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believe, or, believing, can remain indifferent and inert. Unless the wide-spread torpor on this subject can be in some way removed, gloomy forebodings may reasonably be entertained in regard to our future career as a nation. If the Girard College can be so constituted as to meet, in

any measure, the want above referred to, and disabuse the public mind of its errors, practically, if not theoretically indulged, on the subject of the education of teachers; if it can annually send forth its class of schoolmasters, trained, not to any set of mechanical evolutions merely, but to a thorough knowledge of the principles and practice of their profession, and to the able and enlightened discharge of its duties, I verily believe that it would more effectually carry out the real purposes of the founder, and perform a more substantial service to the country, than by any organization in which the object here suggested should be overlooked. And why may it not ? The Orphan-house, at Hamburg, has thoroughly tried the plan of educating a portion of its pupils as schoolmasters, and the experiment has been, in all re-spects, a successful one; and the influence of the system on the general standard of elementary instruction in the neighborhood, has been most auspicious. The facilities for prosecuting such an object could not be better than in the Girard College ; and that it will be made a prominent one, we have every reason to believe from the known opinions and wishes of the president.

The character of the education likely to be given at the Girard College, and the modes of instruction likely to be adopted, are points which claim a brief consideration at our hands. The will of Mr. Girard prescribes that “the orphans admitted into the college shall be in

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structed in the various branches of a sound education, comprehending reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography, navigation, surveying, practical mathematics, astronomy, natural, chemical, and experimental philosophy, the French and Spanish languages, (I do not forbid, but I do not recommend the Greek and Latin languages,) and such other learning and science as the capacities of the several scholars may merit or warrant; I would have them taught facts and things, rather than words or signs.According to the will of Mr. Girard, orphan boys are to be educated from the age of six years to fourteen, sixteen, and even eighteen years of age. The materials of their instruction must be “ things rather than words,” and the degree is to be such “ as the capacities of the several scholars may merit or warrant.” The first provision, from the early age of admission which it enjoins, will enable the conductors of the college to train as well as to instruct; the second, indicates that the tendency of the training should be towards practical life ; and they are expressly called on to develope talent. Dr. Bache is of the opinion, “that it is practicable so to arrange an institution that superior talent shall receive full opportunities for its cultivation, without sacrificing inferior talent by inappropriate instruction. In other words, that Greek and Latin, if studied at all, should be pursued to the point of true scholarship, and that they ought not to be forced into all the parts of a system of practical education, where, from the very necessities of the system, they cannot, in some parts of it, be so pursued as to be useful; an opinion which must commend itself to the sober understanding of every thinking man, and which would long since have been general, had it not


been for the tenacity of human prejudices. Yet the doctor understands the terms " practical” and “useful,” as applied to education, in a broad and philosophical

He has no sympathy with those self-styled reformers who would annihilate every thing that does not tally with their own narrow utilitarian notions.

Let me here guard against misapprehension. I would not willingly be ranked among the herd of declaimers against the study of the ancient languages. The fierce and indiscriminate warfare, waged by certain writers against classical learning, is as unphilosophical in principle as its success would be injurious to human improvement. The error of these writers appears to me to have had its origin, in part at least, in a confounding of the terms words and language. The study of the latter is considered synonymous with that of the former ; and as words are assumed to be arbitrary signs, therefore, they argue, language, being made up of words, is arbitrary also. Granting the premises, the conclusion is plainly a nonsequitur. If words, being simple signs of individual ideas, are arbitrary, language, which is essentially complex, and the medium of communication for the endlessly diversified opinions and feelings of men, is far from being

The truth is, language springs from the wants of men, and has its principles in the laws of the human mind. It is modified by every advance or retrogression in science, arts, literature, government, civilization. It takes a tinge from almost every delicate shade in national manners and character; and is, in fact, to an extent by no means inconsiderable, a reflection of the intellectual, moral, and social qualities of the people who employ it. To say, then, that language, being in its origin and growth

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as here described, is an arbitrary creation, is about as reasonable as it would be to assert that the steam-engine is an arbitrary machine. If these views be correct, the study of languages, properly conducted, is nothing less than the study of man, in the manifold and multiform phenomena of his intellectual and moral nature ; in his relations to the Creator, to society, to kindred, and to friends ; in all that constitutes his true dignity, and elevates him to the rank he holds in creation. But it is manifest that the advantages here indicated cannot be gained by a mere smattering of Greek and Latin. Such a mastery of these tongues can be attained only after years of patient and laborious application. The mass of our citizens, engrossed in commercial, mechanical, and agricultura} pursuits, have certainly no immediate use for the dead languages; and to assert that the study of them is essential to a sound mental discipline, seems too palpable an error to need refutation. What is to prevent the mind from being nourished and trained to a healthy activity by the study of mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, natural history, physiology, geography, grammar, rhetoric, history, and mental, moral, and political science ? It would be easy to show the adaptation of these branches of study to the purposes of mental culture; but surely at this time of day such a labor can hardly be necessary. Let the author, the lawyer, the physician, the divine, the professor,-let whoever has the leisure and the means for thorough scholarship,—dig deep into the mines of classic lore; the treasures there, and there only, attainable, are essential to the full efficiency and success of their respective vocations. But the merchant, the engineer, the artizan, and the farmer,-may they not more

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usefully employ their school-days, than in gaining all they can usually gain,--the mere rudiments, of the Latin and Greek tongues; which, having been acquired without relish, are forgotten in much less time than they were learned ? The reason why the several branches of an English education have been thought insufficient as a basis of mental discipline for the common purposes of life, is, I imagine, the want of intellectual methods of instruction, hitherto so lamentably prevalent. It is too commonly the case that the business of our schools consists in a mere round of mechanical exercises, without life or intelligence, neither exciting the activity, nor increasing the strength of a single mental power. Teaching to think, observe, compare, classify, draw inferences, apply principles, and use language with precision, ease, and elegance,--and that upon a comprehensive, well-digested plan,-is, we have reason to believe, a rare thing, not only in the common school, but even in institutions of a higher grade. In short, to speak plainly, word-teaching has been, and is, the curse of our schools. And what has been the consequence ? An aversion to schools and study on the part of the young, so general as to have become proverbial. Yet knowledge is the natural food of the mind. The soul craves it as instinctively as the infant desires the milk that nourishes its new-born life. It cries after knowledge, and lifts up its voice for understanding ; and its importunities are answered with words, words, words,- vox et præterea nihil. Indignant at the cheat attempted to be played off upon it, it revenges itself by a deep-rooted aversion to the system and its authors. Any other explanation, it seems to me, would be an impugning of both the wisdom and the goodness of

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