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its merits. Without going into detail as to its provisions, it created boards of committees in towns, to have general charge of the schools therein; it provided for supplying books for the scholars by the towns, excluding everything of a sectarian character, and required these committees to make reports annually to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, of the number and condition of the schools, as well as the state of education generally, in the several towns. It embodied all the provisions of the school laws into a single act, and supplied what had been so much needed, the efficient means by which the system could be practically carried out. Not only was it an important step towards the better system which now prevails, but the discussions to which it gave rise, elicited the views of leading gentlemen from every part of the State, and awakened an interest in its schools which had lain so long dormant in most of the towns. Among those who took part in these discussions, we may mention Mr. Choate, then a member from Danvers, who, in his first speech in any legislative assembly, made upon one of the amendments offered to the original bill, gave an unmistakable earnest of that strength and brilliancy, which afterwards rendered him so eminently attractive and powerful as a debater. In tracing the steps by which the school reform has been begun and carried out, we regard the action in respect to this law, as among the first, and by no means the least important. It was ten years in advance of the creation of the Board of Education, and Mr. Mann did not become a member of the Legislature till the following session.



“What method do you use for bringing out the voice ?” is the question repeatedly asked of teachers in Reading, and by many would-be critics, by whom he who has most volume is accounted the best reader. I would by no means undervalue this important property of voice, but I would suggest that in devotion to this adjunct to expression we may lose sight of those minor graces, without which reading were “ flat, stale, and unprofitable.” We want


something more than a loud tone; we want naturalness, and all those niceties of vocal touch which give evidence of delicate perception and true taste. Bad reading is, in the main, caused by many little things, so little and so common that they individually escape our notice.

That this is true has been proved in my experience with many classes fresh from the public schools. I find universally the same faults, which must be due either to the uncultivated ear of the teacher, or the pupil's blunt perception.

There is constraint in the manner of the reader, a fear of those who listen, which precludes all expression of feeling. A child who is taught to read at home is rarely troubled in that way. While he is in school, nothing effectual is done to encourage him to throw aside that timidity which naturally falls upon him in the company of so many strangers. The older the child, the harder the task of unfettering him. The example of a fine reader will loosen the first rivet. Place the picture of the poem, or prose sketch if it be such, before the “mind's eye” in a few, vivid, striking expressions ; fire their souls with your enthusiasm, and, trust me, the chains will no longer be felt. The magnetism of the eye, still more the magnetism of voice, brings the class en rapport with yourself, and you may lead whither you will.

Another prominent fault is imperfect articulation. I do not mean that thickness of utterance which renders one difficult to be understood, but those careless slips from one word to another which destroy all dignity of expression, either by producing ludicrous combinations, or altering the movement of a line. The difficulty occurs most frequently with words which end in s, that letter being transferred to the next word, and doing duty for two. It occurs, also, in words which end in t or ch, when such words come before a vowel, as, “ What a piece of work is man!” which is given in this form — "Wha ta piece of work, &c.” “The sky | is changed; I

." and such | a change !” The rhythm of the line should be as marked: as usually read it becomes — “ The sky | is changed ; | and su cha change!” Order in the last two feet becomes chaos, and the sublimity of the scene vanishes in a breath. A very slight pause after the first word restores the harmony.

Occasionally a scholar reads in the minor key, a good thing in

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its season, but one of which, like some other good things, it is possible to have too much. In such case, it is of no more use to begin the reforming work with the voice, than to attempt curing a sick person by applications to parts farthest removed from the seat of the disease. Watch the daily life, the mental action, in that scholar, and you will find everything written in the same key. Begin the work there. By encouragement, reasoning, persuasion, above all, by communicating cheerfulness, change the key of that child's thought and feeling, and the voice will not be slow in harmonizing.

Another thing to be watched is the use of the circumflex inflection. Except in rare instances of distinctive emphasis, it belongs to the expression of irony, raillery, and kindred emotions. But, in the expression of a contrast, pupils whose attention has not been called to the matter, will invariably indicate the contrasting words, by a circumflex, as, “ I would rather plây than read," instead of the honest up and down slides, —“I would rather plày than reád.” I have found the most effectual way of remedying this, to be exaggerating the wrong inflection in such a way as to make it extremely ridiculous.

The more undignified, the stronger the impression; then fix the right form by persistent repetition.

The worst fault to contend with, particularly with those who have no musical ear, is peculiar to prose reading. Through the long sentences, the voice at the end of each clause, and sometimes each phrase, is suspended between the level of the sentence and the cadence. It is an indescribable tone, a dropping of the voice not far enough for an inflection, and too far for anything corresponding in natural expression. It is a tantalizing sound, a sort of dismal holding on, without a touch of nature, acquired evidently by considering reading a mere mechanical exercise, in which certain sounds are to be given, and certain pauses made. The pupil must be induced to read as he would speak, and then he will break the monotony of the long sentences, by harmonic slides. It is this fault, more than any other, which makes prose reading so dull and lifeless.

These are some of the little things which we often forget to watch. I am tempted to add something about pronunciation, partly for what I hope to receive in return. We have lately become alive to the fact that we were pronouncing a long list of words wrong, by reason of giving two strong accents, as ter'-ri-to'-ry for ter'-ritory, dic'-tion-a'-ry for dic'-tionary, cir'-cum-stanc'-es for cir'-cumstances, &c. We can manage the reform very comfortably in such words. It is comparatively easy to say sec'-retary, per'-emptory, &c., when the accented syllable is the second from the offending penult. But what can our Yankee tongues do with such words as obligatory, judicatory, and a host of others, in which the accented syllable is the third or fourth from the penult? Shall there be a secondary accent? I shall be thankful to any one who will free me from this perplexity.

F. A. R.


GOOD reading is a rare attainment in our schools. Impressive reading superadds to this some degree of adaptation of the tone of voice to the character of the subject and of the style. Instead of it, we meet with a lifeless, drawling, monotonous style, by which the sense of the author is obscured, lost, or perverted. In such cases reading is a mechanical, not an intellectual process. We can scarcely call this an attainment. An ability to read to this extent can be of little benefit to the pupil; it will not induce him, after he has left school, to read for amusement or instruction. Before he will do this, reading must have ceased to be a task; he must have acquired the power of reading with fluency and intelligence. And if he does acquire this power, the benefit, great though it be to himself, as a means of intellectual advancement, will not be exhausted upon himself, but will extend to others. It is of great moment that as many as possible among the poor should be able to read aloud, so as to be well understood, and listened to with pleasure.

Every teacher is aware that to teach a pupil to read correctly and impressively, is no easy task. The reason is, that the power is the result, in a greater degree than in most branches of elementary teaching, of a combination of peculiar attainments.—English Journal of Education.

Editor's Department.


Dr. Jared Sparks, late President of Harvard University, died in Cambridge on the 14th inst. We copy the following notice from the Boston Advertiser.

" Mr. Sparks was a native of Willington, Connecticut, and was a student of Phillips Exeter Academy, and a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1815. In 1819 he was settled in the ministry at Baltimore, but impaired health compelling him to retire from the ministry, he returned to this vicinity and entered upon those pursuits which have made his name one of the most distinguished in our literary history. As the editor of the North American Review for several years, of the Library of American Biography, of the Works of Washington and Franklin, and of the Correspondence of the Revolution, and as prosessor and President of Harvard College, his name has for forty years been familiar in all that relates to the progress of letters and of historical research in the United States. At the close of the seventy-six years of his life he was able to point to such permanently valuable and important results of his long labor in the field of American history as dignify the record of no other writer. The most important work to be done in laying open the stores of the past for all scholars, present or future, had fallen to his lot, and he had performed it with such laborious and conscientious fidelity and critical discrimination as placed him confessedly at the head of his department of literary industry.

The close of life for this eminent man was tranquil and easy. His ripened years had seen his work finished, and were passed in the enjoyment of merited honor and respect, and of the affection of personal friends who recognized and loved a true heart. The fatal disease was not painful, and found him calmly awaiting the inevitable hour, which at his age could not be supposed to be far remote.


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We believe there are few subjects that could be named that have not been made a specialty in some one of our great public or private libraries, and on which somewhere a tolerably good collection of books, — sometimes a very perfect one, - cannot be found by the student desirous of investigating them. Heraldry, Angling, Sbakspeare, Mesmerism, Ballad Poetry, great subjects and small, important or unimportant, almost every one has found some curious collector, willing to spend time and money in bringing together the books that were to be bad upon it. It is a little singular that, so far at least as our public libraries are concerned, one of the most important of all subjects, that of

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