature shudders at, and which it is impossible truly to describe. There are parents who, working at home, have every opportunity of training up their children "in the way they should go," if they were inclined so to do. Instead of this, we often find, in the case of the fathers, that they are so lost to every principle of humanity, that as soon as they receive their wages, they leave their homes, and hasten with eager steps to the public house; nor do they re-pass its accursed threshold, till the vice-fattening landlord has received the greater part of the money which should support their half-fed, half-clothed wives and children; and till they have qualified themselves, by intoxication, to act worse than brutes on their return home. To men of this description it matters not whether or not their children are proving themselves skilful imitators of their evil example,—they may curse and swear, lie and steal,—so long as they can enjoy the society of their pot companions, it is to them a matter of total indifference.

During my superintendence of the first school, I had a painful facility of examining these matters. Frequently, when I have inquired the cause of the wretched plight in which some of the children were sent to the school,—perhaps with scarcely a shoe to their feet, sometimes altogether without,—I have heard from their mothers the most heart-rending recitals of the husband's misconduct. One family in particular I remember, consisting of seven children, two of whom were in the school; four of them were supported entirely by the exertions of the mother, who declared to me, that she did not receive a shilling from their father for a month together; all the money he got he kept to spend at the public-house; and his family, for what he cared, might go naked, or starve. He was not only a great drunkard, but a reprobate into the bargain; beating and abusing the poor woman, who thus endeavoured to support his children by her labour.

The evil does not always stop here. Driven to the extreme of wretchedness by her husband's conduct, the woman sometimes takes to drinking likewise, and the poor babes are ten thousand times more pitiable than orphans. I have witnessed the revolting sight of a child leading home both father and mother from the public-house, in a disgusting state of intoxication. With tears and entreaties I have seen the poor infant vainly endeavouring to restrain them from increasing their drunkenness, by going into the houses on their way home; they have shaken off the clinging child, who, in the greatest anxiety, waited without to resume its painful task; knowing, all the time, perhaps, that whilst its parents were thus throwing away their money, there was not so much as a crust of bread to appease its hunger at home. Let it not be thought that this is an overcharged picture of facts; it is but a faint, a very faint and imperfect sketch of reality which defies exaggeration. Cases of such depravity, on the part of mothers, I with much pleasure confess to be comparatively rare. Maternal affection is the preventive. But what, let me ask, can be hoped of the children of such parents? What are their characters likely to become under such tuition? With such examples before their eyes, need they leave their homes to seek contamination, or to learn to do evil.

And here I must say, if I were asked to point out, in the metropolis, or any large city, the greatest nuisance, the worst bane of society, the most successful promoter of vice,—I should, without a moment's hesitation, point to the first public-house or spirit dealer's that met my view. Nor can I, in speaking of the causes of juvenile delinquency, omit to say, I think these houses, indirectly, a very great cause of it. Why I think so, my readers will readily conceive from what I have already said. I am sure that Satan has no temple in which he is so devoutly worshiped, or so highly honoured, as the ale-house,—no priest is so devoted as its landlord,—no followers are so zealous in his behalf as its frequenters.

Let any one in the evening visit the homes of the labouring class in a poor neighbourhood, and he will find, in many cases, a barely-furnished room, a numerous family of small children,—perhaps forgetting the pangs of hunger in the obliviousness of sleep,—a wife, with care-worn features, sitting in solitary wretchedness, ruminating on wants she knows not how to supply—namely, clothes and food for her children on the morrow, and on debts which she has no means of discharging. But where is he who should be sharing her cares, bidding her be of good cheer, and devising with her some means of alleviating their mutual distress? Where is the father of the sleeping babes, the husband of the watchful wife? Go to the public-house; you will see him there with a host of his companions, of like character and circumstances, smoking, drinking, singing, blaspheming, gambling—ruining his health, spending his money; as jovial as though he had no wretched wife, no starving babes at home! and as lavish of money which should procure them food, as the man who is thriving on his excesses could wish him to be.

I never look on a public-house without considering it as the abode of the evil genius of the neighbourhood; the despoiler of industry, the destroyer of domestic comfort; and heartily do I wish, that some means could be devised for abolishing these resorts of wickedness; that some legislative enactment may render it unlawful for any one to keep such places. With respect to a peculiar sort of beverage, it has been declared to be illegal to afford its purchasers accommodation for drinking it on the premises. Why not extend it to other liquors? I know this would be pronounced an infringement on English liberty! The worst of men would raise this outcry against the measure. But surely it should rather be called a preventive of English licentiousness. All good men would consider it as such. I would not rob the labourer of his daily allowance of a beverage which is believed by many to be of essential service, when taken in moderation; but I would have him drink it at home, that his wife and children may participate in his enjoyment. Perhaps, it will be said, a man closely confined to labour all day, needs some relaxation from domestic cares—that this can only be found in change of scene, and in social company. I will concede this. The plea of health, though often speciously advanced, cannot be denied. But is it necessary for his health, that this change of scene should be found in a close tap-room, within a few yards of his home, where he drinks to a ruinous excess till a late hour,—breathing all the while a hot atmosphere of tobacco-smoke? Is it not possible to obtain the change of scene, and the relaxation of social converse, by mutual visits amongst friends similarly situated,—by a ramble to the suburbs,—or, in cases where the daily occupation affords too little opportunity for exercise, are there not places established for gymnastic exercises,—and might not others be formed for the like purposes? Certain I am that the abolition of public-houses, in large cities, as places of daily resort for the adult labouring poor, would be attended with the most salutary consequences. I know of nothing that must so certainly tend to their improvement both in character and circumstances.

No man can witness the scenes, and doings, of many persons who attend the new beer-houses, without pain and regret, that ever an act of parliament was passed to legalize such places. I have visited some hundreds of such, throughout the country, and can positively assert that the demoralising tendency of too many is awful! Our magistrates must be more careful in granting licences, or the efforts of the wise and good will be neutralized, by the evils concocted at such places. The old inkeepers had a character, and capital at stake. The new beerhouse-keepers, I should say, a majority of them at least, have neither, and consequently are less cautious, having less to lose. Whatever the end of the legislature might have been in enabling the poor to procure a good and cheap article more easily, to be drunk on or off the premises, the thing has not answered the end, and no one can deny, who will take the trouble to visit such places in different counties, that the Act has been a miserable failure, and has been the fruitful source of crime and immorality. What a lesson is this for speculative, short sighted legislators?

Another measure should then be adopted, I would say—destroy the facility of spirit-drinking, by laying on a heavy duty. It is in vain that interested sophistry would plead its benefits in particular cases—such, for instance, as the ludicrous plea of the needfulness of drams for market-women on wet and frosty mornings.[A] Set these specious benefits against the dreadful results to men's health and pockets, from the present low price of spirits, and their consequent enormous consumption; and then let common sense and honesty deliver its judgment.

I have spoken thus candidly and at length upon the subject in the present chapter, though somewhat out of place, because my feelings would not allow me to be less plain or more brief, or to postpone the matter to "a more convenient season." Perhaps in talking of legislative alterations I have been wandering upon forbidden ground; if so, in returning to my proper path, I will comfort myself with this thought:—the progress of improvement, however slow, is sure, and it is certainly advancing in this country; I require no other assurance than the establishment of Infant Schools and Mechanic's.

[Footnote A: Some conception of the fearful height which drunkenness has attained, may be gathered from the fact, that in 1829, the quantity of distilled spirits on which the duty was paid in the three kingdoms, amounted to 23,000,000 of gallons. To form a due estimate, however, of the actual consumption, an immense quantity must be added, obtained by smuggling. Of the rum imported for home consumption, allowing for that re-exported, the quantity was 5,000,000 of gallons. Of brandy and other articles imported, 1,500,000 gallons; making a total, with the omission of all on which the duty was evaded, of 30,000,000 of gallons of ardent spirits consumed in the year. Five millions of revenue grew out of this, but it cost the people 15,000,000_l_. sterling, a which would have paid half-a-year's interest of the national debt.]

"No person," says Sir Astley Cooper "has greater hostility to dram drinking than myself, insomuch that I never suffer any ardent spirits in my house—thinking them evil spirits!—and if the poor could witness the white livers, the dropsies, the shattered nervous systems which I love seen as the consequence of drinking, they would be aware that spirits and poisons were synonymous terms."

Institutions; it will advance, and what the legislature may never be able to accomplish, the spirit of improvement eventually will.

But having considered those cases, in which wilful neglect and bad example may be charged upon the parents, we should not forget to tell those who object to our interference in the duty of a child's natural protectors, that it is not, in every instance, from wilful neglect on their part, that their children are left unprotected in the streets. The circumstances of the labouring classes are such, in many cases, that they are compelled to leave their children either wholly unprotected, or in the charge of some one who frequently becomes a betrayer instead of a defender. The father, perhaps, goes to his daily labour in the morning, before the children are out of bed, and does not return till they are in bed again at night. The mother goes out in like manner, the earnings of the husband being insufficient for the maintenance of the family, and the children are intrusted throughout the day to the care of some girl, whose parents are as poor as themselves, and are glad to let her earn something towards her support. Numbers of little girls thus go out before they are twelve years old, and teach the little children all they know,—commonly to be deceitful, and not unfrequently to be dishonest. The parents, careless or unsuspecting, only make inquiry when they return home if the children have been good and quiet, and of course receive an answer in the affirmative. In the course of a few years the evil consequences begin to show themselves, and then the good folks wonder how or when the seeds of such depravity could have been sown. Many I know will be inclined to smile at the insignificancy of the cause pointed out. I can only say, it is from such springs, however regarded, that the great stream of vice is supplied; and what we laugh at now, for its insignificant origin, will hereafter, in its maturity, laugh at us for our impotence, in vainly endeavouring to stem it. What are parents to do with their children, situated as those are of whom we have just spoken? And very many are so situated. Is it possible for them to perform their duty, as protectors of their children? It requires all their time to labour for their support, and they therefore leave them, unavoidably, either in such hands as we have described, or to take care of themselves; to range the streets, and form such associations as may there happen to fall in their way. They get into company with older delinquents, and become first their instruments, and then their associates; till at length they find their way into a gaol.

This is no delusive way of accounting for the matter,—it is a solution which experience and observation have taught and established. I have traced the progress of delinquency, in actual life, from its earliest stages,—from the little trembling pilferer of the apple-stall, not more than four or five years old, to the confirmed thief of nine or ten years—who had been in gaol three or four times, and was as proud of his dexterity in thieving, and hardihood under punishment, as he could have been of the most virtuous accomplishment, or the most becoming fortitude. The infant thief, conscious of shame, and trembling with fear, will tell you on detection, that "Tommy," or "Billy," some older associate, set him to do it; you let him go: he joins his companions, who laugh at the story he tells, ridicule him for his fears, praise him for his dexterity, and rejoice in his escape. It will be very easy to imagine how, under a course of such treatment, the young offender so soon dismisses both shame and fear; and learns to forget everything but the gain and glory of his crimes.

It is no small matter of credit with older thieves—(by older thieves I still mean boys of nine or ten years old)—to have under their tuition two or three pupils. I have seen in my walks as many as seven or eight sallying forth from the alleys in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields, under the command, as it were, of a leader, a boy perhaps not more than nine or ten years old. I have watched their plans, and have noticed that it was usual to send first the youngest boy to attempt the theft—perhaps the object to be obtained was only a bun from the open window of a pastry-cook's shop; if he failed, another was sent, whilst the rest were lurking at the corner of some court, ready to flee in case their companion was detected; and I have sometimes seen, that after all the rest had failed, either from want of skill, or the too great vigilance of the shop-keeper, the boy who acted as leader has started out, and by a display of superior dexterity, would have carried off the prize, had it not happened that some one was thus purposely watching his conduct. When detected, if an old offender, he will either look you in tire face with the greatest effrontery and an expression of defiance, or he will feign to cry, and tell you he was hungry, has no father nor mother, &c.; though frequently, on further inquiry, I have found the whole story to be false.

Alas! there is one class of children, with whom I know not how to deal, I mean those without the natural protectors. The man can for a more trifle get rid of all responsibility, though in general, most able to bear it, the woman has the dead weight, which often proves the destruction of her offspring, and herself, suicide and murder are the first-fruits frequently to her, but she loves her offspring, and perhaps he who deceived her, and for both their sakes fights the battle against fearful odds; for a few years at least, she will not last long, at length she sinks! she dies! where, oh! where! is the guardian for her child! Reader, there are many thousands of such! What becomes of them? But there are other mothers of this class, more ignorant, have less of feeling, no education, no training, they advance from bad to worse, until they have five or six children, here are circumstances for children to come into the world grievously against them. What becomes of these? To avoid painful details I will answer the question, they become a pest to society, each a demoralizer of others, living upon the public—as tramps, begging impostors, thieves, teachers of thieves, and cost the country more than five times their number born under other and better circumstances. God grant that spiritual light, philosophical light, and scientific light united, may enable us to find the remedy!

The two grand causes of juvenile delinquency, we have seen then, to be the evil example of parents themselves; and the bad associations which children form at an early age, when, through neglect, they are suffered to be in the streets. In the first instance, the parents of the children are wholly without excuse; in the second, though in some cases we may blame them, in others we cannot justly do so; but must admit, as an exculpation, the unfortunate circumstances of their condition in life.

It would be easy to shew, by a multitude of instances, the evil effects produced on children of a tender age by street associations. But I think enough has been said to convince every reflecting mind that it is highly necessary that we should interfere in behalf of children so situated; and I shall conclude the present chapter by some remarks on the various habits and practices of the poor classes, which have at least an injurious tendency on the character of the rising generation.

As children are such imitative beings, I cannot help making a few observations on the tricks which are usually introduced into our pantomimes. It is well known that those of the clown form a principal part of the entertainment. It is also equally well known, that the pantomimes are particularly designed to amuse children, for which reason they are generally represented during the Christmas holidays, If, however, they were merely intended to amuse them, they who have introduced them have, perhaps, gained their object; but what kind of instruction they afford, I shall here attempt to shew. I do not recollect to have seen a pantomime myself without pilfering being introduced under every possible form, such as shop lifting, picking pockets, &c. &c. Can it then be for a moment supposed improbable that children, after having witnessed these exhibitions, should endeavour to put the thing into practice, whenever an opportunity offers, and try whether they cannot take a handkerchief from a gentleman's pocket with the same ease and dexterity as the clown in the play did; or, if unsuccessful in this part of the business, that they should try their prowess in carrying off a shoulder of mutton from a butcher's shop,—a loaf from a baker,—or lighter articles from the pastry-cools, fruiterer, or linen-draper? For, having seen the dexterity of the clown, in these cases, they will not be at a loss for methods to accomplish, by sleight of hand, their several purposes. In my humble opinion, children cannot go to a better place for instruction in these matters, or to a place more calculated to teach them the art of pilfering to perfection, than to the theatre, when pantomimes are performed. To say that the persons who write and introduce these pieces are in want of sense, may not be true; but I must charge them with a want of sufficient thought, right feeling and principle, in not calculating on their baneful effects on the rising generation, for whose amusement it appears they are chiefly produced. Many unfortunate persons, who have heard sentence of death passed upon them, or who are now suffering under the law, in various ways, have had to lament that the first seeds of vice were sown in their minds while viewing the pilfering tricks of clowns in pantomimes. Alas! too little do we calculate on the direful effects of this species of amusement on the future character of the young. We first permit their minds to be poisoned, by offering them the draught, and then punish them by law for taking it. Does not the wide world afford a variety of materials sufficient for virtuous imitation, without descending to that which is vicious? It is much easier to make a pail of pure water foul, than it is to make a pail of foul water pure. It must not be supposed that I wish to sweep off every kind of amusement from the juvenile part of society, but I do wish to sweep off all that has a pernicious tendency. The limits which I have prescribed to myself will not allow me to enter more at large into this subject; otherwise I could produce a number of facts which would prove, most unquestionably, the propriety of discontinuing these exhibitions.

A conversation which I once heard between some boys who were playing at what is called pitch-in-the-hole, will prove the truth of my assertions. "Bill," said one of the boys to the other, "when did you go to the play last?" "On Monday night," was the reply. "Did you see the new pantomime?"—"Yes." "Well, did you see any fun?"—"Yes, I believe I did too. I saw the clown bone a whole hank of sausages, and put them into his pocket, and then pour the gravy in after them. You would have split your sides with laughing, had you been there. A.B. and C.D. were with me, and they laughed as much as I did. And what do you think A.B. did the next night?"—"How should I know."—"Why," replied the other, "he and C.D. boned about two pounds of sausages from a pork shop, and we had them for supper." This conversation I heard from a window, which looked into a ruinous place where boys assembled to toss up for money, and other games. This fact alone, without recording any more, is sufficient to show the evil of which I have been speaking. And I do most sincerely hope that those persons who have any influence over the stage, will use their utmost endeavours, speedily, to expunge every thing thus calculated to promote evil inclinations in the minds of children, and vicious habits in the lives of men.

It is not impossible that scenic exhibitions might be made a most powerful means of instruction to the young, and tend to promote virtue and happiness, as well as be a means of rational amusement, but as they now exist, their extirpation is desirable.

As I have had much experience from being brought up in London, I am perfectly aware of the evil impressions and dangerous temptations that the children of the poor are liable to fall into; and therefore most solemnly affirm that nothing in my view would give so much happiness to the community at large, as the taking care of the affections of the infant children of the poor.

There is, moreover, a practice very prevalent among the poor, which does greater mischief than the people are generally aware of, and that is, sending their children to the pawnbrokers. It is well known that many persons send children, scarcely seven years of age, to these people, with pledges of various sorts, a thing that cannot be too severely condemned. I know an instance of a little boy finding a shawl in the street; and being in the habit of going to the pawnbroker's for his mother, instead of taking the shawl home to his parents, he actually pawned it and spent all the money, which might never have been known by his parents, had not the mother found the duplicate in his pocket. It is evident, then, that many parents have no one but themselves to blame for the misconduct of their children; for had this child not been accustomed to go to such a place for his parents, he would never have thought of going there for himself; and the shawl most likely would have been carried home to them. Indeed, there is no knowing where such a system will end, for if the children are suffered to go to such places, they may in time pledge that which does not belong to them; and so easy is the way of turning any article into money, that we find most young thieves, of both sexes, when apprehended, have some duplicates about them. Those persons, therefore, who take pledges of children (contrary to the act of parliament, whether they know it or not,) ought to be severely reprimanded; for I am persuaded, that such conduct is productive of very great mischief indeed.

Taking children to fairs, is another thing which is also productive of much harm. At the commencement of the first school, seventy or eighty children were frequently absent whenever there was a fair near London; but the parents were afterwards cured of this, and we seldom had above twenty absentees at fair-time. Several of the children have told me that their parents wished to take them, but they requested to be permitted to come to school instead. Indeed the parents, finding that they can enjoy themselves better without their children, are very willing to leave them at school.

It is a difficult matter to persuade grown persons of the impropriety of attending fairs, who have been accustomed to it when children; but children are easily persuaded from it; for if they are properly entertained at school, they will not have the least desire to go to such places.

I cannot quit this subject without relating one or two more very bad habits to which children are addicted, and which are, perhaps, fit subjects for the consideration of the Mendicity Society. As it is the object of that society to clear the streets of beggars, it would be well if they would put a stop to those juvenile beggars, many of whom are children of respectable parents, who assemble together to build what they call a GROTTO; to the great annoyance of all passengers in the street. However desirous persons may be of encouraging ingenuity in children, I think it is doing them much harm to give them money when they ask for it in this way. Indeed it would appear, that some of the children have learned the art of begging so well, that they are able to vie with the most experienced mendicants. Ladies in particular are very much annoyed by children getting before them and asking for money; nor will they take the answer given them, but put their hats up to the ladies' faces, saying, "Please, ma'am, remember the grotto;" and when told by the parties that they have no money to give, they will still continue to follow, and be as importunate as any common beggar. However innocent and trifling this may appear to some, I am inclined to believe that such practices tend to evil, for they teach children to be mean, and may cause some of them to choose begging rather than work. I think that the best way to stop this species of begging is, never to give them any thing. A fact which came under my own observation will shew that the practice may be productive of mischief. A foreign gentleman walking up Old Street Road, was surrounded by three or four boys, saying, "Please, sir, remember the grotto."—"Go away," was the reply, "I will give you none." To this followed, "Do, pray sir, remember the grotto." "No, I tell you, I will give you nothing." "Do, sir, only once a-year." At length, I believe, he put something into one of their hats, and thus got rid of them; but he had scarcely gone 200 yards, before he came to another grotto, and out sallied three more boys, with the same importunate request: he replied, "I will give you nothing; plague have you and your grotto." The boys however persevered, till the gentleman, having lost all patience, gave one of them a gentle tap to get out of the way, but the boy being on the side of the foot-path fell into the mud, which had been scraped off the road, and in this pickle followed the gentleman, bellowing out, "That man knocked me down in the mud, and I had done nothing to him." In consequence, a number of persons soon collected, who insulted the gentleman very much, and he would certainly have been roughly handled, had he not given the boy something as a recompence. He then called a coach, declaring he could not walk the streets of London in safety.

Those who know what mischief has arisen from very trifling causes, will, of course, perceive the necessity of checking this growing evil; for this man went away with very unfavourable impressions concerning our country, and would, no doubt, prejudice many against us, and make them suppose we are worse than we are.

Nearly allied to this is, "Pray remember poor Guy Faux;" which not only teaches children the art of begging, but is frequently the means of their becoming dishonest, for I have known children break down fences, and water-spouts, and, in short, any thing that they could lay their hands upon, in order to make a bonfire, to the great danger of the inhabitants near it, without producing one good effect. Yet how easily might this practice be put down. The ill effects of it are so self-evident, that there can be no need for further enlargement.

I also disapprove of children going about begging at Christmas; this practice is calculated to instil into the children's minds a principle of meanness not becoming the English character, and the money they get, seldom, if ever, does them any good. If persons choose to give children any thing at this time of the year, there can be no objection to it, but I dislike children going about to ask for money like common beggars; it cannot be proper, and should be generally discountenanced. All these things, to some men, may appear trifling, but to me and others they are of consequence; for if we mean to improve the general character of the labouring population, there is nothing like beginning in time; and we should, amongst other things, get rid of all mean and improper customs.

Before concluding this chapter I would hint to travellers not to give children money for running after a coach. I have seen children of both sexes run until their breath failed, and, completely exhausted, drop down on the grass; merely because some injudicious persons had thrown halfpence to them. I have also seen little boys turn over and over before the horses, for the purpose of getting money, to the danger of their own lives and of the passengers; and I recollect an instance of one boy being, in consequence, killed on the spot. In some counties children will, in spring and summer, run after a carriage with flowers upon a long stick, thrusting it in the coach or the faces of the travellers, begging halfpence, which habit had been taught them by the same injudicious means.

The most virtuous and pious of men, on looking back to their early lives, have almost invariably confessed that they owe the first seeds of what is excellent in them, to the blessing of God, on the instruction and example of their parents, and those around them in the years of their childhood.

Reflections like these ought to make us humble and thankful for the advantages we have enjoyed, and cause us to look with an eye of pity, charity, and commiseration on the vices and delinquencies of the poor, rather than to judge them with harsh and cruel severity. Had we been in their places, might not—would not—our character and conduct have been as theirs?—Still further, ought not such thoughts as these to touch our hearts with deep compassion for them, and excite us to strenuous endeavours to remedy these lamentable evils, by the most powerful and effective measures that can be found; and more especially to strive if possible to rescue the rising generation from the contamination of surrounding vice and misery.



Means long in operation important—Prisons awfully corrupting—Deplorable condition of those released from jail—Education of the infant poor—Its beneficial results—Cases of inviolable honesty—Appeal of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet—The infant school, an asylum from accidents, and a prevention of various evils—Obstacles in the way of married persons obtaining employment—Arguments for the plan of infant training—Prevalence of profane swearing—The example often shewn by parents—Anecdote in illustration—Parents ill used by their young children—Christian-like wish of George III.—Education for poor children still objected to—Folly of such objections illustrated—Lectures on the subject of infant training.

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"The most likely and hopeful reformation of the road must begin with children. Wholesome laws and good sermons are but slow and late ways; the timely and most compendious way is a good education."—Archbishop Tillotson.

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Having brought the prevalency of juvenile delinquency immediately before the eyes of my readers, by various examples in the second chapter, and in the third exhibited a few of the causes of it, I shall now proceed to point out what, in my humble opinion appears to be the only efficient remedy, namely, the education of the infant poor. It may not be amiss, however, to glance at the means which have heretofore been employed, and found, though productive of some good, inefficient for the end proposed.

As preventives, I may notice the numerous national and Sunday schools, tract societies, &c., established throughout the kingdom. These have doubtless much good effect, and deserve the zealous support of every one who has at heart the welfare of society in general, and the improvement of the labouring classes in particular. Many have been plucked, "as brands from the burning," by these institutions; which are a blessing to the objects of their benevolence, and an honour to their conductors and supporters. That Sunday schools are not wholly efficient, in conjunction with other institutions, to accomplish the end desired, is to be attributed, on the one hand, to the small portion of time in which their salutary influence is exerted; and, on the other, to their not admitting children at a sufficiently early age. At the period usually assigned for their entrance, they have not only acquired many evil habits, but their affections have become so thoroughly perverted, as to offer great, and, in some cases, insuperable obstacles to the corrective efforts of their teachers. Each child brings into the school some portion of acquired evil, making, when united, a formidable aggregate, and affording every facility for mutual contamination. Add to this, the counteracting effect which the bad examples they meet with in the course of six days must have upon the good they hear on the seventh, and it will be seen how little comparatively is really practicable. I do not say this to dishearten those who are engaged in this labour of love, or to abate the zeal of its promoters. At the same time that their experience confirms the truth of my observations—and I know they would candidly confess that it does so—they must have many gratifying instances of a contrary nature, in children, who from evil habits have been won to a love of goodness and religion, shewn not merely in a punctual attendance at their school, but in that good-will toward their fellow-scholars, and grateful love to their teachers, which are the only infallible signs of a change in the affections. These things encourage them, in spite of many difficulties and mortifications, to persevere in well doing; and may the God of love bless their labours with an increase of fruitfulness! It is only my purpose here to state, that the most likely human means to produce such an increase, is the establishment of infant schools;—schools designed, particularly, for the cultivation of the affections,—for preparing the heart to receive that wisdom which teaches us to love God supremely, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. As to the system of instruction pursued in Sunday schools, as well as other free schools, it is, indeed, my opinion, that some alteration for the better might be made, but as I intend to speak of this matter in a future place, I shall say no more on the subject at present, but pass on to notice prison discipline—which is, I fear, entitled to any term but that of a remedy.

That the end of punishment should be the prevention of future crime, rather than the gratification of vindictive feelings—whether those of states or of injured individuals—but few will venture to deny; and yet how little calculated is the punishment usually inflicted on young offenders in this country, to answer that end! They are shut up in a prison, in company with other thieves, perhaps older and more experienced than themselves, and all that was wanting to complete their education in dishonesty is here attained. Previously to their confinement within the walls of one of these places, in spite of the assertions of their hardened associates, that it was nothing to fear, it is probable, dread or apprehension hung over their minds; the last vestige of shame had not been banished by a public appearance as criminals—and this, properly taken advantage of, might have made their reformation possible! But, having encountered the object of their fears, and endured the shame of a trial—shame and fear are alike gone for ever; and when once they find their way into those sinks of iniquity, there is very little hope of amendment. From that period a prison has not the least terror for them. Being a place of idleness while there, it calls forth the evil inclinations of its inmates, and as they have opportunities of indulging those inclinations, it not only loses all its utility, but becomes incalculably injurious. I heard a boy who had been confined in Newgate say, that he did not care any thing about it; that his companions supplied him with plenty of victuals, that there was some good fun to be seen there, and that most likely he should soon be there again; which proved too true, for he was shortly after taken up again for stealing two pieces of printed calico, and transported. This, with a multitude of similar facts, will shew that there are few who do not become more depraved, and leave such places worse than when they entered them. A gentleman who visited Newgate informed me that he had been very much surprised at finding so many children there; some of whom were ironed; and on his inquiring the cause of such severity towards children so young, he was told by one of the turnkeys, that he had snuck more trouble with them than he had with old offenders. This fact has been verified by the chief officers of the Wakefield Model Prison,—the boys give most trouble. In the matter of treating juveniles as delinquents, I am sure we are wrong. I have seen both the magistrates and the judges insulted on the bench by juveniles brought before them, and taunted with the following: "You can do no more, you with the big wig! I wish you may sit there until I come out!" And in the month of May, 1852, the magistrates of Wakefield were insulted by a boy 15 years old, who had been taken up as an impostor, with his arm doubled in a sling, and shamming to be deaf and dumb,—a healthy strong youth, able and fit for work—and when asked why he did not work, answered, because he could get more by his own method! Hear! this ye indiscriminate alms-givers! And, further, when expostulated with by the magistrates for the sin and wickedness of pretending to be lame, &c., he laughed at them outright for being so silly as to suppose that he should not live well if he could? When told he should be committed for three months, he had the impudence to tell the court that he would do the same again, when he came out, clapped his hat on in open defiance, and shouted, "That's all you can do!" The chairman expressed sorrow that he could not order a whipping, but the prisoner laughed at him, and said, "I am too old for that." Such things were not known in my younger days. I am afraid we have erred in this matter. A little wholesome correction did wonders. In such matters, it, at least, made the parties civil, and, I think, deterred from crime. I am fearful that in this age mankind aim in some things to be more perfect than the Great Ruler of the Universe!

To the bad habits of a prison, and the association with guilt, must be added the deplorably unprovided state, in which, at the termination of their period of imprisonment, they are sent forth into society. What friends have they but their former companions? What habitations, but their former resorts of iniquity? What means of procuring a livelihood, but their former evil practices? We accordingly find, that it is not unfrequently the case, with these young offenders, that scarcely a day elapses after their liberation, before they find themselves again in custody, and within the walls of a prison. One cannot, indeed, view the exertions made by the "Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline" in this respect, without feelings of gratitude to those who take an active part in it[A]; neither should we forget to return thanks to the Author of all good, that he should have encouraged the hearts of persons to venture even their lives, to improve the condition of the prisoners in Newgate and elsewhere;—that even females are found, who, conquering the timidity and diffidence of their sex, have visited these abodes of vice and misery, for the purpose of ameliorating the condition of their inhabitants. There have been men, claiming to be considered wise men, who have ridiculed the exertions of these daughters of philanthropy, and have made them objects of ridicule, but, happily, they are impervious to the shafts of folly; and as heedless of the unjust censures, as they are undesirous of the applause of man. Their aim is, the good of their fellow-creatures,—their reward, the pleasure of doing good, and the approbation of Him who is goodness itself. That their well-meant and praiseworthy exertions are not more successful can only be accounted for by the awfully depraved affections which habitual vice produces; when every principle of action, which should be subservient to virtue, becomes actively employed in the cause of wickedness; for, whatever may be the impulse which first induces offenders to do wrong, they become, in course of time, so totally lost to all sense of what is good as to "glory in their shame." Whether it maybe possible to devise any plan of prison discipline sufficient to remedy the evil, I cannot pretend to say; and I shall only repeat the burthen of my song—educate and protect the infant poor; and it will be found that to prevent is not only better, but easier, than to cure.

[Footnote A: I will make a short extract from one of its reports, to shew, that the chief end they have in view, is the prevention of crime. They state, that "in the course of their visit, to the gaols in the metropolis, the Committee very frequently meet with destitute boys, who, on their discharge from confinement, literally know not where to lay their heads. To assist such friendless outcasts has been the practice of the society; and to render this relief more efficacious, a temporary refuge has been established for such as are disposed to abandon their vicious courses. This asylum has been instrumental in affording assistance to a considerable number of distressed youths, who, but for this seasonable aid, must have resorted to criminal practices for support. On admission into this establishment, the boys are instructed in moral and religious duty, subjected to habits of order and industry, and after a time are placed in situations which afford a reasonable prospect of their becoming honest and useful members of society. To extend these objects, and to render its exertions more widely beneficial, the society solicits the aid of public benevolence. Its expenses are unavoidably serious, and its funds are at present very low; but it is trusted that pecuniary support will not be withheld, when it is considered, that on the liberality with which this appeal is answered, depends, in a great measure, the success of the society's objects—the reformation of the vicious, and the prevention of crime."]

That this remedy is effectual, experience has taught me and many others; and experience is a guide on whom we may safely rely. It has shown me that by taking children at an early age out of the reach of contamination in the streets, and removing them in a great measure from the no less baneful influence of evil example at home, we may lay such a foundation of virtue, as is not likely to be shaken. Nor do I think it difficult to show the reason of this. It is confessed on all hands that our first impressions are the most powerful, both as to their immediate effects and future influence; that they not only form the character of our childhood, but that of our maturer years. As the mind of a child expands, it searches for new objects of employment or gratification; and this is the time when the young fall an easy prey to those who make a business of entrapping them into the paths of dishonesty, and then of urging them to crimes of deeper dye. What, then, but a most salutary result can ensue from placing a child in a situation, where its first impressions will be those of the beauty of goodness,—where its first feelings of happiness will consist in the receiving and cherishing kind ness towards its little neighbours? In after years, and in schools for older children, it is reckoned an unavoidable evil, that they should be congregated together in numbers; not so in the infant school; it is there made use of as a means of developing and exercising those kindly feelings, which must conduce to the individual and general comfort, not only there, but in society generally. It is not merely by instructing them in maxims of honesty that we seek to provide against the evil; but by the surer way of exciting that feeling of love towards each other—towards every one—which, when found in activity, must not only prevent dishonesty, but every other species of selfishness.

Consider the difference of the cases. In the one case we behold a child associated, in happy communion, with a society—a little world—of its own age and feelings,—continually proving the possibility of giving and imparting happiness by receiving and exercising kindness to its companions—secured from every danger—supplied with a constant variety of amusement, which is at the same time instruction; and all this under the care of a master or mistress; acting the part, not of a petulant school-dame, or a stern pedagogue, but of a kind and judicious parent.

In the case of the child not thus befriended, we see it, either exposed to the dangerous associations of the street, or to the bad examples of its parents; to their unkindness and severity, or misguided indulgence; and presented, moreover, with every facility, as well as every temptation, to do wrong. Now, is it to be wondered at, that, in the former case, kind, obedient, honest characters should be the result; and in the latter, such as we have, in our preceding examples, exhibited? Reason tells us such a consequence is likely, and experience has shewn us that it really happens. I could enumerate a thousand cases of honest principle in the infants who have been under my own care; but I can only mention one or two circumstances illustrative of the matter.

I once had, for example, two little boys to travel with me; their assistance was extremely valuable in organizing schools. They were often invited to accompany me at dinner; the guests generally gave them presents. I have watched them under many tempting circumstances, and never found them steal. It is my firm conviction that dishonesty is chiefly the effect of neglect. No child can be born a thief, in the strict sense of the term. In many schools, too, there are fruit-trees planted in the play-ground, to which the children will not do the least injury, nor will they touch the fruit. Flowers in pots, such as geraniums, auriculas, and other plants, are placed in the middle of the play-ground, without the least danger of being injured. Such is their respect to private property.

Another instance particularly excited my notice amongst the children in the first establishments in London. They were permitted to bring their dinners with them, and there were boxes in the school to put them in. Every child in the school had access to these boxes, for they were never locked, and yet I never knew a child to lose his dinner, or any part of it, notwithstanding many of the children, to my knowledge, had been kept extremely short of food. I have known an instance of a slice of bread and butter being left in the box for several weeks, by some child that could not eat it, but none of the other children would dare to touch it. I have found in the boxes two or three pieces of bread, as hard as possible, and as a proof that many were hungry, and that it did not remain there because they could not eat it, but out of pure honesty, I have offered it to some of the children, and they have eaten it in that state. Cold potatoes, pieces of fat, &c., were not unacceptable to them when given; but sooner than take any thing without leave, they have actually left it to spoil. These are facts which shew, that notwithstanding all the disadvantages to which the poor children are exposed, their character may be so far formed as to produce the effects above described. "Would you take a piece of bread out of this box that did not belong to you?" said I to the children one day. "No, sir," replied a little girl of four years old. "Why not?" "Because," said the child, "it would be thieving." "Well, but suppose no one saw you?" Before I could speak another word, a number of the children answered, "God can see everything that we do." "Yes," added another little boy, "if you steal a cherry, or a piece of pencil, it is wicked." "To be sure," added another, "it is wicked to steal any thing."

I cannot do better than introduce in this place the opinion of Judge Bosanquet, on the subject of the education of the infant poor; and some valuable hints will likewise be found in his remarks on prison discipline. It is an extract from a charge to the jury delivered at the Gloucester assizes for April, 1823. "Gentlemen, I have reason to believe, that the offences for trial on this occasion, are rather less than usual at this season, and, to whatever the diminution of crime may be ascribed, I cannot forbear earnestly to press upon your attention, a constant perseverance in two things, which, above all others, are calculated to diminish crime,—the first is an unremitted attention to the education of the children of the poor, and of all classes of society, in the principles of true morality and sound religion; the next is the constant and regular employment of such persons as may be sentenced to imprisonment, in such labour as may be adapted to their respective ages and conditions. I believe that these observations may be considered as quite superfluous in this county, and therefore I have taken the liberty of using the word perseverance, because I believe your attention is already strongly drawn to that subject, and it requires no exhortation of mine to induce your attention to it. I am not quite sure whether in the gaol for this city, the same means are provided for the employment of those persons sentenced to terms of imprisonment, which are provided in the gaol for the county. The magistrates for the city are equally desirous of promoting the education of all the poor under their care, I have no doubt; and I do hope and trust, if the means of labour have not been provided in their gaol, that no time will be lost in providing those means by which imprisonment may be made a real punishment, by which offenders may be reformed during their imprisonment, and by which the idle and dissolute may be prevented from any inclination to return there."[A]

[Footnote A: From the time the judge referred to made the above remarks, other judges, down to the present time, have added similar sentiments. From 1823, until 1852, proof upon proof, has been added, to show us the advantage of early training; and though much has been cramming, and not training, still the results have been good. What would they have been had the schooling given, really been training? and what, if the training of children had been studied as art, if the public looked on the teachers as artists, and treated them with the consideration they deserve? Anticipations cannot be too sanguine in estimating the results that must accrue to society from a system of spiritual, intellectual, and moral culture, becoming universal, and worked out by minds who will, I am sure hereafter, be able fully to develope, from study, and practice of the art of teaching, the great principles of spiritual truths, intellectual vigour, and the moral strength of the coming generations, which have been allowed to remain in a state of torpor in the present.]

I have hitherto only being considering the prudential motives which should induce us to promote the education of the poor. I have shown, that it will be for the benefit of society, inasmuch as it is likely to decrease the number of those who transgress its laws—that it will prove a greater security to our persons and property than laws or prisons afford. But there are other motives which, if these selfish ones were wholly wanting, might be sufficient to advocate, in every humane heart, the same course of conduct. If the duty of promoting honesty amongst the labouring classes did not exist, that of increasing happiness and piety amongst them would not be the less imperative. That there is much room for an augmentation of both, few, I think, will be inclined to deny; the less so in proportion as they have had the greater opportunity of ascertaining their actual condition.

Let us now for a few moments consider how great a blessing an infant school is, even when regarded as a mere asylum to take charge of the child's bodily welfare. I have mentioned before, that the poor are unable to take that care of their children which their tender age requires, on account of their occupations; and have shewn, that it is almost certain, that the children of such persons will learn every species of vice. But there are other kinds of dangers which more immediately affect the body, and are the cause of more accidents than people in general imagine. I shall here notice some of the most prominent, and hope to be able to convince the unprejudiced mind, that it would be a charity to take charge of the infant poor, even leaving the idea of their learning any thing good at school entirely out of the question; and surely those persons, who disapprove of educating the poor at all, will see the propriety of keeping, if possible, their children safe from accidents, and preserving the lives of many little ones, who would otherwise be lost to their country, from their falling a prey to surrounding dangers.

It is well known that many poor people are obliged to live in garrets, three or four stories high, with a family of six or seven children; and it will not appear improbable that, when the children are left by themselves, they should frequently meet with accidents by tumbling down stairs; some breaking their backs, others their legs or arms; and to this cause alone, perhaps, may be traced a vast number of the cripples that daily appear as mendicants in our streets. When the poor parents return from their daily labour, they sometimes have the mortification of finding that one, or probably two, of their children, are gone to an hospital; which of course makes them unhappy, and unfits them for going through their daily labour. This dead weight, which is continually on the minds of parents, is frequently the cause of their being unable to please their employers, and the consequence sometimes is, they are thrown out of work altogether; whereas, if they were certain that their children were taken care of, they would proceed with their daily labour cheerfully, and be enabled to give more satisfaction to their employers than they otherwise can do.

Other parents I have known, who, when obliged to go out, have locked their children in a room to prevent them from getting into the street, or falling down stairs, and who have taken every precaution, as they imagined, to protect their children; but the little creatures, perhaps, after fretting and crying for hours at being thus confined, have ventured to get up to the window, in order to see what was passing in the street, when one, over-reaching itself, has fallen out and been killed on the spot. A gentleman said, at a public meeting at Exeter, when referring to this subject, "I have myself, twice in my life, nearly occasioned the death of children. In one instance, a child left to itself, ran out of the hedge by the road-side; I was fortunately able to stop, and found the child, unconscious of its escape, raising its hands to the reins of the horse. And on another occasion, my horse threw a child down, and I had but just time to pull up, and prevent the wheels from passing over the infant's head." And it was stated in a Bristol paper, that in the short space of one fortnight, seven children were taken to the infirmary of that city so dreadfully burnt that four of them died. Numerous cases of this kind are to be found in the public prints, and hundreds of such accidents occur which are not noticed in the papers at all. Many children, again, strolling into the fields, fall into ponds and ditches, and are drowned. So numerous, indeed, are the dangers which surround the infant poor, as to make a forcible appeal to the hearts of the pious and humane, and to call loudly on them to unite in rescuing this hitherto neglected part of the rising generation from the evils to which they are exposed.

It is much to be regretted that those persons who most need employment should be the last to procure it; but such is the fact, for there are so many obstacles thrown in the way of married persons, and especially, those with a family, that many are tempted to deny that they have any children, for fear they should lose their situations, though it is certainly an additional stimulus to a servant to behave orderly, when he knows that he has others to look to him for support.

Shall I close this appeal for the necessity of educating the infant poor by another and weightier argument? They are responsible and immortal beings. It may be thought that I should have given this plea the precedence of every other. I did not, because I felt more anxious to make good my ground with the prudent and the philanthropic—to show them that self-interest and humanity demand our exertions in this cause. I knew that when I came to urge such efforts upon the attention of the Christian, I could not possibly fail. No one who is a sincere follower of Him who said "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom;" no one who professes to abide by the maxims of Him whose commandment was, "Love thy neighbour as thyself," can turn a deaf ear to the entreaties of those who are necessitous and suffering. Thousands there are among those of whom we have been speaking, who are brought up in as great ignorance of God and religion, as though they had been born in a country where the light of Revelation had never shone—where the glad tidings of salvation have never been proclaimed. With examples of evil continually before their eyes, both at home and abroad, we see and hear its consequences daily in the wickedness with which our streets abound, and in the lisped blasphemy and profanity of those who learn to curse and swear before they can well walk.

Whilst I was at Lincoln, I was shocked beyond measure by the horrid language of the boys; to such a pitch had the evil come, that the magistrates were determined to fine all the men who were brought before them for profane swearing; and I had the satisfaction of hearing that four men had been fined whilst I was there. What a blessing it would be if other magistrates throughout the kingdom would follow their example!

Any person who has been accustomed to walk the streets of London, must have heard how frequently children take the name of the Almighty in vain; seldom or ever mentioning it but to confirm some oath. I have seen boys playing at marbles, tops, and other games, and who, on a dispute arising about some frivolous thing, would call upon the Supreme Being to strike them deaf, dumb, or blind, nay, even dead, if what they said were not true; when, nevertheless, I have been satisfied from having observed the origin of the dispute, that the party using the expressions has been telling a falsehood. Indeed so common is this kind of language in the streets, that it often passes without notice. I am inclined to think, that children accustomed to use such expressions on every trifling occasion, will, when they grow to riper years, pay very little respect to the sanctity of an oath. It is, perhaps, one of the reasons why we hear of so much perjury in the present day. At all events, little children cannot avoid hearing such expressions, not only from those who are rather older than themselves, but, I am sorry to say, even from their parents. I have known repeated instances of this kind. Many little ones, when they first come to our schools, make use of dreadful expressions, and when told that it is wrong, will say that they did not know it was so; others, with the greatest simplicity, have declared, that they had heard their fathers or mothers say the same words. Hence I have had much difficulty in persuading them that it was wrong, for they very naturally thought, that if their parents made use of such language, they might do the same. How great is the necessity of good example; and did parents generally consider how apt children are to receive impressions, and to become imitators, both in their words and actions, they would be more cautious than they are. There are many parents who make use of very bad expressions themselves, who would correct their children for using the same;—as a proof of this, I will mention one circumstance, out of many others, that took place in the school I superintended many years since. We had a little girl there, five years old, who was so fond of the school, that she frequently stopped after the usual hours to play with my children and some others who chose to stay in the play-ground. Many of them would stop till eight or nine o'clock at night, to which I had no objection, provided their parents approved of it, and they did not get into mischief; it being desirable to keep them out of the streets as much as possible. It happened, however, one day, that some of the children, offended this child, and she called them by dreadful names, such as I cannot repeat; and, of course, the others were terrified, and told me of them immediately. I was soon satisfied that the child was ignorant of the meaning of what she said, for, as an excuse for her conduct, she declared that she heard her father and mother use the same words. I told the child, that notwithstanding her parents might have done so, it was very wicked, and that I could not let her stay another time to play, if ever she did so again. Having sent for the mother, I informed her of the expressions the child had used, but did not tell her what she had mentioned relative to her parents, for if I had, she would have beaten her most unmercifully. The mother, after having heard me relate the circumstance, immediately flew into a passion with the child, and declared, that she would "skin her alive," (this was her expression,) and I had much difficulty to restrain her from correcting the child in the school. Having pacified her a little, I inquired where the child could have heard such wicked expressions. She said she could not tell. I then told her, I hoped the child did not learn them of her, or her father. To this she made no answer, but I could perceive that she stood self-convicted, and having said what I conceived necessary upon the occasion, I dismissed her, observing that it was useless for ladies and gentlemen to establish schools for the education of the infant poor, if the parents did not assist by setting them a good example.

I am happy to state, that the advice I gave her was not thrown away, as I never knew the child guilty of saying a bad word afterwards; and the mother soon brought me another child, of two years and a half old, and said she should be very glad if I would take it into the school, and that she wished a blessing might always attend the gentlemen who supported the institution. She also requested me to take an opportunity of speaking a few words to her husband, for she was thankful for what had been said to her. And here I would observe, that although it is most undoubtedly true, that the good taught to children in our infant schools is greatly counteracted by the conduct they witness on their return home, yet we occasionally see, that these little children, by the blessing of God, are made the means of reforming their own parents. What a gratifying fact it is, that the adult and hardened sinner, may be turned from his evil ways—from death unto life—by an infant's precept or example!

Nor is it only in profane expressions that we see the influence of evil. Some children I have known, in the same neighbourhood, who even beat their parents. There was a poor widow, very near the school, who was frequently to be seen with her face dreadfully bruised by blows from her own son. He had been taken before a magistrate, and imprisoned for three months, but it did him no good, for he afterwards beat his mother as much as ever, and the poor woman had it in contemplation to get the miscreant sent out of the country. One Sunday, I remember to have seen a boy, under twelve years of age, take up a large stone to throw at his mother: he had done something wrong in the house, and the mother followed him into the street with a small cane, to correct him for it; but he told his mother, that if she dared to approach him, he would knock her down. The mother retired, and the boy went where he pleased. These and many similar scenes I have witnessed; and I am afraid that many such characters have been so completely formed as to be past reformation. So essential is it, to embrace the first opportunity of impressing on the infant mind the principles of duty and virtue.

I am aware that many excellent institutions are in existence for the spread of the gospel amongst the ignorant and depraved at home as well as abroad; but I must here again advert to the readier reception of religious truths in infancy, than by the adult and confirmed sinner. I would not say to those who are engaged in the painful task—painful because so often unsuccessful—forego your labours; but I would call upon all who have at heart the everlasting welfare of the souls of men, to exert themselves, that the rising generation may not likewise grow up into that state of perverseness—that they may not in future years prove themselves to be a generation, which, "like the adder, turneth a deaf ear to the charmer, charm he ever so wisely." I am satisfied, from the experience I have had, that an amount of good is attainable from early and judicious culture, which far, very far surpasses all that has heretofore been accomplished; and on which not a few are even unprepared to calculate.

It was a Christian-like wish expressed by King George III., that every child in his dominions should be able to read the bible; and from the increased facility of doing so from gratuitous education, the number of those who cannot is much less than formerly; but in many cases the necessitous circumstances of the parents prevent them from allowing their children, except during their infant years, the advantage of instruction, even though it cost them nothing. The time for the children of the poor to receive instruction, is between the ages of two and eight; after that period many are sent out to work, or detained at home, for they then become useful to their parents, and cannot be sent to school. There are many little girls who, having left the infant school, go out to work for a shilling a week, and the mothers have declared to me, when I have endeavoured to persuade them to send them to the National School, for at least one year, that they could not do it, for they were so poor, that every shilling was a great help; they have, however, promised me that they would send them to the Sunday school. This may account, in some measure, for there being so many more boys than girls in almost every school in London, and chews that great good has been done, and is doing, by those valuable institutions.[A]

[Footnote A: It is to be observed here, that the children do not come to or schools on Sundays, but many of them, between five and six years old, who have brothers and sisters in the national school, go with them to church, and others of the same age go to a Sunday school in the neighbourhood. In short, I may venture to say, that almost all the children that are able, go either to a Sunday school or to church: but to take them all in a body, at the early age that they are admitted into an infant school, to any place of worship, and to keep them there for two or three hours, with a hope to profit them, and not to disturb the congregation, is, according to my view, injurious if not impracticable.]

Many of my readers, who have been in the habit of noticing and pitying the poor, may think the detail into which I have entered superfluous, but I can assure them the want of information on the subject is but too general, and is sufficient to account for the indifference which has so long been exhibited.

The objection, that education is altogether improper for poor people is not quite obsolete. There are not wanting persons who still entertain the most dreadful apprehensions of the "march of intellect," as it has been termed; who see no alternative but that it must over-turn every thing that is established, and subvert the whole order of society. I would willingly impart comfort to the minds of those who are afflicted with such nervous tremours, but I fear, if the demonstration of experience has not quieted them, the voice of reason never will. It cannot fail to remind us of the apprehensions of the popish clergy in former times, who decried the art of printing, then recently introduced, as a branch of the black art, which, if encouraged, must eventually demolish the social fabric, and introduce civil wars and discord into every country. Time, that test of truth, has shewn us how groundless their apprehensions were. Instead of injuring that fabric, it has strengthened its foundation so that it cannot be shaken, and has surrounded it with defences, which bid defiance to assaults.

Oh! that the time were come when every heart, being imbued with truly christian principles, would see that the noblest and highest object that could be set before us, would be to rear up the minds of the young in knowledge, virtue, and piety; to train them to intelligence and usefulness in this life, and for happiness and immortality in the life to come. On such labours the blessing of God would inevitably rest, and His promise of their success is positive and unconditional. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

To the furtherance of the infant system I have devoted for many years my utmost energies and resources, and to it I purpose to give them, so long as I am permitted by the gracious Providence of God. I shall be happy to render it any aid, either by supplying information to those who need it, or by personal exertions, the expenses of so doing being defrayed; on application to my Publisher, 22, Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn, London, or to myself', at Moor Cottage, Wakefield.

In order to urge the necessity, and explain the design of infant schools, I have for some years been accustomed to deliver a course of lectures, of which the following is an outline:—

FIRST LECTURE.—Affecting state of the children of the poor—Lamentable condition of young delinquents—What are the causes?—The question answered—Bodily and mental injuries now sustained by children of all ranks, described and prevented—What is the best remedy for existing evils?—Answer given—Origin and history of the Infant System—Its progress in Scotland, where it might least have been expected—What are the objections to the system?—Practical refutation of them—Modes of instruction: The alphabet, spelling, reading, arithmetic—Moral cultivation enforced, and the means explained.

SECOND LECTURE.—A play-ground made not only delightful, but mentally and morally improving—The class-room adapted to produce and confirm religious impressions—Music, its application to improve the feelings and memory—Representations of natural objects and scriptural subjects—Variety and extent of information attainable—Lying, dishonesty, injustice, and cruelty corrected.

THIRD LECTURE.—New plans of reward and punishment—Influence of fear and love—Great difference in the result—Infant system more fully explained—Appeals to conscience—Emulation unnecessary—Elliptical plan of teaching described—Trials by jury—Effect of sympathy—Infants the instruments of improving one another.

FOURTH LECTURE.—Methods of teaching the elements of grammar, geography, and geometry—Gallery described, and its application to many useful purposes—Qualifications of instructors—Injury sustained from their deficiencies and errors—The system contrasted with former methods—Ultimate effects of its diffusion—Servants prepared to become blessings to families—Hints to parents, and the application of the whole system to children of every grade.

These lectures I am ready to deliver wherever it may be deemed desirable, and to follow up the effect by the organization of schools. The necessary apparatus may be obtained of myself.



Moral treatment—Importance of exercise—Play-ground indispensable—The education of nature and human education should be joined—Mental development, children should think for themselves—Intellectual food adapted for children—A spirit of inquiry should be excited—Gradual development of the young mind—Neglect of moral treatment—Inefficacy of maxims learned by wrote—Influence of love—The play-ground a field of observation—The natural propensities there shew themselves—Respect of private property inculcated—Force of conscience on the alert—Anecdote—Advantages of a strict regard for truth—The simple truths of the Bible fit for children.

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"The business of education, in respect of knowledge, is not, as I think to perfect a learner in all or any one of the sciences, but to give his mind that disposition, and those habits, that may enable him to attain any part of knowledge he shall stand in need of in the future coarse of his life."—Locke.

"When the obligations of morality are taught, let the sanctions of Christianity, never be forgotten; by which it will be shewn not that they give lustre and strength to each other: religion will appear to be the voice of reason, and morality the will of God."—Johnson.

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When Agesilaus, king of Sparta, was asked, "What should boys be taught?" he answered, "What they ought to do when they become men." Such a declaration was worthy of later times, since the most intelligent now admit that the great end of all education is the formation of solid, useful, and virtuous character. This work should be, doubtless, commenced at the earliest possible period, to it the system explained in this volume is considered to be adapted, and the principles on which it proceeds are now to be illustrated. And here it ought to be particularly observed that nothing is admissible, except what is appropriate to the state of infancy, calculated to exercise the physical energies, and likely, by their invigoration, to lay the basis of a sound and powerful intellect. And yet all this is too often forgotten. Look at the infant, the very embodying of vivacity and activity, and its confinement to a particular posture, or the requirement of a peculiar expression of countenance, is manifestly unnatural. An inactive and healthy child under six years of age is never seen. Whatever compels it to be otherwise consequently produces what is artificial in character. A parent or a teacher may keep his children quiet, and in what he terms order; but it does not follow that this is a good preparation for after years. On the contrary, bondage may issue in excess. The feelings and propensities which, instead of being corrected, are unduly restrained, will be manifested in some other ways, and under less favourable circumstances, and frequently the reaction will be violent in maturity. Hence the system now recommended is expressly one for infants, adapted to them just as they are, and wholly designed to repress what is evil, and to cherish what is good.

Accordingly, the utmost attention is given to the cheerfulness and happiness of those on whom it acts. Instruction in reading, arithmetic, geometry, and various other things is made exceedingly amusing; smiling countenances and sparkling eyes are observable all around when it is communicated; and what was dull and soporific, according to the old plan, is now insinuated so agreeably, that the child, while literally at play, is acquiring a large amount of valuable knowledge. At play he sees Nature's book, that world of beauties: he loves to look into it, there is no flogging to induce him to do it. All is enquiry and anxiety on his part. "What is this?" "What is that?" "What is it for?" "How did it come?" With numerous other questions of similar import. Oh, that we had teachers to teach more out of this divine book! Oh, that we had a public who would encourage and cherish them for so doing! What blessed results even have I seen, by one's being able to answer such enquiries! The absurd notion that children can only be taught in a room, must be exploded. I have done more in one hour in the garden, in the lanes, and in the fields, to cherish and satisfy the budding faculties of childhood, than could have been done in a room for months. Oh, mankind have yet something to learn about teaching children! See how they catch at truths through the medium of living things! See how it germinates in them, by so doing; the teacher may forget, they do not, this I have proved hundreds of times. Music has proved a most important auxiliary for this purpose, and a stranger would be astonished at the hilarity and delight with which much is rehearsed, with a full perception of its meaning, when in any other way it would be irksome and unintelligible.

These attainments, moreover, are accompanied by various movements and evolutions which exercise the limbs, the joints, the muscles; in addition to which, set times are appointed every morning and afternoon for its exclusive enjoyment.

The conduct of inferior animals, when young, shows the propriety of giving exercise to children. Every other creature makes use of its organs of motion as soon as possible, and many of them, when under no necessity of moving in quest of food, cannot be restrained without force. Such is the case with the calf, the lamb, and many more. If these creatures were not permitted to frisk about at pleasure, they would soon die, or become diseased. The same inclination appears very early in the human species; but as they are not able to take exercise themselves, it is the business of their parents and nurses to give it them. This may be done in various ways, and the methods included in the system are shewn in other parts of this work. It is to be regretted that men should be so inattentive to this matter; their negligence is one reason why females know so little of it. Women will always be desirous to excel in such accomplishments as recommend them to the other sex; but men generally avoid even the slightest acquaintance with the affairs of the nursery, and many would reckon it an affront were they supposed to know any thing of them. Not so, however, with the kennel or the stables; a gentleman of the first rank, who is not ashamed to give directions concerning the management of his dogs or horses, would blush were he surprised in performing the same office for that being who is to be the heir of his fortunes, and, perhaps, the future hope of his country.

Arguments to show the importance of exercise, might be drawn from every part of the animal economy. Without it, the circulation of the blood cannot be properly carried on, nor the different secretions duly performed; neither can the fluids be properly prepared, nor the solids rendered firm or strong. The action of the heart, the motion of the lungs, and all the vital functions, are greatly assisted by exercise. But to point out the manner in which these effects are produced, would lead us beyond the present subject. We shall, therefore, only add, that when exercise is neglected, none of the animal functions can be duly performed; and when this is the case, the whole constitution must go to wreck. Healthy parents, wholesome food, and suitable clothing will avail little where it is disregarded. Sufficient exercise will supply many defects in nursing, but nothing can compensate for its want. A good constitution ought certainly to be our first object in the management of children. It lays a foundation for their being useful and happy in life; and whoever neglects it, not only fails in his duty to his offspring, but to society.

While this is forgotten, let us not complain of weak and thoughtless children, or of weak and thoughtless servants; for the former are so from the neglect of their parents and the public; and the latter from not having been taught to think at all—and yet the very persons that object to the education of the poor are the first to complain of their servants.

A notion that habits of industry must be established, has, however, been the means, I regret to state, of a sad perversion of the system in these respects. The time allowed for amusement and exercise has been in some cases, very much abridged that the children might learn and practise sewing, knitting, plaiting, &c. Now, no one can be more disposed to the encouragement of industrious habits than myself, but I would say not at the expense of health; which I am certain, in these cases it must be. Deprive the children of their amusement, and they will soon cease to be the lively, happy beings, we have hitherto seen them, and will become the sickly, inanimate creatures, we have been accustomed to behold and pity, under the confinement and restraint of the dame's schools. I do not scruple to affirm, that if the play-grounds of infant schools are cut off from the system,—they will from that moment cease to be a blessing to the country.

Nothing has given me greater pain than to witness the thorough neglect of play-ground attendance on the part of teachers and the public; the former leave the children to themselves at the very time their attendance is most desirable; and when, if duly watched, the children will give them lessons. Yes! such lessons as no book can give, and such lessons as every efficient teacher must learn, or efficiency is out of the question. The public are too fond of hearing tasks and memory work, and such book-learning as is taught in school, with the singing, and the amusing indoor work, to the detriment and neglect of the moral and physical outdoor work. Again and again, I say, the outdoor training tells most upon the morals and the formation of character.

The first faculties which develop themselves in childhood, are those of observation. The infant, who is two months old, will notice a lighted candle; immediately that sense is gratified, it seeks to please another, that of touch, and every mother knows, if not prevented, it will put its hand in the flame. The next effort is to examine other objects: these it will seize if it can, and after having examined one, it will put it aside to observe another. On its being able to move about, it seeks objects within its reach, and wishing to gratify the sense of taste, applies every thing to the mouth; by this it distinguishes the bitter from the sweet, and on seeing what is sweet a second time, will point to it and wish to obtain it, whilst what is bitter will not be desired.

The mental part of the system should now be adverted to. Hence it has been well remarked, "From the time that children begin to use their hands, nature directs them to handle every thing over and over, to look at it while they handle it, and to put it into various positions, and at various distances from the eye. We are apt to excuse this as a childish diversion, because they must be doing something, and have not reason to entertain themselves in a more manly way. But if we think more justly, we shall find that they are engaged in the most serious and important study; and if they had all the reason of a philosopher, they could not be more properly employed. For it is this childish employment that enables them to make the proper use of their eyes. They are thereby every day acquiring habits of perception, which are of greater importance than any thing we can teach them. The original perceptions which nature gave them are few, and insufficient for the purposes of life; and, therefore, she made them capable of many more perceptions by habit. And to complete her work, she has given them an unwearied assiduity in applying to the exercise by which those perceptions are acquired."

Such is the education which nature gives her children, and we may add that another part of her discipline is, that by the course of things, children must exert all their muscular force, and employ all their ingenuity, in order to gratify their curiosity and satisfy their little appetites. What they desire is only to be obtained at the cost of labour, patience, and many disappointments. By the exercise of the body and mind necessary for satisfying their desires, they acquire agility, strength, and dexterity in their motions, as well as constitutional health and vigour; they learn to bear pain without dejection, and disappointment without despondency. The education of nature is most perfect in savages, who have no other tutor; and we see that in the quickness of all their senses, in the agility of their motions, in the hardiness of their constitutions, and in their ability to bear hunger, thirst, pain, and disappointment, they commonly far exceed civilized nations. On this account, a most ingenious writer seems to prefer savage to social life. But it is the intention of nature, that human education should assist to form the man, and she has fitted us for it, by the natural principles of imitation and belief, which discover themselves almost in infancy, as well as by others which are of later growth.

When the education which we receive from men does not give scope to that of nature, it is erroneous in its means and its tendency, and enervates both the body and the mind. Nature has her way of rearing men, as she has of healing their maladies. The art of education is to follow her dictates, and the art of education is equally to obey her laws. The ancient inhabitants of the Baleares followed nature in their manner of teaching their children to be good archers, when they hung their dinner aloft by a thread, and left them to bring it down: by their skill in the use of the bow.

The education of nature, without any more human care than is necessary to preserve life, makes a savage. Human education joined to that of nature, may make a good citizen, a skilful artizan, or a well-bred man; but a higher power is wanting in order to produce a Bacon or a Newton.

The error of the past system (for such I hope I may venture to call it) as to mental development was, that the inferior powers of the mind were called into activity, in preference to its higher faculties. The effort was to exercise the memory, and store it with information, which, owing to the inactivity of the understanding and the judgment, was seldom or never of use. To adopt the opinions of others was thought quite enough, without the child being troubled to think for itself, and to form an opinion of its own. But this is not as it should be. Such a system is neither likely to produce great nor wise men; and is much better adapted to parrots than children. Hence, the first thing attempted in an infant school is, to set the children thinking,—to induce them to examine, compare, and judge, in reference to all those matters which their dawning intellects are capable of mastering. It is of no use to tell a child, in the first place, what it should think,—this is at once inducing mental indolence, which is but too generally prevalent among adults; owing to this erroneous method having been adopted by those who had the charge of their early years. Were a child left to its own resources, to discover and judge of things exclusively by itself, though the opposite evil would be the consequence, namely, a state of comparative ignorance, yet I am doubtful whether it would be greater or more lamentable than that issuing from the injudicious system of giving children dogmas instead of problems, the opinions of others instead of eliciting their own. In the one case we should find a mind, uninformed and uncultivated, but of a vigorous and masculine character, grasping the little knowledge it possessed, with the power and right of a conqueror; in the other, a memory occupied by a useless heap of notions,—without a single opinion or idea it could call its own,—and an understanding indolent and narrow, and, from long-indulged inactivity, almost incapable of exertion. As the fundamental principle of the system, I would therefore say, let the children think for themselves. If they arrive at erroneous conclusions, assist them in attaining the truth; but let them, with such assistance, arrive at it by their own exertions. Little good will be done, if you say to a child,—That is wrong, this is right, unless you enable it to perceive the error of the one and the truth of the other. It is not only due to the child as a rational being that you should act so, but it is essentially necessary to the development of its intellectual faculties. It were not more ridiculous for a master, in teaching arithmetic, to give his pupil the problem and answer, without instructing him in the method of working the question, than it is for a person to give a child results of reasoning, without showing how the truth is arrived at. But some, perhaps, will be ready to exclaim, "Surely the teacher should not withhold the benefit of his knowledge and experience,—the child will have time enough to examine the merits of his information when he grows older and be more competent to do so!" To this I answer: in the first place, nothing should be submitted to the child which it is not fully competent to understand. To give the child tasks or subjects too difficult for its mental powers, is a violation of nature; and as foolish and detrimental as though you were to place a hundred pounds weight on its shoulders when it is incapable of supporting ten. The teacher's experience can only be of service to the child so far as it is applicable to its own state; and as to postponing the period when it is to think for itself, there is certainly no occasion for it. Nature has provided food adapted to the powers of the infant's stomach, and those who would rightly conduct the work of education, should imitate her in providing its intellectual food. That this may be done, I am attempting to shew in theory in the pages of this work; and, that it answers equally well in practice, any one who has a doubt, may assure himself by visiting any school conducted upon the plan here laid down.

The charge has been brought against the system, that we are not sufficiently anxious to teach the children to read. Now, though I may venture to say, that under no other plan, do the children acquire a knowledge of alphabetical characters, and the formation of words, so soon as under the present, yet I am quite ready to concede that I consider their learning to read a secondary object, to that of teaching them to examine and find out the nature and properties of things, of which words are but the signs. It is with things, and not words merely, we wish to make our children acquainted. If they first learn the nature and properties of an object, there is no fear of their afterwards inquiring its name; but we too frequently find, that having acquired names, they are indifferent to, and forgetful of, the objects represented.

Let children see and observe an object, and be taught the name of it at the same time, and then both are indelibly fixed on the memory. An infant at home is perpetually running around and looking at all things, and hearing persons speaking about them; it soon becomes acquainted with their names and properties, and then from time to time speaks about them. "Ah!" exclaims papa or mama, "What an old-fashioned child that is; one would wonder where it got such notions." A little thought and reflection would soon tell where, and this thought properly carried out would display an important fundamental principle in teaching the young mind.

Our first endeavour is, therefore, to excite a spirit of inquiry,—to foster that curiosity which is so natural to young children: till this is properly done, your information will not be well received, and it is most likely soon to be forgotten; but having once made them inquisitive, you are more likely to tire of communicating than they are of receiving. The skilful teacher will, indeed, rather leave them with an appetite still craving, than satiate them by repletion. I have frequently found the most beneficial results arise from the sudden cessation of a lesson or a lecture on an interesting topic. The children have looked for its renewal with the utmost impatience, pondering over what they had already heard, and anticipating what was yet to come with the greatest interest. Give a child a task, and you impose a burthen on him,—permit him to learn something, and you confer a favour.

Having excited a spirit of inquiry, the next endeavour is to direct it to proper objects. These, of course, will be things which relate to the senses of the child; the nature and properties of bodies, which may be ascertained by the application of those senses, &c. Having induced it to examine for itself, you are now to elicit its ideas of each object respectively; and having taught it to use its reason and judgment freely, and to express its own notions fearlessly and candidly,—you are to attempt the correction of what is erroneous, by putting forth your own views in as simple a way as possible: not so as to induce the child to give up its own opinions and adopt yours, but in such a way as to direct it to the attainment of truth; to induce a comparison between its thoughts and yours, and thus to discover its own error.

The powers of observation will speedily be improved under such a course of instruction, and in all the subsequent stages of existence, will not fail to constitute an independent and shrewd observer. But some may think we are straining the child's faculties by the plan recommended,—overstepping nature's laws,—and that the result must be detrimental to the child, both in mind and body. So far, however, is this from being true, that we have taken nature for our guide. We deprecate strongly, most strongly, that unnatural system, which gives children tasks so far beyond their powers, and for which their infantile faculties are not qualified;—we would lead them on in the path which nature has marked out—step by step—taking care that one thing should be thoroughly mastered before another is attempted.

The mental powers of children are far stronger than is generally supposed. No one who looks back to his early childhood, can fail of recollecting, that, at times, his thoughts would even then reach the very limits of human thought. All the powers of mind that are exercised in after-life display themselves in infancy, and therefore they all ought to be quietly and easily brought into exercise. This maybe done by any object,—even a toy. Were we to tie up several of our members so as to prevent their use, and at the same time exercise strongly those at liberty, bodily distortion must result. If we, in teaching, exercise the memory alone, and that merely with a knowledge of words and not of things, an absolute mental distortion must result, and the higher powers of reflection, judgment, and reason will remain weak, feeble, and deficient from want of exercise. When all the powers of the mind are brought out into harmonious action, the acquirement of knowledge be comes pleasurable. Knowledge is the proper aliment to expand and enlarge the mind, as natural food is for the growth of the body; and when such as is proper to the age and character of the recipient is selected, the one will be received with as much pleasure as the other. As the due exercise of every bodily power causes it to become strong, healthy, and vigorous, so the right and proper use of every mental faculty will, in the end, occasion it to become active, free, and powerful.

As soon as the child enters the school he is under command. He is required to occupy certain places, to go through various motions, and to attend to diversified instruction, at the sound of a foot, or the raising of a hand. From this course no departure is allowed. At first it is the work of sympathy and imitation, but afterwards it becomes a matter of principle. Thus, then, the native reluctance of the infant mind to obey, is overcome, and a solid basis laid for future efforts. So far, however, the discipline is general; to be particular, the individual character must be minutely observed. The movements of the child, when unrestrained, must be diligently watched, its predominant qualities ascertained, and such a mode of treatment adopted as sound judgment of character may dictate. Wherever this is forgotten, some evils will arise. The orders which are given to any other power than those of sympathy and imitation, are not likely to be obeyed by the untrained babe; the fact is, that as yet it has no other means of obedience, and for this on higher principles we must wait till nature furnishes instruments and opportunities for their exercise. When, however, success is gained thus far, the way is prepared for further development and culture, and the powers of observation and discrimination, then gradually tasked, will accomplish all that is desired. Thus the infant sits or rises, repeats or is silent, at first, because those about him do so; afterwards he perceives a reason for doing so: for example, that, when in the gallery, he can see what he could not any where else, and, therefore, that he must march thither, and then he judges that one thing is wrong because the doing it was forbidden, and that another is right because it was commanded, or because the one makes him happy and the other the contrary.

Under the old system of education, I must candidly say, moral treatment has been often altogether omitted, and still more frequently has it been erroneous, and consequently inefficient. Let me ask,—would it promote a child's health to teach it to repeat certain maxims on the benefits resulting from exercise? The answer is obvious. Neither can it be of any service to the moral health of the child, to teach it to repeat the best maxims of virtue, unless we have taken care to urge the practical observance of those precepts. And yet this has rarely been the case. How frequently do we hear persons remark on the ill conduct of children, "It is surprising they should do so;—they have been taught better things!" Very likely; and they may have all the golden rules of virtue alluded to, carefully stored up in their memories; but they are like the hoarded treasures of the miser, the disposition to use them is wanted. It is this which we must strive to produce and promote in the child. Indeed, if we can but be the instruments of exciting a love of goodness, it will not err, nor lack the knowledge how to do good, even though we were to forget to give it any rules or maxims. It is to the heart we must turn our attention in the moral treatment of children. We must carefully endeavour to elicit and train out the moral feelings implanted within; and to awaken the conscience to the approval of good, and the dislike and detestation of evil. Another grand object of the master or mistress of an infant school, is, therefore, to win their love, by banishing all slavish fear. They are to be invited to regard their teacher, as one who is desirous of promoting their happiness, by the most affectionate means—not only by kind words, but by kind actions; one of which influences a child more than a volume of words. Words appeal only to the understanding, and frequently pass away as empty sounds; but kind actions operate on the heart, and, like the genial light and warmth of spring, that dispels the gloom which has covered the face of nature during the chilly season of winter, they disperse the mists which cold and severe treatment has engendered in the moral atmosphere. The fundamental principle of the infant school system is love; nor should any other be substituted for it, except when absolutely necessary. Let the children see that you love them, and love will beget love, both toward their teacher and each other. Without the aid of example nothing can be done; it is by this magnetic power alone that sympathetic feelings can be awakened. It acts as a talisman on the inmost feelings of the soul, and excites them to activity; which should be the constant aim of all persons engaged in the important work of education. As we find that vicious principles are strengthened by habit, and good principles proportionally weakened, so, on the contrary, immoral dispositions are weakened by the better feelings being brought into action.

The great defect in the human character is selfishness, and to remove or lessen this is the great desideratum of moral culture. How happy were mankind, if, instead of each one living for himself, they lived really for one another! The perfection of moral excellence cannot be better described than as the attainment of that state in which we should "love our neighbour as ourselves." The prevalence of self-love will be very obvious to the observant master or mistress, in the conduct of the children under their care, and it is this feeling that they must be ever striving to check or eradicate. Nor need they despair of meeting with some degree of success. The children may be brought to feel, that to impart happiness is to receive it,—that being kind to their little schoolfellows, they not only secure a return of kindness, but actually receive a personal gratification from so doing; and that there is more pleasure in forgiving an injury than in resenting it. Some I know will be apt to say,—that after all, thus is nothing but selfishness or self-love. It is an old matter of dispute, and I leave those to quarrel over it who please. Every one knows and feels the difference between that which we call selfishness, and that which is comprehensively termed by the lips of divine truth, the "love of our neighbour." If it must be called self-love, I can only say that it is the proper direction of the feeling which is to be sought.

In the work of moral culture, it will be necessary not only to observe the child's conduct under the restraint of school observation and discipline; but at those times when it thinks itself at liberty to indulge its feelings unnoticed. The evil propensities of our nature have all the wiliness of the serpent, and lurk in their secret places, watching for a favourable opportunity of exercise and display. For the purpose of observation, the play-ground will afford every facility, and is on this account, as well as because it affords exercise and amusement to the children, an indispensable appendage to an Infant School. Here the child will show its character in its true light. Here may be seen what effects the education of children has produced; for if they are fond of fighting and quarrelling, here it will be apparent; if they are artful, here they will seek to practice their cunning; and this will give the master an opportunity of applying the proper remedy; whereas, if they are kept in school (which they must be, if there be no play-ground), these evil inclinations will not manifest themselves until they go into the street, and consequently, the antidote will not be applied. I have seen many children behave very orderly in the school, but the moment they entered the play-ground they manifested their selfishness to such a degree, that they would wish all the rest of the children to be subservient to them; and, on their refusing to let them bear rule, they would begin to use force, in order to compel their compliance. This is conduct that ought to be checked,—and what time so proper as the first stages of infancy?

To take another case, a quarrel like this may arise: a boy has six gooseberries; another boy comes and asks for one; by a little solicitation he obtains it:—he wishes another;—but the boy who has them says he cannot spare any more; he has only five, and cannot part with another. The second boy, however, duns him. He even acts the hypocrite, and puts into play many of the worst artifices of human nature, which we so often see in daily practice, and he gains his end. But he is not yet satisfied; he wishes another. The first boy, however, will on no account give him more. He again tries all his arts, but in vain. Seeing he cannot by art or entreaty gain another, he has recourse to violence. He snatches one out of his companion's hand and runs off with it. The first boy is irritated at such conduct, he pursues the fugitive, overtakes him, and gives him a blow on the face. The second boy is as great a coward as he is a thief. He comes up and makes his complaint to the master. The master then has a trial by jury. He does not knock one head against the other according to the old custom, but he hears both plaintiff and defendant, and having got the facts, he submits to the children themselves whether it was right in the one boy to take with violence What was not his own, and shews them which is the more to blame. Then they decide on the sentence; perhaps some one suggests that it should be the utmost infliction allowable, a slight pat on the hand; while a tender-hearted girl says, "Please, sir, give it him very softly;" but the issue is, a marked distinction between right and wrong;—appropriate expressions of pleasure and disapprobation:—and on the spot, "a kissing and being friends." I am, indeed, so firmly convinced, from the experience I have had, of the utility of a play-ground, from the above reasons, and others, elsewhere mentioned, that I scruple not to say, an infant school is of little, if any, service without one.

Where the play-ground is ornamented with flowers, fruit-trees, &c. (and I would recommend this plan to be invariably adopted,) it not only affords the teacher an opportunity of communicating much knowledge to the children, and of tracing every thing up to the Great First Cause, but it becomes the means of establishing principles of honesty. They should not on any account be allowed to pluck the fruit or flowers; every thing should be considered as sacred; and being thus early accustomed to honesty, temptations in after-life will be deprived of their power. It is distressing to all lovers of children, to see what havoc is made by them in plantations near London; and even grown persons are not entirely free from this fault, for, not content with a proper foot-path, they must walk on a man's plantations, pull up that which can be of no use, and thereby injure the property of their neighbour. These things ought not to be, nor do I think they would be so common, if they were noticed a little more in the education of children. It has been too much the practice with many, to consider that the business of a school consists merely in teaching children their letters; but I am of opinion, that the formation of character while there, is of the greatest importance, not only to the children, but to society at large. How can we account for the strict honesty of the Laplanders, who can leave their property in the woods, and in their huts, without the least fear of its being stolen or injured, while we, with ten times the advantages, cannot consider our property safe, with the aid of locks and bolts, brick walls, and even watchmen and police-officers besides? There must be some cause for all this, and perhaps the principal one is defective education, and the total neglect of the morals of the infant poor, at a time when their first impressions should be taken especial care of; for conscience, if not lulled to sleep, but called into vigorous action, will prove stronger than brick walls, bolts, or locks; and I am satisfied, that I could have taken the whole of the children under my care in the first infants' school, into any gentleman's plantation, without their doing the least injury whatever; and this I could now do in any similar circumstances. I will mention, however, one fact.

One day, while I was walking in the play-ground, I saw at one end of it about twenty children, apparently arguing a subject, pro and con; from the attitude of several of the orators, I judged it was about something that appeared to them of considerable importance. I wished to know the subject of debate, but was satisfied that if I approached the children it might put an end to the matter altogether. Some of the bystanders saw me looking very attentively at the principal actor, and, as I suppose, suggested to the party the propriety of retiring to some other spot, for immediately afterwards they all went behind a partition, which afforded me an opportunity of distinctly hearing all that passed, without being observed by them. I soon found that the subject of debate was a song. It seems that one of the children had brought a song to the school, which some of the monitors had read, and having decided that it was an improper thing for the child to have in his possession, one of them had taken it from the owner, and destroyed it. The aggrieved party had complained to some of the other children, who said that it was thieving for one child to take any thing from another child, without his consent. The boy, nettled at being called a thief, defended himself, by saying that he, as a monitor, had a right to take away from any of his class any thing that was calculated to do them harm; and was, it seems, backed in this opinion by many others. On the other hand, it was contended that no such right existed; and it was doubtful to me for a considerable time, on which side the strength of the argument lay. At last one of the children observed to the following effect:—"You should have taken it to master, because he would know if it was bad better than you." This was a convincing argument, and to my great delight, the boy replied—"How much did the song cost?" The reply was, "A half-penny." "Here, then, take it," says the child, "I had one given me to-day; so now remember I have paid you for it, but if you bring any more songs to school I will tell master." This seemed to give general satisfaction to the whole party, who immediately dispersed to their several amusements. A struggle like this, between the principles of duty and honesty, among children so very young, must prove highly interesting to all who love them, and exemplifies, beyond a doubt, the immense advantage of early instruction.

Another thing to be noticed is, a regard for truth. Nothing is so delightful as this. There is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any design to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive; and this admitted, we should strive to the utmost to induce children to remember it. But our success, in a great measure, will depend on the means we employ. Many children are frightened into falsehood by the injudicious methods of those who have the care of them. I have known a mother promise a child forgiveness if it would speak the truth, and, after having obtained confession, she has broken her engagement. A child, once treated in this manner, will naturally be guarded against a similar deception. I have known others who would pretend not to punish the child for confession, but for first denying it, and afterwards confessing. I think that children should not be punished, on any account, after having been promised forgiveness, truth being of too great importance to be thus trifled with; and we cannot wonder if it is lightly esteemed by children, after the example is set by their parents. Having had several thousand children under my care, I have had favourable opportunities of observing the bias of the infant mind, and I must say, that I have not found them so inclined to evil and falsehood as I had previously imagined.

When morality is adverted to in this volume, let it never be forgotten, that by it is meant the pure and perfect morality of the sacred Scriptures. From this source alone the great truths and precepts can be derived, for regulating the conscience and improving the heart. The infant system, however, would aim to steer perfectly clear of the more remote theological opinions entertained by Christians of different denominations. With these, little children can have nothing to do, and institutions for their express benefit should receive the support of all. What kind of religious doctrine and faith infants ought to be taught, I will not here determine, but leave it for consideration in a future chapter devoted more expressly to that subject. It must be the wish of all true Christians that they should be taught the fundamental truths of the everlasting Gospel. But it is much to be lamented that what are the fundamental truths of the gospel is so frequently a debatable point. With such controversial topics infants have nothing to do, and to teach such matters would rather be sowing seeds for future scepticism than laying a solid basis for pure and undefiled religion. In all things, but more especially in religion, as being the subject of the highest importance, the purest, simplest, and most unadulterated truths should be taught. The Bible contains ample and abundant stores of such simple truth, most admirably suited to infant capacity in texts, precepts, parables, and histories. The pious and judicious mother or teacher can be at no loss for a proper selection. Many beautiful and simple prayers are to be found in the Church of England Prayer-Book, which I think cannot be mended, and which I have found quite suitable to the infant mind. Several of the Collects, for simplicity of language and rich fulness of divine truth, cannot be surpassed. Simple hymns for instruction and devotion are also requisite, and I have endeavoured to provide such as these in a Manual, recently published in connexion with a friend, and which may be bad through the publisher of this work.



The master and mistress should reside on the premises—Interior arrangements—A school and its furniture—Lesson-posts and lessons—The younger children should not be separated from the older—Play-ground arrangements—Rotatory swing—Its management and advantages.

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"Wisdom seeks the most desirable ends in the use of the most appropriate means."

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I shall now lay before my readers an account of the things necessary for the establishment of an infant school; previously to presenting them with the detail of the plan to be pursued in it.

In the first place, it is necessary to provide an airy and spacious apartment, with a dry, and, if possible, a large play-ground attached to it. The plot of ground, I conceive, should not be less than 50 feet wide, and 100 feet long; but if the ground were 150, or 200 feet long, it would be so much the better, as this would allow 100 or 150 feet for a play-ground; which is of such importance, that I consider the system would be very defective without it, for reasons which will be spoken of hereafter.

There should likewise be a room about fifteen feet square, for the purpose of teaching the children in classes, which may be formed at one end of the large room: this is absolutely necessary. As the master and mistress should live on the premises, a small house, containing three or four rooms, should be provided for them. The reason for their living on the premises is, that the children should be allowed to bring their dinners with them, as this will keep them out of the streets; and, indeed, of those who do go home to dinner, many will return in a very short time; and if there be no person on the premises to take care of them, they will be lost; and not only so, but strange boys will come in from the streets, and do a great deal of mischief, if no one be there to prevent it.

The portion of sitting-room that I have allowed for each child is twelve inches. The scholars should sit all round the school room, with their backs against the wall; double seats should be round the sides of the school, like the two first seats in the gallery. A school according to the engraved plan, will be found large enough for all the purposes of an infant school; but if it is wished to be more commodious, it may be of the same length as the plan, and instead of twenty-two feet, may be made thirty feet wide; this will hold as many children as ought to be collected together in one place, and as many as any man and woman can possibly do justice to if it be any longer, it will be difficult for all the children to hear the master. An oblong building is the cheapest, on account of the roof. Economy has been studied in the plan given, without any thing being added that is unnecessary. This, of course, is a matter of opinion, and may be acted upon or not, just as it suits those who may choose to build. The master's house in the plan, it will be seen, projects a little into the play-ground, to afford him the opportunity of seeing the children at play while he is at dinner, that he may notice any improper conduct on the part of the children, and mention it when the accounts of the day are made up.

As children are very apt to get into danger, even when at school, it becomes expedient to exercise the utmost vigilance, in order to prevent the possibility of accident; for where two hundred children are assembled together, the eldest not seven years of age, it is most certain that if there be danger, some will get into. For this reason, all the doors on the premises should be so secured, that the children cannot swing them backwards and forwards; if they are not, they will get their fingers pinched, or greater accidents may occur. The forms also should be so placed that the children may not be likely to fall over them. Every thing, in short, should be put out of the way, that will be likely to occasion any danger. The seats should not be more than nine inches high; and for the smaller children six inches; and should be eleven or twelve inches wide; and fixed all round to the walls.

The master's desk should be placed at the end of the school, where the class-room is. By this means he will be able to see the faces of all the children, and they can see him, which is absolutely necessary. They may then be governed by a motion of his hand.

The furniture necessary for the school consists of a desk for the master; seats for the children; lesson-stands; stools for the monitors; slates and pencils; pictures and lessons on scriptural subjects; pictures and lessons on natural history; alphabets and spelling lessons; brass letters and figures, with boards for them; geometrical figures, &c.; and the transposition-frame, or arithmeticon, as it has been called. To these may added little books, &c. The particular use of these articles will be shewn in the succeeding pages.

The following is a representation of a lesson-post.

The lessons, pasted on wood, to render them sufficiently stiff, are put into the grooves of the lesson-post; and can then be placed in any position which is most convenient, and adjusted to any height, as the master may see proper.

[Illustration: a b, is a slip of wood with a groove in it, fixed to the post by means of the screws c and d, on which slip are two blocks e and f; the bottom one, f, is fixed with a groove in the upper side, for the lower edge of the board g h to rest in; the upper block, e, has a groove in the lower side, for the upper edge of the board g h to rest in, and rises and falls according to the width of the board on the slip a b.—Instead of being made with feet, the lesson post is generally, and perhaps better, fixed into the floor of the school-room, and should be very slight, and 4 feet 4 inches in height.]

The following lesson-post has been found to answer better than the preceding one; and is fixed in a socket, which prevents the necessity of the cross-bar feet at bottom, and possesses this advantage, that it may be taken out when done with, and hung up by the side of the wall, so as to allow the area of the room to be quite clear of any incumbrance, and to be used for any other purpose. No. 2, is the socket which should be let into the floor and screwed fast to the side of a joist, so as to keep it perfectly steady; the socket is to be open at bottom so as to let the dust pass through: and No. 1, is a plate, to fit over the socket, to come flush with the floor, to be put over it when the lesson-post is taken out, to prevent too much dust from getting into the socket. The little nich represented in plate one, is too small for the pupils to get their fingers into, so as to pull up the plate, but wide enough to allow the teacher to put a very narrow key in, when he desires to pull up the plate to put the lesson-post in the socket. No. 3, is a front view of the lesson-post, containing the slides nipping the lessons between them; the other figure represents a side view of the lesson post, and the small figure at the left hand side represents the groove of the two sliders to receive the lesson, and the back part of it the dovetails to clip, which come down behind the post; these are placed parallel in double rows down the school, at equal distances, exactly opposite each other; and flattened brass or iron is to be let into the floor, opposite to the front of them, as shewn in one of the engravings representing the area of the school, and the children at their object lessons. I have found by experience that this invention possesses a decided advantage over the other, as they always remain perpendicular and parallel to each other, take up less room, and are more easily put out of the way, and the children cannot knock them down; they should be numbered in front as represented in the figure, so that the teacher may always put the proper post in its own place.


The Arithmeticon, of which a description will be given in a subsequent chapter, is simple in its construction, but, as will be seen hereafter, may be variously and beneficially applied. It is indeed indispensable in an infant school, as it is useful for teaching the first principles of grammar, arithmetic, and geometry. The expense of furnishing a large school is about £16.; that of a smaller one about £10.

I must here protest against a violation of the freedom of the infant mind. A fold, as it is called, is erected in some schools for the youngest of the children; and thus they are cut off from the society of the rest, from whom they would learn much more than they could from any teacher. The monitors having charge of this class, are also cooped up in the same cage, and therefore suffer the same privation. The result of my own experience, as well as that of others, is, that a child is decidedly incompetent to the duties of a monitor, if he cannot keep the youngest class in order without any such means. I would therefore deprecate, in the strongest terms, the separation referred to, as not only altogether unnecessary, but exceedingly injurious.

To have one hundred children, or upwards, in a room, however convenient in other respects, and not to allow the children proper relaxation and exercise, which they could not have without a play-ground, would materially injure their health, which is a thing, in my humble opinion, of the first importance. I would rather see a school where they charged two-pence or three-pence per week for each child, having a play-ground, than one where the children had free admission without one; for I think the former institution would do the most good. The play ground, likewise, is one of the most useful parts of the system. It is there the child shews itself in its true character, and thereby gives the master an opportunity of nipping in the bud its evil propensities. I am, therefore, most anxious to recommend that this necessary appendage to an infant school should not be dispensed with. I moreover observe, that where there is a play-ground attached to the school, instead of playing in the streets, where scarcely anything but evil is before their eyes, the children will hasten to the school, with their bread and butter in their hands, in less than a quarter of an hour after they have left it, knowing that they have an opportunity of playing there the remainder of their dinner-time, so that they love the school, and but rarely wish to be anywhere else.

The play-grounds of some schools are paved with bricks, which I have found to answer very well, as they absorb the rain so quickly, that ten minutes after a shower, the place is dry enough for the children to play in; which, perhaps, would not be the case with any other kind of paving. They are commonly placed flat on the ground, but I should prefer them being put edge-ways, as they would last many years longer, yet it would take nearly double the number of bricks were they so placed.[A] If it be not paved, the ground will be soft, and the children will make themselves dirty. It should be so managed that the water may be carried off, for, if there are any puddles, the children will get into them. Some persons have recommended a few cart-loads of good iron-mould gravel, there being a sort which will bind almost like a rock, if well rolled; but the children are liable to dig holes if it is only gravel. If this is noticed in time it may be prevented; but if they are suffered to proceed, and no notice be taken of it, it will be very difficult to prevent them from continuing the practice. If money can be saved by any plan, perhaps it is as well to notice it; but after having weighed the advantages and disadvantages of gravelling, I am of opinion, that bricks are preferable. I should also recommend that fruit-trees be planted in the centre of the play-ground, and likewise round the walls; which will delight the children, and teach them to respect private property. If any person doubts the propriety of this plan, I can only say we leave many play-grounds thus ornamented: and instead of proving a temptation to the children, it has so far become the means of confirming principles of honesty in them, that they never touch a single flower or even a leaf in the garden. There should also be a border of flowers round the play-ground, of such sorts as will yield the most fragrance, which will tend to counteract any disagreeable smell that may proceed from the children, and thereby be conducive to their health, as well as to that of those who have the charge of them. They will, besides, afford the teacher an opportunity of giving the children many useful lessons; for the more he teaches by things, and the less he teaches by signs, the better. These things need be no expense to the establishment, except the purchase in the first instance, for they will afford an agreeable occupation for the master before and after school-hours, prepare him in some measure for the duties of the day, and afford him an ample opportunity of instilling a variety of ideas into the minds of the children, and of tracing every thing up to the Great First Cause. I have witnessed the good effects of these things, which makes me desirous of humbly but earnestly recommending them to others.

[Footnote A: In Lancashire, and other places where flagging is cheap, it has been found decidedly better than any other plan alluded to above, the children will not hurt themselves more by falling on flags than they would on bricks or pebbles.]

With regard to the expense: if 200 children pay two-pence each per week[A], which is now the usual charge, the annual receipts will be, deducting four weeks for holidays, about £80, and if the deficiency be made up by subscriptions and donations from the friends of the system, it may be easily adopted, and all its advantages secured. A village school might be furnished for half the money, and supported at less than half the expense. I QUESTION WHETHER IT DOES NOT COST THE COUNTRY AS MUCH FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL THAT IS TRANSPORTED OUT OF IT, AS WOULD SUPPORT THREE INFANT SCHOOLS ANNUALLY, and secure good pay to the teachers, with 200 infants in each school.

[Footnote A: In some parts of St. Giles's, Wapping, &c., &c., many of the parents are not able to pay, and many that are, would sooner let their children run the streets than pay a penny; yet the children of the latter persons are the greater objects of charity; and it is the children of such persons that chiefly fill our prisons. We want three classes of infant schools: one for the middle class, who will pay; for skilled mechanics, who will pay 2_d_. or 3_d_. per week; and for the poor and illiterate who will pay nothing.]

Every year increases my conviction of the great importance of the play-ground, and of the folly of some of my early views respecting it. Finding a great variety of lessons and objects necessary to arrest the attention of children, diversified as they are in disposition and taste, it was supposed that an equal variety of toys was required for the play-ground. A good supply of balls, battledores, shuttlecocks, tops, whips, skipping-ropes, hoops, sticks, and wheelbarrows, was, therefore, obtained, and we flattered ourselves that this must produce universal happiness. In thus, however, we were most grievously disappointed; for the balls frequently bounced over the wall,—the players, not being able to throw them with the precision of Spartan children, sometimes struck their comrades, perhaps, in the eye: if we could succeed in quieting the sufferer, by a kiss and a sugar-plum, the ear was as immediately afterwards saluted with the cry of, "O, my chin, my chin," from some hapless wight having been star-gazing, and another, anxious for as many strokes as possible, mistaking that part for the bottom of his shuttlecock; while this would be followed by, "O, my leg," from the untoward movement of a stick or a barrow. In short, such scenes were insupportable; and what with the accidents that arose, and the tops without strings, and the strings without tops, the hoops without sticks, and the sticks without hoops, the seizure of the favourite toy by one, and the inability of another to get any thing, it was evident that we were wrong, but not so clear how we could do otherwise.

It then occurred that we might provide some wood-bricks, about four inches long, an inch and a half thick, and two inches and a half wide, and of these a thousand were obtained. With these children are exceedingly amused from the variety of forms in which they may be placed, and of buildings which may be erected with them.

The play-ground should always be at the rear of the premises, and as private as possible, that both teachers and pupils be secure from annoyance of any kind. The entrance should be only through the school, and no other way; this secures the flowers, the fruits, and the moral training of the children.


In addition to these, all that is required is a rotatory swing, of which the above is a representation. To make one, a pole eighteen or twenty feet long should be firmly fixed in the ground: three feet of the but-end should be sunk, secured by sleepers to keep it steady: it should be at least three quarters of a yard in girth at bottom, and taper gradually to the top to half that size. An iron rim is to be driven on the head of the pole to keep it from splitting, and then a spindle at least an inch in diameter, with a shoulder, is to be fixed in it; an iron wheel with four spokes turned up at the end like a hook, to which four ropes are to be fastened, must then be made to revolve on the spindle. As the ropes reach the ground, four children may take hold of them and run round until they bear the whole weight of the body on the arms; and this exercise will be found to strengthen the muscles, and give vigour to the whole frame. In a large school there should be two swings of this kind,—one for the girls, and the other for the boys. The teachers must, however, be careful the first few weeks, to train the children to look about them: this they are but little disposed to do, hence the most impressive manner should be adopted, and I will venture to say, should any injury be sustained by the children, the fault will not be theirs. The effect of the instruction thus urged will be valuable in other cases; for a child, thus taught to watch against accident, will be careful in passing crossings, and going through crowded streets, and thus be likely to escape many dangers into which others fall. This exercise may also be accompanied by instruction, as the children may repeat "The Cow," or "The Sheep," or any other lesson, as the measure of the time during which four may have the swing. It will, moreover, afford an opportunity for detecting the selfishness of some children, by their wishing to keep the ropes too long, and the passion of others, from the vehemence with which they will insist on their rights; but, as on such occasion, both are to be forbidden to swing any more that day, they will soon learn to bear and forbear.

In the event of a child being thrown down from standing in the way, all the children should be placed in the gallery, and this one shewn them. If it appear hurt, all will pity it; let then the question be put, How did this happen? and the answer will be, perhaps, "Please, sir, because he did not make use of his eyes." Here, then, is full opportunity to inculcate caution, and to inform and benefit the whole. For example: the master may say, How many senses have we? The children will answer, Five. Master.—Name them. Children.—Hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. M. Where are the organs of sight? C. Here (pointing to the eyes). M. Look at this child, and see if he has them. (Here an inspection will take place, the sufferer will look sheepish, and begin to perceive he has not made the best use of the sense of seeing, whilst the singular observations of the children will sharpen his faculties, and make such an impression as to cause him to be more cautious in future; and many a scholar who is sitting in judgment will profit by the circumstance.) I have known the lives of several children saved by such simple lessons, and they are of as much importance as any that are taught, though I am not quite sure that all the teachers will think so. Too many, to save trouble, will find fault with the swing; and I have known several instances where the swing had been taken down in consequence. We have found the swing answer in all three countries; it strengthens the muscles, which, in physical education, is a matter of the highest importance. It has been introduced into juvenile schools with similar success; and, also, in ladies' boarding-schools I have personally inspected tine effects produced. Under all these circumstances, and in every instance, I have found the most beneficial effects produced, provided the exercise was properly regulated and superintended. It will not do, therefore, to have this important part of the system dispensed with. The teachers must be present at all the exercises in the play-ground, or, more properly speaking, the training-ground. Non-attention to this is a capital error; and, if persisted in, must be followed with dismissal.



Teachers should practice what they teach—Necessity of patience—Mere automatons will not do for infant teachers—Disadvantage of using excessive restraint—A master and mistress more efficient than two mistresses—Objections to the sole government of females—Two frequent use of Divine names should be avoided—General observations.

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—"Such authority, in shew, When most severe and minist'ring all its force, Is but the graver countenance of love, Whose favour, like the clouds of spring may lower, And utter now and then an awful voice, But has a blessing in its darkest frown, Threat'ning at once and nourishing the plant."—Thomson.

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I enter on this chapter with a full recollection of the painful sense of incompetency I endured on becoming "a teacher of babes;" and this, I trust, will enable me to offer any remarks on the present subject with the humility that is desirable, blended with the confidence of experience. It is a very common idea, that almost any person can educate little children, and that it requires little or no ability; but it will be found, on an enlightened and correct estimate of the work, that this is a very great mistake: and I regret that this mistake has been made by those who professed to understand the system, and who have written upon it. But there is just this slight difference between theory and practice: theory supposes such and such things to be correct, which was my own case; but twelve months only of practical effort very soon convinced me I was wrong. How frequently, for instance, may we find children, ten or twelve years of age, who cannot answer the most simple question, and who, nevertheless, have been to school for several years. To give the children correct notions, is a part of education seldom thought of: but if we really wish to form the character of the rising generation, and to improve the condition of society generally, the utmost attention must be given to this object. Little, I should think, need be said to prove, that few ideas are given in dame-schools. There may be a few as to which an exception should be made; but, generally speaking, where the children of mechanics are usually sent before the age of seven years, no such thing is thought of. The mind of a child is compared by Mr. Locke to a sheet of blank paper, and if it be the business of a tutor to inscribe valuable lessons on the mind, it will require much patience, gentleness, perseverance, self-possession, energy, knowledge of human nature, and, above all, piety,—simple, sincere, and practical piety,—to accomplish so great a work with propriety and success.

Whoever is in possession of these requisites, with the addition of a lively temper, pleasing countenance, and some knowledge of music, may be considered as a proper person to manage an infant school; and whoever has charge of such an institution will find numerous opportunities of displaying each and all of these qualifications. It would be almost useless to attempt to cure the bad tempers of children, if the master should encourage and manifest such evil tempers in his own conduct; for children are not indifferent to what they see in others: they certainly take notice of all our movements, and consequently the greatest caution is necessary. It will be of little purpose to endeavour to inculcate suitable precepts in the minds of the children, unless they see them shine forth in the conduct of the teacher.

How strangely it would sound, if, when a teacher was explaining to his pupils the sin of swearing, a child should say, "Please, sir, I heard you swear;" and it is just the same as to those faults which some may consider of minor importance,—such as the indulgence of angry passions,—in the presence of children. It must always be understood, that the essence of the plan is to allow the children to speak,—not what they do not feel and think, which has been but too general,—but what they do think and feel. This children will always do if rightly trained. Yes, with modesty and decorum, but with power! What will the old class of pedagogues say to this? What! allow pupils to tell you of your faults! Certainly; they know them; at least, those committed in their presence. They talk of them to themselves, why not to us? Some of the best lessons I ever got were under similar circumstances.

Persons, in such circumstances, cannot be too circumspect, as every trifling fault will be magnified, both by parents and children. Indeed, character is of so much importance, that the designs of benevolent individuals are very often frustrated by appointing improper persons to fill such situations. I have seen, more than once, the interests of two hundred babes sacrificed to serve one individual; and persons have been chosen merely because they had been unfortunate, and to serve them they have been placed in a situation disagreeable to themselves, and unprofitable to the children. It is one thing to possess certain information, but it is another to be able to communicate that information to infants. Patience is a virtue absolutely indispensable, as it will frequently take the master or mistress a whole hour to investigate a subject that may appear of little or no importance: such as one child accusing another of stealing a trifle,—as a plum, a cherry, a button, or any other thing of little value. The complainant and defendant will expect justice done to them by the master or mistress; and in order to do this, much time and trouble will, in some cases, be necessary. Should a hasty conclusion be formed, and the accused be punished for what he has not been guilty of, the child will be sensible that an injury has been done him, feel dissatisfied with his tutors, and, consequently, will not pay them the respect they ought to have. Besides, it will frequently be found, on examination, that the accuser is really the most in fault, and I think I have convinced many children that this has been the case, and they have retired satisfied with my decision. For when a child is convinced that justice will be done him, he will open his case freely and boldly; but if he has any idea that it will be otherwise, he will keep one half of the facts in his own mind, and will not reveal them. I once formed a hasty conclusion in the case of two children, and happened to decide directly contrary to what I ought to have done; the consequence was, that the injured child endeavoured to do that for himself which he found I had not done for him, and pleaded his own cause with the opposite party in the play-ground; but finding that he could not prevail on him, and being sensible that he had been wronged, he was so much hurt, that he brought his father the next day, and we re-considered the case; when it was found that the child was correct, and that I was wrong. Here I found how necessary it was to exercise the utmost patience, in order to enable me to judge rightly, and to convince my little pupils, that I had the greatest desire to do them justice. I compare an infant school to a little commonwealth, the head or governor of which is naturally the master. An infant school master or mistress is not to consider anything relating to the rights of his little community, as trifling or unimportant. However justly it might be considered such in itself, yet, comparatively, it is a matter of moment to the parties concerned, and such therefore it should be esteemed by him who is the arbitrator of their rights and the legislator and judge of the infant state. He will have, indeed, to act the part of counsel, judge, and jury; and although the children cannot find words to plead their own cause, yet by their looks and gestures, they will convince you that they know when you have rightly decided; and it appears to me, that the future conduct of the children in the world, will depend, in a great measure, upon the correctness of the master's decisions.

One would suppose, to hear the observations of some persons, that mere automatons would do for masters and mistresses. By them the system is considered as every thing, while the persons who are to teach it, have been considered as secondary objects; but a system, however perfect in itself, will be productive of little good, unless it be committed to persons possessed of some degree of skill; as the best watch will go wrong, if not properly attended to. We cannot, therefore, be too circumspect in the choice of the persons to whom we commit the care and education of the rising generation. There is something so powerful in correctness of deportment, that even infants respect it; and this will operate more on their minds than many imagine. It does not appear necessary to me, that children should be kept under excessive restraint by their tutors; they should rather be encouraged to make their teacher their confidant, for by this means he will become acquainted with many things, the knowledge of which it is essential he should possess, both as it regards himself; and the welfare of his pupils. If the child be enthralled, he will seek some other persons to whom he may open his little mind, and should that person be ill-disposed, the most serious consequences will not unfrequently follow. I know the source from whence all assistance is derived, and I am taught to believe, that such assistance will not be withheld from those who diligently seek it. I am well aware that I shall have to render an account of my stewardship to the Almighty, for every child that may have been placed under my care, and I feel that to do so unblameably, requires much assistance from above.

Let not those, then, who are similarly circumstanced with myself; think that I address them in the spirit of arrogance, with a pre-conceived opinion of my own sufficiency. I wish that all who teach may be more fit for the situation than I am. I know many who are an honour to their profession, as well as the situation they fill; but, I am sorry to say, I think they do not all meet with the encouragement they merit. It is not always those who do their duty the best that are most valued; but if a man's conscience do not upbraid him, he has in its approval a high reward.

And now, as to a matter on which there is some difference of opinion, viz., whether women are or are not as fit for conductors of infant schools as men; my decided opinion is, that alone they are not. There should be in every school a master and a mistress. In the first place, in an infant school, the presence of the man, as of a father in a family, will insure a far greater degree of respect and attention on the part of the children. This does not arise from the exercise of any greater degree of harshness or severity than a mother would be capable of using; nor is it to be attributed, as some suppose, to the less frequent presence of the father in the case of many families, but is rather to be accounted for by an intuitive perception of the greater firmness and determination of the character of the man. To those who deny this, I would give as a problem for solution, a case by no means unfrequent, and which most of my readers will have witnessed,—a family in which the mother—by no means incurring the charge of spoiling the child, by sparing the rod—is less heeded, less promptly obeyed in her commands, than a father who seldom or never makes use of any such means. The mother scolds, threatens, scourges, and is at last reluctantly and imperfectly obeyed; the father, either with reference to his own commands, or seconding those of the mother, speaks, and is instantly regarded. The idea of disputing his authority, or neglecting or disobeying his laws, never once enters the minds of his children. Exactly the same is it in an infant school,—the presence of a man insures attention and gains respect from the children, not only at first, whilst the novelty of such control might be supposed to operate, but permanently; as I am sure all who have candidly examined the schools where two women preside, and those conducted by a man and a woman, must have seen.

Another objection to the sole government of females (I mean the class of females who are likely to accept such situations) in these schools, is, they have not the physical strength, nor, at present, intellectual powers, sufficient for the task. In saying thus, I trust I shall not be suspected of wishing to offend my fair countrywomen. That they have not sufficient physical strength is the intention of nature; that they are deficient in mental energy is the defect of education. I trust, therefore, that no offence will be assumed where no blame is attached. It has been a point much disputed, whether there be really an original and intrinsic difference in the mental powers of the two sexes, and it has been of course differently decided by the respective disputants. With this I shall have nothing to do; but these things are certain; that the minds of both are capable of much greater activity and more important results than have been generally supposed; and that whilst education has not done what it ought for man, it has done far less for woman. This it is, then, which affords an additional argument in my mind for a master and a mistress. For let it not be imagined, that I would dismiss women altogether from the system—that I think them useless or even dispensable in an infant school. If, indeed, one or the other must be done without, and I had my choice, I should certainly give my voice for a woman; but to carry the system into full effect requires both. There is ample opportunity for the offices of maternal love, of which man is at best but a poor imitator; neither can it be denied, that an active intelligent woman is a useful auxiliary to the labours of the man in the duties of the school. The authoritative presence of the man is the more necessary in the infant system, because one grand object is, to rule without harshness, and by that principle of love which is in no degree incompatible with the respect felt for a kind but judicious schoolmaster. Some children, indeed, so far as regards authority, might be very well managed by a mistress only, but then it must be recollected that an infant school exhibits every variety of temper and disposition; and even were it otherwise, the objection as to intellectual incompetence and physical strength, before adverted to, would still hold good.

Such, indeed, is the opinion of the unfitness of females for the occupation of teaching, in Scotland, that in many places the very idea of it is scouted. The people of that country have scarcely heard of a school-mistress, even for the youngest children; and certain it is, that education is much better conducted in Scotland than in most other places. If the minds of children are to be cultivated, and a firm and decided tone given to their characters, say they, what can be the use of sending them to a school conducted by a woman only? And I must candidly admit, that I perfectly agree with them on this head, and have therefore deemed it my duty to be thus explicit on the matter.[A]

[Footnote A: I am sorry to say that, at this time, the people of Scotland have been led into the same error, of which I have complained. I did hope they would never have allowed themselves to be led away from their old, judicious, and workable plans, far the sake of party, or fashion; but so it is, and it is much to be regretted: however, it is a consolation to know that it is not universal.]

One thing I must add, by way of conclusion: to render any man or woman competent to discharge the duties of the situation efficiently, the heart of the teacher must be in the school. If there be not the zeal of the amateur, the skill of the professor will be of little avail. The maxim will apply to every species of occupation, but it is peculiarly true as to that of an infant school teacher. To those who can feel no other interest than that which the profit gives to the employment, it will soon become not only irksome, but exceedingly distasteful. But certain I am that it is possible to feel it to be what it is—an employment not only most important, but likewise most interesting. It is one which a philosopher might choose for the study of the human character, and a philanthropist for its improvement.

One word more, and I have done. I have seen what I could have wished had been otherwise, viz., not sufficient discrimination used in giving religious instruction; improper times have been chosen, too much shew has been made of it, too much freedom has been used with the divine names; and I have sometimes been so shocked at the levity displayed, as to have considered it little less than profanation.

I wish to lay the utmost stress on what has been stated, as a failure on the part of a master and mistress is most grievous and lamentable. I have seen schools, where little or nothing has been done, because of the inefficiency of the teachers. Moral and religious qualifications are confessedly of the first importance, but those which are mental are to be highly estimated. I differ with a gentleman who has written on this subject, when he says, that any clever boy who has been educated in a national school, will accomplish the end; because the system through which he has passed neither gives a sufficient knowledge of things nor of words, nor does it sufficiently develop the faculties to prepare him for such a service.

One cause of failure in these respects has been undoubtedly the paltry remuneration which some receive, and I would earnestly recommend the supporters and conductors of infant schools to try the effect of liberality by all the means they can command. Persons of talent ought to be found for this work, and then they should be appropriately paid; but if any are to be deemed suitable, and if the having them at a low rate be a special reason for their engagement, it would be better at once to revert to the old system, than to destroy, by such means, the public confidence in the plans now suggested.

I entertain a full conviction that the infant system will flourish most where I once least expected its adoption: I mean in Scotland, because of the high importance attached to the essential qualifications of teachers, and because of the attention and kindness which they continually receive.

It is to be lamented that most of the schools connected with the established church are managed by women only, whilst the schools connected with the dissenters are generally conducted by a man and woman; the consequence is, that the children educated under the dissenters will be better taught than those connected with the established church, which is an error I should be glad to see remedied as soon as possible. I have no need to speak in favour of infant school masters, as many of them have been the greatest enemies I ever had, whilst on the contrary, the mistresses have generally been very friendly to me, and not been subject to those petty jealousies which the masters have too frequently evinced; nevertheless, the subject treated of in this place involves a principle which cannot be conceded without doing great injury to the infant system, and on those grounds I advocate the necessity of a master in conjunction with the mistress. Many teachers, and other persons who have written on the subject, have talked largely of making improvements, whilst the hints given in this book have been entirely neglected; as this was the first book that ever was written on the subject, and the writer of it the first man that ever brought the thing practically to bear, it sounds a little odd, that people should talk about improvements before they have pointed out the errors of the original inventor. Others again have borrowed largely from me, and have neither had the good manners nor the common honesty to say from whence they got their information. Societies have been formed at the eleventh hour, after the infant system had been twenty years in practice, who puff off books written by some of their own members, which do not contain the original idea, whilst my books, for some cause best known to themselves, have never been recommended, or indeed ever mentioned, though I could take page after page from those modern writers on the subject, and justly claim them as my own. This is not what one ought to expect amongst people who call themselves Christians: a truly good man is delighted to do justice to his fellow-men, because in doing so, he never fails to obtain justice himself; but there are some persons whose minds are so truly selfish that they cannot see how good can accrue to themselves, if they do what is right to others: and I regret to say I have met with not a few, who have been engaged in the art of teaching, who have been guilty of the mean and contemptible conduct I have hinted at above, and it is to deter others from falling into the same errors that I have ventured to allude to this subject at all. It would be invidious to mention names, which I could very easily do, and should this be persisted in, if I am spared, I shall most certainly mention the parties by name. I would not be understood to say that no improvements can be made in the infant system: far from it. No doubt it will be improved, and that to a great extent; but that will only be in process of time, and by practical people, who understand more of the nature of the infant mind than I do, and may hereafter have greater experience than I have had; but they must work hard for it, as I have done, and be doers as well as talkers: and when I see such improvements made, I trust the Almighty will enable me to be the first to acknowledge them. At present, however, though I have travelled over a large space, and visited many hundred schools, and also opened many hundred, and have not yet seen the mighty improvements of which I have read so much, and I do beg that those teachers who may be engaged in the system will be kind enough to try my plans, prior to introducing so many crotchets of their own. They are to recollect we never intended to make prodigies of the little children; it never was our object to teach them things that were only fit for men and women: the fact must never be lost sight of that they are infants, and that as infants they must be treated.

It is very easy for any one to theorise, and form schemes for the education of children, and to introduce changes which may appear beneficial. Fancy is very prolific, and a number of books may easily be read, and yet the right knowledge not be gained. The chief book to be studied is the infant mind itself, considered as a great and wonderful work of the Creator, with a sincere desire to know all its faculties and powers, and the various simple laws by which its operations are governed. The teacher ought also to turn his thoughts within himself, to study his own mind, especially in his recollections of very early childhood, and the modes by which knowledge is gradually acquired. These things, carefully and dilligently done, will give more information on the proper method of educating and developing the young mind than the perusal of a hundred volumes. This I have endeavoured all my life to do, and have had to deal with many thousands of children who have been to me a book for constant study. From this extensive observation and experience, all my plans have been formed, and my opinions derived. If any one has done the same, or more, to him I will gladly concede; but I am not aware that any one individual, not even Pestalozzi, has run a similar career.



Classification—Getting the children into order—Language—Lessons on objects—Rules to be observed by parents—Daily routine of instruction—Opening prayer and hymn—Object or developing lessons—Synopsis of a week's instruction—Cleanliness—Never frighten children—Guard against forgetfulness—Observe punctuality—Be strictly accurate in your expressions—Guard against the entrance of disease—Maxims for teachers—Resolutions.

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"Whate'er is best administer'd is best."—Pope.

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Having had considerable practice in teaching children in the various parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, it may be necessary to give a few hints on the subject of organizing an infant school. I have generally found on opening one, that the children had no idea of acting together. In order, therefore, to gain this object, it will be found necessary to have recourse to what we call manual lessons, which consist in the children holding up their hands all at one time, and putting them down in the same manner; throwing the right or the left foot out; putting their hands together, or behind them; or rising from their seats all at one time; clapping hands, which is a very good exercise; holding up their hands and twirling the fingers; holding up the forefinger and bringing it down on the palm, in time to some tune; imitating the action of sawing wood, and the sound produced by the action of the saw; doing this both ways, as it is done in the saw-pit, with both hands, and by the carpenter with the right; imitating the cobbler mending shoes, the carpenter plaining wood, the tailor sewing, and any other trade which is familiar and pleasing to children.

This we do in the first instance, because it is calculated to please the infants, and is one grand step towards order. After the first day or two, the children will begin to act together, and to know each other; but until this is the case, they will be frequently peevish, and want to go home; any method, therefore, that can be taken at first to gratify them, should be adopted; for unless this can be done, you may be sure they will cry. Having proceeded thus far, we have then to class them according to their capacity and age, and according as they shew an aptitude in obeying your several commands. Those who obey them with the greatest readiness may be classed together.

I have found it difficult, at all times, to keep up the attention of infants, without giving them something to do; so that when they are saying the tables in arithmetic, we always cause them to move either their hands or feet, and sometimes to march round the school. The best way we have yet discovered is the putting their hands one on the other every time they speak a sentence. If they are marching they may count one, two, three, four, five, six, &c.

Having classed them, and found that each child knows its own place in the school, you may select one of the cleverest of each class for a monitor. Some of the children will learn many of the tables sooner than the others; in this case, the teacher may avail himself of their assistance, by causing each child to repeat what he knows in an audible manner, the other children repeating after him, and performing the same evolutions that he does; and by this means the rest will soon learn. Then the master may go on with something else, taking care to obtain as much assistance from the children as he can, for he will find that unless he does so, he will injure his lungs, and render himself unfit to keep up their attention, and to carry on the business of the school.

When the children have learned to repeat several of the tables, and the monitors to excite their several classes, and keep them in tolerable order, they may go on with the other parts of the plan, such as the spelling and reading, picture lessons, &c., which will presently be described. But care must be taken that in the beginning too much be not attempted. The first week may be spent in getting them in order, without thinking of anything else; and I should advise that not more than sixty children be then admitted, that they may be reduced to order, in some measure, before any more are received, as all that come after will quickly imitate them. I should, moreover, advise visitors not to come for some time after a school is opened, for several reasons; first, because the children must be allowed time to learn, and there will be nothing worth seeing; secondly, they take off the children's attention, and interfere with the master: and, lastly, they may go away dissatisfied, and thereby injure the cause which they intend to promote.

In teaching infants to sing, I have found it the best way to sing the psalm or hymn several times in the hearing of the children, without their attempting to do so until they have some idea of the tune; because, if all the children are allowed to attempt, and none of them know it, it prevents those who really wish to learn from catching the sounds. Nothing, however, can be more ridiculous or absurd than the attempts at singing I have heard in some schools. And here, I would caution teachers against too much singing; and also against introducing it at improper times. Singing takes much out of the teacher, which will soon be felt in the chest, and cause pain and weakness there; and, if persevered in, premature death; and with women much sooner than men. This is another reason why one of each sex should be employed in the work. Singing is an exhilarating and exciting lesson; the children always like it: but even they are injured by the injudicious management of it, and by having too much of it each day; or the having two or even three exciting lessons at the same time. For example: I have seen children singing, marching, and clapping hands at the same time; and they are prompted and led by the teachers to do so. Here are three exciting lessons together, which ought to be separate: the result is, a waste of energy and strength, on the part of teacher and children, which is sometimes fatal to both. The exciting lessons were intended to be judiciously blended with the drier, yet necessary, studies. If the latter are neglected, and the former only retained, no greater perversion of the plans could occur, and a more fatal error could not be committed.

You must not expect order until your little officers are well drilled, which may be done by collecting them together after the other children are gone, and instructing them in what they are to do. Every monitor should know his work, and when you have taught him this, you must require it to be done. To get good order, you must make every monitor answerable for the conduct of his class. It is astonishing how some of the little fellows will strut about, big with the importance of office. And here I must remark, it will require some caution to prevent them from taking too much upon themselves; so prone are we, even in our earliest years, to abuse the possession of power.

The way by which we teach the children hymns, is to let one child stand in a place where he may be seen by the rest, with the book in his hand; he then reads one line, and stops until all the children in the school have repeated it, which they do simultaneously; he then repeats another, and so on, successively, until the hymn is finished. This method is adopted with every thing that is to be committed to memory, so that every child in the school has an equal chance of learning.

I have mentioned that the children should be classed: in order to facilitate this, there should be a board fastened to the wall perpendicularly, the same width as the seats, every fifteen feet, all round the school; this will separate one class from another, and be the cause of the children knowing their class the sooner. Make every child hang his hat over where he sits, in his own class, as this will save much trouble. "Have a place for every thing, and every thing in its place." This will bring the children into habits of order. Never do any thing for a child that he is able to do for himself; but teach him to put his own hat and coat on, and hang them up again when he comes to school. Teach every child to help himself as soon as possible. If one falls down, and you know that he is able to get up himself, never lift him up; if you do, he will always lie till you can give him your aid. Have a slate, or a piece of paper, properly ruled, hanging over every class; let every child's name that is in the class be written on it, with the name of the monitor; teach the monitor the names as soon as you can, and then he will tell you who is absent. Have a semicircle before every lesson, and make the children keep their toes to the mark; brass nails driven in the floor are the best, or flat brass or iron let into the floor. When a monitor is asking the children questions, let him place his stool in the centre of the semicircle, and the children stand around him. Let the monitors ask what questions they please, they will soon get fond of the process, and their pupils will soon be equally fond of answering them. Suppose the monitor ask. What do I sit on? Where are your toes? What do you stand on? What is before you? What behind you? Let the monitors be instructed in giving simple object lessons on any familiar substance, such as a piece of wood, of stone, of iron, of paper, of bone, of linen, &c. Let them question their class as to the qualities first, and then the various uses to which the object is applied. These lessons will be of incalculable benefit to the children, and give them an early desire to inquire into the nature, qualities, and uses of every natural object they come into contact with. We will suppose the monitor holds in his hand a piece of leather; he first asks, "What is this?" The children will simultaneously exclaim, "A piece of leather." This being answered, he will proceed to the qualities, and will have either from his class, or by his own help, the following answers: "It is dry, it is smooth, it is hard, it is tough, it is pliable, it is opaque," &c. He will then question them as to its uses, and will ask, "What is made from leather?" A. Boots and shoes. Q. What use is it of else? A. Books are bound with it; and so on through all its uses. He will then ask them how leather is made, and give them information which he has himself previously received from the teacher as to the mode of tanning leather, and the various processes which it goes through. Indeed, there is no end to the varied information which children may thus receive from simple natural objects. At first they will have no idea of this mode of exercising the thinking powers. But the teacher must encourage them in it, and they will very speedily get fond of it, and be able to give an answer immediately. It is very pleasing to witness this. I have been much delighted at the questions put, and still more so at the answers given. Assemble all the very small children together as soon as you can: the first day or two they will want to sit with their brothers or sisters, who are a little older than themselves. But the sooner you can separate them the better, as the elder children frequently plague the younger ones; and I have always found that the youngest ones are the happiest by themselves.

In all cases let teachers be careful to avoid the "parrot system," and to remember that while it is necessary to infuse a certain amount of information into the child's mind, it can only be made its own by drawing it back again and getting its own ideas upon it—this is called development, which is a thing universally disregarded in almost every school I have seen; and it is a general complaint made by almost every modern writer on education; and many have objected to the infant system on this account, because the teachers of it were not acquainted with its end and essence. The true infant system is a system of development; no other system can be of lasting benefit to the country in general, nor to the pupils in particular; the genuine infant system is not subject to the fundamental errors so much complained of; it has been invented for the purpose of operating upon all the faculties, and the machine must not be condemned merely because the teachers do not know how to work it; but every committee, and each individual in a committee, appear to lose sight of these principles, in order to try how much originality may be displayed, and thus utility is sacrificed to novelty; thus we may find as many infant systems as there are days in the year; and I have been made chargeable by certain writers for the errors of others; but these writers have not condescended to examine into the merits of the system for which I have been so many years an advocate.

But enough of this: we will now suppose that the little flock are brought by thus time into something like order; we are next to consider the means of securing other objects. Although the following rules for this purpose are given, it must not be supposed, that they are presented as a model not to be departed from. If they can be improved so much the better, but some such will be found indispensable.

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To be observed by the Parents of Children admitted into the —— Infant School.


Parents are to send their children clean washed, with their hair cut short and combed, and their clothes well mended, by half-past eight o'clock in the morning, to remain till twelve.


If any child be later in attendance than nine o'clock in the morning, that child must be sent back until the afternoon; and in case of being later than two in the afternoon, it will be sent back for the day.


Parents may send their children's dinners with them in the morning, so that the children may be taken care of the whole day, to enable the mother to go out to work. This can only be done where the teachers reside on the premises.


If a child be absent for a length of time, without a notice being sent to the master or mistress, assigning a satisfactory reason for the absence, such child will not be permitted to return again to the school.

Saturday is a holyday.[A]

[Footnote A: In Ireland the schools do not commence business till ten in the morning, and the children remain till three, and do not go home in the interval. In Scotland the rules are nearly similar.]

*** It is earnestly hoped that parents will see their own interest, as well as that of their children, in strictly observing these rules; and they are exhorted to submit to their children being governed by the master and mistress; to give them good instruction and advice; to accustom them to family prayer; but particularly to see that they repeat the Lord's prayer, when they rise in the morning, and when they retire to rest, and assist in their learning the commandments; and to set before them a good example; for in so doing, they may humbly hope that the blessing of Almighty God will rest upon them and their families; for we are assured in the holy Scriptures, that if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it, Prov. xxii. 6. Therefore parents may be instrumental in the promotion of the welfare of their children in this life, and of their eternal happiness in the world to come.

* * * * *

On each of these rules I will make a few remarks.

First rule. Some parents are so habitually dirty, that they would not wash their children from one week's end to another, unless required so to do; and if it be done for them, they will not be so thankful as when compelled to do it themselves. This I have found from experience.

Second rule. This has its advantages; for it would not be right to punish the children when the fault rests with their parents; consequently, by sending them home, the real authors of the evil are punished. Many parents have told me, that when their children were at home, they employed themselves in singing the alphabet, counting, patting their hands, &c. &c.; that it was impossible to keep an infant asleep, that they were glad to get them out of the way, and that they would take care that they should not be late again.

But there is no rule without an exception. I have found that this has its disadvantages; for some of the elder children, when they wanted a half-holiday, would take care to be late, in order to find the door shut, although they were sent in proper time by their parents; this, when detected, subjects them to a pat on the hand, which is the only corporeal punishment we have. If this rule were not strictly enforced, the children would be coming at all hours of the day, which would put the school into such disorder, that we should never know when all the children had said their lessons.

Third rule. This is of great service to those parents who go out to work; for by sending their children's dinners with them, they are enabled to attend to their employment in comfort, and the children, when properly disciplined, will be no additional trouble to the teacher, for they will play about the play-ground, while he takes his dinner, without doing any mischief.

Fourth rule. Many persons will keep their children away for a month or two when nothing is the matter with them, consequently the children will lose almost all they have learned at school. Besides this, children are kept out, who perhaps would attend regularly, and we should never know how many children were in the establishment. If, therefore, a parent does not attend to this rule, the child's name is struck off the book.

On the admission of every child, the parents should be supplied with a copy of the preceding rules, as this will prevent them from pleading any excuse; it should be fastened on pasteboard, otherwise they will double it up and put it into their pockets, and forget all about it; but being on pasteboard, they may hang it up in their dwellings. The short exhortation that follows, it is hoped, may have its use, by reminding the parents of their duty to co-operate with those persons who have the welfare both of themselves and their children at heart. The reasons for the holiday of Saturday are, first, that the teacher requires a rest, the infant system being so laborious. Second, that the school-room requires to be thoroughly cleaned; and, thirdly, that many of the mothers are obliged to wash the children's clothes on a Saturday because they have not a sufficient change, and if they do not have the Saturday, they will break the Sabbath by washing them on Sunday.

I shall next speak of the daily routine of instruction.

If we would be successful in our labours, we most ask for help,—we must solicit aid from that Being who never yet denied it when sincerely and fervently implored. A minister who desires to instruct his flock with effect, never fails to commence his work with supplication; and certainly every teacher must ask for help, and instruct his pupils to do so too, if he really wish to be successful. If the wisest and best of men ask assistance from God to teach their fellow-men, and feel and know it to be necessary so to do, who would not ask assistance to instruct infants?

  "To lead them into virtue's path,
  And up to truth divine."

If we had only to educate the head, prayer might be less necessary. But the promoters of infant schools want to affect the heart; to operate upon the will and the conscience, as well as on the understanding; to make good men rather than learned men—men of wisdom, rather than men of knowledge: and he who has this work to accomplish, should remember the Saviour's declaration, "Without me ye can do nothing." Whilst therefore I would avoid too frequent repetition of the divine names in tire presence of the children, and never fail to let them know the difference between talking religion and doing religion, and in every case avoid the very appearance of the form without the essence, I would in such case, avoid long prayers, and take care that what was said in their presence should be short, and to the point, keeping in mind the scripture maxim, to avoid long repetitions as the heathen do, who think they shall be heard for their much speaking; and little children cannot have the simple truths of the Word pourtrayed to them in too simple a manner.

To use prayers with little children composed of hard words taken from scholastic theology, is contrary to common sense. How is it possible that they can either understand or feel them? To utter prayer before them in dull and melancholy tones, and with grimaces of countenance, is calculated to give a false and gloomy impression of religion, and has often done so. I have known little children alarmed and frightened at such things; for sounds and appearances speak more strongly to them than words.—Christ said of the Pharisees, "they disfigure their faces." Our Saviour's direction is, after this manner, pray ye—"Our Father," thus directing us to draw near to the Most High God as a heavenly father, rich in mercy to all them that call upon him. True, indeed, it is that "all have sinned," but a "new and living way" is provided whereby we may "draw near with boldness to a throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Cowper never penned a truer line than this;

"True piety is cheerful as the day;"

and such an impression of it should ever be given to the young. The best prayer of a master for his children, is the perpetual and strong desire of his heart for God's blessing upon them, which, when genuine and sincere, will without doubt be recorded on high, and will also urge him on to a faithful and unceasing discharge of his duties towards them. To possess this is indeed to "pray without ceasing," and will prevent an unnecessary multiplication of "long prayers," "vain repetitions," and "much speaking."

But to proceed. The children being assembled, should be desired to stand up, and immediately afterwards to kneel down, all close to their seats, and as silently as possible: those who are not strong enough to kneel, may be allowed to sit down. This being done, a child is to be placed in the centre of the school, and to repeat the following prayer:—

"O God, our heavenly Father, thou art good to us: we would serve thee; we have sinned and done wrong many times. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us. Forgive our sins for Jesus' sake; may the Holy Spirit change our hearts, and make us to love God; help us to-day to be good children and to do what is right. Keep us from wicked thoughts and bad tempers; make us try to learn all that we are taught; keep us in health all the day. We would always think of God, and when we die may we go to heaven. God bless our fathers and mothers, and sisters and brothers, and our teachers, and make us obedient and kind, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."

Perhaps it would be better under all the circumstances, to use a simple prayer out of the Book of Common Prayer.

The children afterwards repeat the Lord's prayer, and then sing a hymn; for instance, the following:

  When first the morning light we see,
    And from our beds arise,
  We to our God should thankful be,
    Who every want supplies.

  'Twas God who made the brilliant sun,
    That gives all day its light;
  And it was God who made the moon
    And stars, which shine at night.

  The fish that in the water swim,
    The beasts upon the land,
  Were all created first by Him,
    And shew His mighty hand.

  The food we eat, the clothes we wear,
    'Tis God alone can give;
  And only by His love and care,
    Can little children live.

  Then let us ever caution take,
    His holy laws to keep;
  And praise him from the time we wake,
    Until again we sleep.

Immediately after this they proceed to their lessons; which are fixed to what are called lesson-posts. To each of these posts there is a monitor, who is provided with a piece of cane for a pointer. This post is placed opposite to his class; and every class has one, up to which the monitor brings the children three or four at a time, according to the number he has in his class. We have fourteen classes, and sometimes more, which are regularly numbered, so that we have one hundred children moving and saying their lessons at one time. When these are gone through, the children are supplied with pictures, which they put on the post, the same as the spelling and reading lessons, but say them in a different manner. We find that if a class always goes through its lessons at one post, it soon loses its attraction; and consequently, although we cannot change them from post to post in the spelling and reading lessons, because it would be useless to put a child to a reading post that did not know its letters, yet we can do so in the picture lessons, as the children are all alike in learning the objects. One child can learn an object as quick as another, so that we may have many children that can tell the name of different subjects, and even the names of all the geometrical figures, who do not know all the letters in the alphabet; and I have had children, whom one might think were complete blockheads, on account of their not being able to learn the alphabet so quickly as some of the other children, and yet those very children would learn things which appeared to me ten times more difficult. This proves the necessity of variety, and how difficult it is to legislate for children. Instead, therefore, of the children standing opposite their own post, they go round from one to another, repeating whatever they find at each post, until they have been all round the school. For instance, at No. 1 post there may be the following objects; the horse, the ass, the zebra, the cow, the sheep, the goat, the springing antelope, the cameleopard, the camel, the wild boar, the rhinoceros, the elephant, the hippopotamus, the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the civet, the weazel, the great white bear, the hyena, the fox, the greenland dog, the hare, the mole, the squirrel, the kangaroo, the porcupine, and the racoon. Before commencing these lessons, two boys are selected by the master, who perhaps are not monitors. These two boys bring the children up to a chalk line that is made near No. 1 post, eight at a time; one of the boys gets eight children standing up ready, always beginning at one end of the school, and takes them to this chalk line, whilst the other boy takes them to No. 1 post, and delivers them up to the charge of No. 1 monitor. No. 1 monitor then points to the different animals with a pointer, until the name of every one that is on his plate has been repeated; this done, he delivers them to No. 2 monitor, who has a different picture at his post; perhaps the following: the fishmonger, mason, hatter, cooper, butcher, blacksmith, fruiterer, distiller, grocer, turner, carpenter, tallow-chandler, milliner, dyer, druggist, wheelwright, shoemaker, printer, coach-maker, bookseller, bricklayer, linen-draper, cabinet-maker, brewer, painter, bookbinder. This done, No. 2 monitor delivers them over to No. 3 monitor, who may have a representation of the following African costumes: viz. Egyptian Bey, Ashantee, Algerine, Copts woman, Mameluke, native of Morocco, Tibboo woman, Egyptian woman, Fellah, Bedouin Arab, Turkish foot soldier, Maltese, Rosettan, native of Cairo, Turkish gentleman, Bosjesman, native of Coronna, native of Namacqua, Caffree, native of Tamaha, native of Ebo. Having repeated these, No. 3 monitor hands them over to No. 4, who perhaps has an engraved clock face, with hands composed of two pieces of wood, over which paper in the shape of clock hands has been pasted; he gives the children a lesson from this object, explains to them the difference between the minute and second-hand, shews them their uses, and points out the dots which mark the minutes, and the figures which divide it into hours, makes them count the seconds, and soon tell the hour. No. 4 then gives the class to No. 5 monitor, who has at his post a representation of the mariner's compass; he explains its uses, shews them the cardinal points, tells them how it was discovered, and then he will move the hands around, beginning at the north, and making the children repeat as he moves the hands, north, north-north-east, north-east, east-north-east, east, east-south-east, south-east, south-south-east, south, south-south west, south-west, west-south-west, west, west-north-west, north-west, north-north-west, north. The degrees, &c., may be considered as going too far for infants; we therefore reserve them until we treat of juvenile schools. We have not thought it necessary to name all the points of the compass, but have confined ourselves to the principal ones. No. 5 then hands the class to No. 6, who has on his post representations of the following fishes, viz., whale, sword fish, white shark, sturgeon, skate, John Dorey, salmon, grayling, porpoise, electrical eel, horned silure, pilot fish, mackerel, trout, red char, smelt, carp, bream, road goldfish, pike, garfish, perch, sprat, chub, telescope carp, cod, whiting, turbot, flounder, flying scorpion, sole, sea porcupine, sea cock, flying fish, trumpet fish, common eel, turtle, lobster, crab, shrimp, star fish, streaked gilt head, remora, lump fish, holocenter, torpedo. No. 6, then gives the class to No. 7; and as variety is the life and soul of the plan, his post may be supplied with a botanic plate, containing representations of the following flowers:—daffodil, fox-glove, hyacinth, bilberry, wild tulip, red poppy, plantain, winter green, flower de luce, common daisy, crab-tree blossom, cowslip, primrose, lords and ladies, pellitory of the wall, mallow, lily of the valley, bramble, strawberry, flowering rush, wood spurge, wild germander, dandelion, arrow-head. No. 8 monitor has on his post a set of geometrical figures, illustrated by the representation of objects either natural or artificial of the same shape; thus a triangle illustrated by one side of a pyramid, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon, a heptagon, an octagon, a nonagon, a decagon. No. 9 monitor has another set of geometrical definitions on the same principle, as a perpendicular line, a horizontal line, an oblique line, parallel lines, curved lines, diverging or converging lines, an obtuse angle, a circle. No. 10 a different set of geometrical shapes, viz. sociles-triangles, scolene-triangles, rectangle, rhomb, rhomboid, trapezoid, trapeziums, ellipse or oval. Having arrived at No. 11, the class find here the European costumes, viz. Englishman, Frenchman, Russian, Swiss, Italian, German, Scotchman, Welchman, Irishman, Turk, Norwegian, Spaniard, Prussian, Icelander, Dutchman, Dane, Swede, Portugese, Corsican, Saxon, Pole. No. 11 monitor delivers them to No. 12, and there they may find pictures representing Negroes, Otaheiteans, Highlanders, American Indians, East Indians, Laplanders, Greeks, Persians, Sandwich Islanders, Turks, English, Chinese, Dutch, Tartars.

To enter into a thorough explanation of the uses to which such lessons as these may be applied would make a volume of itself, which at present I have no time to write[A]; but it may be necessary, for the sake of teachers generally, to shew the uses to which a few of them may be applied, and leave it to their own ingenuity to go on is a similar manner with the great variety of lessons we have of this description, and which infants are quite competent to learn. Take the European costumes as an example. When the children are thoroughly acquainted with each of the representations, and can name them themselves, or if too young to name them, can point them out if they are named by the teacher, they may then be told that the Englishman is born in a country called England, and that London is the capital, and that capital means the greatest town or city. Care must be taken that every thing is thoroughly explained, and that the pupils understand the meaning of the terms used. You then windup this much by telling the pupils that Englishman means the man, England the country, and London the chief city; that England is the country they live in, if you are teaching English children. That Frenchman means a man that lives in a country called France, which is separated from England by a part of the sea called the English channel; that Paris is the chief town or capital. The teacher may here mention some remarkable events connected with the history of France, and tell the children that France and England have been often fighting against each other, but that they are now at peace, and that we should be as kind and good to Frenchmen as to any other men, because God likes to see all men live friendly with each other. The children are then told that Russian means a man living and born in Russia; that Russia is a country where there is much ice and snow, and which is very cold; that Petersburgh is the chief town, and that the people of Russia drive over the ice and snow in sledges, which are carriages without wheels. That Swiss means an inhabitant of a country named Switzerland, which is almost in the centre of Europe, and has no sea near it; that it is a very pretty country, full of beautiful lakes and mountains; that a lake is a very great pond of water, and that mountains are very high rocky places, and that the tops of the mountains in Switzerland are always covered with snow; that the Swiss people are very brave, and fought very hard for their freedom, that is, that no other people should be masters over them; that the capital or chief town of Switzerland is Berne. When the teacher comes to the Italian, he will say that he is an inhabitant of a country called Italy, which is a very beautiful place; that Rome is the capital, and was once the greatest city in the world. In speaking of the Scotchman, the teacher may tell the children that Scotland is not separated from England by any sea, but the three countries called England, Scotland, and Wales, all form one island, which is entirely surrounded by the sea; that the people who live in the north, and cold parts of Scotland, are called Highlanders, and are very brave and hardy; that Edinburgh is the capital. When the Welchman is under the children's notice, the teacher will tell them that he lives in a pretty country called Wales, which is joined to England, that is, no sea divides them, that the chief town is London, although London is in England and not Wales, because Wales has been governed by the same king as England for many hundred years, and the eldest son of the King of England is called Prince of Wales. When the teacher points out the Irishman, he may tell his class that he lives in an island near England, separated or divided from it by a part of the sea called the Irish Channel; that Dublin is the chief city, and that Ireland is governed by the same queen as England is. Speaking of the German, he may say that he lives in a country of which the chief town is Vienna. He may tell the children that the Turk lives in a country called Turkey; that it is a very warm place, and its chief town is Constantinople; that the Norwegian lives in a cold country called Norway, whose chief town is Christiana; that the Spaniard lives in a country called Spain, the chief town of which is Madrid; that many of the oranges we eat come from Spain; that the Prussian lives in a country called Prussia, the chief town of which is Berlin; that the Icelander lives in a very cold place, called Iceland, which is an island; that it is a place surrounded by water on every side; that there is a great mountain in Iceland which is called a burning mountain, because flames of fire often come out from the top of it. That the Dutchman lives in a country called Holland; that the people of that country are remarkable for being very clean, and that most of the dolls which little English girls play with, are made by children in Holland; that Amsterdam is the chief town or capital. The children are told that the Dane lives in a country called Denmark. The teacher may state that many hundred years back the Danes conquered England, but that a brave English king, called Alfred, drove them all away again; that Copenhagen is the capital or chief town; that the Swede lives in a country called Sweden, and that Stockholm is the chief town; that the Portuguese live in a country called Portugal, the capital of which is Lisbon; that the Corsican lives in an island called Corsica, the capital of which is Bastia; that the Saxon lives in a country called Saxony, the chief town of which is Dresden. In telling the children that the Pole lives in a country called Poland, the chief town of which was Warsaw, the teacher should explain to them that Poland has been conquered by the Russians, and taken from the Poles, and shew how unjust this was of the Russians, and also how the Poles fought very bravely to defend their country, but that the Russians being stronger, and having larger armies, they were at last overcome.

[Footnote A: I have since written a volume for juvenile schools; where the principles are carried out. This can be had of the publisher.]

Having in this manner told the children as simply as possible, a little about each country, the teacher should then tell the principal rivers; thus: The principal rivers of England are, the Thames, the Severn, the Trent, the Mersey. London, the capital of England, is is built on the banks of the River Thames; and ships from all parts of the world sail up this river, to bring us various things which we could not get without sending to other countries for them; such as tea and coffee and sugar. The principal rivers of France are, the Seine and the Rhone; the Seine is the river on which the capital of France, Paris, is built. The principal rivers of Russia are, the Wolga, the Don, the Nieper, the Dwina, and the Vistula. The Wolga is a very great river, being three thousand miles long. The Rhine, which is one of the largest rivers in Europe, rises in Switzerland. The principal rivers of Italy are, the Po, the Arno, and the Tiber; the chief town of Italy, Rome, is built on the banks of the Tiber. Rome was once the greatest city in the world. The principal rivers of Germany are, the Danube, the Rhine, and the Elbe; of Scotland, the Clyde and Tweed; of Ireland, the Shannon, Barrow, Boyne, Suire, and Nore. The capital of Ireland, Dublin, is built on a small river called the Liffey. The principal rivers of Turkey are, the Danube and the Don; of Spain, the Guidalquiver; of Portugal, the Tagus, on which the chief town, Lisbon, is built; and of Saxony, the Iser. In the same manner the children may receive instruction fitted for their tender understanding, concerning the other parts of the globe, always keeping in mind that, unless they are made to comprehend thoroughly what is given to them, it is quite useless to attempt to give them the lessons at all. When giving the lessons on African costumes, the teacher should explain in the simplest manner, that the Egyptian Bey is the chief governor of a country in Africa called Egypt; that Africa is one of the four great parts into which our earth is divided; that the Nile is a great river flowing through Egypt, which, at certain times of the year, overflows its banks, and that this fertilizes the ground, and causes the corn to grow, which, but for this, would be withered with the sun, because but very little rain ever falls in Egypt; that the cause of the Nile overflowing its banks is, the great rains which fall in the countries from whence the Nile flows: that the Ashantee is an inhabitant of another country of Africa, where the people are very ignorant, and do not know as much as the little children of an infant school: that the Algerine lives in a part of Africa called Algiers: the people there are very wicked and cruel, and used at one time to take the ships of every other country that they met on the seas, and make slaves of the people they found in them; but they cannot do so now, because the French have conquered them, and taken all their ships from them: that the Bedouin Arabs are people who rove about from place to place, amongst the great sandy deserts of Africa, and rob travellers who are passing over those deserts: the teacher should explain that these deserts are very large places, covered with sand, and the sun is so hot that no tree or shrub, or grass, will grow there, and there is no water to be had, so that travellers carry water in leathern bottles on the backs of camels; that camels are large animals, much larger than a horse, which are very useful in those warm countries, because they can carry very heavy loads on their backs, and go a great time without water. The Copts woman should be pointed out to the children, and notice should be taken of the large veil before her face. The Mameluke should be pointed out as belonging to a fierce tribe of soldiers. When speaking of the natives of Morocco, it should be mentioned that the Moors at one time had possession of Spain; that the Maltese is a native of an island called Malta; that Cairo (a picture of a native of which is in the lesson) is the chief city of Egypt. That the Bosjesman, native of Coronna, native of Namacqua, Caffree, native of Tamaka and of Ebo, belong to the savage nations of Africa, of which but little is known, who are of a black colour, and go with very little clothes on them, because the country is so warm.

From the lesson supposed to be at No. 12 lesson-post, a good deal of information may be given. The teacher may be thus supposed to address the children, pointing to each picture, as he describes it.

Little children, this is a picture of negroes: they live in Africa, but are often stolen from their own country to be made slaves of. Africa is a very hot part of the world, and the poor negroes are black, and have short black woolly hair, something like the hair on a black sheep; but we must not laugh at them for this; it was God who made them as well as he made you; and those poor negroes are very mild and quiet people, and like to amuse themselves by singing and dancing. You see the negroes in this picture; they are carrying a black lady in a kind of basket, called a palanquin: a pole goes through this, and they hold it on their shoulders. The next picture represents some of the people who live in a country called Otaheite; they are strong, stout people, and very mild and friendly. They are not black like the negroes; their complexion is of a pale brown, with black eyes and very handsome white teeth. The next picture represents Scotch Highlanders: they live in the cold parts of Scotland; they are very strong and healthy, and able to bear cold and hanger very well. They are fond of playing on the bagpipes. This is a picture of American Indians: they live in America, and are of a reddish colour; they build their huts in the thickest forests, as far from the white men as they can. The next is a picture of East Indians: their country is in the warmest part of Asia, and from it comes a great many beautiful things, such as ladies wear for shawls and dresses; there are a great many people in the East Indies, and twenty-five millions are subject to the Queen of England.

The Laplanders live in a very cold country, called Lapland, in which the ground is covered with snow all the year round; they are very happy notwithstanding, for God gives every people means to be happy, if they are good and love him; they have nice little huts to live in, and sledges to travel with, which are drawn by rein-deer—we will read about the rein-deer by and by. The Laplanders are kind to strangers, and are very brave, although they are the smallest people in the world.

This is a picture of Greeks: they were once a very great and powerful people, but afterwards the Turks conquered them; they have now, however, a king of their own.

The Persians, of whom this is a picture, live in a country of Asia called Persia, from whence the most beautiful silks, carpets, leather, gold and silver lace, and pearls, are brought. The Persian women are very handsome, and wear the most beautiful clothes of any women in the world—we should not like them the better for this, for handsome faces and fine clothes will not make people good or happy, unless they try to be so themselves.

This is a picture of the natives of the Sandwich islands: they are a very friendly people, and live together without fighting or quarrelling; they make mats and canoes, and the women make cloth.

The Turks (this is a picture of some of them) are very fine handsome people; they wear very long beards; and they shave their heads and wear white turbans instead of hair; they are very fond of drinking coffee and smoking from great long pipes.

The English are represented in this picture: you are English children—England is a very great country, and the Queen of England has many ships in every part of the world; and a great many places, many thousand miles away, belong to England.

This picture represents the Swiss: they are a very brave, honest, good people, and their country is very beautiful; a great many clocks and watches are made in Switzerland.

This is a picture of the Chinese: they wear very curious dresses; and the ladies in China squeeze their feet very much, in order to make them small, which they think a great beauty. Tea comes from China, and is the leaf of a small plant.

This picture represents the Dutch: they are a very clean and industrious people, and the little children there are never idle.

The last picture represents the Tartars: they live in Asia, and wander about without any fixed dwelling, not staying in one place longer than while it gives them food for themselves and their horses, of which they have a great many. Horses are wild in Tartary.

The reader will at once perceive what a feast is afforded to the young mind in these object lessons; the objects are accurately copied from nature, and the costumes from the best sources, so that the infant mind is expanded by viewing a proper representation of the real thing through the fit organ, the eye. It is astonishing what infants will learn through the sense of seeing, and it is remarkable that our systems of education for young and old, should not have been founded on a knowledge of the high importance of this medium for communication and information; the youngest child may learn to distinguish one object from another to an endless variety, and I could produce children who could point me out a thousand objects, if I called them by their proper names, who perhaps could not themselves name twenty of the objects out of the thousand; by this it will be seen we first give them the object, and language itself follows in due course.

Whenever a clear idea or notion is given to the mind by a picture or object, it is then easy to impart the information that is naturally connected with it; and this will then be most strongly retained, according to the law of association, which is one of the most important principles to be kept in view in imparting instruction to both young and old. Lead on FROM something known TO something unknown, is a golden rule,—a most valuable axiom that all teachers should ever bear constantly in mind. What important lessons may be given in a field, wood, or forest! How much better is the thing itself for a lesson, than the representation of it! And what a class of teachers are wanted for this work? Yet sure I am that in due time the Great God will raise such up from amongst his people, to the glory of His name, and the benefit of succeeding generations. May greater minds than the humble writer of this, be called to work in this blessed vineyard for the good of the species, and for the diminution of crime; and, oh! may they be able to dive into the recesses of the wonderful works of God, to grapple with the difficulties therein found, and bring to light some of the hidden mysteries, for the instruction of mankind!

When this book was first written, thirty-two years ago, some of the ideas were universally scouted, yet I have lived to see the day that the very men who sneered at the views first made known in this book, adopt precisely the same principles, and even go much further that I ever intended, or even thought suitable for infant minds, and quietly puff this off as a new discovery in infant training; so much the better, portions of the public will hear them, and they would not listen to me; and if the end is answered, it is of little consequence through what means that end is gained. It is satisfactory to know that the principles first developed in the infant plan are found equally applicable to older children, and I have had the pleasure of seeing those principles carried out in many schools throughout the country, too numerous to mention individually.

It will be seen from what has been said that the plan of the children marching from one post to the other, is the very thing for infants, as exercising and developing their locomotive powers, a thing exceedingly desirable for young children. The great error of the old infant system, or in other words, the dame-school plan, was the keeping the pupils rivetted to their seats; here they are marching from one place to another, and get ting food for every sense. Take as another example the picture of the trades; the monitor says to his little pupils as they come up. What does a fishmonger sell, the answer is, fishes of many sorts, such as salmon, cod, herring, and mackerel. Q. What does a mason do? A. Cut stones into their proper shapes, polish some sorts, and cut ornaments on others. Q. What does a hatter sell? A. Hats, for men, women, and little children. Q. What does a cooper do? A. Mend casks and make them. Q. What does a butcher mean? A. One that sells beef, mutton, pork, &c. Q. What do they call butchers in Scotland? A. Fleshers. Q. What does a blacksmith mean? A. One that makes different things from iron, and sometimes shoes horses. Q. What does a fruiterer mean? A. A person that sells all sorts of fruits, such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, &c. Q. What does a distiller mean? A. A man that makes rum, brandy, whiskey, and other liquors. Q. What does a grocer mean? A. A man that sells tea, coffee, sugar, spices, and many other things. Q. What does a carpenter mean? A. A man that cuts up wood, makes benches; it was a carpenter made our gallery. Q. What does a turner mean? A. A man who makes snuff-boxes, bed-posts; It was a turner who made the balls on our arithmeticon. Q. What does a tallow-chandler mean? A. A man that buys and sells candles of different sorts. Q. What does milliner mean? A. A person that makes ladies' caps, tippets, and things for little children. Q. What does a dyer mean? A. A man that dyes cloths of different colours. Q. What does a druggist mean? A. One that sells drugs of different kinds, such as nutgalls, alum, bark, &c. Q. What does wheelwright mean? A. A man that makes carts, wheelbarrows, &c. Q. What does a shoe-maker do? A. Makes shoes for men and women and little boys and girls. Q. What does a printer do? A. Print lessons for little children to read; newspapers and books for men to read. Q. What does a coach-maker make? A. Coaches, gigs, omnibuses, cabs, and things of that sort. Q. What does a bookseller do? A. Sells books of different sorts, pictures, paper, sealing-wax, &c. Q. What does a bricklayer do? A. Builds walls, the brick part of houses, &c. Q. What does a linen-draper do? A. Sells linen to make shirts, printed calico to make frocks, and many other things of that kind. Q. What does a cabinet-maker do? A. Makes tables, chairs, and presses, and other things to furnish houses with. Q. What does a brewer do? A. Makes ale and porter. Q. What does a painter mean? A. One who paints insides of houses, doors, window shutters, and such things. Q. What does a bookbinder do? A. Puts covers on books.

These lessons being all supplied by me, more explanation in this place may be unnecessary, but as a further guide to teachers of infant schools, I subjoin a synopsis of a week's course of instruction which has been adopted in many schools.

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TIME.—Mornings. School to assemble at nine o'clock, and to leave at twelve.

Afternoons. School to assemble at two o'clock, and to leave at four in winter, and five in summer.


Morning. When assembled, to offer the appointed prayer, after which a hymn is to be sung; then slates and pencils are to be delivered to the children; after which they are to proceed with their letters and spelling. At half-past ten o'clock to play, and at eleven o'clock to assemble in the gallery, and repeat the picture lessons on natural history after the monitor in the rostrum.

Afternoon. Begin with prayer and hymn as in the morning; picture lessons on Scripture history to be repeated from the lesson-post, and to be questioned on them afterwards in the gallery.


Morning. Usual prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling from the lesson-posts. Play. Gallery; repeat the addition and subtraction tables.

Afternoon. Prayer and hymn. Multiplication table; the monitor asking the question, and the children answering. Reading lessons. Play. Gallery; numeration and spelling with brass figures and letters.


Morning. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Play. Gallery; master to teach geometrical figures and musical characters.

Afternoon. Prayer and hymn. Practice pence and shilling tables. Play. Gallery; master to give lessons on arithmetic. Extempore teaching on men and things, &c. &c.


Morning. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Division, weights, measures, and time, from the rostrum. Play. Gallery; same lessons as Monday morning.

Afternoon. Prayer and hymn. From the lesson-posts epitome of geometry and natural history. Gallery; brass letters and figures. Extempore teaching on men and things, taking care that all such teaching shall be illustrated by substances.


Morning. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Tables in arithmetic, at the master's discretion. Play. Gallery; lessons on geography, maps, globes, &c.

Afternoon. Prayer and hymn. Scripture pictures on the lesson-posts, and questions on them in the gallery.


Morning. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Tables of arithmetic from the rostrum. Play. Gallery; lessons on the transposition frame, and on geometry from the brass instrument. Religious instruction should have a prominent part in the business of every day, and especially so every Saturday morning.

N.B. If visitors wish any particular lessons to be gone through, and the children appear disposed, the master is not bound to adhere to the above rules, neither at any other time, if the children appear particularly disinclined.

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There are a few other matters, on which, before concluding this chapter, I must speak, as claiming the attention of infant school conductors. First attend to


Although we have referred to this before, yet, as it is of considerable importance not only to the children but to those around them, it may not be amiss to take up a little more of the reader's time, and to state the different plans that have been devised, in order to make the children as clean as possible. In one case, a trough was erected, and a pipe provided to convey the water into it; but before it had been up a month, it was found, that instead of answering the end intended, it had quite a contrary effect; for the children dabbled in the trough, and made themselves ten times worse than they were, by wetting themselves from head to foot; besides which, it frequently caused them to take cold, of which the parents complained. Some took their children away without notice; others came and gave the master what they called "a good set down." It was, therefore, thought necessary to forbid the children washing themselves, and to wash all that came dirty. But it was soon found that the dirty children increased so fast, that it required one person's time to attend to them; besides which, it had another bad effect, it encouraged the parents in laziness; and they told me, when I complained of their sending the children to school dirty, "That indeed they had no time to wash their children; there was a trough in the school for that purpose, and the persons who had charge of the school were paid for it, and ought to do it." In consequence of this, the trough was taken away, and it was represented to the parents, that it was their duty to keep their children clean; that unless they did so, they would be sent home to be washed; and if they persisted in sending them without being washed, there would be no alternative left but to dismiss them from the school altogether. This offended some of the parents, and they took their children out of the school, but many afterwards petitioned to have them readmitted. I mention this merely to prevent others, who may be concerned in the establishment of infant schools, from incurring an unnecessary expense, and to shew that the parents will value the school equally as well if you make them wash their children, as if you did it for them.

The plan that we have acted upon to enforce cleanliness, is as follows: As soon as the children are assembled in the school, the monitors cause them to hold out their hands, with their heads up; they then inspect their hands and their faces, and all those who are dirty are desired to stand out, to be examined by the master, who will easily perceive whether they have been washed that morning; if not, they are sent home to be washed, and if the mother has any sense of propriety, she will take care that it shall not often occur. But it may be found, that some have been washed, and been playing with the dirt, when coming to school, which some children are very apt to do; in this case they have a pat on the hand, which generally cures them. There is much trouble at first, to keep the children quite clean; some of their parents are habitually dirty, and in such cases the children will be like them; these will, therefore, require more trouble than others, but they will soon acquire cleanly habits, and, with proper management, become as cleanly as any of the other children. As soon as a child is taken into the school the monitor shows him a certain place, and explains to him, that when he wants to go into the yard, he is to ask him, and he will accompany him there. Of course there are separate accommodations for each sex, and such prudential arrangements made as the case requires, but which it is unnecessary further to particularize.[A]

[Footnote A: This is a subject of the highest importance in moral training, and deserve the serious attention of committees as well as teachers: inattention to these matters, may demoralize every child that enters the school. In many schools throughout the country I have seen great want of attention to this subject, the seats were too high, the circular holes too large, causing fear on the part of the infants, and also bad habits. The seats should be the same height as the seats in the school—six inches, and nine inches high, the diameter of the holes seven inches and nine inches—the teachers should constantly visit these places, inculcate habits of delicacy and cleanliness. Such habits formed in childhood are never forgotten. Superfine dressy teachers, will be too proud, and too high, to attend to these things—but the judicious mother or matron will at once see their importance and act accordingly—"as the twig is bent the tree's inclined."]


It is common for many persons to threaten to put children into the black hole, or to call the sweep to take them away in his bag, when they do not behave as they ought; but the ill effects of this mode of proceeding may be perceived from the following fact. I knew a child, who had been to one of those schools where the children of mechanics are usually sent, called dames' schools, which was kept by an elderly woman, who, it seems, had put this child into the coal-hole, and told him, that unless he was a good boy, the black man would come and take him away; this so frightened the child, that he fell into a violent fit, and never afterwards could bear the sight of this woman. On the mother getting the child admitted into our school, she desired me to be very gentle with him, relating to me all the above story, except that the child had had a fit. About a fortnight after the admission of the child, he came running one day into the school, exclaiming, "I'll be a good boy, master! master! I'll be a good boy." As soon as he caught sight of me, he clung round, and grasped me with such violence, that I really thought the child was mad; in a few minutes after this he went into strong convulsions, and was such a dreadful spectacle, that I thought the child would die in my arms. In this state he remained for about twenty minutes, and I fully expected he would be carried out of the school a corpse. I sent for the mother, but on her arrival I perceived she was less alarmed than myself; she immediately said, the child was in a fit, and that I had frightened him into it. I told her that she was mistaken; that the child had only just entered the school, and I was ignorant of the cause of his fright; but several of my little scholars soon set the matter to rest, by stating the particulars of the fright, which they observed when coming to school. It seems that a man was in the street, who sweeps chimneys with a machine, and just as the little fellow passed him, he called out, "Sweep;" this so alarmed the child, that he thought the man was going to take him, and was affected by his fears in the way I have stated. The child, however, getting better, and the mother hearing what the children said, begged my pardon for having accused me wrongfully, and then told me the whole particulars of his first fright and the woman and the coal-hole. I had the greatest difficulty imaginable to persuade him, that a sweep was a human being, and that he loved little children as much as other persons. After some time, the child got somewhat the better of his fears, but not wholly so. He had but one fit afterwards. This shews how improper it is to confine children by themselves, or to threaten them in the manner described. Many persons continue nervous all their lives through such treatment, and are so materially injured, that they are frightened at their own shadow.

It is also productive of much mischief to talk of mysteries, ghosts, and hobgoblins, before children, which many persons are too apt to do. Some deal so much in the marvellous, that I really believe they frighten many children out of their senses. I recollect, when I was a child, hearing such stories, till I have actually been afraid to look behind me. How many persons are frightened at such a little creature as a mouse, because the nature of that little creature has not been explained to them in their infancy. Indeed, children should have all things shewn them, if possible, that they are likely to meet with: and above all, it should be impressed upon their minds, that if they meet with no injury from the living, it is most certain the dead will never hurt them, and that he who fears God, need have no other fear. It is also common with many persons, to put a disobedient child into a room by itself. I cannot approve of this method, as the child is frequently frightened into quietness without improving his temper in the least; if it be day time it is not so bad, but if it be dark, the consequences are often serious, and materially injure the constitution of the child. The more I reflect upon this subject, the more do I see its impropriety. I would rather use the rod, in moderation, and mercy. I am sure it is better for the disobedient and unruly child, and more according to the dealings of the Creator with us all. I can truly say my punishments, which have not been slight, have done me good. As children we cannot see these things; as men and thinkers, we can. Yea! and kiss the rod.


The circumstance I am about to mention, shews how necessary it is to teach by example as well as precept. Many of the children were in the habit of bringing marbles, tops, whistles, and other toys, to the school, which often caused much disturbance; for they would play with them instead of attending to their lessons, and I found it necessary to forbid the children from bringing anything of the kind. After giving notice, therefore, two or three times in the school, I told them that if any of them brought such things, they would be taken away from them. In consequence of this, several things fell into my hands, which I did not always think of returning, and, among other things, a whistle belonging to a little boy. The child asked me for it as he was going home, but having several visitors at the time, put him off, telling him not to plague me, and he went home. I had forgotten the circumstance altogether, but it appears the child had not; for some time after, while I was lecturing the children upon the necessity of telling truth, and on the wickedness of stealing, the little fellow approached me, and said, "Please, sir, you stole my whistle." "Stole your whistle!" said I; "did I not give it you again?" "No, teacher, I asked you for it, and you would not give it to me." I stood self-convicted, being accused in the middle of my lecture, before all the children, and really at a loss to know what excuse to make, for I had mislaid the whistle, and could not return it to the child. I immediately gave the child a halfpenny, and said all I could to persuade the children that it was not my intention to keep it.

However, I am satisfied that this trifling mistake of mine did more harm than I was able to repair during some time; for if we wish to teach children to be honest, we should never take anything from them without returning it again. Indeed, persons having charge of children can never be too cautious, and should not, on any account whatever, break a promise; for experience has taught me that most children have good memories, and if you once promise a thing and do not perform it, they will pay very little attention to what you say afterwards.


A little girl, whose mother was dead, was often absent from school. She was never at a loss for excuses, but from their frequency I was at last induced to suspect their truth. None of the children knew where she resided; so I was obliged to send the eldest boy in the school home with her, to ascertain whether or not her stories were true. I gave the boy positive directions to make haste back; but, much to my surprise, I saw no more of him for six hours. When he returned, he told me that the little girl refused to shew him where she lived; and had taken him so far, that he at last determined to leave her, but could not find his way back sooner. In the evening I went myself, according to the direction I had entered in the admission-book, but found that the family were removed, and the persons in the house could not tell me where they had gone to reside. I saw nothing of the child for the five following days, when a woman who had the care of her and her little brother in arms, came to inquire the reason why the girl came home at such irregular hours, stating, that sometimes she came home at half-past eleven, at other times not till two, and sometimes at three in the afternoon: in short, often an hour after school was over. I told her that the child was frequently absent, and that it was five days since I had seen her. The woman appeared quite surprised, and told me, that she had always sent the child to school at the regular time; that when she came home before the usual hour, she said her governess had sent all the children home a little sooner; and if she came home after the time, then she said that there had been some ladies visiting the school, and that the children had been kept for their inspection.

Here I must acknowledge, that I have frequently detained children a little while after school-hours, when we have had visitors, but since it furnishes the children with an excuse for going home late, I think it would be better to discontinue the practice; and would hint to those ladies and gentlemen who feel inclined to visit such schools, that they should come between the hours of nine and twelve in the forenoon, or two and four in the afternoon. I have only to observe, that the child I have been speaking of came to the school very regularly afterwards.

There is another subject too important to be passed without notice; I mean the punctual attendance of the pupils. If the teachers are firm, and determined, to secure this, it can be done. In Ireland, where the value of time and punctuality is least understood, the thing was accomplished,—whilst no better lesson can be given to those who have to work for their daily bread, than punctuality. If a child cannot attend school at nine, how can it attend work at six in the morning? Be firm, and the object is gained.


One day when the children were assembled in the gallery, having none of their usual lessons at hand, I took from my pocket a piece of paper, and promised them that if they would answer me every question I put concerning the paper, I would at last make a paper boat. I proceeded in the following manner: "What is this?" "What colour?" "What is its use?" "How made!" "What made of?" &c. These questions being answered according to their different views, and having folded the paper into a variety of forms, and obtained their ideas upon such forms, I proceeded to fulfil my promise of forming it into the shape of a boat; but the children, seeing me at a loss, exclaimed, "Please, sir, you can't do it;" which proved the fact, as I had forgotten the plan, and was obliged to make the confession. "Then, sir," rejoined one of the boys, "you should not have promised."

In the course of my observations I had frequently enjoined the children to make every possible use of their thinking powers, but it appears I had at the same time forgotten to make use of my own, and consequently had been betrayed into a promise which I was not able to perform.

I remember some other instances:

One of the children happened to kick another. The injured party complained to the person who then had the charge of the school, saying, "Please, sir, this boy kicked me." It being time for the children to leave school, the master waved his hand towards the gate through which the children pass, thoughtlessly saying, at the same time, "Kick away;" meaning that the complainant was to take no more notice of the affair, but go home. The complainant, however, returning to the other child, began kicking him, and received some kicks himself. A friend was present, and seeing two children kicking each other, he very naturally inquired the reason. "Please, sir," replied the children, "master told us!" "Master told you," says the gentleman, "that cannot be; I'll ask him." He accordingly inquired into the truth of the affair, and received for answer, "Certainly not." "Yes," said the child, "you did, sir; did not I tell you just now that a boy kicked me?" "Yes," says the master, "you did." "Then, please sir," says the child, "you told me to go and kick away!" The master immediately recollected that he had said so.

This fact shews how improper it is to say one thing to a child and mean another. These children were under the influence of obedience, and in the light of truth, and being in that light, they could see from no other, and very naturally concluded the master meant what he had said.

One day some visitors requested I would call out a class of the children to be examined. Having done so, I asked the visitors in what they would wish the children to be examined; at the same time stating that they might hear the children examined in natural history, Scriptural history, arithmetic, spelling, geography, or geometry. They choose the latter, and I proceded to examine the children accordingly; beginning with straight lines. Having continued this examination for about half an hour, we proceeded to enter into particulars respecting triangles; and having discoursed on the difference between isosceles triangles and scalene triangles, I observed that an acute isosceles triangle had all its angles acute, and proceeded to observe that a right-angled scalene triangle had all its angles acute. The children immediately began to laugh, for which I was at a loss to account, and told them of the impropriety of laughing at me. One of the children immediately replied, "Please, sir, do you know what we were laughing at?" I replied in the negative. "Then, sir," says the boy, "I will tell you. Please, sir, you have made a blunder." I, thinking I had not, proceeded to defend myself, when the children replied, "Please, sir, you convict yourself." I replied, "How so?" "Why," says the children, "you said a right-angled triangle had one right angle, and that all its angles are acute. If it has one right angle, how can all its angles be acute?" I soon perceived the children were right, and that I was wrong. Here, then, the reader may perceive the fruits of teaching the children to think, inasmuch as it is shewn that children of six years of age and under were able to refute their tutor. If children had been taught to think many years ago, error would have been much more easily detected, and its baneful influence would not have had that effect upon society which at this day unfortunately we are obliged to witness.

At another time I was lecturing the children in the gallery on the subject of cruelty to animals; when one of the little children observed, "Please, sir, my big brother catches the poor flies, and then sticks a pin through them, and makes them draw the pin along the table." This afforded me an excellent opportunity of appealing to their feelings on the enormity of this offence, and, among other things, I observed, that if the poor fly had been gifted with the powers of speech like their own, it probably would have exclaimed, while dead, as follows:—"You naughty child, how can you think of torturing me so? Is there not room in the world for you and me? Did I ever do you any harm? Does it do you any good to put me in such pain? Why do you do it, you are big enough to know better? How would you like a man to run a piece of wire through your body, and make you draw things about? Would you not cry at the pain? Go, then, you wicked boy, and learn to leave off such cruel actions." Having finished, one of the children replied, "How can any thing speak if it is dead?" "Why," said I, "supposing it could speak." "You meant to say, sir," was the rejoinder, "dying instead of dead."

It will, of course be understood that in this case I purposely misused a word, and the children being taught to think, easily detected it.


It may, probably, be considered presumption in me, to speak of the diseases of children, as this more properly belongs to the faculty; but let it be observed, that my pretension is not to cure the diseases that children are subject to, but only to prevent those which are infectious from spreading. I have found that children between the ages of two and seven years, are subject to the measles, hooping cough, fever, ophthalmia, ringworm, scald-head, and in very poor neighbourhoods, the itch—and small-pox. This last is very rare, owing to the great encouragement given to vaccination; and were it not for the obstinacy of many of the poor, I believe it would be totally extirpated. During the whole of the time I superintended a school, I heard of only three children dying of it, and those had never been vaccinated. I always made a point of inquiring, on the admission of a child, whether this operation had been performed, and, if not, I strongly recommended that it should be. If parents spoke the truth, I had but few children in the school who had not been vaccinated: this accounts, therefore, for having lost but three children through the small-pox.

The measles, however, I consider a very dangerous disorder, and we lost a great many children by it, besides two of my own. It is preceded by a violent cough, the child's eyes appear watery, and it will also be sick. As soon as these symptoms are perceived, I would immediately send the child home, and desire the parents to keep it there for a few days, in order to ascertain if it have the measles, and if so, it must be prohibited from returning to school until well. This caution is absolutely necessary; as some parents are so careless, that they will send their children when the measles are thick out upon them.

The same may be said with respect to other diseases, for unless the persons who have charge of the school attend to these things, the parents will be glad to get their children out of the way, and will send them, though much afflicted, without considering the ill-effects that may be produced in the school. Whether such conduct in the parents proceeds from ignorance or not, I am not able to say, but this I know, that I have had many parents offer children for admission, with all the diseases I have mentioned, and who manifested no disposition to inform me of it. The number of children who may be sick, from time to time, may be averaged at from twenty to thirty-five, out of two hundred, we have never had less than twenty absent on account of illness, and once or twice we had as many as fifty.

Soon after I first took charge of the establishment, I found that there were five or six children in the school who had the measles; the consequence was, that it contaminated the whole school, and about eight children died, one of my own being of that number. This induced me to be very cautious in future, and I made a point of walking round the school twice every day, in order to inspect the children; and after the adoption of this plan, we did not have the measles in the school.

The hooping-cough is known, of course, by the child hooping; but I consider it the safest plan to send all children home that have any kind of cough; this will cause the mother to come and inquire the reason why the child is sent home; and it can be ascertained from her whether the child has had the hooping-cough or not.

With respect to fever, I generally find the children appear chilly and cold, and not unfrequently they are sick. I do not, however, feel myself competent to describe the early symptoms of this disorder, but the best way to prevent its gaining ground in the school is to send all the children home who appear the least indisposed.

As to the ophthalmia, I can describe the symptoms of that disease, having had it myself, together with the whole of my family. It generally comes in the left eye first, and causes a sensation as if something was in the eye, which pricks and shoots, and produces great pain: the white of the eye will appear red, or what is usually called blood-shot; this, if not speedily attended to, will cause blindness; I have had several children that have been blind with it for several days. In the morning, the patients are not able to unclose their eyes for some time after they are awake. As soon as I observe these appearances, I immediately send the child home; for I have ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the disease is contagious, and if a child be suffered to remain with it in the school, the infection will speedily spread among the children.

As children are frequently apt to burn or scald themselves, I will here insert a method for adoption in such cases. It is very simple, yet infallible; at least, I have never known it to fail. It is no other than the application of common writing ink. One of my own children burnt its hand dreadfully, and was cured by immediately washing it all over with that liquid. Several children burnt their hands against the pipe that was connected with the stove in the school-room, and were cured by the same means. One boy, in particular, took hold of a hot cinder that fell from the fire, and it quite singed his hand; I applied ink to it, and it was cured in a very short time. Let any one, therefore, who may happen to receive a burn, apply ink to it immediately, and he will soon witness the good effects of the application. Thirty-three years' experience has proved to me that stoves in any school are a nuisance: the common fire place is better than heating with hot air, hot water, or stoves of any description that I have yet seen. The grate being low, as at railway stations, is an improvement and answers well. Had theorists seen the white faced dull eyed children that I have seen, where stoves are used, and felt the head aches which I have felt, they would soon banish them from every school.


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I should recommend the adoption of the following resolutions of an intelligent and zealous committee, and that a copy of them be sent to each master and mistress.

"That as this infant school is established for the express purpose of carrying into the fullest effect the system of Mr. Wilderspin, which the committee are convinced is practicable and excellent, the master be desired to make himself perfectly acquainted with it, in its physical, mental, and moral bearings, by a study of Mr. Wilderspin's works on the subject, and particularly of the last and most complete edition.

"That the rules as printed be strictly adhered to by the master. That children who are ill, having hooping-cough, ringworm, or other contagious disease, be refused admission until perfectly restored. That the business of the school begin precisely at the time appointed, and that during the shortest days the signals for leaving school be not given till four o'clock precisely.

"That except during the time given, according to the system, to play, the whole be occupied by the mistress as well as the master in the instruction of the children, and that the plan laid down in Mr. Wilderspin's book, be followed as nearly as possible, so that the apparatus already provided may be gradually brought into action, and the children have all the advantages of the system; the master and mistress so dividing their labour that all the children may be occupied.

"That the master and mistress pay the utmost attention to the children learning to read.

"That when a child is absent a week, the master state the cause to the treasurer, to prevent mistakes as to the payments, and that when a child declines attending or is excluded, immediate notice be given to the secretary of the ladies' committee.

"That the master be desired to go on with the business of the school when visitors who are members of the committee are present, and only to pay particular attention to those who may be strangers, and who require information.

"That all applications from the master be made to the committee through the secretary.

"That all orders from the committee to the teachers be conveyed through the same channel."



Original intention of the gallery—What lessons are adapted for it—Its misapplication—Selection of teachers—Observations—Gallery lessons an a feather—A spider—A piece of bog-turf—A piece of coal—Observations on the preceding lessons—Scripture lessons in the gallery—The finding of Moses—Christ with the doctors—Moral training—Its neglect in most schools—Should be commenced in infancy—Beneficial effects of real moral culture—Ignorance of teachers—The gallery most useful in moral training—Specimen of a moral lesson—Illustrations of moral culture—Anecdotes—Simpson on moral education—Observations—Hints to teachers.

There is no part of the infant system which has been more misunderstood, than the system of giving lessons in the gallery; and hence I have thought it necessary to devote a larger space to the subject, than I did in the former editions of this work. The gallery was originally intended by me, to give the children such lessons as appealed directly to the senses, either orally or by representative objects: thus the teaching arithmetic by the frame and balls, inasmuch as it appealed to the eye as well as to the understanding, was suitable for a gallery lesson. The same observations hold good with respect to a Scripture picture, or the representation of an animal, a tree, or any object that can be presented to the eye. We have also found it very useful in teaching the catechism, or anything that is to be committed to memory, and this part of our plan has proved so useful and successful, that it has been adopted in many schools for older children of both sexes, I mean in the Normal schools of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Corporation Schools of Liverpool, and the government Model Schools at Dublin. In the two latter the arrangements, both in the fittings up of the play-grounds, galleries, and school-rooms, were made under my especial inspection, and I have no doubt that the use of the gallery, when it becomes more generally known in large schools, will become universal.

The taught should see the face of the teacher in these lessons, and the teacher should see the face of the taught: it establishes a sympathy between both to the advantage of each. The face is the index to the mind, and at times shews the intention, even without words. Some animals can read this index: the horse, the dog, the elephant, and many of the higher order of animals. Children can always read the countenance of the sincere, the wise, and the good. Yea! mere infants can. Reader! Don't smile! were this the time and place, I could demonstrate these opinions by facts. This is not a book for controversy and metaphysical disquisition; but for use to teachers. When the children and teachers see each other, as in the gallery, the effect is highly beneficial. This may be proved by any teacher. As to the cause for this effect, it would be out of place to argue it here. I therefore simply state it is true. Sympathy is a power destined to be of use in teaching, and hereafter will be better understood.

Many friends to infant education, and casual visitors, having found these erections in infant schools, have concluded that the children should always be sitting on them, which is a fatal error, and deprives the children of that part of the system which legislates for the exercise of their locomotive powers, such as the spelling and reading lessons, and the method of teaching object lessons, as described in another part of this work: the consequence has been, that the schools have become mere parrot-schools, and the children are restless and inattentive. And this has not been the only evil that has attended a misapplication of the gallery; for the teachers, for want of knowing the system properly, have been at a loss how to occupy the time of the children, and scores of teachers have ruined their own constitutions, and also the constitutions of some of the children, by the perpetual talking and singing, which, I am sorry to say, too many consider to be the sum total of the system: and I may state here, that the children should never be more than one hour at a time, or, at most two hours, during the day, in the gallery. All beyond this is injurious to the teacher, and doubly so to the little pupils. The forenoon is always the best time for gallery lessons; the teacher's mind is more clear, and the minds of the children are more receptive. After the children have taken their dinner they should be entertained with the object lessons, a small portion of spelling and reading, and the rest of the afternoon should be devoted to moral and physical teaching in the play-ground, if the weather will at all permit it. The more you rob your children of their physical education to shew off their intellectual acquirements, the more injury you do their health and your own; and in the effort to do too much, you violate the laws of nature, defeat your own object, and make the school a hot-bed of precocity, instead of a rational infants' school for the training and educating infants. I have been blamed, by writers on the infant system, for that which I never did, and never recommended; I have been made answerable for the errors and mis-conceptions of others, who have not troubled themselves to read my writings; and, in their anxiety to produce something new and original, have strayed from the very essential parts of the plan, and on this account I am charged by several writers with being unacquainted with the philosophy of my own system. I thought three-and-thirty years ago that if I could arrest public attention to the subject, it was as much as could be expected. I knew very well at that time that a dry philosophical detail would neither be received or read. My object was to appeal to the senses of the public by doing the thing in every town where practicable. By this method I succeeded, where the other would have failed, but it by no means followed that I was unacquainted with the philosophy of my own plans, merely because I preferred the doing of the thing to the writing about it. Believing, however, that the time has now arrived, and that the public mind is better prepared than it was then, I have thought I might venture to go a little more into detail, in order to remove some well founded objections, which, but for this reason, would not have existed. The infant mind, like a tender plant, requires to be handled and dealt with carefully, for if it be forced and injudiciously treated during the first seven years of its existence, it will affect its whole constitution as long as it lives afterwards. There are hundreds of persons who will not believe this, and those persons will employ mere boys and girls to teach infants. Let them do so if they please; I simply protest against it, and merely give it as my opinion that it is highly improper to do so. If ever infant schools are to become real blessings to the country, they must be placed under the care of wise, discreet, and experienced persons, for no others will be fit or able to develop and cultivate the infant faculties aright. I have felt it necessary to make these remarks, because in different parts of the country I have found mere children employed as school-masters and school-mistresses, to the great detriment of the young committed to their charge, and the dishonour of the country that permits it. No wise man would put a mere child to break his colts; none but a foolish one would employ an inexperienced boy to break in his dogs; even the poultry and pigs would be attended by a person who knew something about them; but almost any creature who can read and write, and is acquainted with the first rules of arithmetic, is too frequently thought a fit and proper person to superintend infants. I know many instances of discarded servants totally unfit, made teachers of infants, merely to put them in place; to the destruction of the highest and most noble of God's creatures! which I contend infants are. To expect that such persons can give gallery lessons as they ought to be given, is expecting what will never, nor can take place. The public must possess different views of the subject; more rational ideas on the art of teaching must be entertained, and greater remuneration must be given to teachers, and greater efforts made to train and educate them, to fit them for the office, before any very beneficial results can be seen; and it is to produce such results, and a better tone of feeling on the subject, that I have thus ventured to give my opinion more in detail. Efficient gallery lessons—efficient teachers must be made. They do not at present exist in large numbers, and can only be made by a suitable reward being held out to them, and by their being placed under the superintendence of experienced persons acquainted with the art. The art of teaching is no mean art, and must, sooner or later, take its proper rank amongst the other sciences. It is a science which requires deep study and knowledge of human character, and is only to be learned like all other sciences, by much perseverance and practice. In another work, on the education of older children, I have given some specimens of gallery lessons; in this I shall endeavour to give a few specimens of what I think useful lessons for infants, and shall also try to clothe them in language suited to the infant apprehensions; and I sincerely hope they may shew in a plain manner the method of giving this species of instruction to the children, and that teachers who were before ignorant of it, may be benefitted thereby. I shall not pretend to give my opinion as to whether I have succeeded, but will leave this point entirely to the judgment and candour of my readers; for I know by experience that it is a very difficult thing to put practice into theory; and although this may seem paradoxical, yet I have no doubt that many have experienced the very same results when trying to explain theoretically on paper what they have with ease practised a thousand times.

These oral lessons on real objects ought to be given in pure, simple, and plain language, level to the understanding and capacity of children. It may be well at times to use words of a more difficult or scientific character; but these should always have the proper explanation given; the words used most frequently in common life, in ordinary and proper conversation, ought to be most strongly impressed on their memories. It may, perhaps, be retorted on me—why then teach the difficult and scientific names of geometrical figures. The answer is very simple. Most of them have no other, and where they have I always give them also, as sloping, slanting, inclined, for oblique. The geometrical figures are the elements of all forms, and the simplest objects which can be presented to the young. I have found them always learned with the greatest ease and pleasure. Pestalozzi, I have understood, was led to the use of them by observing the wants of the young mind, in a similar manner that I was myself. This is, therefore, one of the many coincidences in thought and discovery by minds wholly independent of each other, which have been directed to the same subjects. This is an evitable result. If two men look at the moon, both must see that it is round, bright, and mottled; and if two minds far apart, turn their attention to similar subjects, the probability is that their views will coincide. The most powerful mind will of course make the deepest and simplest discovery.

Object lessons should be given chiefly on such things as fall under more constant observation and are daily coming before the sight, and then useful knowledge will be accumulated, and frequently reimpressed upon the memory by the seeing of the objects.


We will suppose the children all properly seated, the little girls on one side of the gallery and the little boys on the other, as represented on the plan-plate. If the morning is fine and clear, a lesson may be given on an object that the children are not frequently in the habit of seeing; but should the weather be hazy, and the atmosphere heavy, then a lesson must be given on some object which they all frequently see, say, for example, a feather. The feather must be held up in the hand, or placed in a small niche on the top of a pointer, so that every child will see it, and it must be moved about in various directions to arrest their attention. The first lesson should be pure development, which is to get every idea from the children relative to the object before you. Explain to them yours; as for example,

"What is this?" The universal shout will be, "A feather." You may then ask them, What are its uses? Some little creatures will say, to blow about; others will say, to cover birds; others will say, to stuff pillows and beds to sleep upon. Having got all the information out of them you can in their own simple language, you have acted according to nature's law, and it is now your turn to infuse additional information into their minds, and, give them the benefit of your superior knowledge; which may be done as follows:—You have told me that feathers are useful to cover birds, it was for this that they were made by God; they keep the birds warm just in the same way as your clothes keep you from being cold; and as the poor birds cannot make themselves clothes as men can, God has given them feathers that they may not be cold when the bad weather comes. The feathers are useful to the birds also in flying; the long feathers in a bird's wing keep him in the air, which he could not fly through if he was covered with any thing else, because feathers are very light. Seven of the large feathers out of the great eagle's wing would not weigh more than two halfpennies. The wings of a bird make him able to fly, and the tail guides him through the air, just as you may see the men steer boats with the rudder; and if you pulled the feathers off his tail, he would not be able to fly near so straight or fast as when they are on. When the rain falls on the feathers, they are never soaked through with it as a piece of rag would be if you threw water on it, because they are covered with a sort of oil which does not let in the water. If you ever look at a duck dive into the water, you can see it when it comes up quite dry; but if you dipped you head into the water it would wet it all over. When little birds, such as the sparrow and canary, come out of the egg, they have no feathers on, but the old ones cover them with their wings to keep the cold away, and the feathers soon grow, and then they can fly away and find food and make nests for themselves; but large birds, such as the goose, turkey, hen, and duck, have a sort of soft down on them when they come out of the shell, and little ducks will go and swim as soon as they are hatched, as I suppose some of you have seen.

Some birds' feathers are much prettier than others: the goose has not such pretty feathers as the swan, nor the swan as the peacock; but we must not think ill of the goose for this, for its flesh is better to eat than either the peacock or swan. I am sure many of you little children like roast goose. The peacock has very pretty feathers indeed, and so has the pheasant, and the drake, and the cock; but some birds that live in countries many hundred miles away from this, have much prettier than any bird that lives in this country. This feather that we have for our lesson is the feather of a goose; it is not very pretty, but if we examine it well we shall find it is very curious, and all the men in the world could not make one like it. Goose feathers are the most useful; the small ones make stuffing for pillows and beds, and the large ones make pens to write with. Birds change their feathers often; they drop off and they get new ones; this is called moulting.

Having thus given the children as much information on the subject as they will be likely to be able to digest properly, you may then get it back from them by question and answer; as for instance

Q. What have we been talking about? A. Birds' feathers. Q. Do they do the birds any good? A. Yes, keep them warm. Q. What more good? A. Make them able to fly. Q. Who gives the birds feathers to make them warm? A. God. Q. Are feathers very heavy? A. No, very light. Q. What is the reason that they are very light? A. That they may fly easily. Q. What part of the body does a bird fly with? A. Its wings. Q. Is no other part useful in flying? A. Yes. Q. Do you remember what part? A. Its tail. Q. Of what use is its tail? A. To guide it. Q. What do you mean by guiding it? A. Turning it any way it wants to go. Q. What is the reason that birds' feathers do not get all full of wet when the rain falls on them? A. Because there is an oily juice that makes the rain fall off. Q. When little birds, such as sparrows and robins, come out of the eggs, have they got feathers? A. No, they are naked. Q. Are they very long naked? A. No, in a few days the feathers grow. Q. Is it not curious that the cold does not kill the little birds while they are naked? A. So it would, only the old ones sit over them and keep them warm. Q. Are ducks and turkeys and hens naked when the come out of the shell? A. No. Q. What are they covered with? A. A sort of down. Q. Do you know of any bird that has very pretty feathers? A. Yes, the peacock. Q. Is it prettier than the goose? A. Yes. Q. Is it so useful? A. No. Q. What do the goose feathers make? A. The feathers in the quill make pelts? Q. What do the small ones make? A. They make stuffing for pillows and beds. Q. Where do the prettiest birds live? A. In very warm places, far away from this. Q. Do the same feathers always remain on a bird? A. No, they drop off, and new ones come. Q. What is this called? A. Moulting.

Such lessons as this will never be forgotten by the little ones. They will learn to adore the great God at the sight of any thing he has made. It is hoped they learn to love to read Nature's book when they grow older, as every correct notion obtained by a child, through a natural object, which it is frequently accustomed to meet with, can never be entirely effaced; and what is more, it prepares the way, at some future time, for a larger amount of knowledge as to God's revealed will.

A spider, a living specimen of which may be easily procured, may be made a very instructive gallery lesson; it may prevent the fears and foolish prejudices against ugly yet harmless insects, which often remain through life. Part of a bush may be procured with a real web and spider upon it, so that its beautiful and highly curious web may be also exhibited to the children, its uses may be also pointed out, and a short history of the little animal's habits may be given, but not before their opinions have been taken on the object, which may be done in a similar manner as that which we pointed out in the former lesson, and then the teacher may proceed thus:

You have told me that this little creature is called a spider, and some of you think it very ugly, and say you are afraid of it, but sensible children will not be frightened at a spider, because they will remember that they are very harmless little things, and have not got a sting as the wasp and bee have. They are very ugly, to be sure, but every ugly insect is not to be called a nasty creature, for some are very useful, notwithstanding their not being as handsome as others; and spiders are very useful too, although very few people know how to make use of them; but they little think that the poor little insect which they brush off the wall, and trample under their feet, can tell them what weather they are going to have, as sure, and surer than a weather-glass. When the weather is going to be fine it peeps its head out of its hole, and stretches out its legs; and the farther its legs and head are out, the longer will the fine weather stay. When the weather is going to be very bad it goes farther back; and when very dreadful and stormy weather is going to come, it turns its back to the door of its hole and its head inside. In winter, when frost and snow is going to commence, they make their webs very fast, and by this you may know the frosty weather is coming; so you see, children, that spiders may be useful to know what kind of weather we shall have.

Spiders are very cunning; they live on flies; but they could never catch them, only they are able to weave a strong web, which they do in a place where the flies often come; and when a poor fly gets into the web, the spider runs out and soon kills it, and then drags it up to his den, where he eats it at his ease, and hides the wings and skin, that the other flies may not see them; but if an enemy stronger than itself comes to his web, the spider remains in his hole till the danger is all over. Some spiders that live in countries far away are a great deal larger and uglier than our spiders; but we need not be ever afraid of a spider, because they can neither bite nor sting us, and are very curious insects. Q. What have I been telling you about? A. The spider. Q. Are you afraid of it? A. No, you told us it would do us no harm. Q. Are spiders very ugly? A. They are. Q. Should we think badly of them for this? A. No. Q. Who made the spider? A. God. Q. Does he not make every animal, whether handsome or ugly? A. Yes. Q. Can spiders be of use? A. They will tell us what weather we are going to have. Q. When it is going to be fine what do they do? A. They put their legs and head out of their hole. Q. When it is going to be bad weather what do they do? A. They turn their heads round and go into their holes. Q. When the weather is going to be very cold and frosty what do they do? A. They build their webs very fast. Q. What do they live upon? A. Flies. Q. How do they catch them? A. By making webs. Q. When a fly gets into their web what do they do? A. They kill it and eat it. Q. Are the spiders in other countries larger than ours? A. Yes, in some places they are much larger and uglier. Q. Who teaches the spider to make its web? A. God. Q. Could any man in the world make a spider's web? A. No, no one could do it.

The teacher may then add thus:—Thus you see, little children, that every living thing has some merit of its own, and can do many things which we cannot do, although God has given us the means to become so much wiser than they; and be sure you are not frightened at them, nor put them to unnecessary pain. Some other day I will tell you what is the shape of the spider's web, and shew you what a number of regular figures the spider's web is composed of.

Almost every object, however simple it may be, will form an instructive gallery lesson; thus for example, you may take a piece of bog-turf, and after submitting it to the inspection of the infants, you may inquire, What is this? If it be in a country where turf is used, a general exclamation will inform you of its name; if not, you may find a better and more familiar object for your lesson. When you have got the name, you may then ask its uses, and will soon find that the children are well acquainted with them. You may then proceed to give your own information on the subject in something like the following words, taking care that you use no word that the children do not themselves understand, or that you have not explained to them.

Little children, look at what I hold. You have told me it is a piece of bog-turf, and it is used to make fires. In Ireland turf is more used to make fires than coal, because it is very plentiful there, and many of the poor people in Ireland build their houses of it, and when they keep them well mended and covered, they are very warm and comfortable, and they burn good turf fires in their turf houses; but some of them are lazy, and do not keep their turf houses mended, so the rain comes in, and they are very miserable, and so will all idle lazy people be. I hope no little child here will be lazy, Now I will tell you where they get all this turf, they dig it out of the bogs. There are bogs in England; they call them mosses or fens, and in Scotland there are bogs, but the bogs in Ireland are much more plentiful. Some of them are so very large that you cannot see across them, and a great many birds live amongst them, such as wild ducks, and geese, and cranes, and herons, and snipe, all of which I will tell you about some other time. Those great bogs are very wild, lonesome, dreary places; no person can live on them, because they are so wet and soft, and they are full of great deep holes with water in them, which are called bog holes, and if any person fell in they would be drowned. Sometimes in the middle of this great bog you will see a pretty green island, where the land is firm and strong, and the grass is nice and sweet, so that the poor people make a dry path across the wet bog to these islands, that they may drive their cows, and goats, and horses to feed there; and some of these islands are very pretty places, and look so green in the centre of the black bog. Those bogs which are now such wet, black, nasty places, were once forests of great trees, as large as any you children ever saw, and pretty bright rivers ran through those forests, and nice birds sang in the branches, and great stags eat the grass underneath; we will read about the stag at some other time. This was many hundred years ago, and there were very few people living then in Ireland, and by degrees, when the trees got very old, they began to fall down into the rivers and stopped them up, so that the water could not flow on, and the rivers overflowed all the nice forests, and the trees all fell, so that when some hundred years passed they were all down, and the branches rotted, and the grass and clay became wet, like sponge, and the whole of the nice shady forests of great trees became what we call bogs, and the remains of those pretty branches and leaves, where the birds used to sing so sweetly, has become turf, like this piece which we have for a lesson; and when men are cutting this turf out, they often find the great trunks of those trees, that many hundred years ago were so green and beautiful, quite black and ugly, but still so hard that they can scarcely be cut, and these old trees are called bog-oak, and the cabinet-maker buys them and makes them into beautiful chairs, and tables, and presses, and many other things, and they are quite black, and when polished you little children might see your faces in them. Thus you see, my little children, that there is nothing which God has made which is not very wonderful and curious, even this piece of bog-turf, which you would not have heard about if you did not come to the infant school to learn about so many useful and curious things.

This will perhaps be enough of information for one lesson; and having thus infused it in an agreeable form into their minds, you may proceed in the manner before mentioned to get it back from them, in order to impress it more firmly on their understandings; and if this be always done in the proper manner, they will become as familiar with the subject, and learn it as quickly as they would the tissue of nonsense contained in the common nursery tales of "Jack and Jill," or, "the old woman and her silver penny," whose only usefulness consists in their ability to amuse, but from which no instruction can be possibly drawn; beside which, they form in the child's mind the germ of that passion for light reading which afterwards, in many instances, prevents an application to any thing solid or instructive. Being in themselves the foundation stone on which a huge and useless mass of fiction is piled in after years, the philosophical mind will at once perceive the advantage of our system of amusement mingled with instruction, and perceive that upon its simple basis a noble structure may be afterwards raised; and minds well stored with useful lore, and capable of discerning evil in whatever shape it presents itself, and extracting honey from every object, will be farmed, which, when they become numerous, will cause a glorious change in the moral world, the first germ of which will be traced to the properly managed gallery lessons of an infant school. Having asked the children if they are tired, the teacher, if he receives an answer in the negative, may thus proceed:—

Q. What have we been hearing about? A. Turf. Q. What is the use of turf? A. To make fires. Q. What other use is sometimes made of it? A. To build houses. Q. Where do they build turf houses? A. In Ireland. Q. Are they not very cold? Q. No; if they are kept mended, they are not. Q. What do you call people, when they like to sleep in the cold rather than mend their houses? A. Lazy. Q. Is it bad to be lazy? A. Yes; very bad. Q. What do we call it besides being lazy? Q. Being idle. Q. Are idle people very happy? A. No; they are always miserable. Q. Right; and I hope no little children will be ever idle; they should always try to be useful, and do all they can to help their friends. Now tell me, where is the turf got From? A. From bogs. Q. What are they called in England? A. Mosses and fens. Q. Are the bogs in England larger than in Ireland? A. No; the Irish bogs are the largest. Q. What animals live in the bogs? A. Some sorts of birds. Q. Do men and women live in them? A. No. Q. Why not? A. They are too wet and soft. Q. What very dangerous places are in some parts of them? A. Bog-holes. Q. What are they? A. Deep holes full of water. Q. What did I tell you were in some parts of these bogs? A. Nice green islands. Q. Are they of any use? A. Yes; the people put cows and horses to feed on them. Q. How do they get across the bog? A. They make a kind of rough road over to them. Q. What do they cut the turf with? A. A sort of spade with two sides. Q. What is this called? A. A Slane. Q. When the turf is cut, what do they do next? A. Put it in heaps to dry. Q. What were those great bogs many hundred years ago? A. Beautiful forests of fine large trees. Q. What flowed through those forests? A. Nice bright rivers. Q. What sang in the trees? A. Pretty birds. Q. What eat the grass? A. Fine large stags and deer. Q. How did those beautiful places become ugly black wet bogs? A. The trees, when they got old, fell into the rivers and stopped them up. Q. What did this cause? A. The water flowed over the banks. Q. What harm did this do? A. It made all the nice grass wet and marshy. Q. What more? A. It rotted the roots of the trees. Q. What happened then? A. They all fell down. Q. In some hundred years, what did all those forests become? A. Great bogs. Q. Are any of the trunks or bodies of those old trees ever found? A. Yes; many hundreds are yet far under the bogs. Q. Are they of any use? A. Yes; they are useful to make chairs, tables, and presses. Q. What colour are they? A. As black as a piece of coal. Q. When they are polished, do they look nice? A. Yes; so bright you can see your face in them. Q. What is this wood called? A. Bog-oak. Q. Will you all try to remember this lesson? A. We will. Teacher. That is right; for little children should always remember the pretty things that their teacher takes such trouble to tell them.

In places where coal is most burned, a piece of it may be made the medium of a very useful and instructive lesson, being so familiar an object, their attention will be arrested by its being made the subject of a lesson; and their curiosity aroused to know every thing about it. When the teacher asks what is this, the simultaneous shout, of "a piece of coal," will convince him that he has arrested their attention; and a few questions will exhaust their stock of information on the subject—they will tell him its uses are to make fires to boil up their dinners, &c. &c. He may then proceed as follows:—You see, little children, this piece of coal; look at it attentively; it is black and shining; and you all know will burn very quickly. The places from whence all coal is brought are called coal mines; the men who dig it out of the ground, and the ships that carry it over the sea, are called colliers, and the place where the coals are got is called a colliery. The coal mines are deep holes made very far under the ground, in order to get at the coal; some of them go under the sea. The colliers live a great part of their life, in those dark holes, in order to get us coal to make us fires to dress our food, and very often are killed, either by the falling in of the roof from above, or from a sort of air called fire-damp, which, if touched with any fire, will blow up like gunpowder, and will kill any person that is near it; the poor colliers are also often smothered by the bad air that is in those damp, dark holes; so you see, little children, what dangers they go through, in order to get us coal, which we could very badly do without.

How very good God is to us; he made this coal under the earth that we might have nice fires to dress our food, and warm ourselves by in cold weather; we should be very thankful to him for all his great blessings, and should never do anything to make him angry with us; he is very sorry when he sees a little child naughty, because he has done every thing to make us happy, and we never can be so if we are naughty and bad. Bad boys and girls are never happy, and God does not love them when they are so, and it is very sad to make God angry with us.

Coal is very useful for other things besides making fires to dress our food, and to warm us. Many things that are very useful could not be made without it. The gas that lights the streets is made from coal, and when the gas is taken from it what is left is called coke, which makes a very bright warm fire.

The teacher that properly enters into the spirit of these lessons, may find in the simplest objects, a never-ending source of pleasure and instruction for his infant pupils. No person who is not qualified to give proper and really useful gallery lessons is by any means fit for a teacher of infants; to learn the mere routine of an infant school is not very difficult, but this will be of no avail if the teacher have not qualifications of a much higher order, which will enable him continually to pour instruction clothed in simple language, into the minds of his pupils; simplicity is the life and soul of gallery teaching; without this, the breath is wasted, and time is spent in vain. To teach infants we must reduce our language to their tender capacities, and become, in idea and words, one of themselves. Having given the children your information on a piece of coal, you now proceed to get it back, as follows

Q. Little children, what have we been speaking about? A. About coal. Q. What colour is it? A. Black. Q. Is it anything besides? A. Yes; shining. Q. What are the places called from whence coal is got? A. Coal-mines. Q. What are the men that dig it out of the ground and the ships that carry it over the sea called? A. Colliers. Q. What is the place called where the coal pits are made? A. A colliery. Q. What are coal pits? A. Deep holes dug to get at the coal. Q. Are the colliers in danger down in these deep pits? A. They are. Q. From what? A. From fire-damp? Q. What is it? A. A sort of air that blows up like gun-powder. Q. From what more are they in danger? A. The roofs falling in. Q. From what more? A. From bad air which often smothers them. Q. What is made from coal to light the streets? A. Gas. Q. What is coal called after the gas has been taken from it? A. Coke. Q. Does coke make a good fire? A. Yes; very bright and strong. Q. Who made the coal? A. God. Q. What should we be to him for it? A. Very thankful. Q. How can we shew we are thankful? A. By being very good. Q. Is God glad to see a child naughty? A. No; he is very sorry. Q. Does he love naughty children? A. No; he does not. Q. Are naughty children happy? A. No; very unhappy. Thus every lesson may be made not only a vehicle for conveying instruction, but also of instilling into the infant mind a reverence, a sense of gratitude and love towards that great Being who called us all into existence; this should be never lost sight of, in giving the child those primary sentiments, reverence and gratitude towards its God, you lay a basis on which doctrinal religion may be afterwards built with more advantage. The child thus early trained in such feelings, conveyed in a manner so admirably adapted to its tender mind, can scarcely fail, unless it possesses a heart of great natural depravity, of becoming a good man, and it is thus that infant schools may become a great and lasting blessing to the country. But where this is overlooked—where the vital principle of the infant system is rejected, and the mere mechanical parts alone retained, as to any great and lasting benefit, it will be a complete and unhappy failure. That the grand object of the infant system may be accomplished, namely, of raising up a generation superior to the last, both in religious, moral, and intellectual acquirements, an immense caution and great experience in the selection of teachers is required; till proper teachers are universally provided the infant system will never be really successful: success does not merely consist in universal adoption and extension, if it did it would be now really so. But another thing is wanting before it can be called successful, that is, it must be understood.

None can understand it but thinkers, and deep thinkers, and thinkers in the right direction. Merely to glance around and gather scraps of knowledge from the various, "ologies" in existence, which the "march of intellect" has brought into being, and which were unknown to our forefathers; and then to force them on the young memory at random, may be to teach what was not before taught, but it is not to display any new method of teaching; any more efficient way of communicating knowledge. Those who would truly understand the infant system, must think for themselves, and observe the workings of the young mind, mark the intellectual principles which first develope themselves, strive to understand the simple laws of mental action; and all this that they may know how to teach in accordance with them. When this is fairly done, perhaps the whole that is recorded in this book, may be thought more valuable than it is at present, and be found a not unworthy subject to devote a whole life to become acquainted with and elucidate both practically and theoretically. Others then will, perhaps, not be quite so audacious in unjust plagiarisms. When Columbus had made the egg stand on an end all others could then do it. When he had discovered America, every one said they might have done it also. All great and important truths are simple, and when presented to the mind, although unknown before, seem as if they had been well known, there is such an accurate consistency between the mind and them. This leads me to suppose that there is simple and useful truths in my volumes, as every one seems to take them for their own. I can only say that they have cost me many and many an hour of close observation, and deep and independent thinking. I have devoted my whole life for the good of others, and have injured myself and family, that I might do so. To rescue little children from vice and misery, and to have them placed under physical, intellectual, moral, and religious discipline, has been the delight of my heart, and the object of my life. After this labour, to have my inventions pirated, my plans made use of in part, and in the rest spoken against; to have others to reap the fields that I have sown, and at the same time traduce and injure me; to be thus thrust out as it were from my rightful employment, and left in comparative obscurity as old age begins to draw on; requires a spirit stronger than that of man, and a heart more than human, not to feel it, and feel it deeply. I care little for myself, but regret most to see spurious systems of infant education palmed upon the public by ignorant persons, and thus deprive them of a great benefit which they might possess.

Facts recorded in Scripture may be given orally as gallery lessons, taking care to exhibit some picture representing the subject proposed for the lesson—take, for example, the finding of Moses—which represents the daughter of Pharaoh coming down to bathe with her maidens, and also the infant Moses in the ark, cradle, or boat, which was made for the purpose. The subject is then to be propounded to the children as follows, and the teacher is to take care to repeat it clearly and distinctly in short sentences, and to be careful that all the pupils repeat it as distinctly after him; by thus means the essence of the story is infused into the minds of the children, with the addition of their being taught to repeat all the words distinctly and properly, which will assist their pronunciation very much when they begin to read the lesson described in another part of this work.

"And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river, and her maidens walked along by the river's side, and when she saw the ark among the flags she sent her maid to fetch it, and when she had opened it she saw the child, and behold the babe wept. And she had compassion on him; and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go; and the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages; and the woman took the child and nursed it, and the child grew, and she brought hum unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son, and she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."—Exodus ii.

Q. What does this picture represent? A. The finding of Moses. Q. Who came down to wash herself at the river? A. Pharaoh's daughter. Q. Who was Pharaoh? A. The king of Egypt. Q. What is Egypt? A. A country in Africa. Q. What is Africa? A. A part of the earth on which we live. Q. Where did her maidens walk? A. They walked along by the river's side. Q. When Pharaoh's daughter saw the ark amongst the flags, what did she do? A. She sent her maid to fetch it. Q. And when she opened it, what did she see. A. She saw the child. Q. What was the ark? A. A sort of boat made of rushes, such as grow in the river. Q. Would not the water get into this? A. No; it was kept dry inside by pitch and slime. Q. What were the flags that the ark was among? A. A sort of plant that grows in rivers. Q. Did the child laugh? A. No; it wept, and she had compassion on him. Q. And what did she say? A. This is one of the Hebrews' children. Q. What did his sister say to Pharaoh's daughter? A. Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women? Q. What is meant by his sister? A. The sister of Moses who stood to watch what would become of him. Q. What did she ask to call a nurse for? A. To nurse the child. Q. What did Pharaoh's daughter say? A. Go. Q. Who did the maid fetch? A. The child's mother. Q. When she came what did Pharaoh's daughter say to her? A. Take this child away and nurse it for me. Q. And what did she say she would give her? A. Her wages. Q. Did the woman take the child? A. Yes; and nursed it. Q. What became of the child? A. It grew, and she brought it unto Pharaoh's daughter, and it became her son. Q. What name did she give him? A. She called his name Moses. Q. What for? A. Because she drew hum out of the water. Q. Look at this picture, what is the girl holding over Pharaoh's daughter's head? A. A sort of umbrella. Q. What is she holding it up for? A. To keep away the heat of the sun. Q. Were there slaves in those days? A. Yes. Q. Is the little girl holding the umbrella meant to represent a slave? A. Yes. Q. Do you know what a slave is? A. A person who is taken from his home and made to work for nothing and against his wills.

Christ with the doctors in the temple, forms, when given as explained, a good gallery lesson—thus:

"And it came to pass that after those days she found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions; and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him they were amazed, and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business. And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them; but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart: and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."—Luke ii. 46-52.

Q. Where did they find him? A. In the temple. Q. Sitting in the midst of whom? A. Of the doctors. Q. What was he doing there? A. Hearing and asking them questions. Q. And they were astonished at his, what? A. Understanding and answers. Q. What did Jesus' mother say unto him? A. Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Q. What more did she say? A. Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Q. What did Jesus say unto her? A. He said, how is it that ye sought me? Q. Did he say anything more? A. Yes; wist ye not that I must be about my father's business. Q. What is the meaning of wist ye not? A. Know ye not. Q. When Jesus went with them, where did they come to? A. To Nazareth? Q. What is Nazareth? A. A town in Asia. Q. His mother kept those sayings, where? A. In her heart. Q. In what did Jesus increase? A. In wisdom and stature. Q. What do you mean by increasing in stature? A. Growing larger.

Many books of scripture stories have been written for children, but it is far best to select simple and suitable passages from the sacred volume, and have them properly illustrated by coloured plates. By this method the children become acquainted with the very letter of scripture. Written stories often leave very wrong impressions; and the history of David and Goliah has been given in an infant school, so that it would make an excellent counterpart to Jack, the giant killer. Surely such things ought never to be! Abundance of historical portions, full of moral and religious instruction, and such as are calculated from their simplicity and beauty, to deeply impress the minds of children, can be selected from both Testaments; but the miracles and parables of our Saviour constitute the richest store.


One of the grand aims of the infant system was intended to improve the system of moral training. The great deficiency in our systems of education, with respect to moral training, is truly lamentable, from the highest down to the lowest schools in the land. There is room for immense improvement in this matter, it is hardly possible to visit a school and witness proper efforts made on this important subject; and never will education produce the glorious effects anticipated from it, until this subject is legislated for and well understood by the public; and I pray to God that he will enable me to use arguments in this chapter to prove effective in the minds of my readers, so as to induce them to co-operate with me to produce another state of things. In these days there is much said about education; it has at last arrested the attention of parliament; and through them, the government, and, as it should be, through the government, the sovereign. Thus is truly encouraging and will act as a stimulus to practical men to develop a system workable in all its parts, and thus carry out the views and benevolent intentions of the legislature. Infant education, however, must be the basis, this is beginning at the right end; if errors are committed here the superstructure is of little avail. The foundation of moral training must be laid in infancy, it cannot be begun too soon, and is almost always commenced too late. Mere infants can understand the doing as they would be done by; no child likes to be deprived of its play-things, his little toys, or any thing which he considers his property; he will always punish the aggressor if he can, and if he cannot he will cry, or put himself in a passion, or seek aid from his parents, or any other source where he thinks he may get justice done to him. Little children have beautiful ideas on this subject, and would have, if properly trained, correct notions as to the rights of property; to teach them to respect the property of others, and even to respect themselves, is far preferable to cramming their memories with good rules in theory; this was the old plan; we have proof that it has not worked well. The new plan must operate upon the will, it must influence the heart of the child; this is the Scripture plan, which continually refers to the heart, and not so much to the head. Every opportunity must be allowed the child to develop its character; to do this it must be associated with its fellows; if the child is a solitary being, his faculties cannot be drawn out, it is in society only they can be beneficially acted upon, and it is in the company of its fellows, that it will shew its true character and disposition; hence the necessity of moral training. There should be temptations placed within reach of the children, such as fruits, flowers, and shrubs. The child taught to respect these will set due bounds to his desire, gardens will cease to be robbed, hedges will not be broken down, turnips and potatoes will not be stolen to the extent which is but too prevalent in the present day. And I am perfectly convinced that every pound the country spends in promoting a rightly directed education, will be saved in the punishment of crime, which in a political point of view, is quite sufficient to induce the country to call for a properly directed system of national education, which must ultimately be based on the oracles of eternal truth. If these ends could be obtained by theory, we have plenty of that in these days. All the writers on education tell us that such and such things should be done, but most of them that I have read, forget to tell us how to do it. They complain of the schools already in existence, they complain of the teachers, they complain of the apathy upon the subject; all of which is very easy. And I regret to say there is but too much cause for all these complaints; but this will not remedy the evil, we must have new plans for moral training; teachers must have greater encouragements held out to them; they must take their proper rank in society, which I contend is next to the clergy; and, until these things take place, we may go on complaining, as talented men will sooner devote themselves to any profession rather than to the art of teaching.

We will now endeavour to show how these things are to be remedied, so far as moral training is applicable to infants from twelve months old to six or seven years. In another part of this work, we have shewn what may and ought to be done in the play-ground; in this chapter we will endeavour to shew what may be done to this end in the school-room. In the pages on gallery teaching we have given specimens of lessons on natural objects and scriptural subjects. Moral training may receive considerable aid from gallery teaching also; the children must not only be continually told what they ought to do, but as often what they ought not to do; they must be told that they are not to fight, and the reasons must be given; they must be told that they are not to throw stones, and also told the consequences; they must be told not to strike each other with sticks; they must be told not to play in the dirt; they must be trained in cleanly and delicate habits; they must not only be told all these things; but they must be watched in their private hours, they must be encouraged to assist and love each other, and it must be proved to them that this is the way to advance their own individual happiness. It is self-love that is the cause of half our miseries. Children cannot be told this too soon; it must be explained and proved to them that evil, sooner or latter, brings its own punishment, and that goodness as assuredly brings its own reward. Opportunities will be continually developing themselves for giving moral training to the children, the judicious teacher will seize these as they occur, and always make the best of them for the good of the children. A school is a family upon a large scale; nay, 'tis a commonwealth, and no day will pass without facts shewing themselves, to enable the teacher to give sound moral instruction. It is true we want a better race of teachers, but we must have a better sort of schools first; for it is only from these that a better race of teachers can be supplied. The well trained infants of this generation, will make the efficient teachers of the next.

We will suppose the children to be seated in the gallery, the doors of the school closed, and every thing snug and quiet; the teacher must be alone, and there must be nothing to distract the children's attention. He must then bring out his store of facts which he has noted down as they occurred; he makes his selection according to circumstances, according to the state of his own mind; not forgetting the state of mind that the children may be in, and especially the state of the weather. The following little ditty may then be repeated, the subject being On Cruelty to Animals.

  I'll never hurt my little dog,
  But stroke and pat his head;
  I love to see him wag his tail,
  I like to see him fed.

  Poor little thing, how very good
  And very useful too;
  And do you know? that he will mind
  What he is bid to do.

  Then I will never hurt my dog,
  Nor ever give him pain,
  But I will always treat him kind,
  And he will love again.

If the children do not appear so bright as the teacher should desire, the before-mentioned ditty, after it has been repeated, may be sung. But the tune must be such as would be likely to operate upon the moral feelings; great caution and circumspection is necessary in selecting proper times for children, and this must be guided by the subject treated of. If the subject is exhilarating, a lively tune must be selected; if the subject is serious, a corresponding tune must also be chosen; but if the subject is intended to operate upon the feelings, what is usually called "a love tune" will be the most desirable. The tune having been sung, and the feelings operated upon as desired, the teacher may entertain the little pupils with some one of the numerous stories written about the dog. But before he does this, he must exhaust so much of the subject as appears in the before-mentioned ditty, by question and answer, similar to the other lessons mentioned before, something like the following:—

Little children; you have just sung that you would never hurt a little dog, can you tell me why not? Some of the children will be sure to say, Please, sir, because he has got the sense of feeling. Teacher. Right, a little dog has got the same sense of feeling as you little children have, and when it is hurt, how does it shew that it has got the sense of feeling? Children. Please, sir, it will cry out. Teacher. Yes, it can only tell us it is hurt by doing so. A poor dog cannot speak, and so we should never hurt it. Has a little fly the sense of feeling? Children. Yes, sir. Teacher. Right again, and so has every creature that God gave life to, and we should never give any of them unnecessary pain. In the song that we have just sung, you said you would stroke and pat the little dog's head. What would you do this for? Children. Please, sir, the little dog likes it, and he is not afraid of us when we do it, but loves us. Teacher. So he does, and will always love those that are kind to him; no one but a very bad boy would be unkind to a dog. You told me, little children, that a poor little dog cries out when it is hurt. Now when he is pleased, what does he do? Please, sir, he wags his tail, and his eyes look very bright. Teacher. So he does, which is the same as if he said, How happy I am to be with such good children who do not beat me as some wicked boys and girls would, but love me and pat my head, and feed me; for you, little children, you have said you liked to see your little dog fed, and remember, any of you that have a little dog, or who may have one when you get older and larger, that it is very cruel not to see it fed every day; the poor dog cannot ask for its dinner as a little child can, and that is the, very reason why we should always remember to give it to him. Will you all remember this? Children. Yes, sir, we will. Teacher. You sung in your song that the dog was very useful, tell me how? Children, Please, sir, he will mind the house, and bark when any one comes to steal anything. Teacher. Yes, you see how sensible the little dog is, he knows what a wicked thing it is to be a thief, and so he barks when he sees one. How else is a little dog useful? Children. Please, sir, they often lead poor blind people about. Teacher. So they do, and good faithful guides they are. When they see any danger they will lead their master out of it, and they will bring him safely through the crowded streets; and when they go home the poor blind man divides his bit of bread with his good dog; and dogs are useful in other ways, they catch hares and rabbits for their masters, and do many other things. You said also that the dog minded what he was bid to do, did you not? Children. Yes, sir, and they will often go back a long way for any thing they are bid, or stay all day minding their master's coat while he is at work. Teacher. Right, and little children when they will not do as they are desired are not so good as a little dog, and should take example by one. Do you remember what you said the dog would do if you treated him kindly? Children. Please, sir, that he would love us again. Teacher. Right. When we love any thing, a dog, or a horse, or a little lamb, it will love us again; for you know, little children, that love makes love, and if you all love one another, and are kind to one another, and never beat or strike each other with any thing, then you will all be very happy, no little children in the world will be more happy, or have prettier smiling faces than you will have; for when we look kind and pleasant we always look pretty, but when we look cross and angry, then we look ugly and frightful. Remember then, never be cruel to a dog, or any thing else, but think of this lesson, and the pretty song we sung. Now, little children, shall I tell you a story, a real true story about a very cruel boy? If the children say, Yes, the following may be related.

A poor little dog was once going along the streets of a town, and a carriage which was coming up the street very fast, ran over it, and the poor thing was very nearly killed, but it had still strength to crawl over to a house where a boy was standing at the door, and it began to whine and looked up in the boy's face, as if to say, you see how much I am hurt, so please take me in and try and cure me; but the boy was a very cruel boy, and had no pity on the poor dog, but took a large pot of boiling water and threw it over the poor wounded little dog, so that it died soon after in very dreadful pain. But the chief governor of the place, that is, the person whom the king had put there to punish wicked people, heard of what a cruel thing this bad boy had done. So he brought him up to the market place, and he made a man take off this cruel boy's clothes, and lash him on the bare back before all the people of the town, in order that he might know a little of the pain that the poor dog had felt. From this story, little children, you may learn, that you must not begin to be cruel, if you do, the habit will grow up with you as it did with this bigger boy, and will never leave you, even when you are men.

Such lessons as these, given at proper times and when the infant mind is in a fit state to receive them, will do more to prevent what you wish to avoid, than any thing which could be possibly done at a more advanced age; this is indeed moral training, and when such is given generally in infant schools, we may look forward to a generation very superior to the present, in the genuine parts of Christianity, and in every moral and social virtue.

The beneficial results of moral training have been practically shown in every infant school where the subject has been properly understood and carried out, and numerous anecdotes illustrative of its beneficial effects might be here introduced, which would convince those who have any doubt on the subject, of the good effects of exercising kindness and consideration for others, in opposition to reckless mischief, hardheartedness, and cruelty, vices which render the lower orders dangerous and formidable; but as a complete collection of such anecdotes would form in themselves a volume, we will for the present lay before our readers a few taken at random, to illustrate the subject; they are from the appendix of the first report of the Edinburgh Infant School Society, the model school of which was organized by the author of this book.

"Two of the children, brothers, about five and four years of age, coming one morning late into school, were to go to their seats without censure, if they could give an account of what they had been doing, which should be declared satisfactory by the whole school, who should decide; they stated separately that they had been contemplating the proceedings of a large caterpillar, and noticing the different positions of its body as it crossed their path, that it was now horizontal, and now perpendicular, and presently curved, and finally inclined, when it escaped into a tree. The master then asked them abruptly, Why did you not kill it? The children stared. Could you have killed it? asked the teacher. Yes, but that would have been cruel and naughty, and a sin against God. The little moralists were acquitted by acclamation; having, infants as they were, manifested a character which, were it universal in the juvenile population, would in another generation reduce our moral code to a mass of waste paper, in one grand department of its bulk.

"This anecdote illustrates the good effect of inculcating into the infant mind an abhorrence of cruelty to animals, which is too often a seed sown in the young heart, which goes on increasing daily with the growth of the child, until a fearful career of crime is ended by murder, and its necessary expiation on the scaffold. How many men who have suffered death for murder, could date their first steps towards it, from the time when in infancy they tortured a fly, or spun a cock-chaffer.

"The teacher mentioned to the children one day, that he had been occupied about a boy and a girl who had no father or mother, and whose grandfather and grandmother, who took care of them, were bed-rid and in great poverty. The boy was seven years of age, too old for the infant school, but some gentlemen, he said, were exerting themselves to get the boy into one of the hospitals. Here he purposely stopped to try the sympathies of his audience for the girl. He was not disappointed, several little voices called out at once, 'Oh! master! What for no the lassie too?' he assured them the girl was to come to the infant school, and to be boarded there; which intelligence was received with loud plaudits."

Here we see the seeds of philanthropy sown in the young mind, beginning, even in infancy, to burst and blossom forth, giving promise in after years of a glorious and abundant harvest. The germ of love and mercy is in every breast, and cannot fail to be developed, if early called into action; and by the blessing of Almighty God, who is the great First Cause of all good results, the day is fast approaching, yea, is now at hand, when the fierce passions, the love of self, the long catalogues of debasing crimes, which have so long disgraced human nature, will give way before a golden age of true Christianity; when man will not be arrayed against his fellow-men, but all will go hand in hand together in the bond of love, seeking to do good, and to accomplish the purposes for which they were created by an all-wise and all-benevolent God.

The following anecdote illustrates the subject still further:—

"One day, when the children were in the play-ground, four boys occupied the boys' circular swing, while a stranger gentleman was looking on with the teacher. Conscious of being looked at, the little fellows were wheeling round with more than usual swiftness and dexterity, when a little creature of two or three years made a sudden dart forward into their very orbit, and in an instant must have been knocked down with great force. With a presence of mind and consideration, and with a mechanical skill,—which to admire most we knew not, one of the boys, about five years old, used the instant of time in which the singular movement was practicable, threw his whole body into a horizontal position, and went clear over the infant's head. But this was not all; in the same well employed instant it occurred to him that that movement was not enough to save the little intruder, as he himself was to be followed as quick as thought by the next swinger; for this he provided, by dropping his own feet to the ground, and stopping the whole machine the instant he had cleared the child's head. The spectator of this admirable specimen of intellect and good feeling, which was all necessarily the thought and act of a moment, had his hand instinctively in his pocket for a shilling, but was stopped by the teacher, who disowns all inferior motives for acts of kindness and justice. The little hero, however, had his reward, for the incident was related by the teacher in a full school, in the presence of the strangers, and was received with several rounds of hearty applause."

We will quote another anecdote illustrative of the good effects of exercising the kindly feelings.

J.J. accused H.S. of having eaten up J.J.'s dinner. It was proved by several witnesses that H.S. not only appropriated the dinner, but used force: the charge being proved to the satisfaction of the jury (the whole school), the same tribunal were requested by the teacher to decide what should be the consequence to the convict. One orator rose, and suggested that as H.S. had not yet eat his own dinner, he ought to give it to J.J. This motion, for the children always welcome any reasonable substitute for corporal punishment, was carried by acclamation. When one o'clock came, and the dinner was handed over, "coram publico," to J.J., H.S. was observed by him to be in tears, and lingering near his own dinner. They were by this time nearly done, but the teacher was watching the result. The tears were too much for J.J., who went to H.S., threw his arms round his neck, told him not to cry, but to sit down and take half. This invitation was of course accepted by H.S., who manifested a great inferiority of character to the other, and furnished an example of the blindness of the unjust to the justice of retribution, which they always feel to mere revenge and cruelty. He could not bear to see J.J. even sharing his dinner, and told him with bitterness that he would tell his mother. "Weel, weel!" said the generous child, "I'll gin y'd a' back again." Of course the teacher interfered to prevent this gross injustice, and in the afternoon made their school-fellows perfectly aware of the part each had acted. It is not easy to render a character like H.S. liberal, but a long course of such practice, for precept is impotent in such cases, might modify what in after life would have turned out a selfish, unjust, and unsocial character.

This selfish principle it is the great object of moral training to combat against. We may trace almost all the misery in the world to it; and until it ceases to exist to the extent which it now does, little can be done to accomplish any good or great purpose. But lessons like the above, and received into the infant mind when in a receptive state, will, if proper advantage be taken of their occurrence, prove in the hands of the Almighty a powerful engine for the removal of selfishness; and we know of no method so effectual to accomplish this object as the drawing infants into societies, which is done only in infant schools.

The following anecdote, bearing on the same subject, came under the observation of the author of this work, very early in his labour for the extension of his system. He gives it here in the same words as he communicated it to a friend at the time of its occurrence.

A few days since I went to the Boston Street school; the children were in the gallery, and the moment I entered, they rose to receive me. When the school was over, the children came around me, as they usually do, saying, When will you come again? and so on. I told them I could not tell, but that I would come as soon as I could. This answer would not satisfy them, and I talked to them until near six o'clock in the evening. One little girl, about four years old, kept looking stedfastly at me the whole time, not letting a single word or gesture escape her notice. At last I finished my observations, and desired the children to go. The infant in question immediately took hold of my hand, and said, "We shall never see you any more, you must come home with me." I replied, "What do you want me to go home for?" The child answered, "I have nothing to give you, but if you will come home mother will give you some tea." I patted the child on the head, telling it I could not go. The child went home, as I thought, and I remained some time talking to one of the ladies of the committee. On walking down the street I saw the same child crying bitterly, and surrounded by many other children. On inquiring the cause, I received for answer, "You would not come home to tea." If only one half the invitations that are given amongst men were given with as much sincerity and disinterestedness as was manifested by this infant, I am much mistaken if we should not see a very different state of society.

"Moral education," writes Mr. Simpson in his "Philosophy of Education," "embraces both the animal and moral impulses. It regulates the former, and strengthens the latter, whenever gluttony, indelicacy, violence, cruelty, greediness, cowardice, pride, insolence, vanity, or any mode of selfishness shew themselves in the individual under training, one and all must be repressed with the most watchful solicitude, and the most skilful treatment. Repression may at first fail to be accomplished, unless by severity; but the instructor sufficiently enlightened in the faculties, will, in the first practicable moment, drop the coercive system, and awaken and appeal powerfully to the higher faculties of conscience and benevolence, and to the powers of reflection: this, done with kindness, in other words, with a marked manifestation of benevolence itself, will operate with a power, the extent of which in education is yet, to a very limited extent, estimated. In the very exercise of the superior faculties the inferior are indirectly acquiring a habit of restraint and regulation; for it is morally impossible to cultivate the superior faculties without a simultaneous though indirect regulation of the inferior."

It is indeed a melancholy truth, that moral training is yet, to a very limited extent, estimated, and this is mainly owing to its not being understood by the generality of those selected for the office of teachers of infants, nor can it be expected that persons of sufficient intellect and talent to comprehend and carry out this great object, can be procured, until a sufficient remuneration is held out to them, to make it worth their while to devote their whole energies to the subject. It is a fatal error to suppose that mere girls, taken perhaps from some laborious occupation, and whose sum total of education consists of reading and writing, can carry out views which it requires a philosophical mind, well stored with liberal ideas and general knowledge, to effect. They may be able to instruct the children in the mere mechanical part of the system; and as long as they confine themselves to this, they will go on capitally, but no further than this can they go; and though the children may appear to a casual visitor, to be very nicely instructed, and very wonderful little creatures, on a closer examination they will be found mere automatons; and then, without a thought on the subject, the system will be blamed, without once considering that the most perfect figure of mechanism will not work properly in any hands, except those that thoroughly understand it.

Enough may have now been said on this subject, and my earnest prayer is, that by God's help, these remarks may produce beneficial results; and if my endeavours to make the subject of moral instruction more easily understood, and to demonstrate its importance as clearly as possible are successful, the results will soon shew me that the hard labour of three-and-thirty years has not been entirely in vain, and this will be to me a greater reward than all the praise, distinction, and honour that it is in man's power to confer.

Whenever an infant is detected in any of those animal impulses, to regulate which is the great end of moral training, a gallery lesson should be immediately given, having a tendency to excite an abhorrence of the fault on the minds of all the children. An opportunity of this description should never be let pass. These are the very best times to implant virtuous and moral sentiments in the minds of the young pupils. These are the golden opportunities of bringing into action the higher faculties of conscience and benevolence, and the powers of reflection.

If an instance of the too prevalent cruelty of the young to animals be detected, which often occurs from mere thoughtlessness, it may be prevented from again occurring by a few lessons like the one which we have given as a specimen. The same means may be taken for crushing the rudiments of gluttony, violence, pride, deceit, or any other vice. The gallery is the proper place for these lessons; and after the matter has been thoroughly sifted in the play-ground, or wherever else it has occurred, the children should then be marched to the gallery, to receive a proper instruction on the subject. Cruelty, on the part of boys, is too prevalent; it is energy, enterprise, and high animal spirit, not legislated for on the part of parents and teachers, which descends to cruelty, first to animals, then to all which has life, that cannot defend itself. Children soon learn to distinguish those children and animals, who can, and will, resent cruelty, from those who will not; and therefore, speculate on the results accordingly, and become self-taught up to this point. A child should never be without a kind and wise guide at this period; that which in itself descends to evil, for the want of a moral guide, may be turned to good. The faculties mentioned, cannot be extinguished, but can be regulated. This is the office of the teacher. Too frequently we try to crush the powers that early want training and regulating. The same powers which run to vice, may be trained to virtue, but the activities cannot, and ought not, to be kept too much in abeyance.

Children are not naturally cruel, although they differ much in the propensity to annoy and reduce animals and each other under their individual control; the passive submit at once, but the energetic will not; it is then that the active assailant learns an important lesson, which can only be learned in society, and which to him, is of great importance. The difficulty on the part of the teacher, is to know when to interfere, and when to let alone. I have often erred by interference, of this I am quite satisfied; the anxiety to prevent evil, has caused me to interfere too soon, by not giving time to the pupil fully to develops his act. I hope others will profit from this; it requires much practice and long study of different temperaments, in children, to know when to let alone and when to interfere; but certain it is, that the moral faculties can and must be developed, in any system worthy of the name of education. Other vices beside cruelty are to be found in children. Moral training applies to these, and none are left to run their own course. Why should they? What are schools for? but to form the virtuous character—the being who can command self control—the orderly character, the good citizen, and, the being who fears and loves God. Ends less than these, cannot be worthy of the efforts of the philanthropist and the truly religious man.

There is another idea which has long been in my mind, and which I hope some day to see carried into practice, viz., a Religious Service adapted for children, in our various places of worship. No accurate observer of the young in churches during divine service, can have failed to witness the inattention of the numbers of children who are assembled on such occasions. The service is too long and inappropriate for them, as is also the sermon. It is addressed to adults, and sometimes the terms used by the preacher, is Greek to half the adults, in agricultural districts. Men cannot be too simple with the young and illiterate; there is much room for improvement in these things, and with regard to the young, I can answer for them that, if they are addressed in proper language, which they can understand, and are supplied with proper religious food for the understanding, suitable to its state of receptivity, and, if I may say, digestive powers; they, as a body, will shew us an example which will surprise many. With regard to the Church, there might be taken from the Prayer Book, a simple service adapted to the purpose. I am certain I could do it with ease, as I know what is adapted for children, or at least I ought to do. The next point, all the preachers should be men of peculiar temperament and great simplicity of manner. I do not care how learned they are; the more learned, the better; but it, need not be in languages but in spiritual things. There are thousands of passages in the Holy Word which are adapted, and I think, intended for the purpose, and there are many men now living who are able to do the thing, and more will be raised up. One thing, however, must not be forgotten, they must be men advanced in life, not lads. To teach natural things properly to children, requires more knowledge than the generality of the public suppose. The younger the children are, the more knowledge it requires on the part of the instructor. But to teach spiritual things properly to children, men cannot know too much, provided they have the power to simplify that knowledge and reduce it to practice. An evening service will not do for children, it must be either in the morning or the middle of the day. So fully am I impressed with the importance of this idea, that I am determined shortly to take means to carry it out.



Necessity of some punishment—Rewards to Monitors—Trial by Jury—Illustrative case—Necessity of firmness—Anecdotes—Playing the truant—Its evils—Means for prevention—Devices for punishment—Sympathy encouraged—Evil of expelling children—Case of Hartly—Difficulty of legislating for rewards and punishments—Badge of distinction not necessary.

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How does the Deity deal with His creatures, on this momentous question? This is the question which every thinker—and every religious man, must ask himself; and then, act accordingly.

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As man comes into the world with a propensity to do that which is forbidden, it has been found necessary at all times, to enact laws to govern and even to punish him, when he acts contrary to them; and who will deny the man a just reward who has done any act whereby his fellow-men have been benefitted? "The hope of reward sweetens labour." If, then, rewards and punishments are necessary to make men active, and to keep them in order, how can it be expected that children can be governed without some kind of punishment? I am aware that I am taking the unpopular side of the question, by becoming an advocate for punishment, but notwithstanding this, I must say, that I think no school in England has ever been governed without it; and that the many theories ushered into the world, on this subject, have not been exactly acted upon. And since this was written I am in a position to state the same with regard to both Scotland and Ireland. Indeed, it appears to me, that while men continue to be imperfect beings, it is not possible that either they or their offspring, can be governed without some degree of punishment. I admit that it should be administered with great prudence, and never employed but as a last resource; and I am sorry to say, that it has descended to brutality in some schools, which, perhaps, is one reason why so many persons set their faces against it altogether. I might write as others have done, by stating that I had brought up a family of my own without ever having struck even once any of my children, but then this is no argument for the general conducting of a school; in school, children are spoiled before they come to you, in a family the judicious parent begins at the beginning, the cases therefore entirely differ.

The first thing that appears to me necessary, is to find out, if possible, the real disposition and temper of a child, in order to be able to manage it with good effect. I will allow that it is possible to govern some children without corporal punishment, for I have had some under my charge whom I never had occasion to punish, to whom a word was quite sufficient, and who, if I only looked displeased, would burst into tears. But I have had others quite the reverse; you might talk to them till you were tired, and it would produce no more effect half an hour afterwards, than if they had not been spoken to at all. Indeed, children's dispositions are as various as their faces; no two are alike; consequently, what will do for one child will not do for another; and hence the impropriety of having an invariable mode of punishment. What should we think of a medical man who was to prescribe for every constitution in the same manner? The first thing a skilful physician does, is to ascertain the constitution of the patient, and then he prescribes accordingly; and nothing is more necessary for those who have charge of little children, than to ascertain their real character. Raving done this, they will be able, should a child offend, to apply some appropriate antidote.

To begin with rewards: to the monitors I have generally allowed one penny a week each, as I found much difficulty in procuring monitors; for, whatever honours were attached to the office, children of five years old could not exactly comprehend them. They could much more easily perceive the use of a penny; and as a proof how much they valued the penny a week above all the honours that could be bestowed, I always had a good supply of monitors after this remuneration was adopted. Before this time, they used to say, "Please, sir, may I sit down? I do not like to be a monitor." Perhaps I might prevail on some to hold the office a little longer, by explaining to them what an honourable office it was: but after all, I found that the penny a week spoke more powerfully than I did, and the children would say to each other, "I like to be a monitor now, for I had a penny last Saturday; and master says, we are to have a penny every week; don't you wish you were a monitor?" "Yes, I do; and master says, if I am a good boy, I shall be a monitor by and bye, and then I shall have a penny." I think they richly deserve it. Some kind of reward I consider necessary, but what kind of reward, must, of course, rest entirely with the promoters of the different schools.[A]

[Footnote A: In many of the infant schools I hull visited, I found the spelling and reading very much neglected, that neither the monitors nor children look at the lessons, but merely say them by rote; if the monitors are punished for inattention they wish to give up the office, because there is no reward attached to it; but if there is a reward attached to it of any kind, the children have sense enough to see that the thing is fairly balanced, for if they are rewarded for doing their duty they see no injustice in being punished for neglecting it.]

Perhaps nothing would tend more to the order and efficient conducting of an infant school, than the plan of giving rewards to the monitors. From the part they take in teaching and superintending others, it seems due to them,—for the labourer is worthy of his hire. If we are to make use of monitors at all, I am now convinced that they must be rewarded; parents do not like their children to work for nothing, and when they become useful, they are taken away entirely, unless rewarded. The training system uses monitors only in that which is purely mechanical; or, to infuse into the external memory that which is to be learned by rote, singly or simultaneously, by the pupils, such as chapters out of the Scriptures, catechisms, creeds, poetry, psalms, hymns, prayers, and commandments, and whatever is (as it is called) to be learned by heart, but to develope the faculties of the pupils—to really teach religion, morals, intellectuals, or anything which applies to the interior of the pupils, they are useless.

A most important means of discipline appears in what we term "trial by jury," which is composed of all the children in the school. It has been already stated that the play-ground is the scene for the full development of character, and, consequently, the spot where circumstances occur which demand this peculiar treatment. It should also be particularly observed, that it is next to prayer in solemnity, and should only be adopted on extraordinary occasions. Any levity manifested either by the teacher or the pupils will be fatal to the effect. But to illustrate it, I will state a fact. In the play-ground of an Infant School there was an early dwarf cherry-tree, which, from its situation, had fruit, while other trees had only flowers. It became, therefore, an object of general attention, and ordinarily called forth a variety of important observations. Now it happened that two children, one five years of age, and the other not quite three, entered the school in the autumn, and on the return of spring, they, having had only a winter's training, were charmed by this object, and in consequence fell into temptation. Accustomed to watch new scholars narrowly, I particularly observed them; when I marked the elder one anxiously, intently, and wishfully gazing on the fruit, and especially on one amazingly large cherry pendent from a single shoot. While thus absorbed, the younger child was attracted to the spot, and imitated his example. The former then asked if he did not think it a large one, and the reply was of course, in the affirmative. Having thus addressed the powers of observation, the next appeal was to the taste, by the inquiry, "Is not it a nice one?" The answer to which was, "Yes." Then followed the observation, "It is quite soft," when the young one, being thus excited by the touch of the other, touched it also. This act, he subsequently repeated, by desire of the elder, who, having charged him to hold it tight, struck his hand, and thus detached the cherry. I now withdrew to some distance, and it was evident that the little one was distressed by what he had done, as he did not eat it, but began to cry faintly, on which the elder took the cherry out of his hand, and ate it. This increased the crying, when, on approaching, he ran up to me, saying that the other took my cherry. The little one continuing to cry, the other stated that he saw him take it; to which I replied, "We will try him by and bye." As soon, therefore, as the proper time arrived, the bell was rung; prior to which, however, I was apprised of the loss by several children, and when all were seated in the gallery, I proceeded as follows "Now, little children, I want you to use all your faculties, to look at me attentively, and to think of what I am about to say, for I am going to tell you a tale of two little boys. Once on a time they were amusing themselves with a great many other children in a play-ground, where there was a great many flowers and some fruit trees. But before I go on, let me ask you is it right to take the flowers or fruit which belong to others?" to which the general reply was "No," with the exception of the culprits. I then described their age, stated that one boy was five years old, and the other three; that the former was looking at one of his master's fine cherries, which was growing against the wall, and that the latter approached, and looked at it too; on which several exclaimed, "Please, sir, your big cherry is gone;" which caused an inspection of each others' countenances. To this, I replied, "I am sorry for it, but let me finish my tale. Now, children, while they were both looking at the cherry, the older one asked the younger if it were not large, to which he replied, 'Yes;' he then inquired, whether it were not nice, when he again answered, 'Yes;' afterwards, be told him, having touched it himself first, to touch it because it was soft, and the little boy unfortunately did so, on which the big one pulled his arm, and the cherry came off in his hand." While this was proceeding, the two delinquents sat very demurely, conscious that they were pourtrayed, though all the rest were ignorant of the fact. I then said, "Which do you think the worst of these boys?" when several answered, "The biggest was the worst." On inquiring, "Why?" the reply was, "Because he told the little one to take it;" while others said, "Because he pulled his arm." I added, "I have not told you the whole tale yet, but I am glad to see that you know right from wrong, and presently you will be still better prepared to judge. When the big boy had told the little one to take the cherry, he then robbed him of it, and immediately betrayed him by telling the master. Now which do you think was the worst?" When a great number of voices vociferated, "The big one." I then inquired, if they thought we had such children in our school? the general reply was 'No;' but the scrutiny among themselves was redoubled. To this I rejoined, "I am sorry to say such children are now sitting among you in the gallery." At this crisis the little one burst into tears, on which the children said, "Please, sir, that's one of them, for his face is so red, and he cries." I answered, "I am sorry it is so," and called the culprit down with "Come here, my dear, and sit by the side of me until we examine into it." This was followed by the outcry, "Please, sir, we have found the other, he hangs his head down, and his face looks so white."

This child was then called down in the same mild manner to sit on the other side of me. I then told them, that they would find, when they became men and women, that in our courts of law, witnesses of what was done were called, and as the elder boy had seen the young one take the cherry, it was necessary and desireable to hear what he had to say. On being desired to stand up, I therefore said, "Did you see him take the cherry?" To which he promptly replied, "Yes." The next inquiry was, "What did he do with it?" To this he was silent, on which the little one, not being able to contain himself, called out, "He took it from me, and ate it." All eyes were now turned to the big one, and all felt convinced that he was the most guilty, whilst the confidence of the little one increased by the prospect of having justice done him, as he previously feared that being accused by the elder one, he should be condemned without ceremony.

Finding that the elder one had no more to say, it only remained to hear the defence of the young one, who, sensible of having done what was wrong, said, in broken accents, "He told me to take it,—he hit my hand,—and he ate the cherry." To which it was necessary to give the admonition, That he never ought to do wrong, though required to do so by others; and that such a defence would avail him nothing were he a man. Both the children were now exceedingly distressed, and hence this was the time to appeal to the rest, as to the measure of the punishment that was due. The general opinion was, that the eldest should be punished, but no one mentioned that the young one should even have a pat on the hand; the next thing was to appeal to the higher faculties of the little culprit, who, seeing that he had thus far got off, required to be softened down in reference to the other, though he had betrayed him, while the best way of operating on the elder was a display of love on the part of the younger; he was therefore asked if he would forgive the other, and shake hands with him, which he immediately did, to the evident delight and satisfaction of all the children, while the countenance of the elder showed that he felt himself unworthy of the treatment he received. I then inflicted the sentence which had been pronounced,—two pats of the hand, which the girls asked might be soft ones, and sent him to his seat, while I concluded the whole with some appropriate exhortations. It is pleasing to add that the elder proved one of the most useful monitors I ever had.[A]

[Footnote A: This mode of treatment has succeeded in a number of instances, several first-rate writers on education have tried it, and have found it work well; it is one of the most effective methods to operate upon the minds of young children that I have been able to discover: I have tried the plan with older children with great success. Reader! can teachers, who are mere boys and girls, act thus, in such a case?]

Should any person be disposed to object to such a process, they may be reminded that the Infant System deals with children as rational creatures, and is designed to prepare them for future life. I have seen numerous instances of its beneficial effects? these have induced me to pursue the plan, and in the strongest terms to recommend it to others. In all cases, the matter should be stated to the children simply, calmly, and slowly, and they will seldom, if ever, come to a wrong conclusion.

A manual trade, or a business, which requires dexterity can never be learnt from books alone, or properly understood from mere precepts. All must be acquired by practice, and then the knowledge of it becomes, as it were, a part of our very selves. The same applies to the precepts of morality. If they be merely committed to memory by rote, they will often lie there cold and inactive, and not unfrequently tend even to harden the feelings. But when they are brought out into actual practice, and made to bear upon the conscience of the culprit, and on the moral feelings of all the children through him, they are seen in a new and convincing light, and learnt with a power that will impress them indelibly on the memory. "Nathan said unto David, Thou art the man." The most effectual teaching of a christian parent is not at the time of the mere infusion of moral truth into a child's mind, but in the example he gives in his life, and the direction he gives according to it to his child when he "walks by the way" and when he "sits in the house." Such should be the teaching aimed at in every infant school. How wise are the dealings of the creator with us on the subject of reward. What being ever yet did good, who did not feel within a certain reward? Who felt most of the influence of the Holy Spirit? the passers by,—or the good Samaritan? Nay! who felt the greatest reward in his own breast, the Samaritan himself, or the man who fell amongst thieves? I think the Samaritan. Throughout all creation we see rewards; for assiduity, "the early crow gets the worms; the cautious animal escapes his enemies; the good man enjoys the most happiness; out of goodness happiness cannot be found;—virtue brings its own reward;" obedience to the natural laws does the same, so does obedience to the spiritual laws bring such rewards as my pen cannot describe, but, I doubt not, many have felt them. The whole system of society appears to me to depend upon this stimulant. Who would wish to be the heads of the church and take the additional responsibilites and labours attached to them without reward? Who would accept the office, the weighty office of being Her Majesty's ministers without reward? I might go on in this strain of reasoning and prove that rewards are founded in knowledge of human nature; but I am content to skew we have some ground for them, they are useful, if not essential, in the right management of the young, but, like every thing else, require to be managed judiciously. It appears to me that the argument to the contrary would be untenable. I should like to see the man who would invest his capital in railways—electric telegraphs, steam ships, and in business of any kind, without hope of reward, pooh! it is the mainspring of human action, the incentive to public service, it rests not in this world but follows us to the next, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord." Ah! but this refers to men, not to children. What are children but men in embryo? Why be unjust to them, and just to man. I say rewards are necessary in a sound system of education to little children; if judiciously selected and properly applied, they will be found incentives to action, and add greatly to the pleasure of learning. In my other work for the education of older children, this subject is treated of more at length as applicable to them.

With regard to punishments, they are various, and must be adapted to the disposition of the child. The only corporal punishment that we inflict is a pat on the hand, which is very of great service in flagrant cases of misconduct. For instance, I have seen one child bite another's arm, until it has almost made its teeth meet. I should suppose few persons are prepared to say, such a child should not be punished for it. I have seen others who, when they first came to school, would begin to scream as if they were being punished, as soon as their mother brought them to the door, while the mother continued to threaten the child without ever putting one threat into execution. The origin of all this noise, has been, perhaps, because the child has demanded a half-penny, as the condition of coming to school, and the mother probably has not had one to give him, but has actually been obliged to borrow one in order to induce him to come in at the school door. Thus the child has come off conqueror, and set it down as a maxim, that, for the future, he may do just as he pleases with his mother. I have sometimes made my appearance at this time, to know what all the noise was about, when the mother has entered into a lamentable tale, telling me what trouble she has had with the child, and that he would not come to school without having a half-penny each time. But the moment the child has seen me, all has been as quiet as possible. I have desired him to give me the half-penny, which he has done directly, I have returned it to the mother, and the child has gone into school, as quietly as any child could do. I have had others who would throw their victuals into the dirt, and then lie down in it themselves, and refuse to rise up, crying, "I will go home; I want to go into the fields; I will have a half-penny." The mother has answered, "Well, my dear, you shall have a half-penny, if you will stay at school." "No, I want to go and play with Billy or Tommy;" and the mother at length has taken the churl home again, and thus fed his vanity and nursed his pride, till he has completely mastered her, so that she has been glad to apply to the school again, and beg that I would take him in hand.

At another time a girl came with a pillow; she had insisted on having it for a doll; but, so far from contributing to her happiness, it had a contrary effect. Nevertheless, the parent, for want of that firmness so necessary in the management of children, had allowed her to bring it to school, and on her journey she cried all the way, to the amusement of the lookers on. When I remonstrated with the mother, she replied, "What could I do? she would not come without it" The child, however, gave it up to me without any trouble, and the over indulgent mother took it back with her. Numerous have been the instances of a similar kind; and all far the want of firmness.

The master of an infant school, whenever opportunity occurs, should feel it incumbent upon him to urge the parents to make a due use of judicious parental authority. This is the very foundation of all social order, rule, and government, and to relax it is to loosen the very keystone of society. He ought also perpetually to inculcate obedience to their parents upon the children, as being one of their first and most important duties. Some have objected to our schools, that they are calculated to loosen the ties and the authority between parent and child; but if these precepts are carefully attended to, the result will be precisely the reverse. It is, however, necessary to state, in the three cases just noticed, that in each, the children had been previously conquered by me, and young as they were, they knew quite well that, although such conduct as they exhibited gained the end they had in view with the parent, similar conduct would not succeed with me. It is little short of cruelty to let any child have its own way in such matters. They will always try hard to get the tipper hand, not knowing but that such conduct adds to their own happiness. When once conquered, and proof is afforded that it does not, then the children are always thankful for the discipline. At all events, I have never found it otherwise. Many, I may say numerous cases, have occurred of worse kinds than the above, such as children insisting on bringing something from home, as the bellows, tongs, poker, the mother's bonnet, father's hat, &c., as the condition of coming to school, which the simple parent has complied with rather than adopt the required firmness, which is essential in matters of this kind. More infants know quite well the weak and the strong points of a parent's character, they all are excellent judges on this subject.

I found it necessary, under such circumstances, to enter into a kind of agreement with the mother, that she should not interfere in any respect whatever: that on such conditions, and such only, could the child be admitted; observing, that I should act towards it as if it were my own, but that it must and should be obedient to me; to which the mother has consented, and the child has been taken in again; and, strange to say, in less than a fortnight, has been as good, and has behaved as orderly as any child in the school. But I should deem myself guilty of duplicity and deceit, were I to say that such children, in all cases could be managed without corporal punishment, as it appears to me, that this, in moderation, has been the mode of correcting refractory children, from the earliest ages; for it is expressly said in the Scriptures, "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes;" and again, "He that knoweth his Lord's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes." There is certainly something very pleasing in the sound, that several hundred infant children may be well managed, kept in good order, and corrected of their bad habits, without any sort of punishment. But as I have not been able to attain to that state of perfection in the art of teaching, I shall lay before the reader what modes of punishment I have adopted, and the success that attended them.

If punishments be judiciously and justly applied, when offences require them, from the earliest periods of life, they will soon cease to be wanted. We cannot form a more important association in the young mind than one between pain and moral evil, and this judicious correction will effect. It should not be given in anger, or it will have the appearance of revenge; but if administered calmly and with feelings of sorrow and regret, it will soon exercise a mighty moral influence. The providence of God applies to us the correction of sickness, pain, and sorrow, to withdraw us from evil; and thus in His moral government, as well as in His Word, He commands us to use the rod; but always for good, and never in anger or cruelty. Recent events have proved to me that there is a mawkish sentimentality but too prevalent on this subject abroad, which interferes greatly with moral training, the proper freedom of the school-master, and even with the administration of public justice.

The first offence deserving punishment which I shall notice, is playing the truant; and I trust I may be permitted to state, that notwithstanding the children are so very young, they frequently, at first, stay away from the school, unknown to their parents; nor is this to be wondered at, when we consider how they have been permitted to range the streets, and get acquainted with other children in similar circumstances. When this is the case, they cannot be brought into order in a moment; it is a work of time, and requires much patience and perseverance to accomplish it effectually. It is well known that when we accustom ourselves to particular company, and form acquaintances, it is no easy matter to give them up; and it is a maxim, that a man is either better or worse for the company he keeps. Just so it is with children; they form very early attachments, and frequently with children whose parents will not send them to school, and care not where they are, so long as they keep out of their way. Hence such children will persuade others to accompany them, and of course they will be absent from school; but as night approaches, the child will begin to think of the consequences, and mention it to his companions; who will instruct him how to deceive both his teachers and his parents, and perhaps bring him through his trouble. This will give him fresh confidence, and finding himself successful, there will be little difficulty in persuading him to accompany them a second time. I have had children absent from school two or three half-days in a week, and sometimes whole days, who have brought me such rational and plausible excuses as completely to put me off my guard, but who have been found out by their parents from having stayed out till seven or eight o'clock at night. The parents have applied at the school to know why they kept the children so late, add have then in formed me that they have been absent all day. Thus the whole plot has been developed; it has been found that the children were sent to school at eight o'clock in the morning, and had their dinners given them to eat at school, but instead of coming they have got into company with their older companions, who, in many cases, I have found were training them up for every species of vice. Some of them have been cured of truant playing by corporal punishment, when all other means I could devise have failed, others by means the most simple, such as causing the child to hold a broom for a given time.

The most powerful punishment I have yet discovered is to insist on the child sitting still, without moving hand or foot for a given time, say half an hour at most. Long punishment always has the tendency to harden the child; he soon gets contented in his situation, and you defeat your own object.

By keeping a strict eye upon them it will be remarked, they soon begin to form an attachment with some of their own school-fellows, and ultimately become as fond of their new companions, their books, and their school, as they were before of their old companions and the streets. I need scarcely observe, how strong our attachments, formed in early years at school, are, and I doubt not but many who read this have found a valuable and real friend in a school-fellow for whom they would do any thing within their power.

There were several children in the school who had contracted some very bad habits, entirely by their being accustomed to run about the streets; and one boy in particular, only five years of age, was so frequently absent, and brought such reasonable excuses for his being so, that it was some time before I detected him. I thought it best to see his mother, and therefore sent the boy to tell her that I wished her to come. The boy soon returned, saying his mother was not at home.

The following morning he was absent again, and I sent another boy to know the reason, when the mother waited on me immediately, and assured me that she had sent the child to school. I then produced the slate which I kept for that purpose, and informed her how many days and half-days her child had been absent during the last month, when she again assured me that she had never kept the child at home for a single half-day, nor had he ever told her that I wanted to see her; at the same time observing that be must have been decoyed away by some of the children in the neighbourhood. She regretted that she could not afford to send him to school before, adding, that the Infant School was a blessed institution, and one, she thought, much wanted in the neighbourhood. I need scarcely add, that both the father and mother lost no time in searching for their child, and after several hours, they found him in the nearest fruit-market with several children, pretty well stored with apples, &c., which they had, no doubt, stolen from the fruit-baskets continually placed there. They brought him to the school, and informed me they had given him a good flogging, which I found to be correct from the marks that were on the child. This, they said, they had no doubt would cure him; but he was not so soon conquered, for the very next day he was absent again; and after the parents had tried every experiment they could think of, in vain, they delivered him over to me, telling me I might do what I thought proper. I tried every means I could devise with as little success, except keeping him at school after school hours; for I had a great disinclination to convert the school into a prison, as my object was, if possible, to cause the children to love the school, and I knew I could not take a more effectual method of causing them to dislike it than by keeping them there against their will. At last I tried this experiment, but to as little purpose as the others, and I was about to exclude the child altogether as incorrigible; but unwilling that it should be said a child five years old had mastered us, I at last hit upon an expedient which had the desired effect. The plan I adopted was to put him on an elevated situation within sight of all the children, so secured that he could not hurt himself. I believe it was the force of ridicule that effected the cure. This I had never tried before, and I must say I was extremely glad to witness it. I never knew him absent without leave afterwards, and, what is more surprising, he appeared to be very fond of the school, and became a very good child. Was not this, then, a brand plucked from the fire?

I have been advised to dismiss twenty such children, rather than retain them by the above means; but if there be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance, ought not such a feeling to be encouraged on earth, particularly when it can be done by means that are not injurious to the orderly, but, on the contrary, productive of the best effects? The child just mentioned afterwards went into the National School, with several others who had been nearly as bad as himself, but they scarcely ever failed to come and see me when they had a half holiday, and the master of the school told me that not one of them had ever been absent without leave, and that he had no fault to find with them. I have further to observe that the moment I perceived a bad effect produced by any method of punishment, it was relinquished. But I feel it my duty here to caution the reader against the too frequent practice of many to object. It may cost a man many years to find out what may be desirable and workable; but to become an objector requires no thought, accordingly the most thoughtless are generally the greatest objectors.

I believe that there was not a child in the school who would not have been delighted to carry the broom, if I had called it play; the other children might have laughed as long as they pleased, for he would have laughed as heartily as any of them, and as soon as he had done, I should have had a dozen applicants, with "Please, sir, may I? please, sir, may I?" but it was called a punishment, and hence I had no applications whatever; they all dreaded it as much as they would a flogging. I am aware that this plan of punishment may appear ridiculous, and perhaps it would be so to use it for older children; but with such young children I have found it to answer well, and therefore I have no wish to dispense with it. I would, however, have care taken not to encourage the children to ridicule each other while undergoing this or any other punishment, except in extraordinary cases, such as the one I have mentioned; on the contrary, we should encourage them to sympathize with and comfort a child, as soon as the punishment is over, and I can truly add, that I do not recollect a single instance when any child has been undergoing the broom punishment, but some of the others have come, and attempted to beg him off, with "Please, sir, may he sit down now?" and when asked the reason why they wished the little delinquent to be forgiven, they have answered, "May be, sir, he will be a good boy." Their request has been complied with, and the culprit forgiven; and what have I seen follow? Why, that which has taught me an important lesson, and convinced me that children can operate on each other's minds, and be the means of producing very often better effects than adult people can. I have seen them clasp the child round the neck, take him by the hand, lead him about the play-ground, comfort him in every possible way, wipe his eyes with their pinafores, and ask him if he was not sorry for what he had done. The answer has been, "Yes;" and they have flown to me with, "Master, he says he is sorry for it, and that he will not do it again." In short, they have done that which I could not do—they have so won the child over by kindness, that it has caused the offender not only to be fond of them, but equally as fond of his master and the school. To these things I attribute the reclaiming of the children I have mentioned, and so far from punishment being productive of the "worst effects," I have found it productive of the best.

The ill effects of expelling children as incorrigible may be seen in the case of Hartley, who was executed some years back. He confessed before his execution that he had been concerned in several murders, and upwards of two hundred burglaries; and by the newspaper account we learn that he was dismissed from school at nine years of age, there being no school master who would be troubled with him, when, finding himself at liberty, he immediately became a robber. "Hartley's father" (the account proceeds), "formerly kept the Sir John Falstaff inn at Hull in Yorkshire; he was put to school in that neighbourhood, but his conduct at school was so marked with depravity, and so continually did he play the truant, that he was dismissed as unmanageable. He then, although only nine years of age, began with pilfering and robbing gardens and orchards, till his friends were obliged to send him to sea. He soon contrived to run away from the ship in which he had been placed, and having regained the land, pursued his old habits, and got connected with many of the principal thieves in London, with whom he commenced business regularly as a house-breaker, which was almost always his line of robbery."

Should not every means have been resorted to with this child before proceeding to the dangerous mode of expulsion? for it is not the whole who need a physician, but those who are sick; and I strongly suspect that if judicious punishment had been resorted to, it would have had the desired effect. I can only say that there never was a child expelled from the infant school under my care as incorrigible.

In conclusion, I have to observe, that the broom punishment is only for extraordinary occasions, and I think we are justified in having recourse to any means that are consistent with duty and humanity, in preference to turning a child out into the wide world.

Of all the difficulties I ever had to encounter, to legislate for rewards and punishments, gave me the most trouble. How often have I seen one child laugh at that which would make another child cry. If any department in teaching requires knowledge of character more than another it is this. Many a fine child's spirits are broken through the ignorance of teachers and parents in this particular; but for me to lay down invariable rules to manage every child, would be like a person undertaking to describe a voyage to the moon. Every person's own good sense must decide for them according to character and circumstances; and as to rewards, the same discrimination must be used. One child will set much value on a little book, whilst another will destroy it in a day; and though the book might be worth the sixpence, a half-penny worth of what they call good stuff would be much more valuable. I have had more business done sometimes for a plum than for a sixpenny book. It is never necessary to give the child badges of distinction, and to allow it as many orders and degrees as an Austrian field-marshal. Crosses at the button holes, and bits of ribbon on the shoulders are unnecessary; they throw an apple of discord between the young creatures, who have sense enough to see that these things are frequently given away with a wonderous lack of discrimination, and sometimes to please parents more than reward merit. A carraway comfit put into the mouth of an infant will do more good than all the badges of distinction that I have mentioned, as a reward; but with respect to punishment, more will be said on it in my larger work, when we come to treat of National Education. Each creation of the most High is truly wonderful, and worthy of our constant study. We may learn lessons of the truest wisdom from the meanest leaf or insect, if we would regard it as one of His works. But how much more may be learnt, and what an amount of useful instruction may be gained, by a study of the finite mind, the highest work in creation. Many have turned their attention to minerals, plants, and animals, and thus added to our stores of knowledge. If equal attention had been paid to the young mind, to mark the gradual germination of its intellectual and moral powers, how much more accurate would our knowledge be of the proper methods of dealing with it both in instruction, direction, and punishment. Thus to study it has been the aim of my life, and I have made observations on thousands of children. When this great and living book is more constantly read, the contents of this humble volume may have a better chance of being appreciated; and the utter absurdity of many things palmed upon the public for the education of infants made glaringly manifest.



Means for conveying instruction—Method of teaching the alphabet in connection with objects—Spelling—Reading—Developing lessons—Reading lessons in Natural History—The Arithmeticon—Brass letters—Their uses.

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"Without things, words, accumulated by misery in the memory, had far better die than drag out a miserable existence in the dark. Without words, theirs stay and support, things unaccountably disappear out of the storehouse, and may be lost for ever; but bind a thing with a word, a strong link, stronger than any steel, and softer than any silk, and the captive remains for ever happy in its bright prison-house."—Wilson.

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The senses of children having revealed every object in its true light, they next desire to know its name, and then express their perceptions in words. This you have to gratify, and from the time you tell them the name of an object, it is the representative of the thing in the mind of the child; if the object be not present, but you mention the name, this suggests it to the infant mind. Had this been more frequently thought of by instructors, we should have found them less eager to make the child acquainted with the names of things of which it has no knowledge or perception. Sounds and signs which give rise to no idea in the mind, because the child has never seen or known the things represented, are of no use, and can only burden the memory. It is, therefore, the object of our system to give the children a knowledge of things, and then a knowledge of the words which represent those things. These remarks not only apply to the names of visible things, but more particularly to those which are abstract. If I would say, shew a child a horse, before you tell it the name of the animal, still more would I urge it on the teacher to let a child see what love, kindness, religion, &c. are, before it is told what names to designate those principles by. If our ignorance as to material things be the result of instructing the children in names, instead of enabling them to become acquainted with things, so, on the other hand, I believe we may account, in the same way to some extent, for virtue being so frequently a mere word, an empty sound, amongst men, instead of an active principle.

Our next endeavour is to teach the children to express their thoughts upon things; and if they are not checked by injudicious treatment, they will have some on every subject. We first teach them to express their notions, we then tell them ours, and truth will prevail even in the minds of children. On this plan, it will operate by its own strength, not by the power of coercion, which renders even truth disagreeable and repulsive; the children will adopt it from choice in preference to error, and it will be firmly established in their minds.

It will no doubt be perceived, that for the promotion of the course here recommended, it will be advisable to connect with our alphabetical and reading lessons, as much information as we possibly can. By so doing, the tedium of the task to the child will be considerably lessened, as well as much knowledge attained. The means of doing this in a variety of ways will, no doubt, suggest themselves to the intelligent teacher; but as an illustration of what we mean, the following conversational plan may not be useless.

We have twenty-six cards, and each card has on it one letter of the alphabet, and some object in nature; the first, for instance, has the letter A on the top, and an apple painted on the bottom. The children are desired to go into the gallery, which is formed of seats, one above the other, at one end of the school. The master places himself before the children, so that they can see him, and he them, and being thus situated, proceeds in the following manner:—


Q. Where am I? A. Opposite to us. Q. What is on the right side of me? A. A lady. Q. What is on the left side of me? A. A chair. Q. What is before me? A. A desk. Q. Who is before me? A. We, children. Q. What do I hold up in my hand? A. A letter A.Q. What word begins with A? A. Apple. Q. Which hand do I hold it up with? A. With the right hand. Q. Spell apple.[A] A. A-p-p-l-e. Q. How is an apple produced? A. It grows on a tree. Q. What part of the tree is in the ground? A. The root. Q. What is that which comes out of the ground? A. The stem. Q. When the stem grows up straight, what would you call its position? A. Perpendicular. Q. What are on the stem? A. Branches. Q. What are on the branches? A. Leaves. Q. Of what colour are they? A. Green. Q. Is there any thing else beside leaves on the branches? A. Yes, apples. Q. What was it before it became an apple? A. Blossom. Q. What part of the blossom becomes fruit? A. The inside. Q. What becomes of the leaves of the blossom? A. They fall off the tree. Q. What was it before it became a blossom? A. A bud. Q. What caused the buds to become larger, and produce leaves and blossom? A. The sap. Q. What is sap? A. A juice. Q. How can the sap make the buds larger? A. It comes out of the root, and goes up the stem. Q. What next? A. Through the branches into the buds. Q. What do the buds produce? A. Some buds produce leaves, some blossoms, and some a shoot. Q. What do you mean by a shoot? A. A young branch, which is green at first, but becomes hard by age. Q. What part becomes hard first? A. The bottom.

[Footnote A: It is not supposed that all or many of the children will be able to spell this or many of the subsequent words, or give such answers as we have put down. But some among the older or more acute of them will soon be able to do so, and thus become instructors to the rest. It may be proper to mention also that the information in Natural History, &c. &c., displayed in some of the answers, is the result of the instructions in Natural History which the children simultaneously receive, and which is spoken of in a subsequent chapter. Mr. Golt's simple arrangement of the Alphabet I much approve of, and no doubt it will come into general use.]


Q. What is this? A. The letter B—the first letter in baker, butter, bacon, brewer, button, bell, &c., &e. [The teacher can take any of these names he pleases, for instance, the first:] Children, let me hear you spell baker. A. B-a-k-e-r. Q. What is a baker? A. A man who makes bread. Q. What is bread made of? A. It is made of flour, water, yeast, and a little salt. Q. What is flour made of? A. Wheat. Q. How is it made? A. Ground to powder in a mill. Q. What makes the mill go round? A. The wind, if it is a windmill. Q. Are there any other kinds of mills? A. Yes; mills that go by water, mills that are drawn round by horses, and mills that go by steam. Q. When the flour and water and yeast are mixed together, what does the baker do? A. Bake them in an oven. Q. What is the use of bread? A. For children to eat. Q. Who causes the corn to grow? A. Almighty God.


Q. What is this? A. It is letter C, the first letter in cow, c-o-w, and cat, &c. Q. What is the use of the cow? A. The cow gives us milk to put into the tea. Q. Is milk used for any other purpose besides putting it into tea? A. Yes; it is used to put into puddings, and for many other things. Q. Name some of the other things? A. It is used to make butter and cheese. Q. What part of it is made into butter? A. The cream which swims at the top of the milk. Q. How is it made into butter? A. It is put into a thing called a churn, in the shape of a barrel. Q. What is done next? A. The churn is turned round by means of a handle, and the motion turns the cream into butter. Q. What is the use of butter? A. To put on bread, and to put into pie-crust, and many other nice things. Q. Of what colour is butter? A. It is generally yellow. A. Are there any other things made of milk? A. Yes, many things; but the principal one is cheese. Q. How is cheese made? A. The milk is turned into curds and whey, which is done by putting a liquid into it called rennet. Q. What part of the curd and whey is made into cheese? A. The curd, which is put into a press; and when it has been in the press a few days it becomes cheese. Q. Is the flesh of the cow useful? A. Yes; it is eaten, and is called beef; and the flesh of the young calf is called veal. Q. Is the skin of the cow or calf of any use? A. Yes; the skin of the cow or calf of any use? A. Yes; the skin of the cow is manufactured into leather for the soles of shoes. Q. What is made with the calf skin? A. The top of the shoe, which is called the upper-leather. Q. Are there any other parts of the cow that are useful? A. Yes; the horns, which are made into combs, handles of knives, forks, and other things. Q. What is made of the hoofs that come off the cow's feet? A. Glue, to join boards together. Q. Who made the cow? A. Almighty God.


Q. What is this? A. Letter D, the first letter it dog, dove, draper, &c. Q. What is the use of the dog, A. To guard the house and keep thieves away. Q. How can a dog guard the house and keep thieves away? A. By barking to wake the persons who live in the house. Q. Is the dog of any other use? A. Yes; to draw under a truck. D. Does he do as his master bids him? A. Yes; and knows his master from any other person. Q. Is the dog a faithful animal? A. Yes, very faithful; he has been known to die of grief for the loss of his master. Q. Can you mention an instance of the dog's faithfulness? A. Yes; a dog waited at the gates of the Fleet prison for hours every day for nearly two years, because his master was confined in the prison. Q. Can you mention another instance of the dog's faithfulness? A. Yes; a dog lay down on his master's grave in a churchyard in London for many weeks. Q. How did the dog get food? A. The people who lived near noticed him, and brought him victuals. Q. Did the people do any thing besides giving him victuals A. Yes; they made a house for him for fear he should die with wet and cold. Q. How long did he stay there? A. Until the people took him away, because he howled dreadfully when the organ played on Sundays. Q. Is it right to beat a dog? A. No; it is very wrong to use any animal ill, because we do not like to be beaten ourselves. Q. Did Almighty God make the dog? A. Yes; and every thing else that has life.


Q. What letter is this? A. E, the first letter in egg. Q. What is the use of an egg? A. It is useful for many purposes; to put into puddings, and to eat by itself. Q. Should country children keep an egg if they find it in the hedge? A. No, it is thieving; they should find out the owner and take it home. Q. Do children ever throw stones at the fowls? A. Yes; but they are mischievous children, and perhaps do not go to school. Q. What ought children to learn by going to school? A. To be kind and good to every body, and every thing that has life.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter F, the first letter in frying-pan, father, &c. Q. Let me hear you spell frying-pan. A. F-r-y-i-n-g-p-a-n. Q. What is the use of the frying-pan? A. To fry meat and pan-cakes. Q. Spell me the names of the different kinds of meat. A. B-e-e-f, p-o-r-k, m-u-t-t-o-n, l-a-m-b, h-a-m, &c. Q. Of what shape are frying-pans? A. Some circular, and some are like an ellipsis.[A] Q. Are there any other utensils into which meat is put that are circular? A. Yes, please, sir, my mother has some circular plates; and, please, sir, my mother has some elliptical dishes. Q. Any thing besides? A. Yes, please, sir, my mother has a circular table; and, please, sir, my mother has a rectangular one, and it is made of deal.

[Footnote A: It may possibly strike some of my readers as strange that a geometrical question should be put in a conversation on the alphabet, but it should be remembered that, according to the Infant School system, language is not taught exclusively, but in connection with number and form;—questions like the above, therefore are calculated to excite their memories, and induce an application of their geometrical knowledge.]


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter G, the first letter in goat, good, girl, &c. Q. Spell goat. A. G-o-a-t. Q. What is the use of the goat'? A. In some countries people drink the goat's milk; and the skin is useful to make the upper-leather of shoes. Q. Are goats fond of going into the valleys and low places? A. No; they are fond of going up hills and high places. Q. If a goat is coming down a hill which has only one narrow path merely wide enough for one goat to walk on without falling down, and another goat is coming up the same path, what do they do? A. The goat that is coming up lies down and lets the other goat walk over him. Q. Why does not one of the goats turn round and go back again? A. Because there would not be room, and the one which should try to turn round would fall down and be killed.

Q. What letter is this? A. Letter H, the first letter in horse, house, &c. Q. What is the use of the horse? A. To draw carts, coaches, stages, waggons, fire-engines, &c. Q. Spell horse, and cart, and coach. A. H-o-r-s-e, c-a-r-t, c-o-a-c-h. Q. What is the difference between a cart and coach? A. A cart has two wheels, and a coach has four. Q. Tell me some other difference. A. The horses in a cart go before each other, but the horses in a coach go side by side. Q. What is the use of a fire-engine? A. To put the fire out when the house is on fire. Q. Is it right for children to play with the fire? A. No, very wrong; as many children are burnt to death, and many houses burnt down from it. Q. Should the horse be cruelly used? A. No; he should be kindly treated, as he is the most useful animal we have. Q. Who created him? A. Almighty God.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter I, the first letter in iron, idleness, &c. Q. Spell iron. A. I-r-o-n. Q. What is the use of an iron? A. To iron the clothes after they are washed, and to make them smooth. Q. How do they iron the clothes? A. Make the iron hot, and then work it backwards and forwards on the clothes. Q. Should little children come with clean clothes to school? A. Yes; and clean hands and faces too. Q. Is not iron used for other purposes? A. Oh, yes; for a great many things, as knives, forks, &c.


Q. What is this letter? A. J, the first letter in jug, John, &c. Q. What is the use of the jug? A. To hold water, or beer, or any other liquid. Q. What is a jug made of? A. Of clay, which is worked round into the shape of a jug, and then burnt, and that hardens it. Q. Should children be careful when they are carrying a jug? A. Yes; or else they will let it fall and break it. Q. Then it is necessary for children to be careful? A. Yes, every body should be careful.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter K, the first letter in kite, &c. Q. What is the use of the kite? A. For little children to fly. Please, sir, my big brother has got a kite. Q. What does your brother do with his kite? A. Please, sir, he goes into the fields when he has got time, and flies it. Q. How does he fly it? A. Please, sir, he has got a long string, which he fixes to another called a loop, and then he unwinds the string, and gets some boy to hold it up. Q. What then? A. Please, sir, then he runs against the wind, and the kite goes up. Q. What is the use of the tail of the kite? A. Please, sir, it will not fly without a tail. Q. Why not? A. Please, sir, it goes round and round without a tail, and comes down. Q. Then what do you suppose is the use of the tail? Please, sir, I don't know. Another child will probably supply the answer. Please, sir, to balance it.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter L, the first letter in lion, &c. Q. Spell lion. A. L-i-o-n. Q. What is the size of a full grown lion? A. A full grown lion stands four feet and a half high, and is eight feet long. Q. How high do you stand? A. Please, sir, some of us stand two feet, and none of us above three. Q. Has the lion any particular character among beasts? A. Yes, he is called the king of beasts on account of his great strength. Q. When he seizes his prey, how far can he leap? A. To the distance of twenty feet. Q. Describe some other particulars concerning the lion. A. The lion has a shaggy mane, which the lioness has not. Q. What other particulars? A. The lion's roar is so loud that other animals run away when they hear it. Q. Where are lions found? A. In most hot countries: the largest are found in Asia and Africa.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter M, the first letter in Monday, mouse, &c. Q. What is the use of the mouse? A. To make the servants diligent and put the things out of the way. Q. How can mice make servants diligent? A. If people do not put their candles in a proper place the mice will gnaw them. Q. Are mice of any other service? A. Please, sir, if the mice did not make a smell, some people would never clean their cupboards out.[A]

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child four years old; and immediately afterwards another child called out, "Please, sir, if it were not for bugs, some people would not clean their bedsteads."]


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter N, the first letter in nut, &c. Q. What is a nut? A. A thing that is hard, and it grows on a tree. Q. What shape is it? A. Something in the shape of a marble. Q. How can it be eaten, if it is like a marble? A. Please, air, it is the kernel that we eat. Q. flow are nuts produced? A. They grow on trees.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter O, the first letter in orange. Q. Of what colour is an orange? A. An orange is green at first, but afterwards becomes of a colour called orange-red. Q. Do they grow in the ground like potatoes? A. No, they grow on trees like apples. Q. Can you tell me anything in the shape of an orange? A. Yes, the earth on which we live is nearly of that shape. Q. On what part of the earth do we live? A. The surface. Q. What do you mean by the surface? A. The outside. Q. Who formed the earth, and preserves it in its proper motions? A. Almighty God.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter P, the first letter in pig, plum-pudding, &c. Q. What is the use of the pig? A. Its flesh is eaten, and is called pork. Q. What is the use of the hair or bristles? A. To make brushes or brooms. Q. What is the use of a brush? A. Some brushes are to brush the clothes, and others to brush the dirt out of the corners of the room. Q. Does a good servant ever leave the dirt in the corners? A. No, never; a good servant or any clean little girl would be ashamed of it.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Q, the first letter in quill, &c. Q. How are quills produced? A. From the wings of geese and other large birds. Q. What is the use of the quill? A. To form into pens and many other things. Q. What is the use of the pen? A. To dip into ink and write with it. Q. What do you write upon? A. Paper. Q. What is paper made of? A. Rags.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter R, the first letter in rabbit, &c. Q. What is the use of the rabbit? A. The flesh of the rabbit is eaten, and is very nice. Q. What does the rabbit eat? A. Corn, grass, cabbage-leaves, and many different herbs. Q. What is the use of the skin? A. To make hats, and to trim boys' caps. Q. Are they very numerous? A. They are to be found in almost all countries.


Q. What is this? A. Letter S, the first letter in shoe, &c. Q. What is the use of shoes? A. To keep the feet warm and dry. Q. Should children walk in the mud or in the kennel? A. No, because that would spoil the shoes, and wear them out too soon. Q. And why should little children be careful not to wear them out any more than they can help? A. Because our parents must work harder to buy us more.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter T, the first letter in tea-kettle. Q. What are tea-kettles made of? A. Some are made of tin, and some of copper, and some of iron. Q. Why are they not made of wood? A. Because the wood would burn. Q. What thing is that at the top? A. The handle. Q. What is underneath the handle? A. The lid. Q. What is in the front of it? A. The spout. Q. What is the use of the spout? A. For the water to come out. Q. What is the use of the handle? A. To take hold of. Q. Why do they not take hold of the spout? A. Because it is the wrong way.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter U, the first letter in umbrella, &c. Q. Is letter U a vowel or consonant? A. A vowel. Q. What is the use of the umbrella? A. To keep the rain off any body. Q. What are umbrellas made of? A. Some of silk and some of cotton. Q. Which are the best? A. Those that are made of silk. Q. Is there any thing else in an umbrella? A. Yes; whalebone. Q. Where does whalebone come from? A. Out of a large fish called a whale. Q. Who made the whale? A. Almighty God.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter V, the first letter in vine, &c. Q. What is a vine? A. A thing that grows against the wall and produces grapes. Q. Why does it not grow like another tree, and support its own weight? A. Because it is not strong enough. Q. Then it cannot grow and become fruitful in this country without man's assistance? A. No; and, please, sir, we cannot grow and become fruitful without the assistance of Almighty God.[A]

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child five-years of age.]


Q. What letter is this? A. It is Letter W, the first letter in wheel. Q. Spell wheel. A. W-h-e-e-l. Q. What is the use of wheels? A. To make it easier for horses to draw. Q. How do you know that? A. Please, sir, I had a little cart full of stones, and the wheel came off; and, please, sir, I found it much harder to draw. Q. Then if it was not for wheels, the horses could not draw so great a weight? A. No, and, please, sir, people could not go into the country so quick as they do. Q. What trade do they call the persons that make wheels? A. Wheel-wrights.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter X, the first letter in Xenophon, a man's name. Q. What was the particular character of Xenophon? A. He was very courageous. Q. What does courageous mean? A. To be afraid to do harm, but not to be afraid to do good, or anything that is right. Q. What is the greatest courage? A. To conquer our own bad passions and bad inclinations. Q. Is he a courageous man that can conquer his bad passions? A. Yes; because they are the most difficult to conquer.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Y, the first letter in yoke, &c. Q. Is it a vowel or consonant? A. When it begins a word it is called a consonant, but if not, a vowel. Q. What is a yoke? A. Please, sir, what the milk people carry the milk pails on. Q. What is the use of the yoke? A. To enable the people to carry the milk easier.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Z, the first letter in Zealander. Q.
What is a Zealander? A. A man that lives on an island in the Southern
Ocean, called Zealand. Q. How do they live? A. Principally by hunting
and fishing. Q. What is hunting? A. Following animals to catch them.
Q. Who made all the animals? A. Almighty God.

* * * * *

The method above described is adapted to the large room, where the children may be taught all together; but it is necessary to change the scene even in this; for however novel and pleasing a thing may be at first, if it be not managed with prudence it will soon lose its effect. It is here to be observed, that the mode of teaching described, is not practised every day, but only twice or thrice a week. The children will take care that the teacher does not altogether forget to teach them in any way that they have been accustomed to. After letting the above plan lie by for a day or two, some of the children will come to the teacher, and say, "Please, sir, may we say the picture alphabet up in the gallery?" If the other children overhear the question, it will go through the school like lightning: "Oh yes—yes—yes, sir, if you please, do let us say the letters in the gallery." Thus a desire is created in the children's minds, and it is then especially that they may be taught with good effect.

Another plan which we adopt, is in practice almost every day; but it is better adapted to what is called the class-room: we have the alphabet printed in large letters, both in Roman and Italic characters, on one sheet of paper: this paper is pasted on a board, or on pasteboard, and placed against the wall; the whole class then stand around it, but instead of one of the monitors pointing to the letters, the master or mistress does it; so that the children not only obtain instruction from each other, but every child has a lesson from the master or mistress twice every day.

Before they go to the reading lessons, they have the sounds of all the words in spelling: thus the sound of a—ball, call, fall, wall; then the reading-lesson is full of words of the same sound. In like manner they proceed with other letters, as i—the sound of which they learn from such words as five, drive, strive, until, by a series of lessons, they become acquainted with all the sounds; and are able to read any common book.

I have observed in some instances the most deplorable laxity in this particular. Cases have occurred in which children have been for two years at school, and yet scarcely knew the whole alphabet; and I have known others to be four years in an infant school, without being able to read. I hesitate not to say that the fault rests exclusively with the teachers, who, finding this department of their work more troublesome than others which are attractive to visitors, have sometimes neglected it, and even thrown it entirely aside, affirming that reading is not a part of the infant system at all! Such a declaration is, however, only to be accounted for from the most lamentable ignorance, preverseness, or both. Had it been true, we should not have had a single infant school in Scotland, and throughout that country the children read delightfully.

The great importance of full instruction in reading will be apparent from the following considerations.

1. If the parents do not find the children learn to read, they will discontinue sending them. This they consider essential, and nothing else will be deemed by them an adequate substitute.

2. Children cannot make desirable progress in other schools which they may enter, unless they obtain an ability to read at least simple lessons.

3. Neglect in this respect impedes the progress of the infant system. Such an obstacle ought not to exist, and should at once be removed.

4. In manufacturing districts children go to work very soon; and if they are not able to read before, there is reason to fear they will not afterwards acquire the power; but if they have this, Sunday schools may supply other deficiencies.

5. Want of ability to read prevents, of course, a knowledge of the Word of God.

To prevent this evil, I have arranged a series, denominated "Developing Lessons," the great object of which is to induce children to think and reflect on what they see. They are thus formed: at the top is a coloured picture, or series of coloured pictures of insects, quadrupeds, and general objects. For instance, there is one containing the poplar, hawk-moth, and wasp. The lesson is as follows: "The wasp can sting, and fly as well as the moth, which does not sting. I hope no wasp will sting me; he is small, but the hawk-moth is large. The moth eats leaves, but the wasp loves sweet things, and makes a round nest. If boys take the nest they may be stung: the fish like the wasp-grubs." On this, questions are proposed: Which stings? Which is small and which large? Which eats leaves? Which makes a round nest? &c. &c.

To take another instance. There is a figure of an Italian, to which is appended the following: "The Italian has got a flask of oil and a fish in his hand, and something else in his hand which the little child who reads this must find out. Any child can tell who makes use of the sense of seeing. In Italy they make a good deal of wine; big grapes grow there that they make it with. Italians can sing very well, and so can little children when they are taught." Questions are likewise proposed on this, as before.

Of these lessons, however, there is a great variety. All schools should possess them: they will effectually prevent the evil alluded to, by checking the apathy of children in learning to read, and calling the teacher's powers into full exercise. They are equally adapted to spelling and reading.

I will give several specimens of reading lessons in natural history, each of which has a large, well-engraved and coloured plate at the top, copied from nature.


How glad some poor children would be if they could read about the eagle. He is a big strong bird, and has such great wings, and such long sharp claws, that he can dig them into the lamb, hare, rabbit, and other animals, and thus fly away with them to feed his young ones, and to eat them himself. Eagles make such a large nest on the side of some high rock, where nobody can get at it. There used to be eagles in Wales, and there are some now in Scotland, but very few in England, for they do not like to be where there are many people. The Almighty gave man dominion over the birds of the air, as well as over the other animals, and as he gave man power to think, if the eagles become troublesome, men catch them, though they can fly so high; and as the eagle knows this, he likes to keep out of our way, and go into parts of the world where there are not so many people. There are many sorts of eagles: the black eagle, the sea eagle, the bald eagle, and others. They have all strong bills bent down in front, and strong claws. This bird is mentioned in the Bible.

Questions are proposed after this is read, and thus the examination proceeds:—Q. What is that? A. An eagle. Q. What sort of a bird is he? A. He is big and strong. Q. What are those? A. His feathers. Q. What else are they called? A. His plumage. Q. Is the eagle a small bird? A. No, very large. Q. Are his claws long and sharp? A. Yes. Q. What animals could he carry away? A. A lamb, a hare, a rabbit, or other small animals. Q. What does he do with those? A. Feed his young ones. Q. Where does the eagle make his nest? A. On the side of some rock. Q. Why does he make it there? A. That no one may get at it. Q. Used there to be eagles in Wales? A. Yes. Q. Where are there a few still? A. In England, Scotland, and Ireland. Q. Why are they not as plentiful as they were? A. Because they do not like to be where many men live. Q. Did the Almighty give man dominion over the birds of the air? A. Yes. Q. What other power did he give man? A. Power to think. Q. As men can think, when the eagles became troublesome, what did they do? A. They caught them. Q. And what did the eagles that were not caught do? A. They went to places where men were not so plenty. Q. Are, there many different kinds of eagles? A. Yes. Q. Name some. A. The black eagle, the bald eagle, the sea eagle, and others.


The vulture is like the eagle in size, and some of its habits; but it is so very different from it in many ways, that there is little danger of confusing the two together: the greatest distinction between them is, that the head of the vulture is either quite naked, or covered only with a short down, while the eagle's is well feathered. This is the chief difference in appearance, but in their habits there is a much greater. Instead of flying over hills and valleys in pursuit of living game, the vultures only search for dead carcasses, which they prefer, although they may have been a long time dead, and therefore very bad, and smelling very offensively. They generally live in very warm countries, and are useful in clearing away those dead carcasses which, but for them, would cause many dreadful diseases. In some countries, indeed, on account of this, the inhabitants will not allow any one to injure them, and they are called for this reason scavengers, which means that they do the business for which scavengers are employed. Vultures are very greedy and ravenous; they will often eat so much that they are not able to move or fly, but sit quite stupidly and insensible. One of them will often, at a single meal, devour the entire body of an albatross (bones and all), which is a bird nearly as large as the vulture itself. They will smell a dead carcass at a very great distance, and will soon surround and devour it.

Vultures lay two eggs at a time and only once a year: they build their nests on the same kind of places as eagles do, so that it is very hard to find them.

What does the vulture resemble the eagle in? A. In size and in some of its habits. Q. In what does it differ from the eagle? A. In having a neck and head either naked or covered with short down. Q. What is the difference in the manner in which they feed? A. The eagle seeks its food over hill and valley, and lives entirely on prey which he takes alive, while the vulture seeks out dead and putrid carcasses. Q. For what reason do you suppose is the vulture's neck not covered with feathers as the eagle's is? A. If they had feathers on their necks, like eagles and hawks, they would soon become clotted with blood. Q. Why would this happen? A. Because they are continually plunging their necks into decayed flesh and bloody carcasses. Q. How do vultures sit? A. In a dull, mopeing manner. Q. Where do they generally sit? A. On tall dead trees. Q. Do they continue thus long? A. Yes, for several hours. Q. What is the cause of their thus sitting so dull and inactive? A. The great quantity of food they have eaten. Q. Is there any description of vulture forming an exception to the general character of those birds? A. Yes, that particular kind called the snake eater. Q. Where is this bird a native of? A. Of Africa. Q. Why is it called the snake eater? A. On account of its singular manner of destroying serpents, on which it feeds. Q. Describe the manner in which this bird kills its prey. A. He waits until the serpent raises its head, and then strikes him with his wing, and repeats the blow until the serpent is killed. Q. What do the natives of Asia and Africa call the vulture? A. The scavenger. Q. Why? A. Because they are so useful in eating dead carcasses. Q. How is this useful? A. It clears the ground of them; otherwise, in those warm places, they would be the cause of much disease. Q. What does this shew us? A. That the good God has created nothing without its use. Q. What is the largest bird of the vulture kind? A. The great condor of South America. Q. What does its wing often measure from tip to tip? A. Twelve feet when spread out. Q. How do the natives of South America often catch the vulture? A. The dead carcass of a cow or horse is set for a bait, on which they feed so ravenously that they become stupid, and are easily taken.


I hope you will not put your dirty hands on this picture of the crocodile. The live ones have hard scales on their backs, and such a many teeth, that they could bite a man's leg off; but there are none in our land, only young ones that sailors bring home with them. The crocodile can run fast; those are best off who are out of his way. He lives by the water; he goes much in it; and he can swim well. Young ones come out of eggs, which the old ones lay in the sand. Some beasts eat the eggs, or else there would be too many crocodiles. The crocodile can run fast if he runs straight, and those who wish to get out of his way run zigzag, and he takes some time to turn; the poor black men know this, and can get out of his way; but some of them can fight and kill him on the land or in the water. I think the crocodile is mentioned in Scripture. Ask your teacher what Scripture means. When you learn geography you will know where many of the places are that are mentioned in the Bible, and you will see where the river Nile is. There are such a many crocodiles on the banks of that river that the people are afraid to go alone. What a many wonderful animals our great Creator has made! How humble and thankful we should be to see so many great wonders!

Q. What have crocodiles on their backs? A. Hard scales. Q. Have they many teeth? A. Yes, a great many. Q. Could they bite off a man's leg? A. They could. Q. Are there any in our country? A. None wild, but a few that sailors bring in ships. Q. Can the crocodile run fast? A. Yes. Q. Where does he live? A. In the water. Q. What do their young ones come out of? A. Out of eggs, which the old one lays in the sand. Q. How do people run that wish to get out of the crocodile's way? A. Zigzag, like the waved line in our lesson. Q. What do some men do? A. Fight and kill them in the water. Q. Where do most of those animals live? A. In the river Nile. Q. Where is this river? A. In Egypt.

The spelling lessons contain words capable of explanation, such as white, black, round, square; others are classed as fleet, ship, brig, sloop, &c.; and others are in contrast, as hot, cold, dark, light, wet, dry, &c.

In this department we use the tablet placed beneath the arithmeticon, the invention and improvement of which are described in the volume entitled "Early Discipline Illustrated, or the Infant System Successful and Progressing." A clear idea of the whole apparatus is given by the wood-cut on the next page, and it ought certainly to be found in every infant school. The sense of sight is then brought into full action to aid the mind, and that with results which would not easily be conceived. We shall take another opportunity of explaining the use of the upper part of the apparatus, the lower demanding our present attention.


To use the tablet, let the followings things be observed. It is supposed the children know well there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet; that twenty are called consonants, and that six are vowels. We take first one perpendicular row of letters in the figure. Now point to D, and say, What is that'? and the answer will be, D. Ask, Is it a vowel or consonant, and they will reply, A consonant; but ask, Why do you know it is D, and the answer will probably be, It is so because it is. Hide the circular part of the letter, and ask, What is the position of the other part, and they will say, having previously learnt the elements of form which will shortly be explained, A perpendicular line; hide that, and ask them what the other part is, telling them to bend one of their fore-fingers in the same form, and they will say, A curved line. If they are then asked how they may know it is D, they will say, Because it is made of a perpendicular line and has a curved line behind. Further information may then be given. Turn the D letter up thus [Illustration: The character D turned on its side], and say, I want to teach you the difference between concave and convex: the under part of the curve is concave and the upper part of it is convex. Then say, I shall now take the letter away, and wish you to shew me concave and convex on one of your fingers; when they will bend the forefinger and point them both out on it. Go on with the other letters in the same way: shew them the vowels after the consonants and analyze each one. For example, A is formed of two inclined lines and a horizontal line to join them in the centre; and the top of that letter is an acute angle, and were a line placed at the bottom it would be a triangle. A brass letter may be moreover shewn to be a substance: its properties may be described as hard, smooth, bright, &c., and its coming from the mineral kingdom may be noticed, and thus the instruction may be indefinitely varied.

The power of letters may then be pointed out. Ask them to spell M R, and they will give you the sound of R, or something like it, and so in reference to other letters. But place the A against the M as it appears in the figure, and you may teach them to say A, M, AM; and thus all the way down the left side of the row of consonants. If then you carry the vowel down on the other side of them, you will change the lesson, and by such means go on almost ad infinitum. Double rows of consonants may be placed with a vowel between them, and when well practiced in this, they will ask for the vowel to be omitted that they may supply it, which they will do very readily and with great pleasure, while there is a tasking of the mind which cannot but prove beneficial.

Again, turn the frame with the balls round, so that the wires are perpendicular instead of horizontal, raise a ball gently, and say, To ascend, ascending, ascended; let it fall gently, saying, to descend, descending, descended; with a little explanation these words will then be understood, and others may be taught in the same way. To fall, falling, fallen; to rise, rising, risen; to go, going, gone, will readily occur, and others will easily be supplied by the ingenuity of the instructor. The frame may also be applied to grammar.

It is to be used as follows:—Move one of the balls to a part of the frame distinct from the rest. The children will then repeat, "There it is, there it is." Apply your finger to the ball, and set it running round. The children will immediately change from saying, "There it is," to "There it goes, there it goes."

When they have repeated "There it goes" long enough to impress it on their memory, stop the ball; the children will probably say, "Now it stops, now it stops." When that is the case, move another ball to it, and then explain to the children the difference between singular and plural, desiring them to call out, "There they are, there they are;" and when they have done that as long as may be proper, set both balls moving, and it is likely they will call out, "There they go, there they go." I do not particularize further, because I know that good teachers will at once see the principle aimed at, and supply the other requisite lessons: the object of this book being rather to shew the principle of the thing, than to go into detail.



The arithmeticon—How applied—Numeration—Addition—Subtraction— Multiplication—Division—Fraction—Arithmetical tables—Arithmetical Songs—Observations.

* * * * *

"In arithmetic, as in every other branch of education, the principal object should be to preserve the understanding from implicit belief, to invigorate its powers, and to induce the laudable ambition of progressive improvement."—Edgeworth

* * * * *

The advantage of a knowledge of arithmetic has never been disputed. Its universal application to the business of life renders it an important acquisition to all ranks and conditions of men. The practicability of imparting the rudiments of arithmetic to very young children has been satisfactorily shewn by the Infant-school System; and it has been found, likewise, that it is the readiest and surest way of developing the thinking faculties of the infant mind. Since the most complicated and difficult questions of arithmetic, as well as the most simple, are all solvable by the same rules, and on the same principles, it is of the utmost importance to give children a clear insight into the primary principles of number. For this purpose we take care to shew them, by visible objects, that all numbers are combinations of unity; and that all changes of number must arise either from adding to or taking from a certain stated number. After this, or rather, perhaps I should say, in conjunction with this instruction, we exhibit to the children the signs of number, and make them acquainted with their various combinations; and lastly, we bring them to the abstract consideration of number; or what may be termed mental arithmetic. If you reverse this, which has generally been the system of instruction pursued—if you set a child to learn its multiplication, pence, and other tables, before you have shewn it by realities, the combinations of unity which these tables express in words—you are rendering the whole abstruse, difficult, and uninteresting; and, in short, are giving it knowledge which it is unable to apply.

As far as regards the general principles of numerical tuition, it may be sufficient to state, that we should begin with unity, and proceed very gradually, by slow and sure steps, through the simplest forms of combinations to the more comprehensive. Trace and retrace your first steps—the children can never be too thoroughly familiar with the first principles or facts of number.

We have various ways of teaching arithmetic, in use in the schools; I shall speak of them all, beginning with a description of the arithmeticon, which is of great utility.


I have thought it necessary in this edition to give the original woodcut of the arithmeticon, which it will be seen contains twelve wires, with one ball on the first wire, two on the second, and so progressing up to twelve. The improvement is, that each wire should contain twelve balls, so that the whole of the multiplication table may be done by it, up to 12 times 12 are 144. The next step was having the balls painted black and white alternately, to assist the sense of seeing, it being certain that an uneducated eye cannot distinguish the combinations of colour, any more than an uneducated ear can distinguish the combinations of sounds. So far the thing succeeded with respect to the sense of seeing; but there was yet another thing to be legislated for, and that was to prevent the children's attention being drawn off from the objects to which it was to be directed, viz. the smaller number of balls as separated from the greater. This object could only be attained by inventing a board to slide in and hide the greater number from their view, and so far we succeeded in gaining their undivided attention to the balls we thought necessary to move out. Time and experience only could shew that there was another thing wanting, and that was a tablet, as represented in the second woodcut, which had a tendency to teach the children the difference between real numbers and representative characters, therefore the necessity of brass figures, as represented on the tablet; hence the children would call figure seven No. 1, it being but one object, and each figure they would only count as one, thus making 937, which are the representative characters, only three, which is the real fact, there being only three objects. It was therefore found necessary to teach the children that the figure seven would represent 7 ones, 7 tens, 7 hundreds, 7 thousands, or 7 millions, according to where it might be placed in connection with the other figures; and as this has already been described, I feel it unnecessary to enlarge upon the subject.



It will be seen that on the twelve parallel wires there are 144 balls, alternately black and white. By these the elements of arithmetic may be taught as follows:—

Numeration.—Take one ball from the lowest wire, and say units, one, two from the next, and say tens, two; three from the third, and say hundreds, three; four from the fourth, and say thousands, four; five from the fifth, and say tens of thousands, five; six from the sixth, and say hundreds of thousands, six; seven from the seventh, and say millions, seven; eight from the eighth, and say tens of millions, eight; nine from the ninth, and say hundreds of millions, nine; ten from the tenth, and say thousands of millions, ten; eleven from the eleventh, and say tens of thousands of millions, eleven; twelve from the twelfth, and say hundreds of thousands of millions, twelve.

The tablet beneath the balls has six spaces for the insertion of brass letters and figures, a box of which accompanies the frame. Suppose then the only figure inserted is the 7 in the second space from the top: now were the children asked what it was, they would all say, without instruction, "It is one." If, however, you tell them that an object of such a form stands instead of seven ones, and place seven balls together on a wire, they will at once see the use and power of the number. Place a 3 next the seven, merely ask what it is, and they will reply, "We don't know;" but if you put out three balls on a wire, they will say instantly, "O it is three ones, or three;" and that they may have the proper name they may be told that they have before them figure 7 and figure 3. Put a 9 to these figures, and their attention will be arrested: say, Do you think you can tell me what this is? and, while you are speaking, move the balls gently out, and, as soon as they see them, they will immediately cry out "Nine;" and in this way they may acquire a knowledge of all the figures separately. Then you may proceed thus: Units 7, tens 3; place three balls on the top wire and seven on the second, and say, Thirty-seven, as you point to the figures, and thirty-seven as you point to the balls. Then go on, units 7, tens, 3, hundreds 9, place nine balls on the top wire, three on the second, and seven on the third, and say, pointing to each, Nine hundred and thirty-seven. And so onwards.

To assist the understanding and exercise the judgment, slide a figure in the frame, and say, Figure 8. Q. What is this? A. No. 8. Q. If No. 1 be put on the left side of the 8, what will it be? A. 81. Q. If the 1 be put on the right side, then what will it be? A. 18. Q. If the figure 4 be put before the 1, then what will the number be? A. 418. Q. Shift the figure 4, and put it on the left side of the 8, then ask the children to tell the number, the answer is 184. The teacher can keep adding and shifting as he pleases, according to the capacity of his pupils, taking care to explain as he goes on, and to satisfy himself that his little flock perfectly understand him. Suppose figures 5476953821 are in the frame; then let the children begin at the left hand, saying, units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, thousands of millions. After which, begin at the right side, and they will say, Five thousand four hundred and seventy-six million, nine hundred and fifty-three thousand, eight hundred and twenty-one. If the children are practised in this way, they will soon learn numeration.

The frame was employed for this purpose long before its application to others was perceived; but at length I found we might proceed to

Addition.—We proceed as follows:—1 and 2 are 3, and 3 are 6, and 4 are 10, and 5 are 15, and 6 are 21, and 7 are 28, and 8 are 36, and 9 are 45, and 10 are 55, and 11 are 66, and 12 are 78.

Then the master may exercise them backwards, saying, 12 and 11 are 23, and 10 are 33, and 9 are 42, and 8 are 50, and 7 are 57, and 6 are 63, and 5 are 68, and 4 are 72, and 3 are 75, and 2 are 77, and 1 is 78, and so on in great variety.

Again: place seven balls on one wire, and two on the next, and ask them how many 7 and 2 are; to this they will soon answer, Nine: then put the brass figure 9 on the tablet beneath, and they will see how the amount is marked: then take eight balls and three, when they will see that eight and three are eleven. Explain to them that they cannot put underneath two figure ones which mean 11, but they must put 1 under the 8, and carry 1 to the 4, when you must place one ball under the four, and, asking them what that makes, they will say, Five. Proceed by saying, How much are five and nine? put out the proper number of balls, and they will say, Five and nine are fourteen. Put a four underneath, and tell them, as there is no figure to put the 1 under, it must be placed next to it: hence they see that 937 added to 482, make a total of 1419.

Subtraction may be taught in as many ways by this instrument. Thus: take 1 from 1, nothing remains; moving the first ball at the same time to the other end of the frame. Then remove one from the second wire, and say, take one from 2, the children will instantly perceive that only 1 remains; then 1 from 3, and 2 remain; 1 from 4, 3 remain; 1 from 5, 4 remain; 1 from 6, 5 remain; 1 from 7, 6 remain; 1 from 8, 7 remain; 1 from 9, 8 remain; 1 from 10, 9 remain; 1 from 11, 10 remain; 1 from 12, 11 remain.

Then the balls may be worked backwards, beginning at the wire containing 12 balls, saying, take 2 from 12, 10 remain; 2 from 11, 9 remain; 2 from 10, 8 remain; 2 from 9, 7 remain; 2 from 8, 6 remain; 2 from 7, 5 remain; 2 from 6, 4 remain; 2 from 5, 3 remain; 2 from 4, 2 remain; 2 from 3, 1 remains.

The brass figure should be used for the remainder in each case. Say, then, can you take 8 from 3 as you point to the figures, and they will say "Yes;" but skew them 3 balls on a wire and ask them to deduct 8 from them, when they will perceive their error. Explain that in such a case they must borrow one; then say take 8 from 13, placing 12 balls on the top wire, borrow one from the second, and take away eight and they will see the remainder is five; and so on through the sum, and others of the same kind.

In Multiplication, the lessons are performed as follows. The teacher moves the first ball, and immediately after the two balls on the second wire, placing them underneath the first, saying at the same time, twice one are two, which the children will readily perceive. We next remove the two balls on the second wire for a multiplier, and then remove two balls from the third wire, placing them exactly under the first two, which forms a square, and then say twice two are four, which every child will discern for himself, as he plainly perceives there are no more. We then move three on the third wire, and place three from the fourth wire underneath them saying, twice three are six. Remove the four on the fourth wire, and four on the fifth, place them as before and say, twice four are eight. Remove five from the fifth wire, and five from the sixth wire underneath them, saying twice five are ten. Remove six from the sixth wire, and six from the seventh wire underneath them and say, twice six are twelve. Remove seven from the seventh wire, and seven from the eighth wire underneath them, saying, twice seven are fourteen. Remove eight from the eighth wire, and eight from the ninth, saying, twice eight are sixteen. Remove nine on the ninth wire, and nine on the tenth wire, saying twice nine are eighteen. Remove ten on the tenth wire, and ten on the eleventh underneath them, saying, twice ten are twenty. Remove eleven on the eleventh wire, and eleven on the twelfth, saying, twice eleven are twenty-two. Remove one from the tenth wire to add to the eleven on the eleventh wire, afterwards the remaining ball on the twelfth wire, saying, twice twelve are twenty-four.

Next proceed backwards, saying, 12 times 2 are 24, 11 times 2 are 22, 10 times 2 are 20, &c.

For Division, suppose you take from the 144 balls gathered together at one end, one from each row, and place the 12 at the other end, thus making a perpendicular row of ones: then make four perpendicular rows of three each and the children will see there are 4 3's in 12. Divide the 12 into six parcels, and they will see there are. 6 2's in 12. Leave only two out, and they will see, at your direction, that 2 is the sixth part of 12. Take away one of these and they will see one is the twelfth part of 12, and that 12 1's are twelve.

To explain the state of the frame as it appears in the cut, we must first suppose that the twenty-four balls which appear in four lots, are gathered together at the figured side: when the children will see there are three perpendicular 8's, and as easily that there are 8 horizontal 3's. If then the teacher wishes them to tell how many 6's there are in twenty-four, he moves them out as they appear in the cut, and they see there are four; and the same principle is acted on throughout.

The only remaining branch of numerical knowledge, which consists in an ability to comprehend the powers of numbers, without either visible objects or signs—is imparted as follows:


One of the children is placed before the gallery, and repeats aloud, in a kind of chaunt, the whole of the school repeating after him; One and one are two; two and one are three; three and one are four, &c. up to twelve.

Two and two are four; four and two are six; six and two are eight, &c. to twenty-four.

Three and three are six; six and three are nine; nine and three are twelve, &c. to thirty-six.


One from twelve leaves eleven; one from eleven leaves ten, &c.

Two from twenty-four leave twenty-two; two from twenty-two leave twenty, &c.


Twice one are two; twice two are four, &c. &c. Three times three are nine, three times four are twelve, &c. &c.

Twelve times two are twenty-four; eleven times two are twenty-two, &c. &c.

Twelve times three are thirty-six; eleven times three are thirty-three, &c. &c. until the whole of the multiplication table is gone through.


  There are twelve twos in twenty-four.—There are
  eleven twos in twenty-two, &c. &c.
  There are twelve threes in thirty-six, &c.
  There are twelve fours in forty-eight, &c. &c.


Two are the half (1/2) of four. " " " third (1/3) of six. " " " fourth (1/2) of eight. " " " fifth (1/5) of ten. " " " sixth (1/6) of twelve. " " " seventh (1/7) of fourteen. " " " twelfth (1/12) of twenty-four; two are the eleventh (1/11) of twenty-two, &c. &c.

Three are the half (1/2) of six. " " " third (1/3) of nine. " " " fourth (1/4) of twelve.

Three are the twelfth (1/12) of thirty-six; three are the eleventh (1/11) of thirty-three, &c. &c.

Four are the half (1/2) of eight, &c.

In twenty-three are four times five, and three-fifths (3/5) of five; in thirty-five are four times eight, and three-eighths (3/8) of eight.

  In twenty-two are seven times three, and one-third
  (1/3) of three.

  In thirty-four are four times eight, and one-fourth
  (1/4) of eight.

The tables subjoined are repeated by the same method, each section being a distinct lesson. To give an idea to the reader, the boy in the rostrum says ten shillings the half (1/2) of a pound; six shillings and eightpence one-third (1/3) of a pound, &c.

Sixpence the half (1/2) of a shilling, &c. Always remembering, that whatever the boy says in the rostrum, the other children must repeat after him, but not till the monitor has ended his sentence; and before the monitor delivers the second sentence, he waits till the children have concluded the first, they waiting for him, and he for them; this prevents confusion, and is the means of enabling persons to understand perfectly what is going on in the school.

In a book lately published, which is a compilation by two London masters, it is stated, in the preface, that they were at a loss for proper lessons: had they used those in existence I cannot help thinking they were enough for the capacity of children under six years of age.


Numeration, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and Pence

—————————————————————————————————- | ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION TABLE | | 1 & | 2 & | 3 & | 4 & | 5 & | 6 & | | 1 are 2 | 1 are 3 | 1 are 4 | 1 are 5 | 1 are 6 | 1 are 7 | | 2 — 3 | 2 — 4 | 2 — 5 | 2 — 6 | 2 — 7 | 2 — 8 | | 3 — 4 | 3 — 5 | 3 — 6 | 3 — 7 | 3 — 8 | 3 — 9 | | 4 — 5 | 4 — 6 | 4 — 7 | 4 — 8 | 4 — 9 | 4 — 10 | | 5 — 6 | 5 — 7 | 5 — 8 | 5 — 9 | 5 — 10 | 5 — 11 | | 6 — 7 | 6 — 8 | 6 — 9 | 6 — 10 | 6 — 11 | 6 — 12 | | 7 — 8 | 7 — 9 | 7 — l0 | 7 — 11 | 7 — 12 | 7 — 13 | | 8 — 9 | 8 — 10 | 8 — 11 | 8 — 12 | 8 — 13 | 8 — 14 | | 9 — 10 | 9 — 11 | 9 — 12 | 9 — 13 | 9 — 14 | 9 — 15 | | 10 — 11 | 10 — 12 | 10 — 13 | 10 — 14 | 10 — 15 | 10 — 16 | | 11 — l2 | 11 — 13 | 11 — 14 | 11 — 15 | 11 — 16 | 11 — 17 | | l2 — 13 | 12 — 14 | 12 — 14 | 12 — 16 | 12 — 17 | l2 — 18 | —————————————————————————————————- | 7 & | 8 & | 9 & | 10 & | 11 & | 12 & | | 1 are 8 | 1 are 9 | 1 are 10 | 1 are 11 | 1 are 12 | 1 are 13 | | 2 — 9 | 2 — 10 | 2 — 11 | 2 — 12 | 2 — 13 | 2 — 14 | | 3 — 10 | 3 — 11 | 3 — 12 | 3 — 13 | 3 — 14 | 3 — 15 | | 4 — 11 | 4 — 12 | 4 — 13 | 4 — 14 | 4 — 15 | 4 — 16 | | 5 — 12 | 5 — 13 | 5 — 14 | 5 — 15 | 5 — 16 | 5 — 17 | | 6 — 13 | 6 — 14 | 6 — 15 | 6 — 16 | 6 — 17 | 6 — 18 | | 7 — 14 | 7 — 15 | 7 — 16 | 7 — 17 | 7 — 18 | 7 — 19 | | 8 — 15 | 8 — 16 | 8 — 17 | 8 — 18 | 8 — 19 | 8 — 20 | | 9 — 16 | 9 — 17 | 9 — 18 | 9 — 19 | 9 — 20 | 9 — 21 | | 10 — 17 | 10 — 18 | 10 — 19 | 10 — 20 | 10 — 21 | 10 — 22 | | 11 — l8 | 11 — 19 | 11 — 20 | 11 — 21 | 11 — 22 | 11 — 23 | | 12 — 19 | 12 — 20 | 11 — 21 | l2 — 22 | 12 — 23 | 12 — 24 | =================================================================== | MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION TABLE. || NUMERATION TABLE. | |——————————————————||—————————————-| |2—2 are 4|4—5 are 20| 6—12 are 72|| 1 Units. | | 3 — 6| 6 — 24| 7— 7 — 49|| 21 Tens. | | 4 — 8| 7 — 28| 8 — 56|| 321 Hundreds | | 5 — 10| 8 — 32| 9 — 63|| 4,321 Thousands. | | 6 — 12| 9 — 36| 10 — 70|| 54,321 X of Thousands.| | 7 — 14| 10 — 40| 11 — 77|| 654,321 C of Thousands.| | 8 — 16| 11 — 44| 12 — 84|| 7,654,321 Millions. | | 9 — 18| 12 — 48| 8— 8 — 64|| 87,654,321 X of Millions. | | 10 — 20|5—5 — 25| 9 — 72||987,654,321 C of Millions. | | 11 — 22| 6 — 30| 10 — 80||===========================| | 12 — 24| 7 — 35| 11 — 88|| | |3—3 — 9| 8 — 40| 12 — 96|| PENCE TABLE | | 4 — 12| 9 — 45| 9— 9 — 81|| | | 5 — 15| 10 — 50| 10 — 90||—————————————-| | 6 — 18| 11 — 55| 11 — 99|| d. s. d.|d. s. d.| | 7 — 21| 12 — 60| 12 — 108|| 20 is 1 8 | 90 is 7 6 | | 8 — 24|6—6 — 36|10—10 — 100|| 30 — 2 6 |100 — 8 4 | | 9 — 27| 7 — 42| 11 — 110|| 40 — 3 4 |110 — 9 2 | | 10 — 30| 8 — 48| 12 — 120|| 50 — 4 2 |120 —10 0 | | 11 — 33| 9 — 54|11—11 — 121|| 60 — 5 0 |130 —10 10 | | 12 — 36| 10 — 60| 12 — 132|| 70 — 5 10 |140 —11 8 | |4—4 — 16| 11 — 66|12—12 — 144|| 80 — 6 8 |144 —12 0 | —————————————————————————————————-

Tables of Weights and Measures.

Shilling Tables

s. l. s. 20 are 1 0 30 —— 1 10 40 —— 2 0 50 —— 2 10 60 —— 3 0 70 —— 3 10 80 —— 4 0 90 —— 4 10 100 are 5 0 110 —- 5 10 120 —- 6 0 130 —- 6 10 140 —- 7 0 150 —- 7 10 160 —- 8 0 170 —- 8 10

* * * * *

Practice Tables.

* * * * *

Of a Pound.

s. d.
  10 0 are half
  6 8 —- third
  5 0 —- fourth
  4 0 —- fifth
  3 4 —- sixth
  2 6 —- eighth
  1 8 —- twelfth
  1 0 —- twentieth

Of a shilling.

6_d_. are half 4 —- third 3 —- fourth 2 —- sixth 1 —- twelfth

* * * * *


60 seconds 1 minute 60 minutes 1 hour 24 hours 1 day 7 days 1 week 4 weeks 1 lunar month 12 cal. mon. 1 year 13 lunar months, 1 day, 6 hours, or 365 days, 6 hours, 1 year.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, which alone
Hath twenty-eigth, except Leap year,
And twenty-nine is then its share.

* * * * *

Troy Weight.

24 grains 1 pennywt. 20 pennywhts. 1 ounce 12 ounces 1 pound

* * * * *

Avoirdupoise Weight.

16 drams 1 ounce 16 ounces 1 pound 28 pounds 1 quarter 4 quarters 1 hund. wt. 20 hund. wt. 1 ton

* * * * *

Apothecaries Weight.

20 grains 1 scruple 3 scruples 1 dram 8 drams 1 ounce 12 ounces 1 pound

* * * * *

Wool Weight.

7 pounds 1 clove 2 cloves 1 stone 2 stones 1 tod 6½ tods 1 wey 2 weys 1 sack 12 sacks 1 last

* * * * *

Wine Measure.

2 pints 1 quart 4 quarts 1 gallon 10 gallons 1 ank. brandy 42 gallons 1 tierce 63 gallons 1 hogshead 84 gallons 1 puncheon 2 hogsheads 1 pipe 2 pipes 1 ton

* * * * *

Ale and Beer Measure. 2 pints 1 quart 4 quarts 1 gallon 8 gallons 1 firkin of ale 9 gallons 1 firk. of beer 2 firkins 1 kilderkin 2 kilderkins 1 barrel 14 barrel 1 hogshead 2 barrels 1 puncheon 3 barrels 1 butt

* * * * *

Coal Measure.

4 pecks 1 bushel 9 bushels 1 vat or strike 3 bushels 1 sack 12 sacks 1 chaldron 91 chaldron 1 score

* * * * *

Dry Measure.

2 pints 1 quart 2 quarts 1 pottle 2 pottles 1 gallon 2 gallons 1 peck 4 pecks 1 bushel 2 bushels 1 strike 5 bushels 1 sack flour 8 bushels 1 quarter 5 quarters 1 wey or load 5 pecks 1 bushl. water measure 4 bushels 1 coom 10 cooms 1 wey 2 weys 1 last corn

* * * * *

Solid or Cubic Measure.

1728 inches 1 foot 27 feet 1 yard or load

* * * * *

Long Measure.

3 barleycorns 1 inch 12 inches 1 foot 3 feet 1 yard 6 feet 1 fathom 5½ yards 1 pole or rod 40 poles 1 furlong 8 furlongs 1 mile 3 miles 1 league 20 leagues 1 degree

* * * * *

Cloth Measure.

24 inches 1 nail 4 nails 1 quarter 4 quarters 1 yard 5 quarters 1 English ell 3 quarters 1 Flemish ell 6 quarters 1 French ell

* * * * *

Land or Square Measure.

144 inches 1 foot 9 feet 1 yard 30¾ yards 1 pole 40 poles 1 rood 4 roods 1 acre 640 acres 1 mile

This includes length and breadth.

* * * * *


36 pounds 1 truss of straw 56 pounds 1 do. of old hay 60 pounds 1 do. of new hey 36 trusses 1 load


  Two farthings one halfpenny make,
  A penny four of such will take;
  And to allow I am most willing
  That twelve pence always make a shilling;
  And that five shillings make a crown,
  Twenty a sovereign, the same as pound.
  Some have no cash, some have to spare—
  Some who have wealth for none will care.
  Some through misfortune's hand brought low,
  Their money gone, are filled with woe,
  But I know better than to grieve;
  If I have none I will not thieve;
  I'll be content whate'er's my lot,
  Nor for misfortunes care a groat.
  There is a Providence whose care
  And sovereign love I crave to share;
  His love is gold without alloy;
  Those who possess't have endless joy.


  Sixty seconds make a minute;
    Time enough to tie my shoe
  Sixty minutes make an hour;
    Shall it pass and nought to do?

  Twenty-four hours will make a day
    Too much time to spend in sleep,
  Too much time to spend in play,
    For seven days will end the week,

  Fifty and two such weeks will put
    Near an end to every year;
  Days three hundred sixty-five
    Are the whole that it can share.

  Saving leap year, when one day
    Added is to gain lost time;
  May it not be spent in play,
    Nor in any evil crime.

  Time is short, we often say;
    Let us, then, improve it well;
  That eternally we may
    Live where happy angels dwell.


  Sixteen drachms are just an ounce,
    As you'll find at any shop;
  Sixteen ounces make a pound,
    Should you want a mutton chop.

  Twenty-eight pounds are the fourth
    Of an hundred weight call'd gross;
  Four such quarters are the whole
    Of an hundred weight at most.

      Oh! how delightful,
      Oh! how delightful,
      Oh! how delightful,
      To sing this rule.

  Twenty hundreds make a ton;
    By this rule all things are sold
  That have any waste or dross
    And are bought so, too, I'm told.

  When we buy and when we sell,
    May we always use just weight;
  May we justice love so well
    To do always what is right.

      Oh! how delightful,
        &c., &c., &c.


  Twenty grains make a scruple,—some scruple to take;
  Though at times it is needful, just for our health's sake;
  Three scruples one drachm, eight drachms make one ounce,
  Twelve ounces one pound, for the pestle to pounce.

  By this rule is all medicine mix'd, though I'm told
  By Avoirdupoise weight 'tis bought and 'tis sold.
  But the best of all physic, if I may advise,
  Is temperate living and good exercise.


  Two pints will make one quart
    Of barley, oats, or rye;
  Two quarts one pottle are, of wheat
    Or any thing that's dry.

  Two pottles do one gallon make,
    Two gallons one peck fair,
  Four pecks one bushel, heap or brim,
    Eight bushels one quarter are.

  If, when you sell, you give
    Good measure shaken down,
  Through motives good, you will receive
    An everlasting crown.


  Two pints will make one quart,
    Four quarts one gallon, strong:—
  Some drink but little, some too much,—
    To drink too much is wrong.

  Eight gallons one firkin make,
    Of liquor that's call'd ale
  Nine gallons one firkin of beer,
    Whether 'tis mild or stale.

  With gallons fifty-four
    A hogshead I can fill:
  But hope I never shall drink much,
    Drink much whoever will.


  Two pints will make one quart
    Of any wine, I'm told:
  Four quarts one gallon are of port
    Or claret, new or old.

  Forty-two gallons will
    A tierce fill to the bung:
  And sixty-three's a hogshead full
    Of brandy, oil, or rum.

  Eighty-four gallons make
    One puncheon fill'd to brim,
  Two hogsheads make one pipe or butt,
    Two pipes will make one tun.

  A little wine within
    Oft cheers the mind that's sad;
  But too much brandy, rum, or gin,
    No doubt is very bad.

  From all excess beware,
    Which sorrow must attend;
  Drunkards a life of woe must share,—
    When time with them shall end.

The arithmeticon, I would just remark, may be applied to geometry. Round, square, oblong, &c. &c., may be easily taught. It may also be used in teaching geography. The shape of the earth may be shewn by a ball, the surface by the outside, its revolution on its axis by turning it round, and the idea of day and night may be given by a ball and a candle in a dark-room.

As the construction and application of this instrument is the result of personal, long-continued, and anxious effort, and as I have rarely seen a pirated one made properly or understood, I may express a hope that whenever it is wanted either for schools or nurseries, application will be made for it to my depot.

I have only to add, that a board is placed at the back to keep the children from seeing the balls, except as they are put out; and that the brass figures at the side are intended to assist the master when he is called away, so that he may see, on returning to the frame, where he left off.

The slightest glance at the wood-cut will shew how unjust the observations of the writer of "Schools for the Industrious Classes, or the Present State of Education amongst the Working People of England," published under the superintendance of the Central Society of Education, are, where he says, "We are willing to assume that Mr. Wilderspin has originated some improvements in the system of Infant School education; but Mr. Wilderspin claims so much that many persons have been led to refuse him that degree of credit to which he is fairly entitled. For example, he claims a beneficial interest in an instrument called the Arithmeticon, of which he says he was the inventor. This instrument was described in a work on arithmetic, published by Mr. Friend forty years ago. The instrument is, however, of much older date; it is the same in principle as the Abacus of the Romans, and in its form resembles as nearly as possible the Swanpan of the Chinese, of which there is a drawing in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Mr. Wilderspin merely invented the name." Now, I defy the writer of this to prove that the Arithmeticon existed before I invented it. I claim no more than what is my due. The Abacus of the Romans is entirely different; still more so is the Chinese Swanpan; if any person will take the trouble to look into the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they will see the difference at once, although I never heard of either until they were mentioned in the pamphlet referred to. There are 144 balls on mine, and it is properly simplified for infants with the addition of the tablet, which explains the representative characters as well as the real ones, which are the balls.

I have not yet heard what the Central Society have invented; probably we shall soon hear of the mighty wonders performed by them, from one end of the three kingdoms to the other. Their whole account of the origin of the Infant System is as partial and unjust as it possibly can be. Mr. Simpson, whom they quote, can tell them so, as can also some of the committee of management, whose names I see at the commencement of the work. The Central Society seem to wish to pull me down, as also does the other society to whom reference is made is the same page of which I complain; and I distinctly charge both societies with doing me great injustice; the society complains of my plans without knowing them, the other adopts them without acknowledgment, and both have sprung up fungus-like, after the Infant System had been in existence many years, and I had served three apprenticeships to extend and promote it, without receiving subscriptions or any public aid whatever. It is hard, after a man has expended the essence of his constitution, and spent his children's property for the public good, in inducing people to establish schools in the principal towns in the three kingdoms,—struck at the root of domestic happiness, by personally visiting each town, doing the thing instead of writing about it—that societies of his own countrymen should be so anxious to give the credit to foreigners. Verily it is most true that a Prophet has no honour in his own country. The first public honour I ever received was at Inverness, in the Highlands of Scotland, the last was by the Jews in London, and I think there was a space of about twenty years between each.



Method of instruction, geometrical song—Anecdotes—Size—Song measure—Observations.

* * * * *

"Geometry is eminently serviceable to improve and strengthen the intellectual faculties."—Jones.

* * * * *

Among the novel features of the Infant School System, that of geometrical lessons is the most peculiar. How it happened that a mode of instruction so evidently calculated for the infant mind was so long overlooked, I cannot imagine; and it is still more surprising that, having been once thought of, there should be any doubt as to its utility. Certain it is that the various forms of bodies is one of the first items of natural education, and we cannot err when treading in the steps of Nature. It is undeniable that geometrical knowledge is of great service in many of the mechanic arts, and, therefore, proper to be taught children who are likely to be employed in some of those arts; but, independently of this, we cannot adopt a better method of exciting and strengthening their powers of observation. I have seen a thousand instances, moreover, in the conduct of the children, which have assured me, that it is a very pleasing as well as useful branch of instruction. The children, being taught the first elements of form, and the terms used to express the various figures of bodies, find in its application to objects around them an inexhaustible source of amusement. Streets, houses, rooms, fields, ponds, plates, dishes, tables; in short, every thing they see calls for observation, and affords an opportunity for the application of their geometrical knowledge. Let it not, then, be said that it is beyond their capacity, for it is the simplest and most comprehensible to them of all knowledge;—let it not be said that it is useless, since its application to the useful arts is great and indisputable; nor is it to be asserted that it is unpleasing to them, since it has been shewn to add greatly to their happiness.

It is essential in this, as in every other branch of education, to begin with the first principles, and proceed slowly to their application, and the complicated forms arising therefrom. The next thing is to promote that application of which we have before spoken, to the various objects around them. It is this, and this alone, which forms the distinction between a school lesson and practical knowledge; and so far will the children be found from being averse from this exertion, that it makes the acquirement of knowledge a pleasure instead of a task. With these prefatory remarks I shall introduce a description of the method I have pursued, and a few examples of geometrical lessons.

We will suppose that the whole of the children are seated in the gallery, and that the teacher (provided with a brass instrument formed for the purpose, which is merely a series of joints like those to a counting-house candlestick, from which I borrowed the idea,[A] and which may be altered as required, in a moment,) points to a straight line, asking, What is this? A. A straight line. Q. Why did you not call it a crooked line? A. Because it is not crooked, but straight. Q. What are these? A. Curved lines. Q. What do curved lines mean? A. When they are bent or crooked. Q. What are these? A. Parallel straight lines. Q. What does parallel mean? A. Parallel means when they are equally distant from each other in every part. Q. If any of you children were reading a book. that gave an account of some town which had twelve streets, and it is said that the streets were parallel, would you understand what it meant? A. Yes; it would mean that the streets were all the same way, side by side, like the lines which we now see. Q. What are those? A. Diverging or converging straight lines. Q. What is the difference between diverging and converging lines and parallel lines? A. Diverging or converging lines are not at an equal distance from each other, in every part, but parallel lines are. Q. What does diverge mean? A. Diverge means when they go from each other, and they diverge at one end and converge at the other.[B] Q. What does converge mean? A. Converge means when they come towards each other. Q. Suppose the lines were longer, what would be the consequence? A. Please, sir, if they were longer, they would meet together at the end they converge. Q. What would they form by meeting together? A. By meeting together they would form an angle. Q. What kind of an angle? A. An acute angle? Q. Would they form an angle at the other end? A. No; they would go further from each other. Q. What is this? A. A perpendicular line. Q. What does perpendicular mean? A. A line up straight, like the stem of some trees. Q. If you look, you will see that one end of the line comes on the middle of another line; what does it form? A. The one which we now see forms two right angles. Q. I will make a straight line, and one end of it shall lean on another straight line, but instead of being upright like the perpendicular line, you see that it is sloping. What does it form? A. One side of it is an acute angle, and the other side is an obtuse angle. Q. Which side is the obtuse angle? A. That which is the most open. Q. And which is the acute angle? A. That which is the least open. Q. What does acute mean? A. When the angle is sharp. Q. What does obtuse mean? A. When the angle is less sharp than the right angle. Q. If I were to call any one of you an acute child, would you know what I meant? A. Yes, sir; one that looks out sharp, and tries to think, and pays attention to what is said to him; and then you would say he was an acute child.

[Footnote b: Mr. Chambers has been good enough to call the instrument referred to, a gonograph; to that name I have no objection.]

[Footnote B: Desire the children to hold up two fingers, keeping them apart, and they will perceive they diverge at top and converge at bottom.]

Equi-lateral Triangle.

Q. What is this? A. An equi-lateral triangle. Q. Why is it called equi-lateral? A. Because its sides are all equal. Q. How many sides has it? A. Three sides. Q. How many angles has it? A. Three angles. Q. What do you mean by angles? A. The space between two right lines, drawn gradually nearer to each other, till they meet in a point. Q. And what do you call the point where the two lines meet? A. The angular point. Q. Tell me why you call it a tri-angle. A. We call it a tri-angle because it has three angles. Q. What do you mean by equal? A. When the three sides are of the same length. Q. Have you any thing else to observe upon this? A. Yes, all its angles are acute.

Isoceles Triangle.

Q. What is this? A. An acute-angled isoceles triangle. Q. What does acute mean? A. When the angles are sharp. Q. Why is it called an isoceles triangle? A. Because only two of its sides are equal. Q. How many sides has it? A. Three, the same as the other. Q. Are there any other kind of isoceles triangles? A. Yes, there are right-angled and obtuse-angled.

[Here the other triangles are to be shewn, and the master must explain to the children the meaning of right-angled and obtuse-angled.]

Scalene Triangle.

Q. What is this? A. An acute-angled scalene triangle. Q. Why is it called an acute-angled scalene triangle? A. Because all its angles are acute, and its sides are not equal. Q. Why is it called scalene? A. Because it has all its sides unequal. Q. Are there any other kind of scalene triangles? A. Yes, there is a right-angled scalene triangle, which has one right angle. Q. What else? A. An obtuse-angled scalene triangle, which has one obtuse angle. Q. Can an acute triangle be an equi-lateral triangle? A. Yes, it may be equilateral, isoceles, or scalene. Q. Can a right-angled triangle, or an obtuse-angled triangle, be an equilateral? A. No; it must be either an isoceles or a scalene triangle.


Q. What is this? A. A square. Q. Why is it called a square? A. Because all its angles are right angles, and its sides are equal. Q. How many angles has it? A. Four angles. Q. What would it make if we draw a line from one angle to the opposite one? A. Two right-angled isoceles triangles. Q. What would you call the line that we drew from one angle to the other? A. A diagonal. Q. Suppose we draw another line from the other two angles. A. Then it would make four triangles.


Q. What is this? A. A regular pentagon. Q. Why is it called a pentagon? A. Because it has five sides and five angles. Q. Why is it called regular? A. Because its sides and angles are equal. Q. What does pentagon mean? A. A five-sided figure. Q. Are there any other kinds of pentagons? A. Yes, irregular pentagons? Q. What does irregular mean? A. When the sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A hexagon. Q. Why is it called a hexagon? A.
Because it has six sides and six angles. Q. What does hexagon mean? A.
A six-sided figure. Q. Are there more than one sort of hexagons? A.
Yes, there are regular and irregular. Q. What is a regular hexagon?
A. When the sides and angles are all equal. Q. What is an irregular
hexagon? A. When the sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A regular heptagon. Q. Why is it called a heptagon? A. Because it has seven sides and seven angles. Q. Why is it called a regular heptagon? A. Because its sides and angles are equal. Q. What does a heptagon mean? A. A seven-sided figure. Q. What is an irregular heptagon? A. A seven-sided figure, whose sides are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A regular octagon. Q. Why is it called a regular octagon? A. Because it has eight sides and eight angles, and they are all equal. Q. What does an octagon mean? A. An eight-sided figure. Q. What is an irregular octagon? A. An eight-sided figure, whose sides and angles are not all equal. Q. What does an octave mean? A. Eight notes in music.


Q. What is this? A. A nonagon. Q. Why is it called a nonagon? A. Because it has nine sides and nine angles. Q. What does a nonagon mean? A. A nine-sided figure. Q. What is an irregular nonagon? A. A nine-sided figure whose sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A regular decagon. Q. What does a decagon mean? A. A ten-sided figure. Q. Why is it called a decagon? A. Because it has ten sides and ten angles, and there are both regular and irregular decagons.

Rect-angle or Oblong.

Q. What is this? A. A rectangle or oblong. Q. How many sides and angles has it? A. Four, the same as a square. Q. What is the difference between a rectangle and a square? A. A rectangle has two long sides, and the other two are much shorter, but a square has its sides equal.


Q. What is this? A. A rhomb. Q. What is the difference between a rhomb and a rectangle? A. The sides of the rhomb are equal, but the sides of the rectangle are not all equal. Q. Is there any other difference? A. Yes, the angles of the rectangle are equal, but the rhomb has only its opposite angles equal.


Q. What is this? A. A rhomboid. Q. What is the difference between a rhomb and a rhomboid? A. The sides of the rhomboid are not equal, nor yet its angles, but the sides of the rhomb are equal.


Q. What is this. A. A trapezoid. Q. How many sides has it? A. Four sides and four angles, it has only two of its angles equal, which are opposite to each other.


Q. What do we call these figures that have four sides. A. Tetragons, tetra meaning four. Q. Are they called by another name? A. Yes, they are called quadrilaterals, or quadrangles. Q. How many regular tetragons are among those we have mentioned? A. One, that is the square, all the others are irregular tetragons, because their sides and angles are not all equal. Q. By what name would you call the whole of the figures on this board? A. Polygons; those that have their sides and angles equal we would call regular polygons. Q. What would you call those angles whose sides were not equal? A. Irregular polygons, and the smallest number of sides a polygon can have is three, and the number of corners are always equal to the number of sides.

Ellipse or Oval.

Q. What is this? A. An ellipse or an oval. Q. What shape is the top or crown of my bat? A. Circular. Q. What shape is that part which comes on my forehead and the back part of my head? A. Oval.

The other polygons are taught the children in rotation, in the same simple manner, all tending to please and edify them.

The following is sung:—

  Horizontal, perpendicular,
  Horizontal, perpendicular,
   Parallel, parallel,
   Parallel, lines,
  Diverging, converging, diverging lines,
  Diverging, converging, diverging lines.

  Spreading wider, or expansion,
  Drawing nearer, or contraction,
    Falling, rising,
    Slanting, crossing,
  Convex, concave, curved lines,
  Convex, concave, curved lines.

  Here's a wave line, there's an angle,
  Here's a wave line, there's an angle;
    An ellipsis,
    Or an oval,
  A semicircle half way round,
  Then a circle wheeling round.

Some amusing circumstances have occured from the knowledge of form thus acquired.

"D'ye ken, Mr. Wilderspin," said a child at Glasgow one day, "that we have an oblong table: it's made o' deal; four sides, four corners, twa lang sides, and twa short anes; corners mean angles, and angles mean corners. My brother ga'ed himsel sic a clink o' the eye against ane at hame; but ye ken there was nane that could tell the shape o' the thing that did it!"

A little boy was watching his mother making pan-cakes and wishing they were all done; when, after various observations as to their comparative goodness with and without sugar, he exclaimed, "I wonder which are best, elliptical pan-cakes or circular ones!" As this was Greek to the mother she turned round with "What d'ye say?" When the child repeated the observation. "Bless the child!" said the astonished parent, "what odd things ye are always saying; what can you mean by liptical pancakes? Why, you little fool, don't you know they are made of flour and eggs, and did you not see me put the milk into the large pan and stir all up together?" "Yes," said the little fellow, "I know what they are made of, and I know what bread is made of, but that is'nt the shape; indeed, indeed, mother, they are elliptical pan-cakes, because they are made in an elliptical frying-pan." An old soldier who lodged in the house, was now called down by the mother, and he decided that the child was right, and far from being what, in her surprize and alarm, she took him to be.

On another occasion a little girl had been taken to market by her mother, where she was struck by the sight of the carcasses of six sheep recently killed, and said, "Mother, what are these?" The reply was, "Dead sheep, dead sheep, don't bother." "They are suspended, perpendicular, and parallels," rejoined the child. "What? What?" was then the question. "Why, mother," was the child's answer, "don't you see they hang up, that's suspended; they are straight up, that's perpendicular; and they are at equal distances, that's parallel."

On another occasion a child came crying to school, at having been beaten for contradicting his father, and begged of me to go to his father and explain; which I did. The man received me kindly, and told me that he had beaten the child for insisting that the table which he pointed out was not round, which he repeated was against all evidence of the senses; that the child told him that if it was round, nothing would stand upon it, which so enraged him, that he thrashed him, as he deserved, and sent him off to school, adding, to be thus contradicted by a child so young, was too bad. The poor little fellow stood between us looking the picture of innocence combined with oppression, which his countenance fully developed, but said not a word. Under the said table there happened to be a ball left by a younger child. I took it up and kindly asked the man the shape of it? he instantly replied, "Round." "Then," said I, "is that table the same shape as the ball?" The man thought for a minute, and then said, "It is round-flat." I then explained the difference to him between the one and the other, more accurately, of course, than the infant could; and told him, as he himself saw a distinction, it was evident they were not both alike, and told him that the table was circular. "Ah!" said be, "that is just what the little one said! but I did not understand what circular meant; but now I see he is right." The little fellow was so pleased, that he ran to his father directly with delight. The other could not resist the parental impulse, but seized the boy and kissed him heartily.

The idea of size is necessary to a correct apprehension of objects. To talk of yards, feet, or inches, to a child, unless they are shown, is just as intelligible as miles, leagues, or degrees. Let there then be two five-feet rods, a black foot and a white foot alternately, the bottom foot marked in inches, and let there be a horizontal piece to slide up and down to make various heights. Thus, when the height of a lion, or elephant, &c. &c., is mentioned, it may be shown by the rod; while the girth may be exhibited by a piece of cord, which should always be ready. Long measure is taught as follows:

  Take barley-corns of mod'rate length,
    And three you'll find will make an inch;
  Twelve inches make a foot;—if strength
    Permit; I'll leap it and not flinch.
  Three feet's a yard, as understood
    By those possess'd with sense and soul;
  Five feet and half will make a rood,
    And also make a perch or pole.
  Oh how pretty, wond'rously pretty,
    Every rule
    We learn at school
  Is wondrously pretty.

  Forty such poles a furlong make,
    And eight such furlongs make a mile,
  O'er hedge, or ditch, or seas, or lake;
    O'er railing, fence, or gate, or stile.
  Three miles a league, by sea or land,
    And twenty leagues are one degree;
  Just four times ninety degrees a band
    Will make to girt the earth and sea.
  Oh how pretty, &c.

  But what's the girth of hell or heaven?
    (No natural thought or eye can see,)
  To neither girth or length is given;
    'Tis without space—Immensity.
  Still shall the good and truly wise,
    The seat of heaven with safety find;
  Because 'tis seen with inward eyes,
    The first resides within their mind.
  Oh how pretty, &c.

Whatever can be shewn by the rod should be, and I entreat teachers not to neglect this part of their duty. If the tables be merely learnt, the children will be no wiser than before.

Another anecdote may be added here, to shew that children even under punishment may think of their position with advantage. Doctor J., of Manchester, sent two of his children to an infant school, for the upper classes, and one of his little daughters had broken some rule in conjunction with two other little ladies in the same school; two of the little folks were placed, one in each corner of the room, and Miss J. was placed in the centre, when the child came home in the evening, Doctor J. enquired, "Well, Mary, how have you got on at school to day?" the reply was "Oh, papa, little Miss —— and Fanny ——, and I, were put out, they were put in the corners and I in the middle of the room, and there we all stood, papa, a complete triangle of dunces." The worthy doctor took great pleasure in mentioning this anecdote in company, as shewing the effect of a judicious cultivation of the thinking faculties.

In my peregrinations by sea and land, with infants, we have had some odd and amusing scenes. I sometimes have had infants at sea for several days and nights to the great amusement of the sailors: I have seen some of these fine fellows at times in fits of laughter at the odd words, as they called them, which the children used; at other times I have seen some of them in tears, at the want of knowledge, they saw in themselves; and when they heard the infants sing on deck, and explain the odd words by things in the ship, the sailors were delighted to have the youngsters in their berths, and no nurse could take better care of them than these noble fellows did.

I could relate anecdote after anecdote to prove the utility of this part of our system, but as it is now more generally in the training juvenile schools, and becoming better known, it may not be necessary, especially as the prejudice against it is giving way, and the public mind is better informed than it was on the subject, and moreover it must be given more in detail in the larger work on Juvenile Training or National Education.



Its attraction for children—Sacred Geography-Geographical song—and lesson on geography.

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"From sea to sea, from realm to realm I rove."—Tickell.

* * * * *

Geography is to children a delightful study. We give some idea of it at an early period in infant schools, by singing, "London is the capital, the capital, the capital, London is the capital, the capital of England," and other capitals in the same way; and also by pictures of the costumes of the various people of the world. To teach the four quarters of the globe, we tell children the different points of the play-ground, and then send them to the eastern, western, northern, or southern quarters, as we please. A weathercock should also be placed at the top of the school, and every favourable day opportunities should be seized by the teachers to give practical instructions upon it.[A]

[Footnote A: If the lesson is on objects it will shew how children are taught the points of the compass, with which we find they are very much delighted, the best proof that can be given that it is not injurious to the faculties.]

Sacred geography is of great importance, and children are much pleased at finding out the spots visited by our Saviour, or the route of the apostle Paul.


  The earth, on which we all now live,
  Is called a globe—its shape I'll give;
  If in your pocket you've a ball,
  You have it's shape,—but that's not all;
  For land and water it contains,
  And presently I'll give their names.
  The quarters are called, Africa,
  Europe, Asia, and America;
  These contain straits, oceans, seas,
  Continents, promontories,
  Islands, rivers, gulfs, or bays,
  Isthmusses, peninsulas,—
  Each divides or separates
  Nations, kingdoms, cities, states,—
  Mountains, forests, hills, and dales,
  Dreary deserts, rocks, and vales.

   In forests, deserts, bills, and plains,
     Where feet have never trod,
   There still in mighty power, He reigns,
     An ever-present God.


  The east is where the sun does rise
  Each morning, in the glorious skies;
  Full west he sets, or hides his head,
  And points to us the time for bed;
  He's in the south at dinner time;
  The north is facing to a line.

The above can be given as a gallery lesson, and it will at once be seen that it requires explanation: the explanation is given by the teacher in the same way as we have hinted at in former lessons, though for the sake of those teachers who may not be competent to do it, we subjoin the following:

Q. Little children what have we been singing about? A. The earth on which we live. Q. What is the earth called? A. A globe. Q. What is the shape of a globe? A. Round, like an orange. Q. Is the earth round, like an orange? A. Yes. Q. Does it always stand still? A. No, it goes round the sun. Q. How often does it go round the sun in a year? A. Once. Q. Does it go round anything else but the sun? A. Yes, round its own axis, in the same way as you turn the balls round on the wires of the arithmeticon. Q. What are these motions called? A. Its motion round the sun is called its annual or yearly motion. Q. What is its other motion called? A. Its diurnal or daily motion. Q. What is caused by its motion round the sun? A. The succession of summer, winter, spring, and autumn, which are called the four seasons, is caused by this. Q. What is caused by its daily motion round its own axis? A. Day and night. Q. Into what two principal things is this earth on which we live divided? A. Into land and water. Q. Into how many great parts is the globe divided? A. Into five. Q. Which are they? A. Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia. Q. Which part do you live in? A. In Europe. Q. We sung that those great parts contained

  Straits, oceans, seas,
  Continents, promontories,
  Islands, rivers, gulfs, or bays,
  Isthmusses, peninsulas.

Q. What is a strait? A. A narrow part of the sea joining one great sea to another. Q. What is an ocean? A. A very large sea. Q. What is a gulf or bay? A. A part of the sea running a long way into the land. Q. What is a continent? A. A very large tract of land. Q. What does a continent contain? A. Nations and kingdoms, such as England. Q. What more? A. Many cities and towns. Q. What more? A. Mountains. Q What are mountains? A. Very high steep places. Q. What more does a continent contain? A. Forests, hills, deserts, and valleys. Q. What is a forest? A. Many large trees growing over a great deal of the land is a forest. Q. What are hills? A. Parts of the ground which rise higher than the rest. Q. What is a desert? A. A part of the earth where nothing will grow, and which is covered with hot sand. Q. What is a valley? A. A part of the earth which is lower than the rest, with hills at each side. Q. Who made all that we have been speaking of? A. Almighty God.

I can remember the time when no national school in England possessed a map. It was thought dangerous to teach geography, as in fact anything but cramming the memory, and reading and writing. With regard to the reading I will say nothing as to how much was understood, explaining then, was out of the question. What a change have I lived to see!



Pictures—Religious instruction—Specimens of picture lessons on Scripture and natural history—other means of religious instruction—Effects of religious instruction—observation.

* * * * *

"The parents of Dr. Doddridge brought him up in the early knowledge of religion. Before he could read, his mother taught him the histories of the Old and New Testament, by the assistance of some Dutch tiles in the chimney of the room where they usually sat; and accompanied her instructions with such wise and pious reflections, as make strong and lasting impressions upon his heart"—See his Life.[A]

[Footnote A: This gave me the idea of introducing Scripture pictures for the infants; and that they are successful can be vouched for by hundreds of teachers besides myself.]

* * * * *

To give the children general information, it has been found advisable to have recourse to pictures of natural history, such as of birds, beasts, fishes, flowers, insects, &c., all of which tend to shew the glory of God; and as colours attract the attention of children as soon as any thing, they eagerly inquire what such a thing is, and this gives the teacher an opportunity of instructing them to great advantage; for when a child of his own free will eagerly desires to be informed, he is sure to profit by the information then imparted.

We use also pictures of public buildings, and of the different trades; by the former, the children acquire much information, from the explanations which are given to them of the use of buildings, in what year they were built, &c.; whilst by the latter, we are enabled to find out the bias of a child's inclination. Some would like to be shoemakers, others builders, others weavers, others brewers, &c.; in short it is both pleasing and edifying to hear the children give answers to the different questions. I remember one little boy, who said he should like to be a doctor; and when asked why he made choice of that profession in preference to any other, his answer was, "Because he should like to cure all the sick people." If parents did but study the inclinations of their children a little more, I humbly conceive, that there would be more eminent men in every profession than there are. It is great imprudence to determine what business children shall be of before their tempers and inclinations are well known. Every one is best in his own profession—and this should not be determined on rashly and carelessly.

But as it is possible that a person may be very clever in his business or profession, and yet not be a Christian, it has been thought necessary to direct the children's attention particularly to the Scriptures. Many difficulties lie in our way; the principal one arises not from their inability to read the Bible, nor from their inability to comprehend it, but from the apathy of the heart to its divine principles and precepts. Some parents, indeed, are quite delighted if their children can read a chapter or two in the Bible, and think that when they can do this, they have arrived at the summit of knowledge, without once considering whether they understand a single sentence of what they read, or whether, if they understand it, they feel its truth and importance. And how can it be expected that they should do either, when no ground-work has been laid at the time when they received their first impressions and imbibed their first ideas? Every one comes into the world without ideas, yet with a capacity to receive knowledge of every kind, and is therefore capable, to a certain extent, of becoming intelligent and wise. An infant would take hold of the most poisonous reptile, that might sting him to death in an instant; or attempt to stroke the lion with as little fear as he would the lamb; in short, he is incapable of distinguishing a friend from a foe. And yet so wonderfully is man formed by his adorable Creator, that he is capable of increasing his knowledge, and advancing towards perfection to all eternity, without ever being able to arrive at the summit.

I am the ardent friend of religious education, but what I thus denominate I must proceed to explain; because of the errors that abound on this subject. Much that bears the name is altogether unworthy of it. Moral and religious sentiments may be written as copies; summaries of truth, admirable in themselves, may be deposited in the memory; chapter after chapter too may be repeated by rote, and yet, after all, the slightest salutary influence may not be exerted on the mind or the heart. These may resemble "the way-side" in the parable, on which the fowls of the air devoured the corn as soon as it was sown; and hence those plans should be devised and pursued from which we may anticipate a harvest of real good. On these, however, my limits will only allow a few hints.

As soon as possible, I would have a distinction made between the form and power of religion; between the grimaces and long-facedness so injurious to multitudes, and that principle of supreme love to God which he alone can implant in the heart. I would exhibit too that "good will to man" which the gospel urges and inspires, which regards the human race apart from all the circumstances of clime, colour, or grade; and which has a special reference to those who are most necessitous. And how can this be done more hopefully than by inculcating, in dependence on the divine blessing, the history, sermons, and parables of our Lord Jesus Christ; and by the simple, affectionate, and faithful illustration and enforcement of other parts of holy writ? The infant system, therefore, includes a considerable number of Scripture lessons, of which the following are specimens:


The following method is adopted:—The picture being suspended against the wall, and one class of the children standing opposite to it, the master repeats the following passages: "And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, the dream which I have dreamed; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo! my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round abort, and made obeisance to my sheaf."

The teacher being provided with a pointer will point to the picture, and put the following questions, or such as he may think better, to the children:

Q. What is this? A. Joseph's first dream. Q. What is a dream? A. When you dream, you see things during the time of sleep. Q. Did any of you ever dream any thing?

Here the children will repeat what they have dreamed; perhaps something like the following:—Please, sir, once I dreamed I was in a garden. Q. What did you see? A. I saw flowers and such nice apples. Q. How do you know it was a dream? A. Because, when I awoke, I found I was in bed.

During this recital the children will listen very attentively, for they are highly pleased to hear each other's relations. The master having satisfied himself that the children, in some measure, understand the nature of a dream, he may proceed as follows:—

Q. What did Joseph dream about first? A. He dreamed that his brother's sheaves made obeisance to his sheaf. Q. What is a sheaf? A. A bundle of corn. Q. What do you understand by making obeisance? A. To bend your body, which we call making a bow. Q. What is binding sheaves? A. To bind them, which they do with a band of twisted straw. Q. How many brothers had Joseph? A. Eleven. Q. What was Joseph's father's name? A. Jacob, he is also sometimes called Israel.

Master.—And it is further written concerning Joseph, that he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold the sun and moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me.

Q. What do you understand by the sun? A. The sun is that bright object in the sky which shines in the day-time, and which gives us heat and light. Q. Who made the sun? A. Almighty God. Q. For what purpose did God make the sun? A. To warm and nourish the earth and every thing upon it. Q. What do you mean by the earth? A. The ground on which we walk, and on which the corn, trees, and flowers grow. Q. What is it that makes them grow? A. The heat and light of the sun. Q. Does it require any thing else to make them grow? A. Yes; rain, and the assistance of Almighty God. Q. What is the moon? A. That object which is placed in the sky, and shines in the night, and appears larger than the stars. Q. What do you mean by the stars? A. Those bright objects that appear in the sky at night. Q. What are they? A. Some of them are worlds, and others are suns to give them light. Q. Who placed them there? A. Almighty God. Q. Should we fear and love him for his goodness? A. Yes; and for his mercy towards us. Q. Do you think it wonderful that God should make all these things? A. Yes. Q. Are there any more things that are wonderful to you? A. Yes;—

  Where'er we turn our wondering eyes,
    His power and skill we see;
  Wonders on wonders grandly rise,
    And speak the Deity.

Q. Who is the Deity? A. Almighty God.

Nothing can be a greater error than to allow the children to use the name of God on every trifling occasion. Whenever it is necessary, it should, in my opinion, be commenced with Almighty, first, both by teacher and scholars. I am convinced, from what I have seen in many places, that the frequent repetition of his holy name has a very injurious effect.


Q. What is this? A. A picture of Solomon's wise judgment. Q. Describe what you mean? A. Two women stood before king Solomon. Q. Did the women say any thing to the king when they came before him? A. Yes; one woman said, O my Lord, I and this woman dwell in one house, and I had a child there, and this woman had a child also, and this woman's child died in the night. Q. To whom did the women speak when they said, O my Lord? A. To king Solomon. Q. What did the woman mean when she said, we dwell in one house? A. She meant that they both lived in it. Q. Did the woman say any thing more to the king? A. Yes; she said the other woman rose at midnight, and took her son from her. Q. What is meant by midnight? A. Twelve o'clock, or the middle of the night. Q. What did the other woman say in her defence? A. She said the live child was hers, and the other said it is mine; this they spake before the king. Q. When the king heard what the women had to say, what did he do? A. He said bring me a sword; and they brought a sword before the king. Q. Did the king do any thing with the sword? A. No; he said, divide the child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Q. What did the women say to that? A. One said, O my Lord, give her the living child, and in nowise slay it; but the other said, let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Q. What took place next? A. The king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in nowise slay it, she is the mother thereof. Q. What is meant by slaying? A. To kill any thing. Q. To which woman was the child given? A. To the woman that said do not hurt it. Q. What is the reason that it was called a wise judgment? A. Because Solomon took a wise method to find it out. Q. Did the people hear of it? A. Yes, all Israel heard of it, and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment. Q. What is meant by all Israel? A. All the people over whom Solomon was king? Q. If we want to know any more about Solomon where can we find it? A. In the third chapter of the first book of Kings.

Incidental Conversation.

Q. Now my little children, as we have been talking about king Solomon, suppose we talk about our own king; so let me ask you his name? A. King William the Fourth.[A] Q. Why is he called king? A. Because he is the head man, and the governor of the nation. Q. What does governor mean? A. One that governs the people, the same as you govern and manage us. Q. Why does the king wear a crown on his head? A. To denote that he governs from a principle of wisdom, proceeding from love. Q. Why does he hold a sceptre in his hand? A. To denote that he is powerful, and that he governs from a principle of truth. Q. What is a crown? A. A thing made of gold overlaid with a number of diamonds and precious stones, which are very scarce? Q. What is a sceptre? A. A thing made of gold, and something like an officer's staff. Q. What is an officer? A. A person who acts in the king's name; and there are various sorts of officers, naval officers, military officers, and civil officers. Q. What is a naval officer? A. A person who governs the sailors, and tells them what to do. Q. What is a military officer? A. A person who governs the soldiers, and tells them what to do. Q. What does a naval officer and his sailors do? A. Defend us from our enemies on the sea. Q. What does a military officer and his soldiers do? A. Defend us from our enemies on land. Q. Who do you call enemies? A. Persons that wish to hurt us and do us harm. Q. What does a civil officer do? A. Defend us from our enemies at home. Q. What do you mean by enemies at home? A. Thieves, and all bad men and women. Q. Have we any other enemies besides these? A. Yes, the enemies of our own household, as we may read in the Bible, and they are the worst of all. Q. What do you mean by the enemies of our own household? A. Our bad thoughts and bad inclinations. Q. Who protects and defends us from these? A. Almighty God. Q. Are there any other kind of officers besides these we have mentioned? A. Yes, a great many more, such as the king's ministers, the noblemen and gentlemen in both houses of parliament, and the judges of the land. Q. What do the king's ministers do? A. Give the king advice when he wants it. Q. And what do the noblemen and gentlemen do in both houses of parliament? A. Make laws to govern us, protect us, and make us happy. Q. After they have made the laws, who do they take them to? A. To the king. Q. What do they take them to the king for? A. To ask him if he will be pleased to approve of them. Q. What are laws? A. Good rules for the people to go by, the same as we have rules in our school to go by. Q. Suppose the people break these good rules, what is the consequence? A. They are taken before the judges, and afterwards sent to prison. Q. Who takes them before the judge? A. A constable, and afterwards he takes them to prison, and there they are locked up and punished. Q. Ought we to love the king? A. Yes, and respect his officers. Q. Do you suppose the king ever prays to God? A. Yes, every day. Q. What does he pray for? A. That God would be pleased to make him a wise and good man, so that he may make all his people happy. Q. What do the Scriptures say about the king? A. They say that we are to fear God and honour the king. Q. Who was the wisest king? A. King Solomon. Q. How did he become the wisest king? A. He asked God to give him wisdom to govern his kingdom well; and God granted his request. Q. Will God give our king wisdom? A. Yes, he will give him what is best for him. It says in the Bible, if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, for he giveth all men liberally, and upbraideth not. Q. What is the best book to learn wisdom from? A. The Bible. Q. Is the queen mentioned in the Bible? A. Yes; it is said queens shall be thy nursing mothers. Q. Who came to Solomon besides the two women? A. The queen of Sheba, she came to ask him questions. Q. When he answered her questions what happened? A. The queen was so much delighted with his wisdom, that she gave him a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices in abundance. Q. How much is one talent of gold worth? A. Five thousand, four hundred, and seventy-five sovereigns. Q. Did she give him anything more? A. Yes, she gave him precious stones. Q. What are precious stones? A. Diamonds, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, amethyst. Q. Did king Solomon give the queen of Sheba anything? A. Yes, he gave her whatsoever she desired, besides that which she brought with her. Q. Where did she go? A. She went away to her own land. Q. What part of the Bible is this? A. The ninth chapter of the second book of Chronicles, Master. The queen is mentioned in other places in the Bible, and another day I will tell in what parts.

[Footnote A: This lesson was written in the life time of our late sovereign. It can easily be applied by the judicious teacher, and made to bear upon present circumstances, and I earnestly hope that her present gracious Majesty may become patroness of infant education. Not infant education travestied, but the thing itself.]


The picture being suspended as the others, and a whole class being in the class-room, put the pointer into one of the children's hands, and desire the child to find out the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The other children will be on the tip-toe of expectation, to see whether the child makes a mistake; for, should this be the case, they know that one of them will have the same privilege of trying to find it; should the child happen to touch the wrong picture, the teacher will have at least a dozen applicants, saying, "Please, sir, may I? Please, sir, may I?" The teacher having selected the child to make the next trial, say one of the youngest of the applicants, the child walks round the room with the pointer, and puts it on the right picture; which will be always known by the other children calling out, "That is the right, that is the right." To view the child's sparkling eyes, who has found the picture, and to see the pleasure beaming forth in his countenance, you might imagine that be conceived he had performed one of the greatest wonders of the age. The children will then proceed to read what is printed on the picture, which is as follows: "The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" which is printed at the top of the picture. At the bottom are the following words: "And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."—We then proceed to question them in the following manner:—

Q. What do you mean by the Nativity of Jesus Christ? A. The time he was born. Q. Where was he born? A. In Bethlehem of Judea. Q. Where did they lay him? A. In a manger. Q. What is a manger? A. A thing that horses feed out of. Q. What was the reason they put him there? A. Because there was no room in the inn. Q. What is an inn? A. A place where persons lodge who are travelling, and it is like a public house. Q. What do you mean by travelling? When you go from one place to another; from London into the country, or from the country into London. Q. Is any thing else to be understood by travelling? A. Yes, we are all travelling. Q. What do you mean by all travelling? A. We are all going in a good road or else in a bad one. Q. What do you mean by a good road? A. That which leads to heaven. Q. What will lead us to heaven? A. Praying to God and endeavouring to keep his commandments, and trying all we can to be good children. Q. Can we make ourselves good? A. No; we can receive nothing, except it be given us from heaven. Q. What is travelling in a bad road? A. Being naughty children, and not minding what is said to us; and when we say bad words, or steal any thing, or take God's name in vain. Q. Where will this road lead to? A. To eternal misery.

Here we usually give a little advice according to circumstances, taking care always to avoid long speeches, that will tend to stupify the children. If they appear tired, we stop, but if not, they repeat the following hymn, which I shall insert in full, as I believe there is nothing in it that any Christian would object to.

  Hark! the skies with music sound!
  Heavenly glory beams around;
  Christ is born! the angels sing,
  Glory to the new-born King.

  Peace is come, good-will appears,
  Sinners, wipe away your tears;
  God in human flesh to-day
  Humbly in the manger lay.

  Shepherds tending flocks by night,
  Heard the song, and saw the light;
  Took their reeds, and softest strains
  Echo'd through the happy plains.

  Mortals, hail the glorious King
  Richest incense cheerful bring;
  Praise and love Emanuel's name,
  And his boundless grace proclaim.

The hymn being concluded, we put the following questions to the children:

Q. Who was the new-born king? A. Jesus Christ. Q. Who are sinners? A. We, and all men. Q. What are flocks? A. A number of sheep. Q. What are shepherds? A. Those who take care of the sheep. Q. What are plains? A. Where the sheep feed. Q. Who are mortals? A. We are mortals. Q. Who is the glorious king? A. Jesus Christ. Q. What is meant by Emanuel's name? A. Jesus Christ.

Here the teacher can inform the children, that Jesus Christ is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and can repeat them to the children if he thinks proper; for every correct idea respecting the Saviour which he can instil into their minds will serve as a foundation for other ideas, and he will find that the more ideas the children have, the more ready they will be in answering his questions; for man is a progressive being; his capacity for progression is his grand distinction above the brutes.


The picture being suspended as before described, we proceed thus:—

Q. What is this? A. Jesus Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Q. Who was Lazarus? A. A man who lived in a town called Bethany, and a friend of Christ's. Q. What is a town? A. A place where there are a great number of houses, and persons living in them. Q. What do you mean by a friend? A. A person that loves you, and does all the good he can for you, to whom you ought to do the same in return. Q. Did Jesus love Lazarus? A. Yes, and his sisters, Martha and Mary. Q. Who was it that sent unto Jesus Christ, and told him that Lazarus was sick? A. Martha and Mary. Q. What did they say? A. They said, Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick. Q. What answer did Jesus make unto them? A. He said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God. Q. What did he mean by saying so? A. He meant that Lazarus should be raised again by the power of God, and that the people that stood by should see it, and believe on him. Q. How many days did Jesus stop where he was when he found Lazarus was sick? A. Two days. Q. When Jesus Christ wanted to leave the place, what did he say to his disciples? A. He said, let us go into Judea again. Q. What do you mean by Judea? A. A country where the Jews lived. Q. Did the disciples say any thing to Jesus Christ, when he expressed a wish to go into Judea again? A. Yes, they said, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again? Q. What did Jesus Christ tell them? A. He told them a great many things, and at last told them plainly that Lazarus was dead. Q. How many days had Lazarus lain in the grave before he was raised up? A. Four. Q. Who went to meet Jesus Christ, when she heard that he was coming? A. Martha; but Mary sat still in the house. Q. Did Martha say anything to Jesus when she met him? A. Yes, she said, Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died. Q. Did Martha tell her sister that Jesus Christ was come? A. Yes; she said, the Master is come, and calleth for thee. Q. Did Mary go to meet Jesus Christ? A. Yes; and when she saw him, she fell down at his feet, and said, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Q. Did Mary weep? A. Yes, and the Jews that were with her. Q. What is weeping? A. To cry. Q. Did Jesus weep? A. Yes; and the Jews said, Behold, how he loved him. Q. Did the Jews say any thing else? A. Yes; they said, Could not this man that opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Q. What took place next? A. He went to the grave, and told the persons that stood by to take away the stone. Q. And when they took away the stone, what did Jesus Christ do? A. He cried, with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth; and he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot, with grave clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin.—Jesus saith unto them, loose him, and let him go; and many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen these things which Jesus did, believed on him. Q. If we wanted any more information about Lazarus and his sisters, where should we find it? A. In the Bible. Q. What part? A. The eleventh and twelfth chapters of John.

I have had children at the early age of four years, ask me questions that I could not possibly answer; and among other things, the children have said, when being examined at this picture, "That if Jesus Christ had cried, softly, Lazarus, come forth, he would have come."—And when asked, why they thought so, they have answered, "Because God can do anything;" which is a convincing proof that children, at a very early age, have an idea of the Omnipotence of the Supreme Being. Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness to the children of men!


Q. What is this? A. A picture of the Last Supper. Q. What do you mean by the last supper? A. A sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ himself. Q. What do you understand by a sacrament? A. There are two sacraments, baptism and the holy supper, and they are both observed by true Christians. Q. We will speak about baptism presently, but as we have the picture of the holy supper before as, let me ask if it is called by any other name? A. Yes; it is said that Jesus kept the passover with his disciples, and when the even was come he sat down with them, and as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body. Q. What took place next? A. He took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it them, saying, This is my blood, the blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. Q. Did Jesus command this ordinance to be observed by his people? A. Yes; he said in another place, This do in remembrance of me (Luke xxii. 19). Q. What ought those persons to remember who do this? A. They should remember that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save sinners. Q. Is any thing else to be understood by the sacrament of the Lord's supper? A. Yes, a great deal more. Q. Explain some of it. A. When they drink the wine, they should recollect that they ought to receive the truth of God into their understandings. Q. What will be the effect of receiving the truth of God into our understandings? A. It will expel or drive out all falsehood. Q. What ought they to recollect when they eat the bread? A. They should recollect that they receive the love of God into their wills and affections. Q. What will be the effect of this? A. It will drive out all bad passions and evil desires; for it is said, he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him (John vi. 27). Q. Is any thing more to be understood by these things? A. Much more, which we must endeavour to learn when we get older. Q. How will you learn this? A. By reading the Bible and going to a place of worship.[A]

[Footnote A: There are many more of similar lessons, and, if any thing, more simple, which accompany the pictures and apparatus which I supply for Infant Schools; the profits from which will assist to enable me, if I am blessed with health and strength, still further to extend the system.]

Allow such things as these to be brought before the infant mind: let the feelings of the heart, as well as the powers of the understanding, be called into exercise; let babes have "the pure milk of the Word" before "the strong meat;" let as little stress as possible be laid on "the mere letter," and as much as possible on "the spirit" of "the truth;" let it be shewn that piety is not merely rational, but in the highest degree practicable; let this be done with diligence, faith, and prayer, and I hesitate not to say, that we shall have an increase of the religion of the heart.

Religious instruction may be given in other ways. Let the teacher take a flower or an insect, and ask the, children if they could make such a one; and I never found one who would answer, "Yes." A microscope will increase the knowledge of its wonders. The teacher may then make a needle the subject of remark; the children will admit that it is smooth, very smooth; let him tell them it is the work of man, and as such will appear imperfect in proportion as it is examined; and shewing them it through the microscope, they will perceive it is rough and full of holes. As a contrast, let him take a bee, obtain their observations on it as it is, give them a short history of it, and they will acknowledge its superiority over the needle. But on viewing it through the microscope, astonishment will be increased, and I have heard many say at such a time, "O sir, how good (meaning great) God must be!" The sting may then be pointed out, as unlike the needle, and perfectly smooth; and thus truth may be imparted in a manner the most interesting and delightful.

The influence of such considerations on character is obvious. When the greatness of God is spoken of, allusion may be made to our pride, and to the importance of humility; his goodness may suggest the evil of unkindness, and the importance of benevolence; and his truth may lead to remarks on its necessity, and the sin of falsehood.

A small plot of ground may moreover be appropriated to the children; some grains of wheat, barley, or rye may be sown, and they may be told that, at a certain time, they will spring forth. Often will they go, and anxiously watch for this; and at length they will say perhaps, "Please, sir, such a thing has come up; we know it is so, for it is just what you said it would be." Week after week the progress of vegetation will be observed, and the fulfilment of the master's promise will greatly tend to increase his influence. So great will he appear, that his words and commands will be more regarded; while it will be his object to trace the wonders which he predicted to their divine Source. I have frequently observed, on such occasions, what I should term an act of infant worship. Often has the question been put to me, "Please, sir, is it wicked to play?" as if the spirit were awed, and transgression against God were regarded with dread. Caution has been also discovered in the use of the divine name; and I have listened with delight to such remarks as these: "Please, sir, when we sing a hymn, we may say Gad, or if we talk about the sun, we may say God made it; and it isn't taking his name in vain, is it? But when we talk of God as boys do in the street, that is very wicked!"

The following facts will illustrate the benefit of scriptural instruction.

A little boy, about four years and a half old, belonging to an Infant School, went to see his cousin, a little girl about his own age. At bed-time, the little boy, to his great surprise, saw her get into bed without having said her prayers. The little fellow immediately went up to the side of the bed, and put this question to her: "Which would you rather go to, heaven or hell?" The little girl said, "I don't know!" "Not know!" said the boy; "Why, wicked people go to hell, and the good go to heaven, a happy place." The little girl then said, "Why, I should like to go to heaven." "Ah!" but replied the little fellow again, "You did not say your prayers; and all that go heaven pray to God." She then said, "Will you teach me to pray your prayer?" "If I lived with you," said he, "I would; but if you go to the Infant School, they will teach you to say your prayers, and sing hymns too."

One day, while the teacher of an Infant School was speaking to his little children, from the conversation of our Lord with the woman of Samaria at the well, a gentleman present asked the following questions: "Where should we go to worship God?" When a little boy answered, "To a throne of grace." "And where is a throne of grace?" "Any where," answered the boy; "for where we kneel down, and pray to God with our hearts, we are then at a throne of grace."

There are times when the children are in a better state to receive religious instruction than others. A teacher of observation will soon perceive this, and act accordingly; if, however, the thing is overdone, which it may be, and which I have seen, then the effect is fatal. Hypocrisy will take the place of sincerity, and the heart will remain unaffected and unimproved.

A little boy, the subject of the following anecdote, being six years of age, and forward in his learning, I considered him fit to be sent to another school; and informed the parents accordingly. The father came immediately, and said, he hoped I would keep him till he was seven years of age; adding, that he had many reasons for making the request. I told him, that it was the design of the Institution to take such children as no other school would admit; and as his child had arrived at the age of six, he would be received into the national school; moreover, as we had a number of applications for the admission of children much younger, I could not grant his request. He then said, "I understand that you make use of pictures in the school, and I have good reason to approve of them; for," said he, "you must know that I have a large Bible in the house, Matthew Henry's, which was left me by my deceased mother; like many more, I never looked into it, but kept it merely for show. The child, of course, was forbidden to open it, for fear of its being spoiled: but still he was continually asking me to read in it, and I as continually denied him; indeed, I had imbibed many unfavourable impressions concerning this book, and had no inclination to read it, and was not very anxious that the child should. However, the child was not to be put off, although several times I gave him a box on the ear for worrying me; for, notwithstanding this usage, the child would frequently ask me to read it, when he thought I was in a good humour; and at last I complied with his wishes; 'Please, father,' said the child, 'will you read about Solomon's wise judgment' 'I don't know where to find it,' was the reply. 'Then,' says the child, 'I will tell you; it is in the third chapter of the first book of Kings.' I looked as the child directed, and, finding it, I read it to him. Having done so, I was about to shut up the book; which the child perceiving, said, 'Now, please, father, will you read about Lazarus raised from the dead?' which was done; and, in short," said the father, "he kept me at it for at least two hours that night, and completely tired me out, for there was no getting rid of him. The next night be renewed the application, with 'Please, father, will you read about Joseph and his brethren?' and he could always tell me where these stories were to be found. Indeed, he was not contented with my reading it, but would get me into many difficulties, by asking me to explain that which I knew nothing about; and if I said I could not tell him, he would tell me that I ought to go to church, for his master had told him, that that was the place to learn more about it; adding, 'and I will go with you, father.' In short, he told me every picture you had in your school, and kept me so well at it, that I at last got into the habit of reading for myself, with some degree of delight; this, therefore, is one reason why I wish the child to remain in the school." A short time afterwards, the mother called on me, and told me, that no one could be happier than she was, for there was so much alteration in her husband for the better, that she could scarcely believe him to be the same man. Instead of being in the skittle-ground, in the evening, spending his money and getting tipsy, he was reading at home to her and his children; and the money that used to go for gambling, was now going to buy books, with which, in conjunction with the Bible, they were greatly delighted, and afforded both him and them a great deal of pleasure and profit.

Here we see a whole family were made comfortable, and called to a sense of religion and duty, by the instrumentality of a child of six years of age. I subsequently made inquiries, and found that the whole family attended a place of worship, and that their character would bear the strictest investigation.

The following anecdote will also shew how early impressions are made on the infant mind, and the effects such impressions may have in the dying moments of a child. A little boy, between the age of five and six years, being extremely ill, prevailed on his mother to ask me to come and see him. The mother called, and stated, that her little boy said be wanted to see his master so bad, that he would give any thing if he could see him. The mother likewise said, she should herself be very much obliged to me if I would come; conceiving that the child would get better after he had seen me. I accordingly went; and on seeing the child considered that he could not recover. The moment I entered the room, the child attempted to rise, but could not. "Well, my little man," said I, "did you want to see me?" "Yes, Sir, I wanted to see you very much," answered the child. "Tell me what you wanted me for." "I wanted to tell you that I cannot come to school again, because I shall die." "Don't say that," said the mother, "you will get better, and then you can go to school again." "No," answered the child, "I shall not get better, I am sure; and I wanted to ask master to let my class sing a hymn over my body, when they put it in the pit-hole." The child, having made me promise that this should be done, observed, "You told me, master, when we used to say the pictures, that the souls of children never die; and do you think I shall go to God?" "You ask me a difficult question, my little boy," said I. "Is it, sir?" said the child, "I am not afraid to die, and I know I shall die." "Well, child, I should not be afraid to change states with you; for if such as you do not go to God, I do not know what will become of such as myself; and from what I know of you, I firmly believe that you will, and all like you; but you know what I used to tell you at school." "Yes, sir, I do; you used to tell me that I should pray to God to assist me to do to others as I would that they should do to me, as the hymn says; and mother knows that I always said my prayers, night and morning; and I used to pray for father and mother, master and governess, and every body else." "Yes, my little man, this is part of our duty; we should pray for every one; and, I think, if God sees it needful, he will answer our prayers, especially when they come from the heart." Here the child attempted to speak, but could not, but waved his hand, in token of gratitude for my having called; and I can truly say, that I never saw so much confidence, resignation, and true dependence on the divine will, manifested by any grown person, on a death-bed, much less by a child under the tender age of seven years. I bade the child adieu, and was much impressed with what I had seen. The next day the mother called on me, and informed me that the child had quitted his tenement of clay; and that just before his departure had said to her, and those around him, that the souls of children never die; it was only the body that died; that he had been told at school, while they were saying the pictures, that the soul went to God, who gave it. The mother said that these were the last words the child was known to utter. She then repeated the request about the children singing a hymn over his grave, and named the hymn she wished to have sung. The time arrived for the funeral, and the parents of the children who were to sing the hymn made them very neat and clean, and sent them to school. I sent them to the house whence the funeral was to proceed, and the undertaker sent word that he could not be troubled with such little creatures, and that unless I attended myself the children could not go. I told him that I was confident that the children would be no trouble to him, if he only told them to follow the mourners two and two, and that it was unnecessary for any one to interfere with them further than shewing them the way back to the school. I thought, however, that I would attend to see how the children behaved, but did not let them see me, until the corpse was arrived at the ground. As soon as I had got to the ground, some of the children saw me, and whispered, "There's master;" when several of them stepped out of the ranks to favour me with a bow. When the corpse was put into the ground, the children were arranged round the grave, not one of whom was more than six years of age. One of them gave out the hymn, in the usual way, and then it was sung by the whole of them; and, according to the opinions of the by-standers, very well. The novelty of the thing caused a great number of persons to collect together; and yet, to their credit, while the children were singing, there was not a whisper to be heard; and when they had finished the hymn, the poor people made a collection for the children on the ground. The minister himself rewarded one or two of them, and they returned well stored with money, cakes, &c. This simple thing was the means of making the school more known; for I could hear persons inquiring, "Where do these children come from?" "Why, don't you know?" replied others, "from the Infant School." "Well," answered a third, "I will try to get my children into it; for I should like them to be there of all things. When do they take them in, and how do they get them in?" "Why, you must apply on Monday mornings," answered another; and the following Monday I had no less than forty-nine applications, all of which I was obliged to refuse, because the school was full.[A]

[Footnote A: This circumstance took place in the heart of London, and some of the chief actors in it are now men and women; and should this meet the eye of any of them, I am sure they will not forget the circumstances, nor entirely forget their old teacher.]


When teachers are conversing with their children, they should always take care to watch their countenances, and the moment they appear tired, to stop. An hour's instruction when the children's minds and hearts are engaged, is better than many hours effort, when they are thinking of something else. In addition to thirty-four pictures of Scripture history, we have sixty of natural history, each picture having a variety of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, and flowers. The first thing we do is to teach the children the names of the different things; then to distinguish them by their forms; and, lastly, they are questioned on them as follows: If the animal is a horse, we put the pointer to it, and say—

What is this? A. A picture of a horse. Q. What is the use of the horse? A. To draw carts, coaches, waggons, drays, fire-engines, caravans, the plough and harrow, boats on the canal, and any thing that their masters want them. Q. Will they carry as well as draw? A. Yes, they will carry a lady or gentleman on their backs, a sack of corn, or paniers, or even little children, but they must not hit them hard, if they do, they will fall off their backs; besides, it is very cruel to beat them. Q. What is the difference between carrying and drawing? A. To carry is when they have the whole weight on their backs, but to draw is when they pull any thing along. Q. Is there any difference between those horses that carry, and those horses that draw? A. Yes; the horses that draw carts, drays, coal-waggons, stage waggons, and other heavy things, are stouter and much larger, and stronger than those that carry on the saddle, and are called draught horses. Q. Where do the draught horses come from? A. The largest comes from Leicestershire, and some come from Suffolk, which are very strong, and are called Suffolk punches. Q. Where do the best saddle-horses come from? A. They came at first from Arabia, the place in which the camel is so useful; but now it is considered that those are as good which are bred in England? Q. What do they call a horse when he is young? A. A foal, or a young colt. Q. Will he carry or draw while he is young? A. Not until he is taught, which is called breaking of him in. Q. And when he is broke in, is he very, useful? A. Yes; and please, sir, we hope to be more useful when we are properly taught. Q. What do you mean by being properly taught? A. When we have as much trouble taken with us as the horses and dogs have taken with them. Q. Why, you give me a great deal of trouble, and yet I endeavour to teach you. A. Yes, sir, but before Infant Schools were established, little children, like us, were running the streets.[A] Q. But you ought to be good children if you do run the streets. A. Please, sir, there is nobody to tell us how[B], and if the man did not teach the horse, he would not know how to do his work.

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child five years of age.]

[Footnote B: This answer was given by a child six years of age.]

Here we observe to the children, that as this animal is so useful to mankind, it should be treated with kindness. And having questioned them as to the difference between a cart and a coach, and satisfied ourselves that they understand the things that are mentioned, we close, by asking them what is the use of the horse after he is dead, to which the children reply, that its flesh is eaten by other animals (naming them), and that its skin is put into pits with oak bark, which is called tanning; and that when it is tanned it is called leather; and leather is made into shoes to keep the feet warm and dry, and that we are indebted to the animals for many things that we both eat and wear, and above all to the great God for every thing that we possess. I cannot help thinking that if this plan were more generally adopted, in all schools, we should not have so many persons ascribing everything to blind chance, when all nature exhibits a God, who guides, protects, and continually preserves the whole.

We also examine the children concerning that ill-treated animal, the ass, and contrast it with the beautiful external appearance of the zebra; taking care to warn the children not to judge of things by their outward appearance, which the world in general are too apt to do, but to judge of things by their uses, and of men by their general character and conduct. After having examined the children concerning the animals that are most familiar to us, such as the sheep, the cow, the dog, and others of a similar kind, we proceed to foreign animals, such as the camel, the elephant, the tiger, the lion, &c. &c. In describing the use of the camel and the elephant, there is a fine field to open the understandings of the children, by stating how useful the camel is in the deserts of Arabia; how much it can carry; how long it can go without water; and the reason it can go without water longer than most other animals; how much the elephant can carry; what use it makes of its trunk, &c. All these things will assist the thinking powers of children, and enlarge their understandings, if managed carefully. We also contrast the beautiful appearance of the tiger with its cruel and blood-thirsty disposition, and endeavour to shew these men and women in miniature, that it is a dangerous plan to judge of things by outward appearances, but that there is a more correct way of judging, which forms a part of the business of education to explain.

The children are highly delighted with these pictures, and, of their own accord, require an explanation of the subjects. Nay, they will even ask questions that will puzzle the teacher to answer; and although there is in some minds such a natural barrenness, that, like the sands of Arabia, they are never to be cultivated or improved, yet I can safely say, that I never knew a child who did not like the pictures; and as soon as I had done explaining one, it was always, "Please, sir, may we learn this?" "Please, teacher, may we learn that?" In short, I find that I am generally tired before the children; instead of having to apply any magisterial severity, they are petitioning to learn; and this mode of teaching possesses an advantage over every other, because it does not interfere with any religious opinion, there being no body of Christians that I know, or ever heard of, who would object to the facts recorded in the Bible, being thus elucidated by pictures. Thus a ground-work may be laid, not only of natural history, but of sacred history also; for the objects being before the children's eyes, they can, in some degree, comprehend them, and store them in their memories. Indeed, there is such attraction in pictures, that you can scarcely pass a picture-shop in London, without seeing a number of grown persons around the windows gazing at them. When pictures were first introduced into the school, the children told their parents; many of whom came and asked permission to see them; and although the plates are very common, I observed a degree of attention and reverence in the parents, scarcely to be expected, and especially from those who could not read.

It is generally the case, that what we have always with us, becomes so familiar, that we set little store by it; but on being deprived of it for a time, we then set a greater value on it: and I have found this to be the case with the children. If the pictures we make use of in the schools be exposed all at once, and at all times, then there would be such a multiplicity of objects before the eyes of the children, that their attention would not be fixed by any of them; they would look at them all, at first, with wonder and surprise, but in a short time the pictures would cease to attract notice, and, consequently, the children would think no more of them than they would of the paper that covers the room. To prevent this, and to excite a desire for information, it is always necessary to keep some behind, and to let very few objects appear at one time. When the children understand, in some measure, the subjects before them, these may be replaced by others, and so on successively, until the whole have been seen.

Some persons have objected to the picture of Christ being represented in the human form, alleging that it is calculated to make the children think he was a mere man only, and have thought it better that be should not be represented at all; the man that undertakes to please all will soon find out his mistake, and, therefore, be must do the best he can, and leave the objectors to please themselves; yet it is a great pity little children should suffer from the ill-grounded objections of those who cannot do better. On visiting a school, take notice of the pictures hanging about, if they are dusty, and have not the appearance of being well-used, be sure that the committee have never seen a good infant school, or that the teacher has never been properly trained, and, therefore, does not know how to use them.



Object Boards—Utility of this Method.

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"The eyes will greatly aid the ears."

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As I have before said that it is our object to teach the children from objects in preference to books, I will mention a method we adopt for the accomplishment of this purpose. It consists of a number of boards, of which, and of their use, the following description will convey an accurate idea.

The boards are about sixteen inches square, and a quarter of an inch thick: wainscot is the best, as it does not warp. These will go into the groove of the lesson post: there should be about twenty articles on each board, or twenty-five, just as it suits the conductors of the school; there should be the same quantity of things on each board, in order that all the children may finish at one time; this will not be the case, if there be more objects on one board than another. I will give an account of a few of our boards, and that must suffice, or I shall exceed the limits I have prescribed to myself.

The first board contains a small piece of gold in its rough state, a piece of gold in its manufactured state, a piece of silver in both states, a piece of copper in both states, a piece of brass in both states, a piece of iron in both states, a piece of steel in both states, a piece of tinfoil, a piece of solder, a screw, a clasp nail, a clout nail, a hob nail, a spike nail, a sparable, and a tack.

These articles are all on one board, and the monitor puts his pointer to each article, and tells his little pupils their names, and encourages them to repeat the names after him. When they finish at one post they go to the next.

The next board may contain a piece of hemp, a piece of rope, a piece of string, a piece of bagging, a piece of sacking, a piece of canvass, a piece of hessian, a piece of Scotch sheeting, a piece of unbleached linen, a piece of bleached linen, a piece of diaper linen, a piece of dyed linen, a piece of flax, a piece of thread, a piece of yarn, a piece of ticking, a piece of raw silk, a piece of twisted silk, a piece of wove silk, figured, a piece of white plain sills, and a piece of dyed silk, a piece of ribbon, a piece of silk cord, a piece of silk velvet, &c.

The next may contain raw cotton, cotton yarn, sewing cotton, unbleached calico, bleached calico, dimity, jean, fustian, velveteen, gause, nankeen, gingham, bed furniture, printed calico, marseilles, flannel, baise, stuff; woollen cloth and wool, worsted, white, black, and mixed.

The next may contain milled board, paste board, Bristol card, brown paper, white paper of various sorts, white sheep skin, yellow sheep, tanned sheep, purple sheep, glazed sheep, red sheep, calf skin, cow hide, goat skin, kid, seal, pig leather, seal skin, wash leather, beaver, &c.

The next may contain about twenty-five of those wood animals which are imported into this country, and are to be had at the foreign toy warehouses; some of them are carved exceedingly well, and appear very like the real animals.

The next may contain mahogany, and the various kinds of wood.

The next may contain prunings of the various fruit trees, all about an inch long, or an inch square.

The next may contain the different small articles of ironmongery, needles, pins, cutlery, small tools, and every other object that can be obtained small enough for the purpose.

The lessons are to be put in the lesson-post the same as the picture lessons; and the articles are either glued, or fastened on the boards with screws or waxed thread.

I would have dried leaves provided, such as an oak leaf, an elm leaf, an ash leaf, &c. &c. The leaves of ever-greens should be kept separate. These will enable a judicious instructor to communicate a great variety of valuable information.

On some things connected with such instruction I find I arrived at the same conclusions as Pestalozzi, though I have never read his works, and for some years after my first efforts, did not know that such a person existed. I mean, however, to give my views on teaching by objects more fully in a work I hope soon to prepare, to be entitled "The Infant Teacher in the Nursery and the School."

The utility of this mode of teaching must be obvious, for if the children meet with any of those terms in a book which they are reading, they understand them immediately, which would not be the case unless they had seen the object. The most intellectual person would not be able to call things by their proper names, much less describe them, unless he had been taught, or heard some other person call them by their right names; and we generally learn more by mixing with society, than ever we could do at school: these sorts of lessons persons can make themselves, and they will last for many years, and help to lay a foundation for things of more importance.

I am convinced the day is not far distant when a museum will be considered necessary to be attached to every first rate school for the instruction of children.

Sight is the most direct inlet for knowledge. Whatever we have seen makes a much stronger impression upon us. Perception is the first power of mind which is brought into action, and the one made use of with most ease and pleasure. For this reason object lessons are indispensable in an infant school, consisting both of real substances and of pictures. The first lesson in Paradise was of this kind, and we ought therefore to draw instruction from it. "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name of it."



Exercise—Various positions—Exercise blended with instruction—Arithmetical and geometrical amusements.

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"Would you make infants happy, give them variety, for novelty has charms that our minds can hardly withstand."

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As an Infant School may be regarded in the light of a combination of the school and nursery, the art of pleasing, forms a prominent part in the system; and as little children are very apt to be fretful, it becomes expedient to divert as well as teach there. If children of two years old and under are not diverted, they will naturally cry for their mothers: and to have ten or twelve children crying in the school, it is very obvious would put every thing into confusion. But it is possible to have two hundred, or even three hundred children assembled together, the eldest not more than six years of age, and yet not to hear one of them crying for a whole day. Indeed I may appeal to the numerous and respectable persons who have visited Infant Schools, for the truth of this assertion; many of whom have declared, in my hearing, that they could not have conceived it possible that such a number of little children could be assembled together, and all be so happy as they had found them, the greater part of them being so very young. I can assure the reader, that many of the children who have cried heartily on being sent to school the first day or two, have cried as much on being kept at home, after they have been in the school but a very short time: and I am of opinion that when children are absent, it is generally the fault of the parents. I have had children come to school without their breakfast, because it has not been ready; others have come to school without shoes, because they would not be kept at home while their shoes were mending; and I have had others come to school half dressed, whose parents have been either at work or gossipping; and who, when they have returned home, have thought that their children were lost; but to their great surprise and joy, when they have applied at the school, they have found them there.

Need any thing more be advanced than these facts, to prove, that it is not school, or the acquirement of knowledge, that is disagreeable to children, but the system of injudicious instruction there pursued. Children are anxious to acquire knowledge, and nothing can be more congenial to their taste than association with those of their own age; but we ought not to wonder that little children should dislike to go to school, when, as in most of the dames' schools, forty or fifty, or perhaps more, are assembled together in one room, scarcely large enough for one-third of that number, and are not allowed to speak to, or scarcely look at each other. In those places, I firmly believe, many, for the want of proper exercise become cripples, or have their health much injured, by being kept sitting so many hours; but as children's health is of the greatest consequence, it becomes necessary to remedy this evil by letting them have proper exercise, combined as much as possible, with instruction; to accomplish which many measures have been tried, but I have found the following to be the most successful.

The children are desired to sit on their seats, with their feet out straight, and to shut each hand; and then ordered to count a hundred, or as many as may be thought proper, lifting up each hand every time they count one, and bringing each hand down again on their knees when they count another. The children have given this the name of blacksmith, and when asked why they called it blacksmith, they answered, because they hammered their knees with their fists, in the same way as the blacksmith hammers his irons with a hammer. When they have arrived at hundred (which they never fail to let you know by giving an extra shout), they may be ordered to stand up, and bring into action the joints of the knees and thighs. They are desired to add up one hundred, two at a time, which they do by lifting up each foot alternately, all the children counting at one time, saying, two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, and so on. By this means, every part of the body is put in motion; and it likewise has this advantage that by lifting up each foot every time, they keep good time, a thing very necessary, as unless this was the case, all must be confusion. They also add up three at a time, by the same method, thus, three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, and so on; but care must be taken not to keep them too long at one thing, or too long in one position, thus exercising the elbow joints, by pushing them out and drawing them back as far as possible.

  Come here, my dear boy, look at baby's two hands,
  And his two little feet upon which baby stands;
  Two thumbs and eight fingers together make ten;
  Five toes on each foot the same number again.

  Two arms and two shoulders, two elbows, two wrists,
  Now bind up your knuckles, make two little fists;
  Two legs and two ancles, two knees, and two hips.
  His fingers and toes have all nails on their tips.

  With his hands and his feet he can run, jump, and crawl,
  He can dance, walk, or caper, or play with his ball;
  Take your hoop or your cart, and have a good race,
  And that will soon give you a fine rosy face.

  Oh! what would my boy do without his two hands;
  And his two little feet upon which baby stands!
  They're the gift of kind heaven for you to enjoy,
  Then be thankful to heaven, my dear little boy.

Having done a lesson or two this way, they are desired to put their arms out straight, and to say, one and one are two, two and one are three, three and one are four, four and one are five, five and one are six, six and two are eight; and in this way they go on until they are desired to stop.

It should be observed, that all graceful actions may be adopted. I am sorry to find, from visits to various schools, that the movements of the children have degenerated into buffoonery; they have been allowed to put themselves into the most ridiculous postures, and have thus raised objections which would not otherwise have been urged. As, however, the whole Infant System is designed to make the children think, I would urge the teachers to guard against their being automatons. Let them mark every impropriety with promptitude, and correct it with judgment.

I have specified these methods not as being the only ones practicable, or fit to be adopted, but merely, as hints to the judicious teacher, who will doubtless think of many others, conducive to the same end: and the more he can diversify them the better. It is the combination of amusement with instruction, which, in my opinion, renders the system so successful; and unimportant or improper even as it may appear to some, is of more real service in the management of young children, than all the methods of restraint and coercion, which have been hitherto but too generally pursued.

The children may also learn the pence and multiplication tables, by forming themselves into circles around a number of young trees, where such are planted in the play-ground. For the sake of order, each class should have its own particular tree; that when they are ordered to the trees, every child may know which tree to go to; as soon as they are assembled around the trees, they are to join hands and walk round, every child saying the multiplication table, until they have finished it; they then let go hands, and put them behind, and for variety's sake, sing the pence table, the alphabet, hymns, &c. &c.; thus the children are gradually improved and delighted, for they call it play, and it is of little consequence what they call it, so long as they are edified, exercised, and made happy.

This plan is calculated to impress the lessons on their memories, and is adapted for fine weather, when they can go out to play, as it is called. But as in wet or snowy weather, they cannot go out of the school, we then have recourse to the mode previously mentioned. Besides it is necessary that children should have exercise in winter as well as in summer, in wet as well as in dry weather; for this purpose we have several swings in the school-room, made of cord only, on which the children are allowed to swing, two at a time. The time that they are permitted to be on the swing, is according to what they have to repeat. If it is the pence table, they say—

  Twenty pence are one and eightpence,
    That we can't afford to lose;
  Thirty pence are two and sixpence,
    That will buy a pair of shoes.

  Forty pence are three and fourpence,
    That is paid for certain fees;
  Fifty pence are four and twopence,
    That will buy five pounds of cheese.

  Sixty pence will make, five shillings,
    Which, we learn is just a crown;
  Seventy pence are five and tenpence,
    This is known throughout the town.

  Eighty pence are six and eightpence,
    I'll always try to think of that;
  Ninety pence are seven and sixpence,
    This will buy a beaver hat.

  A hundred pence are eight and fourpence,
    Which is taught in th' Infant School;
  Eight pence more make just nine shillings,
    So we end this pretty rule.[A]

[Footnote A: A covered play-ground is desirable where practicable.]

As soon as the table is thus gone through, the children who are on the swings get off, and others supply their places, until, probably, the pence table has been said twenty times; then we go on with the multiplication table, until the children have repeated as far as six times six are thirty-six; when the children on the swings get off and are succeeded by two more on each swing; they then commence the other part of the table, beginning at six times seven are forty-two, until they have finished the table. During this time it should be borne in mind, that all the children are learning, not only those on the swings, but those who are sitting in the school; and it is surprising to see with what alacrity the children will dispatch their other lessons, when it is a wet day, in order to get to the swings. In addition to the knowledge acquired by this method, it is admirably calculated to try their courage. Many little boys and girls, who at first are afraid to get on the swings, will soon swing standing on one leg, and perform other feats with the greatest dexterity, at once showing their increased courage and greater activity. We generally let four or five children come to a swing, and those that can seat themselves first, are entitled to the first turn, for they are never lifted on. In the anxiety to get on the swing, some of them will perhaps get out of temper, especially those who are not disciplined; but when this is detected they are not allowed to swing that day, which soon makes them good-natured to each other, and very cautious not to get into a passion. Thus, in some degree, their bad tempers are corrected, which is very desirable. It is a current remark, that bad workmen find fault with the tools; and lazy teachers find fault with the swings, because they must perpetually watch the children. We are so tinctured with the old plan of rivetting the children to seats, that I despair of ever seeing the opposite plan become general in my time. As soon as two children are seated on each swing, to preserve order, the others retire (generally speaking) in the greatest good humour to their seats.

Some will, I know, be apt to exclaim, surely this is encouraging and fostering bad feelings—creating enmity and ill-will amongst the children; but I say, No, it is teaching them to feel a spirit of generous emulation, as distinguishable from that of ill-nature or envy.

Beside the swings, in many schools they have a very useful addition to the play-ground. I mean the gymnastic pole.

Although it is most proper for the master in the play-ground to relax altogether the brow of magisterial severity, yet there is no occasion for him to withdraw the influence of love. He will not prove a check to the enjoyment of the children, if, entering into the spirit of their innocent pastimes, he endeavours to heighten their pleasures by a judicious direction of their sports.

Among other amusements, which his ingenuity may suggest, I would mention a geometrical amusement, which is very practicable. First, let a certain number of children stand in a row. Opposite to these let one or more children be placed as directors to order the change of figure. A straight line, we will suppose, is the first thing shown by the position of the children; the next thing to be formed is a curve, by the advancement of each end; then a half-circle,—a circle, by joining hands in a ring;—two equal parallel lines, by the division of the number in action; next a square,—triangle, &c. &c. These changes may either be made at the command of the master, or, as we before proposed, of one or more children acting as officers to direct these geometrical movements.

Had it been constantly borne in memory that God is the creator of the body of a child as well as of its mind; and that the healthy action of both is requisite for happiness and usefulness, more attention would have been paid to the due and proper exercise of children than has hitherto been done. He has implanted an instinctive impulse to activity in every young child, which displays itself in almost incessant motion, where there is perfect health, and when there is opportunity. To restrain this unnecessarily, is therefore to act in opposition to the laws of nature; and the end must be a certain injury to the child. To prevent this evil, and to act in obedience to these laws, the various actions of clapping the hands, folding the arms, twisting the fists, and various other motions have been introduced. By these means a spirit of restlessness, which would undoubtedly show itself under unnecessary restraints, is converted into a motive of obedience, and thus even a moral influence is produced, by what would appear a mere childish play. They may all be gone through with elegance and propriety: and no rude or indelicate action should be allowed. Many masters are too free in making a show of these exercises to visitors, who are perhaps amused with them, but this is to divert them from their proper use. They were only invented to be introduced at intervals, when the children's attention began to flag, or to give them that proper exercise which their tender age required. How has everything connected with the infant system been burlesqued! and thus sensible persons have been led to despise infant education, which if rightly understood by them, would be seen to be one of the most powerful moral engines that can be put into action for the welfare of our fellow-creatures, especially of the poorer classes.



Infant ditties—Songs on natural history—Moral lessons in verse—Influence of music in softening of the feelings—Illustrative anecdote.

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"Music hath charms"

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Music has been found a most important means of mental and moral improvement. Its application took place from my finding a great difficulty in teaching some children, especially the younger ones, to sound their letters; and hence I determined to set the alphabet to a simple tune. I sang it frequently to the children when they were low or dispirited, and although none attempted the same sounds at first, I had the satisfaction of observing unusual attention. My next effort was very injudicious; for I urged on them the imitation of these sounds before they were actually capable of so doing; and hence, as more reflection would have shewn, only discordance arose. Having told them then to listen only, as they did at first, I soon discovered that having learned the tune through the proper organ—the ear, they were able to imitate it with the voice. We then by the same means marked the distinction between vowels and consonants with a tune that was longer and rather more difficult. As the monitor always pointed out the letters in succession while the children were singing, attention was excited and secured, and error effectually prevented, as correct time and tune could not be kept unless every child sung the right letter.

Success as to the alphabet led to the adoption of music in the teaching of arithmetic. This was available in two ways, first by combining with it physical exercise, and then by tasking the faculties of observation. The former was effected as follows: the children sang, one is the half of two, two is the half of four, three is the half of six, &c. &c., and then brought one hand down on the other alternately, without however making too much noise, so as to interrupt the time; the latter was accomplished by the arithmeticon, which has already been explained. A few specimens of the ditties thus used shall now be given; and several others, both hymns and moral songs are to be found in the Manual, recently published by myself in conjunction with a friend.


  Our days four seasons are at most,
    And Infancy's the time of Spring;
  Oh! with what trouble, care, and cost,
    Must we be taught to pray and sing.

  In Summer as our growth proceeds,
    Good fruit should hang on every branch;
  Our roots be clear'd from evil weeds,
    As into knowledge we advance.

  Our Autumn is the season, when
    Temptations do our minds assail.
  Our fruits are proved in manhood; then
    Let not sin, death, and hell prevail.

  For Winter brings old age and death,
    If we've good fruits laid up in store;
  Soon as we gasp our latest breath,
    We land on a triumphant shore.


  On March the twenty-first is Spring,
  When little birds begin to sing;
  Begin to build and hatch their brood,
  And carefully provide them food.

  Summer's the twenty-first of June,
  The cuckoo changes then his tune;
  All nature smiles, the fields look gay,
  The weather's fair to make the hay.

  September, on the twenty-third,
  When sportsmen mark at ev'ry bird,
  Autumn comes in; the fields are shorn,
  The fruits are ripe; so is the corn.

  Winter's cold frosts and northern blasts,
  The season is we mention last;
  The date of which in truth we must
  Fix for December—twenty-first.


  All human beings must (with birds and beasts)
  To be complete, five senses have at least:
  The sense of hearing to the ear's confined;
  The eye, we know, for seeing is design'd;
  The nose to smell an odour sweet or ill;
  The tongue to taste what will the belly fill.
  The sense of feeling is in every part
  While life gives motion to a beating heart.


  If you'd in wisdom's ways proceed,
  You intellectual knowledge need.
  Let science be your guiding star,
  Or from its path you'll wander far.

  'Tis science that directs the mind,
  The path of happiness to find.
  If goodness added is to truth,
  'Twill bring reward to every youth.


  All pence by the generous deposited here,
  When holidays come I will equally share.
  Among all good children attending this school,
  I should wish not to find a dunce or a fool.
  Then listen, all you, who a prize hope to gain,
  Attend to your books, and you'll not hope in vain.


  Come, children, listen to me now,
  And you shall hear about the cow;
  You'll find her useful, live or dead,
  Whether she's black, or white, or red.

  When milk-maids milk her morn and night,
  She gives them milk so fresh and white;
  And this, we little children think,
  Is very nice for us to drink.

  The curdled milk they press and squeeze,
  And so they make it into cheese;
  The cream they skim and shake in churns,
  And then it soon to butter turns.

  And when she's dead, her flesh is good,
  For beef is our true English food;
  But though 'twill make us brave and strong,
  To eat too much we know is wrong.

  Her skin, with lime and bark together,
  The tanner tans, and makes it leather;
  And without that what should we do
  For soles to every boot or shoe?

  The shoemaker cuts it with his knife,
  And bound the tops are by his wife,
  And then he nails it to the last.
  And after sews it tight and fast.

  The hair that grows upon her back
  Is taken, whether white or black,
  And mix'd with mortar, short or long,
  Which makes it very firm and strong.

  The plast'rer spreads it with a tool,
  And this you'll find is just the rule,
  And when he's spread it tight and fast,
  I'm sure it many years will last.

  And last of all, if cut with care,
  Her horns make combs to comb our hair;
  And so we learn—thanks to our teachers,
  That cows are good and useful creatures.


  Hark now to me, and silence keep,
  And we will talk about the sheep;
  For sheep are harmless, and we know
  That on their backs the wool does grow.

  The sheep are taken once a year,
  And plunged in water clean and clear;
  And there they swim, but never bite,
  While men do wash them clean and white.

  And then they take them, fat or lean,
  Clip off the wool, both short and clean,
  And this is call'd, we understand,
  Shearing the sheep, throughout the land.

  And then they take the wool so white,
  And pack it up in bags quite tight;
  And then they take those bags so full,
  And sell to men that deal in wool.

  The wool is wash'd and comb'd with hand,
  Then it is spun with wheel and band;
  And then with shuttle very soon,
  Wove into cloth within the loom.

  The cloth is first sent to be dyed;
  Then it is wash'd, and press'd and dried;
  The tailor then cuts out with care
  The clothes that men and boys do wear.


  Come, children, let us now discourse
  About the pretty noble horse;
  And then you soon will plainly see
  How very useful he must be.

  He draws the coach so fine and smart,
  And likewise drags the loaded cart,
  Along the road or up the hill,
  Though then his task is harder still.

  Upon his back men ride with ease,
  He carries them just where they please;
  And though it should be many a mile,
  He gets there in a little while.

  With saddle on his back they sit,
  And manage him with reins and bit,
  The whip and spur they use also,
  When they would have him faster go.

  And be the weather cold or hot,
  As they may wish he'll walk or trot;
  Or if to make more haste they need,
  Will gallop with the greatest speed.

  When dead his shining skin they use,
  As leather for our boots and shoes;
  Alive or dead, then, thus we see
  How useful still the horse must be.


  The cow, the sheep, the horse, have long,
  Been made the subject of our song;
  But there are many creatures yet,
  Whose merits we must not forget.

  And first the dog, so good to guard
  His master's cottage, house, or yard,—
  Dishonest men away to keep,
  And guard us safely while we sleep.

  For if at midnight, still and dark,
  Strange steps he hears, with angry bark,
  He bids his master wake and see,
  If thieves or honest folks they be.

  At home, abroad, obedient still,
  His only guide his master's will;
  Before his steps, or by his side,
  He runs or walks with joy and pride.

  He runs to fetch the stick or ball,
  Returns obedient to the call;
  Content and pleased if he but gains
  A single pat for all his pains.

  But whilst his merits thus we praise,
  Pleased with his character and ways,
  This let us learn, as well we may,
  To love our teachers and obey.


[Footnote A: The following tale, though not adapted for the younger children of an Infant School, and too long to be committed to memory by the elder ones, might be read to such by the master, and would serve as an admirable theme for conversation. It is likewise well adapted as a tale for family circles.]


  "What nice plum-cakes," said JAMES to JOHN,
  "Our mother sends! Is your's all gone?"
  "It is," JOHN answered; "is not thine?"
  "No, JOHN, I've saved one half of mine;

  "It was so large, as well as nice,
  I thought that it should serve for twice,
  Had I eat all to-day, to-morrow
  I might have mourn'd such haste in sorrow;
  So half my cake I wisely took,
  And, seated in my favourite nook,
  Enjoyed alone, the double pleasure,
  Of present and of future treasure."
  "I, too," said JOHN, "made up my mind
  This morning, when our mother kind
  Sent down the cakes so nice and sweet,
  That I but half to-day would eat,
  And half I ate; the other half—"
  JAMES stopp'd his brother with a laugh;
   "I know what you're about to say,—
    The other half you gave away.
    Now, brother, pray explain to me,
    The charms which you in giving see.
    Shew me how feasting foes or friends
    Can for your fasting make amends."
   "A poor old man," said JOHN, "came by,
    Whose looks implored for charity.
    His eyes, bedimm'd with starting tears,
    His body bowed by length of years,
    His feeble limbs, his hoary hairs,
    Were to my heart as silent prayers.
    I saw, too, he was hungry, though
    His lips had not informed me so.
    To this poor creature, JAMES, I gave
    The half which I had meant to save.
    The lingering tears, with sudden start,
      Ran down the furrows of his cheek,
    I knew he thank'd me in his heart,
      Although he strove in vain to speak.
    The joy that from such acts we gain
    I'll try for your sake to explain.
    First, God is pleased, who, as you know,
      Marks every action that we do;
    That God 'from whom all blessings flow,'
      So many JAMES to me and you.
    Our mother, next, had she but seen
      Her gifts of kindness so employ'd,
    Would she not JAMES, well pleased have been;
    And all my feelings then enjoy'd?
    The poor old man, was he not pleased?
      Must not his load of sorrow be,
    Though but for one short moment, eased,
      To think, 'Then some one feels for me.'
    But still you ask, of all this pleasure,
      How much will to the giver fall?
    The whole, rich, undiminish'd treasure,—
  He feels, he shares the joy of all.
  We eat the cake, and it is gone;
  What have we left to think upon?
  Who's pleased by what we then have done?
  How many pray, JAMES, more than one?
  The joys by sympathy supplied
  Are many, great, and dignified.
  But do not on my word rely,
  Whilst you, dear JAMES, the fact may try;
  And if you do not find it true,
  I'll next time eat both halves with you!"

* * * * *

It is desirable that the master should add instrumental to vocal music. He should be able to play on the violin, flute, or clarionet, but, as he must speak much, the former is to be preferred. Such is the influence of the weather, that children are almost always dull on dull days, and then a little music is of great advantage. On wet days, when they cannot go into the play-ground, it assists them in keeping the step when they march, it cheers and animates their spirits, and, in some measure, compensates for their privations. It will also aid various evolutions.

Music may be employed, moreover, to soften the feelings, curb the passions, and improve the temper, and it is strange that it should not have been employed till the operation of the Infant System, to which it is absolutely indispensable. When, for instance, after a trial by jury, as explained in a former page, the children have been disposed to harshness and severity, a soft and plaintive melody has produced a different decision. To recite one case; when I was organizing the Dry-gate School in Glasgow[A], a little girl in the gallery had lost of her ear-rings (which, by the way, like beads, is a very improper appendage, and ought by all means to be discouraged), and on discovering the fact, commenced a most piteous lamentation. I made inquiry for it immediately, while the children were seated in the gallery, but in vain; and I subsequently found it in the hands of a little girl at the bottom, who was attentively examining it, and who gave it me the moment it was demanded. On asking the children what was to be done in this case, they said she should have a pat of the hand. I then showed, that had she intended to steal it, she would have secreted it, which she did not, and that her attention was so absorbed by it, that she had not heard my inquiry; but one little boy was not satisfied; he said, "She kenned right weel it was nae her ain;" but after singing a simple and touching air, I was pleased to find his opinion changed. "Perhaps, sir," he said, "ye may as weel forgie her this ance, as she is but a wee thing."

[Footnote A: This school has since become a very important Normal school, from which many others have emanated, the head master being the one I originally instructed: Mr. Stowe, also, one of the directors, has applied the principles of the Infant School System to the instruction of older children, which is called Stowe's Training System; being applied to juveniles, with great success. I know of no school, except the Dublin Normal Schools, equal to those, and of no masters superior to those I have seen who have been taught there.]

The music chosen for children should be easy and simple, fluent and varied. Hymn tunes should be of a rather lively character, as the more dull and sombrous are not well adapted to the infant ear. Airs for the tables or exercising songs are required to be very cheerful and inspiring, and then they tend to excite pleasure and liveliness, which should often be aimed at in an infant school.

As children take much interest in singing, and readily learn verses by heart, so as to sing them, although not properly instructed in their meaning or rightly understanding them, singing has been considered by many persons the "soul of the system." This is a grievous error as regards the intellectual advancement of the children, and still worse as regards their health and that of the teacher. I have at times entered schools as a visitor when the mistress has immediately made the children show off by singing in succession a dozen pieces, as if they were a musical box. Thus to sing without bounds is a very likely way to bring the mistress to an early grave, and injure the lungs of the dear little children. Use as not abusing is the proper rule, tar all the new modes of teaching and amusing children that I have introduced; but it has often appeared to me that abuse it as much as possible was the rule acted upon. Call upon the first singers of the day to sing in this manner, and where would they soon be?



Method of instruction—Grammatical rhymes.

* * * * *

"A few months ago, Mr. —— gave his little daughter, H——, a child of five years old, her first lesson in English Grammar; but no alarming book of grammar was produced on the occasion, nor did the father put on an unpropitious gravity of countenance. He explained to the smiling child the nature of a verb, a pronoun, and a substantive."—Edgeworth.

* * * * *

It has been well observed, "that grammar is the first thing taught, and the last learnt." Now, though it is not my purpose to pretend that I can so far simplify grammar, as to make all its rules comprehensible to children so young as those found in infant schools, I do think that enough may be imparted to them to render the matter more comprehensible, than it is usually found to be in after years.

The great mystery of grammar results, in my opinion, from not making the children acquainted with the things of which the words used are the signs, and moreover, from the use of a number of hard words, which the children repeat without understanding. For instance, in the classification of words, or the parts of speech, as they are called, nouns, substantives, and adjectives, convey, as terms, no idea to the minds of children; and, in spite of the definitions by which their import is explained, remain to them as unintelligible as the language of magical incantation. That the children can easily comprehend the difference between words which express the names of things, and those which express their qualities, and between words which express actions, and those which express the nature of those actions, is undeniable; and this is just what should be taught in an infant school. In the first place, let the children be accustomed to repeat the names of things, not of any certain number of things set down on a lesson card, or in a book, but of any thing, and every thing, in the school-room, play-ground, &c.: next let them be exercised in telling something relating to those things—their qualities; as for instance, the school-room is large, clean, &c.,—the children are quiet, good, attentive, &c.—the pictures are pretty: the play-ground is pleasant, &c. Having accustomed the children, in this manner, first to give you the names of things, and then to observe and repeat something respecting them—you have gained two ends; you have, first, taught the children to be observant and discriminative; and, secondly, you have taught them to distinguish two distinct classes of words, or names and qualities; and you may now, if you please, give them terms by which to distinguish these respective classes, viz. substantives and adjectives. They will no longer be mysterious words, "signifying nothing," but recognized signs, by which the children will understand and express definite ideas. The next thing you have to teach them is, the distinction betwixt singular and plural, and, if you think proper, masculine and feminine; but before you talk to the children about plural number and masculine gender, &c., let them be made acquainted with the realities of which these hard-sounding words are the signs.

Having made the classification of words clear and comprehensible, you next proceed to the second grand class of words, the verbs, and their adjuncts, the adverbs. With these you will proceed as with the former; let action be distinguished by words;—the children walk, play, read, eat, run; master laughs, frowns, speaks, sings; and so on; letting the children find their own examples; then comes the demand from the master for words expressing the manner of action. How do the children walk?—slowly, quickly, orderly. How do they read, eat run! How does the master laugh, speak, sing? The children now find you ADVERBS, and it will be quite time enough to give them terms for the classification they thus intuitively make, when they have a clear idea of what they are doing. When this end is attained, your children have some ideas of grammar, and those clear ones. There is no occasion to stop here. Proceed, but slowly, and in the same method. The tenses of the verbs, and the subdivision into active, passive, and neuter, will require the greatest care and attention which the teacher can use, to simplify them sufficiently for the children's comprehension; as it will likewise enable them to understand the nature and office of the other classes of words. As, however, it is not my intention to write a grammar here, but merely to throw out a few hints on the subject, I shall leave the further development of the plan to the ingenuity of those who may think fit to adopt its principles, as above laid down.

  English Grammar doth us teach,
  That it hath nine parts of speech;—
  Article, adjective, and noun,
  Verb, conjunction, and pronoun,
  With preposition, and adverb,
  And interjection, as I've heard.
  The letters are just twenty-six,
  These form all words when rightly mix'd.
  The vowels are a, e, o, i,
  With u, and sometimes w and y.
  Without the little vowels' aid,
  No word or syllable is made;
  But consonants the rest we call,
  And so of these we've mention'd all.
  Three little words we often see,
  Are articles,—a, an, and the.
  A noun's the name of any thing—
  As school, or garden, hoop, or swing.
  Adjectives tell the kind of noun—
  As great, small, pretty, white, or brown.
  Instead of nouns the pronouns stand,
  John's head, his face, my arm, your hand.
  Verbs tell of something being done—
  To read, write, count, sing, jump, or run.
  How things are done the adverbs tell—
  As slowly, quickly, ill, or well.
  Conjunctions join the nouns together—
  As men and children, wind or weather.
  A preposition stands before
  A noun, as in or through a door.
  The interjection shows surprise—
  As, oh! how pretty, ah! how wise.
  The whole are called nine parts of speech,
  Which, reading, writing, speaking teach.


  Three little words we hear and see
  In frequent use, a, an, and the;
  These words so useful, though so small,
  Are those which articles we call.

  The first two, a and an, we use
  When speaking of one thing alone;
  For instance, we might wish to say
  An oak, a man, a dog, a bone.

  The speaks of either one or more,—
  The cow, the cows, the pig, the pigs,
  The plum, the plums (you like a score),
  The pear, the pears, the fig, the figs.

  An oak, a man; means any oak,
  Or any man of all mankind;
  A dog, a bone, means any dog,
  Or any bone a dog may find.

  This article we only use
  Whenever it may be our wish
  To speak of some determined thing,
  As thus;—the bird, the ox, the fish.

  By which we mean not any bird,
  That flying in the air may be,
  Or any ox amongst the herd,
  Or any fish in stream or sea.

  But some one certain bird or ox,
  Or fish (let it be which it may)
  Of which we're speaking, or of which
  We something mean to write or say.

  Remember these things when you see
  The little words, a, an, and the.
  These words so useful, though so small
  Are those which articles we call.

Nothing can be more absurd than to compel young children to commit to memory mere abstract rules expressed in difficult and technical language. Such requires a painful effort of the mind, and one calculated to give a disgust against learning. Grammar was formed on language and not language by grammar, and from this it necessarily follows, that children should acquire a considerable store of words from a knowledge of reading and of things, before their minds are taxed by abstract rules. To be thoroughly understood they require words to be compared with words, and one word to be compared with another; and how can this be done without the memory being amply supplied with them previously. Such simple instruction as this chapter directs may easily be given; but to attempt much more would be like endeavouring to build an elegant and ornamental structure before you had collected materials to build with.



Method Explained—Its success.

* * * * *

"He tried each art."—Goldsmith.

* * * * *

All persons acquainted with children are aware of the torpor of some minds, and of the occasional apathy of others, and to this it is necessary to provide some counteraction. This is done effectually by what is called the elliptical plan, according to which, words are omitted in a narrative or poem repeated by the teacher, for the purpose of being supplied by the children.

These exercises are very agreeable to the children, and by them some features of the mental character become conspicuous. Children are usually sensible of their need of instruction, but if they can make it appear that any of their statements are original, their delight is especially manifest. There seems, too, a dislike at first, to take any trouble to arrive at the truth; careless children will therefore guess several times; but an observant teacher will at once perceive that there is no effort of the understanding, point it out to the child, and thus prevent its recurrence.

Dr. Gilchrist observes, in a letter sent to me, "You have now the whole method before you, and I shall boldly stake all my hard-earned fame, as a practical orientalist, on the salutary consequences that will spring from the adoption of short elliptical tales at your interesting institution."

My usual practice with respect to the elliptical method of teaching, is, to deliver some appropriate, simple, extemporaneous tale, leaving out but few words at first, and those such as must obviously strike the children; as they get used to the plan, I make the omissions more frequent, and of words less obvious. The following specimens will render the whole plain to the understandings of my readers.

A gardener's youngest[a] —— was walking among the fruit[b] —— of his father's[c] ——, he saw a little[d] —— fly up and sit on one of the[e]—— of the trees; the[f] —— lifted a stone, and was going to[g]—— it at the poor[h]—— which seemed to[i]—— most sweetly thus:

  My[k] —— is[l] —— of moss and hair,
  The[m] —— are[n]—— and sheltered there;
  When[o]—— soon shall my young[p] —— fly
  Far from the[q]—— school[r]—— eye."

The[s]—— eldest[t]—— who understood the[u]—— of birds came up at that moment, and[v]—— out, throw down the[w] ——, you hard-hearted[x] —— and don't[y] —— the innocent[z] —— in the middle of his song; are you not[aa]—— with his swelling red-breast, his beautiful sharp eye, and above all with the[bb] —— of his notes, and the familiar[cc] —— he assumes, even in the[dd] —— of a[ee]—— like you? Ask your youngest[ff] —— here if she remembers the[gg]—— which her good[hh] —— read to her yesterday of a very[ii]—— boy, who was very[kk]—— to a harmless green[ll] —— which he caught[mm] —— for hunger, among the[nn]—— in the[oo] —— of winter.

[Footnote a: Son]

[Footnote b: trees]

[Footnote c: garden]

[Footnote d: bird]

[Footnote e: branches]

[Footnote f: boy]

[Footnote g: throw]

[Footnote h: bird]

[Footnote i: sing]

[Footnote k: nest]

[Footnote l: built]

[Footnote m: eggs]

[Footnote n: laid]

[Footnote o: hatched]

[Footnote p: ones]

[Footnote q: roaming]

[Footnote r: boy's]

[Footnote s: gardener's]

[Footnote t: son]

[Footnote u: notes]

[Footnote v: called]

[Footnote w: stone]

[Footnote x: rogue or boy]

[Footnote y: disturb or hurt]

[Footnote z: bird]

[Footnote aa: pleased or delighted]

[Footnote bb: sweetness or melody]

[Footnote cc: air]

[Footnote dd: presence]

[Footnote ee: naughty boy]

[Footnote ff: sister]

[Footnote gg: story]

[Footnote hh: mother, aunt &c.]

[Footnote ii: naughty or good]

[Footnote kk: cruel or kind]

[Footnote ll: finch or linnet]

[Footnote mm: perishing or dying]

[Footnote nn: snow]

[Footnote oo: depth or middle.]

The following little verses upon the same principle have been found to answer extremely well, by putting one child in the rostrum, and desiring him purposely to leave out those words that are marked, the other children will fill them up as he goes.

  I must pray
  Both —— and day.

  Before —— eat
  I must entreat,
  That —— would bless
  To me —— meat.

  I must not play
  On God's own day,
  But I must hear
  His word with fear.

  It is a sin
  To steal a pin
  Much more to steal
  A greater thing.

  I must work,
  And I must pray,
  That God will feed
  Me day by day.

  All honest labour,
  God will bless;
  Let me not live
  In idleness.

  I will not be
  Or rude or wild,
  I must not be
  A naughty child.

  I will not speak
  Of others ill,
  But ever bear
  To all good-will.

  I'd rather die
  Than tell a lie,
  Lest I be lost

  I'll —— my bread
  From —— to door,
  Rather —— steal
  My neighbour's store.

  I must not kill
  A little fly;
  It is an act
  Of cruelty.

  I must not lie,
  I must not feign,
  I must not take
  God's name in vain.

  Nor may my tongue
  Say what is wrong;
  I will not sin
  A world to win,

  In my Bible
  I am to read,
  And trust in God
  In all my need.

  For Christ alone
  My soul can save,
  And raise my body
  From the grave.

  Oh! blessed Saviour,
  Take my heart
  And let not me
  From thee depart.

  Lord, grant that I
  In faith may die,
  And live with thee
  Above the sky.


  God made the —— that looks so blue,
   God made the —— so green,
  God made the —— that smell so sweet,
   In —— colours seen.

  God made the —— that shines so bright,
   And gladdens all I see;
  It comes to give us —— and light,
   How —— should we be!

  God made the —— bird to fly,
   How —— has she sung;
  And though she —— so very high,
   She won't —— her young.

  God made the —— to give nice milk,
   The horse for —— to use;
  I'll treat them —— for his sake,
   Nor dare his gifts abuse.

  God made the —— for my drink,
   God made the —— to swim,
  God made the —— to bear nice fruit,
  Which does my —— so nicely suit;
   O how should I —— him!

"O Lord, how manifest are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all!"—Psalm civ. 24.

* * * * *

I subjoin, as an exercise for teachers themselves, the following hymn, as one calculated to induce reflections on the scenes of nature, and direct the mind to that Being who is the Source of all excellence!

  Hast —— beheld —— glorious
  Through all —— skies his circuit run,
  At rising morn, —— closing day,
  And when he beam'd his noontide

  Say, didst —— e'er attentive
  The evening cloud, —— morning dew?
  Or, after ——, the watery bow
  Rise in the —— a beauteous ——?

  When darkness had o'erspread the ——
  Hast thou e'er seen the —— arise,
  And with a mild and placid ——
  Shed lustre o'er the face of night?

  Hast —— e'er wander'd o'er the plain,
  And view'd the fields and waving ——,
  The flowery mead, —— leafy grove,
  Where all —— harmony —— love.

  Hast thou e'er trod the sandy ——
  And —— the restless —— roar,
  When roused by some tremendous ——
  It's billows rose —— dreadful form?

  Hast thou beheld the —— stream
  Thro' nights dark gloom, —— sudden gleam,
  While the bellowing thunder's ——
  Roll'd rattling —— the heaven's profound?

  Hast thou e'er —— the cutting gale,
  The sleeting shower, —— the biting hail;
  Beheld —— snow o'erspread the
  The water bound —— icy chains?

  Hast thou the various beings ——
  That sport —— the valley green,
  That —— warble on the spray,
  Or wanton in the sunny ——?

  That shoot along —— briny deep,
  Or —— ground their dwellings keep;
  That thro' the —— forest range,
  Or frightful wilds —— deserts strange?

  Hast —— the wondrous scenes survey'd
  That all around thee —— display'd?
  And hast —— never raised thine
  To Him —— bade these scenes arise?

  'Twas GOD who form'd the concave ——
  And all the glorious orbs —— high;
  —— gave the various beings birth,
  That people all the spacious ——.

  'Tis —— that bids the tempests
  And rolls the —— thro' —— skies:
  His voice the elements ——
  Thro' all the —— extends His sway.

  His goodness —— His creatures share,
  But MAN is HIS peculiar ——.
  Then, while they all proclaim —— praise,
  Let —— his —— the loudest ——.

The elliptical plan has been found to be most successful, and has been applied with equal success in schools for older children, and also children of another grade. Messrs. Chambers, I believe, are the only persons, as far as I know, who have the honesty to acknowledge the source from whence this plan was taken.



National schools—British and foreign societies—Sunday schools—Observations.

       * * * * *
  "Is it then fitting that one soul should pine
    For want of culture in this favour'd land?
  That spirits of capacity divine
    Perish, like seeds upon the desert sand?
  That needful knowledge, in this age of light,
  Should not by birth be every Briton's right?"


* * * * *

Although it has been the special design of the present work to speak of the first efforts of art in assisting the proper development of the mental and moral faculties, I shall take the liberty of indulging in a few remarks on the methods at present adopted in the more advanced stages of education, as seen in our National and Sunday Schools. I need, I am sure, offer no other apology for so doing, than the fact that it is in these institutions the infant poor must complete their education; it is in these schools, the budding faculties must either ripen or perish; and the moral principles become confirmed or weakened. Certain I am, that it is the wish of all concerned in these praiseworthy institutions to do their best for the attainment of this object—the welfare and improvement of the rising generation of the poor classes; and therefore I the less reluctantly offer a few thoughts on the subject, which it is my humble opinion may not be altogether useless.

With regard to National Schools, I must say, there is too much form, and too little of the spirit of instruction to be found in their management: the minor faculties are attended to in preference to the higher ones; it is the memory alone which is called into action; the understanding is suffered to lie in a state of torpid inactivity.

Their lessons, their plan of using them, and their discipline altogether, are of that monotonous nature, that the children always seem to me to be dosing over them. I know it will be pleaded that the number to be taught at once, renders this defect unavoidable; that it is impossible to teach a large body of children, in such a way as to secure the attention and activity of the whole. And it is so far true, as to its being impossible to detect and reform every idle pupil, who finds an opportunity of indulging his idleness in the divided attention of his teacher; but I do think, if it be impossible to cure the evil, it may be in a great degree prevented. Make your system interesting, lively, and inspiriting, and your scholars will neither be able nor willing to slumber over it. Every one knows what an effect is produced on the physical faculties by a succession of the same sound; for instance, by the long continued chiming of a single bell; it induces a drowsiness which we find it impossible to resist, except by turning our attention to another thing; but let a number of bells strike out into a merry peal, how quickly we are aroused, how lively we become, whilst their various changes secure the attention and interest which their pleasing and spirited tones first excited. And just so it is with the mind in the matters of education; you must give a variety of tones, a newness of aspect to your lessons, or you will never be able to keep up a lively attention in your scholars. For this purpose I would particularly recommend to the attention of all concerned, the chapters in this volume on geometry, conversation, pictures, and likewise that on the elliptical method. By adopting the plan recommended in these chapters, the children will have something to do, and to do that something they must be active. The first object of the teacher is to excite a thirst for knowledge; not to pour unwelcome information into the mind.

It will probably be said, that however well adapted the plan recommended may be for the infantine scholars for whom it was designed, yet, it does not follow that it may be equally advantageous for those of a more advanced age; and if by this it is meant, that the very same lessons, &c., are not equally applicable in both cases, I perfectly agree with the truth of the objection; but it is the principle of education that I recommend, and would affirm to be as applicable to children of the most advanced age, as to those of the youngest. And I may further add that unless this is done, these schools will not be in a proper state to receive our children, so as to carry on the cultivation of all the faculties, instead of the memory only. It is not sufficient to store the memory, we must give employment to the understanding. It is not sufficient to talk to the children of piety and of goodness; we must present them with a living example of both, and secure, as far as possible, an imitation of such example.

As applicable to Sunday Schools, I would particularly recommend the use of picture lessons on scripture subjects, for the use of the junior classes, to be used as a sort of text for conversation, suited to the state of their mental faculties. I am convinced that the knowledge acquired by this method is likely to make a deeper and more lasting impression, than that imparted in a less interesting mode. Nor should the lessons on natural history be neglected, in my humble opinion, in the system of Sunday School instruction; inasmuch as the more the children know of the wonders of creation, the greater must be their reverence of the Almighty Creator; in addition to which it will enable the teachers to supply variety, a thing so agreeable, and, indeed, indispensable, in the instruction of children. For these reasons, I think it could not justly be considered as either a misemployment or profanation of the Sabbath-day. For the elder children, moreover, it would be advisable to have occasional class lectures, simplified for the purpose, on astronomy, natural history, &c.; and although it might be unadvisable to occupy the hours of the Sabbath-day with the delivery of them, they might be given, on some week-day evening, and should be made the medium of reward to good behaviour; such children as had misbehaved themselves being proscribed from attending. When thus seen in the light of a privilege, they would not fail to be interesting to the little auditors, as well as conducive to good behaviour.

Sunday Schools should not be too large, nor should children remain in them too long. I have observed some instances, when this has been neglected, of choices being made, and connections formed, which must be often very prejudicial.

It is with some degree of reluctance and apprehension, I touch upon another topic—that of religious doctrine. As schools for gratuitous instruction have been established by most of the religious sects extant, it is obvious that some dissimilarity of sentiment on religions subjects must exist, as imparted in such schools. Let it not be supposed, that I would cast a censure on any religious body, for establishing a school devoted to such a blessed purpose. On the contrary, I rejoice to see, that however various their theories may be, their opinion of Christian practice, as evinced in such actions, is the same. But one thing I would say, to each and to all, let a prominence be given to those fundamental truths of love and goodness which Christianity inculcates. Let the first sounds of religion which salute the ears of infancy, be that heavenly proclamation which astonished and enraptured the ears of the wakeful shepherds, "Peace on earth and good-will towards men." It was the herald-cry by which salvation was ushered into the world, and surely no other can be so proper for introducing it into the minds of children. I must candidly own, that I have occasionally witnessed a greater desire to teach particular doctrines, than the simple and beautiful truths which form the spirit of religion; and it is against this practice I have presumed to raise a dissentient voice.

The conductors of schools, in connexion with the British and Foreign School Society, have generally spoken more highly of the Infant System than others, and this is certainly to be attributed to more congeniality, since in them the mental powers are more fully exercised, and there is a greater variety in the instruction given. The only objection I can discover to them, is one that lies equally against the National Schools—I mean the opportunities afforded for monitorial oppression; but this may be obviated in both cases by the judgment and vigilance of the teachers. It should be added, that schools of both kinds demand occasional inspection from those intimately acquainted with the systems avowedly adopted, as they appear very different in different places. I will only mention further on this topic, that many schools are too large. No Infant School, I conceive, should exceed 200, nor should a National or British and Foreign School exceed 400, when under the care of one master.

One half of these numbers would be much better than the whole, and tend greatly to the success of the schools; but funds are so difficult to raise, from the apathy shown by persons in general to the instruction of the poor, and therefore the schools are so few in number, that it is absolutely requisite to place as great a number of children as possible under one master, that expense may be saved. When will this sad state of things be changed, and the country at large see that the noblest object it can ever attempt is, to rear up its whole population to intelligence, virtue, and piety?

In conclusion, I would observe, that as the foregoing remarks have been kindly made, in such a manner, it is my hope, they will all be received.

It is most gratifying to me to be able to add, that since the above remarks were written, great improvements have been made in National Schools, a large portion of the public attention has been lately drawn to the subject, and it is almost universally admitted that the present system is capable of considerable improvement. This must be gratifying to those persons who have borne the heat and burthen of the day. The National Society are taking measures to improve their systems, and also by forming Diocesan Societies to establish Normal schools for the instruction of teachers on improved principles throughout the country. I would to God the Church of England had done this long ago; she would have had fewer enemies, and could now have put on a bolder front.

I trust in God that even now it is not too late, and that circumstances may transpire to render her efforts in this sacred cause doubly effective. She has lately made a noble stand in defence of principle; this will have its proper effect; but she must not stop there, for the enemy is in the field; and though he is quiet for a time, the many-headed dragon is not crushed. The utmost vigilance will be necessary to counteract the wiliness of the serpent; real improvements in education must be adopted; the books used in her schools must be revised and improved; a larger amount of knowledge must be given to the poorer portion of her sons, and then a beneficial reaction will not be far distant. She has done much, but she has much more to do. If she does not pre-occupy the ground, there are others that will. Dependence upon the Divine Will, sound discretion, and Christian principle, must be her guide; goodness must be her fortress, and truth her finger post, and then I for one perceive that she will not fail, for the bulk of her people are still favourable to her, and will rise up in her defence, when their assistance is required; and if I mistake not the signs of the times, there will be work for the thinking portion of the laity soon cut out, work which I fear the clergy cannot, or will not do, but which, nevertheless, must be done. God grant that it may be done well, whoever may be the instruments.



Introduction to botany—First lessons in natural history—First truths of astronomy—Geographical instruction—Conclusion.

* * * * *

"'Tis on his mother's bosom the babe learns his first lessons; from her smile he catches the glow of affection; and by her frown, or her gentle sighs he persuaded to give up what his ignorance or selfishness prompt him with pertinacity to retain. Happy where this sweet, this powerful influence is well directed,—where the mother's judgment guides her affectionate feelings."—Taylor

* * * * *

Many persons, eminent by their charitable acts, and who express themselves generally desirous of aiding in any plan which may contribute to the improvement and happiness of the poorer classes, have, nevertheless, been unwilling to assist in the establishment of Infant Schools, fearful that the superior method pursued in these schools should render the children educated therein, much better informed than the children of the richer classes, who might thus be supplanted in numerous lucrative and honourable situations in after-life.

From this circumstance one of the two following conclusions must be drawn; either that the system of education pursued in the higher schools is very faulty and imperfect, or that the fears of those persons are entire groundless.

If the first be true, then it cannot be denied that the consequences feared by the richer classes must necessarily take place, if, either from prejudice or apathy, they continue the same faulty and imperfect method of education, which, by the expression of these fears, they positively declare is usually pursued in the higher schools; but the remedy is easy. Let the same good principles of tuition be introduced into nurseries, and into those schools to which the children of the rich are sent, and the latter will not fail to maintain their patrimonial ranks in society. They need then have no fear least the poorer classes should become too intellectual, but, on the contrary, they will soon find that their own welfare, security, and happiness will not only be insured, but will increase in proportion as the poorer classes gain knowledge; for by the method of instruction pursued in the Infant Schools, the knowledge there acquired is necessarily accompanied by the practice of industry, sobriety, honesty, benevolence, and mutual kindness; in fine, by all the moral and religious virtues.

That the system of instruction recommended in the foregoing pages is equally applicable to the children of the rich as to those of the poor, there can be no doubt; and it might be adopted either in schools established on its principles or in the nursery. It is, indeed, obvious that it might be carried to a much greater extent, where the means of so doing would not be wanting. Many things might be taught, which it is neither advisable nor practicable to teach in the schools established for the instruction of poor children.

Whilst the elements of number, form, and language, may be taught by the means and after the manner recommended in the preceding chapters on the respective subjects, there are other branches of knowledge which might enter into the scope of nursery instruction with great advantage to the children.

As an introduction to botany, I would make the children acquainted with the progress of vegetation, not from words, but from observation. I would have three or four garden-pots filled with mould, introduced into the nursery at a proper season of the year; the children should be asked, what is in the pots.—"Dirt," or "mould," will of course be the reply. They should then be shewn the seeds which are to be deposited in the mould, and assuming in the eyes of the children a prophetic character, the mother or governess should inform them of the process of vegetation, and that about a certain time a pretty flower will make its appearance in the pots: the seeds should then be deposited in the mould, and the pots placed in a proper situation. It would not be improper to let the children themselves sow the seed; thus convincing them of their power of being useful, and becoming the instrument of so great a wonder, as the transformation of a seed into a flower. During the time the seed is lying unperceived beneath the mould, the children should frequently be sent to look "if the pretty flower has come up," or questioned as to what they were told concerning it. At length the green shoot will make its appearance, just peeping above the mould, to the no small surprise and gratification of the little observers. They will mark with attentive eagerness the progress of its growth, the appearance of the bud, and the gradual development of "the pretty flower," till they are fully convinced of the wisdom of the parent or teacher who foretold all which has happened, and made acquainted with the process of vegetation, not from words, but from observation. Certain it is, that such a lesson could not be wholly useless. In the first place it might be made the means of impressing them with ideas of the Almighty power, highly conducive to piety; secondly, it would beget a habit of observation; thirdly, it would be likely to produce a love of flowers and the vegetable world, favourable to their future pursuits in the science of botany; and, lastly, it would inspire their little breasts with a love and respect for the parents or teachers who were wise and kind enough to teach them so many true and wonderful things.

As an efficient and amusing introduction to natural history, I would have every nursery provided with a microscope, by means of which the minds of the children might be excited to wonder and admiration at the amazing beauty and perfection of the insect world, and the astonishing construction of various substances, as seen through this instrument. So far would this be from begetting habits of cruelty, that it would be very likely to check them. Many children who would be loath to torture a large animal, such as a cat, a dog, or a bird, feel no compunction at ill-using a fly, because it appears to them so insignificant an animal; but had they once witnessed, by means of a microscope, the wonderful and perfect conformation of the insect, I am persuaded they would be less inclined to make the distinction.

Various devices might be made use of to teach the first truths of astronomy. So simple a device as an apple, with a wire run through its centre, turned round before a candle, might serve to explain the phenomena of day and night; whilst the orrery, with the accompaniment of a simple and familiar lecture—(it should be much more so, indeed, than any I have heard or read)—would make them acquainted with those stupendous facts which strike us with as astonishment and awe. It has been well observed by Dr. Young, with respect to the wonders of astronomy—

  "In little things we search out God—in great
  He seizes us."

One thing I would here notice—that it should be a constant practice to remind the children, that in the apple and the orrery, they see only a resemblance to the earth and the heavenly bodies, that they are vast in size and distance, beyond their comprehension; at the same time leading them to an actual observation of the heavens by means of a telescope. This would be a high treat to the children, and productive of correct notions, which are but too apt to be lost where we are under the necessity of teaching by signs so infinitely unlike, in size and nature, as the candle and the apple, and the brass balls and wires of the orrery, to the earth and the heavenly orbs.

For giving the children their first lessons in geography, I would have a floor-cloth in every nursery, painted like a map, but of course not filled up so perfectly as maps for adults necessarily are. It should contain a correct delineation of the position of a certain space of the globe, we will say, for instance, of England; let the children then be told to proceed from a certain spot, to go through certain counties, towns, &c., and to fetch a piece of cloth from Yorkshire, or a knife from Sheffield, cheese from Cheshire, butter from Dorset, or lace from Huntingdonshire, &c., &c. The lessons thus given would be at once amusing and instructive both to the governess and children. If preferred, these maps might be painted of a less size, to cover a table. No difficulty would be found to get a set of such table-covers or floor-cloths painted, if the public would once encourage the plan.

There are now large skeleton maps published, which have merely the principal cities, towns, and rivers, &c., marked down, so as not to present too many objects to confuse the young eye. There are also picture maps in which the chief productions of a country, both vegetable and animal, are delineated in their proper places. These would form a great aid in nursery instruction, and also for an infant school. Let the great truth be ever borne in mind, that what is seen by the eye is more quickly understood and more certainly remembered, than what is merely described or made known in words.

I would also have an oblong tray made to hold water, large enough to cover a table. In this I would fasten pieces of cork, cut out in the shape of land, according to the best maps, while other small bits of cork should represent the mountains and hills on the surface of the respective islands. By application to the toy-makers, a sufficient number of animals might be got to stock the respective islands, &c., with their appropriate inhabitants; whilst the manufactures, and many of the natural products of the different places, might be readily supplied by the ingenuity of the parent or governess. A little boat should then be provided, and a voyage to a given part undertaken; various islands might be touched at, and various commodities taken on board or exchanged, according to the mercantile instructions the children should receive; whilst brief accounts might at first be read or given of the climate, productions, and inhabitants of the respective places, till the little scholar should be able to conduct the voyage, purchase or exchange commodities, and give an account of the various countries and their inhabitants, &c., by himself. Certain I am that more might be acquired, by this toothed, of geographical knowledge, in one week, than by the old method in a twelvemonth: and what the children did learn they would always remember. I might extend these suggestions to the size of a small volume, had I space to do so; but the limits of the present one forbid; at a future period, should my active employments permit, I may resume the subject of nursery hints in an extended and separate form.

There are, indeed, many excellent works already published on the subject; but as by the suggestions and contributions of many, every plan is likely to be perfected, no one is justified in withholding any thing likely to promote the desired object.

A due improvement of these advantages will make the progress of the higher classes more than commensurate with that of the lower. It is obvious, that the former have resources which cannot be obtained by the latter. They have the means, too, of availing themselves of all improvements in education, of engaging the most intelligent and efficient instructors, and of frequently changing the scene for their children, and consequently the objects which come under their observation. Which, I ask, is the more honourable course,—to object, as some do, to the education of the infant poor, lest they should learn too much, or to improve, then, the opportunities they have, by which they and their children they surpass all others?

A few words ought to be added on discipline at home. It is not uncommon to hear parents, in all classes of society say, "That child is too much for me. I cannot manage him at all." We should think him a most unpatriotic Englishman who should say the French are too strong for us, we cannot beat them; but very far more absurd and truly unparental it is to confess that a mere child is master of its parents. A grown person and an infant, what a contrast! True it is, that many a child has become very unmanageable, but this may always be traced to early neglect. If from the earliest infancy the young mind is trained to little acts of obedience, they will soon become habitual and pleasant to perform; but if improper indulgence and foolish kindness be practised towards children, they must, of course, grow up peevish, fretful, and ill-tempered, obstinate, saucy, and unmanageable. "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap." Let this truth be ever engraved upon the minds of all parents. A constant exercise of parental love in allowing all that is fit and proper, and a firm and judicious use of parental authority, in strictly refusing and forbidding all that is unsuitable or wrong, should harmoniously unite their power in training up the young. Punishments, as a last resource, ought to be used; but never in a spirit of anger, wrath, or revenge. If administered calmly and mildly they will have a double power. Every wilful offence of a child seems to say, "Correct me, but with judgment." It may be painful to a parent to put on the "graver countenance of love," but true parental love will always do it. Oh that all parents in every rank of life saw and acted upon the great truth, that the noblest object that they can present to themselves, and the greatest obligation that is laid upon them, is to rear up their children to intelligence, virtue, and piety; to make them good rather than great, for if they are the former, they will assuredly be the latter in its highest and truest sense.[A]

[Footnote A: Should the reader be pleased with this volume, I may refer to another work of mine just published, entitled "A System for the Education of the Young."]

* * * * *

Having now finished all that I have to say on Infant Schools, I would, in conclusion, breathe forth a sincere petition to the throne of Divine Truth and Goodness, for the prosperity and spread of the System; in which I am sure I shall be joined by all who have been convinced of its beneficial effects in promoting the present and everlasting welfare of human beings.

Mysterious are thy ways, O God; yet who was ever disappointed that asked of thee in a right spirit? Prosper, then, thy work which is begun in the world, we beseech thee, O Lord; may thy gracious providence so encircle and protect the rising generation, that there may be no more complaining in our streets. Protect them, O Lord, from the many dangers that surround them, as soon as they draw their breath in this vale of tears, and put into the hearts of those who have the means to consider the state of the infant poor, to give them the assistance they need. Grant that thy blessed example may be followed by many, for thou didst desire that children should come unto thee, and not be forbidden, and thou didst take them up in thine arms and bless them, declaring, that of such is the kingdom of heaven. May thy creatures, therefore, not be ashamed to notice little children, but co-operate, hand and heart with each other, and endeavour to teach them all good. May difference of sentiment and opinion be laid aside and forgotten; and may all join hand and heart in endeavouring to rescue the infant race from danger; and so these tender plants may be nurtured with the dew of thy divine blessing, and be thus made fit subjects for thy heavenly kingdom, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. May thy divine influence descend abundantly upon all those who have hitherto turned their attention to infant children; may they feel great pleasure in doing good; may they receive thy grace and protection abundantly; and when their days of probation are ended, may they find a place in thy heavenly mansions, and there glorify thee throughout the boundless ages of eternity. Amen.[A]

[Footnote A: This prayer written more than thirty years ago. The reader will see a great portion of the prayer has been answered; the subject has been mooted in Parliament; the Government have mooted the question of Education; and even the sovereign has recommended attention to it in a speech from the throne. This feeling only wants a right direction given to it, and all will be well.]