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drink. It has no principle of life-nor can one watch produce another watch. How infinitely superior, then, is an egg to the most ingenious of man's contrivances! It produces a bird, which in every part surpasses man's invention. Man cannot even make a single feather; yet an egg produces a bird with hundreds of feathers. It also produces a bird that can produce other eggs, and these eggs will produce other birds.
'Can a bird then make an egg?-a thing which puts to shame the boasted ingenuity of man, and excites our utmost wonder? Certainly not. An egg must be the work of One infinitely superior to man in ingenuity-it must be one who can not only command and mould the elements of earth, air, heat, and water, but who can endow his works with that mysterious power which we call life. It must therefore be the work of one whose skill in contrivance and power in execution infinitely surpasses, not birds only, but man himself.
'But it is important here to observe one thing, and it will easily explain James's difficulty. In executing his various works God employs certain tools and instruments, and proceeds according to certain rules. Thus he uses a bird as the instrument or tool by which an egg is produced. You have seen a carpenter build a house. He has in the first place a plan, and then he has tools and instruments to work with, such as planes, chisels, saws, axes, &c.: by means of these tools the carpenter produces the house. But would it not be silly to say that the tools of the carpenter, the planes, chisels, saws, and axes, made the house? Certainly it would; and it would be equally silly to say that birds make eggs, while they are only the tools or instruments by which the Creator makes them.
But let us suppose for a moment that a bird has the power of making an egg-a real one that may be hatched-who made the first bird? for there must have been a beginning to the race of birds?
'Jane. It might have been hatched from an egg.
Parley. But who then made that egg?
'Jane and James (both at once). It must have been God-there must be a God!
'Parley. Yes, my dear children-there must be-there is a God!'
This bears no comment. Suffice it to say, that a repetition of the same arguments as respects the various animal tribes is carried on till the mind is palled-the whole winding up or breaking off for a pompous flourish upon the wisdom and goodness of the Almighty, which evinces much rather the author's sense of his own wisdom and goodness in having found them out than any other feeling. In our unqualified censure of this mode of teaching, we do not deny that there is much that is beautiful and true in the facts of natural history he adduces; but these, be it observed, are all culled from established English authors-while in his adaptation of them Mr. Goodrich reminds us of those tasteless and irreverent workmen who, in the building of modern Rome, pounded the most beautiful antique marbles to make mortar!
The child having thus, thanks to Mr. Gallaudet, heard that name, the first mention of which no Christian child ought to be able to remember, and from him and Peter Parley attestations of that Creator which no Christian child ought ever to have doubted -the latter now humanely takes up the cause of the Christian Revelation-pursuing the same plan of stating objections that may never be made, and anticipating doubts that may never be raised, and thus, at all events, securing to himself the honour of first putting them into the child's head. Children neither want to know that there are such persons as Atheists,' as Mr. Gallaudet informs them, nor that there are those who disbelieve the Bible,' as Mr. Goodrich states. This, however, gives scope to his full swing of familiar and disrespectful argument; and to a betrayal of his own opinions, in which we are noways surprised to find strong indications of Socinianism.
Having now, we trust, sufficiently shown that, however mischievous and absurd such a system may sound in theory, it is incalculably more mischievous and absurd when once in practice, we must pass on to another section of American juvenile books which, as booksellers do not usually pirate works which have no chance of sale, it is to be concluded contain some claim to popu. larity. These are works, not of amusement-those we shall touch on later-but of that half-and-half description where instruction blows with a side-wind, like those alluded to in a former part of this article. But writers who can err so egregiously in one respect, it is not to be expected will go very right in any. Accordingly, after the patient investigation of an immense number of little tomes, we are come to the conclusion that they may be thus briefly classified-firstly, as containing such information as any child in average life who can speak plain is already possessed of; and secondly, such as, when acquired, is not worth the having. Persons who are not brought into contact with the systems of modern education have no idea of the truisms, and, more frequent, utter nonsense which is now-a-days connected with all the parade of teaching and learning. They would hardly believe that it could be worth while asking children with a grave face How many noses have you?' What is your chin for?' Do reptiles require warm clothing?' Can a duck swim?' 'Are all persons of the same size? · Are all tables of the same height?' 'Which are most nearly of the same size, horses or dogs?' Or that they can require to be taught that the sun shines--that the grass is green-that birds fly with their wings, and not with their legs --and that young cats are called kittens-on all of which heads most elaborate first lessons are here given. Nor will they understand the use of wasting childhood's precious hours on the acqui
sition of mere technicalities, as little useful in general as a lesson on mixing colours to one who is no artist, or an essay upon correcting proofs to one who is no author. But we have little chance of being understood without a specimen, which we cull indiscriminately from a series of books in green covers by Mr. Abbott, all so ingeniously connected as to render the purchase of any single volume by no means so recommendable as that of all. They are entitled Rollo at Work,' Rollo at Play,' &c. This quotation, it may be concluded, is taken from Rollo at neither; and for mere occupation of the eye, and utter stagnation of the thoughts, is a perfect curiosity in its way.
I shall explain something to you by the help of a story which I am going to put in here. I shall stop telling the story every few minutes to explain some things about the way of printing it. Here is the beginning of the story:
"Once there was a man who thought he would go up a mountain :"
That is the beginning of the story: but I want to stop a moment to ask you to look at the letters it is printed with, and see whether they are as large as the reading before it. Is it printed in just as large lettersor larger, or smaller?... Yes, it is smaller. I am going to have all the story printed in smaller print. The reason is, because the principal thing I wish to do is to explain to you how to read, and I only wish for the story to help me. So I put it in smaller print-or, as they generally call it, smaller type. It is often so in books-one part is printed in larger, and the other in smaller type. The most important is in large type-the least important is in small type. If you will ask your father or mother, or brother or sister, if you have one old enough, they will show you books with large and small print in them. Whenever you see anything printed in smaller print than the rest of the book, you ought not to read right on without thinking anything of it--but you ought to pause a minute and observe it, and think what the reason is. Now I will begin my story again in small print:
"Once there was a man who thought he would go up a mountain: so he rode along on his horse till he came as near to the mountain as he could on the road; and then he turned off into the woods, and rode on till he came to the foot of the mountain; so he tied his horse to a tree.
“Then he began to walk up the mountain.”
Do you see that when we come to the word tree, just above there, that we leave off printing in that line? There is a period, and the rest of the line has nothing in it. It is blank, as they call it; that is, white -all white paper. The next part of the story begins in the next line. The next part of the story is these words :-"Then he began," and that is printed in the next line. And if you look at it you will see that it is not exactly at the beginning of the line. The word "Then" is not printed as near the side of the page as the other lines above it are. There is a little space left blank. Do you see the little space left blank before the "Then ?" Now, what do you suppose is the reason why we left off in the middle of the line, and began again in the next line, leaving a
little blank space? Why, it is because I had finished telling you all about the man's coming to the mountain, and was now going to tell you all about his going up the mountain; and so I thought it would be better to leave off for that line, and begin again in the next.'
Now, the child that can have the patience to read such passages as these (of which these books are full), except for ridicule or by compulsion, must, indeed, be in a hopeless state of dulness, and would probably learn as much if all the books in the world were a blank, as they call it; that is, white-all white paper.' When they have learned it all, what have they gained? What do American writers suppose that a child's mind is made of, or childhood given for, if they can have either time or patience to stop and sift such dry dust as this, on a road where all around them is so beautiful, and their great impulse is to advance. We suspect better things were gleaned through the pocket-hole. Next follows an equally minute dissertation upon italics-a mode of printing which, judging from their application of it, might be defined as designating what especially demands skipping. Here, also, the child is not informed of the origin of the word or of its real intention. This would be too interesting; but his attention is laboriously called, and arduously kept, to the profound fact of italics consisting of sloping' letters, and not of straight.'
But this substitution of empty minutiæ for solid acquirement is so entirely the character of these works as plainly to prove that those who do not know where to commence in education as little know where to leave off. Peter Parley, in his Magazine for Children,' his own indubitable work, and a most vulgar affair, stops them short in every other chapter, to tell them how they are to read this same Peter Parley's Magazine:' that first they are to take it up, and then open it, and then, we conclude, be sure to hold it the right way upwards: while Todd, in his Student's Manual,' proceeds, with vast exuberance of words, to explain the marginal notes and signs, descriptive of surprise, admiration, or doubt, which the student is to make upon reading Mr. Todd's book; coupled with the sage admonition, that care should be always taken to make the same mark mean the same thing every time.' And this they call making a child think for himself!' We suspect the little Toddlings will never swim without bladders.
All rules of common sense being thus set aside, it is not surprising that those of good taste, which is of kindred growth, should be equally disregarded, and that these gentlemen should think any attention to style not a whit more necessary in teaching their children than in scolding their helps.' Their own uncouth phraseology, crack-jaw words, and puritan-derived expressions, are
nationalities, and as such not to be cavilled at. Their children never did, or perhaps never will, hear any other language; and it is to be hoped they understand it. At all events, we have nothing to do but to keep ours from it, believing firmly that an early familiarity with refined and beautiful forms, whether in a nursery rhyme or penny print, is of importance-one of the greatest subordinate safeguards against evil, if not accessories to good. But it is the affectation of pathos and wit with an utter contempt for their rules, the self-satisfied assumption of the artist without deigning to recognise the art, which is here so conspicuous. In these respects the old-fashioned English children's books, with their gilt covers and bad type, were irreproachable. If the language was too pompous, as a composition it was correct: if their allegories were too formal and frequent, their structure was true. If they had no ease, they had no carelessness; and if they had too much pedantry, they had no vulgarity. A child is never too young for sound forms; bad writing is always beneath him; and before he understands what a moral or what a figure means, he feels the truth of their connexion. The whole force of the meaning, or extent of the beauty, only breaks upon him by degrees; but this matters not. If there has been but little profit, there has been no confusion, and this is all the best of educationists can ensure. But here, at the risk of repetition, we must observe that an utter want of keeping in practice is a necessary consequence of such a complete falsification of theory; and that those who are thus presumptuous in enlarging the boundaries of education are the first to despise its simplest rules, and violate its earliest courtesies. The same child who in one page is called to a place he is not qualified to occupy, is in the next not complimented with the barest decencies of address. Provided he talks to him in a trivial and baby way, an American writer supposes that he will never find out whether his metaphors be true, his facts and figures distinct, or his moral and his illustration in unison. Thus the blazing of the winter-logs' and the flame of Christian love' are put in juxtaposition; children are represented as clinging to their mothers' arms, and twining themselves round her heart;' while their illustrations of the moral qualities are frequently so incomprehensibly false and ludicrous, that in our own defence we must give quotation instead of assertion. After imparting to us that novel fact in natural history, that even the fowls of the air, and the cattle of the field, love their parents,' Mr. Abbott in his Child at Home' gives this touching anecdote, to show how ardently a mother loves her child :
I was once going in my gig up the hill in the village of Frankford, near Philadelphia, when a little girl, about two years old, who had