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velopment, which makes them truly the instruments of the soul. Guided by the study of Nature to a knowledge of the Creator, he attains to an understanding of revealed truth, which can only thus be received and comprehended, and never by merely learning moral maxims by rote.”
There are two points in which the influence of the Kindergarten is of especial value. The children learn practically that their own freedom and individual well-being are always in harmony with the general good. Love reigns in these little communities, anđ through love obedience is gained, and willing submission to authority, to established order, — to law. The union of intellectual and manual labor in these early years is the guaranty of their union in after life, whatever path may be pursued; and it will also prove the preventive of the weariness of school life devoted exclusively to intellectual development, and of the frequent unfitness of those thus trained for actual duties. The method of Froebel may lead to the establishment of schools for labor in connection. with those for intellectual education, which are so much needed for the well-being of society and its members. In the Scholars' Gardens are workshops of various kinds. “Agriculture takes in turn the place of gardening, and real gymnastics the place of gymnastic exercises."
The external appliances of life, its facilities, luxuries, comforts, knowledges, have indeed wonderfully increased ; but they fail to enshrine the truly noble human being, Son of Man and Son of God. May not this simple method of Froebel — to unfold from within all the powers of the child in harmonious activity, and in loving co-operation with a cheerful obedience to those around him — be a corner-stone of a new social temple, the parts of which, all “ fitly compacted,” shall make a living whole, in which shall abide the spirit of peace and good-will to man, God's highest glory on earth, — which is the visible coming of His kingdom, the realization of the Christian idea in humanity ?
It remains only to give an account of the progress of Froebel's system in popular favor. It has borne the test of fourteen years' practical experience, and is extending throughout Germany and Belgium, and is introduced into France and
VOL. LXVII. — 5TH S. VOL. V. NO. III. 29
England. Already during Froebel's lifetime was his system recognized, and he had the gratification of witnessing the establishment of fifty Kindergärten in Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. The most advanced institution at present is that of Doctor and Madame Marquhart, at Dresden.
The Baroness Marenholtz, whose devotion to the cause is entire, has obtained the favor of the Belgian government for her plans, and its beautiful capital is now the centre of the movement. A new manual has just been published at Brussels, which is much fuller and more complete than the English one.
During the last winter, Madame Marenholtz was in Paris, engaged in the dissemination of her views. She has gained the attention of the Empress, who has submitted the exposé of the system to the Minister of Public Instruction, and a trial is to be made of it in the “ Cours Pratique” of the Infant Schools. Whether the youthful Napoleon has commenced his exercises with the ball and string, we have been unable to learn. Several private institutions have also engaged pupils of Froebel in their establishments, and it is proposed that instructresses should superintend the games of children during the hours of their promenade in the gardens of the Tuileries and the Champs Elysees. The Catholic clergy object to Froebel's system, that it does not maintain the doctrine of original sin! This is certainly true. However, a society has been established in Paris entitled “The Society for the Propagation of Froebel's System for the Education of Children," of which one President is a Catholic priest, the other a lady. This society meets once a month to discuss the principles of Froebel, to teach each other his methods, and to concert measures for the propagation of his ideas. An American lady of superior talent is a member of this society, and is engaged in instructing the children of some of our fellow-citizens now resident in Paris, according to this delightful method. We wish that some of her young countrywomen might be incited to go abroad and unite with her in gaining a full knowledge of the system, in order to introduce it in America.
The widow of Froebel, who sympathized with his hopes and aided his plans throughout his life, is still engaged in carrying on a Kindergarten at Hamburg. She retains the right in his books, which she alone sells. His Gifts also may be procured from her. Other establishments are in operation at Leipsic, Weimar, in Thuringia, Hanover, &c.
Dr. and Madame Ronge have established a school in London, which has met with much success, and won the favorable notice of Mr. Mitchell, the royal Inspector of Schools.
To American mothers, whose maternal affection is so intimately blended with intellectual ambition, this system offers many attractions, while it will also be far less subversive of physical health than the common methods. We hope they will give it earnest attention, and prove themselves faithful to Froebel's favorite motto, “Let us live for our children.”
ART. II. — RECENT ASPECTS OF ATHEISM IN ENGLAND.
1. The Life and Character of Richard Carlile. By GEORGE JACOB
HOLYOAKE. 1849. 2. The Last Trial-by-Jury for Atheism in England ; a Fragment of
Autobiography. By GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. 1851. 3. The Case of Thomas Pooley. By G. J. HOLYOAKE. 1857. 4. The Trial of Theism. By G. J. HOLYOAKE. 1858. 5. Shadows of the Past. By Lionel H. HOLDRETH. 1856. 6. The Affirmations of Secularism ; in Seven Letters to G. J. Holyoake.
By L. H. HOLDRETH. Published in the Reasoner for 1857. 7. Conscience and Consequence. A Tale for the Times. By LIONEL
H. HOLDRETH. Published in the Reasoner for 1858. London:
Among the many signs of the times which demand the study of religious thinkers, few are so little known in proportion to their importance as the recent developments which Atheism has assumed among the working-classes of England. These developments are in many respects so unique and interesting, that a brief glance at them may perhaps prove not unacceptable to American readers. There is no less a chasm between
the Deism of Thomas Paine and the “ Natural Religion ” of Theodore Parker, than between the crude “infidelity” of Richard Carlile and the devout Stoicism of Lionel Holdreth. We do not thoroughly appreciate any form of religion till we know what are the classes of minds that reject it, and what sort of principles they accept in preference. And when the rejection of religion is itself tinged with a religious spirit, we may safely predict, not only that the current creed is too narrow for the age, but that a wider and deeper faith is already striking its roots in the hearts of men.
The popularization of Atheism in the working-class mind of England owes its first impulse to the labors of Richard Carlile, the editor of “ The Republican.” Untutored, antagonistic, and coarse, but brave, devoted, and sincere, he initiated and sustained a twenty years' struggle for the free publication of the extremest heresies in politics and religion, at the expense of nine years' imprisonment (at different times, ranging from 1817 to 1835) to himself, and frequent incarcerations of his wife, sister, and shopmen. This movement, though vigorous to the point of fanaticism, was not widely supported, and it virtually died out, as a sort of drawn game between the government and the heretics. A somewhat milder revival of it took place in 1840 – 1843, when “ The Oracle of Reason” was set on foot by a few energetic young Atheists, and several prosecutions took place. It was this movement which first introduced to the public the name of George Jacob Holyoake, who, having served his apprenticeship to propagandism by a six months' imprisonment, rose in a few years to be the acknowledged leader of the sect. Under his influence, it has not only increased immensely in numbers, but has passed into a far higher stage of character, both moral and intellectual. This is strikingly illustrated in the case of Thomas Pooley, a poor, half-crazed Cornish laborer, who was in 1857 sentenced to a long imprisonment for “ blasphemy.” Fifteen years previously, Mr. Holyoake's own imprisonment excited but little notice beyond a small circle, and not one petition was presented to Parliament for his release. But by the time that Pooley's case occurred, the Free-thinking movement was strong enough to reach the sympathies of liberal men in all sects, and thus to effect the reversal of an iniquitous sentence.* This event also illustrates the progress of Free-thought in another direction. The coarse language for which the poor laborer was indicted — language only too frequent in the pre-Holyoake era — found no defenders among the Secularists who petitioned for his release, but was unanimously objected to, as degrading to Freethought. And this double change, bringing both parties one step nearer to each other, is, there can be no doubt, mainly owing to the good sense, rectitude, and devotedness of George Jacob Holyoake.
But Mr. Holyoake's influence is not the only one observable in the Atheist party. Like many others, that party now possesses its right, left, and centre. For the improvement which took its rise from the establishment of “The Reasoner," in 1846, has gradually come to tell upon the mixed elements of the Free-thinking party ; and in 1855 a sort of reactionary “ split” took place, and the ultra-Atheistic Secularists set up a rival journal, “ The Investigator," for the avowed purpose of returning to the old traditions of hatred and ridicule, in opposition to Mr. Holyoake's more catholic and fraternal policy. The utterly shameless spirit in which the Investigator habitually treats of the human side of religion is quite sufficient to stamp its incapacity for touching what pertains to the Divine ; and its malignant and calumnious enmity towards Mr. Holyoake is a sufficient indication of the divergence between his advocacy and that of “ Old Infidelity," as it is expressively termed. Counting this reactionary party as the lowest development of English Atheism, we next come to the party of the centre, namely, that party which is represented by Mr. Holyoake. This is much the largest of the three. Its idea may be stated in Mr. Holyoake's words,—“that the light of duty may be seen, that a life of usefulness may be led, and the highest desert may be won, though the origin of all things be hidden from us, and the revelations of every religious sect be rejected ; ”
* Pooley was sentenced to twenty-one months' imprisonment. He was pardoned at the end of five months, most of which was spent in the county lunatic asylum, to which it soon became necessary to remove him. He was so judiciously treated there, however, that on the receipt of his pardon he was restored to his family.
† Cowper-Street Discussion, p. 221.