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talents to more confined numbers or individual objects of their attention. The charge to which we must plead guilty is, taking a longer time about. it. Perhaps, however, we lay up a larger stock of materials in the course of our teaching, than those who make a merit of communicating the mere languages in a shorter time than ourselves. In fact, I positively deny that the seven or eight years passed at a public school are devoted to the acquisition of two languages. Simple construction is merely mechanical; and lectures produce little of lasting impression even on adult minds. We endeavour, in our upper classes, to unite the interest of lectures with the discipline of examination. Those youths who make full use of the opportunities offered them in public instruction, and that more extensive course of private reading, in which it is our habit to engage boys of ardent mind and considerable power, acquire with the languages, the heart and soul of the authors: the facts contained in their histories, their principles of public conduct, their private morals, the civil and military constitutions of their countries, with their resemblances and discrepancies in reference to our own the most approved rules of taste in poetry and the fine arts, and their effects upon modern literature. I should think but meanly of that teacher, who could read Homer with his class, and not occasionally talk to them about Milton. With as little favour should I regard the intellectual energy of him, who could read page after page of Cicero with his pupils, without comparing the
Roman Forum with the practice of the English Bar, and the province of our juries with the office of their judices; without looking at the senatus populusque Romanus, with reference to the constitutional functions of the British Parliament: who could read the two great orators of antiquity without associating the name of Cicero with that of Pitt, and the name of Demosthenes with that of Fox. Still less could I apologise for the neglect or apathy of that instructor, who should pass by any occasion which either the best or the worst philosophy and morals of the ancients may happen to furnish, of impressing on the minds of his hearers the superiority of the wisdom from above, to any thing that the wit of man has ever yet devised; of pointing out how abhorrent from Christian principles are their worst doctrines, how greatly inferior the noblest conjectures of their most highly favoured minds. With respect to the mode in which religious convictions are most successfully impressed, I feel convinced from the habitual practice of both methods, that the evidences of Christianity, those at least which are collateral, are more favourably received when thrown in incidentally, when they strike with a surprise, or steal upon the mind, than when they are ushered in with the formality of prepared lectures. All those who are extensively conversant with young minds and feelings must know, that what is necessarily very serious, is presupposed to be very dull, and consequently heard with listlessness, or perhaps even with disgust. The only
painful part of a public teacher's office, is the constant effort required, to cheat his pupils into attention and he who will not introduce considerable variety of topics, who is too pompous to be entertaining, and too full of his own dignity to throw an occasional air of vivacity over subjects grave in their general tenor, will be heard with obtuse ears, charm he never so wisely.
It has been the fashion of late years, especially with that class of persons who compliment themselves with the epithet of serious-minded, and endow their own confined party with the title of the religious public, to insinuate that the habits of large schools are somewhat whimsical in point of morality. Now it is unavoidable that where considerable numbers are congregated, and a certain portion of liberty is allowed, irregularities and abuses should occasionally arise: but it does not therefore follow, that the accumulation of numbers, or that certain extent of liberty, must on the average be an evil. To argue the point, would lead me too far: but I am a decided enemy to keeping boys in perpetual leading-strings. At the same time, where there is option, there will sometimes be a wrong choice. The painful part to a master's feelings is the necessity of setting up scarecrows : a necessity which falls with more severity on the grieved and disappointed parent, than on the worthless son. But I have never known an instance within my own experience, in which the scarecrow has failed to perform his office. On whatever occasion any question of discipline or morals has
arisen here, a very large majority has always taken the right side; has always acted rightly, and what is even of more importance, has thought and felt rightly. As a set-off against the superior vigilance, or rather the more unrelenting superintendence, of private or domestic education, I allege the system of moral discipline, and the habit of moral feeling, always subsisting among you independently of me: a system and habits which put a stern negative on every thing like meanness or shuffling; which hold the character of a gentleman to be of the very first necessity. In no instance have I ever known ungentlemanly or immoral conduct cheered by any individual not personally implicated. I have the pleasure to find that you, my friends, support in after life the character you have borne during your residence under my roof; nor need I, when I hear how respectfully you are spoken of in the University of Cambridge, where you are so numerous, entertain any fears for you, on a comparison with that description of young persons, nursed in supposed innocence and security, among the pet animals of a lady's drawing-room: a hat-box containing kittens on one side of the fireplace; a large band-box containing the heir apparent on the other.
On looking back to what I have written, I conceive it not impossible that some persons may consider it as the quip modest in favour of my own individual establishment: but this would not be a candid construction of my feelings or inten
tions. If the Cambridge triposes warrant me in considering myself as in any degree a successful teacher, I unfeignedly attribute that success, not to my talents, but to my breeding. That, as most of you know, took place at Harrow: there I learned my art, and on the model there furnished have I practised it. The late Dr. Benjamin Heath was the master of that school during all my earlier time. That excellent person was held in the highest veneration by his pupils, and was not only as good a master, but as good a man as ever lived. In him, firmness, which was neither shaken by difficulties nor exasperated by opposition, unquestioned impartiality, and a system of discipline founded on moral propriety and practical good sense, were the features of his public ministry. An opinion then very generally prevailing, that young persons were to be kept in a state of awe, gave an appearance of sternness to his outward deportment; but it went no deeper than the features and the wig. All the rest was candour, benevolence, and zeal for the interests of his pupils.
Like the general run of immaculate men, he judged the frailties of others with a lenity which sinners never exercise; and smiled in private at those venial errors which shook down a tempest of powder with the thunders of official denunciation.
My school education was finished under his successor, Dr. Drury; to whose strenuous encouragement and friendly advice I feel deeply indebted of him I should say more, were it not that the praise of the living is too often considered