Infomotions, Inc.The Infant System For Developing the Intellectual and Moral Powers of all Children, from One to Seven years of Age / Wilderspin, Samuel, 1792-1866

Author: Wilderspin, Samuel, 1792-1866
Title: The Infant System For Developing the Intellectual and Moral Powers of all Children, from One to Seven years of Age
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): infant; children; infant school
Contributor(s): Halsey, Francis W. (Francis Whiting), 1851-1919 [Editor]
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Identifier: etext10985
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Title: The Infant System
       For Developing the Intellectual and Moral Powers of all Children,
         from One to Seven years of Age

Author: Samuel Wilderspin

Release Date: February 8, 2004 [EBook #10985]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Stan Goodman, Josephine Paolucci and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.







"Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me."
_Matt_. xviii. 5.

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones." _Matt_.
xvii. 10.




In again presenting this volume to the world, I trust I feel thankful
to God for the favour with which the Infant System has been received,
and for all the aid I have enjoyed in my course of labour. Had the
measures I originated for the development of the infant mind, and the
improvement of the moral character, been sanctioned at first, as many
now think they should have been, their progress would, undoubtedly,
have been far greater; but when I consider what has been accomplished
under the divine benediction, and amid greater difficulties than ever
beset the path of an individual similarly occupied, I know not how to
express the gratitude of which I am conscious. It seems proper and
even necessary to remark, that the system explained in this volume, is
the result of many years of labour. Thousands of children have been
attentively observed, and for the necessities that arose in their
instruction, provision has been made. Others have doubtless reached
some of the conclusions at which I have arrived, but this is only
another instance of the coincidence in judgment and effort, often
discoverable in persons far apart, whose attention has been directed
to similiar subjects; but with the exception of the elliptical plan,
devised by Dr. Gilchrist, I am not aware that I owe an idea or
contrivance to any individual whatever. Upwards of twenty-five
thousand children have been now under my own care, in various parts of
the United Kingdom, whose age has not exceeded six years; myself, my
daughters, and my agents, have organized many score of schools, and
thus I have had opportunities of studying the infant mind and heart,
such as none of my contemporaries have ever possessed.

Still I am aware I have much to learn. I am far less satisfied with
the extent of my knowledge, and far less confident of its perfection
and completeness now than I was in the earlier part of my course.
The whole energies of my mind, however, having been thrown upon the
subject, and the whole of my time for the third of a century having
been zealously devoted to it, I trust the volume will contain
knowledge of a more plain, simple, and practical character than is
elsewhere to be found:--perhaps it may not be presumption to say than
_can_ elsewhere be found. Should I have the pleasure to labour for
years to come, I trust I shall have much more to communicate on the

Two editions of this work in its former state have been printed in
German; and it has also been reprinted in America. I have, however,
felt it due to the friends of education, to make this volume as
complete as possible, and though still occasionally engaged in
superintending and organizing schools, I have felt it necessary to
revise this eighth edition very carefully throughout, and commence it
with a new and additional chapter.

_Moor Cottage,
Westgate Common,
Nov. 1552_.


It is said that we are aiming at carrying education too far; that we
are drawing it out to an extravagant length, and that, not satisfied
with dispensing education to children also have attained what in
former times was thought a proper age, we are now anxious to educate
mere infants, incapable of receiving benefit from such instruction.
This objection may be answered in two ways. In the first place, it
should be observed, that the objection comes from those very persons
who object to education being given to children when they arrive at a
more advanced period, on the ground that their parents then begin to
find them useful in labour, and consequently cannot spare so much of
their time as might be requisite: surely, that, the education of the
children should commence at that time when their labour can be of
value to their parents. But the other answer, in my opinion, is still
more decisive: it is found even at the early age of seven or eight,
that children are not void of those propensities, which are the
forerunners of vice, and I can give no better illustration of this,
than the fact of a child only eight years old, being convicted of a
capital offence at our tribunals of justice; when, therefore, I find
that at this early period of life, these habits of vice are formed, it
seems to me that we ought to begin still earlier to store their minds
with such tastes, and to instruct them in such a manner as to exclude
the admission of those practises that lead to such early crime and
depravity. A Noble friend has most justly stated, that it is not with
the experiences of yesterday that we come armed to the contest: it is
not a speculation that we are bringing forward to your notice, but an
experiment.'--_The Lord Chancellor_.

"In leaving poor children to the care of their parents, neglect is the
least that happens; it too frequently occurs that they are turned over
to delegates, where they meet with the worst treatment; so that we do
not in fact come so much into contact with the parents themselves as
with those delegates, who are so utterly unfit for the office they
undertake. Infant Schools, however, have completely succeeded, not
only in the negative plan they had in view, of keeping the children
out of vice and mischief, but even to the extent of engrafting
in their minds at an early age those principles of virtue, which
capacitated them for receiving a further stage of instruction at a
more advanced school, and finally, as they approached manhood, to be
ripened into the noblest sentiments of probity and integrity."--_The
Marquis of Lansdowne_.

"I am a zealous friend, upon conviction, to Infant Schools for the
children of the poor. No person who has not himself watched them, can
form an adequate action of what these institutions, when judiciously
conducted, may effect in forming the tempers and habits of young
children; in giving them, not so much actual knowledge, as that which
at their age is more important, the habit and faculty of acquiring it;
and it correcting those moral defects which neglect or injudicious
treatment would soon confirm and render incurable. The early age at
which children are taken out of our National Schools, is an additional
reason for commencing a regular and systematic discipline of their
minds and wills, as soon as they are capable of profiting by it; and
that is at the very earliest opening of the understanding, and at the
first manifestation of a corrupt nature in the shape of a childish
petulance and waywardness."--_The Bishop of London_.

"The claims of this Institution were of such a nature, that they
required no recommendation but a full statement of them. The
foundation of its happy results had been pointed out to exist in the
principles of policy, and of religion paramount to all policy--a
religion that appealed to every feeling of human nature. He would
recommend this charity, as one less attended with perplexity in its
operations or doubt as to its utility, than many, which, though
established with the best possible motives, frequently failed in
effecting the good proposed; but in this the most acute opponent could
not discover any mischief that would arise from its success."--_Sir
James Mackintosh_.

"I have always thought that that man that would be the greatest
benefactor to his country who did most for the suppression of crime;
this I am sorry to say, our legislature have neglected in a great
degree, while they have readily employed themselves in providing for
its punishment. Those acquainted with our prisons must know that those
found to have sunk deepest into vice and crime were persons who had
never received any education, moral or religious. In the Refuge for
the Destitute, an exact account was kept, and it was found that of the
great mass of culprits sent there by the magistrates on account of
their youth, two-thirds were the children of parents who had no
opportunity of educating them. By this institution they would at once
promote virtue and prevent vice."--_Dr. Lushington_.

"The real fact is, that the character of all mankind is formed very
early--much earlier than might be supposed: at the age of two or three
years, dispositions were found in children of a description the most
objectionable. In these schools the principles of mutual kindness and
assistance were carried as far as could well be conceived, and it was
most delightful to regard the conduct of the children towards each
other. Instead of opposition, they displayed mutual good-will,
inculcated to the greatest degree, so as to destroy in the minds of
the children that selfishness which was the bane of our nature. Such
effects appeared almost to realize the golden age, for the children
appeared always happy, and never so happy as when attending the
schools."--_W. Smith, Esq. M.P_.

"I feel, having witnessed the happy effects produced by these schools,
a warm zeal in support of such institutions. We cannot begin too soon
to impress religions principles on the minds of the young; it is an
affecting consideration, that while great statesmen have been busied
in their closets on some fine scheme or speculation, they have
neglected these salutary principles which the Almighty has given to
mankind. It is remarkable how eagerly the young mind receives the
histories of the Bible, and how well they are fitted to work on their
dispositions; and when I consider the miserable state of the poor, I
cannot but feel that the rich are in some degree, the authors of it,
in having neglected to afford them the means of education."--_W.
Wilberforce, Esq_.

"I am much delighted with what I have seen and heard. I confess I
entertained doubts of the practicability of the Infant School System,
but these doubts have this day been removed. If in _one month_ so much
can be done, what might not be expected from further training? I now
doubt no longer, and anticipate from the extension of such schools a
vast improvement in the morals and religion of the humble classes. I
conclude with moving a vote of thanks to Mr. Wilderspin."--_Lord Chief
Justice Clerk_.

"Sir John Sinclair, rose, and in addressing Mr. Wilderspin, said, that
he was astonished with the results of five weeks training in these
perfect infants. He had never seen a greater prodigy. He too had had
his prejudices--his doubts of the possibility of infant education;
but these doubts had now vanished, and for ever. The arrangements
for bodily exercise, connected with mental and moral improvement,
especially delighted him. He was amused as well as instructed by the
well-applied admixture of diverting expedients to keep the children
alive and alert. It was 'seria mixta jocis,' but there was practical
sense in the seemingly most frivolous part of the plan. He trusted
that the time was not far distant when there should be many such
institutions. He called on all present to join him in returning
cordial thanks to Mr. Wilderspin."--_Scotsman_.

"The grand secret of the improvement found to be derived from these
establishments, is their constant tendency to remove evil example and
misery from the little creatures during almost the whole of their
waking hours. Consider how a child belonging to one of these passes
his day. As soon as he is up, the indispensable condition, and the
only one of his admission to the school, that of clean face and hands,
is enforced, and the mother, in order to be relieved of the care of
him during the, day, is obliged to have him washed. He then leaves the
abode of filth and intemperance, and squalid poverty, and ill-temper,
for a clean, airy place, pleasant in summer, warm and dry in winter;
and where he sees not a face that is not lighted up with the smile of
kindness towards him. His whole day is passed in amusing exercises, or
interesting instruction; and he returns at evening-tide fatigued and
ready for his bed, so that the scenes passing at his comfortless home
make a slight impression on his mind or on his spirits."--_Edinburgh




_Days and scenes of childhood--Parental care--Power of early
impressions--School experience--Commencements in business--Sunday
school teaching and its results--Experiment on a large
scale--Development of means and invention of implements--Heavy
bereavement--Propagation of the system of education in the
neighbourhood of London, and ultimately in most of the principal
places in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland--Misapprehension
and perversion of the principles of infant education--Signs of
advancement--Hope for the future_



_Teachers of theft--Children the dupes of the profligate--An effort at
detection--Afflicting cases of early depravity--Progress of a young
delinquent--Children employed in theft by their parents--Ingenuity of
juvenile thieves--Results of an early tuition in crime--The juvenile
thief incorrigible--Facility of disposing of stolen property--A
hardened child--Parents robbed by their children--A youthful
suicide--A youthful murderer_



_Degraded condition of parents--Dreadful effects of
drunkenness--Neglect of children inevitable and wilful--The tutorship
of wicked companions--Tricks of pantomines injurious--Mischiefs
arising from sending children to pawnbrokers--Fairs demoralizing--All
kinds of begging to be repressed_



_Means long in operation important--Prisons awfully
corrupting--Deplorable condition of those released from
jail--Education of the infant poor--Its beneficial results--Cases
of inviolable honesty--Appeal of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet--The
infant school an asylum from accident and a prevention of
various evils--Obstacles in the way of married persons obtaining
employment--Arguments for the plan of infant training--Prevalence of
profane swearing--The example often shewn by parents--Anecdote in
illustration--Parents ill used by their young children--Christian-like
wish of George III.--Education for poor children still objected
to--Folly of such objection illustrated--Lectures on the subject of
infant training_



_Moral treatment--Importance of exercise--Play-ground
indispensable--The education of nature and human education should
be joined--Mental development--Children should think for
themselves--Intellectual food adapted for children--A spirit
of enquiry should be excited--Gradual development of the young
mind--Neglect of moral treatment--Inefficacy of maxims learned
by rote--Influence of love--The play-ground a field of
observation--Respect of private property inculcated--Force of
conscience on the alert--Anecdote--Advantages of a strict regard for
truth--The simple truths of the Bible fit for children_



_The master and mistress should reside on the premises--Interior
arrangements--A school and its furniture--Lesson-posts and
lessons--The younger children should not be separated from the
older--Play-ground arrangements--Rotary swing--Its management and



_Teachers should practice what they teach--Necessity of patience--Mere
automatons will not do for infant teachers--Disadvantage of using
excessive restraint--A master and mistress more efficient than two
mistresses--Objections to the sole government of females--Too frequent
use of the divine names should be avoided--General observations_



_Classification--Getting the children into order--Language--Lessons
on objects--Rules to be observed by parents--Daily routine of
instruction--Opening prayer and hymn--Object or developing
lessons--Synopsis of a week's instruction--Cleanliness--Never frighten
children--Guard against forgetfulness--Observe punctuality--Be
strictly accurate in your expressions--Guard against the entrance of
disease--Maxims for teachers--Resolutions_



_Original intention of the gallery--What lessons are adapted for
it--Its misapplication--Selection of teachers--Observations--Gallery
lessons--on a feather--a spider--a piece of bog turf--a piece of
coal--Observations on the preceding lessons--Scripture lessons in
the gallery--The finding of Moses--Christ with the doctors--Moral
training--Its neglect in most schools--Should be commenced in
infancy--Beneficial effects of real moral culture--Ignorance of
teachers--The gallery most useful in moral training--Specimen of a
moral lesson--Illustrations of moral culture--Anecdotes--Simpson on
moral education--Observations--Hints to teachers_



_Necessity of some punishment--Rewards to monitors--Trial by
jury--Illustrative case--Necessity of firmness--Anecdotes--Playing
the truant--Its evils--Means for prevention--Devices for
punishment--Sympathy encouraged--Evil of expelling children--Case of
Hartley--Difficulty of legislating for rewards and punishments--Badges
of distinction not necessary_



_Means for conveying instruction--Method of teaching the alphabet
in connection with objects--Spelling--Reading--Developing
lessons--Reading lessons in natural history--The arithmeticon--Brass
letters--Their uses_



_The arithmeticon--How applied--Numeration--Addition--Subtraction
tables--Arithmetical songs--Observations_



_Method of instruction--Geometrical song--Anecdotes--Size--Long



_Its attraction for children--Sacred geography--Geographical
song--Lessons on geography_



_Pictures--Religious instruction--Specimens of picture lessons
on Scripture and natural history--Other means of religious
instruction--Effects of religious instruction--Observations_



_Object boards--Utility of this method_



_Exercise--Various positions--Exercise blended with instruction
Arithmetical and geometrical amusements_



_Infant ditties--Songs on natural history--Moral lessons in
verse--Influence of music in softening the feelings--Illustrative



_Method of instruction--Grammatical rhymes_



_Method Explained--Its success_



_National schools--British and foreign societies--Sunday



_Introduction to botany--First lessons in natural history--First
truths of astronomy--Geographical instruction--Conclusion_


       *       *       *       *       *



_Days and scenes of childhood--Parental care--Power of
early impressions--School experience--Commencement in
business--Sunday-school teaching and its results--Experiment on a
large scale--Development of plans and invention of implements--Heavy
bereavement--Propagation of the system of education, in the
neighborhood of London, and ultimately in most of the principal
places in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland--Misapprehension
and perversion of the principles of infant education--Signs of
advancement--Hope for the future_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
  We love the play-place of our early days;
  The scene is touching."--_Cowper_

  "What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under
  the sun?"--_Ecclesiastes i. 3_.

       *       *       *       *       *

How came you to think of the Infant School system of teaching?--is
a question that I have often been asked; and my friends think it
advisable that it should, in part at least, be answered. I proceed
therefore, in compliance with their wishes, to give some little of
the required information in this place, as perhaps it may throw light
upon, or explain more clearly, the fundamental principles laid down
and advocated throughout this volume. In few words, then, I would
reply,--_circumstances_ forced me to it. Born an only child, under
peculiar circumstances, and living in an isolated neighbourhood, I had
no childish companions from infancy; I was, consequently, thrown much
on my own resources, and early became a _thinker_, and in some measure
a contriver too. I beheld a beautiful world around me, full of
everything to admire and to win attention. As soon as I could think at
all, I saw that there must be a Maker, Governor, and Protector of this
world. Such things as had life won my admiration, and thus I became
very fond of animals. Flowers and fruits, stones and minerals, I also
soon learned to observe and to mark their differences. This led to
enquiries as to how they came--where from--who made them? My mother
told me they came from God, that he made them and all things that I
saw; and also that he made herself and me. From that moment I never
doubted His wonderful existence. I could not, nor did I have, at that
age, any correct idea of God; but I soon learned to have elevated
notions of His works, and through them I was led to adore something
invisible--something I was convinced of within, but could not see. My
mother, to my knowledge, never deceived me, or told me an untruth:
therefore, I believed her implicitly; and to this day I never doubted.
So much for the implanting an early _faith_ in the Unseen. But the
beautiful world and the things in it which I saw, and with which I
came in contact, Oh! how wonderful they appeared to me! They were my
companions! Other children were strange to me, and they were not nigh
either to help or to thwart me.

My mother was my oracle during the first six years of childhood,
resolving my difficulties and answering my questions. I was
happy--very happy! and still look back to those days with
indescribable pleasure and satisfaction. I had no tasks. I was not
pestered with _A.B. C_., nor _ab. eb. ib_. From _things_ my parents
chiefly taught me my first lessons, and they have been as durable as
life. For days and weeks did I study such lessons. My parents waited
till I asked for information, and when it was required it was never
denied. The world and the wonders in it formed as it were a heaven to
me. I am told I gave but little trouble at this age. In the beautiful
fields and wild coppices about Hornsey, as yet unencroached upon by
suburban extension; and by the side of the then solitary banks of the
New River, I was always to be found. In cold and wet weather I had
a stock of similar lessons in my home. Small live animals were my
constant companions; they taught me that love begets love. I did love
and delight in them, and when they died I mourned their loss. Every
day brought me new information, which my parents perfected. At length
the alphabet was mastered, and afterwards spelling, reading, and
so forth. My mind _being thus previously filled with ideas_, the
acquirement of words and abstract terms became less irksome, and I
cannot remember that thus far it cost me any trouble, much less pain.
Information of every kind fit for childhood then really gave me
pleasure. No doubt I am greatly indebted to my parents for their
judicious management. My father always in the evening, took great
pains to explain things to me; he nurtured but never crammed; he knew
when to teach and when to let alone. Unfortunately, through very
peculiar circumstances, I was removed from the immediate care and
superintendence of both parents rather early in life; and, at an age
the most dangerous, was left to grapple nearly alone with the wide
world and the beings in it, with little of either parental guidance.
It was then I saw the immense importance and advantage of early
impressions. To me they were of incalculable benefit, and no doubt
led, when I became a man, to the thoughts which ended in the
development and practical working of the Infant System and method of

Schools for infants then existed, but what were they? Simply
dame-schools, with the hornbook for boys and girls, and perhaps a
little sewing for the latter. Their sign was--"Children taught to read
and work here," and their furniture the cap and bells, the rod in
pickle, and a corner for dunces. The finishing stroke was seen in the
parlour of the inn, or the farm-house, in the shape of needlework as a
samplar;--"Lydia Languish, her work, done at ---- school, in the year
of our Lord, 1809." Such were the schools in country places then in
existence, the little ones doing nothing. In after-life, I thought
a remedy was required and might be found, and therefore set about
working it out. How it was done shall be hereafter explained.

I knew my own infant state had been a happy one, and I wondered to see
children crying to go to school, when learning had been such a delight
to me. But I soon ceased to wonder when I was sent there myself. At my
first school I can truly say I learnt nothing, except it be that I had
especially the sense of feeling. I often had raps with the cane on the
head, across the shoulders, and on the hand, and I found it was mainly
for not learning what the teacher had _forgotten to teach me_. The
terms used were "master" and "mistress," and they were tolerably
appropriate as far as I was concerned, for to me both became objects
of terror, so much so, that for the first time in my life, I really
fretted when the hour of teaching came. My parents were not long in
perceiving this although I did not complain. They told me it was for
my good that I should go to school, and I thoroughly believed them.
Yet I could not understand why it should be associated with so much
dislike and pain on my part, when my first school,--the beautiful
world of nature, had been so lovely, and my first teachers had always
increased the delight by removing my difficulties, and this so much
so that I now longed for evening to come to have fresh light and
instruction given. My father now decided that I should not go to
school, and he became my teacher as before, the world being my great
book. I was delighted with Robinson Crusoe, and this work became my
companion, and to which was added the Pilgrim's Progress. After these,
my great favourite was Buffon's Natural History. I used to go alone,
taking a volume at a time, to read amidst the pleasant country around,
but most frequently in the quiet nooks and retreats of Hornsey Wood.
It seems, however, that I was always watched and superintended by my
mother during these readings and rural rambles, for whenever danger
was near she generally appeared, but seldom otherwise, so that I had
perfect freedom in these matters. I have every reason to believe that
the first seven years of my life laid the basis of all I know that is
worth knowing, and led to the formation of my character and future
career in life. Of my schooling afterwards it is unnecessary to say
much, as it was the usual routine such as others had, but it never
satisfied me, and I even then saw errors throughout the whole, and
this strengthened my first impressions, and tended to mature the
after-thought in me, that something wanted doing and _must be done_.
It is not my intention in this introductory chapter to write an
auto-biography; but my object is simply to show, how one impression
followed another in my case, and what led to it; to point out briefly
the various plans and inventions I had recourse to in carrying out my
views and intentions; and, finally, to allude to their propagation
through the country personally by myself, on purpose to show, in
conclusion, that although infant education has been extensively
adopted, and many of its principles, being based on nature, have been
applied with great success to older children, yet especially in the
case of infants, that strict adherence to nature and simplicity which
is so fundamental and so requisite, has been often overlooked, and in
some cases totally discarded.

It will, I trust, appear from what has been already said, that even
from early childhood I both saw and felt that there was a period in
human life, and that the most important period, as experience has
proved to my full satisfaction, not legislated for, that is, not duly
provided with suitable and appropriate methods of education. To see
this was one thing, to provide a remedy for it and to _invent plans_
for carrying out that remedy, was another. The systems of Bell and of
Lancaster were then commencing operations, but were quite unsuitable
for children under seven years of age at least, and therefore took
little or no cognizance of that early period, which I had been
inwardly convinced was of such eminent importance. I was destined for
business, and served the usual apprenticeship to become qualified for
it, and also continued in it for a short period on my own account.
Even at this time the thought ever haunted me as to what should be
done for young children. At length the germ was developed at one of
the Sunday Schools, which were then rising into general notice. For
years I attended one of these in London, and here circumstances again
befriended me, regarding the matter so frequently in my thoughts. The
teachers mostly preferred having a class to superintend that knew
something, and I being then a junior, it fell to my lot to have a
class that knew little or nothing. I mean nothing that it was the
object of the Sunday-school to teach. It soon appeared clear to me,
that such a class required different treatment to those more advanced,
and especially the _young_ children. Nobody wanted this class, it was
always "to let," if I did not take it. The result was, I always had
it. Others looked to the post of honour, the Bible-class. I soon found
that to talk to such children as I had to teach, in the manner the
others did to the older and more advanced children, was useless, and
thus I was forced to simplify my mode of teaching to suit their state
of apprehension, and now and then even to amuse them. This succeeded
so well, that in the end my class became the popular class, and I
became still further convinced of the desirableness of an _especial
plan for teaching the very young_. I, however, still thought that the
alphabet should be taught first, with the usual things in their order.
At length, shortly after my marriage, which was rather early in life,
an opportunity presented itself for trying an experiment on a larger
scale; from having explained my views on early education to a friend,
I was solicited to take the superintendence of an asylum for young
children, about to be formed in a populous part of London. Having thus
an opportunity of carrying out my wishes, thoughts, and feelings, in
a way that I could not have anticipated, I gave up my connexion with
business, and devoted myself to the object. Great and unforseen
difficulties however had to be encountered. The first week was
dreadful. I began with too many children, and we had six whom the
mothers afterwards confessed they sent to _wean_. These not only cried
themselves, but set all the others crying also, and we regretted
having begun the experiment. At length, driven almost to despair, it
became evident that something new must be done to still the tumult. As
an expedient, I elevated a cap on a pole, which immediately attracted
their attention and occasioned silence. Thus I obtained a clue to
guide me, and my mind instantly perceived one of the most fundamental
principles in infant teaching, in fact of most teaching, and which
long experience has proved true, and that is, to appeal to the SENSES
of the children. After this, every day developed something new to me,
the children became happy beyond my expectations, and my course
onward was gradually progressive. Children and teachers became happy
together; difficulties vanished as we proceeded, and at length my wife
and I made up our minds to devote our whole lives to the perfecting of
our plans, and the carrying them out extensively. The novelty of the
thing drew numbers of visitors to a district, where the carriages of
the nobility and gentry had not been seen before; but the labour to us
was so greatly increased by this, that my wife sunk under it, and I
was left with four young children, to prosecute my plans alone in the

From the day I caught the idea, that a great secret in teaching the
young was to teach through the _senses_, the various implements now in
such general use in infant schools, were step by step invented by me.
Objects of all kinds were introduced, and oral lessons given upon
them, to teach their qualities and properties, and amongst the various
visitors most frequently present at such times, was the gentleman who
has acquired fame by publishing "Lessons on Objects," which little
work has elsewhere been highly commended by me, albeit it came forth
into the world several years after the period I now speak of. To give
such lessons I found it requisite to have the children altogether, so
as better to attract their attention simultaneously. This was first
attempted by placing them at one end of the room, but it was found
inconvenient; then parallel lines were chalked across the floor, and
they sat down in order on these; but though attention was gained, the
posture was unsuitable. Cords were then stretched across to keep them
in proper rank, and various experiments tried with seats, until they
ended in the construction of a permanently fixed gallery of regularly
ascending seats. This implement or structure has now come into almost
universal use in infant schools, and, in fact, they are considered
incomplete without one; and also they are in much request in schools
for children of every age. To give an idea of number through the eye,
I had recourse at first to buttons strung on strings across a frame,
and this led to the substitution of wooden balls on wires, and other
improvements through experience, until the arithmeticon, hereafter
described, was fully formed. It having been found a useful instrument,
the credit of contriving it has been impugned, by liking it to the
Roman Abacus and Chinese Swanpan; but were those instruments like in
structure, or designed especially to teach the multiplication table?
if not, they are no more similar than "a hawk to a hand-saw." The
former I have never seen, and the first time I saw one of the Chinese
instruments was some five or six years ago in the Museum at Hull. The
clapping of hands, the moving of arms, marching in order, and
various other motions, all of which are now become the especial
characteristics of an infant-school, were gradually introduced as
circumstances or nature dictated, partly to obtain simultaneous action
and obedience, and partly to provide that physical exercise which
beings so young perpetually require, and which they are constantly
taking when left free and unrestrained. It is not requisite to make
mention here of the swing--the play grounds--the flower borders--and
various other matters which are fully treated of in the following
portions of this work, further than to add, that they are now
generally adopted in schools, and especially in some of the principal
training establishments in the British Empire. As these plans and
instruments are used by a certain religious infant-school society,
which professes to have imported its system from Switzerland,
where such things never had their origin, I feel it necessary most
emphatically to repeat, that they are entirely of my own invention.

After the severe bereavement mentioned above, I still persevered in
my favourite study, and learned more from my own children than I did
before, having to act in the double capacity of father and mother. I
am well aware of the loss my children sustained by the above calamity.
In the matter of training, nothing can replace a good mother,--and
such indeed she eminently was! I felt the heavy stroke more severely,
and my children did also; but I consoled myself with the reflection,
that my loss was her gain, and that she had lived to witness fruits of
her unparalleled labours, to the thorough abandonment of self, and the
glory of her Maker. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these
little ones, ye have done it unto me." Night and day, when I had time
to think, such promises as these cheered and sustained me in doing
what I could for my own motherless children, and more and more
cemented my affections on the children of others, and, finally,
enabled me to mature my plans, and gave me strength and courage to
carry them out, first in the villages and places near London, and,
ultimately, single-handed and alone, through more than a quarter of
a century, in many of the chief cities, towns, and villages of the
United Kingdom. Simply to state this fact is all that is requisite
here to answer my present purpose, and to enlarge more upon it is
needless, as a full detail of the whole career is given in my "Early
Discipline Illustrated; or, the Infant System Progressing and
Successful," third edition, published in 1840, and to which much
more would require adding to bring it down to the present time, if a
further edition should be called for.

That prejudice should assail me, and objections be started as I came
more out into the world, was to be expected. I knew my own intentions,
but the world did not, and I came in for a full share of obloquy and
persecution. This did me much good, and was a preparatory discipline,
to make me careless of the opinion of mankind in the matter, so long
as I felt that I was in the right, and had the approval of my own
conscience. The more I was opposed, the more were my energies lighted
up and strengthened; opposition always sharpened my faculties, instead
of overcoming and depressing me. The whole gradually prospered from
the first, under every disadvantage and notwithstanding the strenuous
efforts of the short-sighted and bigoted. These things laid my first
patrons prostrate, and the Society of great names which followed, was
soon dissolved. Every effort was made by the enemies of true training
and education, to crush the thing in the bud, and not only the thing,
but also the man who developed it and worked it out. Thank God, these
inimical aims did not succeed. Though worldly patrons failed, I had
one Patron who never deserted me, but Who upheld and encouraged me
from first to last, until the end was gained. Not, however, all that
was aimed at, but much of it, and the rest will follow or I am greatly
mistaken. I have in various places seen things that I earnestly
contended for, but which were rejected at the time, at length
established and their value seen. Look at the schools in existence
now, bad as some of them are, and compare them with those which
existed a third of a century ago, and it will be found that they have
progressed, and it may safely be anticipated that they will still
further progress, for there is much need of it. The system pourtrayed
in this book is intended to act on all the faculties of a child,
especially the highest, and to strengthen them at the time the mere
animal part of his nature is weak. The existing schools were not found
fit to take our children when they left us. The dull, monotonous,
sleepy, heavy system pursued, was quite unadapted to advance such
pupils. At this point of the history much damage was done to our
plans. The essence or kernel was omitted and the mere shell retained,
to make infant schools harmonise with the existing ones, instead of
the contrary. There were and are however two great exceptions to
this rule. The Model Schools at Dublin under the Government Board of
Education, and the Glasgow Training Schools for Scotland. At Dublin
all is progression. The infant department is the best in Europe,--I
believe the best in the world. The other departments are equally good
in most things, and are well managed, as far as regards a good secular
education being given, and better I think than any similar institution
in England. At Glasgow the same master whom I taught still exists. I
have not seen the schools for many years, but I hear from those who
have been trained there, that nothing can work better. The Glasgow
Committee, with Mr. Stow at their head, deserve the thanks of the
whole community for having applied the principles on which the Infant
School System is based, to juveniles, and carried out and proved the
practicability of it for the public good. I told them this in lectures
at Glasgow long ago, and exhibited before them children to prove the
truths I promulgated, both there and in other parts of Scotland,
to convince a doubting and cautious public that my views were
practicable. I may add, in passing, that I found the Scotch took
nothing on trust. They would listen to my lectures, but it always
ended in my being obliged to prove it with children. To David Stow
much credit is due, for having written useful books and performed
useful works. I am not the man to deprive him of this his just due,
but I have such faith in the honour of his countrymen in general, that
I believe the time is not far distant when some one of them will give
to me that credit which is fairly and justly due to me with respect to
the educational movements in Scotland. No class of men are better able
to appreciate and understand the principles on which a system of true
education should be based than Scotchmen, and hence, though cautious
in taking up new things, or new views of things, they can do justice
to, and appreciate, that which is worthy of their attention.

At the time I have been speaking of there were no lessons published
suitable for us. I searched the print shops in the metropolis, and
with the aid of drawings from friends, supplied this deficiency. Next
I had suitable lessons printed to accompany them, and also spelling
lessons of such words as could be _acted_ and _explained_. Then
followed suitable reading lessons, prints of objects, and the simple
forms of geometry. When a demand was created for all these, the
publishing trade took them up, and thus the numerous excellent plates
and lessons now published for the purposes of teaching, had their
first origin.

I ant thoroughly convinced that the first seven years of a child's
life is the _golden period_, and if I can induce mankind generally to
think with me, and to act on the principles humbly laid open in the
succeeding chapters of this book, I may feel some consolation that I
have not lived in vain. Sure I am that if the world will only give
man a fair chance, and train him from the beginning with care, with
prudence, with caution, with circumspection, with freedom, and above
all with _love_, he will bear such fruit, under the blessing of God,
as will make even this world as a paradise. From childhood up to age
has this truth been perfecting and strengthening in me, and I have no
more doubt that it is a truth, than I have of my own existence. Who
can look upon a child without admiring it, without loving it? With
my feelings it is impossible! When I compare the Revealed Will of
God,--the Scriptures, with His other Great Book, the book of nature,
which I read so early in life, and read with delight to this present
hour, I see the one illustrates the other. I see that the _best_
ground produces the _rankest weeds_--but not if cultivated. What does
not care do for all things in nature, why not then for man? Let him
run wild through neglect, and undoubtedly he produces weeds; but this,
to my mind, is an argument in his favour, and shews the ground is
capable of producing rich fruits. When we study the true nature of his
mind, with the same assiduity as we now do study the nature of his
body, then will mankind see it in this light, begin at the right
end, and cultivate from the first the beautiful faculties of his
own species. I say beautiful! and are not the budding faculties of
childhood both beautiful and lovely? "Feed my lambs," saith the Lord
Jesus. But, reader, are they all duly fed in this rich, wealthy,
and christian country? How many, on the contrary, are fed with evil
influences, street associations, and are thus poisoned at every pore,
until their being is thoroughly contaminated through neglect, public
and private, and, when not orphans, even parental neglect also; and
then after having increased our county rates, enlarged our prisons,
and built union workhouses (with respect to morals and training for
the young, I say pest-houses) we add ragged schools. We allow them to
become contaminated, and when that is accomplished, we go to work to
undo what has been done. If this does not succeed we punish by law the
poor neglected beings for taking the poisons we really offered them!
Oh, rare consistency in this boasted age of light, and science, and
learning! Let us, therefore, first seek an education worthy of the
name, and then find the best means of carrying it out. What exists at
present is fundamentally defective, especially by beginning too late,
and as regards the plans and principles laid down for infants in many
cases, much has been merely travestied, and many of the most essential
parts entirely set aside or overlooked.

The amount of solid information that may be given to an infant by a
wise and judicious mother, during the first two years only, would
appear to many persons astonishing. I have as clear a recollection of
what my mother taught me at two years old, as I have of that which she
taught me at the age of six. The facts crowd upon me so fast that
I scarcely know where to stop. Those lessons were the germs of the
inventions and babyisms--the hand-clapping, arm-twisting, and the
like--with which the infants are so delighted in their schools, and
which, at the time they were developed, about a third of a century
since, were scouted, and the inventor looked upon as a good natured
simpleton, or a well-meaning fool. I have a rather vivid recollection
of this fact, but in the end, as we proceeded, many who came to sneer,
went away with very different feelings. The plans were for infants,
for infants they answered well, but I wish I could say that no
excresences had grown upon them.

Now the ends to be answered in Infant Education, as intended by me,
are as follows. First, to feed the child's faculties with suitable
food; Second,--to simplify and explain everything, so as to adapt it
properly to those faculties; Third, not to overdo anything, either by
giving too much instruction, or instruction beyond their years, and
thus over-excite the brain, and injure the faculties; and, Fourth,
ever to blend both exercise and amusement with instruction at due
intervals, which is readily effected by a moderate amount of singing,
alternating with the usual motions and evolutions in the schoolroom,
and the unfettered freedom of the play-ground. If these rules be
attended to, the following results are certain,--a higher state of
physical, mental, and moral health. Physical health is essential to
mental vigour if it is to come to manhood. If the physical, mental,
moral, and spiritual constitution be properly acted upon, fed, and
trained, it adds to the happiness of the child; but if this is
not done, it becomes miserable, and as a consequence restless,
troublesome, and mischievous. Such facts were made very evident to me
by the infants under my care in the earlier part of my career, and
also have been fully confirmed throughout it, and they have forced
me as it were to that more lively, interesting, and amusing mode of
instruction, which I have through life endeavoured to propagate.
I found children to be highly delighted with pictures and
object-lessons; hence their value and high importance is so strongly
insisted on in all my books, and the best methods of using them
distinctly laid down. The trouble of rightly using such lessons has
caused them to be almost entirely laid aside in very many existing
infant schools, and in too many instances the mere learning and
repeating of sounds by rote, or what may very properly be called the
"parrot system," has been introduced in their place. But I yet hope
that the good sense of the public will in the end remedy such defects.
In such cases the memory is the only faculty exercised, and that at
the expense of those that are higher. Where this is persisted in, the
infant system is rendered nugatory, and my labours are in vain. It
therefore cannot be too strongly insisted on, and too frequently
repeated, that one of its most fundamental principles, as regards the
unfolding, properly and easily, of the intellectual faculties, is to
communicate _notions_ and _ideas_ rather than words and sounds, or at
least to let them be done together.

As before stated, the gallery had its origin in my desire to teach the
children simultaneously. It enables a teacher more readily to secure
their full attention in all oral lessons, and establishes a sympathy
between them. More real facts may be taught children simultaneously by
the master, than can be taught by all the monitors in a school. The
little infants should always sit at the bottom, and by no means be
confined to another room. They can see and hear all that is going on,
and understand it far more than you would suppose, though they cannot
yet tell all they learn and know; but when the power of speech comes,
they will surprise you with what they have learned. It is therefore a
great error to separate children and cut them off from the advantage
of all object-lessons, and gallery-teaching, because they are the
youngest. They learn more through sympathy and communion with their
five or six year elders, than the most clever adult can teach them. An
infant-school, is, in many respects, a community in a state of nature.
What one does, the other almost involuntarily learns. The merest
infants are not an exception to this rule, and therefore the
separation in many infant-schools of the children, invariably into
two classes, sometimes in two rooms, is a great mistake, and can only
arise from ignorance of the laws under which the young mind
unfolds itself, and a misunderstanding of the first principles of

Perhaps one reason that infant-school teaching has not been kept up to
its proper point and true standing, is, the desire to make a striking
shew before the visitors in a school. I fear the grounds for this
opinion are not slight. Perhaps nothing has lead more to the
multiplication of singing, even to the injury of the children. The
ease with which they learn a metrical piece by _rote_, and the
readiness with which they acquire a tune to it, is surprising, and as
the exhibition of such attainments forms a striking sinew, in many
cases little else is taught them. But to a sensible and thinking mind,
one single piece _understood_, that is, one where clear ideas are
annexed to the words in the minds of the children, is worth a hundred
where this is not the case. Intellectual improvement, and moral
training, are not thus easily exhibited, especially, the latter; but
on dilligent attention to these, the real and permanent utility of the
schools depends.

Many things have been taught most unsuitable for young children, and
that simplicity which is so absolutely requisite, both as regards
matter and language, seriously departed from. Let but the great
principle of teaching through the senses be borne distinctly in mind,
and of giving ideas in preference to sounds, and it will have a strong
tendency to put an end to the evil complained of. How much may
be taught by the simplest object, such as a stone?
Form--weight--hardness, colour, sound, and numerous other qualities
and properties, all of which must be clearly understood, because they
are demonstrated by the sight and other senses. Once give to the mind
a store of clear ideas in regular and natural order, and a series of
words that are distinct and definite in meaning, and you have laid a
firm foundation whereon to exercise the higher faculties of reflection
and reasoning. Still more is it of paramount importance to educate and
bring out the moral faculties, to cultivate the sense of right and
wrong, to enlighten and strengthen the young conscience, to teach the
love of good, and the hatred of evil, and to strive to bring the whole
being under the new commandment of Christ, "that ye love one another."
The golden rule, "to do unto others as ye would that they should do
unto you," is one of the most powerful precepts that can be applied to
awaken just moral feelings; and innumerable instances must occur,
in the varied events which happen in a school, to bring it home
powerfully to the heart, and illustrate it appropriately.

Perhaps in nothing has that simplicity of teaching so requisite for
the young, and so earnestly contended for by me throughout, been
so much disregarded, neglected, and preverted as in the matter of
religion. I taught from the first, by means of pictures properly
selected, scriptural truths and facts, histories and parables; and
also suitable texts, and simple hymns and prayers were added. This
surely was enough for _infants_. I thought so then, and I think so
still, for an overdoing always ends in an undoing, and the mind of a
child should never be crammed with that which it cannot understand, to
the neglect of that which it may. I have opened schools for many sects
and parties, and have been sorry to find them so prone to bind the
"grevious burdens" of their own peculiar dogmas on the feeble minds of
little children, to the neglect of the "weightier matters of the law,
justice, mercy, and the love of God." I hope a time will come when the
distinct precepts of Christ, in this respect, will be more faithfully
regarded. The religion for infants should be a simple trust in "the
love and kindness of God our Saviour," a desire of grace and strength
from Him, and an aim to live thereby in love and duty to their parents
and teachers, and in kindness and affection with their brothers,
sisters, and schoolfellows. Such things as these, their young
minds may apprehend, feel, and apply, and thus be strengthened and
benefitted, but scholastic subtelties, and controverted dogmas, such
as the grey-headed are perpetually disputing about, surely should
never be taught to infants by any one who has carefully considered the
subject, and properly studied the nature of the infant mind.

In all probability advancing years will prevent me in future from
personally labouring much in the cause, and from personally overcoming
objections, by presenting publicly, facts that cannot be refuted. It
is out of my power now to employ agents and pay them. I cannot
take infants by sea and land to convince unbelievers, and silence
gainsayers. Neither circumstances nor remaining strength, will allow
me to repeat these things. I must trust then to my pen, to the
thinkers amongst us, and above all to the good Providence of God, for
further success in behalf of the rising generation. Those who doubt
what I assert about children should recollect one fact--twenty-seven
thousand have passed through my hands, and were for a short time under
my training, and have then been examined by me to convince a doubting
public, on the spot where they happened to be in each town and
country, all this for the period of one-third of a century. Ought not
this to entitle me, as respects the education of children, to say such
a thing is right, or even such a thing is wrong? The abuse of a plan
is no argument against its use. That it has been abused I am well
aware,--that the _parrot-system_ has been revived and also applied in
infant-schools. It was never intended to injure the young brain by
over-exciting it, or to fill the memory with useless rubbish; yet this
is done. I cannot help it. I have done and will do my best to prevent
such a violation of the very first principles of infant teaching. To
conclude, there is much to be thankful for! Since the infant-system
was evolved, a very great improvement has taken place in the character
of school-books, and also in prints. The graphic illustrations and the
simplicity of style, on a variety of subjects, is admirable. The same
may be said with respect to nursery books; I see a great improvement
in all these. This is comforting to one situated as I am, and leads me
to hope much from the future. I trust the intellectual character of
the age will advance, and not only the intellectual but also the moral
and spiritual, and "that truth and justice, religion and piety may be
established amongst us for all generations."



_Teachers of theft--Children the dupes of the profligate--An effort
at detection--Affecting cases of early depravity--Progress of a young
delinquent--Children employed in theft by their parents--Ingenuity of
juvenile thieves--Results of an early tuition in crime--The juvenile
thief incorrigible--Facility of disposing of stolen property--A
hardened child--Parents robbed by their children--A youthful
suicide--A youthful murderer_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"An uneducated, unemployed poor, not only must be liable to fall into
a variety of temptations, but they will, at times, unavoidably prove
restless, dissatisfied, perverse, and seditious: nor is this all, even
their most useful and valuable qualities, for want of regular and
good habits, and a proper bias and direction from early religious
instruction, frequently became dangerous and hurtful to society;
their patience degenerates into sullenness, their perseverance into
obstinacy, their strength and courage into brutal ferocity."--_The
Bishop of Norwich_.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has long been a subject of regret as well as of astonishment to
the reflecting and benevolent, that notwithstanding the numerous
institutions which exist in this country for the education and
improvement of the poor, and in defiance of the endeavours of our
magistracy and police establishment, crime should rather increase than
diminish. Many persons have been induced to conclude from this fact
that our Sunday, parochial, and national schools, as well as our Bible
Societies, and institutions of a similar nature, are of little or no
use. Absurd as the inference is, I have known more than one or two
persons draw it; not considering, that although these means may be
insufficient to counteract the cause of crime, or to prevent all
its evil effects, yet, nevertheless, they must certainly check
its progress;--that if there be many offenders, despite of these
institutions, there would, doubtless, be many more were they not in
existence; and hence to revile or neglect them is unworthy of good
sense or good feeling.

It is not my purpose in the present chapter to dwell on the commission
of crime generally, but on juvenile delinquency in particular; and
on this only so far as regards the case of young children. I will,
therefore, make public a collection of facts, some of which were
obtained at considerable personal hazard and inconvenience, which will
place it in a clear yet painful light.

It is said, that in the year 1819, the number of boys, in London
alone, who procured a considerable part of their subsistence by
pocket-picking and thieving in every possible form, was estimated at
from eleven to fifteen hundred. One man who lived in Wentworth-Street,
near Spitalfields, had forty boys in training to steal and pick
pockets, who were paid for their exertions with a part of the plunder;
fortunately, however, for the public, this notable tutor of thieves
was himself convicted of theft, and transported. This system of
tutorage is by no means uncommon, nor is it confined to the male sex.
I remember reading some time back, in the police reports, of a woman
who had entrapped _eight or ten children_ from their parents, had
trained them up, and sent them out thieving; nor was it until one of
these infantile depredators was taken in the act of stealing, that
this was made known, and the children restored to their homes. Here we
see eight or ten children, probably from the neglect of their parents,
enticed away, no doubt by the promise of a few cakes, or of some other
trifling reward, and in imminent danger of becoming confirmed thieves,
from which they were rescued by this providential discovery of their
situation; and we know not how many children may have been led to evil
practices in like manner.

I will give another instance which occurred at the office at Queen
Square.--A female, apparently no more than nineteen years of age,
named Jane Smith, and a child just turned of five years old, named
Mary Ann Ranniford, were put to the bar, before Edward Markland,
Esq., the magistrate, charged with circulating counterfeit coin in
Westminster and the county of Surrey, to a vast extent.

It appeared that the elder prisoner had long been known to be a common
utterer of base coin, in which she dealt very largely with those
individuals who are agents in London to the manufacturers of the
spurious commodity in Birmingham. She had been once or twice before
charged with the offence, and therefore she became so notorious that
she was necessitated to leave off putting the bad money away herself;
but so determined was she to keep up the traffic, that she was in the
habit of employing children of tender years to pass the counterfeit
money. On one occasion two Bow Street officers observed her at her old
trade, in company with the child Ranniford. The officers kept a strict
eye upon her movements, and saw her several times pass something to
the little girl; and she, by the direction of her instructor, went
into different shops (such as hosiers, where she purchased balls of
worsted, pastry-cooks, tobacconists, and fruiterers), where she passed
the bad money, and received in return goods and change. On the other
side of the bridge, the patroles saw the prisoner Smith deliver
something to the child, and point out the shop of Mr. Isaacs, a
fruiterer, in Bridge Street, Westminster. The child went in, and asked
for a juicy lemon, and gave a counterfeit shilling in payment. Mrs.
Isaacs had no suspicion from the tender age of the utterer, and its
respectable appearance, that the money was bad, and was about to give
change, when one of the officers entered, and took the deluded child
into custody, whilst his companion secured the elder prisoner (Smith),
and on searching her pockets he found twelve bad shillings, some
parcels of snuff, several balls of cotton and worsted, and other
trifling articles, which the child had purchased in the course of the
day. The officers who had secured them, learned from the child that
her parents lived in Cross Street, East Lane, Walworth, and that Smith
had taken her out for a walk. The patrol instantly communicated the
circumstance to the child's parents, who were hard-working honest
people, and their feelings on hearing that their infant had been
seduced into the commission of such a crime, can be more easily
conceived than described. They stated that the woman Smith had
formerly lived in the same street, and was frequently giving
half-pence and cakes to the child, who would, in consequence, follow
her anywhere. Some time since, she removed to Lock's Square, Lock's
Fields, and they (the parents) had not seen her for some time. On the
day referred to the child was playing in the street, and not finding
her come home they became alarmed, and went everywhere, broken
hearted, in quest of her, but they could hear no tidings of her till
the sad news was brought them by the officers. The poor mother was now
in attendance, and her feelings were dreadfully affected, and excited
the commiseration of all present.

The prisoner Smith made no defence, and held her head down during
the examination. The child stood by her, and took no notice of the
proceedings, and they were both fully committed for trial. The mother,
on seeing her infant consigned to prison, became quite frantic, and
wept hysterically, and had it it not been for the gaoler, she would
have inflicted some violence upon the woman Smith, for seducing her

Facts of this kind are sufficient to shew the utility, indeed I may
say, the most absolute necessity of providing some means, far, very
far more efficient than those at present in existence, for the
protection and improvement of the infant poor; that they may not thus
fall into the hands of evil and designing wretches, who make a living
by encouraging the children of the poor to commit crimes, of the
produce of which they themselves take the greatest part.

The younger the children are, the better they suit the purposes of
such miscreants; because, if children are detected in any dishonest
act, they know well, that few persons will do more than give the child
or children a tap on the head, and send them about their business. The
tenth part of the crimes committed by these juvenile offenders never
comes under public view, because should any person be robbed by a
child, and detect him in the act, he is silenced by the by-standers
with this remark,--Oh! he is but a child, let him go this time,
perhaps the poor thing has done it from necessity, being in want of
bread. Thus the delinquent is almost sure to escape, and, instead of
being punished, is not unfrequently rewarded for the adventure, as was
the case in the following instance.

Having had occasion to walk through Shoreditch some time since, I saw
a number of persons collected together round a little boy, who, it
appeared, had stolen a brass weight from the shop of a grocer. The
shopman stated that three boys came into the shop for half-an-ounce of
candied horehound, and that while he was getting down the glass which
contained it, one of them contrived to purloin the weight in question.
Having some suspicion of the boys, from the circumstance of having
recently lost a number of brass weights, he kept his eyes on them,
when he saw one put his hand into a box that was on the counter, take
out the largest weight, and then run out of the shop, followed by the
other two. The boy who stole it, slipped the weight into the hand of
one of the others; but the shopman, having observed this manoeuvre,
followed the boy who had the weight, who, being the youngest of the
three, could not run very fast; he, finding himself closely pursued,
threw the weight into the road, and when he was taken, declared that
it was not he who took it. The man wished to take the child back to
the shop, in order that his master might do with him as he thought
proper, but the by-standers, with a charitable _zeal_ which evinced
little _knowledge_, prevented him; one man in particular seemed to
interest himself much in the boy's behalf, stating that he knew the
child very well, and that he had neither father nor mother. The child
immediately took up this plea, and added that he had had no victuals
all day. The individual before mentioned then gave him a penny, and
his example was followed by many more, till I think the boy had
obtained nearly a shilling. I put several questions to him, but was
checked by this fellow, who told me, that as I had given the child
nothing, I had no right to ask so much? and, after a great deal of
abuse, he ended by telling me, that if I did not "take myself off" he
would "give me something for myself."

Feeling, however, a great desire to sift further into the matter, I
feigned to withdraw, but kept my eye upon the boy, and followed him
for nearly two hours, until I saw him join two other boys, one of whom
I had not seen before, and who had a bag with something very heavy in
it, which, I have every reason to believe, were weights, or something
which they had obtained in a similar manner. Wishing to ascertain the
fact, I approached them, but they no sooner perceived me, than the
little fellow who had been the principal actor in the affair, called
out "_Nose, Nose_,"--a signal-word, no doubt, agreed upon amongst
them,--when they all ran down some obscure alleys. I followed, but
was knocked down, as if by accident, by two ill-looking fellows, who
continued to detain me with apologies till the boys had got safely
away. I have little doubt that this was an instance of that organized
system of depredation of which I have before spoken, and that the
man who took so active a part at the first, was at the bottom of
the business; and, in fact, the tutor and employer of the predatory
urchins. His activity in preventing the boy from being taken back to
the shop--his anxiety to promote a subscription for the boy,--and,
lastly, his threat of personal violence if I interfered in the matter,
by continuing to question the child,--all these circumstances confirm
me in the opinion.

It is only by the knowledge of this fact--the association of infant
offenders with those of maturer and hardened habits--that we can
account for such cases as the following.--On the 17th of July, 1823,
a child _only seven years old_, was brought before the magistrate at
Lambeth Street office, charged with frequently robbing his mother,
and was ordered to be locked up all night in the gaol-room. In the
evening, however, when his mother returned, he forced his way out of
the room, and behaved with such violence that the attendants were
obliged to iron both his hands and legs! There can be no doubt that
this child had been for a long time under the instruction and evil
influence of some old and hardened offender; he must, indeed, have
undergone much training before he could have arrived at such a pitch
of hardihood, as to make it necessary to handcuff and fetter a child
of so tender an age; and to enable him to hold even the magistrates,
officers, and his own parent, at defiance.

The following cases afford further proof of the same lamentable truth;
the first is extracted from a morning paper of the 20th of September,
1824. "A little boy, not more than _six years of age_, was brought
before the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, on Saturday, the 18th
instant, having been found in a warehouse, where he had secreted
himself for the purpose of thieving. At a late hour on Friday night,
a watchman was going his round, when, on trying a warehouse in which
there was much valuable property, to see whether it was safe, he heard
the little prisoner cry. The persons who had the care of the warehouse
were roused, and he was taken out. In his fright he acknowledged that
a man had taken him from his mother, and induced him, upon a promise
of reward, to steal into the warehouse; upon a concerted signal, he
was to act as directed by the fellow on the outside; but becoming
terrified at being confined so long in the dark, he had cried out
and discovered himself. His mother came forward, and received a good
character as the wife of a hard-working man. The Lord Mayor gave her
son up to her, with an injunction to act carefully and strictly with
him. There was reason to believe, he said, that several considerable
robberies had been recently committed by means of children like the
prisoner, who stole in and remained concealed until midnight, when
they gave admission to the robbers. The police should have their eyes
upon him."

The other instance is from a report of one of the sessions in

"William Hart, an urchin _seven years of age_, was indicted for
stealing twenty-two shillings in money, numbered, from the person of
Mary Conner. The prosecutrix stated, that on the day named in the
indictment, she took twenty-five shillings to get something out of
pledge, but as there was a crowd in Mary-le-bone, assembled to witness
a fight, she was induced to join the mob. While standing there she
felt something move in her pocket, and putting her hand outside her
clothes, she laid hold of what proved to be the hand of the prisoner,
which she held until she had given him a slap on the face, and then
she let him go; but on feeling in her pocket she discovered that the
theft had actually been committed, and that only three shillings were
left. A constable took the urchin into custody, and accused him of
robbing her of twenty-two shillings. The prisoner said, 'I have
twenty-two shillings in my pocket, but it is my mother's money; she
gets so drunk she gives me her money to take care of.' The officer
stated to the same effect as the prosecutrix, and added, that _in a
secret pocket in his jacket he found fourteen shilling and sixpence.
It was the practice of gangs of pickpockets to have a child like this
to commit the robbery, and hand the plunder to them_. Witness went to
his parents, who said he had been absent seven weeks, and they would
have nothing to do with him. Mr. Baron Garrow, in feeling terms,
lamented that a child of such tender years should be so depraved. He
added, 'I suppose, gentlemen, I need only to ask you to deliver your
verdict.' His lordship then observed, that he would consult with his
learned brother as to the best manner of disposing of the prisoner.
They at length decided, that although it might seem harsh, the court
would record against him fourteen years' transportation, and, no
doubt, government would place him in some school; if he behaved well
there, the sentence might not be carried into full effect."

I remember a query being once put to me by a person who visited the
Spitalfields Infant School at the time it was under my management:
"How can you account for the fact, that notwithstanding there are so
many old and experienced thieves detected, convicted, and sent out of
the country every session, we cannot perceive any dimunition of the
numbers of such characters; but that others seem always to supply
their places?" The foregoing instance of the systematized instruction
of young delinquents by old adepts in the art of pilfering, affords, I
think, a satisfactory answer the interrogatory.

The dexterity of experienced thieves shews, that no small degree of
care and attention is bestowed on their tuition. The first task of
novices, I have been informed, is to go in companies of threes or
fours, through the respectable streets and squares of the metropolis,
and with an old knife, or a similar instrument, to wrench off the
brass-work usually placed over the key-holes of the area-gates, &c.,
which they sell at the marine store-shops; and they are said sometimes
to realize three or four shillings a day, by this means. Wishing to
be satisfied on the point, I have walked round many of the squares in
town, and in more than a solitary experiment, have found that _not one
gate in ten_ had any brass-work over the key-hole; it had moreover
been evidently wrenched off,--a small piece of the brass still
remaining on many of the gates. Having practised this branch of the
profession a considerable time, and become adepts in its execution,
the next step, I have been informed, is to steal the handles and brass
knockers from doors, which is done by taking out the screw with a
small screw-driver: these are disposed of in the same manner as the
former things, till the young pilferers are progressively qualified
for stealing brass weights, &c., and at length, become expert thieves.

The following fact will shew what extensive depredations young
children are capable of committing. I have inserted the whole as
it appeared in the public papers:--"_Union Hall_; _Shop
Lifting_.--Yesterday, two little girls, sisters, very neatly dressed,
_one nine_, and the _other seven, years of age_, were put to the bar,
charged by Mr. Cornell, linen-draper, of High Street, Newington; with
having stolen a piece of printed calico, from the corner of his shop.

"Mr. Cornell stated, that the children came to his shop, yesterday
morning; and while he was engaged with his customers at the further
end of the shop, he happened to cast his eyes where the prisoners
were, and observed the oldest roll up a large piece of printed calico,
and put it into a basket, which her little sister carried: the witness
immediately advanced to her, and asked if she had taken any thing
from off the counter; but she positively asserted that she had not.
However, on searching her basket, the calico was found; together with
a piece of muslin, which Mr. Cornell identified as belonging to him,
and to have been taken in the above way. Mr. Allen questioned the
eldest girl about the robbery, but she positively denied any knowledge
as to how, or in what manner, the calico and muslin had got into her
basket, frequently appealing to her little sister to confirm the truth
of what she declared. When asked if she had ever been charged with any
offence, she replied, 'O yes, sir, some time back I was accused of
stealing a watch from a house, but I did not do it.' The magistrate
observed, that the father should be made acquainted with the
circumstance, and, in the mean time, gave the gaoler instructions that
the two little delinquents should be taken care of.

"Hall, the officer, stated that he had information that there was a
quantity of goods, which had been stolen by the prisoners, concealed
in a certain desk in the house of the father; and that a great deal of
stolen property would, in all probability, be found there, if a search
warrant were granted, as the two unfortunate children were believed to
be most extensive depredators.

"Mr. Allen immediately granted the warrant; and Hall, accompanied by
Mr. Cornell, proceeded to the residence of the father of the children,
who is an auctioneer and appraiser, at 12, Lyon Street, Newington.

"Hall returned in half an hour with the father in his custody, and
produced a great quantity of black silk handkerchiefs, which he had
found on the premises; but the desk, which had been spoken of by his
informers as containing stolen property, he had found quite empty.
The father, when questioned by the witness as to whether he had any
duplicates of property in his possession, positively denied that fact.
At the office he was searched, and about fifty duplicates were found
in his pockets, most of which were for silk handkerchiefs and shawls.
There were also a few rings, for the possession of which the prisoner
could not satisfactorily account. He was asked why he had assured the
officer he had no duplicates? He replied, that he had not said so;
but Mr. Cornell, who was present during the search, averred that the
prisoner had most positively declared that he had not a pawnbroker's
duplicate in his possession.

"Mr. Watt, a linen-draper, of Harper Street, Kent Road, stated that
he attended in consequence of seeing the police reports in the
newspapers, describing the two children; he immediately recognised the
two little girls as having frequently called at his shop for trifling
articles; and added, that he had been robbed of a variety of silk
handkerchiefs and shawls, and he had no doubt but that the prisoners
were the thieves. It was their practice, he said, to go into a shop,
and call for a quarter of a yard of muslin, and while the shopkeeper
was engaged, the eldest would very dexterously slip whatever article
was nearest, to her little sister, who was trained to the business,
and would thrust the stolen property into a basket which she always
carried for that purpose. Mr. Watt identified the silk handkerchiefs
as his property, and said that they had been stolen in the above
manner by the prisoners.

"The father was asked where he had got the handkerchiefs? He replied,
that he had bought them from a pedlar for half-a-crown a piece at his
door. However, his eldest daughter contradicted him by acknowledging
that her sister had stolen them from the shop of Mr. Watt. He became
dreadfully agitated, and then said--'What could I say? Surely I was
not to criminate my own children!'

"Mr. Allen observed, that there was a clear case against the two
children, but after consulting with the other magistrates, he was of
opinion that the youngest child should be given up into the charge of
the parish officers of Newington, as she was too young to go into a
prison, and desired that the other girl should be remanded, in order
to have some of the pledged goods produced. The father was committed
in default of bail for receiving stolen goods. The child has since
been found guilty. The prosecutor stated that the family consisted of
five children, _not one of whom could read or write_!"

Another very cruel practice of these young delinquents is, to go
into some chandlers shop as slily as possible, and take the first
opportunity of stealing the till with its contents, there being always
some older thief ready to take charge of it, as soon as the child
removes it from the shop.[A] Many a poor woman has had to lament
the loss of her till, with its contents, taken by a child, perhaps,
scarcely six years of age. There is always a plan laid down for the
child to act upon. Should he be unable to obtain possession of the
till himself, he is instructed to pretend that he has missed his way,
and to inquire for some street near the spot; or, he will address
her with, "Please, ma'am, can you tell me what it is o'clock?" The
unsuspecting woman, with the greatest kindness possible, shews the
child the street he inquires for, or leaves the shop to ascertain the
hour, and for her civility, she is sure to find herself robbed, when
she returns, by some of the child's companions. Should he be detected
in actual possession of the property, he is instructed to act his part
in the most artful manner, by pretending that some man sent him into
the shop to take it, who told him that he would give him sixpence to
buy cakes.

[Footnote A: So complete is the science of pilfering rendered by its
perpetrators, that they have even a peculiar vocabulary of their own,
rendering their conversation, to those who may chance to overhear
them, as mysterious and incomprehensible as though they were
conversing in a foreign tongue; for instance, the scutcheons they
steal from the key holes are called _porcupines_; brass weights,
_lueys_; while purloining the contents of a till, is called _taking
the ding_. In short, they have a peculiar name for almost every

It is not uncommon for these young offenders to stop children, whom
they may meet in the street unprotected, and either by artifice or
violence, take from them their hats, necklaces, &c., thus initiating
themselves, as it were, into the desperate crime of assault and
highway robbery.

Young as the subjects of the foregoing narrations mostly were, I have
little doubt their pupilage commenced at a much earlier age; they
could not otherwise have attained so much proficiency in the practice
of crime, and hardihood on detection. However possible it maybe
thought to reclaim children of so tender an age, I am convinced that
thieves of more advanced years become so thoroughly perverted in
their wills and understandings, as to be incapable of perceiving the
disgrace of their conduct, or the enormity of the offence. I was once
told by an old thief that thieving was his profession, and he had
therefore a right to follow it; and I could plainly discover from
further conversation with him, that he had established in himself an
opinion that thieving was no harm, provided he used no violence to
the person; he seemed, indeed, to have no other idea of the rights of
property, than that described as the maxim of a celebrated Scottish

  "They should take who have the power,
  And they should keep who can."

When this most lamentable state is reached, it is to be feared all
modes of punishment, as correctives, are useless; and the only thing
left is to prevent further depredation by banishment.

The incorrigibility which a child may attain, who has once associated
with thieves at an early age, is apparent from the following fact.
"Richard Leworthy, aged fourteen, was indicted for stealing five
sovereigns, the property of William Newling, his master. The
prosecutor stated, that he resided in the Commercial Road, and is
by business a tailor; the prisoner had been his apprentice for four
months, up to the 28th of August, when he committed the robbery. On
that day he gave him five pounds to take to Mr. Wells, of Bishopsgate
Street, to discharge a bill; he never went, nor did he return home; he
did not hear of him for three weeks, when he found him at Windsor, and
apprehended him. The prisoner admitted having applied the money to his
own use. He was found at a public house, and said he had spent all his
money except one shilling and six pence. A shopman in the service of
Mr. Wells, stated that in August last the witness owed his master a
sum of money; he knew the prisoner; he did not bring money to their
shop, either on or since the 28th of August. The prisoner made no
defence, but called his master, who said he received him from the
Refuge for the Destitute, and had a good character with him. He would
not take him back again. Mr. Wontner stated, that he had received
two communications from the Rev. Mr. Crosby, the chaplain of the
institution, stating they would not interfere on his behalf. The jury
returned a verdict of _guilty_. Mr. Justice Park observed, that the
best course would be to send him out of the country."

Here we see, that notwithstanding the discipline he had undergone,
and the instructions he had received during his confinement in the
establishment of the Refuge for the Destitute, he had not been more
than four months from that place before he fell into his old habits.
It is moreover to be remarked, that such had been his conduct during
his confinement, that the directors of the establishment thought
themselves war ranted in giving a good character with him. They were
probably little surprised on hearing of this relapse on the part of
the boy,--experience had doubtless taught them it was no uncommon
thing, and we plainly see they were convinced that all further
attempts at reclaiming him were useless.

The facility with which property maybe disposed of, should be
mentioned as a powerful inducement to crime. The following case
suggests it to the mind:

Thomas Jackson, a mere child, not more than nine years of age, was
charged some time ago at the Town Hall, with committing a burglary
on the premises of Mr. James Whitelock, a master builder, Griffith's
Rents, St. Thomas's, Southwark. Mr. Whitelock, it appears, resided
in an old mansion, formerly an inn, which he had divided into two
separate tenements, occupying one part himself, and letting the other
to the parents of the prisoner. In this division he had deposited
building materials to a considerable amount, one hundred weight of
which, in iron holdfasts, hinges, nails, clamps, &c., he missed one
day on entering the room, the door of which had been blocked by a
large copper, and the partition door forced. The character of the
prisoner being of the worst description, he was apprehended, when
he confessed he had taken all the property, and disposed of it to a
woman, named Priscilla Fletcher, the keeper of a marine store, 34,
James Street. The receiver, who is _the last of the family that has
not been either hanged or transported_, refused to swear to the
prisoner, though she admitted she believed he was the person she
bought the property produced from, at the rate of one penny for each
three pounds. It was proved to be worth three half-pence per pound.
Alderman J.J. Smith regretted that the deficiency of evidence
prevented him sending the young delinquent for trial, and thereby
rescuing him from an ignominious death, and told Mrs. Priscilla, who
was all modesty, that he was convinced she had perjured herself,--and
not to exult at her own escape from transportation, a reward he could
not help considering she richly merited, and which in due season she
would doubtless receive.

The hardened child laughed during the hearing, and on being sentenced,
by the oath of the officers, as a reputed thief, spit at his accuser,
and exclaimed, as he was taken from the bar to be conveyed to
Brixton,--"Is this all? I'll torment you yet!"

To add one more case, I may state that, at the Exeter Sessions, some
time since, two children were convicted, who, it is believed, were not
above ten years of age. Previously to this they had been convicted of
felony, and had suffered six months imprisonment at Bodmin; and it
appears that two years before, they started alone from Bristol on this
circuit of youthful depredation.

Having collected the foregoing instances of juvenile delinquency, and
presented them to the public, I cannot refrain from adducing a few
other cases which came under my own observation.

Whilst conducting the Spitalfields' Infant School, several instances
of dishonesty in the children occurred. On one occasion the mother
herself came to complain of a little boy, not more than four years
old, on the following grounds. She stated, that being obliged to
be out at work all day, as well as her husband, she was under the
necessity of leaving the children by themselves. She had three besides
the little boy of whom she was complaining. Having to pay her rent,
she put eighteen-pence for that purpose in a cup at the top of a
cupboard. On stepping home to give the children their dinners, she
found the boy at the cupboard, mounted on a chair, which again was
placed on the top of a table. On looking for the money, she found
four-pence already gone; one penny of this she found in his pocket,
the rest he had divided amongst the other children, that they might
not tell of him. After this relation I kept a strict watch on the
child, and three or four days afterwards the children detected him
opening my desk, and taking half-pence out of it. They informed me of
this, and while they were bringing him up to me the half-pence dropped
out of his hand. I detected him in many other very bad actions, but
have reason to hope, that, by suitable discipline and instruction, he
was effectually cured of his sad propensities.

About the same time, I observed two little children very near the
school-house in close conversation, and from their frequently looking
at a fruit-stall that was near, I felt inclined to watch them; having
previously heard from some of the pupils, that they had frequently
seen children in the neighbourhood steal oysters and other things. I
accordingly placed myself in a convenient situation, and had not long
to wait, for the moment they saw there was no one passing, they went
up to the stall, the eldest walking alongside the other, apparently to
prevent his being seen, whilst the little one snatched an orange,
and conveyed it under his pinafore, with all the dexterity of an
experienced thief. The youngest of these children was not four years
old, and the eldest, apparently, not above five. There was reason to
believe this was not the first time they had been guilty of stealing,
though, perhaps, unknown to their parents, as I have found to be the
case in other instances.

Another little boy in the school, whose mother kept a little shop,
frequently brought money with him,--as much as three-pence at a time.
On questioning the child how he came by it, he always said that his
mother gave it to him, and I thought there was no reason to doubt his
word, for there was something so prepossessing in his appearance,
that, at the time, I could not doubt the truth of his story. But
finding that the child spent a great deal of money in fruit, cakes,
&c., and still had some remaining, I found it advisable to see the
mother, and to my astonishment found it all a fiction, for she had not
given him any, and we were both at a loss to conceive how he obtained
it. The child told _me_ his mother gave it to him; and he told
his _mother_ that it was given to him at school; but when he was
confronted with us both, not a word would he say. It was evident,
therefore, that he had obtained it by some unfair means, and we both
determined to suspend our judgment, and to keep a strict eye on him in
future. Nothing, however, transpired for some time;--I followed him
home several times, but saw nothing amiss. At length I received notice
from the mother, that she had detected taking money out of the till,
in her little shop. It then came out that there was some boy in the
neighbourhood who acted as banker to him, and for every two pence
which he received, he was allowed one penny for taking care of it. It
seems that the child was afraid to bring any more money to school, on
account of being so closely questioned as to where he obtained it, and
this, probably, induced him to give more to the boy than he otherwise
would have done. Suffice it, however, to say, that both children
at length were found out, and the mother declared that the child
conducted her to some old boards in the wash-house, and underneath
them there was upwards of a shilling, which he had pilfered at various

The reader may remember too, that during the autumn of 1833, a boy of
_fourteen committed suicide_, and that another of the same age was
convicted of the dreadful crime of _murder_.

It appears he knew a boy a little younger than himself, who was going
to a distance with some money, and having taken a pocket-knife with
him, he way-laid him and threatened to murder him. The poor little
victim kneeled down,--offered him his money, his knife, and all he
had, and said he would love him all the days of his life if he would
spare him, and never tell what had happened; but the pathetic and
forcible appeal, which would have melted many a ruffian-heart, was
vain:--the little monster stabbed him in the throat, and then robbed
him. On his trial he discovered no feeling, and he even heard his
sentence with the utmost indifference, and without a tear.

It would have been easy to multiply cases of juvenile delinquency,
both those which have been brought under the cognizance of the law,
and those which have come to my own knowledge, but I think enough has
been related to shew how early children may, and do become depraved.
I have purposely given most of them with as few remarks of my own as
possible, that they may plead their own cause with the reader, and
excite a desire in his bosom to enter with me, in the next chapter, on
an inquiry into the causes of such early depravity.

Since the above incidents and facts were observed, and reports from
the public prints were recorded, general attention has been drawn more
fully to the very great increase of ignorance, demoralization, and
crime, amongst the lower classes, both old and young. These things
call on us most loudly for active effort and exertion; and it becomes
the patriot and philanthropist, but especially the Christian, to look
around, to think and to consider what effectual means may be found,
and what efficient plans may be adopted to strike the evil fatally at
its roots, and cause it to wither away. If these things be not done,
the moral pestilence must increase, and eventually deprive us of all
that is dear to us as men, and citizens.



_Degraded condition of parents--Dreadful effects of
drunkenness--Neglect of children inevitable and wilful--The tutorship
of wicked companions--Tricks of pantomimes injurious--Mischiefs
arising from sending children to pawnbrokers--Fairs demoralizing--All
Kinds of begging to be repressed_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Why thus surprised to see the infant race
  Treading the paths of vice? Their eyes can trace
  Their _parents_' footsteps in the way they go:
  What shame, what fear, then, can their young hearts know?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Appalling as the _effects_ of juvenile delinquency are, I think we may
discover a principal cause of them in the present condition and habits
of the adult part of the labouring classes. We shall find, very
frequently, that infant crime is the only natural produce of evil,
by the infallible means of precept and example. I do not intend to
assert, that the majority of parents amongst the poor, actually
encourage their children in the commission of theft; we may, indeed,
fear that some do; as in the instance of the two little girls detected
in shop-lifting, whose case was detailed in the preceding chapter; but
still, I should hope that such facts are not frequent. If, however,
they do not give them positive encouragement in pilfering, the example
they set is often calculated to deprave the heart of the child, and,
amongst other evil consequences, to induce dishonesty; whilst in other
cases we find, that from peculiar circumstances the child is deprived,
during the whole day, of the controling presence of a parent, and is
exposed to all the poisonous contamination which the streets of large
cities afford; and hence appears another cause of evil. Here children
come in contact with maturer vice, and are often drawn by its
influence from the paths of innocence; as we have already seen in
many instances. What resistance can the infant make to the insidious
serpents, which thus, as it, were, steal into its cradle, and infuse
their poison into its soul? The guardians of its helplessness are
heedless or unconscious of its danger, and, alas! it has not the
fabled strength of the infant Hercules to crush its venomous
assailants. Surely such a view of the frequent origin of crime must
awaken our commiseration for its miserable victims, and excite in us a
desire to become the defenders of the unprotected.

It will, however, be said by some, "Where are the natural guardians of
the child? Where are its parents? Are we to encourage their neglect
of duty, by becoming their substitutes? It is their business to look
after their children, and not ours." Frequently have I heard such
sentiments put forth, and sometimes by persons in whom I knew they
were rather owing to a want of reflection than of philanthropy. But a
want of thought, or of feeling, it must certainly be; because, on no
principle of reason or humanity can we make the unnatural conduct
of fathers and mothers, a plea for withholding our protection and
assistance from the helpless objects of their cruelty and neglect.
If we do so, we not only neglect our duty towards such children, but
permit the growth and extension of the evil. We must recollect that
they will not merely play their own wicked parts during their lives,
but will also become models to the next generation.

It should be remembered here, that I am treating of an evil which
extends itself to all classes of society; I am appealing to the
prudence of men, that they may, for their own sakes, investigate its
cause; I shall hereafter appeal to them as philanthropists, and, still
more urgently, as Christians, that they may examine the merits of the
remedy I shall propose.

The culpability of many parents is beyond dispute. They not only omit
to set their children good examples, and give them good advice, but,
on the contrary, instil into their minds the first rudiments of
wickedness, and lead them into the paths of vice. Their homes present
scenes which human nature shudders at, and which it is impossible
truly to describe. There are parents who, working at home, have every
opportunity of training up their children "in the way they should go,"
if they were inclined so to do. Instead of this, we often find, in
the case of the fathers, that they are so lost to every principle of
humanity, that as soon as they receive their wages, they leave their
homes, and hasten with eager steps to the public house; nor do they
re-pass its accursed threshold, till the vice-fattening landlord has
received the greater part of the money which should support their
half-fed, half-clothed wives and children; and till they have
qualified themselves, by intoxication, to act worse than brutes on
their return home. To men of this description it matters not whether
or not their children are proving themselves skilful imitators of
their evil example,--they may curse and swear, lie and steal,--so long
as they can enjoy the society of their pot companions, it is to them a
matter of total indifference.

During my superintendence of the first school, I had a painful
facility of examining these matters. Frequently, when I have inquired
the cause of the wretched plight in which some of the children were
sent to the school,--perhaps with scarcely a shoe to their feet,
sometimes altogether without,--I have heard from their mothers the
most heart-rending recitals of the husband's misconduct. One family in
particular I remember, consisting of seven children, two of whom were
in the school; four of them were supported entirely by the exertions
of the mother, who declared to me, that she did not receive a shilling
from their father for a month together; all the money he got he kept
to spend at the public-house; and his family, for what he cared, might
go naked, or starve. He was not only a great drunkard, but a reprobate
into the bargain; beating and abusing the poor woman, who thus
endeavoured to support his children by her labour.

The evil does not always stop here. Driven to the extreme of
wretchedness by her husband's conduct, the woman sometimes takes to
drinking likewise, and the poor babes are ten thousand times more
pitiable than orphans. I have witnessed the revolting sight of a
child leading home both father and mother from the public-house, in
a disgusting state of intoxication. With tears and entreaties I
have seen the poor infant vainly endeavouring to restrain them from
increasing their drunkenness, by going into the houses on their way
home; they have shaken off the clinging child, who, in the greatest
anxiety, waited without to resume its painful task; knowing, all the
time, perhaps, that whilst its parents were thus throwing away their
money, there was not so much as a crust of bread to appease its hunger
at home. Let it not be thought that this is an overcharged picture of
facts; it is but a faint, a very faint and imperfect sketch of reality
which defies exaggeration. Cases of such depravity, on the part of
mothers, I with much pleasure confess to be comparatively rare.
Maternal affection is the preventive. But what, let me ask, can be
hoped of the children of such parents? What are their characters
likely to become under such tuition? With such examples before their
eyes, need they leave their homes to seek contamination, or to learn
to do evil.

And here I must say, if I were asked to point out, in the metropolis,
or any large city, the greatest nuisance, the worst bane of society,
the most successful promoter of vice,--I should, without a moment's
hesitation, point to the first public-house or spirit dealer's
that met my view. Nor can I, in speaking of the causes of juvenile
delinquency, omit to say, I think these houses, indirectly, a very
great cause of it. Why I think so, my readers will readily conceive
from what I have already said. I am sure that Satan has no temple
in which he is so devoutly worshiped, or so highly honoured, as the
ale-house,--no priest is so devoted as its landlord,--no followers are
so zealous in his behalf as its frequenters.

Let any one in the evening visit the homes of the labouring class in
a poor neighbourhood, and he will find, in many cases, a
barely-furnished room, a numerous family of small children,--perhaps
forgetting the pangs of hunger in the obliviousness of sleep,--a wife,
with care-worn features, sitting in solitary wretchedness, ruminating
on wants she knows not how to supply--namely, clothes and food for
her children on the morrow, and on debts which she has no means of
discharging. But where is he who should be sharing her cares, bidding
her be of good cheer, and devising with her some means of alleviating
their mutual distress? Where is the father of the sleeping babes, the
husband of the watchful wife? Go to the public-house; you will see
him there with a host of his companions, of like character
and circumstances, smoking, drinking, singing, blaspheming,
gambling--ruining his health, spending his money; as jovial as though
he had no wretched wife, no starving babes at home! and as lavish of
money which should procure them food, as the man who is thriving on
his excesses could wish him to be.

I never look on a public-house without considering it as the abode of
the evil genius of the neighbourhood; the despoiler of industry, the
destroyer of domestic comfort; and heartily do I wish, that some means
could be devised for abolishing these resorts of wickedness; that some
legislative enactment may render it unlawful for any one to keep such
places. With respect to a peculiar sort of beverage, it has been
declared to be illegal to afford its purchasers accommodation for
drinking it on the premises. Why not extend it to other liquors? I
know this would be pronounced an infringement on English liberty! The
worst of men would raise this outcry against the measure. But surely
it should rather be called a preventive of English licentiousness. All
good men would consider it as such. I would not rob the labourer of
his daily allowance of a beverage which is believed by many to be of
essential service, when taken in moderation; but I would have him
drink it at home, that his wife and children may participate in his
enjoyment. Perhaps, it will be said, a man closely confined to labour
all day, needs some relaxation from domestic cares--that this can only
be found in change of scene, and in social company. I will concede
this. The plea of health, though often speciously advanced, cannot be
denied. But is it necessary for his health, that this change of scene
should be found in a close tap-room, within a few yards of his home,
where he drinks to a ruinous excess till a late hour,--breathing all
the while a hot atmosphere of tobacco-smoke? Is it not possible to
obtain the change of scene, and the relaxation of social converse, by
mutual visits amongst friends similarly situated,--by a ramble to the
suburbs,--or, in cases where the daily occupation affords too little
opportunity for exercise, are there not places established for
gymnastic exercises,--and might not others be formed for the like
purposes? Certain I am that the abolition of public-houses, in large
cities, as places of daily resort for the adult labouring poor, would
be attended with the most salutary consequences. I know of nothing
that must so certainly tend to their improvement both in character and

No man can witness the scenes, and doings, of many persons who attend
the new beer-houses, without pain and regret, that ever an act of
parliament was passed to legalize such places. I have visited some
hundreds of such, throughout the country, and can positively assert
that the demoralising tendency of too many is awful! Our magistrates
must be more careful in granting licences, or the efforts of the wise
and good will be neutralized, by the evils concocted at such places.
The old inkeepers had a character, and capital at stake. The new
beerhouse-keepers, I should say, a majority of them at least, have
neither, and consequently are less cautious, having less to lose.
Whatever the end of the legislature might have been in enabling the
poor to procure a good and cheap article more easily, to be drunk on
or off the premises, the thing has not answered the end, and no one
can deny, who will take the trouble to visit such places in different
counties, that the _Act_ has been a miserable failure, and has been
the fruitful source of crime and immorality. What a lesson is this for
speculative, short sighted legislators?

Another measure should then be adopted, I would say--destroy the
facility of spirit-drinking, by laying on a heavy duty. It is in vain
that interested sophistry would plead its benefits in particular
cases--such, for instance, as the ludicrous plea of the needfulness
of drams for market-women on wet and frosty mornings.[A] Set these
specious benefits against the dreadful results to men's health and
pockets, from the present low price of spirits, and their consequent
enormous consumption; and then let common sense and honesty deliver
its judgment.

I have spoken thus candidly and at length upon the subject in the
present chapter, though somewhat out of place, because my feelings
would not allow me to be less plain or more brief, or to postpone
the matter to "a more convenient season." Perhaps in talking of
legislative alterations I have been wandering upon forbidden ground;
if so, in returning to my proper path, I will comfort myself with this
thought:--the progress of improvement, however slow, is sure, and it
is certainly advancing in this country; I require no other assurance
than the establishment of Infant Schools and Mechanic's.

[Footnote A: Some conception of the fearful height which drunkenness
has attained, may be gathered from the fact, that in 1829, the
quantity of distilled spirits on which the duty was paid in the three
kingdoms, amounted to 23,000,000 of gallons. To form a due estimate,
however, of the actual consumption, an immense quantity must be added,
obtained by smuggling. Of the rum imported for home consumption,
allowing for that re-exported, the quantity was 5,000,000 of gallons.
Of brandy and other articles imported, 1,500,000 gallons; making a
total, with the omission of all on which the duty was evaded, of
30,000,000 of gallons of ardent spirits consumed in the year.
Five millions of revenue grew out of this, but it cost the people
15,000,000_l_. sterling, a which would have paid half-a-year's
interest of the national debt.]

"No person," says Sir Astley Cooper "has greater hostility to dram
drinking than myself, insomuch that I never suffer any ardent spirits
in my house--thinking _them evil spirits!_--and if the poor could
witness the white livers, the dropsies, the shattered nervous systems
which I love seen as the consequence of drinking, they would be aware
that _spirits_ and _poisons_ were synonymous terms."

Institutions; it _will_ advance, and what the legislature may never be
able to accomplish, the spirit of improvement eventually will.

But having considered those cases, in which wilful neglect and bad
example may be charged upon the parents, we should not forget to tell
those who object to our interference in the duty of a child's natural
protectors, that it is not, in every instance, from _wilful_ neglect
on their part, that their children are left unprotected in the
streets. The circumstances of the labouring classes are such, in many
cases, that they are compelled to leave their children either wholly
unprotected, or in the charge of some one who frequently becomes a
betrayer instead of a defender. The father, perhaps, goes to his daily
labour in the morning, before the children are out of bed, and does
not return till they are in bed again at night. The mother goes out in
like manner, the earnings of the husband being insufficient for the
maintenance of the family, and the children are intrusted throughout
the day to the care of some girl, whose parents are as poor as
themselves, and are glad to let her earn something towards her
support. Numbers of little girls thus go out before they are twelve
years old, and teach the little children all they know,--commonly
to be deceitful, and not unfrequently to be dishonest. The parents,
careless or unsuspecting, only make inquiry when they return home if
the children have been good and quiet, and of course receive an answer
in the affirmative. In the course of a few years the evil consequences
begin to show themselves, and then the good folks wonder how or when
the seeds of such depravity could have been sown. Many I know will be
inclined to smile at the insignificancy of the cause pointed out. I
can only say, it is from such springs, however regarded, that the
great stream of vice is supplied; and what we laugh at now, for its
insignificant origin, will hereafter, in its maturity, laugh at us for
our impotence, in vainly endeavouring to stem it. What are parents to
do with their children, situated as those are of whom we have just
spoken? And very many are so situated. Is it possible for them to
perform their duty, as protectors of their children? It requires all
their time to labour for their support, and they therefore leave them,
unavoidably, either in such hands as we have described, or to take
care of themselves; to range the streets, and form such associations
as may there happen to fall in their way. They get into company with
older delinquents, and become first their instruments, and then their
associates; till at length they find their way into a gaol.

This is no delusive way of accounting for the matter,--it is a
solution which experience and observation have taught and established.
I have traced the progress of delinquency, in actual life, from
its earliest stages,--from the little trembling pilferer of the
apple-stall, not more than four or five years old, to the confirmed
thief of nine or ten years--who had been in gaol three or four times,
and was as proud of his dexterity in thieving, and hardihood under
punishment, as he could have been of the most virtuous accomplishment,
or the most becoming fortitude. The infant thief, conscious of shame,
and trembling with fear, will tell you on detection, that "Tommy," or
"Billy," some older associate, set him to do it; you let him go: he
joins his companions, who laugh at the story he tells, ridicule him
for his fears, praise him for his dexterity, and rejoice in his
escape. It will be very easy to imagine how, under a course of such
treatment, the young offender so soon dismisses both shame and fear;
and learns to forget everything but the gain and glory of his crimes.

It is no small matter of credit with older thieves--(by older thieves
I still mean boys of nine or ten years old)--to have under their
tuition two or three pupils. I have seen in my walks as many as seven
or eight sallying forth from the alleys in the neighbourhood of
Spitalfields, under the command, as it were, of a leader, a boy
perhaps not more than nine or ten years old. I have watched their
plans, and have noticed that it was usual to send first the youngest
boy to attempt the theft--perhaps the object to be obtained was only
a bun from the open window of a pastry-cook's shop; if he failed,
another was sent, whilst the rest were lurking at the corner of some
court, ready to flee in case their companion was detected; and I have
sometimes seen, that after all the rest had failed, either from want
of skill, or the too great vigilance of the shop-keeper, the boy
who acted as leader has started out, and by a display of superior
dexterity, would have carried off the prize, had it not happened that
some one was thus purposely watching his conduct. When detected, if an
old offender, he will either look you in tire face with the greatest
effrontery and an expression of defiance, or he will feign to cry,
and tell you he was hungry, has no father nor mother, &c.; though
frequently, on further inquiry, I have found the whole story to be

Alas! there is _one_ class of children, with whom I know not how to
deal, I mean those without the natural protectors. The man can for a
more trifle get rid of all responsibility, though in general, most
able to bear it, the woman has the dead weight, which often proves the
destruction of her offspring, and herself, suicide and murder are
the first-fruits frequently to her, but she loves her offspring, and
perhaps he who deceived her, and for both their sakes fights the
battle against fearful odds; for a few years at least, she will not
last long, at length she sinks! she dies! where, oh! where! is the
guardian for her child! Reader, there are many thousands of such!
What becomes of them? But there are other mothers of this class,
more ignorant, have less of feeling, no education, no training, they
advance from bad to worse, until they have five or six children, here
are circumstances for children to come into the world grievously
against them. What becomes of these? To avoid painful details I will
answer the question, they become a pest to society, each a demoralizer
of others, living upon the public--as tramps, begging impostors,
thieves, teachers of thieves, and _cost the country more than five
times their number born under other and better circumstances_. God
grant that spiritual light, philosophical light, and scientific light
united, may enable us to find the remedy!

The two grand causes of juvenile delinquency, we have seen then, to be
the evil example of parents themselves; and the bad associations
which children form at an early age, when, through neglect, they are
suffered to be in the streets. In the first instance, the parents of
the children are wholly without excuse; in the second, though in some
cases we may blame them, in others we cannot justly do so; but must
admit, as an exculpation, the unfortunate circumstances of their
condition in life.

It would be easy to shew, by a multitude of instances, the evil
effects produced on children of a tender age by street associations.
But I think enough has been said to convince every reflecting mind
that it is highly necessary that we should interfere in behalf of
children so situated; and I shall conclude the present chapter by some
remarks on the various habits and practices of the poor classes, which
have at least an injurious tendency on the character of the rising

As children are such imitative beings, I cannot help making a few
observations on the tricks which are usually introduced into our
_pantomimes_. It is well known that those of the clown form a
principal part of the entertainment. It is also equally well known,
that the pantomimes are particularly designed to amuse children, for
which reason they are generally represented during the Christmas
holidays, If, however, they were merely intended to _amuse_ them, they
who have introduced them have, perhaps, gained their object; but what
kind of _instruction_ they afford, I shall here attempt to shew. I
do not recollect to have seen a pantomime myself without _pilfering_
being introduced under every possible form, such as shop lifting,
picking pockets, &c. &c. Can it then be for a moment supposed
improbable that children, after having witnessed these exhibitions,
should endeavour to put the thing into practice, whenever an
opportunity offers, and try whether they cannot take a handkerchief
from a gentleman's pocket with the same ease and dexterity as the
clown in the play did; or, if unsuccessful in this part of the
business, that they should try their prowess in carrying off a
shoulder of mutton from a butcher's shop,--a loaf from a baker,--or
lighter articles from the pastry-cools, fruiterer, or linen-draper?
For, having seen the dexterity of the clown, in these cases, they will
not be at a loss for methods to accomplish, by sleight of hand, their
several purposes. In my humble opinion, children cannot go to a better
place for instruction in these matters, or to a place more calculated
to teach them the art of pilfering to perfection, than to the theatre,
when pantomimes are performed. To say that the persons who write and
introduce these pieces are in want of _sense_, may not be true; but I
must charge them with a want of sufficient thought, right feeling and
principle, in not calculating on their baneful effects on the rising
generation, for whose amusement it appears they are chiefly produced.
Many unfortunate persons, who have heard sentence of death passed upon
them, or who are now suffering under the law, in various ways, have
had to lament that the _first seeds of vice were sown in their minds
while viewing the pilfering tricks of clowns in pantomimes_. Alas!
too little do we calculate on the direful effects of this species of
amusement on the future character of the young. We first permit their
minds to be poisoned, by offering them the draught, and then punish
them by law for taking it. Does not the wide world afford a variety
of materials sufficient for virtuous imitation, without descending to
that which is vicious? It is much easier to make a pail of pure water
foul, than it is to make a pail of foul water pure. It must not be
supposed that I wish to sweep off every kind of amusement from the
juvenile part of society, but I do wish to sweep off all that has a
pernicious tendency. The limits which I have prescribed to myself will
not allow me to enter more at large into this subject; otherwise
I could produce a number of facts which would prove, most
unquestionably, the propriety of discontinuing these exhibitions.

A conversation which I once heard between some boys who were playing
at what is called _pitch-in-the-hole_, will prove the truth of my
assertions. "Bill," said one of the boys to the other, "when did you
go to the play last?" "On Monday night," was the reply. "Did you see
the new pantomime?"--"Yes." "Well, did you see any fun?"--"Yes, I
believe I did too. I saw the clown _bone_ a whole _hank_ of sausages,
and put them into his pocket, and then pour the gravy in after them.
You would have split your sides with laughing, had you been there.
A.B. and C.D. were with me, and they laughed as much as I did.
And what do you think A.B. did the next night?"--"How should I
know."--"Why," replied the other, "he and C.D. _boned_ about two
pounds of sausages from a pork shop, and we had them for supper." This
conversation I heard from a window, which looked into a ruinous place
where boys assembled to toss up for money, and other games. This fact
alone, without recording any more, is sufficient to show the evil of
which I have been speaking. And I do most sincerely hope that those
persons who have any influence over the stage, will use their utmost
endeavours, speedily, to expunge every thing thus calculated to
promote evil inclinations in the minds of children, and vicious habits
in the lives of men.

It is not impossible that scenic exhibitions might be made a most
powerful means of instruction to the young, and tend to promote virtue
and happiness, as well as be a means of rational amusement, but as
they now exist, their extirpation is desirable.

As I have had much experience from being brought up in London, I am
perfectly aware of the evil impressions and dangerous temptations that
the children of the poor are liable to fall into; and therefore most
solemnly affirm that nothing in my view would give so much happiness
to the community at large, as the taking care of the affections of the
infant children of the poor.

There is, moreover, a practice very prevalent among the poor, which
does greater mischief than the people are generally aware of, and that
is, sending their children to the _pawnbrokers_. It is well known that
many persons send children, scarcely seven years of age, to these
people, with pledges of various sorts, a thing that cannot be too
severely condemned. I know an instance of a little boy finding a shawl
in the street; and being in the habit of going to the pawnbroker's
for his mother, instead of taking the shawl home to his parents, he
actually pawned it and spent all the money, which might never have
been known by his parents, had not the mother found the duplicate in
his pocket. It is evident, then, that many parents have no one but
themselves to blame for the misconduct of their children; for had this
child not been accustomed to go to such a place _for his parents_, he
would never have thought of going there _for himself_; and the shawl
most likely would have been carried home to _them_. Indeed, there
is no knowing where such a system will end, for if the children are
suffered to go to such places, they may in time pledge that which does
not belong to them; and so easy is the way of turning any article
into money, that we find most young thieves, of both sexes, when
apprehended, have some duplicates about them. Those persons,
therefore, who take pledges of children (contrary to the act of
parliament, whether they know it or not,) ought to be severely
reprimanded; for I am persuaded, that such conduct is productive of
very great mischief indeed.

Taking children to _fairs_, is another thing which is also productive
of much harm. At the commencement of the first school, seventy or
eighty children were frequently absent whenever there was a fair near
London; but the parents were afterwards cured of this, and we seldom
had above twenty absentees at fair-time. Several of the children have
told me that their parents wished to take them, but they requested to
be permitted to come to school instead. Indeed the parents, finding
that they can enjoy themselves better without their children, are very
willing to leave them at school.

It is a difficult matter to persuade grown persons of the impropriety
of attending fairs, who have been accustomed to it when children;
but children are easily persuaded from it; for if they are properly
entertained at school, they will not have the least desire to go to
such places.

I cannot quit this subject without relating one or two more very bad
habits to which children are addicted, and which are, perhaps, fit
subjects for the consideration of the _Mendicity Society_. As it is
the object of that society to clear the streets of beggars, it would
be well if they would put a stop to those juvenile beggars, many of
whom are children of respectable parents, who assemble together
to build what they call a GROTTO; to the great annoyance of all
passengers in the street. However desirous persons may be of
encouraging ingenuity in children, I think it is doing them much harm
to give them money when they ask for it in this way. Indeed it would
appear, that some of the children have learned the art of begging so
well, that they are able to vie with the most experienced mendicants.
Ladies in particular are very much annoyed by children getting before
them and asking for money; nor will they take the answer given them,
but put their hats up to the ladies' faces, saying, "Please, ma'am,
remember the grotto;" and when told by the parties that they have
no money to give, they will still continue to follow, and be as
importunate as any common beggar. However innocent and trifling this
may appear to some, I am inclined to believe that such practices tend
to evil, for they teach children to be mean, and may cause some of
them to choose begging rather than work. I think that the best way to
stop this species of begging is, never to give them any thing. A fact
which came under my own observation will shew that the practice may
be productive of mischief. A foreign gentleman walking up Old Street
Road, was surrounded by three or four boys, saying, "Please, sir,
remember the grotto."--"Go away," was the reply, "I will give you
none." To this followed, "Do, pray sir, remember the grotto." "No, I
tell you, I will give you nothing." "Do, sir, only once a-year." At
length, I believe, he put something into one of their hats, and thus
got rid of them; but he had scarcely gone 200 yards, before he came
to another grotto, and out sallied three more boys, with the same
importunate request: he replied, "I will give you nothing; plague have
you and your grotto." The boys however persevered, till the gentleman,
having lost all patience, gave one of them a gentle tap to get out of
the way, but the boy being on the side of the foot-path fell into the
mud, which had been scraped off the road, and in this pickle followed
the gentleman, bellowing out, "That man knocked me down in the mud,
and I had done nothing to him." In consequence, a number of persons
soon collected, who insulted the gentleman very much, and he would
certainly have been roughly handled, had he not given the boy
something as a recompence. He then called a coach, declaring he could
not walk the streets of London in safety.

Those who know what mischief has arisen from very trifling causes,
will, of course, perceive the necessity of checking this growing evil;
for this man went away with very unfavourable impressions concerning
our country, and would, no doubt, prejudice many against us, and make
them suppose we are worse than we are.

Nearly allied to this is, "Pray remember poor Guy Faux;" which not
only teaches children the art of begging, but is frequently the means
of their becoming dishonest, for I have known children break down
fences, and water-spouts, and, in short, any thing that they could lay
their hands upon, in order to make a bonfire, to the great danger of
the inhabitants near it, without producing one good effect. Yet how
easily might this practice be put down. The ill effects of it are so
self-evident, that there can be no need for further enlargement.

I also disapprove of children going about begging at Christmas; this
practice is calculated to instil into the children's minds a principle
of meanness not becoming the English character, and the money they
get, seldom, if ever, does them any good. If persons choose to give
children any thing at this time of the year, there can be no objection
to it, but I dislike children going about to ask for money like common
beggars; it cannot be proper, and should be generally discountenanced.
All these things, to some men, may appear trifling, but to me and
others they are of consequence; for if we mean to improve the general
character of the labouring population, there is nothing like beginning
in time; and we should, amongst other things, get rid of all mean and
improper customs.

Before concluding this chapter I would hint to travellers not to give
children money for running after a coach. I have seen children of both
sexes run until their breath failed, and, completely exhausted, drop
down on the grass; merely because some injudicious persons had thrown
halfpence to them. I have also seen little boys turn over and over
before the horses, for the purpose of getting money, to the danger of
their own lives and of the passengers; and I recollect an instance of
one boy being, in consequence, killed on the spot. In some counties
children will, in spring and summer, run after a carriage with flowers
upon a long stick, thrusting it in the coach or the faces of the
travellers, begging halfpence, which habit had been taught them by the
same injudicious means.

The most virtuous and pious of men, on looking back to their early
lives, have almost invariably confessed that they owe the first
seeds of what is excellent in them, to the blessing of God, on the
instruction and example of their parents, and those around them in the
years of their childhood.

Reflections like these ought to make us humble and thankful for the
advantages we have enjoyed, and cause us to look with an eye of pity,
charity, and commiseration on the vices and delinquencies of the poor,
rather than to judge them with harsh and cruel severity. Had we been
in their places, might not--would not--our character and conduct have
been as theirs?--Still further, ought not such thoughts as these to
touch our hearts with deep compassion for them, and excite us to
strenuous endeavours to remedy these lamentable evils, by the most
powerful and effective measures that can be found; and more especially
to strive if possible to rescue the rising generation from the
contamination of surrounding vice and misery.



_Means long in operation important--Prisons awfully
corrupting--Deplorable condition of those released from
jail--Education of the infant poor--Its beneficial results--Cases
of inviolable honesty--Appeal of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet--The infant
school, an asylum from accidents, and a prevention of various
evils--Obstacles in the way of married persons obtaining
employment--Arguments for the plan of infant training--Prevalence of
profane swearing--The example often shewn by parents--Anecdote in
illustration--Parents ill used by their young children--Christian-like
wish of George III.--Education for poor children still objected
to--Folly of such objections illustrated--Lectures on the subject of
infant training_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The most likely and hopeful reformation of the road must begin with
children. Wholesome laws and good sermons are but slow and late ways;
the timely and most compendious way is a good education."--_Archbishop

       *       *       *       *       *

Having brought the prevalency of juvenile delinquency immediately
before the eyes of my readers, by various examples in the second
chapter, and in the third exhibited a few of the causes of it, I shall
now proceed to point out what, in my humble opinion appears to be the
only efficient remedy, namely, the education of the infant poor.
It may not be amiss, however, to glance at the means which have
heretofore been employed, and found, though productive of some good,
inefficient for the end proposed.

As preventives, I may notice the numerous national and Sunday schools,
tract societies, &c., established throughout the kingdom. These have
doubtless much good effect, and deserve the zealous support of every
one who has at heart the welfare of society in general, and the
improvement of the labouring classes in particular. Many have been
plucked, "as brands from the burning," by these institutions; which
are a blessing to the objects of their benevolence, and an honour to
their conductors and supporters. That Sunday schools are not wholly
efficient, in conjunction with other institutions, to accomplish
the end desired, is to be attributed, on the one hand, to the small
portion of time in which their salutary influence is exerted; and, on
the other, to their not admitting children at a sufficiently early
age. At the period usually assigned for their entrance, they have not
only acquired many evil habits, but their affections have become
so thoroughly perverted, as to offer great, and, in some cases,
insuperable obstacles to the corrective efforts of their teachers.
Each child brings into the school some portion of acquired evil,
making, when united, a formidable aggregate, and affording every
facility for mutual contamination. Add to this, the counteracting
effect which the bad examples they meet with in the course of six days
must have upon the good they hear on the seventh, and it will be seen
how little comparatively is really practicable. I do not say this to
dishearten those who are engaged in this labour of love, or to abate
the zeal of its promoters. At the same time that their experience
confirms the truth of my observations--and I know they would candidly
confess that it does so--they must have many gratifying instances of a
contrary nature, in children, who from evil habits have been won to
a love of goodness and religion, shewn not merely in a punctual
attendance at their school, but in that good-will toward their
fellow-scholars, and grateful love to their teachers, which are the
only infallible signs of a change in the affections. These things
encourage them, in spite of many difficulties and mortifications, to
persevere in well doing; and may the God of love bless their labours
with an increase of fruitfulness! It is only my purpose here to state,
that the most likely human means to produce such an increase, is the
establishment of infant schools;--schools designed, particularly, for
the cultivation of the affections,--for preparing the heart to receive
that wisdom which teaches us to love God supremely, and to love our
neighbour as ourselves. As to the system of instruction pursued in
Sunday schools, as well as other free schools, it is, indeed, my
opinion, that some alteration for the better might be made, but as I
intend to speak of this matter in a future place, I shall say no
more on the subject at present, but pass on to notice prison
discipline--which is, I fear, entitled to any term but that of a

That the end of punishment should be the prevention of future crime,
rather than the gratification of vindictive feelings--whether those of
states or of injured individuals--but few will venture to deny; and
yet how little calculated is the punishment usually inflicted on young
offenders in this country, to answer that end! They are shut up in
a prison, in company with other thieves, perhaps older and more
experienced than themselves, and all that was wanting to complete
their education in dishonesty is here attained. Previously to their
confinement within the walls of one of these places, in spite of the
assertions of their hardened associates, that it was nothing to fear,
it is probable, dread or apprehension hung over their minds; the last
vestige of shame had not been banished by a public appearance as
criminals--and this, properly taken advantage of, might have made
their reformation possible! But, having encountered the object of
their fears, and endured the shame of a trial--shame and fear are
alike gone for ever; and when once they find their way into those
sinks of iniquity, there is very little hope of amendment. From that
period a prison has not the least terror for them. Being a place of
idleness while there, it calls forth the evil inclinations of
its inmates, and as they have opportunities of indulging those
inclinations, it not only loses all its utility, but becomes
incalculably injurious. I heard a boy who had been confined in Newgate
say, that he did not care any thing about it; that his companions
supplied him with plenty of victuals, that there was some good fun to
be seen there, and that most likely he should soon be there again;
which proved too true, for he was shortly after taken up again for
stealing two pieces of printed calico, and transported. This, with a
multitude of similar facts, will shew that there are few who do not
become more depraved, and leave such places worse than when they
entered them. A gentleman who visited Newgate informed me that he had
been very much surprised at finding so many children there; some of
whom were ironed; and on his inquiring the cause of such severity
towards children so young, he was told by one of the turnkeys, that
_he had snuck more trouble with them than he had with old offenders_.
This fact has been verified by the chief officers of the Wakefield
Model Prison,--the boys give most trouble. In the matter of treating
juveniles as delinquents, I am sure we are wrong. I have seen both the
magistrates and the judges insulted on the bench by juveniles brought
before them, and taunted with the following: "You can do no more, you
with the big wig! I wish you may sit there until I come out!" And in
the month of May, 1852, the magistrates of Wakefield were insulted by
a boy 15 years old, who had been taken up as an impostor, with his
arm doubled in a sling, and shamming to be deaf and dumb,--a healthy
strong youth, able and fit for work--and when asked why he did not
work, answered, because he could get more by his own method! Hear!
this ye indiscriminate alms-givers! And, further, when expostulated
with by the magistrates for the sin and wickedness of pretending to
be lame, &c., he laughed at them outright for being so silly as to
suppose that he should not _live well if he could?_ When told he
should be committed for three months, he had the impudence to tell the
court that he would do the same again, when he came out, clapped his
hat on in open defiance, and shouted, "That's all you can do!" The
chairman expressed sorrow that he could not order a whipping, but
the prisoner laughed at him, and said, "I am too old for that." Such
things were not known in my younger days. I am afraid we have erred
in this matter. A little wholesome correction did wonders. In such
matters, it, at least, made the parties civil, and, I think, deterred
from crime. I am fearful that in this age mankind aim in some things
to be more perfect than the Great Ruler of the Universe!

To the bad habits of a prison, and the association with guilt, must be
added the deplorably unprovided state, in which, at the termination of
their period of imprisonment, they are sent forth into society. What
friends have they but their former companions? What habitations,
but their former resorts of iniquity? What means of procuring a
livelihood, but their former evil practices? We accordingly find, that
it is not unfrequently the case, with these young offenders, that
scarcely a day elapses after their liberation, before they find
themselves again in custody, and within the walls of a prison. One
cannot, indeed, view the exertions made by the "Society for the
Improvement of Prison Discipline" in this respect, without feelings of
gratitude to those who take an active part in it[A]; neither should we
forget to return thanks to the Author of all good, that he should
have encouraged the hearts of persons to venture even their lives, to
improve the condition of the prisoners in Newgate and elsewhere;--that
even females are found, who, conquering the timidity and diffidence
of their sex, have visited these abodes of vice and misery, for the
purpose of ameliorating the condition of their inhabitants. There have
been men, claiming to be considered wise men, who have ridiculed the
exertions of these daughters of philanthropy, and have made them
objects of ridicule, but, happily, they are impervious to the shafts
of folly; and as heedless of the unjust censures, as they are
undesirous of the applause of man. Their aim is, the good of their
fellow-creatures,--their reward, the pleasure of doing good, and the
approbation of Him who is goodness itself. That their well-meant and
praiseworthy exertions are not more successful can only be accounted
for by the awfully depraved affections which habitual vice produces;
when every principle of action, which should be subservient to virtue,
becomes actively employed in the cause of wickedness; for, whatever
may be the impulse which first induces offenders to do wrong, they
become, in course of time, so totally lost to all sense of what is
good as to "glory in their shame." Whether it maybe possible to devise
any plan of prison discipline sufficient to remedy the evil, I
cannot pretend to say; and I shall only repeat the burthen of my
song--_educate and protect the infant poor_; and it will be found that
_to prevent_ is not only better, but easier, than to _cure_.

[Footnote A: I will make a short extract from one of its reports,
to shew, that the chief end they have in view, is the prevention of
crime. They state, that "in the course of their visit, to the gaols
in the metropolis, the Committee very frequently meet with destitute
boys, who, on their discharge from confinement, literally know not
where to lay their heads. To assist such friendless outcasts has
been the practice of the society; and to render this relief more
efficacious, a temporary refuge has been established for such as
are disposed to abandon their vicious courses. This asylum has been
instrumental in affording assistance to a considerable number of
distressed youths, who, but for this seasonable aid, must have
resorted to criminal practices for support. On admission into this
establishment, the boys are instructed in moral and religious duty,
subjected to habits of order and industry, and after a time are placed
in situations which afford a reasonable prospect of their becoming
honest and useful members of society. To extend these objects, and to
render its exertions more widely beneficial, the society solicits the
aid of public benevolence. Its expenses are unavoidably serious, and
its funds are at present very low; but it is trusted that pecuniary
support will not be withheld, when it is considered, that on the
liberality with which this appeal is answered, depends, in a great
measure, the success of the society's objects--the reformation of the
vicious, and the prevention of crime."]

That this remedy is effectual, experience has taught me and many
others; and experience is a guide on whom we may safely rely. It has
shown me that by taking children at an early age out of the reach of
contamination in the streets, and removing them in a great measure
from the no less baneful influence of evil example at home, we may lay
such a foundation of virtue, as is not likely to be shaken. Nor do I
think it difficult to show the reason of this. It is confessed on all
hands that our first impressions are the most powerful, both as to
their immediate effects and future influence; that they not only form
the character of our childhood, but that of our maturer years. As the
mind of a child expands, it searches for new objects of employment or
gratification; and this is the time when the young fall an easy prey
to those who make a business of entrapping them into the paths of
dishonesty, and then of urging them to crimes of deeper dye. What,
then, but a most salutary result can ensue from placing a child in a
situation, where its first impressions will be those of the beauty of
goodness,--where its first feelings of happiness will consist in the
receiving and cherishing kind ness towards its little neighbours? In
after years, and in schools for older children, it is reckoned an
unavoidable evil, that they should be congregated together in numbers;
not so in the infant school; it is there made use of as a means of
developing and exercising those kindly feelings, which must conduce
to the individual and general comfort, not only there, but in society
generally. It is not merely by instructing them in _maxims_ of honesty
that we seek to provide against the evil; but by the surer way of
exciting that feeling of love towards each other--towards every
one--which, when found in activity, must not only prevent dishonesty,
but every other species of selfishness.

Consider the difference of the cases. In the one case we behold
a child associated, in happy communion, with a society--a little
world--of its own age and feelings,--continually proving the
possibility of giving and imparting happiness by receiving
and exercising kindness to its companions--secured from every
danger--supplied with a constant variety of amusement, which is at
the same time instruction; and all this under the care of a master or
mistress; acting the part, not of a petulant school-dame, or a stern
pedagogue, but of a kind and judicious parent.

In the case of the child not thus befriended, we see it, either
exposed to the dangerous associations of the street, or to the
bad examples of its parents; to their unkindness and severity, or
misguided indulgence; and presented, moreover, with every facility, as
well as every temptation, to do wrong. Now, is it to be wondered at,
that, in the former case, kind, obedient, honest characters should
be the result; and in the latter, such as we have, in our preceding
examples, exhibited? Reason tells us such a consequence is likely, and
experience has shewn us that it really happens. I could enumerate a
thousand cases of honest principle in the infants who have been
under my own care; but I can only mention one or two circumstances
illustrative of the matter.

I once had, for example, two little boys to travel with me; their
assistance was extremely valuable in organizing schools. They were
often invited to accompany me at dinner; the guests generally gave
them presents. I have watched them under many tempting circumstances,
and never found them steal. It is my firm conviction that dishonesty
is chiefly the effect of neglect. No child can be _born_ a _thief_,
in the strict sense of the term. In many schools, too, there are
fruit-trees planted in the play-ground, to which the children will not
do the least injury, nor will they touch the fruit. Flowers in pots,
such as geraniums, auriculas, and other plants, are placed in the
middle of the play-ground, without the least danger of being injured.
Such is their respect to private property.

Another instance particularly excited my notice amongst the children
in the first establishments in London. They were permitted to bring
their dinners with them, and there were boxes in the school to put
them in. Every child in the school had access to these boxes, for they
were never locked, and yet I never knew a child to lose his dinner, or
any part of it, notwithstanding many of the children, to my knowledge,
had been kept extremely short of food. I have known an instance of a
slice of bread and butter being left in the box for several weeks, by
some child that could not eat it, but none of the other children would
dare to touch it. I have found in the boxes two or three pieces of
bread, as hard as possible, and as a proof that many were hungry, and
that it did not remain there because they could not eat it, but out of
pure honesty, I have offered it to some of the children, and they have
eaten it in that state. Cold potatoes, pieces of fat, &c., were not
unacceptable to them when given; but sooner than take any thing
without leave, they have actually left it to spoil. These are facts
which shew, that notwithstanding all the disadvantages to which the
poor children are exposed, their character may be so far formed as to
produce the effects above described. "Would you take a piece of bread
out of this box that did not belong to you?" said I to the children
one day. "No, sir," replied a little girl of four years old. "Why
not?" "Because," said the child, "it would be thieving." "Well, but
suppose no one saw you?" Before I could speak another word, a number
of the children answered, "God can see everything that we do." "Yes,"
added another little boy, "if you steal a cherry, or a piece of
pencil, it is wicked." "To be sure," added another, "it is wicked to
steal any thing."

I cannot do better than introduce in this place the opinion of Judge
Bosanquet, on the subject of the education of the infant poor; and
some valuable hints will likewise be found in his remarks on prison
discipline. It is an extract from a charge to the jury delivered at
the Gloucester assizes for April, 1823. "Gentlemen, I have reason to
believe, that the offences for trial on this occasion, are rather less
than usual at this season, and, to whatever the diminution of crime
may be ascribed, I cannot forbear earnestly to press upon your
attention, a constant perseverance in two things, _which, above all
others, are calculated to diminish crime_,--the first is an unremitted
attention to the education of the children of the poor, and of all
classes of society, in the principles of true morality and sound
religion; the next is the constant and regular employment of such
persons as may be sentenced to imprisonment, in such labour as may be
adapted to their respective ages and conditions. I believe that these
observations may be considered as quite superfluous in this county,
and therefore I have taken the liberty of using the word perseverance,
because I believe your attention is already strongly drawn to that
subject, and it requires no exhortation of mine to induce your
attention to it. I am not quite sure whether in the gaol for this
city, the same means are provided for the employment of those persons
sentenced to terms of imprisonment, which are provided in the gaol
for the county. The magistrates for the city are equally desirous of
promoting the education of all the poor under their care, I have no
doubt; and I do hope and trust, if the means of labour have not been
provided in their gaol, that no time will be lost in providing those
means by which imprisonment may be made a real punishment, by which
offenders may be reformed during their imprisonment, and by which the
idle and dissolute may be prevented from any inclination to return

[Footnote A: From the time the judge referred to made the above
remarks, other judges, down to the present time, have added similar
sentiments. From 1823, until 1852, proof upon proof, has been added,
to show us the advantage of early training; and though much has been
cramming, and not training, still the results have been good. What
would they have been had the schooling given, really been _training?_
and what, if the training of children had been studied as _art_, if
the public looked on the teachers as artists, and treated them with
the consideration they deserve? Anticipations cannot be too sanguine
in estimating the results that must accrue to society from a system of
spiritual, intellectual, and moral culture, becoming universal, and
worked out by minds who will, I am sure hereafter, be able fully to
develope, from study, and practice of the _art_ of teaching, the great
principles of spiritual truths, intellectual vigour, and the moral
strength of the coming generations, which have been allowed to remain
in a state of torpor in the present.]

I have hitherto only being considering the _prudential_ motives which
should induce us to promote the education of the poor. I have shown,
that it will be for the benefit of society, inasmuch as it is likely
to decrease the number of those who transgress its laws--that it will
prove a greater security to our persons and property than laws or
prisons afford. But there are other motives which, if these selfish
ones were wholly wanting, might be sufficient to advocate, in every
humane heart, the same course of conduct. If the duty of promoting
honesty amongst the labouring classes did not exist, that of
increasing happiness and piety amongst them would not be the less
imperative. That there is much room for an augmentation of both, few,
I think, will be inclined to deny; the less so in proportion as
they have had the greater opportunity of ascertaining their actual

Let us now for a few moments consider how great a blessing an infant
school is, even when regarded as a mere asylum to take charge of the
child's bodily welfare. I have mentioned before, that the poor are
unable to take that care of their children which their tender age
requires, on account of their occupations; and have shewn, that it is
almost certain, that the children of such persons will learn every
species of vice. But there are other kinds of dangers which more
immediately affect the body, and are the cause of more accidents
than people in general imagine. I shall here notice some of the most
prominent, and hope to be able to convince the unprejudiced mind, that
it would be a charity to take charge of the infant poor, even leaving
the idea of their learning any thing good at school entirely out of
the question; and surely those persons, who disapprove of educating
the poor at all, will see the propriety of keeping, if possible, their
children safe from accidents, and preserving the lives of many little
ones, who would otherwise be lost to their country, from their falling
a prey to surrounding dangers.

It is well known that many poor people are obliged to live in garrets,
three or four stories high, with a family of six or seven children;
and it will not appear improbable that, when the children are left by
themselves, they should frequently meet with accidents by tumbling
down stairs; some breaking their backs, others their legs or arms;
and to this cause alone, perhaps, may be traced a vast number of the
cripples that daily appear as mendicants in our streets. When the
poor parents return from their daily labour, they sometimes have the
mortification of finding that one, or probably two, of their children,
are gone to an hospital; which of course makes them unhappy, and
unfits them for going through their daily labour. This dead weight,
which is continually on the minds of parents, is frequently the cause
of their being unable to please their employers, and the consequence
sometimes is, they are thrown out of work altogether; whereas, if
they were certain that their children were taken care of, they would
proceed with their daily labour cheerfully, and be enabled to give
more satisfaction to their employers than they otherwise can do.

Other parents I have known, who, when obliged to go out, have locked
their children in a room to prevent them from getting into the street,
or falling down stairs, and who have taken every precaution, as
they imagined, to protect their children; but the little creatures,
perhaps, after fretting and crying for hours at being thus confined,
have ventured to get up to the window, in order to see what was
passing in the street, when one, over-reaching itself, has fallen out
and been killed on the spot. A gentleman said, at a public meeting at
Exeter, when referring to this subject, "I have myself, twice in my
life, nearly occasioned the death of children. In one instance, a
child left to itself, ran out of the hedge by the road-side; I was
fortunately able to stop, and found the child, unconscious of its
escape, raising its hands to the reins of the horse. And on another
occasion, my horse threw a child down, and I had but just time to pull
up, and prevent the wheels from passing over the infant's head." And
it was stated in a Bristol paper, that in the short space of _one
fortnight, seven_ children were taken to the infirmary of that city so
dreadfully burnt that four of them died. Numerous cases of this kind
are to be found in the public prints, and hundreds of such accidents
occur which are not noticed in the papers at all. Many children,
again, strolling into the fields, fall into ponds and ditches, and
are drowned. So numerous, indeed, are the dangers which surround the
infant poor, as to make a forcible appeal to the hearts of the pious
and humane, and to call loudly on them to unite in rescuing this
hitherto neglected part of the rising generation from the evils to
which they are exposed.

It is much to be regretted that those persons who most need employment
should be the last to procure it; but such is the fact, for there
are so many obstacles thrown in the way of married persons, and
especially, those with a family, that many are tempted to deny that
they have any children, for fear they should lose their situations,
though it is certainly an additional stimulus to a servant to behave
orderly, when he knows that he has others to look to him for support.

Shall I close this appeal for the necessity of educating the infant
poor by another and weightier argument? They are _responsible_ and
_immortal_ beings. It may be thought that I should have given this
plea the precedence of every other. I did not, because I felt
more anxious to make good my ground with the prudent and the
philanthropic--to show them that self-interest and humanity demand our
exertions in this cause. I knew that when I came to urge such efforts
upon the attention of the Christian, I could not possibly fail. No one
who is a sincere follower of Him who said "Suffer little children to
come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom;" no one
who professes to abide by the maxims of Him whose commandment was,
"Love thy neighbour as thyself," can turn a deaf ear to the entreaties
of those who are necessitous and suffering. Thousands there are among
those of whom we have been speaking, who are brought up in as great
ignorance of God and religion, as though they had been born in a
country where the light of Revelation had never shone--where the glad
tidings of salvation have never been proclaimed. With examples of evil
continually before their eyes, both at home and abroad, we see and
hear its consequences daily in the wickedness with which our streets
abound, and in the lisped blasphemy and profanity of those who learn
to curse and swear before they can well walk.

Whilst I was at Lincoln, I was shocked beyond measure by the horrid
language of the boys; to such a pitch had the evil come, that the
magistrates were determined to fine all the men who were brought
before them for profane swearing; and I had the satisfaction of
hearing that four men had been fined whilst I was there. What a
blessing it would be if other magistrates throughout the kingdom would
follow their example!

Any person who has been accustomed to walk the streets of London, must
have heard how frequently children take the name of the Almighty in
vain; seldom or ever mentioning it but to confirm some oath. I have
seen boys playing at marbles, tops, and other games, and who, on
a dispute arising about some frivolous thing, would call upon the
Supreme Being to strike them deaf, dumb, or blind, nay, even dead,
if what they said were not true; when, nevertheless, I have been
satisfied from having observed the origin of the dispute, that the
party using the expressions has been telling a falsehood. Indeed so
common is this kind of language in the streets, that it often passes
without notice. I am inclined to think, that children accustomed to
use such expressions on every trifling occasion, will, when they grow
to riper years, pay very little respect to the sanctity of an oath. It
is, perhaps, one of the reasons why we hear of so much perjury in the
present day. At all events, little children cannot avoid hearing such
expressions, not only from those who are rather older than themselves,
but, I am sorry to say, even from their parents. I have known repeated
instances of this kind. Many little ones, when they first come to our
schools, make use of dreadful expressions, and when told that it is
wrong, will say that they did not know it was so; others, with the
greatest simplicity, have declared, that they had heard their fathers
or mothers say the same words. Hence I have had much difficulty in
persuading them that it was wrong, for they very naturally thought,
that if their parents made use of such language, they might do the
same. How great is the necessity of good example; and did parents
generally consider how apt children are to receive impressions, and to
become imitators, both in their words and actions, they would be more
cautious than they are. There are many parents who make use of very
bad expressions themselves, who would correct their children for using
the same;--as a proof of this, I will mention one circumstance, out of
many others, that took place in the school I superintended many years
since. We had a little girl there, five years old, who was so fond of
the school, that she frequently stopped after the usual hours to play
with my children and some others who chose to stay in the play-ground.
Many of them would stop till eight or nine o'clock at night, to which
I had no objection, provided their parents approved of it, and they
did not get into mischief; it being desirable to keep them out of the
streets as much as possible. It happened, however, one day, that some
of the children, offended this child, and she called them by dreadful
names, such as I cannot repeat; and, of course, the others were
terrified, and told me of them immediately. I was soon satisfied that
the child was ignorant of the meaning of what she said, for, as an
excuse for her conduct, she declared that she heard her father and
mother use the same words. I told the child, that notwithstanding her
parents might have done so, it was very wicked, and that I could not
let her stay another time to play, if ever she did so again. Having
sent for the mother, I informed her of the expressions the child had
used, but did not tell her what she had mentioned relative to her
parents, for if I had, she would have beaten her most unmercifully.
The mother, after having heard me relate the circumstance, immediately
flew into a passion with the child, and declared, that she would "skin
her alive," (this was her expression,) and I had much difficulty to
restrain her from correcting the child in the school. Having pacified
her a little, I inquired where the child could have heard such wicked
expressions. She said she could not tell. I then told her, I hoped the
child did not learn them of her, or her father. To this she made no
answer, but I could perceive that she stood self-convicted, and having
said what I conceived necessary upon the occasion, I dismissed her,
observing that it was useless for ladies and gentlemen to establish
schools for the education of the infant poor, if the parents did not
assist by setting them a good example.

I am happy to state, that the advice I gave her was not thrown away,
as I never knew the child guilty of saying a bad word afterwards; and
the mother soon brought me another child, of two years and a half old,
and said she should be very glad if I would take it into the school,
and that she wished a blessing might always attend the gentlemen
who supported the institution. She also requested me to take an
opportunity of speaking a few words to her husband, for she was
thankful for what had been said to her. And here I would observe, that
although it is most undoubtedly true, that the good taught to children
in our infant schools is greatly counteracted by the conduct they
witness on their return home, yet we occasionally see, that these
little children, by the blessing of God, are made the means of
reforming their own parents. What a gratifying fact it is, that the
adult and hardened sinner, may be turned from his evil ways--from
death unto life--by an infant's precept or example!

Nor is it only in profane expressions that we see the influence of
evil. Some children I have known, in the same neighbourhood, who even
beat their parents. There was a poor widow, very near the school, who
was frequently to be seen with her face dreadfully bruised by
blows from her own son. He had been taken before a magistrate, and
imprisoned for three months, but it did him no good, for he afterwards
beat his mother as much as ever, and the poor woman had it in
contemplation to get the miscreant sent out of the country. One
Sunday, I remember to have seen a boy, under twelve years of age, take
up a large stone to throw at his mother: he had done something wrong
in the house, and the mother followed him into the street with a small
cane, to correct him for it; but he told his mother, that if she dared
to approach him, he would knock her down. The mother retired, and
the boy went where he pleased. These and many similar scenes I have
witnessed; and I am afraid that many such characters have been so
completely formed as to be past reformation. So essential is it, to
embrace the first opportunity of impressing on the infant mind the
principles of duty and virtue.

I am aware that many excellent institutions are in existence for the
spread of the gospel amongst the ignorant and depraved at home as well
as abroad; but I must here again advert to the readier reception of
religious truths in infancy, than by the adult and confirmed sinner.
I would not say to those who are engaged in the painful task--painful
because so often unsuccessful--forego your labours; but I would call
upon all who have at heart the everlasting welfare of the souls of
men, to exert themselves, that the rising generation may not likewise
grow up into that state of perverseness--that they may not in future
years prove themselves to be a generation, which, "like the adder,
turneth a deaf ear to the charmer, charm he ever so wisely." I am
satisfied, from the experience I have had, that an amount of good
is attainable from early and judicious culture, which far, very far
surpasses all that has heretofore been accomplished; and on which not
a few are even unprepared to calculate.

It was a Christian-like wish expressed by King George III., that every
child in his dominions should be able to read the bible; and from the
increased facility of doing so from gratuitous education, the number
of those who cannot is much less than formerly; but in many cases the
necessitous circumstances of the parents prevent them from allowing
their children, except during their infant years, the advantage of
instruction, even though it cost them nothing. The time for the
children of the poor to receive instruction, is between the ages
of two and eight; after that period many are sent out to work, or
detained at home, for they then become useful to their parents, and
cannot be sent to school. There are many little girls who, having
left the infant school, go out to work for a shilling a week, and the
mothers have declared to me, when I have endeavoured to persuade them
to send them to the National School, for at least one year, that they
could not do it, for they were so poor, that every shilling was a
great help; they have, however, promised me that they would send them
to the Sunday school. This may account, in some measure, for there
being so many more boys than girls in almost every school in London,
and chews that great good has been done, and is doing, by those
valuable institutions.[A]

[Footnote A: It is to be observed here, that the children do not come
to or schools on Sundays, but many of them, between five and six years
old, who have brothers and sisters in the national school, go with
them to church, and others of the same age go to a Sunday school in
the neighbourhood. In short, I may venture to say, that almost all the
children that are able, go either to a Sunday school or to church: but
to take them all in a body, at the early age that they are admitted
into an infant school, to any place of worship, and to keep them there
for two or three hours, with a hope to profit them, and not to
disturb the congregation, is, according to my view, injurious if not

Many of my readers, who have been in the habit of noticing and pitying
the poor, may think the detail into which I have entered superfluous,
but I can assure them the want of information on the subject is but
too general, and is sufficient to account for the indifference which
has so long been exhibited.

The objection, that education is altogether improper for poor people
is not quite obsolete. There are not wanting persons who still
entertain the most dreadful apprehensions of the _"march of
intellect,"_ as it has been termed; who see no alternative but that it
must over-turn every thing that is established, and subvert the whole
order of society. I would willingly impart comfort to the minds of
those who are afflicted with such nervous tremours, but I fear, if the
demonstration of experience has not quieted them, the voice of reason
never will. It cannot fail to remind us of the apprehensions of the
popish clergy in former times, who decried the art of printing,
then recently introduced, as a branch of the black art, which, if
encouraged, must eventually demolish the social fabric, and introduce
civil wars and discord into every country. Time, that test of truth,
has shewn us how groundless their apprehensions were. Instead of
injuring that fabric, it has strengthened its foundation so that it
cannot be shaken, and has surrounded it with defences, which bid
defiance to assaults.

Oh! that the time were come when every heart, being imbued with truly
christian principles, would see that the noblest and highest object
that could be set before us, would be to rear up the minds of the
young in knowledge, virtue, and piety; to train them to intelligence
and usefulness in this life, and for happiness and immortality in the
life to come. On such labours the blessing of God would inevitably
rest, and His promise of their success is positive and unconditional.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will
not depart from it."

To the furtherance of the infant system I have devoted for many years
my utmost energies and resources, and to it I purpose to give them, so
long as I am permitted by the gracious Providence of God. I shall be
happy to render it any aid, either by supplying information to those
who need it, or by personal exertions, the expenses of so doing
being defrayed; on application to my Publisher, 22, Portugal Street,
Lincoln's Inn, London, or to myself', at Moor Cottage, Wakefield.

In order to urge the necessity, and explain the design of infant
schools, I have for some years been accustomed to deliver a course of
lectures, of which the following is an outline:--

FIRST LECTURE.--Affecting state of the children of the
poor--Lamentable condition of young delinquents--What are the
causes?--The question answered--Bodily and mental injuries now
sustained by children of all ranks, described and prevented--What is
the best remedy for existing evils?--Answer given--Origin and history
of the Infant System--Its progress in Scotland, where it might least
have been expected--What are the objections to the system?--Practical
refutation of them--Modes of instruction: The alphabet, spelling,
reading, arithmetic--Moral cultivation enforced, and the means

SECOND LECTURE.--A play-ground made not only delightful, but _mentally
and morally_ improving--The class-room adapted to produce and confirm
religious impressions--Music, its application to improve the feelings
and memory--Representations of natural objects and scriptural
subjects--Variety and extent of information attainable--Lying,
dishonesty, injustice, and cruelty corrected.

THIRD LECTURE.--New plans of reward and punishment--Influence of fear
and love--Great difference in the result--Infant system more fully
explained--Appeals to conscience--Emulation unnecessary--Elliptical
plan of teaching described--Trials by jury--Effect of
sympathy--Infants the instruments of improving one another.

FOURTH LECTURE.--Methods of teaching the elements of grammar,
geography, and geometry--Gallery described, and its application to
many useful purposes--Qualifications of instructors--Injury sustained
from their deficiencies and errors--The system contrasted with former
methods--Ultimate effects of its diffusion--Servants prepared to
become blessings to families--Hints to parents, and the application of
the whole system to children of every grade.

These lectures I am ready to deliver wherever it may be deemed
desirable, and to follow up the effect by the organization of schools.
The necessary apparatus may be obtained of myself.



_Moral treatment--Importance of exercise--Play-ground
indispensable--The education of nature and human education should
be joined--Mental development, children should think for
themselves--Intellectual food adapted for children--A spirit
of inquiry should be excited--Gradual development of the young
mind--Neglect of moral treatment--Inefficacy of maxims learned by
wrote--Influence of love--The play-ground a field of observation--The
natural propensities there shew themselves--Respect of
private property inculcated--Force of conscience on the
alert--Anecdote--Advantages of a strict regard for truth--The simple
truths of the Bible fit for children_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The business of education, in respect of knowledge, is not, as I
think to perfect a learner in all or any one of the sciences, but to
give his mind that disposition, and those habits, that may enable
him to attain any part of knowledge he shall stand in need of in the
future coarse of his life."--_Locke_.

"When the obligations of morality are taught, let the sanctions of
Christianity, never be forgotten; by which it will be shewn not that
they give lustre and strength to each other: religion will appear to
be the voice of reason, and morality the will of God."--_Johnson_.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Agesilaus, king of Sparta, was asked, "What should boys be
taught?" he answered, "What they ought to do when they become
men." Such a declaration was worthy of later times, since the most
intelligent now admit that the great end of all education is the
formation of solid, useful, and virtuous character. This work should
be, doubtless, commenced at the earliest possible period, to it the
system explained in this volume is considered to be adapted, and the
principles on which it proceeds are now to be illustrated. And here it
ought to be particularly observed that nothing is admissible, except
what is appropriate to the state of infancy, calculated to exercise
the physical energies, and likely, by their invigoration, to lay the
basis of a sound and powerful intellect. And yet all this is too often
forgotten. Look at the infant, the very embodying of vivacity and
activity, and its confinement to a particular posture, or the
requirement of a peculiar expression of countenance, is manifestly
unnatural. An inactive and healthy child under six years of age is
never seen. Whatever compels it to be otherwise consequently produces
what is artificial in character. A parent or a teacher may keep his
children quiet, and in what he terms order; but it does not follow
that this is a good preparation for after years. On the contrary,
bondage may issue in excess. The feelings and propensities which,
instead of being corrected, are unduly restrained, will be manifested
in some other ways, and under less favourable circumstances, and
frequently the reaction will be violent in maturity. Hence the system
now recommended is expressly one for _infants_, adapted to them just
as they are, and wholly designed to repress what is evil, and to
cherish what is good.

Accordingly, the utmost attention is given to the cheerfulness
and happiness of those on whom it acts. Instruction in reading,
arithmetic, geometry, and various other things is made exceedingly
amusing; smiling countenances and sparkling eyes are observable all
around when it is communicated; and what was dull and soporific,
according to the old plan, is now insinuated so agreeably, that
the child, while literally at play, is acquiring a large amount of
valuable knowledge. At play he sees Nature's book, that world of
beauties: he loves to look into it, there is no flogging to induce
him to do it. All is enquiry and anxiety on his part. "What is this?"
"What is that?" "What is it for?" "How did it come?" With numerous
other questions of similar import. Oh, that we had teachers to teach
more out of this divine book! Oh, that we had a public who would
encourage and cherish them for so doing! What blessed results even
have I seen, by one's being able to answer such enquiries! The absurd
notion that children can only be taught in a room, must be exploded.
I have done more in one hour in the garden, in the lanes, and in the
fields, to cherish and satisfy the budding faculties of childhood,
than could have been done in a room for months. Oh, mankind have yet
something to learn about teaching children! See how they catch at
truths through the medium of living things! See how it germinates in
them, by so doing; the teacher may forget, they do not, this I have
proved hundreds of times. Music has proved a most important auxiliary
for this purpose, and a stranger would be astonished at the hilarity
and delight with which much is rehearsed, with a full perception
of its meaning, when in any other way it would be irksome and

These attainments, moreover, are accompanied by various movements
and evolutions which exercise the limbs, the joints, the muscles; in
addition to which, set times are appointed every morning and afternoon
for its exclusive enjoyment.

The conduct of inferior animals, when young, shows the propriety of
giving exercise to children. Every other creature makes use of its
organs of motion as soon as possible, and many of them, when under no
necessity of moving in quest of food, cannot be restrained without
force. Such is the case with the calf, the lamb, and many more. If
these creatures were not permitted to frisk about at pleasure, they
would soon die, or become diseased. The same inclination appears very
early in the human species; but as they are not able to take exercise
themselves, it is the business of their parents and nurses to give it
them. This may be done in various ways, and the methods included
in the system are shewn in other parts of this work. It is to be
regretted that men should be so inattentive to this matter; their
negligence is one reason why females know so little of it. Women will
always be desirous to excel in such accomplishments as recommend
them to the other sex; but men generally avoid even the slightest
acquaintance with the affairs of the nursery, and many would reckon
it an affront were they supposed to know any thing of them. Not so,
however, with the kennel or the stables; a gentleman of the first
rank, who is not ashamed to give directions concerning the management
of his dogs or horses, would blush were he surprised in performing the
same office for that being who is to be the heir of his fortunes, and,
perhaps, the future hope of his country.

Arguments to show the importance of exercise, might be drawn from
every part of the animal economy. Without it, the circulation of the
blood cannot be properly carried on, nor the different secretions duly
performed; neither can the fluids be properly prepared, nor the solids
rendered firm or strong. The action of the heart, the motion of the
lungs, and all the vital functions, are greatly assisted by exercise.
But to point out the manner in which these effects are produced, would
lead us beyond the present subject. We shall, therefore, only add,
that when exercise is neglected, none of the animal functions can be
duly performed; and when this is the case, the whole constitution must
go to wreck. Healthy parents, wholesome food, and suitable clothing
will avail little where it is disregarded. Sufficient exercise will
supply many defects in nursing, but nothing can compensate for its
want. A good constitution ought certainly to be our first object in
the management of children. It lays a foundation for their being
useful and happy in life; and whoever neglects it, not only fails in
his duty to his offspring, but to society.

While this is forgotten, let us not complain of weak and thoughtless
children, or of weak and thoughtless servants; for the former are so
from the neglect of their parents and the public; and the latter from
not having been taught to think at all--and yet the very persons that
object to the education of the poor are the first to complain of their

A notion that habits of industry must be established, has, however,
been the means, I regret to state, of a sad perversion of the system
in these respects. The time allowed for amusement and exercise has
been in some cases, very much abridged that the children might learn
and practise sewing, knitting, plaiting, &c. Now, no one can be more
disposed to the encouragement of industrious habits than myself, but I
would say not at the expense of health; which I am certain, in these
cases it must be. Deprive the children of their amusement, and they
will soon cease to be the lively, happy beings, we have hitherto seen
them, and will become the sickly, inanimate creatures, we have been
accustomed to behold and pity, under the confinement and restraint
of the dame's schools. I do not scruple to affirm, that if the
_play-grounds_ of infant schools are cut off from the system,--they
will from that moment cease to be a blessing to the country.

Nothing has given me greater pain than to witness the thorough neglect
of play-ground attendance on the part of teachers and the public;
the former leave the children to themselves at the very time their
attendance is most desirable; and when, if duly watched, the children
will give them _lessons_. Yes! such lessons as no book can give, and
such lessons as every efficient teacher _must_ learn, or efficiency
is out of the question. The public are too fond of hearing tasks and
memory work, and such book-learning as is taught in school, with the
singing, and the amusing indoor work, to the detriment and neglect
of the moral and physical outdoor work. Again and again, I say, the
outdoor training tells most upon the morals and the formation of

The first faculties which develop themselves in childhood, are those
of observation. The infant, who is two months old, will notice a
lighted candle; immediately that sense is gratified, it seeks to
please another, that of _touch_, and every mother knows, if not
prevented, it will put its hand in the flame. The next effort is to
examine other objects: these it will seize if it can, and after having
examined one, it will put it aside to observe another. On its being
able to move about, it seeks objects within its reach, and wishing to
gratify the sense of taste, applies every thing to the mouth; by this
it distinguishes the bitter from the sweet, and on seeing what is
sweet a second time, will point to it and wish to obtain it, whilst
what is bitter will not be desired.

The _mental_ part of the system should now be adverted to. Hence it
has been well remarked, "From the time that children begin to use
their hands, nature directs them to handle every thing over and
over, to look at it while they handle it, and to put it into various
positions, and at various distances from the eye. We are apt to excuse
this as a childish diversion, because they must be doing something,
and have not reason to entertain themselves in a more manly way. But
if we think more justly, we shall find that they are engaged in the
most serious and important study; and if they had all the reason of a
philosopher, they could not be more properly employed. For it is this
childish employment that enables them to make the proper use of their
eyes. They are thereby every day acquiring habits of perception,
which are of greater importance than any thing we can teach them. The
original perceptions which nature gave them are few, and insufficient
for the purposes of life; and, therefore, she made them capable of
many more perceptions by habit. And to complete her work, she has
given them an unwearied assiduity in applying to the exercise by which
those perceptions are acquired."

Such is the education which nature gives her children, and we may add
that another part of her discipline is, that by the course of things,
children must exert all their muscular force, and employ all their
ingenuity, in order to gratify their curiosity and satisfy their
little appetites. What they desire is only to be obtained at the cost
of labour, patience, and many disappointments. By the exercise of the
body and mind necessary for satisfying their desires, they acquire
agility, strength, and dexterity in their motions, as well as
constitutional health and vigour; they learn to bear pain without
dejection, and disappointment without despondency. The education of
nature is most perfect in savages, who have no other tutor; and we see
that in the quickness of all their senses, in the agility of their
motions, in the hardiness of their constitutions, and in their ability
to bear hunger, thirst, pain, and disappointment, they commonly far
exceed civilized nations. On this account, a most ingenious writer
seems to prefer savage to social life. But it is the intention of
nature, that human education should assist to form the man, and she
has fitted us for it, by the natural principles of imitation and
belief, which discover themselves almost in infancy, as well as by
others which are of later growth.

When the education which we receive from men does not give scope to
that of nature, it is erroneous in its means and its tendency, and
enervates both the body and the mind. Nature has her way of rearing
men, as she has of healing their maladies. The art of education is to
follow her dictates, and the art of education is equally to obey her
laws. The ancient inhabitants of the Baleares followed nature in their
manner of teaching their children to be good archers, when they hung
their dinner aloft by a thread, and left them to bring it down: by
their skill in the use of the bow.

The education of nature, without any more human care than is necessary
to preserve life, makes a savage. Human education joined to that of
nature, may make a good citizen, a skilful artizan, or a well-bred
man; but a higher power is wanting in order to produce a Bacon or a

The error of the _past_ system (for such I hope I may venture to call
it) as to _mental development_ was, that the inferior powers of the
mind were called into activity, in preference to its higher faculties.
The effort was to exercise the memory, and store it with information,
which, owing to the inactivity of the understanding and the judgment,
was seldom or never of use. To adopt the opinions of others was
thought quite enough, without the child being troubled to think for
itself, and to form an opinion of its own. But this is not as it
should be. Such a system is neither likely to produce great nor wise
men; and is much better adapted to parrots than children. Hence, the
first thing attempted in an infant school is, to set the children
thinking,--to induce them to examine, compare, and judge, in reference
to all those matters which their dawning intellects are capable of
mastering. It is of no use to tell a child, in the first place, _what
it should think_,--this is at once inducing mental indolence, which
is but too generally prevalent among adults; owing to this erroneous
method having been adopted by those who had the charge of their early
years. Were a child left to its own resources, to discover and judge
of things exclusively by itself, though the opposite evil would be
the consequence, namely, a state of comparative ignorance, yet I am
doubtful whether it would be greater or more lamentable than that
issuing from the injudicious system of giving children dogmas instead
of problems, the opinions of others instead of eliciting their own. In
the one case we should find a mind, uninformed and uncultivated, but
of a vigorous and masculine character, grasping the little knowledge
it possessed, with the power and right of a conqueror; in the other,
a memory occupied by a useless heap of notions,--without a single
opinion or idea it could call its own,--and an understanding indolent
and narrow, and, from long-indulged inactivity, almost incapable
of exertion. As the fundamental principle of the system, I would
therefore say, let the _children think for themselves_. If they arrive
at erroneous conclusions, assist them in attaining the truth; but
let them, with such assistance, arrive at it by their own exertions.
Little good will be done, if you say to a child,--_That_ is wrong,
_this_ is right, unless you enable it to perceive the error of the
one and the truth of the other. It is not only due to the child as a
rational being that you should act so, but it is essentially necessary
to the development of its intellectual faculties. It were not more
ridiculous for a master, in teaching arithmetic, to give his pupil the
problem and answer, without instructing him in the method of working
the question, than it is for a person to give a child results of
reasoning, without showing how the truth is arrived at. But some,
perhaps, will be ready to exclaim, "Surely the teacher should not
withhold the benefit of his knowledge and experience,--the child will
have time enough to examine the merits of his information when he
grows older and be more competent to do so!" To this I answer: in the
first place, nothing should be submitted to the child which it is not
fully competent to understand. To give the child tasks or subjects
too difficult for its mental powers, is a violation of nature; and as
foolish and detrimental as though you were to place a hundred pounds
weight on its shoulders when it is incapable of supporting ten. The
teacher's experience can only be of service to the child so far as it
is applicable to its own state; and as to postponing the period when
it is to think for itself, there is certainly no occasion for it.
Nature has provided food adapted to the powers of the infant's
stomach, and those who would rightly conduct the work of education,
should imitate her in providing its intellectual food. That this may
be done, I am attempting to shew in theory in the pages of this work;
and, that it answers equally well in practice, any one who has a
doubt, may assure himself by visiting any school conducted upon the
plan here laid down.

The charge has been brought against the system, that we are not
sufficiently anxious to teach the children to read. Now, though I may
venture to say, that under no other plan, do the children acquire a
knowledge of alphabetical characters, and the formation of words, so
soon as under the present, yet I am quite ready to concede that
I consider their learning to read a secondary object, to that of
teaching them to examine and find out the nature and properties of
things, of which words are but the _signs_. It is with _things_, and
not _words_ merely, we wish to make our children acquainted. If they
first learn the nature and properties of an object, there is no fear
of their afterwards inquiring its name; but we too frequently find,
that having acquired _names_, they are indifferent to, and forgetful
of, the objects represented.

Let children see and observe an object, and be taught the name of it
at the same time, and then both are indelibly fixed on the memory.
An infant at home is perpetually running around and looking at all
things, and hearing persons speaking about them; it soon becomes
acquainted with their names and properties, and then from time to time
speaks about them. "Ah!" exclaims papa or mama, "What an old-fashioned
child that is; one would wonder where it got such notions." A little
thought and reflection would soon tell where, and this thought
properly carried out would display an important fundamental principle
in teaching the young mind.

Our first endeavour is, therefore, to excite a spirit of inquiry,--to
foster that curiosity which is so natural to young children: till this
is properly done, your information will not be well received, and
it is most likely soon to be forgotten; but having once made them
inquisitive, you are more likely to tire of communicating than they
are of receiving. The skilful teacher will, indeed, rather leave them
with an appetite still craving, than satiate them by repletion. I have
frequently found the most beneficial results arise from the sudden
cessation of a lesson or a lecture on an interesting topic. The
children have looked for its renewal with the utmost impatience,
pondering over what they had already heard, and anticipating what was
yet to come with the greatest interest. Give a child a _task_, and
you impose a burthen on him,--permit him to learn something, and you
confer a favour.

Having excited a spirit of inquiry, the next endeavour is to direct it
to proper objects. These, of course, will be things which relate to
the senses of the child; the nature and properties of bodies, which
may be ascertained by the application of those senses, &c. Having
induced it to examine for itself, you are now to elicit its ideas of
each object respectively; and having taught it to use its reason
and judgment freely, and to express its own notions fearlessly and
candidly,--you are to attempt the correction of what is erroneous, by
putting forth your own views in as simple a way as possible: not so as
to induce the child to give up its own opinions and adopt yours, but
in such a way as to direct it to the attainment of truth; to induce a
comparison between its thoughts and yours, and thus to discover its
own error.

The powers of observation will speedily be improved under such a
course of instruction, and in all the subsequent stages of existence,
will not fail to constitute an independent and shrewd observer. But
some may think we are straining the child's faculties by the plan
recommended,--overstepping nature's laws,--and that the result must be
detrimental to the child, both in mind and body. So far, however, is
this from being true, that we have taken nature for our guide. We
deprecate strongly, most strongly, that unnatural system, which
gives children tasks so far beyond their powers, and for which their
infantile faculties are not qualified;--we would lead them on in the
path which nature has marked out--step by step--taking care that one
thing should be thoroughly mastered before another is attempted.

The mental powers of children are far stronger than is generally
supposed. No one who looks back to his early childhood, can fail of
recollecting, that, at times, his thoughts would even then reach
the very limits of human thought. All the powers of mind that are
exercised in after-life display themselves in infancy, and therefore
they all ought to be quietly and easily brought into exercise. This
maybe done by any object,--even a toy. Were we to tie up several of
our members so as to prevent their use, and at the same time exercise
strongly those at liberty, bodily distortion must result. If we, in
teaching, exercise the memory alone, and that merely with a knowledge
of words and not of things, an absolute mental distortion must result,
and the higher powers of reflection, judgment, and reason will remain
weak, feeble, and deficient from want of exercise. When all the powers
of the mind are brought out into harmonious action, the acquirement
of knowledge be comes pleasurable. Knowledge is the proper aliment to
expand and enlarge the mind, as natural food is for the growth of
the body; and when such as is proper to the age and character of the
recipient is selected, the one will be received with as much pleasure
as the other. As the due exercise of every bodily power causes it to
become strong, healthy, and vigorous, so the right and proper use of
every mental faculty will, in the end, occasion it to become active,
free, and powerful.

As soon as the child enters the school he is under command. He is
required to occupy certain places, to go through various motions, and
to attend to diversified instruction, at the sound of a foot, or the
raising of a hand. From this course no departure is allowed. At first
it is the work of sympathy and imitation, but afterwards it becomes a
matter of principle. Thus, then, the native reluctance of the infant
mind to obey, is overcome, and a solid basis laid for future efforts.
So far, however, the discipline is general; to be particular, the
individual character must be minutely observed. The movements of the
child, when unrestrained, must be diligently watched, its predominant
qualities ascertained, and such a mode of treatment adopted as sound
judgment of character may dictate. Wherever this is forgotten, some
evils will arise. The orders which are given to any other power than
those of sympathy and imitation, are not likely to be obeyed by the
untrained babe; the fact is, that as yet it has no other means of
obedience, and for this on higher principles we must wait till nature
furnishes instruments and opportunities for their exercise. When,
however, success is gained thus far, the way is prepared for
further development and culture, and the powers of observation and
discrimination, then gradually tasked, will accomplish all that is
desired. Thus the infant sits or rises, repeats or is silent, at
first, because those about him do so; afterwards he perceives a reason
for doing so: for example, that, when in the gallery, he can see
what he could not any where else, and, therefore, that he must march
thither, and then he judges that one thing is wrong because the doing
it was forbidden, and that another is right because it was commanded,
or because the one makes him happy and the other the contrary.

Under the old system of education, I must candidly say, _moral_
treatment has been often altogether omitted, and still more frequently
has it been erroneous, and consequently inefficient. Let me
ask,--would it promote a child's health to teach it to repeat certain
maxims on the benefits resulting from exercise? The answer is obvious.
Neither can it be of any service to the moral health of the child, to
teach it to repeat the best maxims of virtue, unless we have taken
care to urge the practical observance of those precepts. And yet this
has rarely been the case. How frequently do we hear persons remark
on the ill conduct of children, "It is surprising they should do
so;--they have been taught better things!" Very likely; and they may
have all the golden rules of virtue alluded to, carefully stored up in
their memories; but they are like the hoarded treasures of the miser,
the disposition to use them is wanted. It is this which we must strive
to produce and promote in the child. Indeed, if we can but be the
instruments of exciting a love of goodness, it will not err, nor lack
the knowledge how to do good, even though we were to forget to give it
any rules or maxims. It is to the heart we must turn our attention in
the moral treatment of children. We must carefully endeavour to elicit
and train out the moral feelings implanted within; and to awaken the
conscience to the approval of good, and the dislike and detestation
of evil. Another grand object of the master or mistress of an infant
school, is, therefore, to win their love, by banishing all slavish
fear. They are to be invited to regard their teacher, as one who
is desirous of promoting their happiness, by the most affectionate
means--not only by kind words, but by kind actions; one of which
influences a child more than a volume of words. Words appeal only to
the understanding, and frequently pass away as empty sounds; but kind
actions operate on the heart, and, like the genial light and warmth of
spring, that dispels the gloom which has covered the face of nature
during the chilly season of winter, they disperse the mists which
cold and severe treatment has engendered in the moral atmosphere.
The fundamental principle of the infant school system is _love_;
nor should any other be substituted for it, except when absolutely
necessary. Let the children see that you love them, and _love_ will
beget love, both toward their teacher and each other. Without the aid
of example nothing can be done; it is by this magnetic power alone
that sympathetic feelings can be awakened. It acts as a talisman on
the inmost feelings of the soul, and excites them to activity; which
should be the constant aim of all persons engaged in the important
work of education. As we find that vicious principles are strengthened
by habit, and good principles proportionally weakened, so, on the
contrary, immoral dispositions are weakened by the better feelings
being brought into action.

The great defect in the human character is _selfishness_, and to
remove or lessen this is the great desideratum of moral culture. How
happy were mankind, if, instead of each one living for himself, they
lived really for one another! The perfection of moral excellence
cannot be better described than as the attainment of that state in
which we should "love our neighbour as ourselves." The prevalence of
self-love will be very obvious to the observant master or mistress, in
the conduct of the children under their care, and it is this feeling
that they must be ever striving to check or eradicate. Nor need they
despair of meeting with some degree of success. The children may be
brought to feel, that to impart happiness is to receive it,--that
being kind to their little schoolfellows, they not only secure a
return of kindness, but actually receive a personal gratification from
so doing; and that there is more pleasure in forgiving an injury than
in resenting it. Some I know will be apt to say,--that after all, thus
is nothing but _selfishness_ or _self-love_. It is an old matter of
dispute, and I leave those to quarrel over it who please. Every
one knows and feels the difference between that which we call
_selfishness_, and that which is comprehensively termed by the lips
of divine truth, the "_love of our neighbour_." If it must be called
self-love, I can only say that it is the proper direction of the
feeling which is to be sought.

In the work of moral culture, it will be necessary not only to observe
the child's conduct under the restraint of school observation and
discipline; but at those times when it thinks itself at liberty to
indulge its feelings unnoticed. The evil propensities of our nature
have all the wiliness of the serpent, and lurk in their secret places,
watching for a favourable opportunity of exercise and display. For the
purpose of observation, the _play-ground_ will afford every facility,
and is on this account, as well as because it affords exercise and
amusement to the children, an indispensable appendage to an Infant
School. Here the child will show its character in its true light. Here
may be seen what effects the education of children has produced;
for if they are fond of fighting and quarrelling, here it will be
apparent; if they are artful, here they will seek to practice their
cunning; and this will give the master an opportunity of applying the
proper remedy; whereas, if they are kept in school (which they must
be, if there be no play-ground), these evil inclinations will not
manifest themselves until they go into the street, and consequently,
the antidote will not be applied. I have seen many children behave
very orderly in the school, but the moment they entered the
play-ground they manifested their selfishness to such a degree, that
they would wish all the rest of the children to be subservient to
them; and, on their refusing to let them bear rule, they would begin
to use force, in order to compel their compliance. This is conduct
that ought to be checked,--and what time so proper as the first stages
of infancy?

To take another case, a quarrel like this may arise: a boy has
six gooseberries; another boy comes and asks for one; by a little
solicitation he obtains it:--he wishes another;--but the boy who has
them says he cannot spare any more; he has only five, and cannot part
with another. The second boy, however, duns him. He even acts the
hypocrite, and puts into play many of the worst artifices of human
nature, which we so often see in daily practice, and he gains his
end. But he is not yet satisfied; he wishes another. The first boy,
however, will on no account give him more. He again tries all his
arts, but in vain. Seeing he cannot by art or entreaty gain another,
he has recourse to violence. He snatches one out of his companion's
hand and runs off with it. The first boy is irritated at such conduct,
he pursues the fugitive, overtakes him, and gives him a blow on the
face. The second boy is as great a coward as he is a thief. He comes
up and makes his complaint to the master. The master then has a trial
by jury. He does not knock one head against the other according to the
old custom, but he hears both plaintiff and defendant, and having got
the facts, he submits to the children themselves whether it was right
in the one boy to take with violence What was not his own, and shews
them which is the more to blame. Then they decide on the sentence;
perhaps some one suggests that it should be the utmost infliction
allowable, a slight pat on the hand; while a tender-hearted girl says,
"Please, sir, give it him very softly;" but the issue is, a marked
distinction between right and wrong;--appropriate expressions of
pleasure and disapprobation:--and on the spot, "a kissing and being
friends." I am, indeed, so firmly convinced, from the experience I
have had, of the utility of a play-ground, from the above reasons,
and others, elsewhere mentioned, that I scruple not to say, an infant
school is of little, if any, service without one.

Where the play-ground is ornamented with flowers, fruit-trees, &c.
(and I would recommend this plan to be invariably adopted,) it
not only affords the teacher an opportunity of communicating much
knowledge to the children, and of tracing every thing up to the Great
First Cause, but it becomes the means of establishing principles of
honesty. They should not on any account be allowed to pluck the fruit
or flowers; every thing should be considered as sacred; and being
thus early accustomed to honesty, temptations in after-life will be
deprived of their power. It is distressing to all lovers of children,
to see what havoc is made by them in plantations near London; and even
grown persons are not entirely free from this fault, for, not content
with a proper foot-path, they must walk on a man's plantations, pull
up that which can be of no use, and thereby injure the property of
their neighbour. These things ought not to be, nor do I think they
would be so common, if they were noticed a little more in the
education of children. It has been too much the practice with many,
to consider that the business of a school consists merely in teaching
children their letters; but I am of opinion, that the formation of
character while there, is of the greatest importance, not only to the
children, but to society at large. How can we account for the strict
honesty of the Laplanders, who can leave their property in the woods,
and in their huts, without the least fear of its being stolen or
injured, while we, with ten times the advantages, cannot consider our
property safe, with the aid of locks and bolts, brick walls, and even
watchmen and police-officers besides? There must be some cause for all
this, and perhaps the principal one is defective education, and the
total neglect of the morals of the infant poor, at a time when their
first impressions should be taken especial care of; _for conscience,
if not lulled to sleep, but called into vigorous action, will prove
stronger than brick walls, bolts, or locks; and I am satisfied, that I
could have taken the whole of the children under my care in the first
infants' school, into any gentleman's plantation, without their doing
the least injury whatever; and this I could now do in any similar
circumstances_. I will mention, however, one fact.

One day, while I was walking in the play-ground, I saw at one end of
it about twenty children, apparently arguing a subject, _pro_ and
_con_; from the attitude of several of the orators, I judged it was
about something that appeared to them of considerable importance. I
wished to know the subject of debate, but was satisfied that if I
approached the children it might put an end to the matter altogether.
Some of the bystanders saw me looking very attentively at the
principal actor, and, as I suppose, suggested to the party the
propriety of retiring to some other spot, for immediately afterwards
they all went behind a partition, which afforded me an opportunity of
distinctly hearing all that passed, without being observed by them. I
soon found that the subject of debate was a _song_. It seems that one
of the children had brought a song to the school, which some of the
monitors had read, and having decided that it was an improper thing
for the child to have in his possession, one of them had taken it from
the owner, and destroyed it. The aggrieved party had complained to
some of the other children, who said that it was _thieving_ for one
child to take any thing from another child, without his consent. The
boy, nettled at being called a thief, defended himself, by saying that
he, as a monitor, had a right to take away from any of his class any
thing that was calculated to do them harm; and was, it seems, backed
in this opinion by many others. On the other hand, it was contended
that no such right existed; and it was doubtful to me for a
considerable time, on which side the strength of the argument lay.
At last one of the children observed to the following effect:--"You
should have taken it to _master_, because he would know if it was bad
better than you." This was a convincing argument, and to my great
delight, the boy replied--"How much did the song cost?" The reply was,
"A half-penny." "Here, then, take it," says the child, "I had one
given me to-day; so now remember I have paid you for it, but if you
bring any more songs to school I will tell master." This seemed
to give general satisfaction to the whole party, who immediately
dispersed to their several amusements. A struggle like this, between
the principles of _duty and honesty_, among children so very young,
must prove highly interesting to all who love them, and exemplifies,
beyond a doubt, the immense advantage of early instruction.

Another thing to be noticed is, a regard for _truth_. Nothing is so
delightful as this. There is no conversation so agreeable as that of
the man of integrity, who hears without any design to betray, and
speaks without any intention to deceive; and this admitted, we should
strive to the utmost to induce children to remember it. But our
success, in a great measure, will depend on the means we employ. Many
children are frightened into falsehood by the injudicious methods of
those who have the care of them. I have known a mother promise a child
forgiveness if it would speak the truth, and, after having obtained
confession, she has broken her engagement. A child, once treated in
this manner, will naturally be guarded against a similar deception.
I have known others who would pretend not to punish the child for
confession, but for first denying it, and afterwards confessing. I
think that children should not be punished, on any account, after
having been promised forgiveness, truth being of too great importance
to be thus trifled with; and we cannot wonder if it is lightly
esteemed by children, after the example is set by their parents.
Having had several thousand children under my care, I have had
favourable opportunities of observing the bias of the infant mind,
and I must say, that I have not found them so inclined to evil and
falsehood as I had previously imagined.

When morality is adverted to in this volume, let it never be
forgotten, that by it is meant the pure and perfect morality of
the sacred Scriptures. From this source alone the great truths and
precepts can be derived, for regulating the conscience and improving
the heart. The infant system, however, would aim to steer perfectly
clear of the more remote theological opinions entertained by
Christians of different denominations. With these, little children can
have nothing to do, and institutions for their express benefit should
receive the support of all. What kind of religious doctrine and faith
infants ought to be taught, I will not here determine, but leave it
for consideration in a future chapter devoted more expressly to that
subject. It must be the wish of all true Christians that they should
be taught the fundamental truths of the everlasting Gospel. But it is
much to be lamented that what are the fundamental truths of the gospel
is so frequently a debatable point. With such controversial topics
infants have nothing to do, and to teach such matters would rather be
sowing seeds for future scepticism than laying a solid basis for
pure and undefiled religion. In all things, but more especially in
religion, as being the subject of the highest importance, the purest,
simplest, and most unadulterated truths should be taught. The Bible
contains ample and abundant stores of such simple truth, most
admirably suited to infant capacity in texts, precepts, parables, and
histories. The pious and judicious mother or teacher can be at no loss
for a proper selection. Many beautiful and simple prayers are to be
found in the Church of England Prayer-Book, which I think cannot be
mended, and which I have found quite suitable to the infant mind.
Several of the Collects, for simplicity of language and rich fulness
of divine truth, cannot be surpassed. Simple hymns for instruction and
devotion are also requisite, and I have endeavoured to provide such as
these in a _Manual_, recently published in connexion with a friend,
and which may be bad through the publisher of this work.



_The master and mistress should reside on the premises--Interior
arrangements--A school and its furniture--Lesson-posts and
lessons--The younger children should not be separated from the
older--Play-ground arrangements--Rotatory swing--Its management and

       *       *       *       *       *

"Wisdom seeks the most desirable ends in the use of the most
appropriate means."

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall now lay before my readers an account of the things necessary
for the establishment of an infant school; previously to presenting
them with the detail of the plan to be pursued in it.

In the first place, it is necessary to provide an airy and spacious
apartment, with a dry, and, if possible, a large play-ground attached
to it. The plot of ground, I conceive, should not be less than 50 feet
wide, and 100 feet long; but if the ground were 150, or 200 feet long,
it would be so much the better, as this would allow 100 or 150 feet
for a play-ground; which is of such importance, that I consider the
system would be very defective without it, for reasons which will be
spoken of hereafter.

There should likewise be a room about fifteen feet square, for the
purpose of teaching the children in classes, which may be formed at
one end of the large room: this is absolutely necessary. As the master
and mistress should live on the premises, a small house, containing
three or four rooms, should be provided for them. The reason for their
living on the premises is, that the children should be allowed to
bring their dinners with them, as this will keep them out of the
streets; and, indeed, of those who do go home to dinner, many will
return in a very short time; and if there be no person on the premises
to take care of them, they will be lost; and not only so, but strange
boys will come in from the streets, and do a great deal of mischief,
if no one be there to prevent it.

The portion of sitting-room that I have allowed for each child is
twelve inches. The scholars should sit all round the school room, with
their backs against the wall; double seats should be round the sides
of the school, like the two first seats in the gallery. A school
according to the engraved plan, will be found large enough for all
the purposes of an infant school; but if it is wished to be more
commodious, it may be of the same length as the plan, and instead of
twenty-two feet, may be made thirty feet wide; this will hold as many
children as ought to be collected together in one place, and as many
as any man and woman can possibly do justice to if it be any longer,
it will be difficult for all the children to hear the master. An
oblong building is the cheapest, on account of the roof. Economy has
been studied in the plan given, without any thing being added that is
unnecessary. This, of course, is a matter of opinion, and may be acted
upon or not, just as it suits those who may choose to build. The
master's house in the plan, it will be seen, projects a little into
the play-ground, to afford him the opportunity of seeing the children
at play while he is at dinner, that he may notice any improper conduct
on the part of the children, and mention it when the accounts of the
day are made up.

As children are very apt to get into danger, even when at school,
it becomes expedient to exercise the utmost vigilance, in order to
prevent the possibility of accident; for where two hundred children
are assembled together, the eldest not seven years of age, it is most
certain that if there be danger, some will get into. For this reason,
all the doors on the premises should be so secured, that the children
cannot swing them backwards and forwards; if they are not, they will
get their fingers pinched, or greater accidents may occur. The forms
also should be so placed that the children may not be likely to fall
over them. Every thing, in short, should be put out of the way, that
will be likely to occasion any danger. The seats should not be more
than nine inches high; and for the smaller children six inches; and
should be eleven or twelve inches wide; and fixed all round to the

The master's desk should be placed at the end of the school, where the
class-room is. By this means he will be able to see the faces of all
the children, and they can see him, which is absolutely necessary.
They may then be governed by a motion of his hand.

The _furniture_ necessary for the school consists of a desk for
the master; seats for the children; lesson-stands; stools for the
monitors; slates and pencils; pictures and lessons on scriptural
subjects; pictures and lessons on natural history; alphabets and
spelling lessons; brass letters and figures, with boards for
them; geometrical figures, &c.; and the transposition-frame, or
arithmeticon, as it has been called. To these may added little
books, &c. The particular use of these articles will be shewn in the
succeeding pages.

The following is a representation of a lesson-post.

The _lessons_, pasted on wood, to render them sufficiently stiff, are
put into the grooves of the lesson-post; and can then be placed in any
position which is most convenient, and adjusted to any height, as the
master may see proper.

[Illustration: _a b_, is a slip of wood with a groove in it, fixed to
the post by means of the screws _c_ and _d_, on which slip are two
blocks _e_ and _f_; the bottom one, _f_, is fixed with a groove in
the upper side, for the lower edge of the board _g h_ to rest in; the
upper block, _e_, has a groove in the lower side, for the upper edge
of the board _g h_ to rest in, and rises and falls according to the
width of the board on the slip _a b_.--Instead of being made with
feet, the lesson post is generally, and perhaps better, fixed into
the floor of the school-room, and should be very slight, and 4 feet 4
inches in height.]

The following lesson-post has been found to answer better than the
preceding one; and is fixed in a socket, which prevents the necessity
of the cross-bar feet at bottom, and possesses this advantage, that it
may be taken out when done with, and hung up by the side of the
wall, so as to allow the area of the room to be quite clear of any
incumbrance, and to be used for any other purpose. No. 2, is the
socket which should be let into the floor and screwed fast to the side
of a joist, so as to keep it perfectly steady; the socket is to be
open at bottom so as to let the dust pass through: and No. 1, is a
plate, to fit over the socket, to come flush with the floor, to be put
over it when the lesson-post is taken out, to prevent too much dust
from getting into the socket. The little nich represented in plate
one, is too small for the pupils to get their fingers into, so as to
pull up the plate, but wide enough to allow the teacher to put a
very narrow key in, when he desires to pull up the plate to put the
lesson-post in the socket. No. 3, is a front view of the lesson-post,
containing the slides nipping the lessons between them; the other
figure represents a side view of the lesson post, and the small figure
at the left hand side represents the groove of the two sliders to
receive the lesson, and the back part of it the dovetails to clip,
which come down behind the post; these are placed parallel in double
rows down the school, at equal distances, exactly opposite each other;
and flattened brass or iron is to be let into the floor, opposite to
the front of them, as shewn in one of the engravings representing the
area of the school, and the children at their object lessons. I have
found by experience that this invention possesses a decided advantage
over the other, as they always remain perpendicular and parallel to
each other, take up less room, and are more easily put out of the way,
and the children cannot knock them down; they should be numbered in
front as represented in the figure, so that the teacher may always put
the proper post in its own place.


The Arithmeticon, of which a description will be given in a subsequent
chapter, is simple in its construction, but, as will be seen
hereafter, may be variously and beneficially applied. It is indeed
indispensable in an infant school, as it is useful for teaching the
first principles of grammar, arithmetic, and geometry. The expense of
furnishing a large school is about L16.; that of a smaller one about

I must here protest against a violation of the freedom of the infant
mind. A fold, as it is called, is erected in some schools for the
youngest of the children; and thus they are cut off from the society
of the rest, from whom they would learn much more than they could from
any teacher. The monitors having charge of this class, are also cooped
up in the same cage, and therefore suffer the same privation. The
result of my own experience, as well as that of others, is, that a
child is decidedly incompetent to the duties of a monitor, if he
cannot keep the youngest class in order without any such means. I
would therefore deprecate, in the strongest terms, the separation
referred to, as not only altogether unnecessary, but exceedingly

To have one hundred children, or upwards, in a room, however
convenient in other respects, and not to allow the children proper
relaxation and exercise, which they could not have without a
play-ground, would materially injure their health, which is a thing,
in my humble opinion, of the first importance. I would rather see a
school where they charged two-pence or three-pence per week for each
child, having a play-ground, than one where the children had free
admission without one; for I think the former institution would do the
most good. The play ground, likewise, is one of the most useful
parts of the system. It is there the child shews itself in its true
character, and thereby gives the master an opportunity of nipping
in the bud its evil propensities. I am, therefore, most anxious to
recommend that this necessary appendage to an infant school should
not be dispensed with. I moreover observe, that where there is a
play-ground attached to the school, instead of playing in the streets,
where scarcely anything but evil is before their eyes, the children
will hasten to the school, with their bread and butter in their hands,
in less than a quarter of an hour after they have left it, knowing
that they have an opportunity of playing there the remainder of their
dinner-time, so that they love the school, and but rarely wish to be
anywhere else.

The play-grounds of some schools are paved with bricks, which I have
found to answer very well, as they absorb the rain so quickly, that
ten minutes after a shower, the place is dry enough for the children
to play in; which, perhaps, would not be the case with any other kind
of paving. They are commonly placed flat on the ground, but I should
prefer them being put edge-ways, as they would last many years longer,
yet it would take nearly double the number of bricks were they so
placed.[A] If it be not paved, the ground will be soft, and the
children will make themselves dirty. It should be so managed that the
water may be carried off, for, if there are any puddles, the children
will get into them. Some persons have recommended a few cart-loads of
good iron-mould gravel, there being a sort which will bind almost like
a rock, if well rolled; but the children are liable to dig holes if it
is only gravel. If this is noticed in time it may be prevented; but if
they are suffered to proceed, and no notice be taken of it, it will be
very difficult to prevent them from continuing the practice. If money
can be saved by any plan, perhaps it is as well to notice it; but
after having weighed the advantages and disadvantages of gravelling,
I am of opinion, that bricks are preferable. I should also recommend
that fruit-trees be planted in the centre of the play-ground, and
likewise round the walls; which will delight the children, and teach
them to respect private property. If any person doubts the propriety
of this plan, I can only say we leave many play-grounds thus
ornamented: and instead of proving a temptation to the children, it
has so far become the means of confirming principles of honesty in
them, that they never touch a single flower or even a leaf in
the garden. There should also be a border of flowers round the
play-ground, of such sorts as will yield the most fragrance, which
will tend to counteract any disagreeable smell that may proceed from
the children, and thereby be conducive to their health, as well as to
that of those who have the charge of them. They will, besides, afford
the teacher an opportunity of giving the children many useful lessons;
for the more he teaches by things, and the less he teaches by signs,
the better. These things need be no expense to the establishment,
except the purchase in the first instance, for they will afford an
agreeable occupation for the master before and after school-hours,
prepare him in some measure for the duties of the day, and afford him
an ample opportunity of instilling a variety of ideas into the minds
of the children, and of tracing every thing up to the Great First
Cause. I have witnessed the good effects of these things, which makes
me desirous of humbly but earnestly recommending them to others.

[Footnote A: In Lancashire, and other places where flagging is cheap,
it has been found decidedly better than any other plan alluded to
above, the children will not hurt themselves more by falling on flags
than they would on bricks or pebbles.]

With regard to the expense: if 200 children pay two-pence each per
week[A], which is now the usual charge, the annual receipts will be,
deducting four weeks for holidays, about L80, and if the deficiency be
made up by subscriptions and donations from the friends of the system,
it may be easily adopted, and all its advantages secured. A village
school might be furnished for half the money, and supported at less
teachers, with 200 infants in each school.

[Footnote A: In some parts of St. Giles's, Wapping, &c., &c., many of
the parents are not able to pay, and many that are, would sooner let
their children run the streets than pay a penny; yet the children of
the latter persons are the greater objects of charity; and it is the
children of such persons that chiefly fill our prisons. We want three
classes of infant schools: one for the middle class, who will pay; for
skilled mechanics, who will pay 2_d_. or 3_d_. per week; and for the
poor and illiterate who will pay nothing.]

Every year increases my conviction of the great importance of the
play-ground, and of the folly of some of my early views respecting it.
Finding a great variety of lessons and objects necessary to arrest
the attention of children, diversified as they are in disposition and
taste, it was supposed that an equal variety of toys was required for
the play-ground. A good supply of balls, battledores, shuttlecocks,
tops, whips, skipping-ropes, hoops, sticks, and wheelbarrows, was,
therefore, obtained, and we flattered ourselves that this must produce
universal happiness. In thus, however, we were most grievously
disappointed; for the balls frequently bounced over the wall,--the
players, not being able to throw them with the precision of Spartan
children, sometimes struck their comrades, perhaps, in the eye: if we
could succeed in quieting the sufferer, by a kiss and a sugar-plum,
the ear was as immediately afterwards saluted with the cry of, "O, my
chin, my chin," from some hapless wight having been star-gazing, and
another, anxious for as many strokes as possible, mistaking that part
for the bottom of his shuttlecock; while this would be followed by,
"O, my leg," from the untoward movement of a stick or a barrow. In
short, such scenes were insupportable; and what with the accidents
that arose, and the tops without strings, and the strings without
tops, the hoops without sticks, and the sticks without hoops, the
seizure of the favourite toy by one, and the inability of another to
get any thing, it was evident that we were wrong, but not so clear how
we could do otherwise.

It then occurred that we might provide some wood-bricks, about four
inches long, an inch and a half thick, and two inches and a half
wide, and of these a thousand were obtained. With these children are
exceedingly amused from the variety of forms in which they may be
placed, and of buildings which may be erected with them.

The play-ground should always be at the rear of the premises, and as
private as possible, that both teachers and pupils be secure from
annoyance of any kind. The entrance should be only through the school,
and no other way; this secures the flowers, the fruits, and the moral
training of the children.


In addition to these, all that is required is a rotatory swing, of
which the above is a representation. To make one, a pole eighteen or
twenty feet long should be firmly fixed in the ground: three feet of
the but-end should be sunk, secured by sleepers to keep it steady: it
should be at least three quarters of a yard in girth at bottom, and
taper gradually to the top to half that size. An iron rim is to be
driven on the head of the pole to keep it from splitting, and then a
spindle at least an inch in diameter, with a shoulder, is to be fixed
in it; an iron wheel with four spokes turned up at the end like a
hook, to which four ropes are to be fastened, must then be made to
revolve on the spindle. As the ropes reach the ground, four children
may take hold of them and run round until they bear the whole weight
of the body on the arms; and this exercise will be found to strengthen
the muscles, and give vigour to the whole frame. In a large school
there should be two swings of this kind,--one for the girls, and the
other for the boys. The teachers must, however, be careful the first
few weeks, to train the children to look about them: this they are
but little disposed to do, hence the most impressive manner should be
adopted, and I will venture to say, should any injury be sustained
by the children, the fault _will not be theirs_. The effect of the
instruction thus urged will be valuable in other cases; for a child,
thus taught to watch against accident, will be careful in passing
crossings, and going through crowded streets, and thus be likely to
escape many dangers into which others fall. This exercise may also be
accompanied by instruction, as the children may repeat "The Cow," or
"The Sheep," or any other lesson, as the measure of the time
during which four may have the swing. It will, moreover, afford an
opportunity for detecting the selfishness of some children, by their
wishing to keep the ropes too long, and the passion of others, from
the vehemence with which they will insist on their rights; but, as on
such occasion, both are to be forbidden to swing any more that day,
they will soon learn to bear and forbear.

In the event of a child being thrown down from standing in the way,
all the children should be placed in the gallery, and this one shewn
them. If it appear hurt, all will pity it; let then the question be
put, How did this happen? and the answer will be, perhaps, "Please,
sir, because he did not make use of his eyes." Here, then, is full
opportunity to inculcate caution, and to inform and benefit the whole.
For example: the master may say, How many senses have we? The children
will answer, Five. _Master_.--Name them. _Children_.--Hearing, seeing,
smelling, tasting, and feeling. _M_. Where are the organs of sight?
_C_. Here (pointing to the eyes). _M_. Look at this child, and see if
he has them. (Here an inspection will take place, the sufferer will
look sheepish, and begin to perceive he has not made the best use of
the sense of seeing, whilst the singular observations of the children
will sharpen his faculties, and make such an impression as to cause
him to be more cautious in future; and many a scholar who is sitting
in judgment will profit by the circumstance.) I have known the lives
of several children saved by such simple lessons, and they are of as
much importance as any that are taught, though I am not quite sure
that all the teachers will think so. Too many, to save trouble, will
find fault with the swing; and I have known several instances where
the swing had been taken down in consequence. We have found the swing
answer in all three countries; it strengthens the muscles, which, in
physical education, is a matter of the highest importance. It has been
introduced into juvenile schools with similar success; and, also, in
ladies' boarding-schools I have personally inspected tine effects
produced. Under all these circumstances, and in every instance, I have
found the most beneficial effects produced, provided the exercise was
properly regulated and superintended. It will not do, therefore, to
have this important part of the system dispensed with. The teachers
must be present at all the exercises in the play-ground, or, more
properly speaking, the training-ground. Non-attention to this is a
capital error; and, if persisted in, must be followed with dismissal.



_Teachers should practice what they teach--Necessity of patience--Mere
automatons will not do for infant teachers--Disadvantage of using
excessive restraint--A master and mistress more efficient than two
mistresses--Objections to the sole government of females--Two frequent
use of Divine names should be avoided--General observations._

       *       *       *       *       *

--"Such authority, in shew, When most severe and minist'ring all its
force, Is but the graver countenance of love, Whose favour, like the
clouds of spring may lower, And utter now and then an awful voice,
But has a blessing in its darkest frown, Threat'ning at once and
nourishing the plant."--_Thomson_.

       *       *       *       *       *

I enter on this chapter with a full recollection of the painful sense
of incompetency I endured on becoming "a teacher of babes;" and this,
I trust, will enable me to offer any remarks on the present subject
with the humility that is desirable, blended with the confidence of
experience. It is a very common idea, that almost any person can
educate little children, and that it requires little or no ability;
but it will be found, on an enlightened and correct estimate of the
work, that this is a very great mistake: and I regret that this
mistake has been made by those who professed to understand the system,
and who have written upon it. But there is just this slight difference
between theory and practice: theory supposes such and such things to
be correct, which was my own case; but twelve months only of practical
effort very soon convinced me I was wrong. How frequently, for
instance, may we find children, ten or twelve years of age, who cannot
answer the most simple question, and who, nevertheless, have been to
school for several years. To give the children correct notions, is a
part of education seldom thought of: but if we really wish to form the
character of the rising generation, and to improve the condition of
society generally, the utmost attention must be given to this object.
Little, I should think, need be said to prove, that few ideas are
given in dame-schools. There may be a few as to which an exception
should be made; but, generally speaking, where the children of
mechanics are usually sent before the age of seven years, no such
thing is thought of. The mind of a child is compared by Mr. Locke to a
sheet of blank paper, and if it be the business of a tutor to
inscribe valuable lessons on the mind, it will require much patience,
gentleness, perseverance, self-possession, energy, knowledge of
human nature, and, above all, piety,--simple, sincere, and practical
piety,--to accomplish so great a work with propriety and success.

Whoever is in possession of these requisites, with the addition of a
lively temper, pleasing countenance, and some knowledge of music,
may be considered as a proper person to manage an infant school;
and whoever has charge of such an institution will find numerous
opportunities of displaying each and all of these qualifications.
It would be almost useless to attempt to cure the bad tempers of
children, if the master should encourage and manifest such evil
tempers in his own conduct; for children are not indifferent to what
they see in others: they certainly take notice of all our movements,
and consequently the greatest caution is necessary. It will be of
little purpose to endeavour to inculcate suitable precepts in the
minds of the children, unless they see them shine forth in the conduct
of the teacher.

How strangely it would sound, if, when a teacher was explaining to his
pupils the sin of swearing, a child should say, "Please, sir, I heard
you swear;" and it is just the same as to those faults which some
may consider of minor importance,--such as the indulgence of angry
passions,--in the presence of children. It must always be understood,
that the essence of the plan is to allow the children to speak,--not
what they do not feel and think, which has been but too general,--but
what they do think and feel. This children will always do if rightly
trained. Yes, with modesty and decorum, but with power! What will the
old class of pedagogues say to this? What! allow pupils to tell you of
your faults! Certainly; they know them; at least, those committed in
their presence. They talk of them to themselves, why not to us? Some
of the best _lessons_ I ever got were under similar circumstances.

Persons, in such circumstances, cannot be too circumspect, as every
trifling fault will be magnified, both by parents and children.
Indeed, character is of so much importance, that the designs of
benevolent individuals are very often frustrated by appointing
improper persons to fill such situations. I have seen, more than once,
the interests of two hundred babes sacrificed to serve one individual;
and persons have been chosen merely because they had been unfortunate,
and to serve them they have been placed in a situation disagreeable
to themselves, and unprofitable to the children. It is one thing
to possess certain information, but it is another to be able to
communicate that information to infants. Patience is a virtue
absolutely indispensable, as it will frequently take the master or
mistress a whole hour to investigate a subject that may appear of
little or no importance: such as one child accusing another of
stealing a trifle,--as a plum, a cherry, a button, or any other thing
of little value. The complainant and defendant will expect justice
done to them by the master or mistress; and in order to do this, much
time and trouble will, in some cases, be necessary. Should a hasty
conclusion be formed, and the accused be punished for what he has not
been guilty of, the child will be sensible that an injury has been
done him, feel dissatisfied with his tutors, and, consequently,
will not pay them the respect they ought to have. Besides, it will
frequently be found, on examination, that the accuser is really the
most in fault, and I think I have convinced many children that this
has been the case, and they have retired satisfied with my decision.
For when a child is convinced that justice will be done him, he will
open his case freely and boldly; but if he has any idea that it will
be otherwise, he will keep one half of the facts in his own mind, and
will not reveal them. I once formed a hasty conclusion in the case of
two children, and happened to decide directly contrary to what I ought
to have done; the consequence was, that the injured child endeavoured
to do that for himself which he found I had not done for him, and
pleaded his own cause with the opposite party in the play-ground; but
finding that he could not prevail on him, and being sensible that he
had been wronged, he was so much hurt, that he brought his father the
next day, and we re-considered the case; when it was found that the
child was correct, and that I was wrong. Here I found how necessary it
was to exercise the utmost patience, in order to enable me to judge
rightly, and to convince my little pupils, that I had the greatest
desire to do them justice. I compare an infant school to a little
commonwealth, the head or governor of which is naturally the master.
An infant school master or mistress is not to consider anything
relating to the rights of his little community, as trifling or
unimportant. However justly it might be considered such in itself,
yet, comparatively, it is a matter of moment to the parties concerned,
and such therefore it should be esteemed by him who is the arbitrator
of their rights and the legislator and judge of the infant state. He
will have, indeed, to act the part of counsel, judge, and jury; and
although the children cannot find words to plead their own cause, yet
by their looks and gestures, they will convince you that they know
when you have rightly decided; and it appears to me, that the future
conduct of the children in the world, will depend, in a great measure,
upon the correctness of the master's decisions.

One would suppose, to hear the observations of some persons, that mere
automatons would do for masters and mistresses. By them the system is
considered as every thing, while the persons who are to teach it, have
been considered as secondary objects; but a system, however perfect in
itself, will be productive of little good, unless it be committed to
persons possessed of some degree of skill; as the best watch will
go wrong, if not properly attended to. We cannot, therefore, be too
circumspect in the choice of the persons to whom we commit the care
and education of the rising generation. There is something so powerful
in correctness of deportment, that even infants respect it; and this
will operate more on their minds than many imagine. It does not
appear necessary to me, that children should be kept under excessive
restraint by their tutors; they should rather be encouraged to make
their teacher their confidant, for by this means he will become
acquainted with many things, the knowledge of which it is essential
he should possess, both as it regards himself; and the welfare of his
pupils. If the child be enthralled, he will seek some other persons
to whom he may open his little mind, and should that person be
ill-disposed, the most serious consequences will not unfrequently
follow. I know the source from whence all assistance is derived, and I
am taught to believe, that such assistance will not be withheld from
those who diligently seek it. I am well aware that I shall have to
render an account of my stewardship to the Almighty, for every child
that may have been placed under my care, and I feel that to do so
unblameably, requires much assistance from above.

Let not those, then, who are similarly circumstanced with myself;
think that I address them in the spirit of arrogance, with a
pre-conceived opinion of my own sufficiency. I wish that all who teach
may be more fit for the situation than I am. I know many who are an
honour to their profession, as well as the situation they fill; but, I
am sorry to say, I think they do not all meet with the encouragement
they merit. It is not always those who do their duty the best that are
most valued; but if a man's conscience do not upbraid him, he has in
its approval a high reward.

And now, as to a matter on which there is some difference of opinion,
_viz_., whether women are or are not as fit for conductors of infant
schools as men; my decided opinion is, that _alone_ they are not.
There should be in every school a master and a mistress. In the first
place, in an infant school, the presence of the man, as of a father in
a family, will insure a far greater degree of respect and attention on
the part of the children. This does not arise from the exercise of any
greater degree of harshness or severity than a mother would be capable
of using; nor is it to be attributed, as some suppose, to the less
frequent presence of the father in the case of many families, but is
rather to be accounted for by an intuitive perception of the greater
firmness and determination of the character of the man. To those who
deny this, I would give as a problem for solution, a case by no means
unfrequent, and which most of my readers will have witnessed,--a
family in which the mother--by no means incurring the charge of
spoiling the child, by sparing the rod--is less heeded, less promptly
obeyed in her commands, than a father who seldom or never makes use of
any such means. The mother scolds, threatens, scourges, and is at last
reluctantly and imperfectly obeyed; the father, either with reference
to his own commands, or seconding those of the mother, _speaks_,
and is instantly regarded. The idea of disputing his authority, or
neglecting or disobeying his laws, never once enters the minds of his
children. Exactly the same is it in an infant school,--the presence of
a man insures attention and gains respect from the children, not only
at first, whilst the novelty of such control might be supposed to
operate, but permanently; as I am sure all who have candidly examined
the schools where two women preside, and those conducted by a man and
a woman, must have seen.

Another objection to the sole government of females (I mean the class
of females who are likely to accept such situations) in these schools,
is, they have not the physical strength, nor, at present, intellectual
powers, sufficient for the task. In saying thus, I trust I shall not
be suspected of wishing to offend my fair countrywomen. That they have
not sufficient physical strength is the intention of nature; that they
are deficient in mental energy is the defect of education. I trust,
therefore, that no offence will be assumed where no blame is attached.
It has been a point much disputed, whether there be really an original
and intrinsic difference in the mental powers of the two sexes, and it
has been of course differently decided by the respective disputants.
With this I shall have nothing to do; but these things are certain;
that the minds of _both_ are capable of much greater activity and more
important results than have been generally supposed; and that whilst
education has not done what it ought for man, it has done far less for
woman. This it is, then, which affords an additional argument in my
mind for a master and a mistress. For let it not be imagined, that
I would dismiss women altogether from the system--that I think them
useless or even dispensable in an infant school. If, indeed, one
or the other _must_ be done without, and I had my choice, I should
certainly give my voice for a woman; but to carry the system into full
effect requires _both_. There is ample opportunity for the offices of
maternal love, of which man is at best but a poor imitator; neither
can it be denied, that an active intelligent woman is a useful
auxiliary to the labours of the man in the duties of the school. The
authoritative presence of the man is the more necessary in the infant
system, because one grand object is, to rule without harshness, and
by that principle of love which is in no degree incompatible with the
respect felt for a kind but judicious schoolmaster. Some children,
indeed, so far as regards authority, might be very well managed by a
mistress only, but then it must be recollected that an infant school
exhibits every variety of temper and disposition; and even were it
otherwise, the objection as to intellectual incompetence and physical
strength, before adverted to, would still hold good.

Such, indeed, is the opinion of the unfitness of females for the
occupation of teaching, in Scotland, that in many places the very idea
of it is scouted. The people of that country have scarcely heard of a
_school-mistress_, even for the youngest children; and certain it is,
that education is much better conducted in Scotland than in most other
places. If the minds of children are to be cultivated, and a firm and
decided tone given to their characters, say they, what can be the use
of sending them to a school conducted by a woman only? And I must
candidly admit, that I perfectly agree with them on this head, and
have therefore deemed it my duty to be thus explicit on the matter.[A]

[Footnote A: I am sorry to say that, at this time, the people
of Scotland have been led into the same error, of which I have
complained. I did hope they would never have allowed themselves to be
led away from their old, judicious, and workable plans, far the sake
of party, or fashion; but so it is, and it is much to be regretted:
however, it is a consolation to know that it is not universal.]

One thing I must add, by way of conclusion: to render any man or woman
competent to discharge the duties of the situation efficiently, the
_heart_ of the teacher must be in the school. If there be not the zeal
of the amateur, the skill of the professor will be of little avail.
The maxim will apply to every species of occupation, but it is
peculiarly true as to that of an infant school teacher. To those who
can feel no other interest than that which the profit gives to the
employment, it will soon become not only irksome, but exceedingly
distasteful. But certain I am that it is possible to feel it to be
what it is--an employment not only most important, but likewise most
interesting. It is one which a philosopher might choose for the study
of the human character, and a philanthropist for its improvement.

One word more, and I have done. I have seen what I could have wished
had been otherwise, viz., not sufficient discrimination used in giving
_religious instruction_; improper times have been chosen, too much
_shew_ has been made of it, too much freedom has been used with _the
divine names_; and I have sometimes been so shocked at the levity
displayed, as to have considered it little less than _profanation_.

I wish to lay the utmost stress on what has been stated, as a failure
on the part of a master and mistress is most grievous and lamentable.
I have seen schools, where little or nothing has been done, because of
the inefficiency of the teachers. Moral and religious qualifications
are confessedly of the first importance, but those which are mental
are to be highly estimated. I differ with a gentleman who has written
on this subject, when he says, that any clever boy who has been
educated in a national school, will accomplish the end; because
the system through which he has passed neither gives a sufficient
knowledge of _things_ nor of _words_, nor does it sufficiently develop
the faculties to prepare him for such a service.

One cause of failure in these respects has been undoubtedly the paltry
remuneration which some receive, and I would earnestly recommend the
supporters and conductors of infant schools to try the effect of
liberality by all the means they can command. Persons of talent ought
to be found for this work, and then they should be appropriately paid;
but if _any_ are to be deemed suitable, and if the having them at a
low rate be a special reason for their engagement, it would be better
at once to revert to the old system, than to destroy, by such means,
the public confidence in the plans now suggested.

I entertain a full conviction that the infant system will flourish
most where I once least expected its adoption: I mean in Scotland,
because of the high importance attached to the essential
qualifications of teachers, and because of the attention and kindness
which they continually receive.

It is to be lamented that most of the schools connected with the
established church are managed by women only, whilst the schools
connected with the dissenters are generally conducted by a man and
woman; the consequence is, that the children educated under the
dissenters will be better taught than those connected with the
established church, which is an error I should be glad to see remedied
as soon as possible. I have no need to speak in favour of infant
school masters, as many of them have been the greatest enemies I ever
had, whilst on the contrary, the mistresses have generally been very
friendly to me, and not been subject to those petty jealousies which
the masters have too frequently evinced; nevertheless, the subject
treated of in this place involves a principle which cannot be conceded
without doing great injury to the infant system, and on those grounds
I advocate the necessity of a master in conjunction with the mistress.
Many teachers, and other persons who have written on the subject, have
talked largely of making improvements, whilst the hints given in this
book have been entirely neglected; as this was the first book that
ever was written on the subject, and the writer of it the first man
that ever brought the thing practically to bear, it sounds a little
odd, that people should talk about improvements before they have
pointed out the errors of the original inventor. Others again have
borrowed largely from me, and have neither had the good manners nor
the common honesty to say from whence they got their information.
Societies have been formed at the eleventh hour, after the infant
system had been twenty years in practice, who puff off books written
by some of their own members, which do not contain the original idea,
whilst my books, for some cause best known to themselves, have never
been recommended, or indeed ever mentioned, though I could take page
after page from those modern writers on the subject, and justly claim
them as my own. This is not what one ought to expect amongst people
who call themselves Christians: a truly good man is delighted to do
justice to his fellow-men, because in doing so, he never fails to
obtain justice himself; but there are some persons whose minds are so
truly selfish that they cannot see how good can accrue to themselves,
if they do what is right to others: and I regret to say I have met
with not a few, who have been engaged in the art of teaching, who have
been guilty of the mean and contemptible conduct I have hinted at
above, and it is to deter others from falling into the same errors
that I have ventured to allude to this subject at all. It would be
invidious to mention names, which I could very easily do, and should
this be persisted in, if I am spared, I shall most certainly mention
the parties by name. I would not be understood to say that no
improvements can be made in the infant system: far from it. No doubt
it will be improved, and that to a great extent; but that will only be
in process of time, and by practical people, who understand more
of the nature of the infant mind than I do, and may hereafter have
greater experience than I have had; but they must work hard for it,
as I have done, and be doers as well as talkers: and when I see such
improvements made, I trust the Almighty will enable me to be the first
to acknowledge them. At present, however, though I have travelled over
a large space, and visited many hundred schools, and also opened many
hundred, and have not yet seen the mighty improvements of which I have
read so much, and I do beg that those teachers who may be engaged in
the system will be kind enough to try my plans, prior to introducing
so many crotchets of their own. They are to recollect we never
intended to make prodigies of the little children; it never was our
object to teach them things that were only fit for men and women: the
fact must never be lost sight of that they are infants, and that as
infants they must be treated.

It is very easy for any one to theorise, and form schemes for the
education of children, and to introduce changes which may appear
beneficial. Fancy is very prolific, and a number of books may easily
be read, and yet the right knowledge not be gained. The chief book
to be studied is the infant mind itself, considered as a great and
wonderful work of the Creator, with a sincere desire to know all
its faculties and powers, and the various simple laws by which its
operations are governed. The teacher ought also to turn his thoughts
within himself, to study his own mind, especially in his recollections
of very early childhood, and the modes by which knowledge is gradually
acquired. These things, carefully and dilligently done, will give more
information on the proper method of educating and developing the young
mind than the perusal of a hundred volumes. This I have endeavoured
all my life to do, and have had to deal with many thousands of
children who have been to me a book for constant study. From this
extensive observation and experience, all my plans have been formed,
and my opinions derived. If any one has done the same, or more, to him
I will gladly concede; but I am not aware that any one individual, not
even Pestalozzi, has run a similar career.



_Classification--Getting the children into order--Language--Lessons
on objects--Rules to be observed by parents--Daily routine of
instruction--Opening prayer and hymn--Object or developing
lessons--Synopsis of a week's instruction--Cleanliness--Never frighten
children--Guard against forgetfulness--Observe punctuality--Be
strictly accurate in your expressions--Guard against the entrance of
disease--Maxims for teachers--Resolutions_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Whate'er is best administer'd is best."--_Pope_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having had considerable practice in teaching children in the various
parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, it may be necessary to
give a few hints on the subject of organizing an infant school. I
have generally found on opening one, that the children had no idea of
acting together. In order, therefore, to gain this object, it will be
found necessary to have recourse to what we call _manual lessons_,
which consist in the children holding up their hands all at one time,
and putting them down in the same manner; throwing the right or the
left foot out; putting their hands together, or behind them; or rising
from their seats all at one time; clapping hands, which is a very good
exercise; holding up their hands and twirling the fingers; holding up
the forefinger and bringing it down on the palm, in time to some tune;
imitating the action of sawing wood, and the sound produced by the
action of the saw; doing this both ways, as it is done in the saw-pit,
with both hands, and by the carpenter with the right; imitating the
cobbler mending shoes, the carpenter plaining wood, the tailor sewing,
and any other trade which is familiar and pleasing to children.

This we do in the first instance, because it is calculated to please
the infants, and is one grand step towards order. After the first day
or two, the children will begin to act together, and to know each
other; but until this is the case, they will be frequently peevish,
and want to go home; any method, therefore, that can be taken at first
to gratify them, should be adopted; for unless this can be done, you
may be sure they will cry. Having proceeded thus far, we have then to
class them according to their capacity and age, and according as they
shew an aptitude in obeying your several commands. Those who obey them
with the greatest readiness may be classed together.

I have found it difficult, at all times, to keep up the attention of
infants, without giving them something to do; so that when they are
saying the tables in arithmetic, we always cause them to move either
their hands or feet, and sometimes to march round the school. The best
way we have yet discovered is the putting their hands one on the other
every time they speak a sentence. If they are marching they may count
one, two, three, four, five, six, &c.

Having classed them, and found that each child knows its own place in
the school, you may select one of the cleverest of each class for a
monitor. Some of the children will learn many of the tables sooner
than the others; in this case, the teacher may avail himself of their
assistance, by causing each child to repeat what he knows in an
audible manner, the other children repeating after him, and performing
the same evolutions that he does; and by this means the rest will soon
learn. Then the master may go on with something else, taking care to
obtain as much assistance from the children as he can, for he will
find that unless he does so, he will injure his lungs, and render
himself unfit to keep up their attention, and to carry on the business
of the school.

When the children have learned to repeat several of the tables,
and the monitors to excite their several classes, and keep them in
tolerable order, they may go on with the other parts of the plan,
such as the spelling and reading, picture lessons, &c., which will
presently be described. But care must be taken that in the beginning
too much be not attempted. The first week may be spent in getting them
in order, without thinking of anything else; and I should advise
that not more than sixty children be then admitted, that they may be
reduced to order, in some measure, before any more are received, as
all that come after will quickly imitate them. I should, moreover,
advise visitors not to come for some time after a school is opened,
for several reasons; first, because the children must be allowed time
to learn, and there will be nothing worth seeing; secondly, they take
off the children's attention, and interfere with the master: and,
lastly, they may go away dissatisfied, and thereby injure the cause
which they intend to promote.

In teaching infants to sing, I have found it the best way to sing the
psalm or hymn several times in the hearing of the children, without
their attempting to do so until they have some idea of the tune;
because, if all the children are allowed to attempt, and none of them
know it, it prevents those who really wish to learn from catching the
sounds. Nothing, however, can be more ridiculous or absurd than the
attempts at singing I have heard in some schools. And here, I
would caution teachers against too much singing; and also against
introducing it at improper times. Singing takes much _out_ of the
teacher, which will soon be felt in the chest, and cause pain and
weakness there; and, if persevered in, premature _death_; and with
women much sooner than men. This is another reason why one of each
sex should be employed in the work. Singing is an exhilarating and
exciting lesson; the children always like it: but even they are
injured by the injudicious management of it, and by having too much of
it each day; or the having two or even three exciting lessons at the
same time. For example: I have seen children singing, marching, and
clapping hands at the same time; and they are prompted and led by the
teachers to do so. Here are three exciting lessons together, which
ought to be separate: the result is, a waste of energy and strength,
on the part of teacher and children, which is sometimes fatal to both.
The exciting lessons were intended to be judiciously blended with the
drier, yet necessary, studies. If the latter are neglected, and the
former only retained, no greater perversion of the plans could occur,
and a more fatal error could not be committed.

You must not expect order until your little officers are well drilled,
which may be done by collecting them together after the other children
are gone, and instructing them in what they are to do. Every monitor
should know his work, and when you have taught him this, you must
require it to be done. To get good order, you must make every monitor
answerable for the conduct of his class. It is astonishing how some
of the little fellows will strut about, big with the importance of
office. And here I must remark, it will require some caution to
prevent them from taking too much upon themselves; so prone are we,
even in our earliest years, to abuse the possession of power.

The way by which we teach the children hymns, is to let one child
stand in a place where he may be seen by the rest, with the book in
his hand; he then reads one line, and stops until all the children in
the school have repeated it, which they do simultaneously; he then
repeats another, and so on, successively, until the hymn is finished.
This method is adopted with every thing that is to be committed to
memory, so that every child in the school has an equal chance of

I have mentioned that the children should be classed: in order
to facilitate this, there should be a board fastened to the wall
perpendicularly, the same width as the seats, every fifteen feet, all
round the school; this will separate one class from another, and be
the cause of the children knowing their class the sooner. Make every
child hang his hat over where he sits, in his own class, as this will
save much trouble. "Have a place for every thing, and every thing in
its place." This will bring the children into habits of order. Never
do any thing for a child that he is able to do for himself; but teach
him to put his own hat and coat on, and hang them up again when
he comes to school. Teach every child to help himself as soon as
possible. If one falls down, and you know that he is able to get up
himself, never lift him up; if you do, he will always lie till you can
give him your aid. Have a slate, or a piece of paper, properly ruled,
hanging over every class; let every child's name that is in the class
be written on it, with the name of the monitor; teach the monitor the
names as soon as you can, and then he will tell you who is absent.
Have a semicircle before every lesson, and make the children keep
their toes to the mark; brass nails driven in the floor are the best,
or flat brass or iron let into the floor. When a monitor is asking
the children questions, let him place his stool in the centre of the
semicircle, and the children stand around him. Let the monitors ask
what questions they please, they will soon get fond of the process,
and their pupils will soon be equally fond of answering them. Suppose
the monitor ask. What do I sit on? Where are your toes? What do you
stand on? What is before you? What behind you? Let the monitors be
instructed in giving simple object lessons on any familiar substance,
such as a piece of wood, of stone, of iron, of paper, of bone, of
linen, &c. Let them question their class as to the qualities first,
and then the various uses to which the object is applied. These
lessons will be of incalculable benefit to the children, and give them
an early desire to inquire into the nature, qualities, and uses of
every natural object they come into contact with. We will suppose the
monitor holds in his hand a piece of leather; he first asks, "What is
this?" The children will simultaneously exclaim, "A piece of leather."
This being answered, he will proceed to the qualities, and will have
either from his class, or by his own help, the following answers: "It
is dry, it is smooth, it is hard, it is tough, it is pliable, it is
opaque," &c. He will then question them as to its uses, and will ask,
"What is made from leather?" A. Boots and shoes. Q. What use is it of
else? A. Books are bound with it; and so on through all its uses. He
will then ask them how leather is made, and give them information
which he has himself previously received from the teacher as to the
mode of tanning leather, and the various processes which it goes
through. Indeed, there is no end to the varied information which
children may thus receive from simple natural objects. At first they
will have no idea of this mode of exercising the thinking powers. But
the teacher must encourage them in it, and they will very speedily
get fond of it, and be able to give an answer immediately. It is very
pleasing to witness this. I have been much delighted at the questions
put, and still more so at the answers given. Assemble all the very
small children together as soon as you can: the first day or two they
will want to sit with their brothers or sisters, who are a little
older than themselves. But the sooner you can separate them the
better, as the elder children frequently plague the younger ones;
and I have always found that the youngest ones are the happiest by

In all cases let teachers be careful to avoid the "parrot system," and
to remember that while it is necessary to infuse a certain amount of
information into the child's mind, it can only be made its own by
drawing it back again and getting its own ideas upon it--this is
called development, which is a thing universally disregarded in almost
every school I have seen; and it is a general complaint made by almost
every modern writer on education; and many have objected to the infant
system on this account, because the teachers of it were not acquainted
with its end and essence. The true infant system is a system of
development; no other system can be of lasting benefit to the country
in general, nor to the pupils in particular; the genuine infant system
is not subject to the fundamental errors so much complained of; it has
been invented for the purpose of operating upon all the faculties, and
the machine must not be condemned merely because the teachers do not
know how to work it; but every committee, and each individual in a
committee, appear to lose sight of these principles, in order to try
how much originality may be displayed, and thus utility is sacrificed
to novelty; thus we may find as many infant systems as there are days
in the year; and I have been made chargeable by certain writers for
the errors of others; but these writers have not condescended to
examine into the merits of the system for which I have been so many
years an advocate.

But enough of this: we will now suppose that the little flock are
brought by thus time into something like order; we are next to
consider the means of securing other objects. Although the following
rules for this purpose are given, it must not be supposed, that they
are presented as a model not to be departed from. If they can
be improved so much the better, but some such will be found

       *       *       *       *       *


_To be observed by the Parents of Children admitted into the ----
Infant School_.


Parents are to send their children clean washed, with their hair cut
short and combed, and their clothes well mended, by half-past eight
o'clock in the morning, to remain till twelve.


If any child be later in attendance than nine o'clock in the morning,
that child must be sent back until the afternoon; and in case of being
later than two in the afternoon, it will be sent back for the day.


Parents may send their children's dinners with them in the morning, so
that the children may be taken care of the whole day, to enable the
mother to go out to work. This can only be done where the teachers
reside on the premises.


If a child be absent for a length of time, without a notice being sent
to the master or mistress, assigning a satisfactory reason for the
absence, such child will not be permitted to return again to the

Saturday is a holyday.[A]

[Footnote A: In Ireland the schools do not commence business till ten
in the morning, and the children remain till three, and do not go home
in the interval. In Scotland the rules are nearly similar.]

*** It is earnestly hoped that parents will see their own interest, as
well as that of their children, in strictly observing these rules; and
they are exhorted to submit to their children being governed by the
master and mistress; to give them good instruction and advice; to
accustom them to family prayer; but particularly to see that they
repeat the Lord's prayer, when they rise in the morning, and when they
retire to rest, and assist in their learning the commandments; and to
set before them a good example; for in so doing, they may humbly
hope that the blessing of Almighty God will rest upon them and their
families; for we are assured in the holy Scriptures, that if we train
up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart
from it, Prov. xxii. 6. Therefore parents may be instrumental in the
promotion of the welfare of their children in this life, and of their
eternal happiness in the world to come.

       *       *       *       *       *

On each of these rules I will make a few remarks.

_First rule_. Some parents are so habitually dirty, that they would
not wash their children from one week's end to another, unless
required so to do; and if it be done for them, they will not be so
thankful as when compelled to do it themselves. This I have found from

_Second rule_. This has its advantages; for it would not be right
to punish the children when the fault rests with their parents;
consequently, by sending them home, the real authors of the evil are
punished. Many parents have told me, that when their children were
at home, they employed themselves in singing the alphabet, counting,
patting their hands, &c. &c.; that it was impossible to keep an infant
asleep, that they were glad to get them out of the way, and that they
would take care that they should not be late again.

But there is no rule without an exception. I have found that this has
its disadvantages; for some of the elder children, when they wanted a
half-holiday, would take care to be late, in order to find the door
shut, although they were sent in proper time by their parents; this,
when detected, subjects them to a pat on the hand, which is the only
corporeal punishment we have. If this rule were not strictly enforced,
the children would be coming at all hours of the day, which would put
the school into such disorder, that we should never know when all the
children had said their lessons.

_Third rule_. This is of great service to those parents who go out
to work; for by sending their children's dinners with them, they are
enabled to attend to their employment in comfort, and the children,
when properly disciplined, will be no additional trouble to the
teacher, for they will play about the play-ground, while he takes his
dinner, without doing any mischief.

_Fourth rule_. Many persons will keep their children away for a month
or two when nothing is the matter with them, consequently the children
will lose almost all they have learned at school. Besides this,
children are kept out, who perhaps would attend regularly, and we
should never know how many children were in the establishment. If,
therefore, a parent does not attend to this rule, the child's name is
struck off the book.

On the admission of every child, the parents should be supplied with a
copy of the preceding rules, as this will prevent them from pleading
any excuse; it should be fastened on pasteboard, otherwise they will
double it up and put it into their pockets, and forget all about it;
but being on pasteboard, they may hang it up in their dwellings. The
short exhortation that follows, it is hoped, may have its use, by
reminding the parents of their duty to co-operate with those persons
who have the welfare both of themselves and their children at heart.
The reasons for the holiday of Saturday are, first, that the teacher
requires a rest, the infant system being so laborious. Second, that
the school-room requires to be thoroughly cleaned; and, thirdly, that
many of the mothers are obliged to wash the children's clothes on a
Saturday because they have not a sufficient change, and if they do
not have the Saturday, they will break the Sabbath by washing them on

I shall next speak of the _daily routine_ of instruction.

If we would be successful in our labours, we most ask for help,--we
must solicit aid from that Being who never yet denied it when
sincerely and fervently implored. A minister who desires to instruct
his flock with effect, never fails to commence his work with
supplication; and certainly every teacher must ask for help, and
instruct his pupils to do so too, if he really wish to be successful.
If the wisest and best of men ask assistance from God to teach their
fellow-men, and feel and know it to be necessary so to do, who would
not ask assistance to instruct infants?

  "To lead them into virtue's path,
  And up to truth divine."

If we had only to educate the _head_, prayer might be less necessary.
But the promoters of _infant schools_ want to affect the _heart_;
to operate upon the will and the conscience, as well as on the
understanding; to make good men rather than learned men--men of
_wisdom_, rather than men of _knowledge_: and he who has this work to
accomplish, should remember the Saviour's declaration, "Without me
ye can do nothing." Whilst therefore I would avoid too frequent
repetition of the divine names in tire presence of the children, and
never fail to let them know the difference between talking religion
and doing religion, and in every case avoid the very appearance of the
form without the essence, I would in such case, avoid long prayers,
and take care that what was said in their presence should be short,
and to the point, keeping in mind the scripture maxim, to avoid long
repetitions as the heathen do, who think they shall be heard for their
much speaking; and little children cannot have the simple truths of
the Word pourtrayed to them in too simple a manner.

To use prayers with little children composed of hard words taken from
scholastic theology, is contrary to common sense. How is it possible
that they can either understand or feel them? To utter prayer before
them in dull and melancholy tones, and with grimaces of countenance,
is calculated to give a false and gloomy impression of religion, and
has often done so. I have known little children alarmed and frightened
at such things; for sounds and appearances speak more strongly to
them than words.--Christ said of the Pharisees, "they disfigure their
faces." Our Saviour's direction is, after this manner, pray ye--"Our
Father," thus directing us to draw near to the Most High God as a
heavenly father, rich in mercy to all them that call upon him. True,
indeed, it is that "all have sinned," but a "new and living way" is
provided whereby we may "draw near with boldness to a throne of grace
to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Cowper never
penned a truer line than this;

  "True piety is cheerful as the day;"

and such an impression of it should ever be given to the young. The
best prayer of a master for his children, is the perpetual and strong
desire of his heart for God's blessing upon them, which, when genuine
and sincere, will without doubt be recorded on high, and will also
urge him on to a faithful and unceasing discharge of his duties
towards them. To possess this is indeed to "pray without ceasing," and
will prevent an unnecessary multiplication of "long prayers," "vain
repetitions," and "much speaking."

But to proceed. The children being assembled, should be desired to
stand up, and immediately afterwards to kneel down, all close to their
seats, and as silently as possible: those who are not strong enough to
kneel, may be allowed to sit down. This being done, a child is to
be placed in the centre of the school, and to repeat the following

"O God, our heavenly Father, thou art good to us: we would serve thee;
we have sinned and done wrong many times. Jesus Christ died on the
cross for us. Forgive our sins for Jesus' sake; may the Holy Spirit
change our hearts, and make us to love God; help us to-day to be good
children and to do what is right. Keep us from wicked thoughts and
bad tempers; make us try to learn all that we are taught; keep us in
health all the day. We would always think of God, and when we die may
we go to heaven. God bless our fathers and mothers, and sisters and
brothers, and our teachers, and make us obedient and kind, for Jesus
Christ's sake. Amen."

Perhaps it would be better under all the circumstances, to use a
simple prayer out of the Book of Common Prayer.

The children afterwards repeat the Lord's prayer, and then sing a
hymn; for instance, the following:

  When first the morning light we see,
    And from our beds arise,
  We to our God should thankful be,
    Who every want supplies.

  'Twas God who made the brilliant sun,
    That gives all day its light;
  And it was God who made the moon
    And stars, which shine at night.

  The fish that in the water swim,
    The beasts upon the land,
  Were all created first by Him,
    And shew His mighty hand.

  The food we eat, the clothes we wear,
    'Tis God alone can give;
  And only by His love and care,
    Can little children live.

  Then let us ever caution take,
    His holy laws to keep;
  And praise him from the time we wake,
    Until again we sleep.

Immediately after this they proceed to their lessons; which are fixed
to what are called lesson-posts. To each of these posts there is a
monitor, who is provided with a piece of cane for a pointer. This post
is placed opposite to his class; and every class has one, up to which
the monitor brings the children three or four at a time, according
to the number he has in his class. We have fourteen classes, and
sometimes more, which are regularly numbered, so that we have one
hundred children moving and saying their lessons at one time. When
these are gone through, the children are supplied with pictures, which
they put on the post, the same as the spelling and reading lessons,
but say them in a different manner. We find that if a class always
goes through its lessons at one post, it soon loses its attraction;
and consequently, although we cannot change them from post to post in
the spelling and reading lessons, because it would be useless to put a
child to a reading post that did not know its letters, yet we can do
so in the picture lessons, as the children are all alike in learning
the objects. One child can learn an object as quick as another, so
that we may have many children that can tell the name of different
subjects, and even the names of all the geometrical figures, who do
not know all the letters in the alphabet; and I have had children,
whom one might think were complete blockheads, on account of their
not being able to learn the alphabet so quickly as some of the other
children, and yet those very children would learn things which
appeared to me ten times more difficult. This proves the necessity of
variety, and how difficult it is to legislate for children. Instead,
therefore, of the children standing opposite their own post, they go
round from one to another, repeating whatever they find at each post,
until they have been all round the school. For instance, at No. 1 post
there may be the following objects; the horse, the ass, the zebra, the
cow, the sheep, the goat, the springing antelope, the cameleopard, the
camel, the wild boar, the rhinoceros, the elephant, the hippopotamus,
the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the civet, the weazel, the great
white bear, the hyena, the fox, the greenland dog, the hare, the mole,
the squirrel, the kangaroo, the porcupine, and the racoon. Before
commencing these lessons, two boys are selected by the master, who
perhaps are not monitors. These two boys bring the children up to a
chalk line that is made near No. 1 post, eight at a time; one of the
boys gets eight children standing up ready, always beginning at one
end of the school, and takes them to this chalk line, whilst the other
boy takes them to No. 1 post, and delivers them up to the charge of
No. 1 monitor. No. 1 monitor then points to the different animals with
a pointer, until the name of every one that is on his plate has been
repeated; this done, he delivers them to No. 2 monitor, who has a
different picture at his post; perhaps the following: the fishmonger,
mason, hatter, cooper, butcher, blacksmith, fruiterer, distiller,
grocer, turner, carpenter, tallow-chandler, milliner, dyer, druggist,
wheelwright, shoemaker, printer, coach-maker, bookseller, bricklayer,
linen-draper, cabinet-maker, brewer, painter, bookbinder. This done,
No. 2 monitor delivers them over to No. 3 monitor, who may have a
representation of the following African costumes: viz. Egyptian Bey,
Ashantee, Algerine, Copts woman, Mameluke, native of Morocco, Tibboo
woman, Egyptian woman, Fellah, Bedouin Arab, Turkish foot soldier,
Maltese, Rosettan, native of Cairo, Turkish gentleman, Bosjesman,
native of Coronna, native of Namacqua, Caffree, native of Tamaha,
native of Ebo. Having repeated these, No. 3 monitor hands them over to
No. 4, who perhaps has an engraved clock face, with hands composed of
two pieces of wood, over which paper in the shape of clock hands has
been pasted; he gives the children a lesson from this object, explains
to them the difference between the minute and second-hand, shews them
their uses, and points out the dots which mark the minutes, and the
figures which divide it into hours, makes them count the seconds, and
soon tell the hour. No. 4 then gives the class to No. 5 monitor, who
has at his post a representation of the mariner's compass; he explains
its uses, shews them the cardinal points, tells them how it was
discovered, and then he will move the hands around, beginning at the
north, and making the children repeat as he moves the hands, north,
north-north-east, north-east, east-north-east, east, east-south-east,
south-east, south-south-east, south, south-south west, south-west,
west-south-west, west, west-north-west, north-west, north-north-west,
north. The degrees, &c., may be considered as going too far for
infants; we therefore reserve them until we treat of juvenile schools.
We have not thought it necessary to name all the points of the
compass, but have confined ourselves to the principal ones. No. 5 then
hands the class to No. 6, who has on his post representations of the
following fishes, viz., whale, sword fish, white shark, sturgeon,
skate, John Dorey, salmon, grayling, porpoise, electrical eel, horned
silure, pilot fish, mackerel, trout, red char, smelt, carp, bream,
road goldfish, pike, garfish, perch, sprat, chub, telescope carp, cod,
whiting, turbot, flounder, flying scorpion, sole, sea porcupine, sea
cock, flying fish, trumpet fish, common eel, turtle, lobster, crab,
shrimp, star fish, streaked gilt head, remora, lump fish, holocenter,
torpedo. No. 6, then gives the class to No. 7; and as variety is the
life and soul of the plan, his post may be supplied with a botanic
plate, containing representations of the following flowers:--daffodil,
fox-glove, hyacinth, bilberry, wild tulip, red poppy, plantain, winter
green, flower de luce, common daisy, crab-tree blossom, cowslip,
primrose, lords and ladies, pellitory of the wall, mallow, lily of
the valley, bramble, strawberry, flowering rush, wood spurge, wild
germander, dandelion, arrow-head. No. 8 monitor has on his post a set
of geometrical figures, illustrated by the representation of objects
either natural or artificial of the same shape; thus a triangle
illustrated by one side of a pyramid, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon,
a heptagon, an octagon, a nonagon, a decagon. No. 9 monitor has
another set of geometrical definitions on the same principle, as a
perpendicular line, a horizontal line, an oblique line, parallel
lines, curved lines, diverging or converging lines, an obtuse angle,
a circle. No. 10 a different set of geometrical shapes, viz.
sociles-triangles, scolene-triangles, rectangle, rhomb, rhomboid,
trapezoid, trapeziums, ellipse or oval. Having arrived at No. 11, the
class find here the European costumes, viz. Englishman, Frenchman,
Russian, Swiss, Italian, German, Scotchman, Welchman, Irishman, Turk,
Norwegian, Spaniard, Prussian, Icelander, Dutchman, Dane, Swede,
Portugese, Corsican, Saxon, Pole. No. 11 monitor delivers them to
No. 12, and there they may find pictures representing Negroes,
Otaheiteans, Highlanders, American Indians, East Indians, Laplanders,
Greeks, Persians, Sandwich Islanders, Turks, English, Chinese, Dutch,

To enter into a thorough explanation of the uses to which such lessons
as these may be applied would make a volume of itself, which at
present I have no time to write[A]; but it may be necessary, for the
sake of teachers generally, to shew the uses to which a few of them
may be applied, and leave it to their own ingenuity to go on is a
similar manner with the great variety of lessons we have of this
description, and which infants are quite competent to learn. Take the
European costumes as an example. When the children are thoroughly
acquainted with each of the representations, and can name them
themselves, or if too young to name them, can point them out if they
are named by the teacher, they may then be told that the Englishman is
born in a country called England, and that London is the capital, and
that capital means the greatest town or city. Care must be taken that
every thing is thoroughly explained, and that the pupils understand
the meaning of the terms used. You then windup this much by telling
the pupils that Englishman means the man, England the country, and
London the chief city; that England is the country they live in, if
you are teaching English children. That Frenchman means a man that
lives in a country called France, which is separated from England by
a part of the sea called the English channel; that Paris is the chief
town or capital. The teacher may here mention some remarkable events
connected with the history of France, and tell the children that
France and England have been often fighting against each other, but
that they are now at peace, and that we should be as kind and good to
Frenchmen as to any other men, because God likes to see all men live
friendly with each other. The children are then told that Russian
means a man living and born in Russia; that Russia is a country where
there is much ice and snow, and which is very cold; that Petersburgh
is the chief town, and that the people of Russia drive over the ice
and snow in sledges, which are carriages without wheels. That Swiss
means an inhabitant of a country named Switzerland, which is almost in
the centre of Europe, and has no sea near it; that it is a very pretty
country, full of beautiful lakes and mountains; that a lake is a very
great pond of water, and that mountains are very high rocky places,
and that the tops of the mountains in Switzerland are always covered
with snow; that the Swiss people are very brave, and fought very hard
for their freedom, that is, that no other people should be masters
over them; that the capital or chief town of Switzerland is Berne.
When the teacher comes to the Italian, he will say that he is an
inhabitant of a country called Italy, which is a very beautiful place;
that Rome is the capital, and was once the greatest city in the world.
In speaking of the Scotchman, the teacher may tell the children that
Scotland is not separated from England by any sea, but the three
countries called England, Scotland, and Wales, all form one island,
which is entirely surrounded by the sea; that the people who live in
the north, and cold parts of Scotland, are called Highlanders, and are
very brave and hardy; that Edinburgh is the capital. When the Welchman
is under the children's notice, the teacher will tell them that he
lives in a pretty country called Wales, which is joined to England,
that is, no sea divides them, that the chief town is London, although
London is in England and not Wales, because Wales has been governed by
the same king as England for many hundred years, and the eldest son of
the King of England is called Prince of Wales. When the teacher points
out the Irishman, he may tell his class that he lives in an island
near England, separated or divided from it by a part of the sea called
the Irish Channel; that Dublin is the chief city, and that Ireland is
governed by the same queen as England is. Speaking of the German, he
may say that he lives in a country of which the chief town is Vienna.
He may tell the children that the Turk lives in a country called
Turkey; that it is a very warm place, and its chief town is
Constantinople; that the Norwegian lives in a cold country called
Norway, whose chief town is Christiana; that the Spaniard lives in a
country called Spain, the chief town of which is Madrid; that many
of the oranges we eat come from Spain; that the Prussian lives in a
country called Prussia, the chief town of which is Berlin; that the
Icelander lives in a very cold place, called Iceland, which is an
island; that it is a place surrounded by water on every side; that
there is a great mountain in Iceland which is called a burning
mountain, because flames of fire often come out from the top of it.
That the Dutchman lives in a country called Holland; that the people
of that country are remarkable for being very clean, and that most of
the dolls which little English girls play with, are made by children
in Holland; that Amsterdam is the chief town or capital. The children
are told that the Dane lives in a country called Denmark. The teacher
may state that many hundred years back the Danes conquered England,
but that a brave English king, called Alfred, drove them all away
again; that Copenhagen is the capital or chief town; that the Swede
lives in a country called Sweden, and that Stockholm is the chief
town; that the Portuguese live in a country called Portugal, the
capital of which is Lisbon; that the Corsican lives in an island
called Corsica, the capital of which is Bastia; that the Saxon lives
in a country called Saxony, the chief town of which is Dresden. In
telling the children that the Pole lives in a country called Poland,
the chief town of which was Warsaw, the teacher should explain to them
that Poland has been conquered by the Russians, and taken from the
Poles, and shew how unjust this was of the Russians, and also how
the Poles fought very bravely to defend their country, but that the
Russians being stronger, and having larger armies, they were at last

[Footnote A: I have since written a volume for juvenile schools; where
the principles are carried out. This can be had of the publisher.]

Having in this manner told the children as simply as possible, a
little about each country, the teacher should then tell the principal
rivers; thus: The principal rivers of England are, the Thames, the
Severn, the Trent, the Mersey. London, the capital of England, is is
built on the banks of the River Thames; and ships from all parts of
the world sail up this river, to bring us various things which we
could not get without sending to other countries for them; such as tea
and coffee and sugar. The principal rivers of France are, the Seine
and the Rhone; the Seine is the river on which the capital of France,
Paris, is built. The principal rivers of Russia are, the Wolga, the
Don, the Nieper, the Dwina, and the Vistula. The Wolga is a very great
river, being three thousand miles long. The Rhine, which is one of the
largest rivers in Europe, rises in Switzerland. The principal rivers
of Italy are, the Po, the Arno, and the Tiber; the chief town of
Italy, Rome, is built on the banks of the Tiber. Rome was once the
greatest city in the world. The principal rivers of Germany are, the
Danube, the Rhine, and the Elbe; of Scotland, the Clyde and Tweed; of
Ireland, the Shannon, Barrow, Boyne, Suire, and Nore. The capital of
Ireland, Dublin, is built on a small river called the Liffey. The
principal rivers of Turkey are, the Danube and the Don; of Spain, the
Guidalquiver; of Portugal, the Tagus, on which the chief town, Lisbon,
is built; and of Saxony, the Iser. In the same manner the children may
receive instruction fitted for their tender understanding, concerning
the other parts of the globe, always keeping in mind that, unless they
are made to comprehend thoroughly what is given to them, it is quite
useless to attempt to give them the lessons at all. When giving
the lessons on African costumes, the teacher should explain in the
simplest manner, that the Egyptian Bey is the chief governor of a
country in Africa called Egypt; that Africa is one of the four great
parts into which our earth is divided; that the Nile is a great river
flowing through Egypt, which, at certain times of the year, overflows
its banks, and that this fertilizes the ground, and causes the corn to
grow, which, but for this, would be withered with the sun, because
but very little rain ever falls in Egypt; that the cause of the Nile
overflowing its banks is, the great rains which fall in the countries
from whence the Nile flows: that the Ashantee is an inhabitant of
another country of Africa, where the people are very ignorant, and do
not know as much as the little children of an infant school: that the
Algerine lives in a part of Africa called Algiers: the people there
are very wicked and cruel, and used at one time to take the ships of
every other country that they met on the seas, and make slaves of the
people they found in them; but they cannot do so now, because the
French have conquered them, and taken all their ships from them: that
the Bedouin Arabs are people who rove about from place to place,
amongst the great sandy deserts of Africa, and rob travellers who are
passing over those deserts: the teacher should explain that these
deserts are very large places, covered with sand, and the sun is so
hot that no tree or shrub, or grass, will grow there, and there is no
water to be had, so that travellers carry water in leathern bottles on
the backs of camels; that camels are large animals, much larger than a
horse, which are very useful in those warm countries, because they can
carry very heavy loads on their backs, and go a great time without
water. The Copts woman should be pointed out to the children, and
notice should be taken of the large veil before her face. The Mameluke
should be pointed out as belonging to a fierce tribe of soldiers. When
speaking of the natives of Morocco, it should be mentioned that the
Moors at one time had possession of Spain; that the Maltese is a
native of an island called Malta; that Cairo (a picture of a native
of which is in the lesson) is the chief city of Egypt. That the
Bosjesman, native of Coronna, native of Namacqua, Caffree, native of
Tamaka and of Ebo, belong to the savage nations of Africa, of which
but little is known, who are of a black colour, and go with very
little clothes on them, because the country is so warm.

From the lesson supposed to be at No. 12 lesson-post, a good deal of
information may be given. The teacher may be thus supposed to address
the children, pointing to each picture, as he describes it.

Little children, this is a picture of negroes: they live in Africa,
but are often stolen from their own country to be made slaves of.
Africa is a very hot part of the world, and the poor negroes are
black, and have short black woolly hair, something like the hair on a
black sheep; but we must not laugh at them for this; it was God who
made them as well as he made you; and those poor negroes are very mild
and quiet people, and like to amuse themselves by singing and dancing.
You see the negroes in this picture; they are carrying a black lady in
a kind of basket, called a palanquin: a pole goes through this, and
they hold it on their shoulders. The next picture represents some of
the people who live in a country called Otaheite; they are strong,
stout people, and very mild and friendly. They are not black like the
negroes; their complexion is of a pale brown, with black eyes and very
handsome white teeth. The next picture represents Scotch Highlanders:
they live in the cold parts of Scotland; they are very strong and
healthy, and able to bear cold and hanger very well. They are fond of
playing on the bagpipes. This is a picture of American Indians: they
live in America, and are of a reddish colour; they build their huts in
the thickest forests, as far from the white men as they can. The next
is a picture of East Indians: their country is in the warmest part of
Asia, and from it comes a great many beautiful things, such as ladies
wear for shawls and dresses; there are a great many people in the East
Indies, and twenty-five millions are subject to the Queen of England.

The Laplanders live in a very cold country, called Lapland, in which
the ground is covered with snow all the year round; they are very
happy notwithstanding, for God gives every people means to be happy,
if they are good and love him; they have nice little huts to live in,
and sledges to travel with, which are drawn by rein-deer--we will read
about the rein-deer by and by. The Laplanders are kind to strangers,
and are very brave, although they are the smallest people in the

This is a picture of Greeks: they were once a very great and powerful
people, but afterwards the Turks conquered them; they have now,
however, a king of their own.

The Persians, of whom this is a picture, live in a country of Asia
called Persia, from whence the most beautiful silks, carpets, leather,
gold and silver lace, and pearls, are brought. The Persian women are
very handsome, and wear the most beautiful clothes of any women in the
world--we should not like them the better for this, for handsome faces
and fine clothes will not make people good or happy, unless they try
to be so themselves.

This is a picture of the natives of the Sandwich islands: they are
a very friendly people, and live together without fighting or
quarrelling; they make mats and canoes, and the women make cloth.

The Turks (this is a picture of some of them) are very fine handsome
people; they wear very long beards; and they shave their heads and
wear white turbans instead of hair; they are very fond of drinking
coffee and smoking from great long pipes.

The English are represented in this picture: you are English
children--England is a very great country, and the Queen of England
has many ships in every part of the world; and a great many places,
many thousand miles away, belong to England.

This picture represents the Swiss: they are a very brave, honest, good
people, and their country is very beautiful; a great many clocks and
watches are made in Switzerland.

This is a picture of the Chinese: they wear very curious dresses; and
the ladies in China squeeze their feet very much, in order to make
them small, which they think a great beauty. Tea comes from China, and
is the leaf of a small plant.

This picture represents the Dutch: they are a very clean and
industrious people, and the little children there are never idle.

The last picture represents the Tartars: they live in Asia, and wander
about without any fixed dwelling, not staying in one place longer than
while it gives them food for themselves and their horses, of which
they have a great many. Horses are wild in Tartary.

The reader will at once perceive what a feast is afforded to the young
mind in these object lessons; the objects are accurately copied from
nature, and the costumes from the best sources, so that the infant
mind is expanded by viewing a proper representation of the real thing
through the fit organ, the eye. It is astonishing what infants will
learn through the sense of seeing, and it is remarkable that our
systems of education for young and old, should not have been founded
on a knowledge of the high importance of this medium for communication
and information; the youngest child may learn to distinguish one
object from another to an endless variety, and I could produce
children who could point me out a thousand objects, if I called them
by their proper names, who perhaps could not themselves name twenty of
the objects out of the thousand; by this it will be seen we first give
them the object, and language itself follows in due course.

Whenever a clear idea or notion is given to the mind by a picture or
object, it is then easy to impart the information that is naturally
connected with it; and this will then be most strongly retained,
according to the law of association, which is one of the most
important principles to be kept in view in imparting instruction to
both young and old. Lead on FROM _something known_ TO _something
unknown_, is a golden rule,--a most valuable axiom that all teachers
should ever bear constantly in mind. What important lessons may be
given in a field, wood, or forest! How much better is the thing itself
for a lesson, than the representation of it! And what a class of
teachers are wanted for this work? Yet sure I am that in due time the
Great God will raise such up from amongst his people, to the glory of
His name, and the benefit of succeeding generations. May greater minds
than the humble writer of this, be called to work in this blessed
vineyard for the good of the species, and for the diminution of crime;
and, oh! may they be able to dive into the recesses of the wonderful
works of God, to grapple with the difficulties therein found, and
bring to light some of the hidden mysteries, for the instruction of

When this book was first written, thirty-two years ago, some of the
ideas were universally scouted, yet I have lived to see the day that
the very men who sneered at the views first made known in this book,
adopt precisely the same principles, and even go much further that I
ever intended, or even thought suitable for infant minds, and quietly
puff this off as a new discovery in infant training; so much the
better, portions of the public will hear them, and they would not
listen to me; and if the end is answered, it is of little consequence
through what means that end is gained. It is satisfactory to know that
the principles first developed in the infant plan are found equally
applicable to older children, and I have had the pleasure of seeing
those principles carried out in many schools throughout the country,
too numerous to mention individually.

It will be seen from what has been said that the plan of the children
marching from one post to the other, is the very thing for infants, as
exercising and developing their locomotive powers, a thing exceedingly
desirable for young children. The great error of the old infant
system, or in other words, the dame-school plan, was the keeping the
pupils rivetted to their seats; here they are marching from one place
to another, and get ting food for every sense. Take as another example
the picture of the trades; the monitor says to his little pupils as
they come up. What does a fishmonger sell, the answer is, fishes of
many sorts, such as salmon, cod, herring, and mackerel. Q. What does a
mason do? A. Cut stones into their proper shapes, polish some sorts,
and cut ornaments on others. Q. What does a hatter sell? A. Hats, for
men, women, and little children. Q. What does a cooper do? A. Mend
casks and make them. Q. What does a butcher mean? A. One that sells
beef, mutton, pork, &c. Q. What do they call butchers in Scotland? A.
Fleshers. Q. What does a blacksmith mean? A. One that makes different
things from iron, and sometimes shoes horses. Q. What does a fruiterer
mean? A. A person that sells all sorts of fruits, such as apples,
pears, plums, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, &c. Q. What does
a distiller mean? A. A man that makes rum, brandy, whiskey, and other
liquors. Q. What does a grocer mean? A. A man that sells tea, coffee,
sugar, spices, and many other things. Q. What does a carpenter mean?
A. A man that cuts up wood, makes benches; it was a carpenter made our
gallery. Q. What does a turner mean? A. A man who makes snuff-boxes,
bed-posts; It was a turner who made the balls on our arithmeticon. Q.
What does a tallow-chandler mean? A. A man that buys and sells candles
of different sorts. Q. What does milliner mean? A. A person that makes
ladies' caps, tippets, and things for little children. Q. What does
a dyer mean? A. A man that dyes cloths of different colours. Q. What
does a druggist mean? A. One that sells drugs of different kinds, such
as nutgalls, alum, bark, &c. Q. What does wheelwright mean? A. A man
that makes carts, wheelbarrows, &c. Q. What does a shoe-maker do? A.
Makes shoes for men and women and little boys and girls. Q. What does
a printer do? A. Print lessons for little children to read; newspapers
and books for men to read. Q. What does a coach-maker make? A.
Coaches, gigs, omnibuses, cabs, and things of that sort. Q. What does
a bookseller do? A. Sells books of different sorts, pictures, paper,
sealing-wax, &c. Q. What does a bricklayer do? A. Builds walls, the
brick part of houses, &c. Q. What does a linen-draper do? A. Sells
linen to make shirts, printed calico to make frocks, and many other
things of that kind. Q. What does a cabinet-maker do? A. Makes tables,
chairs, and presses, and other things to furnish houses with. Q. What
does a brewer do? A. Makes ale and porter. Q. What does a painter
mean? A. One who paints insides of houses, doors, window shutters, and
such things. Q. What does a bookbinder do? A. Puts covers on books.

These lessons being all supplied by me, more explanation in this place
may be unnecessary, but as a further guide to teachers of infant
schools, I subjoin a synopsis of a week's course of instruction which
has been adopted in many schools.

       *       *       *       *       *


TIME.--_Mornings_. School to assemble at nine o'clock, and to leave at

_Afternoons_. School to assemble at two o'clock, and to leave at four
in winter, and five in summer.


_Morning_. When assembled, to offer the appointed prayer, after which
a hymn is to be sung; then slates and pencils are to be delivered to
the children; after which they are to proceed with their letters and
spelling. At half-past ten o'clock to play, and at eleven o'clock to
assemble in the gallery, and repeat the picture lessons on natural
history after the monitor in the rostrum.

_Afternoon_. Begin with prayer and hymn as in the morning; picture
lessons on Scripture history to be repeated from the lesson-post, and
to be questioned on them afterwards in the gallery.


_Morning_. Usual prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling from the
lesson-posts. Play. Gallery; repeat the addition and subtraction

_Afternoon_. Prayer and hymn. Multiplication table; the monitor asking
the question, and the children answering. Reading lessons. Play.
Gallery; numeration and spelling with brass figures and letters.


_Morning_. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Play. Gallery;
master to teach geometrical figures and musical characters.

_Afternoon_. Prayer and hymn. Practice pence and shilling tables.
Play. Gallery; master to give lessons on arithmetic. Extempore
teaching on men and things, &c. &c.


_Morning_. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Division, weights,
measures, and time, from the rostrum. Play. Gallery; same lessons as
Monday morning.

_Afternoon_. Prayer and hymn. From the lesson-posts epitome of
geometry and natural history. Gallery; brass letters and figures.
Extempore teaching on men and things, taking care that all such
teaching shall be illustrated by substances.


_Morning_. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Tables in
arithmetic, at the master's discretion. Play. Gallery; lessons on
geography, maps, globes, &c.

_Afternoon_. Prayer and hymn. Scripture pictures on the lesson-posts,
and questions on them in the gallery.


_Morning_. Prayer and hymn. Letters and spelling. Tables of arithmetic
from the rostrum. Play. Gallery; lessons on the transposition frame,
and on geometry from the brass instrument. Religious instruction
should have a prominent part in the business of every day, and
especially so every Saturday morning.

N.B. If visitors wish any particular lessons to be gone through, and
the children appear disposed, the master is not bound to adhere to
the above rules, neither at any other time, if the children appear
particularly disinclined.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are a few other matters, on which, before concluding this
chapter, I must speak, as claiming the attention of infant school
conductors. First attend to


Although we have referred to this before, yet, as it is of
considerable importance not only to the children but to those around
them, it may not be amiss to take up a little more of the reader's
time, and to state the different plans that have been devised, in
order to make the children as clean as possible. In one case, a trough
was erected, and a pipe provided to convey the water into it; but
before it had been up a month, it was found, that instead of answering
the end intended, it had quite a contrary effect; for the children
dabbled in the trough, and made themselves ten times worse than they
were, by wetting themselves from head to foot; besides which, it
frequently caused them to take cold, of which the parents complained.
Some took their children away without notice; others came and gave
the master what they called "_a good set down_." It was, therefore,
thought necessary to forbid the children washing themselves, and
to wash all that came dirty. But it was soon found that the dirty
children increased so fast, that it required one person's time
to attend to them; besides which, it had another bad effect, it
encouraged the parents in laziness; and they told me, when I
complained of their sending the children to school dirty, "That indeed
they had no time to wash their children; there was a trough in the
school for that purpose, and the persons who had charge of the school
were paid for it, and ought to do it." In consequence of this, the
trough was taken away, and it was represented to the parents, that it
was their duty to keep their children clean; that unless they did so,
they would be sent home to be washed; and if they persisted in sending
them without being washed, there would be no alternative left but to
dismiss them from the school altogether. This offended some of the
parents, and they took their children out of the school, but many
afterwards petitioned to have them readmitted. I mention this merely
to prevent others, who may be concerned in the establishment of infant
schools, from incurring an unnecessary expense, and to shew that the
parents will value the school equally as well if you make them wash
their children, as if you did it for them.

The plan that we have acted upon to enforce cleanliness, is as
follows: As soon as the children are assembled in the school, the
monitors cause them to hold out their hands, with their heads up; they
then inspect their hands and their faces, and all those who are dirty
are desired to stand out, to be examined by the master, who will
easily perceive whether they have been washed that morning; if not,
they are sent home to be washed, and if the mother has any sense of
propriety, she will take care that it shall not often occur. But it
may be found, that some have been washed, and been playing with the
dirt, when coming to school, which some children are very apt to do;
in this case they have a pat on the hand, which generally cures them.
There is much trouble at first, to keep the children quite clean; some
of their parents are habitually dirty, and in such cases the children
will be like them; these will, therefore, require more trouble than
others, but they will soon acquire cleanly habits, and, with proper
management, become as cleanly as any of the other children. As soon
as a child is taken into the school the monitor shows him a certain
place, and explains to him, that when he wants to go into the yard, he
is to ask him, and he will accompany him there. Of course there are
separate accommodations for each sex, and such prudential arrangements
made as the case requires, but which it is unnecessary further to

[Footnote A: This is a subject of the highest importance in moral
training, and deserve the serious attention of committees as well as
teachers: inattention to these matters, may demoralize every child
that enters the school. In many schools throughout the country I have
seen great want of attention to this subject, the seats were too high,
the circular holes too large, causing fear on the part of the infants,
and also bad habits. The seats should be the same height as the seats
in the school--six inches, and nine inches high, the diameter of the
holes seven inches and nine inches--the teachers should constantly
visit these places, inculcate habits of delicacy and cleanliness.
Such habits formed in childhood are never forgotten. Superfine
dressy teachers, will be too proud, and too high, to attend to these
things--but the judicious mother or matron will at once see their
importance and act accordingly--"as the twig is bent the tree's


It is common for many persons to threaten to put children into the
black hole, or to call the sweep to take them away in his bag, when
they do not behave as they ought; but the ill effects of this mode of
proceeding may be perceived from the following fact. I knew a child,
who had been to one of those schools where the children of mechanics
are usually sent, called dames' schools, which was kept by an elderly
woman, who, it seems, had put this child into the coal-hole, and told
him, that unless he was a good boy, the black man would come and take
him away; this so frightened the child, that he fell into a violent
fit, and never afterwards could bear the sight of this woman. On the
mother getting the child admitted into our school, she desired me to
be very gentle with him, relating to me all the above story, except
that the child had had a fit. About a fortnight after the admission of
the child, he came running one day into the school, exclaiming, "I'll
be a good boy, master! master! I'll be a good boy." As soon as he
caught sight of me, he clung round, and grasped me with such violence,
that I really thought the child was mad; in a few minutes after this
he went into strong convulsions, and was such a dreadful spectacle,
that I thought the child would die in my arms. In this state he
remained for about twenty minutes, and I fully expected he would be
carried out of the school a corpse. I sent for the mother, but on her
arrival I perceived she was less alarmed than myself; she immediately
said, the child was in a fit, and that I had frightened him into it. I
told her that she was mistaken; that the child had only just entered
the school, and I was ignorant of the cause of his fright; but several
of my little scholars soon set the matter to rest, by stating the
particulars of the fright, which they observed when coming to school.
It seems that a man was in the street, who sweeps chimneys with a
machine, and just as the little fellow passed him, he called out,
"Sweep;" this so alarmed the child, that he thought the man was going
to take him, and was affected by his fears in the way I have stated.
The child, however, getting better, and the mother hearing what the
children said, begged my pardon for having accused me wrongfully, and
then told me the whole particulars of his first fright and the woman
and the coal-hole. I had the greatest difficulty imaginable to
persuade him, that a sweep was a human being, and that he loved little
children as much as other persons. After some time, the child got
somewhat the better of his fears, but not wholly so. He had but one
fit afterwards. This shews how improper it is to confine children by
themselves, or to threaten them in the manner described. Many persons
continue nervous all their lives through such treatment, and are so
materially injured, that they are frightened at their own shadow.

It is also productive of much mischief to talk of mysteries, ghosts,
and hobgoblins, before children, which many persons are too apt to
do. Some deal so much in the marvellous, that I really believe they
frighten many children out of their senses. I recollect, when I was a
child, hearing such stories, till I have actually been afraid to look
behind me. How many persons are frightened at such a little creature
as a mouse, because the nature of that little creature has not been
explained to them in their infancy. Indeed, children should have all
things shewn them, if possible, that they are likely to meet with: and
above all, it should be impressed upon their minds, that if they meet
with no injury from the living, it is most certain the dead will never
hurt them, and that he who fears God, need have no other fear. It is
also common with many persons, to put a disobedient child into a room
by itself. I cannot approve of this method, as the child is frequently
frightened into quietness without improving his temper in the
least; if it be day time it is not so bad, but if it be dark, the
consequences are often serious, and materially injure the constitution
of the child. The more I reflect upon this subject, the more do I see
its impropriety. I would rather use the rod, in moderation, and mercy.
I am sure it is better for the disobedient and unruly child, and more
according to the dealings of the Creator with us all. I can truly say
my punishments, which have not been slight, have done me good. As
children we cannot see these things; as men and thinkers, we can. Yea!
and kiss the rod.


The circumstance I am about to mention, shews how necessary it is to
teach by example as well as precept. Many of the children were in the
habit of bringing marbles, tops, whistles, and other toys, to the
school, which often caused much disturbance; for they would play with
them instead of attending to their lessons, and I found it necessary
to forbid the children from bringing anything of the kind. After
giving notice, therefore, two or three times in the school, I told
them that if any of them brought such things, they would be taken away
from them. In consequence of this, several things fell into my hands,
which I did not always think of returning, and, among other things, a
whistle belonging to a little boy. The child asked me for it as he
was going home, but having several visitors at the time, put him off,
telling him not to plague me, and he went home. I had forgotten the
circumstance altogether, but it appears the child had not; for some
time after, while I was lecturing the children upon the necessity of
telling truth, and on the wickedness of stealing, the little fellow
approached me, and said, "_Please, sir, you stole my whistle_." "Stole
your whistle!" said I; "did I not give it you again?" "No, teacher,
I asked you for it, and you would not give it to me." I stood
self-convicted, being accused in the middle of my lecture, before all
the children, and really at a loss to know what excuse to make, for
I had mislaid the whistle, and could not return it to the child.
I immediately gave the child a halfpenny, and said all I could to
persuade the children that it was not my intention to keep it.

However, I am satisfied that this trifling mistake of mine did more
harm than I was able to repair during some time; for if we wish to
teach children to be honest, we should never take anything from them
without returning it again. Indeed, persons having charge of children
can never be too cautious, and should not, on any account whatever,
break a promise; for experience has taught me that most children have
good memories, and if you once promise a thing and do not perform it,
they will pay very little attention to what you say afterwards.


A little girl, whose mother was dead, was often absent from school.
She was never at a loss for excuses, but from their frequency I was at
last induced to suspect their truth. None of the children knew where
she resided; so I was obliged to send the eldest boy in the school
home with her, to ascertain whether or not her stories were true. I
gave the boy positive directions to make haste back; but, much to my
surprise, I saw no more of him for six hours. When he returned, he
told me that the little girl refused to shew him where she lived; and
had taken him so far, that he at last determined to leave her, but
could not find his way back sooner. In the evening I went myself,
according to the direction I had entered in the admission-book, but
found that the family were removed, and the persons in the house could
not tell me where they had gone to reside. I saw nothing of the child
for the five following days, when a woman who had the care of her and
her little brother in arms, came to inquire the reason why the girl
came home at such irregular hours, stating, that sometimes she came
home at half-past eleven, at other times not till two, and sometimes
at three in the afternoon: in short, often an hour after school was
over. I told her that the child was frequently absent, and that it was
five days since I had seen her. The woman appeared quite surprised,
and told me, that she had always sent the child to school at the
regular time; that when she came home before the usual hour, she said
her governess had sent all the children home a little sooner; and if
she came home after the time, then she said that there had been some
ladies visiting the school, and that the children had been kept for
their inspection.

Here I must acknowledge, that I have frequently detained children a
little while after school-hours, when we have had visitors, but since
it furnishes the children with an excuse for going home late, I think
it would be better to discontinue the practice; and would hint to
those ladies and gentlemen who feel inclined to visit such schools,
that they should come between the hours of nine and twelve in the
forenoon, or two and four in the afternoon. I have only to observe,
that the child I have been speaking of came to the school very
regularly afterwards.

There is another subject too important to be passed without notice; I
mean the punctual attendance of the pupils. If the teachers are firm,
and determined, to secure this, _it can be done_. In Ireland, where
the value of time and punctuality is least understood, the thing was
accomplished,--whilst no better lesson can be given to those who have
to work for their daily bread, than punctuality. If a child cannot
attend school at nine, how can it attend work at six in the morning?
Be firm, and the object is gained.


One day when the children were assembled in the gallery, having none
of their usual lessons at hand, I took from my pocket a piece of
paper, and promised them that if they would answer me every question
I put concerning the paper, I would at last make a paper boat. I
proceeded in the following manner: "What is this?" "What colour?"
"What is its use?" "How made!" "What made of?" &c. These questions
being answered according to their different views, and having folded
the paper into a variety of forms, and obtained their ideas upon such
forms, I proceeded to fulfil my promise of forming it into the shape
of a boat; but the children, seeing me at a loss, exclaimed, "Please,
sir, you can't do it;" which proved the fact, as I had forgotten the
plan, and was obliged to make the confession. "Then, sir," rejoined
one of the boys, "you should not have promised."

In the course of my observations I had frequently enjoined the
children to make every possible use of their thinking powers, but it
appears I had at the same time forgotten to make use of my own, and
consequently had been betrayed into a promise which I was not able to

I remember some other instances:

One of the children happened to kick another. The injured party
complained to the person who then had the charge of the school,
saying, "Please, sir, this boy kicked me." It being time for the
children to leave school, the master waved his hand towards the gate
through which the children pass, thoughtlessly saying, at the same
time, "Kick away;" meaning that the complainant was to take no more
notice of the affair, but go home. The complainant, however, returning
to the other child, began kicking him, and received some kicks
himself. A friend was present, and seeing two children kicking each
other, he very naturally inquired the reason. "Please, sir," replied
the children, "master told us!" "Master told you," says the gentleman,
"that cannot be; I'll ask him." He accordingly inquired into the truth
of the affair, and received for answer, "Certainly not." "Yes," said
the child, "you did, sir; did not I tell you just now that a boy
kicked me?" "Yes," says the master, "you did." "Then, please sir,"
says the child, "you told me to go and kick away!" The master
immediately recollected that he had said so.

This fact shews how improper it is to say one thing to a child and
mean another. These children were under the influence of obedience,
_and in the light of truth_, and being in that light, they could see
from no other, and very naturally concluded the master meant what he
had said.

One day some visitors requested I would call out a class of the
children to be examined. Having done so, I asked the visitors in what
they would wish the children to be examined; at the same time stating
that they might hear the children examined in natural history,
Scriptural history, arithmetic, spelling, geography, or geometry. They
choose the latter, and I proceded to examine the children accordingly;
beginning with straight lines. Having continued this examination for
about half an hour, we proceeded to enter into particulars respecting
triangles; and having discoursed on the difference between isosceles
triangles and scalene triangles, I observed that an acute isosceles
triangle had all its angles acute, and proceeded to observe that a
right-angled scalene triangle had all its angles acute. The children
immediately began to laugh, for which I was at a loss to account, and
told them of the impropriety of laughing at me. One of the children
immediately replied, "Please, sir, do you know what we were laughing
at?" I replied in the negative. "Then, sir," says the boy, "I will
tell you. Please, sir, you have made a blunder." I, thinking I had
not, proceeded to defend myself, when the children replied, "Please,
sir, you convict yourself." I replied, "How so?" "Why," says the
children, "you said a right-angled triangle had one right angle, and
that all its angles are acute. If it has one right angle, how can all
its angles be acute?" I soon perceived the children were right, and
that I was wrong. Here, then, the reader may perceive the fruits of
teaching the children to think, inasmuch as it is shewn that children
of six years of age and under were able to refute their tutor. If
children had been taught to think many years ago, error would have
been much more easily detected, and its baneful influence would not
have had that effect upon society which at this day unfortunately we
are obliged to witness.

At another time I was lecturing the children in the gallery on the
subject of cruelty to animals; when one of the little children
observed, "Please, sir, my big brother catches the poor flies, and
then sticks a pin through them, and makes them draw the pin along the
table." This afforded me an excellent opportunity of appealing to
their feelings on the enormity of this offence, and, among other
things, I observed, that if the poor fly had been gifted with the
powers of speech like their own, it probably would have exclaimed,
_while dead_, as follows:--"You naughty child, how can you think of
torturing me so? Is there not room in the world for you and me? Did I
ever do you any harm? Does it do you any good to put me in such pain?
Why do you do it, you are big enough to know better? How would you
like a man to run a piece of wire through your body, and make you draw
things about? Would you not cry at the pain? Go, then, you wicked boy,
and learn to leave off such cruel actions." Having finished, one of
the children replied, "How can any thing speak if it is dead?" "Why,"
said I, "supposing it could speak." "You meant to say, sir," was the
rejoinder, "_dying_ instead of _dead_."

It will, of course be understood that in this case I purposely misused
a word, and the children being taught to think, easily detected it.


It may, probably, be considered presumption in me, to speak of the
diseases of children, as this more properly belongs to the faculty;
but let it be observed, that my pretension is not to cure the diseases
that children are subject to, but only to prevent those which are
infectious from spreading. I have found that children between the ages
of two and seven years, are subject to the measles, hooping
cough, fever, ophthalmia, ringworm, scald-head, and in very poor
neighbourhoods, the itch--and small-pox. This last is very rare, owing
to the great encouragement given to vaccination; and were it not for
the obstinacy of many of the poor, I believe it would be totally
extirpated. During the whole of the time I superintended a school, I
heard of only three children dying of it, and those had never been
vaccinated. I always made a point of inquiring, on the admission of
a child, whether this operation had been performed, and, if not, I
strongly recommended that it should be. If parents spoke the truth, I
had but few children in the school who had not been vaccinated: this
accounts, therefore, for having lost but three children through the

The measles, however, I consider a very dangerous disorder, and
we lost a great many children by it, besides two of my own. It is
preceded by a violent cough, the child's eyes appear watery, and it
will also be sick. As soon as these symptoms are perceived, I would
immediately send the child home, and desire the parents to keep it
there for a few days, in order to ascertain if it have the measles,
and if so, it must be prohibited from returning to school until well.
This caution is absolutely necessary; as some parents are so careless,
that they will send their children when the measles are thick out upon

The same may be said with respect to other diseases, for unless the
persons who have charge of the school attend to these things, the
parents will be glad to get their children out of the way, and will
send them, though much afflicted, without considering the ill-effects
that may be produced in the school. Whether such conduct in the
parents proceeds from ignorance or not, I am not able to say, but this
I know, that I have had many parents offer children for admission,
with all the diseases I have mentioned, and who manifested no
disposition to inform me of it. The number of children who may
be sick, from time to time, may be averaged at from twenty to
thirty-five, out of two hundred, we have never had less than twenty
absent on account of illness, and once or twice we had as many as

Soon after I first took charge of the establishment, I found that
there were five or six children in the school who had the measles;
the consequence was, that it contaminated the whole school, and about
eight children died, one of my own being of that number. This induced
me to be very cautious in future, and I made a point of walking round
the school twice every day, in order to inspect the children; and
after the adoption of this plan, we did not have the measles in the

The hooping-cough is known, of course, by the child hooping; but I
consider it the safest plan to send all children home that have any
kind of cough; this will cause the mother to come and inquire the
reason why the child is sent home; and it can be ascertained from her
whether the child has had the hooping-cough or not.

With respect to fever, I generally find the children appear chilly
and cold, and not unfrequently they are sick. I do not, however, feel
myself competent to describe the early symptoms of this disorder, but
the best way to prevent its gaining ground in the school is to send
all the children home who appear the least indisposed.

As to the ophthalmia, I can describe the symptoms of that disease,
having had it myself, together with the whole of my family. It
generally comes in the left eye first, and causes a sensation as if
something was in the eye, which pricks and shoots, and produces great
pain: the white of the eye will appear red, or what is usually called
blood-shot; this, if not speedily attended to, will cause blindness;
I have had several children that have been blind with it for several
days. In the morning, the patients are not able to unclose their
eyes for some time after they are awake. As soon as I observe
these appearances, I immediately send the child home; for I have
ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the disease is contagious, and if a
child be suffered to remain with it in the school, the infection will
speedily spread among the children.

As children are frequently apt to burn or scald themselves, I will
here insert a method for adoption in such cases. It is very simple,
yet infallible; at least, I have never known it to fail. It is no
other than the application of common writing ink. One of my own
children burnt its hand dreadfully, and was cured by immediately
washing it all over with that liquid. Several children burnt their
hands against the pipe that was connected with the stove in the
school-room, and were cured by the same means. One boy, in particular,
took hold of a hot cinder that fell from the fire, and it quite singed
his hand; I applied ink to it, and it was cured in a very short time.
Let any one, therefore, who may happen to receive a burn, apply ink
to it immediately, and he will soon witness the good effects of the
application. Thirty-three years' experience has proved to me that
_stoves_ in any school are a nuisance: the common fire place is better
than heating with hot air, hot water, or stoves of any description
that I have yet seen. The grate being low, as at railway stations, is
an improvement and answers well. Had theorists seen the white faced
dull eyed children that I have seen, where stoves are used, and felt
the head aches which I have felt, they would soon banish them from
every school.




       *       *       *       *       *

I should recommend the adoption of the following resolutions of an
intelligent and zealous committee, and that a copy of them be sent to
each master and mistress.

"That as this infant school is established for the express purpose of
carrying into the fullest effect the system of Mr. Wilderspin, which
the committee are convinced is practicable and excellent, the master
be desired to make himself perfectly acquainted with it, in its
physical, mental, and moral bearings, by a study of Mr. Wilderspin's
works on the subject, and particularly of the last and most complete

"That the rules as printed be strictly adhered to by the master.
That children who are ill, having hooping-cough, ringworm, or other
contagious disease, be refused admission until perfectly restored.
That the business of the school begin precisely at the time appointed,
and that during the shortest days the signals for leaving school be
not given till four o'clock precisely.

"That except during the time given, according to the system, to play,
the whole be occupied by the mistress as well as the master in the
instruction of the children, and that the plan laid down in Mr.
Wilderspin's book, be followed as nearly as possible, so that the
apparatus already provided may be gradually brought into action, and
the children have all the advantages of the system; the master and
mistress so dividing their labour that all the children may be

"That the master and mistress pay the utmost attention to the children
learning to read.

"That when a child is absent a week, the master state the cause to the
treasurer, to prevent mistakes as to the payments, and that when a
child declines attending or is excluded, immediate notice be given to
the secretary of the ladies' committee.

"That the master be desired to go on with the business of the school
when visitors who are members of the committee are present, and only
to pay particular attention to those who may be strangers, and who
require information.

"That all applications from the master be made to the committee
through the secretary.

"That all orders from the committee to the teachers be conveyed
through the same channel."



_Original intention of the gallery--What lessons are adapted for
it--Its misapplication--Selection of teachers--Observations--Gallery
lessons an a feather--A spider--A piece of bog-turf--A piece of
coal--Observations on the preceding lessons--Scripture lessons in
the gallery--The finding of Moses--Christ with the doctors--Moral
training--Its neglect in most schools--Should be commenced in
infancy--Beneficial effects of real moral culture--Ignorance of
teachers--The gallery most useful in moral training--Specimen of a
moral lesson--Illustrations of moral culture--Anecdotes--Simpson on
moral education--Observations--Hints to teachers_.

There is no part of the infant system which has been more
misunderstood, than the system of giving lessons in the gallery; and
hence I have thought it necessary to devote a larger space to the
subject, than I did in the former editions of this work. The gallery
was originally intended by me, to give the children such lessons as
appealed directly to the senses, either orally or by representative
objects: thus the teaching arithmetic by the frame and balls, inasmuch
as it appealed to the eye as well as to the understanding, was
suitable for a gallery lesson. The same observations hold good with
respect to a Scripture picture, or the representation of an animal,
a tree, or any object that can be presented to the eye. We have also
found it very useful in teaching the catechism, or anything that is to
be committed to memory, and this part of our plan has proved so useful
and successful, that it has been adopted in many schools for older
children of both sexes, I mean in the Normal schools of Glasgow and
Edinburgh, the Corporation Schools of Liverpool, and the government
Model Schools at Dublin. In the two latter the arrangements, both in
the fittings up of the play-grounds, galleries, and school-rooms, were
made under my especial inspection, and I have no doubt that the use of
the gallery, when it becomes more generally known in large schools,
will become universal.

The taught should see the face of the teacher in these lessons, and
the teacher should see the face of the taught: it establishes a
sympathy between both to the advantage of each. The face is the index
to the mind, and at times shews the intention, even without words.
Some animals can read this index: the horse, the dog, the elephant,
and many of the higher order of animals. Children can always read the
countenance of the sincere, the wise, and the good. Yea! mere infants
can. Reader! Don't smile! were this the time and place, I could
demonstrate these opinions by _facts_. This is not a book for
controversy and metaphysical disquisition; but for use to teachers.
When the children and teachers see each other, as in the gallery, the
effect is highly beneficial. This may be proved by any teacher. As to
the cause for this effect, it would be out of place to argue it here.
I therefore simply state it is true. Sympathy is a power destined to
be of use in teaching, and hereafter will be better understood.

Many friends to infant education, and casual visitors, having found
these erections in infant schools, have concluded that the children
should always be sitting on them, which is a fatal error, and deprives
the children of that part of the system which legislates for the
exercise of their locomotive powers, such as the spelling and reading
lessons, and the method of teaching object lessons, as described in
another part of this work: the consequence has been, that the schools
have become mere parrot-schools, and the children are restless and
inattentive. And this has not been the only evil that has attended a
misapplication of the gallery; for the teachers, for want of knowing
the system properly, have been at a loss how to occupy the time of the
children, and scores of teachers have ruined their own constitutions,
and also the constitutions of some of the children, by the perpetual
talking and singing, which, I am sorry to say, too many consider to be
the sum total of the system: and I may state here, that the children
should never be more than one hour at a time, or, at most two hours,
during the day, in the gallery. All beyond this is injurious to the
teacher, and doubly so to the little pupils. The forenoon is always
the best time for gallery lessons; the teacher's mind is more clear,
and the minds of the children are more receptive. After the children
have taken their dinner they should be entertained with the object
lessons, a small portion of spelling and reading, and the rest of the
afternoon should be devoted to moral and physical teaching in the
play-ground, if the weather will at all permit it. The more you
rob your children of their physical education to shew off their
intellectual acquirements, the more injury you do their health and
your own; and in the effort to do too much, you violate the laws of
nature, defeat your own object, and make the school a hot-bed of
precocity, instead of a rational infants' school for the training
and educating infants. I have been blamed, by writers on the infant
system, for that which I never did, and never recommended; I have been
made answerable for the errors and mis-conceptions of others, who have
not troubled themselves to read my writings; and, in their anxiety
to produce something new and original, have strayed from the very
essential parts of the plan, and on this account I am charged by
several writers with being unacquainted with the philosophy of my own
system. I thought three-and-thirty years ago that if I could arrest
public attention to the subject, it was as much as could be expected.
I knew very well at that time that a dry philosophical detail would
neither be received or read. My object was to appeal to the senses of
the public by doing the thing in every town where practicable. By this
method I succeeded, where the other would have failed, but it by no
means followed that I was unacquainted with the philosophy of my
own plans, merely because I preferred the doing of the thing to the
writing about it. Believing, however, that the time has now arrived,
and that the public mind is better prepared than it was then, I have
thought I might venture to go a little more into detail, in order to
remove some well founded objections, which, but for this reason, would
not have existed. The infant mind, like a tender plant, requires to
be handled and dealt with carefully, for if it be forced and
injudiciously treated during the first seven years of its existence,
it will affect its whole constitution as long as it lives afterwards.
There are hundreds of persons who will not believe this, and those
persons will employ mere boys and girls to teach infants. Let them do
so if they please; I simply protest against it, and merely give it as
my opinion that it is highly improper to do so. If ever infant schools
are to become real blessings to the country, they must be placed under
the care of wise, discreet, and experienced persons, for no others
will be fit or able to develop and cultivate the infant faculties
aright. I have felt it necessary to make these remarks, because in
different parts of the country I have found mere children employed as
school-masters and school-mistresses, to the great detriment of the
young committed to their charge, and the dishonour of the country that
permits it. No wise man would put a mere child to break his colts;
none but a foolish one would employ an inexperienced boy to break in
his dogs; even the poultry and pigs would be attended by a person who
knew something about them; but almost any creature who can read and
write, and is acquainted with the first rules of arithmetic, is too
frequently thought a fit and proper person to superintend infants. I
know many instances of discarded servants totally unfit, made teachers
of infants, merely to put them in place; to the destruction of the
highest and most noble of God's creatures! which I contend infants
are. To expect that such persons can give gallery lessons as they
ought to be given, is expecting what will never, nor can take place.
The public must possess different views of the subject; more rational
ideas on the art of teaching must be entertained, and greater
remuneration must be given to teachers, and greater efforts made to
train and educate them, to fit them for the office, before any very
beneficial results can be seen; and it is to produce such results, and
a better tone of feeling on the subject, that I have thus ventured to
give my opinion more in detail. Efficient gallery lessons--efficient
teachers must be made. They do not at present exist in large numbers,
and can only be made by a suitable reward being held out to them, and
by their being placed under the superintendence of experienced persons
acquainted with the art. The art of teaching is no mean art, and must,
sooner or later, take its proper rank amongst the other sciences.
It is a science which requires deep study and knowledge of human
character, and is only to be learned like all other sciences, by much
perseverance and practice. In another work, on the education of older
children, I have given some specimens of gallery lessons; in this I
shall endeavour to give a few specimens of what I think useful lessons
for infants, and shall also try to clothe them in language suited to
the infant apprehensions; and I sincerely hope they may shew in a
plain manner the method of giving this species of instruction to the
children, and that teachers who were before ignorant of it, may be
benefitted thereby. I shall not pretend to give my opinion as to
whether I have succeeded, but will leave this point entirely to the
judgment and candour of my readers; for I know by experience that it
is a very difficult thing to put practice into theory; and although
this may seem paradoxical, yet I have no doubt that many have
experienced the very same results when trying to explain theoretically
on paper what they have with ease practised a thousand times.

These oral lessons on real objects ought to be given in pure, simple,
and plain language, level to the understanding and capacity of
children. It may be well at times to use words of a more difficult
or scientific character; but these should always have the proper
explanation given; the words used most frequently in common life, in
ordinary and proper conversation, ought to be most strongly impressed
on their memories. It may, perhaps, be retorted on me--why then teach
the difficult and scientific names of geometrical figures. The answer
is very simple. Most of them have no other, and where they have I
always give them also, as sloping, slanting, inclined, for oblique.
The geometrical figures are the elements of all forms, and the
simplest objects which can be presented to the young. I have found
them always learned with the greatest ease and pleasure. Pestalozzi, I
have understood, was led to the use of them by observing the wants
of the young mind, in a similar manner that I was myself. This is,
therefore, one of the many coincidences in thought and discovery by
minds wholly independent of each other, which have been directed to
the same subjects. This is an evitable result. If two men look at the
moon, both must see that it is round, bright, and mottled; and if
two minds far apart, turn their attention to similar subjects, the
probability is that their views will coincide. The most powerful mind
will of course make the deepest and simplest discovery.

Object lessons should be given chiefly on such things as fall under
more constant observation and are daily coming before the sight, and
then useful knowledge will be accumulated, and frequently reimpressed
upon the memory by the seeing of the objects.


We will suppose the children all properly seated, the little girls
on one side of the gallery and the little boys on the other, as
represented on the plan-plate. If the morning is fine and clear, a
lesson may be given on an object that the children are not frequently
in the habit of seeing; but should the weather be hazy, and the
atmosphere heavy, then a lesson must be given on some object which
they all frequently see, say, for example, a feather. The feather must
be held up in the hand, or placed in a small niche on the top of a
pointer, so that every child will see it, and it must be moved about
in various directions to arrest their attention. The first lesson
should be pure development, which is to get every idea from the
children relative to the object before you. Explain to them yours; as
for example,

"What is this?" The universal shout will be, "A feather." You may then
ask them, What are its uses? Some little creatures will say, to blow
about; others will say, to cover birds; others will say, to stuff
pillows and beds to sleep upon. Having got all the information out of
them you can in their own simple language, you have acted according to
nature's law, and it is now your turn to infuse additional information
into their minds, and, give them the benefit of your superior
knowledge; which may be done as follows:--You have told me that
feathers are useful to cover birds, it was for this that they were
made by God; they keep the birds warm just in the same way as your
clothes keep you from being cold; and as the poor birds cannot make
themselves clothes as men can, God has given them feathers that they
may not be cold when the bad weather comes. The feathers are useful to
the birds also in flying; the long feathers in a bird's wing keep him
in the air, which he could not fly through if he was covered with
any thing else, because feathers are very light. Seven of the large
feathers out of the great eagle's wing would not weigh more than two
halfpennies. The wings of a bird make him able to fly, and the tail
guides him through the air, just as you may see the men steer boats
with the rudder; and if you pulled the feathers off his tail, he would
not be able to fly near so straight or fast as when they are on. When
the rain falls on the feathers, they are never soaked through with it
as a piece of rag would be if you threw water on it, because they are
covered with a sort of oil which does not let in the water. If you
ever look at a duck dive into the water, you can see it when it comes
up quite dry; but if you dipped you head into the water it would wet
it all over. When little birds, such as the sparrow and canary, come
out of the egg, they have no feathers on, but the old ones cover them
with their wings to keep the cold away, and the feathers soon
grow, and then they can fly away and find food and make nests for
themselves; but large birds, such as the goose, turkey, hen, and duck,
have a sort of soft down on them when they come out of the shell,
and little ducks will go and swim as soon as they are hatched, as I
suppose some of you have seen.

Some birds' feathers are much prettier than others: the goose has not
such pretty feathers as the swan, nor the swan as the peacock; but we
must not think ill of the goose for this, for its flesh is better to
eat than either the peacock or swan. I am sure many of you little
children like roast goose. The peacock has very pretty feathers
indeed, and so has the pheasant, and the drake, and the cock; but some
birds that live in countries many hundred miles away from this, have
much prettier than any bird that lives in this country. This feather
that we have for our lesson is the feather of a goose; it is not very
pretty, but if we examine it well we shall find it is very curious,
and all the men in the world could not make one like it. Goose
feathers are the most useful; the small ones make stuffing for pillows
and beds, and the large ones make pens to write with. Birds change
their feathers often; they drop off and they get new ones; this is
called moulting.

Having thus given the children as much information on the subject as
they will be likely to be able to digest properly, you may then get it
back from them by question and answer; as for instance

Q. What have we been talking about? A. Birds' feathers. Q. Do they do
the birds any good? A. Yes, keep them warm. Q. What more good? A. Make
them able to fly. Q. Who gives the birds feathers to make them warm?
A. God. Q. Are feathers very heavy? A. No, very light. Q. What is the
reason that they are very light? A. That they may fly easily. Q. What
part of the body does a bird fly with? A. Its wings. Q. Is no other
part useful in flying? A. Yes. Q. Do you remember what part? A. Its
tail. Q. Of what use is its tail? A. To guide it. Q. What do you mean
by guiding it? A. Turning it any way it wants to go. Q. What is the
reason that birds' feathers do not get all full of wet when the rain
falls on them? A. Because there is an oily juice that makes the rain
fall off. Q. When little birds, such as sparrows and robins, come out
of the eggs, have they got feathers? A. No, they are naked. Q. Are
they very long naked? A. No, in a few days the feathers grow. Q. Is it
not curious that the cold does not kill the little birds while they
are naked? A. So it would, only the old ones sit over them and keep
them warm. Q. Are ducks and turkeys and hens naked when the come out
of the shell? A. No. Q. What are they covered with? A. A sort of down.
Q. Do you know of any bird that has very pretty feathers? A. Yes, the
peacock. Q. Is it prettier than the goose? A. Yes. Q. Is it so useful?
A. No. Q. What do the goose feathers make? A. The feathers in the
quill make pelts? Q. What do the small ones make? A. They make
stuffing for pillows and beds. Q. Where do the prettiest birds live?
A. In very warm places, far away from this. Q. Do the same feathers
always remain on a bird? A. No, they drop off, and new ones come. Q.
What is this called? A. Moulting.

Such lessons as this will never be forgotten by the little ones. They
will learn to adore the great God at the sight of any thing he has
made. It is hoped they learn to love to read Nature's book when they
grow older, as every correct notion obtained by a child, through a
natural object, which it is frequently accustomed to meet with, can
never be entirely effaced; and what is more, it prepares the way,
at some future time, for a larger amount of knowledge as to God's
revealed will.

A spider, a living specimen of which may be easily procured, may be
made a very instructive gallery lesson; it may prevent the fears and
foolish prejudices against ugly yet harmless insects, which often
remain through life. Part of a bush may be procured with a real web
and spider upon it, so that its beautiful and highly curious web may
be also exhibited to the children, its uses may be also pointed out,
and a short history of the little animal's habits may be given, but
not before their opinions have been taken on the object, which may be
done in a similar manner as that which we pointed out in the former
lesson, and then the teacher may proceed thus:

You have told me that this little creature is called a spider, and
some of you think it very ugly, and say you are afraid of it, but
sensible children will not be frightened at a spider, because they
will remember that they are very harmless little things, and have not
got a sting as the wasp and bee have. They are very ugly, to be sure,
but every ugly insect is not to be called a nasty creature, for some
are very useful, notwithstanding their not being as handsome as
others; and spiders are very useful too, although very few people know
how to make use of them; but they little think that the poor little
insect which they brush off the wall, and trample under their feet,
can tell them what weather they are going to have, as sure, and surer
than a weather-glass. When the weather is going to be fine it peeps
its head out of its hole, and stretches out its legs; and the farther
its legs and head are out, the longer will the fine weather stay. When
the weather is going to be very bad it goes farther back; and when
very dreadful and stormy weather is going to come, it turns its back
to the door of its hole and its head inside. In winter, when frost and
snow is going to commence, they make their webs very fast, and by this
you may know the frosty weather is coming; so you see, children, that
spiders may be useful to know what kind of weather we shall have.

Spiders are very cunning; they live on flies; but they could never
catch them, only they are able to weave a strong web, which they do in
a place where the flies often come; and when a poor fly gets into the
web, the spider runs out and soon kills it, and then drags it up to
his den, where he eats it at his ease, and hides the wings and skin,
that the other flies may not see them; but if an enemy stronger than
itself comes to his web, the spider remains in his hole till the
danger is all over. Some spiders that live in countries far away are a
great deal larger and uglier than our spiders; but we need not be ever
afraid of a spider, because they can neither bite nor sting us, and
are very curious insects. Q. What have I been telling you about? A.
The spider. Q. Are you afraid of it? A. No, you told us it would do
us no harm. Q. Are spiders very ugly? A. They are. Q. Should we think
badly of them for this? A. No. Q. Who made the spider? A. God. Q. Does
he not make every animal, whether handsome or ugly? A. Yes. Q. Can
spiders be of use? A. They will tell us what weather we are going to
have. Q. When it is going to be fine what do they do? A. They put
their legs and head out of their hole. Q. When it is going to be bad
weather what do they do? A. They turn their heads round and go into
their holes. Q. When the weather is going to be very cold and frosty
what do they do? A. They build their webs very fast. Q. What do they
live upon? A. Flies. Q. How do they catch them? A. By making webs. Q.
When a fly gets into their web what do they do? A. They kill it and
eat it. Q. Are the spiders in other countries larger than ours? A.
Yes, in some places they are much larger and uglier. Q. Who teaches
the spider to make its web? A. God. Q. Could any man in the world make
a spider's web? A. No, no one could do it.

The teacher may then add thus:--Thus you see, little children, that
every living thing has some merit of its own, and can do many things
which we cannot do, although God has given us the means to become so
much wiser than they; and be sure you are not frightened at them, nor
put them to unnecessary pain. Some other day I will tell you what is
the shape of the spider's web, and shew you what a number of regular
figures the spider's web is composed of.

Almost every object, however simple it may be, will form an
instructive gallery lesson; thus for example, you may take a piece of
bog-turf, and after submitting it to the inspection of the infants,
you may inquire, What is this? If it be in a country where turf is
used, a general exclamation will inform you of its name; if not, you
may find a better and more familiar object for your lesson. When you
have got the name, you may then ask its uses, and will soon find that
the children are well acquainted with them. You may then proceed
to give your own information on the subject in something like the
following words, taking care that you use no word that the children do
not themselves understand, or that you have not explained to them.

Little children, look at what I hold. You have told me it is a piece
of bog-turf, and it is used to make fires. In Ireland turf is more
used to make fires than coal, because it is very plentiful there, and
many of the poor people in Ireland build their houses of it, and
when they keep them well mended and covered, they are very warm and
comfortable, and they burn good turf fires in their turf houses; but
some of them are lazy, and do not keep their turf houses mended, so
the rain comes in, and they are very miserable, and so will all idle
lazy people be. I hope no little child here will be lazy, Now I will
tell you where they get all this turf, they dig it out of the bogs.
There are bogs in England; they call them mosses or fens, and in
Scotland there are bogs, but the bogs in Ireland are much more
plentiful. Some of them are so very large that you cannot see across
them, and a great many birds live amongst them, such as wild ducks,
and geese, and cranes, and herons, and snipe, all of which I will tell
you about some other time. Those great bogs are very wild, lonesome,
dreary places; no person can live on them, because they are so wet and
soft, and they are full of great deep holes with water in them, which
are called bog holes, and if any person fell in they would be drowned.
Sometimes in the middle of this great bog you will see a pretty green
island, where the land is firm and strong, and the grass is nice and
sweet, so that the poor people make a dry path across the wet bog to
these islands, that they may drive their cows, and goats, and horses
to feed there; and some of these islands are very pretty places, and
look so green in the centre of the black bog. Those bogs which are now
such wet, black, nasty places, were once forests of great trees, as
large as any you children ever saw, and pretty bright rivers ran
through those forests, and nice birds sang in the branches, and great
stags eat the grass underneath; we will read about the stag at some
other time. This was many hundred years ago, and there were very few
people living then in Ireland, and by degrees, when the trees got very
old, they began to fall down into the rivers and stopped them up, so
that the water could not flow on, and the rivers overflowed all the
nice forests, and the trees all fell, so that when some hundred years
passed they were all down, and the branches rotted, and the grass and
clay became wet, like sponge, and the whole of the nice shady forests
of great trees became what we call bogs, and the remains of those
pretty branches and leaves, where the birds used to sing so sweetly,
has become turf, like this piece which we have for a lesson; and when
men are cutting this turf out, they often find the great trunks of
those trees, that many hundred years ago were so green and beautiful,
quite black and ugly, but still so hard that they can scarcely be cut,
and these old trees are called bog-oak, and the cabinet-maker buys
them and makes them into beautiful chairs, and tables, and presses,
and many other things, and they are quite black, and when polished you
little children might see your faces in them. Thus you see, my little
children, that there is nothing which God has made which is not very
wonderful and curious, even this piece of bog-turf, which you would
not have heard about if you did not come to the infant school to learn
about so many useful and curious things.

This will perhaps be enough of information for one lesson; and having
thus infused it in an agreeable form into their minds, you may proceed
in the manner before mentioned to get it back from them, in order to
impress it more firmly on their understandings; and if this be always
done in the proper manner, they will become as familiar with the
subject, and learn it as quickly as they would the tissue of nonsense
contained in the common nursery tales of "Jack and Jill," or, "the old
woman and her silver penny," whose only usefulness consists in their
ability to amuse, but from which no instruction can be possibly drawn;
beside which, they form in the child's mind the germ of that passion
for light reading which afterwards, in many instances, prevents an
application to any thing solid or instructive. Being in themselves the
foundation stone on which a huge and useless mass of fiction is piled
in after years, the philosophical mind will at once perceive the
advantage of our system of amusement mingled with instruction,
and perceive that upon its simple basis a noble structure may be
afterwards raised; and minds well stored with useful lore, and
capable of discerning evil in whatever shape it presents itself, and
extracting honey from every object, will be farmed, which, when they
become numerous, will cause a glorious change in the moral world, the
first germ of which will be traced to the properly managed gallery
lessons of an infant school. Having asked the children if they are
tired, the teacher, if he receives an answer in the negative, may thus

Q. What have we been hearing about? A. Turf. Q. What is the use of
turf? A. To make fires. Q. What other use is sometimes made of it? A.
To build houses. Q. Where do they build turf houses? A. In Ireland. Q.
Are they not very cold? Q. No; if they are kept mended, they are not.
Q. What do you call people, when they like to sleep in the cold rather
than mend their houses? A. Lazy. Q. Is it bad to be lazy? A. Yes; very
bad. Q. What do we call it besides being lazy? Q. Being idle. Q. Are
idle people very happy? A. No; they are always miserable. Q. Right;
and I hope no little children will be ever idle; they should always
try to be useful, and do all they can to help their friends. Now tell
me, where is the turf got From? A. From bogs. Q. What are they called
in England? A. Mosses and fens. Q. Are the bogs in England larger than
in Ireland? A. No; the Irish bogs are the largest. Q. What animals
live in the bogs? A. Some sorts of birds. Q. Do men and women live in
them? A. No. Q. Why not? A. They are too wet and soft. Q. What very
dangerous places are in some parts of them? A. Bog-holes. Q. What are
they? A. Deep holes full of water. Q. What did I tell you were in some
parts of these bogs? A. Nice green islands. Q. Are they of any use? A.
Yes; the people put cows and horses to feed on them. Q. How do they
get across the bog? A. They make a kind of rough road over to them. Q.
What do they cut the turf with? A. A sort of spade with two sides. Q.
What is this called? A. A Slane. Q. When the turf is cut, what do they
do next? A. Put it in heaps to dry. Q. What were those great bogs many
hundred years ago? A. Beautiful forests of fine large trees. Q. What
flowed through those forests? A. Nice bright rivers. Q. What sang in
the trees? A. Pretty birds. Q. What eat the grass? A. Fine large stags
and deer. Q. How did those beautiful places become ugly black wet
bogs? A. The trees, when they got old, fell into the rivers and
stopped them up. Q. What did this cause? A. The water flowed over the
banks. Q. What harm did this do? A. It made all the nice grass wet and
marshy. Q. What more? A. It rotted the roots of the trees. Q. What
happened then? A. They all fell down. Q. In some hundred years, what
did all those forests become? A. Great bogs. Q. Are any of the trunks
or bodies of those old trees ever found? A. Yes; many hundreds are yet
far under the bogs. Q. Are they of any use? A. Yes; they are useful to
make chairs, tables, and presses. Q. What colour are they? A. As black
as a piece of coal. Q. When they are polished, do they look nice? A.
Yes; so bright you can see your face in them. Q. What is this wood
called? A. Bog-oak. Q. Will you all try to remember this lesson? A.
We will. Teacher. That is right; for little children should always
remember the pretty things that their teacher takes such trouble to
tell them.

In places where coal is most burned, a piece of it may be made the
medium of a very useful and instructive lesson, being so familiar an
object, their attention will be arrested by its being made the subject
of a lesson; and their curiosity aroused to know every thing about
it. When the teacher asks what is this, the simultaneous shout, of
"a piece of coal," will convince him that he has arrested their
attention; and a few questions will exhaust their stock of information
on the subject--they will tell him its uses are to make fires to boil
up their dinners, &c. &c. He may then proceed as follows:--You see,
little children, this piece of coal; look at it attentively; it is
black and shining; and you all know will burn very quickly. The places
from whence all coal is brought are called _coal mines_; the men who
dig it out of the ground, and the ships that carry it over the sea,
are called colliers, and the place where the coals are got is called
a colliery. The coal mines are deep holes made very far under the
ground, in order to get at the coal; some of them go under the sea.
The colliers live a great part of their life, in those dark holes,
in order to get us coal to make us fires to dress our food, and very
often are killed, either by the falling in of the roof from above, or
from a sort of air called fire-damp, which, if touched with any fire,
will blow up like gunpowder, and will kill any person that is near it;
the poor colliers are also often smothered by the bad air that is in
those damp, dark holes; so you see, little children, what dangers they
go through, in order to get us coal, which we could very badly do

How very good God is to us; he made this coal under the earth that we
might have nice fires to dress our food, and warm ourselves by in
cold weather; we should be very thankful to him for all his great
blessings, and should never do anything to make him angry with us; he
is very sorry when he sees a little child naughty, because he has done
every thing to make us happy, and we never can be so if we are naughty
and bad. Bad boys and girls are never happy, and God does not love
them when they are so, and it is very sad to make God angry with us.

Coal is very useful for other things besides making fires to dress our
food, and to warm us. Many things that are very useful could not be
made without it. The gas that lights the streets is made from coal,
and when the gas is taken from it what is left is called coke, which
makes a very bright warm fire.

The teacher that properly enters into the spirit of these lessons, may
find in the simplest objects, a never-ending source of pleasure and
instruction for his infant pupils. No person who is not qualified to
give proper and really useful gallery lessons is by any means fit for
a teacher of infants; to learn the mere routine of an infant school is
not very difficult, but this will be of no avail if the teacher have
not qualifications of a much higher order, which will enable him
continually to pour instruction clothed in simple language, into
the minds of his pupils; simplicity is the life and soul of gallery
teaching; without this, the breath is wasted, and time is spent in
vain. To teach infants we must reduce our language to their tender
capacities, and become, in idea and words, one of themselves. Having
given the children your information on a piece of coal, you now
proceed to get it back, as follows

Q. Little children, what have we been speaking about? A. About coal.
Q. What colour is it? A. Black. Q. Is it anything besides? A. Yes;
shining. Q. What are the places called from whence coal is got? A.
Coal-mines. Q. What are the men that dig it out of the ground and the
ships that carry it over the sea called? A. Colliers. Q. What is the
place called where the coal pits are made? A. A colliery. Q. What are
coal pits? A. Deep holes dug to get at the coal. Q. Are the colliers
in danger down in these deep pits? A. They are. Q. From what? A.
From fire-damp? Q. What is it? A. A sort of air that blows up like
gun-powder. Q. From what more are they in danger? A. The roofs falling
in. Q. From what more? A. From bad air which often smothers them. Q.
What is made from coal to light the streets? A. Gas. Q. What is coal
called after the gas has been taken from it? A. Coke. Q. Does coke
make a good fire? A. Yes; very bright and strong. Q. Who made the
coal? A. God. Q. What should we be to him for it? A. Very thankful. Q.
How can we shew we are thankful? A. By being very good. Q. Is God
glad to see a child naughty? A. No; he is very sorry. Q. Does he love
naughty children? A. No; he does not. Q. Are naughty children happy?
A. No; very unhappy. Thus every lesson may be made not only a vehicle
for conveying instruction, but also of instilling into the infant mind
a reverence, a sense of gratitude and love towards that great Being
who called us all into existence; this should be never lost sight of,
in giving the child those primary sentiments, reverence and gratitude
towards its God, you lay a basis on which doctrinal religion may be
afterwards built with more advantage. The child thus early trained in
such feelings, conveyed in a manner so admirably adapted to its tender
mind, can scarcely fail, unless it possesses a heart of great natural
depravity, of becoming a good man, and it is thus that infant schools
may become a great and lasting blessing to the country. But where
this is overlooked--where the vital principle of the infant system
is rejected, and the mere mechanical parts alone retained, as to any
great and lasting benefit, it will be a complete and unhappy failure.
That the grand object of the infant system may be accomplished,
namely, of raising up a generation superior to the last, both in
religious, moral, and intellectual acquirements, an immense caution
and great experience in the selection of teachers is required; till
proper teachers are universally provided the infant system will never
be really successful: success does not merely consist in universal
adoption and extension, if it did it would be now really so. But
another thing is wanting before it can be called successful, that is,
it must be understood.

None can understand it but thinkers, and deep thinkers, and thinkers
in the right direction. Merely to glance around and gather scraps of
knowledge from the various, "ologies" in existence, which the "march
of intellect" has brought into being, and which were unknown to our
forefathers; and then to force them on the young memory at random, may
be to teach what was not before taught, but it is not to display any
_new method of teaching; any more efficient way of communicating
knowledge_. Those who would truly understand the infant system, must
think for themselves, and observe the workings of the young mind, mark
the intellectual principles which first develope themselves, strive to
understand the simple laws of mental action; and all this that they
may know how to teach in accordance with them. When this is fairly
done, perhaps the whole that is recorded in this book, may be thought
more valuable than it is at present, and be found a not unworthy
subject to devote a whole life to become acquainted with and elucidate
both practically and theoretically. Others then will, perhaps, not be
quite so audacious in unjust plagiarisms. When Columbus had made
the egg stand on an end all others could then do it. When he had
discovered America, every one said they might have done it also. All
great and important truths are simple, and when presented to the mind,
although unknown before, seem as if they had been well known, there is
such an accurate consistency between the mind and them. This leads me
to suppose that there is simple and useful truths in my volumes, as
every one seems to take them for their own. I can only say that they
have cost _me_ many and many an hour of close observation, and deep
and independent thinking. I have devoted my whole life for the good
of others, and have injured myself and family, that I might do so. To
rescue little children from vice and misery, and to have them placed
under physical, intellectual, moral, and religious discipline, has
been the delight of my heart, and the object of my life. After this
labour, to have my inventions pirated, my plans made use of in part,
and in the rest spoken against; to have others to reap the fields that
I have sown, and at the same time traduce and injure me; to be thus
thrust out as it were from my rightful employment, and left in
comparative obscurity as old age begins to draw on; requires a spirit
stronger than that of man, and a heart more than human, not to feel
it, and feel it deeply. I care little for myself, but regret most to
see spurious systems of infant education palmed upon the public by
ignorant persons, and thus deprive them of a great benefit which they
might possess.

Facts recorded in Scripture may be given orally as gallery lessons,
taking care to exhibit some picture representing the subject proposed
for the lesson--take, for example, the finding of Moses--which
represents the daughter of Pharaoh coming down to bathe with her
maidens, and also the infant Moses in the ark, cradle, or boat, which
was made for the purpose. The subject is then to be propounded to the
children as follows, and the teacher is to take care to repeat it
clearly and distinctly in short sentences, and to be careful that
all the pupils repeat it as distinctly after him; by thus means the
essence of the story is infused into the minds of the children, with
the addition of their being taught to repeat all the words distinctly
and properly, which will assist their pronunciation very much when
they begin to read the lesson described in another part of this work.

"And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river,
and her maidens walked along by the river's side, and when she saw the
ark among the flags she sent her maid to fetch it, and when she had
opened it she saw the child, and behold the babe wept. And she had
compassion on him; and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to
thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for
thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go; and the maid went and
called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take
this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages;
and the woman took the child and nursed it, and the child grew, and
she brought hum unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son, and
she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the
water."--_Exodus_ ii.

Q. What does this picture represent? A. The finding of Moses. Q. Who
came down to wash herself at the river? A. Pharaoh's daughter. Q. Who
was Pharaoh? A. The king of Egypt. Q. What is Egypt? A. A country in
Africa. Q. What is Africa? A. A part of the earth on which we live. Q.
Where did her maidens walk? A. They walked along by the river's side.
Q. When Pharaoh's daughter saw the ark amongst the flags, what did she
do? A. She sent her maid to fetch it. Q. And when she opened it, what
did she see. A. She saw the child. Q. What was the ark? A. A sort of
boat made of rushes, such as grow in the river. Q. Would not the water
get into this? A. No; it was kept dry inside by pitch and slime. Q.
What were the flags that the ark was among? A. A sort of plant that
grows in rivers. Q. Did the child laugh? A. No; it wept, and she had
compassion on him. Q. And what did she say? A. This is one of the
Hebrews' children. Q. What did his sister say to Pharaoh's daughter?
A. Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women? Q. What is
meant by his sister? A. The sister of Moses who stood to watch what
would become of him. Q. What did she ask to call a nurse for? A. To
nurse the child. Q. What did Pharaoh's daughter say? A. Go. Q. Who
did the maid fetch? A. The child's mother. Q. When she came what did
Pharaoh's daughter say to her? A. Take this child away and nurse it
for me. Q. And what did she say she would give her? A. Her wages. Q.
Did the woman take the child? A. Yes; and nursed it. Q. What became of
the child? A. It grew, and she brought it unto Pharaoh's daughter, and
it became her son. Q. What name did she give him? A. She called his
name Moses. Q. What for? A. Because she drew hum out of the water.
Q. Look at this picture, what is the girl holding over Pharaoh's
daughter's head? A. A sort of umbrella. Q. What is she holding it up
for? A. To keep away the heat of the sun. Q. Were there slaves in
those days? A. Yes. Q. Is the little girl holding the umbrella meant
to represent a slave? A. Yes. Q. Do you know what a slave is? A. A
person who is taken from his home and made to work for nothing and
against his wills.

Christ with the doctors in the temple, forms, when given as explained,
a good gallery lesson--thus:

"And it came to pass that after those days she found him in the temple
sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them
questions; and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding
and answers. And when they saw him they were amazed, and his mother
said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy
father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How
is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's
business. And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto
them; but his mother kept all these sayings in _her heart_: and
Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
man."--_Luke_ ii. 46-52.

Q. Where did they find him? A. In the temple. Q. Sitting in the midst
of whom? A. Of the doctors. Q. What was he doing there? A. Hearing and
asking them questions. Q. And they were astonished at his, what? A.
Understanding and answers. Q. What did Jesus' mother say unto him? A.
Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Q. What more did she say? A.
Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Q. What did Jesus say
unto her? A. He said, how is it that ye sought me? Q. Did he say
anything more? A. Yes; wist ye not that I must be about my father's
business. Q. What is the meaning of wist ye not? A. Know ye not. Q.
When Jesus went with them, where did they come to? A. To Nazareth? Q.
What is Nazareth? A. A town in Asia. Q. His mother kept those sayings,
where? A. In her heart. Q. In what did Jesus increase? A. In wisdom
and stature. Q. What do you mean by increasing in stature? A. Growing

Many books of scripture stories have been written for children, but
it is far best to select simple and suitable passages from the sacred
volume, and have them properly illustrated by coloured plates. By
this method the children become acquainted with the very letter of
scripture. Written stories often leave very wrong impressions; and the
history of David and Goliah has been given in an infant school, so
that it would make an excellent counterpart to Jack, the giant
killer. Surely such things ought never to be! Abundance of historical
portions, full of moral and religious instruction, and such as are
calculated from their simplicity and beauty, to deeply impress the
minds of children, can be selected from both Testaments; but the
miracles and parables of our Saviour constitute the richest store.


One of the grand aims of the infant system was intended to improve
the system of moral training. The great deficiency in our systems of
education, with respect to moral training, is truly lamentable, from
the highest down to the lowest schools in the land. There is room for
immense improvement in this matter, it is hardly possible to visit a
school and witness proper efforts made on this important subject; and
never will education produce the glorious effects anticipated from
it, until this subject is legislated for and well understood by the
public; and I pray to God that he will enable me to use arguments in
this chapter to prove effective in the minds of my readers, so as to
induce them to co-operate with me to produce another state of things.
In these days there is much said about education; it has at last
arrested the attention of parliament; and through them, the
government, and, as it should be, through the government, the
sovereign. Thus is truly encouraging and will act as a stimulus to
practical men to develop a system workable in all its parts, and thus
carry out the views and benevolent intentions of the legislature.
Infant education, however, must be the basis, this is beginning at
the right end; if errors are committed here the superstructure is
of little avail. The foundation of moral training must be laid in
infancy, it cannot be begun too soon, and is almost always commenced
too late. Mere infants can understand the doing as they would be done
by; no child likes to be deprived of its play-things, his little toys,
or any thing which he considers his property; he will always punish
the aggressor if he can, and if he cannot he will cry, or put himself
in a passion, or seek aid from his parents, or any other source
where he thinks he may get justice done to him. Little children have
beautiful ideas on this subject, and would have, if properly trained,
correct notions as to the rights of property; to teach them to respect
the property of others, and even to respect themselves, is far
preferable to cramming their memories with good rules in theory; this
was the old plan; we have proof that it has not worked well. The new
plan must operate upon the will, it must influence the heart of the
child; this is the Scripture plan, which continually refers to the
heart, and not so much to the head. Every opportunity must be allowed
the child to develop its character; to do this it must be associated
with its fellows; if the child is a solitary being, his faculties
cannot be drawn out, it is in society only they can be beneficially
acted upon, and it is in the company of its fellows, that it will
shew its true character and disposition; hence the necessity of moral
training. There should be temptations placed within reach of the
children, such as fruits, flowers, and shrubs. The child taught to
respect these will set due bounds to his desire, gardens will cease to
be robbed, hedges will not be broken down, turnips and potatoes will
not be stolen to the extent which is but too prevalent in the present
day. And I am perfectly convinced that every pound the country spends
in promoting a rightly directed education, will be saved in the
punishment of crime, which in a political point of view, is quite
sufficient to induce the country to call for a properly directed
system of national education, which must ultimately be based on the
oracles of eternal truth. If these ends could be obtained by theory,
we have plenty of that in these days. All the writers on education
tell us that such and such things should be done, but most of them
that I have read, forget to tell us how to do it. They complain of
the schools already in existence, they complain of the teachers, they
complain of the apathy upon the subject; all of which is very easy.
And I regret to say there is but too much cause for all these
complaints; but this will not remedy the evil, we must have new plans
for moral training; teachers must have greater encouragements held out
to them; they must take their proper rank in society, which I contend
is next to the clergy; and, until these things take place, we may go
on complaining, as talented men will sooner devote themselves to any
profession rather than to the art of teaching.

We will now endeavour to show how these things are to be remedied, so
far as moral training is applicable to infants from twelve months old
to six or seven years. In another part of this work, we have shewn
what may and ought to be done in the play-ground; in this chapter
we will endeavour to shew what may be done to this end in the
school-room. In the pages on gallery teaching we have given specimens
of lessons on natural objects and scriptural subjects. Moral training
may receive considerable aid from gallery teaching also; the children
must not only be continually told what they ought to do, but as often
what they ought not to do; they must be told that they are not to
fight, and the reasons must be given; they must be told that they are
not to throw stones, and also told the consequences; they must be told
not to strike each other with sticks; they must be told not to play in
the dirt; they must be trained in cleanly and delicate habits; they
must not only be told all these things; but they must be watched in
their private hours, they must be encouraged to assist and love each
other, and it must _be proved_ to them that this is the way to advance
their own individual happiness. It is self-love that is the cause of
half our miseries. Children cannot be told this too soon; it must be
explained _and proved_ to them that evil, sooner or latter, brings its
own punishment, and that goodness as assuredly brings its own reward.
Opportunities will be continually developing themselves for giving
moral training to the children, the judicious teacher will seize these
as they occur, and always make the best of them for the good of
the children. A school is a family upon a large scale; nay, 'tis a
commonwealth, and no day will pass without facts shewing themselves,
to enable the teacher to give sound moral instruction. It is true we
want a better race of teachers, but we must have a better sort of
schools first; for it is only from these that a better race of
teachers can be supplied. The well trained infants of this generation,
will make the efficient teachers of the next.

We will suppose the children to be seated in the gallery, the doors of
the school closed, and every thing snug and quiet; _the teacher must
be alone_, and there must be nothing to distract the children's
attention. He must then bring out his store of facts which he has
noted down as they occurred; he makes his selection according to
circumstances, according to the state of his own mind; not forgetting
the state of mind that the children may be in, and especially the
state of the weather. The following little ditty may then be repeated,
the subject being On Cruelty to Animals.

  I'll never hurt my little dog,
  But stroke and pat his head;
  I love to see him wag his tail,
  I like to see him fed.

  Poor little thing, how very good
  And very useful too;
  And do you know? that he will mind
  What he is bid to do.

  Then I will never hurt my dog,
  Nor ever give him pain,
  But I will always treat him kind,
  And he will love again.

If the children do not appear so bright as the teacher should desire,
the before-mentioned ditty, after it has been repeated, may be sung.
But the tune must be such as would be likely to operate upon the moral
feelings; great caution and circumspection is necessary in selecting
proper times for children, and this must be guided by the subject
treated of. If the subject is exhilarating, a lively tune must be
selected; if the subject is serious, a corresponding tune must also be
chosen; but if the subject is intended to operate upon the feelings,
what is usually called "_a love tune_" will be the most desirable. The
tune having been sung, and the feelings operated upon as desired, the
teacher may entertain the little pupils with some one of the numerous
stories written about the dog. But before he does this, he must
exhaust so much of the subject as appears in the before-mentioned
ditty, by question and answer, similar to the other lessons mentioned
before, something like the following:--

Little children; you have just sung that you would never hurt a little
dog, can you tell me why not? Some of the children will be sure to
say, Please, sir, because he has got the sense of feeling. Teacher.
Right, a little dog has got the same sense of feeling as you little
children have, and when it is hurt, how does it shew that it has got
the sense of feeling? Children. Please, sir, it will cry out. Teacher.
Yes, it can only tell us it is hurt by doing so. A poor dog cannot
speak, and so we should never hurt it. Has a little fly the sense of
feeling? Children. Yes, sir. Teacher. Right again, and so has every
creature that God gave life to, and we should never give any of them
unnecessary pain. In the song that we have just sung, you said you
would stroke and pat the little dog's head. What would you do this
for? Children. Please, sir, the little dog likes it, and he is not
afraid of us when we do it, but loves us. Teacher. So he does, and
will always love those that are kind to him; no one but a very bad boy
would be unkind to a dog. You told me, little children, that a poor
little dog cries out when it is hurt. Now when he is pleased, what
does he do? Please, sir, he wags his tail, and his eyes look very
bright. Teacher. So he does, which is the same as if he said, How
happy I am to be with such good children who do not beat me as some
wicked boys and girls would, but love me and pat my head, and feed me;
for you, little children, you have said you liked to see your little
dog fed, and remember, any of you that have a little dog, or who may
have one when you get older and larger, that it is very cruel not to
see it fed every day; the poor dog cannot ask for its dinner as a
little child can, and that is the, very reason why we should always
remember to give it to him. Will you all remember this? Children. Yes,
sir, we will. Teacher. You sung in your song that the dog was very
useful, tell me how? Children, Please, sir, he will mind the house,
and bark when any one comes to steal anything. Teacher. Yes, you see
how sensible the little dog is, he knows what a wicked thing it is to
be a thief, and so he barks when he sees one. How else is a little
dog useful? Children. Please, sir, they often lead poor blind people
about. Teacher. So they do, and good faithful guides they are. When
they see any danger they will lead their master out of it, and they
will bring him safely through the crowded streets; and when they go
home the poor blind man divides his bit of bread with his good dog;
and dogs are useful in other ways, they catch hares and rabbits for
their masters, and do many other things. You said also that the dog
minded what he was bid to do, did you not? Children. Yes, sir, and
they will often go back a long way for any thing they are bid, or stay
all day minding their master's coat while he is at work. Teacher.
Right, and little children when they will not do as they are desired
are not so good as a little dog, and should take example by one. Do
you remember what you said the dog would do if you treated him kindly?
Children. Please, sir, that he would love us again. Teacher. Right.
When we love any thing, a dog, or a horse, or a little lamb, it will
love us again; for you know, little children, that love makes love,
and if you all love one another, and are kind to one another, and
never beat or strike each other with any thing, then you will all be
very happy, no little children in the world will be more happy, or
have prettier smiling faces than you will have; for when we look kind
and pleasant we always look pretty, but when we look cross and angry,
then we look ugly and frightful. Remember then, never be cruel to a
dog, or any thing else, but think of this lesson, and the pretty song
we sung. Now, little children, shall I tell you a story, a real true
story about a very cruel boy? If the children say, Yes, the following
may be related.

A poor little dog was once going along the streets of a town, and a
carriage which was coming up the street very fast, ran over it, and
the poor thing was very nearly killed, but it had still strength to
crawl over to a house where a boy was standing at the door, and it
began to whine and looked up in the boy's face, as if to say, you see
how much I am hurt, so please take me in and try and cure me; but the
boy was a very cruel boy, and had no pity on the poor dog, but took a
large pot of boiling water and threw it over the poor wounded little
dog, so that it died soon after in very dreadful pain. But the chief
governor of the place, that is, the person whom the king had put there
to punish wicked people, heard of what a cruel thing this bad boy had
done. So he brought him up to the market place, and he made a man take
off this cruel boy's clothes, and lash him on the bare back before all
the people of the town, in order that he might know a little of the
pain that the poor dog had felt. From this story, little children, you
may learn, that you must not begin to be cruel, if you do, the habit
will grow up with you as it did with this bigger boy, and will never
leave you, even when you are men.

Such lessons as these, given at proper times and when the infant mind
is in a fit state to receive them, will do more to prevent what you
wish to avoid, than any thing which could be possibly done at a more
advanced age; this is indeed moral training, and when such is given
generally in infant schools, we may look forward to a generation very
superior to the present, in the genuine parts of Christianity, and in
every moral and social virtue.

The beneficial results of moral training have been practically shown
in every infant school where the subject has been properly understood
and carried out, and numerous anecdotes illustrative of its beneficial
effects might be here introduced, which would convince those who have
any doubt on the subject, of the good effects of exercising kindness
and consideration for others, in opposition to reckless mischief,
hardheartedness, and cruelty, vices which render the lower orders
dangerous and formidable; but as a complete collection of such
anecdotes would form in themselves a volume, we will for the present
lay before our readers a few taken at random, to illustrate the
subject; they are from the appendix of the first report of the
Edinburgh Infant School Society, the model school of which was
organized by the author of this book.

"Two of the children, brothers, about five and four years of age,
coming one morning late into school, were to go to their seats without
censure, if they could give an account of what they had been doing,
which should be declared satisfactory by the whole school, who should
decide; they stated separately that they had been contemplating
the proceedings of a large caterpillar, and noticing the different
positions of its body as it crossed their path, that it was now
horizontal, and now perpendicular, and presently curved, and finally
inclined, when it escaped into a tree. The master then asked them
abruptly, Why did you not kill it? The children stared. _Could_ you
have killed it? asked the teacher. Yes, but that would have been
cruel and naughty, and a sin against God. The little moralists were
acquitted by acclamation; having, infants as they were, manifested a
character which, were it universal in the juvenile population, would
in another generation reduce our moral code to a mass of waste paper,
in one grand department of its bulk.

"This anecdote illustrates the good effect of inculcating into the
infant mind an abhorrence of cruelty to animals, which is too often a
seed sown in the young heart, which goes on increasing daily with
the growth of the child, until a fearful career of crime is ended by
murder, and its necessary expiation on the scaffold. How many men who
have suffered death for murder, could date their first steps towards
it, from the time when in infancy they tortured a fly, or spun a

"The teacher mentioned to the children one day, that he had been
occupied about a boy and a girl who had no father or mother, and whose
grandfather and grandmother, who took care of them, were bed-rid and
in great poverty. The boy was seven years of age, too old for the
infant school, but some gentlemen, he said, were exerting themselves
to get the boy into one of the hospitals. Here he purposely stopped
to try the sympathies of his audience for the girl. He was not
disappointed, several little voices called out at once, '_Oh! master!_
What for no the lassie too?' he assured them the girl was to come to
the infant school, and to be boarded there; which intelligence was
received with loud plaudits."

Here we see the seeds of philanthropy sown in the young mind,
beginning, even in infancy, to burst and blossom forth, giving promise
in after years of a glorious and abundant harvest. The germ of love
and mercy is in every breast, and cannot fail to be developed, if
early called into action; and by the blessing of Almighty God, who
is the great First Cause of all good results, the day is fast
approaching, yea, is now at hand, when the fierce passions, the love
of self, the long catalogues of debasing crimes, which have so long
disgraced human nature, will give way before a golden age of true
Christianity; when man will not be arrayed against his fellow-men, but
all will go hand in hand together in the bond of love, seeking to do
good, and to accomplish the purposes for which they were created by an
all-wise and all-benevolent God.

The following anecdote illustrates the subject still further:--

"One day, when the children were in the play-ground, four boys
occupied the boys' circular swing, while a stranger gentleman was
looking on with the teacher. Conscious of being looked at, the little
fellows were wheeling round with more than usual swiftness and
dexterity, when a little creature of two or three years made a sudden
dart forward into their very orbit, and in an instant must have
been knocked down with great force. With a presence of mind and
consideration, and with a mechanical skill,--which to admire most we
knew not, one of the boys, about five years old, used the instant of
time in which the singular movement was practicable, threw his whole
body into a horizontal position, and went clear over the infant's
head. But this was not all; in the same well employed instant it
occurred to him that that movement was not enough to save the little
intruder, as he himself was to be followed as quick as thought by the
next swinger; for this he provided, by dropping his own feet to the
ground, and stopping the whole machine the instant he had cleared the
child's head. The spectator of this admirable specimen of intellect
and good feeling, which was all necessarily the thought and act of a
moment, had his hand instinctively in his pocket for a shilling, but
was stopped by the teacher, who disowns all inferior motives for acts
of kindness and justice. The little hero, however, had his reward,
for the incident was related by the teacher in a full school, in the
presence of the strangers, and was received with several rounds of
hearty applause."

We will quote another anecdote illustrative of the good effects of
exercising the kindly feelings.

J.J. accused H.S. of having eaten up J.J.'s dinner. It was proved by
several witnesses that H.S. not only appropriated the dinner, but used
force: the charge being proved to the satisfaction of the _jury_ (the
whole school), the same tribunal were requested by the teacher to
decide what should be the consequence to the convict. One orator rose,
and suggested that as H.S. had not yet eat his own dinner, he ought
to give it to J.J. This motion, for the children always welcome
any reasonable substitute for corporal punishment, was carried by
acclamation. When one o'clock came, and the dinner was handed over,
"_coram publico_," to J.J., H.S. was observed by him to be in tears,
and lingering near his _own_ dinner. They were by this time nearly
done, but the teacher was watching the result. The tears were too much
for J.J., who went to H.S., threw his arms round his neck, told him
not to cry, but to sit down and take half. This invitation was of
course accepted by H.S., who manifested a great inferiority of
character to the other, and furnished an example of the blindness of
the unjust to the justice of retribution, which they always feel to
mere revenge and cruelty. He could not bear to see J.J. even sharing
_his_ dinner, and told him with bitterness that he would tell his
mother. "Weel, weel!" said the generous child, "I'll gin y'd a'
back again." Of course the teacher interfered to prevent this gross
injustice, and in the afternoon made their school-fellows perfectly
aware of the part each had acted. It is not easy to render a character
like H.S. liberal, but a long course of such practice, for precept is
impotent in such cases, might modify what in after life would have
turned out a selfish, unjust, and unsocial character.

This selfish principle it is the great object of moral training to
combat against. We may trace almost all the misery in the world to it;
and until it ceases to exist to the extent which it now does, little
can be done to accomplish any good or great purpose. But lessons like
the above, and received into the infant mind when in a receptive
state, will, if proper advantage be taken of their occurrence, prove
in the hands of the Almighty a powerful engine for the removal of
selfishness; and we know of no method so effectual to accomplish this
object as the drawing infants into societies, which is done only in
infant schools.

The following anecdote, bearing on the same subject, came under the
observation of the author of this work, very early in his labour for
the extension of his system. He gives it here in the same words as he
communicated it to a friend at the time of its occurrence.

A few days since I went to the Boston Street school; the children were
in the gallery, and the moment I entered, they rose to receive me.
When the school was over, the children came around me, as they usually
do, saying, When will you come again? and so on. I told them I could
not tell, but that I would come as soon as I could. This answer would
not satisfy them, and I talked to them until near six o'clock in
the evening. One little girl, about four years old, kept looking
stedfastly at me the whole time, not letting a single word or gesture
escape her notice. At last I finished my observations, and desired the
children to go. The infant in question immediately took hold of my
hand, and said, "We shall never see you any more, you must come home
with me." I replied, "What do you want me to go home for?" The child
answered, "I have nothing to give you, but if you will come home
mother will give you some tea." I patted the child on the head,
telling it I could not go. The child went home, as I thought, and I
remained some time talking to one of the ladies of the committee. On
walking down the street I saw the same child crying bitterly, and
surrounded by many other children. On inquiring the cause, I received
for answer, "_You would not come home to tea_." If only one half the
invitations that are given amongst _men_ were given with as much
sincerity and disinterestedness as was manifested by this _infant_,
I am much mistaken if we should not see a very different state of

"Moral education," writes Mr. Simpson in his "Philosophy of
Education," "embraces both the animal and moral impulses. It regulates
the former, and strengthens the latter, whenever gluttony, indelicacy,
violence, cruelty, greediness, cowardice, pride, insolence, vanity,
or any mode of selfishness shew themselves in the individual under
training, one and all must be repressed with the most watchful
solicitude, and the most skilful treatment. Repression may at first
fail to be accomplished, unless by severity; but the instructor
sufficiently enlightened in the faculties, will, in the first
practicable moment, drop the coercive system, and awaken and appeal
powerfully to the higher faculties of conscience and benevolence, and
to the powers of reflection: this, done with kindness, in other words,
with a marked manifestation of benevolence itself, will operate with
a power, the extent of which in education is yet, to a very limited
extent, estimated. In the very exercise of the superior faculties the
inferior are indirectly acquiring a habit of restraint and regulation;
for it is morally impossible to cultivate the superior faculties
without a simultaneous though indirect regulation of the inferior."

It is indeed a melancholy truth, that moral training is yet, to a very
limited extent, estimated, and this is mainly owing to its not being
understood by the generality of those selected for the office of
teachers of infants, nor can it be expected that persons of sufficient
intellect and talent to comprehend and carry out this great object,
can be procured, until a sufficient remuneration is held out to them,
to make it worth their while to devote their whole energies to the
subject. It is a fatal error to suppose that mere girls, taken perhaps
from some laborious occupation, and whose sum total of education
consists of reading and writing, can carry out views which it requires
a philosophical mind, well stored with liberal ideas and general
knowledge, to effect. They may be able to instruct the children in
the mere mechanical part of the system; and as long as they confine
themselves to this, they will go on capitally, but no further than
this can they go; and though the children may appear to a casual
visitor, to be very nicely instructed, and very wonderful little
creatures, on a closer examination they will be found mere automatons;
and then, without a thought on the subject, the system will be blamed,
without once considering that the most perfect figure of mechanism
will not work properly in any hands, except those that thoroughly
understand it.

Enough may have now been said on this subject, and my earnest prayer
is, that by God's help, these remarks may produce beneficial results;
and if my endeavours to make the subject of moral instruction more
easily understood, and to demonstrate its importance as clearly as
possible are successful, the results will soon shew me that the hard
labour of three-and-thirty years has not been entirely in vain, and
this will be to me a greater reward than all the praise, distinction,
and honour that it is in man's power to confer.

Whenever an infant is detected in any of those animal impulses, to
regulate which is the great end of moral training, a gallery lesson
should be immediately given, having a tendency to excite an abhorrence
of the fault on the minds of all the children. An opportunity of this
description should never be let pass. These are the very best times
to implant virtuous and moral sentiments in the minds of the young
pupils. These are the golden opportunities of bringing into action
the higher faculties of conscience and benevolence, and the powers of

If an instance of the too prevalent cruelty of the young to animals
be detected, which often occurs from mere thoughtlessness, it may be
prevented from again occurring by a few lessons like the one which we
have given as a specimen. The same means may be taken for crushing the
rudiments of gluttony, violence, pride, deceit, or any other vice. The
gallery is the proper place for these lessons; and after the matter
has been thoroughly _sifted_ in the play-ground, or wherever else it
has occurred, the children should then be marched to the gallery, to
receive a proper instruction on the subject. Cruelty, on the part of
boys, is too prevalent; it is energy, enterprise, and high animal
spirit, not legislated for on the part of parents and teachers, which
descends to cruelty, first to animals, then to all which has life,
that cannot defend itself. Children soon learn to distinguish those
children and animals, who can, and will, resent cruelty, from those
who will not; and therefore, speculate on the results accordingly, and
become self-taught up to this point. A child should never be without a
kind and wise guide at this period; that which in itself descends
to evil, for the want of a moral guide, may be turned to good. The
faculties mentioned, cannot be extinguished, but can be regulated.
This is the office of the teacher. Too frequently we try to crush the
powers that early want training and regulating. The same powers which
run to vice, may be trained to virtue, but the activities cannot, and
ought not, to be kept too much in abeyance.

Children are not naturally cruel, although they differ much in the
propensity to annoy and reduce animals and each other under their
individual control; the passive submit at once, but the energetic will
not; it is then that the active assailant learns an important lesson,
which can only be learned in society, and which to him, is of great
importance. The difficulty on the part of the teacher, is to know
when to interfere, and when to let alone. I have often erred by
interference, of this I am quite satisfied; the anxiety to prevent
evil, has caused me to interfere too soon, by not giving time to the
pupil fully to develops his act. I hope others will profit from this;
it requires much practice and long study of different temperaments, in
children, to know when to let alone and when to interfere; but certain
it is, that the moral faculties can and must be developed, in any
system worthy of the name of education. Other vices beside cruelty are
to be found in children. Moral training applies to these, and none are
left to run their own course. Why should they? What are schools for?
but to form the virtuous character--the being who can command self
control--the orderly character, the good citizen, and, the being who
fears and loves God. Ends less than these, cannot be worthy of the
efforts of the philanthropist and the truly religious man.

There is another idea which has long been in my mind, and which I
hope some day to see carried into practice, viz., a Religious Service
adapted for children, in our various places of worship. No accurate
observer of the young in churches during divine service, can have
failed to witness the inattention of the numbers of children who are
assembled on such occasions. The service is too long and inappropriate
for them, as is also the sermon. It is addressed to adults, and
sometimes the terms used by the preacher, is Greek to half the adults,
in agricultural districts. Men cannot be too simple with the young and
illiterate; there is much room for improvement in these things, and
with regard to the young, I can answer for them that, if they are
addressed in proper language, which they can understand, and are
supplied with proper religious food for the understanding, suitable to
its state of receptivity, and, if I may say, digestive powers; they,
as a body, will shew us an example which will surprise many. With
regard to the Church, there might be taken from the Prayer Book, a
simple service adapted to the purpose. I am certain I could do it with
ease, as I know what is adapted for children, or at least I ought
to do. The next point, all the preachers should be men of peculiar
temperament and great simplicity of manner. I do not care how learned
they are; the more learned, the better; but it, need not be in
languages but in spiritual things. There are thousands of passages
in the Holy Word which are adapted, and I think, intended for the
purpose, and there are many men now living who are able to do the
thing, and more will be raised up. One thing, however, must not be
forgotten, they must be _men advanced_ in life, not _lads_. To teach
natural things properly to children, requires more knowledge than the
generality of the public suppose. The younger the children are, the
more knowledge it requires on the part of the instructor. But to teach
spiritual things properly to children, men cannot know too much,
provided they have the power to simplify that knowledge and reduce it
to practice. An evening service will not do for children, it must
be either in the morning or the middle of the day. So fully am I
impressed with the importance of this idea, that I am determined
shortly to take means to carry it out.



_Necessity of some punishment--Rewards to Monitors--Trial by
Jury--Illustrative case--Necessity of firmness--Anecdotes--Playing
the truant--Its evils--Means for prevention--Devices for
punishment--Sympathy encouraged--Evil of expelling children--Case of
Hartly--Difficulty of legislating for rewards and punishments--Badge
of distinction not necessary_.

       *       *       *       *       *

How does the Deity deal with His creatures, on this momentous
question? This is the question which every thinker--and every
religious man, must ask himself; and then, act accordingly.

       *       *       *       *       *

As man comes into the world with a propensity to do that which is
forbidden, it has been found necessary at all times, to enact laws to
govern and even to punish him, when he acts contrary to them; and
who will deny the man a just reward who has done any act whereby his
fellow-men have been benefitted? "The hope of reward sweetens labour."
If, then, rewards and punishments are necessary to make _men_ active,
and to keep them in order, how can it be expected that children can be
governed without some kind of punishment? I am aware that I am taking
the unpopular side of the question, by becoming an advocate for
punishment, but notwithstanding this, I must say, that I think no
school in England has ever been governed without it; and that the
many theories ushered into the world, on this subject, have not been
exactly acted upon. And since this was written I am in a position to
state the same with regard to both Scotland and Ireland. Indeed, it
appears to me, that while men continue to be imperfect beings, it is
not possible that either they or their offspring, can be governed
without some degree of punishment. I admit that it should be
administered with great prudence, and never employed but as a last
resource; and I am sorry to say, that it has descended to brutality in
some schools, which, perhaps, is one reason why so many persons set
their faces against it altogether. I might write as others have done,
by stating that I had brought up a family of my own without ever
having struck even once any of my children, but then this is no
argument for the general conducting of a school; in school, children
are spoiled before they come to you, in a family the judicious parent
begins at the beginning, the cases therefore entirely differ.

The first thing that appears to me necessary, is to find out, if
possible, the real disposition and temper of a child, in order to be
able to manage it with good effect. I will allow that it is possible
to govern some children without corporal punishment, for I have had
some under my charge whom I never had occasion to punish, to whom a
word was quite sufficient, and who, if I only looked displeased, would
burst into tears. But I have had others quite the reverse; you might
talk to them till you were tired, and it would produce no more effect
half an hour afterwards, than if they had not been spoken to at all.
Indeed, children's dispositions are as various as their faces; no two
are alike; consequently, what will do for one child will not do for
another; and hence the impropriety of having an invariable mode of
punishment. What should we think of a medical man who was to prescribe
for every constitution in the same manner? The first thing a skilful
physician does, is to ascertain the constitution of the patient, and
then he prescribes accordingly; and nothing is more necessary for
those who have charge of little children, than to ascertain their real
character. Raving done this, they will be able, should a child offend,
to apply some appropriate antidote.

To begin with rewards: to the monitors I have generally allowed one
penny a week each, as I found much difficulty in procuring monitors;
for, whatever honours were attached to the office, children of five
years old could not exactly comprehend them. They could much more
easily perceive the use of a penny; and as a proof how much they
valued the penny a week above all the honours that could be bestowed,
I always had a good supply of monitors after this remuneration was
adopted. Before this time, they used to say, "Please, sir, may I sit
down? I do not like to be a monitor." Perhaps I might prevail on some
to hold the office a little longer, by explaining to them what an
honourable office it was: but after all, I found that the penny a week
spoke more powerfully than I did, and the children would say to each
other, "I like to be a monitor now, for I had a penny last Saturday;
and master says, we are to have a penny every week; don't you wish you
were a monitor?" "Yes, I do; and master says, if I am a good boy, I
shall be a monitor by and bye, and then I shall have a penny." I think
they richly deserve it. Some kind of reward I consider necessary, but
what kind of reward, must, of course, rest entirely with the promoters
of the different schools.[A]

[Footnote A: In many of the infant schools I hull visited, I found the
spelling and reading very much neglected, that neither the monitors
nor children look at the lessons, but merely say them by rote; if the
monitors are punished for inattention they wish to give up the office,
because there is no reward attached to it; but if there is a reward
attached to it of any kind, the children have sense enough to see that
the thing is fairly balanced, for if they are rewarded for doing their
duty they see no injustice in being punished for neglecting it.]

Perhaps nothing would tend more to the order and efficient conducting
of an infant school, than the plan of giving rewards to the monitors.
From the part they take in teaching and superintending others, it
seems due to them,--for the labourer is worthy of his hire. If we are
to make use of monitors at all, I am now convinced that they _must_ be
rewarded; parents do not like their children to work for nothing,
and when they become useful, they are taken away entirely, unless
rewarded. The training system uses monitors only in that which is
purely mechanical; or, to infuse into the external memory that which
is to be learned by rote, singly or simultaneously, by the pupils,
such as chapters out of the Scriptures, catechisms, creeds, poetry,
psalms, hymns, prayers, and commandments, and whatever is (as it is
called) to be learned by heart, but to develope the faculties of the
pupils--to really teach religion, morals, intellectuals, or anything
which applies to the interior of the pupils, they are useless.

A most important means of discipline appears in what we term "trial
by jury," which is composed of all the children in the school. It has
been already stated that the play-ground is the scene for the
full development of character, and, consequently, the spot where
circumstances occur which demand this peculiar treatment. It should
also be particularly observed, that it is next to prayer in solemnity,
and should only be adopted on extraordinary occasions. Any levity
manifested either by the teacher or the pupils will be fatal to the
effect. But to illustrate it, I will state a fact. In the play-ground
of an Infant School there was an early dwarf cherry-tree, which, from
its situation, had fruit, while other trees had only flowers. It
became, therefore, an object of general attention, and ordinarily
called forth a variety of important observations. Now it happened that
two children, one five years of age, and the other not quite three,
entered the school in the autumn, and on the return of spring, they,
having had only a winter's training, were charmed by this object, and
in consequence fell into temptation. Accustomed to watch new scholars
narrowly, I particularly observed them; when I marked the elder one
anxiously, intently, and wishfully gazing on the fruit, and especially
on one amazingly large cherry pendent from a single shoot. While thus
absorbed, the younger child was attracted to the spot, and imitated
his example. The former then asked if he did not think it a large one,
and the reply was of course, in the affirmative. Having thus addressed
the powers of observation, the next appeal was to the taste, by the
inquiry, "Is not it a nice one?" The answer to which was, "Yes." Then
followed the observation, "It is quite soft," when the young one,
being thus excited by the touch of the other, touched it also. This
act, he subsequently repeated, by desire of the elder, who, having
charged him to hold it tight, struck his hand, and thus detached the
cherry. I now withdrew to some distance, and it was evident that the
little one was distressed by what he had done, as he did not eat it,
but began to cry faintly, on which the elder took the cherry out of
his hand, and ate it. This increased the crying, when, on approaching,
he ran up to me, saying that the other took my cherry. The little one
continuing to cry, the other stated that he saw him take it; to which
I replied, "We will try him by and bye." As soon, therefore, as the
proper time arrived, the bell was rung; prior to which, however, I was
apprised of the loss by several children, and when all were seated in
the gallery, I proceeded as follows "Now, little children, I want you
to use all your faculties, to look at me attentively, and to think
of what I am about to say, for I am going to tell you a tale of two
little boys. Once on a time they were amusing themselves with a great
many other children in a play-ground, where there was a great many
flowers and some fruit trees. But before I go on, let me ask you is it
right to take the flowers or fruit which belong to others?" to which
the general reply was "No," with the exception of the culprits. I then
described their age, stated that one boy was five years old, and the
other three; that the former was looking at one of his master's fine
cherries, which was growing against the wall, and that the latter
approached, and looked at it too; on which several exclaimed, "Please,
sir, your big cherry is gone;" which caused an inspection of each
others' countenances. To this, I replied, "I am sorry for it, but let
me finish my tale. Now, children, while they were both looking at the
cherry, the older one asked the younger if it were not large, to which
he replied, 'Yes;' he then inquired, whether it were not nice, when
he again answered, 'Yes;' afterwards, be told him, having touched it
himself first, to touch it because it was soft, and the little boy
unfortunately did so, on which the big one pulled his arm, and the
cherry came off in his hand." While this was proceeding, the two
delinquents sat very demurely, conscious that they were pourtrayed,
though all the rest were ignorant of the fact. I then said, "Which
do you think the worst of these boys?" when several answered, "The
biggest was the worst." On inquiring, "Why?" the reply was, "Because
he told the little one to take it;" while others said, "Because he
pulled his arm." I added, "I have not told you the whole tale yet, but
I am glad to see that you know right from wrong, and presently you
will be still better prepared to judge. When the big boy had told
the little one to take the cherry, he then robbed him of it, and
immediately betrayed him by telling the master. Now which do you think
was the worst?" When a great number of voices vociferated, "The big
one." I then inquired, if they thought we had such children in our
school? the general reply was 'No;' but the scrutiny among themselves
was redoubled. To this I rejoined, "I am sorry to say such children
are now sitting among you in the gallery." At this crisis the little
one burst into tears, on which the children said, "Please, sir, that's
one of them, for his face is so red, and he cries." I answered, "I am
sorry it is so," and called the culprit down with "Come here, my dear,
and sit by the side of me until we examine into it." This was followed
by the outcry, "Please, sir, we have found the other, he hangs his
head down, and his face looks so white."

This child was then called down in the same mild manner to sit on the
other side of me. I then told them, that they would find, when they
became men and women, that in our courts of law, witnesses of what was
done were called, and as the elder boy had seen the young one take the
cherry, it was necessary and desireable to hear what he had to say. On
being desired to stand up, I therefore said, "Did you see him take the
cherry?" To which he promptly replied, "Yes." The next inquiry was,
"What did he do with it?" To this he was silent, on which the little
one, not being able to contain himself, called out, "He took it from
me, and ate it." All eyes were now turned to the big one, and all felt
convinced that he was the most guilty, whilst the confidence of the
little one increased by the prospect of having justice done him, as he
previously feared that being accused by the elder one, he should be
condemned without ceremony.

Finding that the elder one had no more to say, it only remained to
hear the defence of the young one, who, sensible of having done what
was wrong, said, in broken accents, "He told me to take it,--he hit my
hand,--and he ate the cherry." To which it was necessary to give the
admonition, That he never ought to do wrong, though required to do so
by others; and that such a defence would avail him nothing were he a
man. Both the children were now exceedingly distressed, and hence
this was the time to appeal to the rest, as to the measure of the
punishment that was due. The general opinion was, that the eldest
should be punished, but no one mentioned that the young one should
even have a pat on the hand; the next thing was to appeal to the
higher faculties of the little culprit, who, seeing that he had thus
far got off, required to be softened down in reference to the other,
though he had betrayed him, while the best way of operating on the
elder was a display of love on the part of the younger; he was
therefore asked if he would forgive the other, and shake hands with
him, which he immediately did, to the evident delight and satisfaction
of all the children, while the countenance of the elder showed that he
felt himself unworthy of the treatment he received. I then inflicted
the sentence which had been pronounced,--two pats of the hand, which
the girls asked might be soft ones, and sent him to his seat, while I
concluded the whole with some appropriate exhortations. It is pleasing
to add that the elder proved one of the most useful monitors I ever

[Footnote A: This mode of treatment has succeeded in a number of
instances, several first-rate writers on education have tried it, and
have found it work well; it is one of the most effective methods to
operate upon the minds of young children that I have been able to
discover: I have tried the plan with older children with great
success. Reader! can teachers, who are mere boys and girls, act thus,
in such a case?]

Should any person be disposed to object to such a process, they may
be reminded that the Infant System deals with children as rational
creatures, and is designed to prepare them for future life. I have
seen numerous instances of its beneficial effects? these have induced
me to pursue the plan, and in the strongest terms to recommend it to
others. In all cases, the matter should be stated to the children
simply, calmly, and slowly, and they will seldom, if ever, come to a
wrong conclusion.

A manual trade, or a business, which requires dexterity can never be
learnt from books alone, or properly understood from mere precepts.
All must be acquired by practice, and then the knowledge of it
becomes, as it were, a part of our very selves. The same applies to
the precepts of morality. If they be merely committed to memory
by rote, they will often lie there cold and inactive, and not
unfrequently tend even to harden the feelings. But when they are
brought out into actual practice, and made to bear upon the conscience
of the culprit, and on the moral feelings of all the children through
him, they are seen in a new and convincing light, and learnt with a
power that will impress them indelibly on the memory. "Nathan said
unto David, Thou art the man." The most effectual teaching of a
christian parent is not at the time of the mere infusion of moral
truth into a child's mind, but in the example he gives in his life,
and the direction he gives according to it to his child when he "walks
by the way" and when he "sits in the house." Such should be the
teaching aimed at in every infant school. How wise are the dealings of
the creator with us on the subject of reward. What being ever yet did
good, who did not feel within a certain reward? Who felt most of the
influence of the Holy Spirit? the passers by,--or the good Samaritan?
Nay! who felt the greatest reward in his own breast, the Samaritan
himself, or the man who fell amongst thieves? I think the Samaritan.
Throughout all creation we see rewards; for assiduity, "the early crow
gets the worms; the cautious animal escapes his enemies; the good
man enjoys the most happiness; out of goodness happiness cannot be
found;--virtue brings its own reward;" obedience to the natural laws
does the same, so does obedience to the spiritual laws bring such
rewards as my pen cannot describe, but, I doubt not, many have felt
them. The whole system of society appears to me to depend upon this
stimulant. Who would wish to be the heads of the church and take
the additional responsibilites and labours attached to them without
reward? Who would accept the office, the weighty office of being Her
Majesty's ministers without reward? I might go on in this strain of
reasoning and prove that rewards are founded in knowledge of human
nature; but I am content to skew we have some ground for them, they
are useful, if not essential, in the right management of the young,
but, like every thing else, require to be managed judiciously. It
appears to me that the argument to the contrary would be untenable.
I should like to see the man who would invest his capital in
railways--electric telegraphs, steam ships, and in business of any
kind, without hope of reward, pooh! it is the mainspring of human
action, the incentive to public service, it rests not in this world
but follows us to the next, "Well done, good and faithful servant,
enter into the joy of thy Lord." Ah! but this refers to men, not to
children. What are children but men in embryo? Why be unjust to them,
and just to man. I say rewards are necessary in a sound system of
education to little children; if judiciously selected and properly
applied, they will be found incentives to action, and add greatly to
the pleasure of learning. In my other work for the education of older
children, this subject is treated of more at length as applicable to

With regard to punishments, they are various, and must be adapted to
the disposition of the child. The only corporal punishment that we
inflict is a pat on the hand, which is very of great service in
flagrant cases of misconduct. For instance, I have seen one child
bite another's arm, until it has almost made its teeth meet. I should
suppose few persons are prepared to say, such a child should not be
punished for it. I have seen others who, when they first came to
school, would begin to scream as if they were being punished, as soon
as their mother brought them to the door, while the mother continued
to threaten the child without ever putting one threat into execution.
The origin of all this noise, has been, perhaps, because the child has
demanded a half-penny, as the condition of coming to school, and the
mother probably has not had one to give him, but has actually been
obliged to borrow one in order to induce him to come in at the school
door. Thus the child has come off conqueror, and set it down as a
maxim, that, for the future, he may do just as he pleases with his
mother. I have sometimes made my appearance at this time, to know what
all the noise was about, when the mother has entered into a lamentable
tale, telling me what trouble she has had with the child, and that he
would not come to school without having a half-penny each time. But
the moment the child has seen me, all has been as quiet as possible.
I have desired him to give me the half-penny, which he has done
directly, I have returned it to the mother, and the child has gone
into school, as quietly as any child could do. I have had others who
would throw their victuals into the dirt, and then lie down in it
themselves, and refuse to rise up, crying, "I will go home; I want
to go into the fields; I will have a half-penny." The mother has
answered, "Well, my dear, you shall have a half-penny, if you will
stay at school." "No, I want to go and play with Billy or Tommy;" and
the mother at length has taken the churl home again, and thus fed his
vanity and nursed his pride, till he has completely mastered her, so
that she has been glad to apply to the school again, and beg that I
would take him in hand.

At another time a girl came with a pillow; she had insisted on having
it for a doll; but, so far from contributing to her happiness, it had
a contrary effect. Nevertheless, the parent, for want of that firmness
so necessary in the management of children, had allowed her to bring
it to school, and on her journey she cried all the way, to the
amusement of the lookers on. When I remonstrated with the mother, she
replied, "What could I do? she would not come without it" The child,
however, gave it up to me without any trouble, and the over _indulgent
mother_ took it back with her. Numerous have been the instances of a
similar kind; and all far the want of firmness.

The master of an infant school, whenever opportunity occurs, should
feel it incumbent upon him to urge the parents to make a due use of
judicious parental authority. This is the very foundation of all
social order, rule, and government, and to relax it is to loosen the
very keystone of society. He ought also perpetually to inculcate
obedience to their parents upon the children, as being one of their
first and most important duties. Some have objected to our schools,
that they are calculated to loosen the ties and the authority between
parent and child; but if these precepts are carefully attended to, the
result will be precisely the reverse. It is, however, necessary to
state, in the three cases just noticed, that in each, the children had
been previously conquered by me, and young as they were, they knew
quite well that, although such conduct as they exhibited gained the
end they had in view with the parent, similar conduct would not
succeed with me. It is little short of cruelty to let any child have
its own way in such matters. They will always try hard to get the
tipper hand, not knowing but that such conduct adds to their own
happiness. When once conquered, and proof is afforded that it does
not, then the children are always thankful for the discipline. At all
events, I have never found it otherwise. Many, I may say numerous
cases, have occurred of worse kinds than the above, such as children
insisting on bringing something from home, as the bellows, tongs,
poker, the mother's bonnet, father's hat, &c., as the condition of
coming to school, which the simple parent has complied with rather
than adopt the required firmness, which is essential in matters of
this kind. More infants know quite well the weak and the strong
points of a parent's character, they all are excellent judges on this

I found it necessary, under such circumstances, to enter into a kind
of agreement with the mother, that she should not interfere in any
respect whatever: that on such conditions, and such only, could the
child be admitted; observing, that I should act towards it as if it
were my own, but that it must and should be obedient to me; to which
the mother has consented, and the child has been taken in again; and,
strange to say, in less than a fortnight, has been as good, and has
behaved as orderly as any child in the school. But I should deem
myself guilty of duplicity and deceit, were I to say that such
children, in all cases could be managed without corporal punishment,
as it appears to me, that this, in moderation, has been the mode of
correcting refractory children, from the earliest ages; for it is
expressly said in the Scriptures, "_He that spareth his rod, hateth
his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes_;" and again,
"_He that knoweth his Lord's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten
with many stripes_." There is certainly something very pleasing in the
sound, that several hundred infant children may be well managed, kept
in good order, and corrected of their bad habits, without _any sort_
of punishment. But as I have not been able to attain to that state of
perfection in the art of teaching, I shall lay before the reader what
modes of punishment I have adopted, and the success that attended

If punishments be judiciously and justly applied, when offences
require them, from the earliest periods of life, they will soon cease
to be wanted. We cannot form a more important association in the
young mind than one between pain and moral evil, and this judicious
correction will effect. It should not be given in anger, or it will
have the appearance of revenge; but if administered calmly and with
feelings of sorrow and regret, it will soon exercise a mighty moral
influence. The providence of God applies to us the correction of
sickness, pain, and sorrow, to withdraw us from evil; and thus in His
moral government, as well as in His Word, He commands us to use the
rod; but always for good, and never in anger or cruelty. Recent events
have proved to me that there is a mawkish sentimentality but too
prevalent on this subject abroad, which interferes greatly with moral
training, the proper freedom of the school-master, and even with the
administration of public justice.

The first offence deserving punishment which I shall notice, is
playing the truant; and I trust I may be permitted to state, that
notwithstanding the children are so very young, they frequently, at
first, stay away from the school, unknown to their parents; nor is
this to be wondered at, when we consider how they have been permitted
to range the streets, and get acquainted with other children in
similar circumstances. When this is the case, they cannot be brought
into order in a moment; it is a work of time, and requires much
patience and perseverance to accomplish it effectually. It is well
known that when we accustom ourselves to particular company, and form
acquaintances, it is no easy matter to give them up; and it is a
maxim, that a man is either better or worse for the company he keeps.
Just so it is with children; they form very early attachments, and
frequently with children whose parents will not send them to school,
and care not where they are, so long as they keep out of their way.
Hence such children will persuade others to accompany them, and of
course they will be absent from school; but as night approaches, the
child will begin to think of the consequences, and mention it to his
companions; who will instruct him how to deceive both his teachers and
his parents, and perhaps bring him through his trouble. This will give
him fresh confidence, and finding himself successful, there will be
little difficulty in persuading him to accompany them a second time. I
have had children absent from school two or three half-days in a
week, and sometimes whole days, who have brought me such rational and
plausible excuses as completely to put me off my guard, but who have
been found out by their parents from having stayed out till seven or
eight o'clock at night. The parents have applied at the school to know
why they kept the children so late, add have then in formed me that
they have been absent all day. Thus the whole plot has been developed;
it has been found that the children were sent to school at eight
o'clock in the morning, and had their dinners given them to eat at
school, but instead of coming they have got into company with their
older companions, who, in many cases, I have found were training them
up for every species of vice. Some of them have been cured of truant
playing by corporal punishment, when all other means I could devise
have failed, others by means the most simple, such as causing the
child to hold a broom for a given time.

The most powerful punishment I have yet discovered is to insist on the
child sitting still, without moving hand or foot for a given time,
say half an hour at most. Long punishment always has the tendency to
harden the child; he soon gets contented in his situation, and you
defeat your own object.

By keeping a strict eye upon them it will be remarked, they soon begin
to form an attachment with some of their own school-fellows, and
ultimately become as fond of their new companions, their books, and
their school, as they were before of their old companions and the
streets. I need scarcely observe, how strong our attachments, formed
in early years at school, are, and I doubt not but many who read this
have found a valuable and real friend in a school-fellow for whom they
would do any thing within their power.

There were several children in the school who had contracted some
very bad habits, entirely by their being accustomed to run about the
streets; and one boy in particular, only five years of age, was so
frequently absent, and brought such reasonable excuses for his being
so, that it was some time before I detected him. I thought it best to
see his mother, and therefore sent the boy to tell her that I wished
her to come. The boy soon returned, saying his mother was not at home.

The following morning he was absent again, and I sent another boy to
know the reason, when the mother waited on me immediately, and assured
me that she had sent the child to school. I then produced the slate
which I kept for that purpose, and informed her how many days and
half-days her child had been absent during the last month, when she
again assured me that she had never kept the child at home for a
single half-day, nor had he ever told her that I wanted to see her; at
the same time observing that be must have been decoyed away by some of
the children in the neighbourhood. She regretted that she could not
afford to send him to school before, adding, _that the Infant School
was a blessed institution, and one, she thought, much wanted in the
neighbourhood_. I need scarcely add, that both the father and mother
lost no time in searching for their child, and after several hours,
they found him in the nearest fruit-market with several children,
pretty well stored with apples, &c., which they had, no doubt, stolen
from the fruit-baskets continually placed there. They brought him to
the school, and informed me they had given him a good flogging, which
I found to be correct from the marks that were on the child. This,
they said, they had no doubt would cure him; but he was not so soon
conquered, for the very next day he was absent again; and after the
parents had tried every experiment they could think of, in vain, they
delivered him over to me, telling me I might do what I thought proper.
I tried every means I could devise with as little success, except
keeping him at school after school hours; for I had a great
disinclination to convert the school into a prison, as my object was,
if possible, to cause the children to love the school, and I knew I
could not take a more effectual method of causing them to dislike it
than by keeping them there against their will. At last I tried this
experiment, but to as little purpose as the others, and I was about to
exclude the child altogether as incorrigible; but unwilling that it
should be said a child five years old had mastered us, I at last hit
upon an expedient which had the desired effect. The plan I adopted was
to put him on an elevated situation within sight of all the children,
so secured that he could not hurt himself. I believe it was the force
of _ridicule_ that effected the cure. This I had never tried before,
and I must say I was extremely glad to witness it. I never knew him
absent without leave afterwards, and, what is more surprising, he
appeared to be very fond of the school, and became a very good child.
Was not this, then, a brand plucked from the fire?

I have been advised to dismiss twenty such children, rather than
retain them by the above means; but if there be more joy in heaven
over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons
who need no repentance, ought not such a feeling to be encouraged
on earth, particularly when it can be done by means that are not
injurious to the orderly, but, on the contrary, productive of the best
effects? The child just mentioned afterwards went into the National
School, with several others who had been nearly as bad as himself,
but they scarcely ever failed to come and see me when they had a half
holiday, and the master of the school told me that not one of them had
ever been absent without leave, and that he had no fault to find with
them. I have further to observe that the moment I perceived a bad
effect produced by any method of punishment, it was relinquished. But
I feel it my duty here to caution the reader against the too frequent
practice of many to object. It may cost a man many years to find out
what may be desirable and workable; but to become an objector requires
no thought, accordingly the most thoughtless are generally the
greatest objectors.

I believe that there was not a child in the school who would not have
been delighted _to carry the broom_, if I had called it play; the
other children might have laughed as long as they pleased, for he
would have laughed as heartily as any of them, and as soon as he had
done, I should have had a dozen applicants, with "Please, sir, may I?
please, sir, may I?" but it was called a _punishment_, and hence I had
no applications whatever; they all dreaded it as much as they would
a flogging. I am aware that this plan of punishment may appear
ridiculous, and perhaps it would be so to use it for older children;
but with such young children I have found it to answer well, and
therefore I have no wish to dispense with it. I would, however, have
care taken not to encourage the children to ridicule each other while
undergoing this or any other punishment, except in extraordinary
cases, such as the one I have mentioned; on the contrary, we should
encourage them to sympathize with and comfort a child, as soon as the
punishment is over, and I can truly add, that I do not recollect
a single instance when any child has been undergoing the broom
punishment, but some of the others have come, and attempted to beg
him off, with "Please, sir, may he sit down now?" and when asked the
reason why they wished the little delinquent to be forgiven, they have
answered, "May be, sir, he will be a good boy." Their request has been
complied with, and the culprit forgiven; and what have I seen follow?
Why, that which has taught me an important lesson, and convinced me
that _children can operate on each other's minds, and be the means of
producing very often better effects than adult people can_. I have
seen them clasp the child round the neck, take him by the hand, lead
him about the play-ground, comfort him in every possible way, wipe his
eyes with their pinafores, and ask him if he was not sorry for what he
had done. The answer has been, "Yes;" and they have flown to me with,
"Master, he says he is sorry for it, and that he will not do it
again." In short, they have done that which I could not do--they have
so won the child over by kindness, that it has caused the offender not
only to be fond of them, but equally as fond of his master and the
school. To these things I attribute the reclaiming of the children I
have mentioned, and so far from punishment being productive of the
"_worst effects_," I have found it productive of the best.

The ill effects of expelling children as incorrigible may be seen in
the case of Hartley, who was executed some years back. He confessed
before his execution that he had been concerned in several murders,
and upwards of two hundred burglaries; and by the newspaper account we
learn that he was dismissed from school at nine years of age, there
being no school master who would be troubled with him, when, finding
himself at liberty, he immediately became a robber. "Hartley's father"
(the account proceeds), "formerly kept the Sir John Falstaff inn at
Hull in Yorkshire; he was put to school in that neighbourhood, but his
conduct at school was so marked with depravity, and so continually did
he play the truant, that he was dismissed as unmanageable. He then,
although only nine years of age, began with pilfering and robbing
gardens and orchards, till his friends were obliged to send him to
sea. He soon contrived to run away from the ship in which he had been
placed, and having regained the land, pursued his old habits, and got
connected with many of the principal thieves in London, with whom he
commenced business regularly as a house-breaker, which was almost
always his line of robbery."

Should not every means have been resorted to with this child before
proceeding to the dangerous mode of expulsion? for it is not the whole
who need a physician, but those who are sick; and I strongly suspect
that if judicious punishment had been resorted to, it would have
had the desired effect. I can only say that there never was a child
expelled from the infant school under my care as incorrigible.

In conclusion, I have to observe, that the broom punishment is only
for extraordinary occasions, and I think we are justified in having
recourse to any means that are consistent with duty and humanity, in
preference to turning a child out into the wide world.

Of all the difficulties I ever had to encounter, to legislate for
rewards and punishments, gave me the most trouble. How often have I
seen one child laugh at that which would make another child cry. If
any department in teaching requires knowledge of character more than
another it is this. Many a fine child's spirits are broken through the
ignorance of teachers and parents in this particular; but for me to
lay down _invariable rules_ to manage _every child_, would be like a
person undertaking to describe a voyage to the moon. Every person's
own good sense must decide for them according to character and
circumstances; and as to rewards, the same discrimination must be
used. One child will set much value on a little book, whilst another
will destroy it in a day; and though the book might be worth the
sixpence, a half-penny worth of what _they_ call good stuff would be
much more valuable. I have had more business done sometimes for a plum
than for a sixpenny book. It is never necessary to give the child
badges of _distinction_, and to allow it as many orders and degrees as
an Austrian field-marshal. Crosses at the button holes, and bits
of ribbon on the shoulders are unnecessary; they throw an apple of
discord between the young creatures, who have sense enough to see
that these things are frequently given away with a wonderous lack
of discrimination, and sometimes to please parents more than reward
merit. A carraway comfit put into the mouth of an infant will do more
good than all the badges of distinction that I have mentioned, as a
reward; but with respect to punishment, more will be said on it in
my larger work, when we come to treat of National Education. Each
creation of the most High is truly wonderful, and worthy of our
constant study. We may learn lessons of the truest wisdom from the
meanest leaf or insect, if we would regard it as one of His works. But
how much more may be learnt, and what an amount of useful instruction
may be gained, by a study of the finite mind, the highest work in
creation. Many have turned their attention to minerals, plants, and
animals, and thus added to our stores of knowledge. If equal attention
had been paid to the young mind, to mark the gradual germination of
its intellectual and moral powers, how much more accurate would
our knowledge be of the proper methods of dealing with it both in
instruction, direction, and punishment. Thus to study it has been the
aim of my life, and I have made observations on thousands of children.
When this great and living book is more constantly read, the contents
of this humble volume may have a better chance of being appreciated;
and the utter absurdity of many things palmed upon the public for the
education of infants made glaringly manifest.



_Means for conveying instruction--Method of teaching the alphabet
in connection with objects--Spelling--Reading--Developing
lessons--Reading lessons in Natural History--The Arithmeticon--Brass
letters--Their uses_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Without things, words, accumulated by misery in the memory, had far
better die than drag out a miserable existence in the dark. Without
words, theirs stay and support, things unaccountably disappear out of
the storehouse, and may be lost for ever; but bind _a thing with a
word_, a strong link, stronger than any steel, and softer than
any silk, and the captive remains for ever happy in its bright

       *       *       *       *       *

The senses of children having revealed every object in its true light,
they next desire to know its name, and then express their perceptions
in words. This you have to gratify, and from the time you tell them
the name of an object, it is the representative of the thing in the
mind of the child; if the object be not present, but you mention
the name, this suggests it to the infant mind. Had this been more
frequently thought of by instructors, we should have found them less
eager to make the child acquainted with the names of things of which
it has no knowledge or perception. Sounds and signs which give rise
to no idea in the mind, because the child has never seen or known the
things represented, are of no use, and can only burden the memory.
It is, therefore, the object of our system to give the children a
knowledge of things, and then a knowledge of the words which represent
those things. These remarks not only apply to the names of visible
things, but more particularly to those which are abstract. If I would
say, shew a child _a horse_, before you tell it the name of the
animal, still more would I urge it on the teacher to let a child see
what love, kindness, religion, &c. are, before it is told what names
to designate those principles by. If our ignorance as to material
things be the result of instructing the children in names, instead of
enabling them to become acquainted with things, so, on the other hand,
I believe we may account, in the same way to some extent, for _virtue_
being so frequently a mere word, an empty sound, amongst men, instead
of an active principle.

Our next endeavour is to teach the children to express their thoughts
upon things; and if they are not checked by injudicious treatment,
they will have some on every subject. We first teach them to express
_their notions_, we then tell them ours, and truth will prevail even
in the minds of children. On this plan, it will operate by its own
strength, not by the power of coercion, which renders even truth
disagreeable and repulsive; the children will adopt it from choice in
preference to error, and it will be firmly established in their minds.

It will no doubt be perceived, that for the promotion of the
course here recommended, it will be advisable to connect with our
_alphabetical and reading lessons_, as much information as we possibly
can. By so doing, the tedium of the task to the child will be
considerably lessened, as well as much knowledge attained. The means
of doing this in a variety of ways will, no doubt, suggest themselves
to the intelligent teacher; but as an illustration of what we mean,
the following conversational plan may not be useless.

We have twenty-six cards, and each card has on it one letter of the
alphabet, and some object in nature; the first, for instance, has the
letter A on the top, and an apple painted on the bottom. The children
are desired to go into the gallery, which is formed of seats, one
above the other, at one end of the school. The master places himself
before the children, so that they can see him, and he them, and being
thus situated, proceeds in the following manner:--


Q. Where am I? A. Opposite to us. Q. What is on the right side of me?
A. A lady. Q. What is on the left side of me? A. A chair. Q. What is
before me? A. A desk. Q. Who is before me? A. We, children. Q. What
do I hold up in my hand? A. A letter A.Q. What word begins with A? A.
Apple. Q. Which hand do I hold it up with? A. With the right hand. Q.
Spell apple.[A] A. A-p-p-l-e. Q. How is an apple produced? A. It grows
on a tree. Q. What part of the tree is in the ground? A. The root. Q.
What is that which comes out of the ground? A. The stem. Q. When
the stem grows up straight, what would you call its position? A.
Perpendicular. Q. What are on the stem? A. Branches. Q. What are on
the branches? A. Leaves. Q. Of what colour are they? A. Green. Q. Is
there any thing else beside leaves on the branches? A. Yes, apples. Q.
What was it before it became an apple? A. Blossom. Q. What part of the
blossom becomes fruit? A. The inside. Q. What becomes of the leaves
of the blossom? A. They fall off the tree. Q. What was it before it
became a blossom? A. A bud. Q. What caused the buds to become larger,
and produce leaves and blossom? A. The sap. Q. What is sap? A. A
juice. Q. How can the sap make the buds larger? A. It comes out of the
root, and goes up the stem. Q. What next? A. Through the branches into
the buds. Q. What do the buds produce? A. Some buds produce leaves,
some blossoms, and some a shoot. Q. What do you mean by a shoot? A.
A young branch, which is green at first, but becomes hard by age. Q.
What part becomes hard first? A. The bottom.

[Footnote A: It is not supposed that all or many of the children will
be able to spell this or many of the subsequent words, or give such
answers as we have put down. But _some_ among the older or more acute
of them will soon be able to do so, and thus become instructors to the
rest. It may be proper to mention also that the information in Natural
History, &c. &c., displayed in some of the answers, is the result of
the instructions in Natural History which the children simultaneously
receive, and which is spoken of in a subsequent chapter. Mr. Golt's
simple arrangement of the Alphabet I much approve of, and no doubt it
will come into general use.]


Q. What is this? A. The letter B--the first letter in baker, butter,
bacon, brewer, button, bell, &c., &e. [The teacher can take any of
these names he pleases, for instance, the first:] Children, let me
hear you spell baker. A. B-a-k-e-r. Q. What is a baker? A. A man who
makes bread. Q. What is bread made of? A. It is made of flour, water,
yeast, and a little salt. Q. What is flour made of? A. Wheat. Q. How
is it made? A. Ground to powder in a mill. Q. What makes the mill go
round? A. The wind, if it is a windmill. Q. Are there any other kinds
of mills? A. Yes; mills that go by water, mills that are drawn round
by horses, and mills that go by steam. Q. When the flour and water and
yeast are mixed together, what does the baker do? A. Bake them in an
oven. Q. What is the use of bread? A. For children to eat. Q. Who
causes the corn to grow? A. Almighty God.


Q. What is this? A. It is letter C, the first letter in cow, c-o-w,
and cat, &c. Q. What is the use of the cow? A. The cow gives us milk
to put into the tea. Q. Is milk used for any other purpose besides
putting it into tea? A. Yes; it is used to put into puddings, and for
many other things. Q. Name some of the other things? A. It is used to
make butter and cheese. Q. What part of it is made into butter? A.
The cream which swims at the top of the milk. Q. How is it made into
butter? A. It is put into a thing called a churn, in the shape of a
barrel. Q. What is done next? A. The churn is turned round by means of
a handle, and the motion turns the cream into butter. Q. What is the
use of butter? A. To put on bread, and to put into pie-crust, and many
other nice things. Q. Of what colour is butter? A. It is generally
yellow. A. Are there any other things made of milk? A. Yes, many
things; but the principal one is cheese. Q. How is cheese made? A. The
milk is turned into curds and whey, which is done by putting a liquid
into it called rennet. Q. What part of the curd and whey is made into
cheese? A. The curd, which is put into a press; and when it has been
in the press a few days it becomes cheese. Q. Is the flesh of the cow
useful? A. Yes; it is eaten, and is called beef; and the flesh of the
young calf is called veal. Q. Is the skin of the cow or calf of any
use? A. Yes; the skin of the cow or calf of any use? A. Yes; the skin
of the cow is manufactured into leather for the soles of shoes. Q.
What is made with the calf skin? A. The top of the shoe, which is
called the upper-leather. Q. Are there any other parts of the cow that
are useful? A. Yes; the horns, which are made into combs, handles of
knives, forks, and other things. Q. What is made of the hoofs that
come off the cow's feet? A. Glue, to join boards together. Q. Who made
the cow? A. Almighty God.


Q. What is this? A. Letter D, the first letter it dog, dove, draper,
&c. Q. What is the use of the dog, A. To guard the house and keep
thieves away. Q. How can a dog guard the house and keep thieves away?
A. By barking to wake the persons who live in the house. Q. Is the dog
of any other use? A. Yes; to draw under a truck. D. Does he do as his
master bids him? A. Yes; and knows his master from any other person.
Q. Is the dog a faithful animal? A. Yes, very faithful; he has been
known to die of grief for the loss of his master. Q. Can you mention
an instance of the dog's faithfulness? A. Yes; a dog waited at the
gates of the Fleet prison for hours every day for nearly two years,
because his master was confined in the prison. Q. Can you mention
another instance of the dog's faithfulness? A. Yes; a dog lay down on
his master's grave in a churchyard in London for many weeks. Q. How
did the dog get food? A. The people who lived near noticed him, and
brought him victuals. Q. Did the people do any thing besides giving
him victuals A. Yes; they made a house for him for fear he should die
with wet and cold. Q. How long did he stay there? A. Until the people
took him away, because he howled dreadfully when the organ played on
Sundays. Q. Is it right to beat a dog? A. No; it is very wrong to use
any animal ill, because we do not like to be beaten ourselves. Q. Did
Almighty God make the dog? A. Yes; and every thing else that has life.


Q. What letter is this? A. E, the first letter in egg. Q. What is
the use of an egg? A. It is useful for many purposes; to put into
puddings, and to eat by itself. Q. Should country children keep an egg
if they find it in the hedge? A. No, it is thieving; they should find
out the owner and take it home. Q. Do children ever throw stones at
the fowls? A. Yes; but they are mischievous children, and perhaps do
not go to school. Q. What ought children to learn by going to school?
A. To be kind and good to every body, and every thing that has life.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter F, the first letter in frying-pan,
father, &c. Q. Let me hear you spell frying-pan. A. F-r-y-i-n-g-p-a-n.
Q. What is the use of the frying-pan? A. To fry meat and pan-cakes.
Q. Spell me the names of the different kinds of meat. A. B-e-e-f,
p-o-r-k, m-u-t-t-o-n, l-a-m-b, h-a-m, &c. Q. Of what shape are
frying-pans? A. Some circular, and some are like an ellipsis.[A] Q.
Are there any other utensils into which meat is put that are circular?
A. Yes, please, sir, my mother has some circular plates; and, please,
sir, my mother has some elliptical dishes. Q. Any thing besides? A.
Yes, please, sir, my mother has a circular table; and, please, sir, my
mother has a rectangular one, and it is made of deal.

[Footnote A: It may possibly strike some of my readers as strange
that a geometrical question should be put in a conversation on the
alphabet, but it should be remembered that, according to the Infant
School system, _language_ is not taught exclusively, but in connection
with _number_ and _form_;--questions like the above, therefore are
calculated to excite their memories, and induce an application of
their geometrical knowledge.]


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter G, the first letter in goat, good,
girl, &c. Q. Spell goat. A. G-o-a-t. Q. What is the use of the goat'?
A. In some countries people drink the goat's milk; and the skin is
useful to make the upper-leather of shoes. Q. Are goats fond of going
into the valleys and low places? A. No; they are fond of going up
hills and high places. Q. If a goat is coming down a hill which has
only one narrow path merely wide enough for one goat to walk on
without falling down, and another goat is coming up the same path,
what do they do? A. The goat that is coming up lies down and lets the
other goat walk over him. Q. Why does not one of the goats turn round
and go back again? A. Because there would not be room, and the one
which should try to turn round would fall down and be killed.

Q. What letter is this? A. Letter H, the first letter in horse, house,
&c. Q. What is the use of the horse? A. To draw carts, coaches,
stages, waggons, fire-engines, &c. Q. Spell horse, and cart, and
coach. A. H-o-r-s-e, c-a-r-t, c-o-a-c-h. Q. What is the difference
between a cart and coach? A. A cart has two wheels, and a coach has
four. Q. Tell me some other difference. A. The horses in a cart go
before each other, but the horses in a coach go side by side. Q. What
is the use of a fire-engine? A. To put the fire out when the house is
on fire. Q. Is it right for children to play with the fire? A. No,
very wrong; as many children are burnt to death, and many houses burnt
down from it. Q. Should the horse be cruelly used? A. No; he should
be kindly treated, as he is the most useful animal we have. Q. Who
created him? A. Almighty God.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter I, the first letter in iron,
idleness, &c. Q. Spell iron. A. I-r-o-n. Q. What is the use of an
iron? A. To iron the clothes after they are washed, and to make them
smooth. Q. How do they iron the clothes? A. Make the iron hot, and
then work it backwards and forwards on the clothes. Q. Should little
children come with clean clothes to school? A. Yes; and clean hands
and faces too. Q. Is not iron used for other purposes? A. Oh, yes; for
a great many things, as knives, forks, &c.


Q. What is this letter? A. J, the first letter in jug, John, &c. Q.
What is the use of the jug? A. To hold water, or beer, or any other
liquid. Q. What is a jug made of? A. Of clay, which is worked round
into the shape of a jug, and then burnt, and that hardens it. Q.
Should children be careful when they are carrying a jug? A. Yes; or
else they will let it fall and break it. Q. Then it is necessary for
children to be careful? A. Yes, every body should be careful.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter K, the first letter in kite, &c. Q.
What is the use of the kite? A. For little children to fly. Please,
sir, my big brother has got a kite. Q. What does your brother do with
his kite? A. Please, sir, he goes into the fields when he has got
time, and flies it. Q. How does he fly it? A. Please, sir, he has got
a long string, which he fixes to another called a loop, and then he
unwinds the string, and gets some boy to hold it up. Q. What then? A.
Please, sir, then he runs against the wind, and the kite goes up. Q.
What is the use of the tail of the kite? A. Please, sir, it will not
fly without a tail. Q. Why not? A. Please, sir, it goes round and
round without a tail, and comes down. Q. Then what do you suppose is
the use of the tail? Please, sir, I don't know. Another child will
probably supply the answer. Please, sir, to balance it.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter L, the first letter in lion, &c. Q.
Spell lion. A. L-i-o-n. Q. What is the size of a full grown lion? A.
A full grown lion stands four feet and a half high, and is eight feet
long. Q. How high do you stand? A. Please, sir, some of us stand two
feet, and none of us above three. Q. Has the lion any particular
character among beasts? A. Yes, he is called the king of beasts on
account of his great strength. Q. When he seizes his prey, how far can
he leap? A. To the distance of twenty feet. Q. Describe some other
particulars concerning the lion. A. The lion has a shaggy mane, which
the lioness has not. Q. What other particulars? A. The lion's roar is
so loud that other animals run away when they hear it. Q. Where are
lions found? A. In most hot countries: the largest are found in Asia
and Africa.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter M, the first letter in Monday,
mouse, &c. Q. What is the use of the mouse? A. To make the servants
diligent and put the things out of the way. Q. How can mice make
servants diligent? A. If people do not put their candles in a proper
place the mice will gnaw them. Q. Are mice of any other service? A.
Please, sir, if the mice did not make a smell, some people would never
clean their cupboards out.[A]

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child four years old; and
immediately afterwards another child called out, "Please, sir, if it
were not for bugs, some people would not clean their bedsteads."]


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter N, the first letter in nut, &c. Q.
What is a nut? A. A thing that is hard, and it grows on a tree. Q.
What shape is it? A. Something in the shape of a marble. Q. How can
it be eaten, if it is like a marble? A. Please, air, it is the kernel
that we eat. Q. flow are nuts produced? A. They grow on trees.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter O, the first letter in orange. Q.
Of what colour is an orange? A. An orange is green at first, but
afterwards becomes of a colour called orange-red. Q. Do they grow in
the ground like potatoes? A. No, they grow on trees like apples. Q.
Can you tell me anything in the shape of an orange? A. Yes, the earth
on which we live is nearly of that shape. Q. On what part of the earth
do we live? A. The surface. Q. What do you mean by the surface? A.
The outside. Q. Who formed the earth, and preserves it in its proper
motions? A. Almighty God.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter P, the first letter in pig,
plum-pudding, &c. Q. What is the use of the pig? A. Its flesh is
eaten, and is called pork. Q. What is the use of the hair or bristles?
A. To make brushes or brooms. Q. What is the use of a brush? A. Some
brushes are to brush the clothes, and others to brush the dirt out of
the corners of the room. Q. Does a good servant ever leave the dirt
in the corners? A. No, never; a good servant or any clean little girl
would be ashamed of it.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Q, the first letter in quill, &c. Q.
How are quills produced? A. From the wings of geese and other large
birds. Q. What is the use of the quill? A. To form into pens and many
other things. Q. What is the use of the pen? A. To dip into ink and
write with it. Q. What do you write upon? A. Paper. Q. What is paper
made of? A. Rags.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter R, the first letter in rabbit, &c.
Q. What is the use of the rabbit? A. The flesh of the rabbit is
eaten, and is very nice. Q. What does the rabbit eat? A. Corn, grass,
cabbage-leaves, and many different herbs. Q. What is the use of the
skin? A. To make hats, and to trim boys' caps. Q. Are they very
numerous? A. They are to be found in almost all countries.


Q. What is this? A. Letter S, the first letter in shoe, &c. Q. What is
the use of shoes? A. To keep the feet warm and dry. Q. Should children
walk in the mud or in the kennel? A. No, because that would spoil the
shoes, and wear them out too soon. Q. And why should little children
be careful not to wear them out any more than they can help? A.
Because our parents must work harder to buy us more.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter T, the first letter in tea-kettle.
Q. What are tea-kettles made of? A. Some are made of tin, and some of
copper, and some of iron. Q. Why are they not made of wood? A. Because
the wood would burn. Q. What thing is that at the top? A. The handle.
Q. What is underneath the handle? A. The lid. Q. What is in the front
of it? A. The spout. Q. What is the use of the spout? A. For the water
to come out. Q. What is the use of the handle? A. To take hold of. Q.
Why do they not take hold of the spout? A. Because it is the wrong


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter U, the first letter in umbrella, &c.
Q. Is letter U a vowel or consonant? A. A vowel. Q. What is the use of
the umbrella? A. To keep the rain off any body. Q. What are umbrellas
made of? A. Some of silk and some of cotton. Q. Which are the best?
A. Those that are made of silk. Q. Is there any thing else in an
umbrella? A. Yes; whalebone. Q. Where does whalebone come from? A. Out
of a large fish called a whale. Q. Who made the whale? A. Almighty


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter V, the first letter in vine, &c. Q.
What is a vine? A. A thing that grows against the wall and produces
grapes. Q. Why does it not grow like another tree, and support its own
weight? A. Because it is not strong enough. Q. Then it cannot grow and
become fruitful in this country without man's assistance? A. No; and,
please, sir, we cannot grow and become fruitful without the assistance
of Almighty God.[A]

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child five-years of age.]


Q. What letter is this? A. It is Letter W, the first letter in wheel.
Q. Spell wheel. A. W-h-e-e-l. Q. What is the use of wheels? A. To make
it easier for horses to draw. Q. How do you know that? A. Please,
sir, I had a little cart full of stones, and the wheel came off; and,
please, sir, I found it much harder to draw. Q. Then if it was not
for wheels, the horses could not draw so great a weight? A. No, and,
please, sir, people could not go into the country so quick as they
do. Q. What trade do they call the persons that make wheels? A.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter X, the first letter in Xenophon, a
man's name. Q. What was the particular character of Xenophon? A. He
was very courageous. Q. What does courageous mean? A. To be afraid to
do harm, but not to be afraid to do good, or anything that is right.
Q. What is the greatest courage? A. To conquer our own bad passions
and bad inclinations. Q. Is he a courageous man that can conquer his
bad passions? A. Yes; because they are the most difficult to conquer.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Y, the first letter in yoke, &c. Q.
Is it a vowel or consonant? A. When it begins a word it is called a
consonant, but if not, a vowel. Q. What is a yoke? A. Please, sir,
what the milk people carry the milk pails on. Q. What is the use of
the yoke? A. To enable the people to carry the milk easier.


Q. What letter is this? A. Letter Z, the first letter in Zealander. Q.
What is a Zealander? A. A man that lives on an island in the Southern
Ocean, called Zealand. Q. How do they live? A. Principally by hunting
and fishing. Q. What is hunting? A. Following animals to catch them.
Q. Who made all the animals? A. Almighty God.

       *       *       *       *       *

The method above described is adapted to the large room, where the
children may be taught all together; but it is necessary to change the
scene even in this; for however novel and pleasing a thing may be
at first, if it be not managed with prudence it will soon lose
its effect. It is here to be observed, that the mode of teaching
described, is not practised every day, but only twice or thrice a
week. The children will take care that the teacher does not altogether
forget to teach them in any way that they have been accustomed to.
After letting the above plan lie by for a day or two, some of the
children will come to the teacher, and say, "Please, sir, may we
say the picture alphabet up in the gallery?" If the other children
overhear the question, it will go through the school like lightning:
"Oh yes--yes--yes, sir, if you please, do let us say the letters in
the gallery." Thus a desire is created in the children's minds, and it
is then especially that they may be taught with good effect.

_Another plan_ which we adopt, is in practice almost every day; but
it is better adapted to what is called the class-room: we have
the alphabet printed in large letters, both in Roman and Italic
characters, on one sheet of paper: this paper is pasted on a board, or
on pasteboard, and placed against the wall; the whole class then stand
around it, but instead of one of the monitors pointing to the letters,
the master or mistress does it; so that the children not only obtain
instruction from each other, but every child has a lesson from the
master or mistress twice every day.

Before they go to the reading lessons, they have the sounds of all the
words in spelling: thus the sound of a--ball, call, fall, wall; then
the reading-lesson is full of words of the same sound. In like manner
they proceed with other letters, as i--the sound of which they learn
from such words as five, drive, strive, until, by a series of lessons,
they become acquainted with all the sounds; and are able to read any
common book.

I have observed in some instances the most deplorable laxity in this
particular. Cases have occurred in which children have been for two
years at school, and yet scarcely knew the whole alphabet; and I have
known others to be four years in an infant school, without being able
to read. I hesitate not to say that the fault rests exclusively
with the teachers, who, finding this department of their work more
troublesome than others which are attractive to visitors, have
sometimes neglected it, and even thrown it entirely aside, affirming
that reading is not a part of the infant system at all! Such a
declaration is, however, only to be accounted for from the most
lamentable ignorance, preverseness, or both. Had it been true, we
should not have had a single infant school in Scotland, and throughout
that country the children read delightfully.

The great importance of full instruction in reading will be apparent
from the following considerations.

1. If the parents do not find the children learn to read, they will
discontinue sending them. This they consider essential, and nothing
else will be deemed by them an adequate substitute.

2. Children cannot make desirable progress in other schools which
they may enter, unless they obtain an ability to read at least simple

3. Neglect in this respect impedes the progress of the infant system.
Such an obstacle ought not to exist, and should at once be removed.

4. In manufacturing districts children go to work very soon; and if
they are not able to read before, there is reason to fear they will
not afterwards acquire the power; but if they have this, Sunday
schools may supply other deficiencies.

5. Want of ability to read prevents, of course, a knowledge of the
Word of God.

To prevent this evil, I have arranged a series, denominated
"Developing Lessons," the great object of which is to induce children
to think and reflect on what they see. They are thus formed: at the
top is a coloured picture, or series of coloured pictures of insects,
quadrupeds, and general objects. For instance, there is one containing
the poplar, hawk-moth, and wasp. The lesson is as follows: "The wasp
can sting, and fly as well as the moth, which does not sting. I hope
no wasp will sting me; he is small, but the hawk-moth is large. The
moth eats leaves, but the wasp loves sweet things, and makes a round
nest. If boys take the nest they may be stung: the fish like the
wasp-grubs." On this, questions are proposed: Which stings? Which is
small and which large? Which eats leaves? Which makes a round nest?
&c. &c.

To take another instance. There is a figure of an Italian, to which is
appended the following: "The Italian has got a flask of oil and a fish
in his hand, and something else in his hand which the little child
who reads this must find out. Any child can tell who makes use of the
sense of seeing. In Italy they make a good deal of wine; big grapes
grow there that they make it with. Italians can sing very well, and
so can little children when they are taught." Questions are likewise
proposed on this, as before.

Of these lessons, however, there is a great variety. All schools
should possess them: they will effectually prevent the evil alluded
to, by checking the apathy of children in learning to read, and
calling the teacher's powers into full exercise. They are equally
adapted to spelling and reading.

I will give several specimens of reading lessons in natural history,
each of which has a large, well-engraved and coloured plate at the
top, copied from nature.


How glad some poor children would be if they could read about the
eagle. He is a big strong bird, and has such great wings, and such
long sharp claws, that he can dig them into the lamb, hare, rabbit,
and other animals, and thus fly away with them to feed his young ones,
and to eat them himself. Eagles make such a large nest on the side of
some high rock, where nobody can get at it. There used to be eagles in
Wales, and there are some now in Scotland, but very few in England,
for they do not like to be where there are many people. _The Almighty
gave man dominion over the birds of the air_, as well as over the
other animals, and as he gave man power to _think_, if the eagles
become troublesome, men catch them, though they can fly so high; and
as the eagle knows this, he likes to keep out of our way, and go into
parts of the world where there are not so many people. There are many
sorts of eagles: the black eagle, the sea eagle, the bald eagle, and
others. They have all strong bills bent down in front, and strong
claws. This bird is mentioned in the Bible.

Questions are proposed after this is read, and thus the examination
proceeds:--Q. What is that? A. An eagle. Q. What sort of a bird is he?
A. He is big and strong. Q. What are those? A. His feathers. Q. What
else are they called? A. His plumage. Q. Is the eagle a small bird?
A. No, very large. Q. Are his claws long and sharp? A. Yes. Q. What
animals could he carry away? A. A lamb, a hare, a rabbit, or other
small animals. Q. What does he do with those? A. Feed his young ones.
Q. Where does the eagle make his nest? A. On the side of some rock. Q.
Why does he make it there? A. That no one may get at it. Q. Used there
to be eagles in Wales? A. Yes. Q. Where are there a few still? A. In
England, Scotland, and Ireland. Q. Why are they not as plentiful as
they were? A. Because they do not like to be where many men live. Q.
Did the Almighty give man dominion over the birds of the air? A. Yes.
Q. What other power did he give man? A. Power to think. Q. As men can
think, when the eagles became troublesome, what did they do? A. They
caught them. Q. And what did the eagles that were not caught do? A.
They went to places where men were not so plenty. Q. Are, there many
different kinds of eagles? A. Yes. Q. Name some. A. The black eagle,
the bald eagle, the sea eagle, and others.


The vulture is like the eagle in size, and some of its habits; but it
is so very different from it in many ways, that there is little danger
of confusing the two together: the greatest distinction between them
is, that the head of the vulture is either quite naked, or covered
only with a short down, while the eagle's is well feathered. This is
the chief difference in appearance, but in their habits there is a
much greater. Instead of flying over hills and valleys in pursuit of
living game, the vultures only search for dead carcasses, which they
prefer, although they may have been a long time dead, and therefore
very bad, and smelling very offensively. They generally live in very
warm countries, and are useful in clearing away those dead carcasses
which, but for them, would cause many dreadful diseases. In some
countries, indeed, on account of this, the inhabitants will not
allow any one to injure them, and they are called for this reason
scavengers, which means that they do the business for which scavengers
are employed. Vultures are very greedy and ravenous; they will often
eat so much that they are not able to move or fly, but sit quite
stupidly and insensible. One of them will often, at a single meal,
devour the entire body of an albatross (bones and all), which is a
bird nearly as large as the vulture itself. They will smell a dead
carcass at a very great distance, and will soon surround and devour

Vultures lay two eggs at a time and only once a year: they build their
nests on the same kind of places as eagles do, so that it is very hard
to find them.

What does the vulture resemble the eagle in? A. In size and in some of
its habits. Q. In what does it differ from the eagle? A. In having a
neck and head either naked or covered with short down. Q. What is the
difference in the manner in which they feed? A. The eagle seeks its
food over hill and valley, and lives entirely on prey which he takes
alive, while the vulture seeks out dead and putrid carcasses. Q. For
what reason do you suppose is the vulture's neck not covered with
feathers as the eagle's is? A. If they had feathers on their necks,
like eagles and hawks, they would soon become clotted with blood. Q.
Why would this happen? A. Because they are continually plunging their
necks into decayed flesh and bloody carcasses. Q. How do vultures sit?
A. In a dull, mopeing manner. Q. Where do they generally sit? A. On
tall dead trees. Q. Do they continue thus long? A. Yes, for several
hours. Q. What is the cause of their thus sitting so dull and
inactive? A. The great quantity of food they have eaten. Q. Is there
any description of vulture forming an exception to the general
character of those birds? A. Yes, that particular kind called the
snake eater. Q. Where is this bird a native of? A. Of Africa. Q. Why
is it called the snake eater? A. On account of its singular manner
of destroying serpents, on which it feeds. Q. Describe the manner in
which this bird kills its prey. A. He waits until the serpent raises
its head, and then strikes him with his wing, and repeats the blow
until the serpent is killed. Q. What do the natives of Asia and Africa
call the vulture? A. The scavenger. Q. Why? A. Because they are so
useful in eating dead carcasses. Q. How is this useful? A. It clears
the ground of them; otherwise, in those warm places, they would be the
cause of much disease. Q. What does this shew us? A. That the good God
has created nothing without its use. Q. What is the largest bird of
the vulture kind? A. The great condor of South America. Q. What does
its wing often measure from tip to tip? A. Twelve feet when spread
out. Q. How do the natives of South America often catch the vulture?
A. The dead carcass of a cow or horse is set for a bait, on which they
feed so ravenously that they become stupid, and are easily taken.


I hope you will not put your dirty hands on this picture of the
crocodile. The live ones have hard scales on their backs, and such a
many teeth, that they could bite a man's leg off; but there are none
in our land, only young ones that sailors bring home with them. The
crocodile can run fast; those are best off who are out of his way. He
lives by the water; he goes much in it; and he can swim well. Young
ones come out of eggs, which the old ones lay in the sand. Some
beasts eat the eggs, or else there would be too many crocodiles. The
crocodile can run fast if he runs straight, and those who wish to get
out of his way run zigzag, and he takes some time to turn; the poor
black men know this, and can get out of his way; but some of them can
fight and kill him on the land or in the water. I think the crocodile
is mentioned in _Scripture_. Ask your teacher what Scripture means.
When you learn geography you will know where many of the places are
that are mentioned in the Bible, and you will see where the river Nile
is. There are such a many crocodiles on the banks of that river that
the people are afraid to go alone. What a many wonderful animals our
great Creator has made! How humble and thankful we should be to see so
many great wonders!

Q. What have crocodiles on their backs? A. Hard scales. Q. Have they
many teeth? A. Yes, a great many. Q. Could they bite off a man's leg?
A. They could. Q. Are there any in our country? A. None wild, but a
few that sailors bring in ships. Q. Can the crocodile run fast? A.
Yes. Q. Where does he live? A. In the water. Q. What do their young
ones come out of? A. Out of eggs, which the old one lays in the sand.
Q. How do people run that wish to get out of the crocodile's way? A.
Zigzag, like the waved line in our lesson. Q. What do some men do? A.
Fight and kill them in the water. Q. Where do most of those animals
live? A. In the river Nile. Q. Where is this river? A. In Egypt.

The spelling lessons contain words capable of explanation, such as
white, black, round, square; others are classed as fleet, ship, brig,
sloop, &c.; and others are in contrast, as hot, cold, dark, light,
wet, dry, &c.

In this department we use the tablet placed beneath the arithmeticon,
the invention and improvement of which are described in the volume
entitled "Early Discipline Illustrated, or the Infant System
Successful and Progressing." A clear idea of the whole apparatus is
given by the wood-cut on the next page, and it ought certainly to be
found in every infant school. The sense of sight is then brought into
full action to aid the mind, and that with results which would not
easily be conceived. We shall take another opportunity of explaining
the use of the upper part of the apparatus, the lower demanding our
present attention.


To use the _tablet_, let the followings things be observed. It is
supposed the children know well there are twenty-six letters in the
alphabet; that twenty are called consonants, and that six are vowels.
We take first one perpendicular row of letters in the figure. Now
point to D, and say, What is that'? and the answer will be, D. Ask, Is
it a vowel or consonant, and they will reply, A consonant; but ask,
Why do you know it is D, and the answer will probably be, It is so
because it is. Hide the circular part of the letter, and ask, What is
the position of the other part, and they will say, having previously
learnt the elements of form which will shortly be explained, A
perpendicular line; hide that, and ask them what the other part is,
telling them to bend one of their fore-fingers in the same form, and
they will say, A curved line. If they are then asked how they may know
it is D, they will say, Because it is made of a perpendicular line and
has a curved line behind. Further information may then be given. Turn
the D letter up thus [Illustration: The character D turned on its
side], and say, I want to teach you the difference between concave and
convex: the under part of the curve is concave and the upper part of
it is convex. Then say, I shall now take the letter away, and wish you
to shew me concave and convex on one of your fingers; when they will
bend the forefinger and point them both out on it. Go on with the
other letters in the same way: shew them the vowels after the
consonants and analyze each one. For example, A is formed of two
inclined lines and a horizontal line to join them in the centre; and
the top of that letter is an acute angle, and were a line placed at
the bottom it would be a triangle. A brass letter may be moreover
shewn to be a substance: its properties may be described as hard,
smooth, bright, &c., and its coming from the mineral kingdom may be
noticed, and thus the instruction may be indefinitely varied.

The _power_ of letters may then be pointed out. Ask them to spell M R,
and they will give you the sound of R, or something like it, and so
in reference to other letters. But place the A against the M as it
appears in the figure, and you may teach them to say A, M, AM; and
thus all the way down the left side of the row of consonants. If then
you carry the vowel down on the other side of them, you will change
the lesson, and by such means go on almost _ad infinitum_. Double rows
of consonants may be placed with a vowel between them, and when well
practiced in this, they will ask for the vowel to be omitted that
they may supply it, which they will do very readily and with great
pleasure, while there is a tasking of the mind which cannot but prove

Again, turn the frame with the balls round, so that the wires are
perpendicular instead of horizontal, raise a ball gently, and say, To
ascend, ascending, ascended; let it fall gently, saying, to descend,
descending, descended; with a little explanation these words will then
be understood, and others may be taught in the same way. To fall,
falling, fallen; to rise, rising, risen; to go, going, gone, will
readily occur, and others will easily be supplied by the ingenuity of
the instructor. The frame may also be applied to _grammar_.

It is to be used as follows:--Move one of the balls to a part of the
frame distinct from the rest. The children will then repeat, "There
_it_ is, there _it_ is." Apply your finger to the ball, and set it
running round. The children will immediately change from saying,
"There _it_ is," to "There _it_ goes, there _it_ goes."

When they have repeated "There it goes" long enough to impress it on
their memory, stop the ball; the children will probably say, "Now _it_
stops, now _it_ stops." When that is the case, move another ball to
it, and then explain to the children the difference between singular
and plural, desiring them to call out, "There _they_ are, there _they_
are;" and when they have done that as long as may be proper, set both
balls moving, and it is likely they will call out, "There _they_ go,
there _they_ go." I do not particularize further, because I know that
good teachers will at once see the principle aimed at, and supply the
other requisite lessons: the object of this book being rather to shew
the principle of the thing, than to go into detail.



_The arithmeticon--How applied--Numeration--Addition--Subtraction--
Multiplication--Division--Fraction--Arithmetical tables--Arithmetical

       *       *       *       *       *

"In arithmetic, as in every other branch of education, the principal
object should be to preserve the understanding from implicit belief,
to invigorate its powers, and to induce the laudable ambition of
progressive improvement."--_Edgeworth_

       *       *       *       *       *

The advantage of a knowledge of arithmetic has never been disputed.
Its universal application to the business of life renders it an
important acquisition to all ranks and conditions of men. The
practicability of imparting the rudiments of arithmetic to very young
children has been satisfactorily shewn by the Infant-school System;
and it has been found, likewise, that it is the readiest and surest
way of developing the thinking faculties of the infant mind. Since the
most complicated and difficult questions of arithmetic, as well as
the most simple, are all solvable by the same rules, and on the same
principles, it is of the utmost importance to give children a clear
insight into the primary principles of number. For this purpose we
take care to shew them, by visible objects, that all numbers are
combinations of unity; and that all changes of number must arise
either from adding to or taking from a certain stated number. After
this, or rather, perhaps I should say, in conjunction with this
instruction, we exhibit to the children the _signs_ of number, and
make them acquainted with their various combinations; and lastly, we
bring them to the abstract consideration of number; or what may be
termed _mental arithmetic_. If you reverse this, which has generally
been the system of instruction pursued--if you set a child to learn
its multiplication, pence, and other tables, before you have shewn it
by _realities_, the combinations of unity which these tables express
in words--you are rendering the whole abstruse, difficult, and
uninteresting; and, in short, are giving it knowledge which it is
unable to apply.

As far as regards the general principles of numerical tuition, it may
be sufficient to state, that we should begin with unity, and proceed
very gradually, by slow and sure steps, through the simplest forms of
combinations to the more comprehensive. Trace and retrace your first
steps--the children can never be too thoroughly familiar with the
first principles or facts of number.

We have various ways of teaching arithmetic, in use in the schools;
I shall speak of them all, beginning with a description of the
arithmeticon, which is of great utility.


I have thought it necessary in this edition to give the original
woodcut of the arithmeticon, which it will be seen contains twelve
wires, with one ball on the first wire, two on the second, and so
progressing up to twelve. The improvement is, that each wire should
contain twelve balls, so that the whole of the multiplication table
may be done by it, up to 12 times 12 are 144. The next step was having
the balls painted black and white alternately, to assist the sense of
seeing, it being certain that an uneducated eye cannot distinguish
the combinations of colour, any more than an uneducated ear can
distinguish the combinations of sounds. So far the thing succeeded
with respect to the sense of seeing; but there was yet another thing
to be legislated for, and that was to prevent the children's attention
being drawn off from the objects to which it was to be directed, viz.
the smaller number of balls as separated from the greater. This object
could only be attained by inventing a board to slide in and hide the
greater number from their view, and so far we succeeded in gaining
their undivided attention to the balls we thought necessary to move
out. Time and experience only could shew that there was another thing
wanting, and that was a tablet, as represented in the second woodcut,
which had a tendency to teach the children the difference between real
numbers and representative characters, therefore the necessity of
brass figures, as represented on the tablet; hence the children would
call figure seven No. 1, it being but one object, and each figure they
would only count as one, thus making 937, which are the representative
characters, only three, which is the real fact, there being only three
objects. It was therefore found necessary to teach the children
that the figure seven would represent 7 ones, 7 tens, 7 hundreds, 7
thousands, or 7 millions, according to where it might be placed in
connection with the other figures; and as this has already been
described, I feel it unnecessary to enlarge upon the subject.



It will be seen that on the twelve parallel wires there are 144 balls,
alternately black and white. By these the elements of arithmetic may
be taught as follows:--

_Numeration_.--Take one ball from the lowest wire, and say units,
_one_, two from the next, and say tens, _two_; three from the third,
and say hundreds, _three_; four from the fourth, and say thousands,
_four_; five from the fifth, and say tens of thousands, _five_; six
from the sixth, and say hundreds of thousands, _six_; seven from the
seventh, and say millions, _seven_; eight from the eighth, and say
tens of millions, _eight_; nine from the ninth, and say hundreds of
millions, _nine_; ten from the tenth, and say thousands of millions,
_ten_; eleven from the eleventh, and say tens of thousands of
millions, _eleven_; twelve from the twelfth, and say hundreds of
thousands of millions, _twelve_.

The tablet beneath the balls has six spaces for the insertion of brass
letters and figures, a box of which accompanies the frame. Suppose
then the only figure inserted is the 7 in the second space from the
top: now were the children asked what it was, they would all say,
without instruction, "It is one." If, however, you tell them that an
object of such a form stands instead of seven ones, and place seven
balls together on a wire, they will at once see the use and power of
the number. Place a 3 next the seven, merely ask what it is, and they
will reply, "We don't know;" but if you put out three balls on a wire,
they will say instantly, "O it is three ones, or three;" and that they
may have the proper name they may be told that they have before
them _figure 7_ and _figure 3_. Put a 9 to these figures, and their
attention will be arrested: say, Do you think you can tell me what
this is? and, while you are speaking, move the balls gently out, and,
as soon as they see them, they will immediately cry out "Nine;" and in
this way they may acquire a knowledge of all the figures separately.
Then you may proceed thus: Units 7, tens 3; place three balls on the
top wire and seven on the second, and say, Thirty-seven, as you point
to the figures, and thirty-seven as you point to the balls. Then go
on, units 7, tens, 3, hundreds 9, place nine balls on the top wire,
three on the second, and seven on the third, and say, pointing to
each, Nine hundred and thirty-seven. And so onwards.

To assist the understanding and exercise the judgment, slide a figure
in the frame, and say, Figure 8. Q. What is this? A. No. 8. Q. If No.
1 be put on the left side of the 8, what will it be? A. 81. Q. If the
1 be put on the right side, then what will it be? A. 18. Q. If the
figure 4 be put before the 1, then what will the number be? A. 418. Q.
Shift the figure 4, and put it on the left side of the 8, then ask the
children to tell the number, the answer is 184. The teacher can keep
adding and shifting as he pleases, according to the capacity of his
pupils, taking care to explain as he goes on, and to satisfy himself
that his little flock perfectly understand him. Suppose figures
5476953821 are in the frame; then let the children begin at the left
hand, saying, units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands,
hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of
millions, thousands of millions. After which, begin at the right side,
and they will say, Five thousand four hundred and seventy-six million,
nine hundred and fifty-three thousand, eight hundred and twenty-one.
If the children are practised in this way, they will soon learn

The frame was employed for this purpose long before its application to
others was perceived; but at length I found we might proceed to

_Addition_.--We proceed as follows:--1 and 2 are 3, and 3 are 6, and 4
are 10, and 5 are 15, and 6 are 21, and 7 are 28, and 8 are 36, and 9
are 45, and 10 are 55, and 11 are 66, and 12 are 78.

Then the master may exercise them backwards, saying, 12 and 11 are 23,
and 10 are 33, and 9 are 42, and 8 are 50, and 7 are 57, and 6 are 63,
and 5 are 68, and 4 are 72, and 3 are 75, and 2 are 77, and 1 is 78,
and so on in great variety.

Again: place seven balls on one wire, and two on the next, and ask
them how many 7 and 2 are; to this they will soon answer, Nine: then
put the brass figure 9 on the tablet beneath, and they will see how
the amount is marked: then take eight balls and three, when they will
see that eight and three are eleven. Explain to them that they cannot
put underneath two figure ones which mean 11, but they must put 1
under the 8, and carry 1 to the 4, when you must place one ball under
the four, and, asking them what that makes, they will say, Five.
Proceed by saying, How much are five and nine? put out the proper
number of balls, and they will say, Five and nine are fourteen. Put
a four underneath, and tell them, as there is no figure to put the 1
under, it must be placed next to it: hence they see that 937 added to
482, make a total of 1419.

_Subtraction_ may be taught in as many ways by this instrument. Thus:
take 1 from 1, nothing remains; moving the first ball at the same time
to the other end of the frame. Then remove one from the second wire,
and say, take one from 2, the children will instantly perceive that
only 1 remains; then 1 from 3, and 2 remain; 1 from 4, 3 remain; 1
from 5, 4 remain; 1 from 6, 5 remain; 1 from 7, 6 remain; 1 from 8, 7
remain; 1 from 9, 8 remain; 1 from 10, 9 remain; 1 from 11, 10 remain;
1 from 12, 11 remain.

Then the balls may be worked backwards, beginning at the wire
containing 12 balls, saying, take 2 from 12, 10 remain; 2 from 11, 9
remain; 2 from 10, 8 remain; 2 from 9, 7 remain; 2 from 8, 6 remain; 2
from 7, 5 remain; 2 from 6, 4 remain; 2 from 5, 3 remain; 2 from 4, 2
remain; 2 from 3, 1 remains.

The brass figure should be used for the remainder in each case. Say,
then, can you take 8 from 3 as you point to the figures, and they will
say "Yes;" but skew them 3 balls on a wire and ask them to deduct 8
from them, when they will perceive their error. Explain that in such a
case they must _borrow_ one; then say take 8 from 13, placing 12 balls
on the top wire, borrow one from the second, and take away eight and
they will see the remainder is five; and so on through the sum, and
others of the same kind.

In _Multiplication_, the lessons are performed as follows. The teacher
moves the first ball, and immediately after the two balls on the
second wire, placing them underneath the first, saying at the same
time, twice one are two, which the children will readily perceive. We
next remove the two balls on the second wire for a multiplier, and
then remove two balls from the third wire, placing them exactly under
the first two, which forms a square, and then say twice two are four,
which every child will discern for himself, as he plainly perceives
there are no more. We then move three on the third wire, and place
three from the fourth wire underneath them saying, twice three are
six. Remove the four on the fourth wire, and four on the fifth, place
them as before and say, twice four are eight. Remove five from the
fifth wire, and five from the sixth wire underneath them, saying twice
five are ten. Remove six from the sixth wire, and six from the seventh
wire underneath them and say, twice six are twelve. Remove seven from
the seventh wire, and seven from the eighth wire underneath them,
saying, twice seven are fourteen. Remove eight from the eighth wire,
and eight from the ninth, saying, twice eight are sixteen. Remove nine
on the ninth wire, and nine on the tenth wire, saying twice nine
are eighteen. Remove ten on the tenth wire, and ten on the eleventh
underneath them, saying, twice ten are twenty. Remove eleven on the
eleventh wire, and eleven on the twelfth, saying, twice eleven are
twenty-two. Remove one from the tenth wire to add to the eleven on
the eleventh wire, afterwards the remaining ball on the twelfth wire,
saying, twice twelve are twenty-four.

Next proceed backwards, saying, 12 times 2 are 24, 11 times 2 are 22,
10 times 2 are 20, &c.

For _Division_, suppose you take from the 144 balls gathered together
at one end, one from each row, and place the 12 at the other end, thus
making a perpendicular row of ones: then make four perpendicular rows
of three each and the children will see there are 4 3's in 12. Divide
the 12 into six parcels, and they will see there are. 6 2's in 12.
Leave only two out, and they will see, at your direction, that 2 is
the sixth part of 12. Take away one of these and they will see one is
the twelfth part of 12, and that 12 1's are twelve.

To explain the state of the frame as it appears in the cut, we must
first suppose that the twenty-four balls which appear in four lots,
are gathered together at the _figured side_: when the children will
see there are three perpendicular 8's, and as easily that there are 8
horizontal 3's. If then the teacher wishes them to tell how many 6's
there are in twenty-four, he moves them out as they appear in the
cut, and they see there are four; and the same principle is acted on

The only remaining branch of numerical knowledge, which consists in an
ability to comprehend the powers of numbers, without either visible
objects or signs--is imparted as follows:


One of the children is placed before the gallery, and repeats aloud,
in a kind of chaunt, the whole of the school repeating after him; One
and one are two; two and one are three; three and one are four, &c. up
to twelve.

Two and two are four; four and two are six; six and two are eight, &c.
to twenty-four.

Three and three are six; six and three are nine; nine and three are
twelve, &c. to thirty-six.


One from twelve leaves eleven; one from eleven leaves ten, &c.

Two from twenty-four leave twenty-two; two from twenty-two leave
twenty, &c.


Twice one are two; twice two are four, &c. &c. Three times three are
nine, three times four are twelve, &c. &c.

Twelve times two are twenty-four; eleven times two are twenty-two, &c.

Twelve times three are thirty-six; eleven times three are
thirty-three, &c. &c. until the whole of the multiplication table is
gone through.


  There are twelve twos in twenty-four.--There are
  eleven twos in twenty-two, &c. &c.
  There are twelve threes in thirty-six, &c.
  There are twelve fours in forty-eight, &c. &c.


  Two are the half (1/2) of four.
  "    "   "  third (1/3) of six.
  "    "   "  fourth (1/2) of eight.
  "    "   "  fifth (1/5) of ten.
  "    "   "  sixth (1/6) of twelve.
  "    "   "  seventh (1/7) of fourteen.
  "    "   "  twelfth (1/12) of twenty-four; two are the
  eleventh (1/11) of twenty-two, &c. &c.

  Three are the half (1/2) of six.
  "     "    "  third (1/3) of nine.
  "     "    "  fourth (1/4) of twelve.

  Three are the twelfth (1/12) of thirty-six; three are
  the eleventh (1/11) of thirty-three, &c. &c.

  Four are the half (1/2) of eight, &c.

  In twenty-three are four times five, and three-fifths
  (3/5) of five; in thirty-five are four times eight, and three-eighths
  (3/8) of eight.

  In twenty-two are seven times three, and one-third
  (1/3) of three.

  In thirty-four are four times eight, and one-fourth
  (1/4) of eight.

The tables subjoined are repeated by the same method, each section
being a distinct lesson. To give an idea to the reader, the boy in the
rostrum says ten shillings the half (1/2) of a pound; six shillings
and eightpence one-third (1/3) of a pound, &c.

Sixpence the half (1/2) of a shilling, &c. Always remembering, that
whatever the boy says in the rostrum, the other children must repeat
after him, but not till the monitor has ended his sentence; and before
the monitor delivers the second sentence, he waits till the children
have concluded the first, they waiting for him, and he for them; this
prevents confusion, and is the means of enabling persons to understand
perfectly what is going on in the school.

In a book lately published, which is a compilation by two London
masters, it is stated, in the preface, that they were at a loss
for proper lessons: had they used those in existence I cannot help
thinking they were enough for the capacity of children under six years
of age.


Numeration, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and Pence

|                 ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION TABLE                  |
|    1 &   |    2 &   |    3 &   |    4 &   |    5 &   |    6 &   |
|  1 are 2 |  1 are 3 |  1 are 4 |  1 are 5 |  1 are 6 |  1 are 7 |
|  2 --  3 |  2 --  4 |  2 --  5 |  2 --  6 |  2 --  7 |  2 --  8 |
|  3 --  4 |  3 --  5 |  3 --  6 |  3 --  7 |  3 --  8 |  3 --  9 |
|  4 --  5 |  4 --  6 |  4 --  7 |  4 --  8 |  4 --  9 |  4 -- 10 |
|  5 --  6 |  5 --  7 |  5 --  8 |  5 --  9 |  5 -- 10 |  5 -- 11 |
|  6 --  7 |  6 --  8 |  6 --  9 |  6 -- 10 |  6 -- 11 |  6 -- 12 |
|  7 --  8 |  7 --  9 |  7 -- l0 |  7 -- 11 |  7 -- 12 |  7 -- 13 |
|  8 --  9 |  8 -- 10 |  8 -- 11 |  8 -- 12 |  8 -- 13 |  8 -- 14 |
|  9 -- 10 |  9 -- 11 |  9 -- 12 |  9 -- 13 |  9 -- 14 |  9 -- 15 |
| 10 -- 11 | 10 -- 12 | 10 -- 13 | 10 -- 14 | 10 -- 15 | 10 -- 16 |
| 11 -- l2 | 11 -- 13 | 11 -- 14 | 11 -- 15 | 11 -- 16 | 11 -- 17 |
| l2 -- 13 | 12 -- 14 | 12 -- 14 | 12 -- 16 | 12 -- 17 | l2 -- 18 |
|    7 &   |    8 &   |    9 &   |   10 &   |   11 &   |   12 &   |
|  1 are 8 |  1 are 9 | 1 are 10 | 1 are 11 | 1 are 12 | 1 are 13 |
|  2 --  9 |  2 -- 10 |  2 -- 11 |  2 -- 12 |  2 -- 13 |  2 -- 14 |
|  3 -- 10 |  3 -- 11 |  3 -- 12 |  3 -- 13 |  3 -- 14 |  3 -- 15 |
|  4 -- 11 |  4 -- 12 |  4 -- 13 |  4 -- 14 |  4 -- 15 |  4 -- 16 |
|  5 -- 12 |  5 -- 13 |  5 -- 14 |  5 -- 15 |  5 -- 16 |  5 -- 17 |
|  6 -- 13 |  6 -- 14 |  6 -- 15 |  6 -- 16 |  6 -- 17 |  6 -- 18 |
|  7 -- 14 |  7 -- 15 |  7 -- 16 |  7 -- 17 |  7 -- 18 |  7 -- 19 |
|  8 -- 15 |  8 -- 16 |  8 -- 17 |  8 -- 18 |  8 -- 19 |  8 -- 20 |
|  9 -- 16 |  9 -- 17 |  9 -- 18 |  9 -- 19 |  9 -- 20 |  9 -- 21 |
| 10 -- 17 | 10 -- 18 | 10 -- 19 | 10 -- 20 | 10 -- 21 | 10 -- 22 |
| 11 -- l8 | 11 -- 19 | 11 -- 20 | 11 -- 21 | 11 -- 22 | 11 -- 23 |
| 12 -- 19 | 12 -- 20 | 11 -- 21 | l2 -- 22 | 12 -- 23 | 12 -- 24 |
|2--2 are 4|4--5 are 20| 6--12 are 72||          1 Units.         |
|   3 --  6|   6 --  24| 7-- 7 --  49||         21 Tens.          |
|   4 --  8|   7 --  28|     8 --  56||        321 Hundreds       |
|   5 -- 10|   8 --  32|     9 --  63||      4,321 Thousands.     |
|   6 -- 12|   9 --  36|    10 --  70||     54,321 X of Thousands.|
|   7 -- 14|  10 --  40|    11 --  77||    654,321 C of Thousands.|
|   8 -- 16|  11 --  44|    12 --  84||  7,654,321 Millions.      |
|   9 -- 18|  12 --  48| 8-- 8 --  64|| 87,654,321 X of Millions. |
|  10 -- 20|5--5 --  25|     9 --  72||987,654,321 C of Millions. |
|  11 -- 22|   6 --  30|    10 --  80||===========================|
|  12 -- 24|   7 --  35|    11 --  88||                           |
|3--3 --  9|   8 --  40|    12 --  96||       PENCE TABLE         |
|   4 -- 12|   9 --  45| 9-- 9 --  81||                           |
|   5 -- 15|  10 --  50|    10 --  90||---------------------------|
|   6 -- 18|  11 --  55|    11 --  99|| _d_. _s. d._|_d._  _s. d._|
|   7 -- 21|  12 --  60|    12 -- 108|| 20 is 1  8  | 90 is 7  6  |
|   8 -- 24|6--6 --  36|10--10 -- 100|| 30 -- 2  6  |100 -- 8  4  |
|   9 -- 27|   7 --  42|    11 -- 110|| 40 -- 3  4  |110 -- 9  2  |
|  10 -- 30|   8 --  48|    12 -- 120|| 50 -- 4  2  |120 --10  0  |
|  11 -- 33|   9 --  54|11--11 -- 121|| 60 -- 5  0  |130 --10 10  |
|  12 -- 36|  10 --  60|    12 -- 132|| 70 -- 5 10  |140 --11  8  |
|4--4 -- 16|  11 --  66|12--12 -- 144|| 80 -- 6  8  |144 --12  0  |

_Tables of Weights and Measures_.

_Shilling Tables_

_s.   l. s_.
20 are  1  0
30 ---- 1  10
40 ---- 2  0
50 ---- 2  10
60 ---- 3  0
70 ---- 3  10
80 ---- 4  0
90 ---- 4  10
100 are 5  0
110 --- 5  10
120 --- 6  0
130 --- 6  10
140 --- 7  0
150 --- 7  10
160 --- 8  0
170 --- 8  10

       *       *       *       *       *

_Practice Tables_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of a Pound.

_s. d_.
  10  0 are half
  6   8 --- third
  5   0 --- fourth
  4   0 --- fifth
  3   4 --- sixth
  2   6 --- eighth
  1   8 --- twelfth
  1   0 --- twentieth

Of a shilling.

6_d_. are half
4     --- third
3     --- fourth
2     --- sixth
1     --- twelfth

       *       *       *       *       *


60 seconds       1 minute
60 minutes       1 hour
24 hours         1 day
7 days           1 week
4 weeks          1 lunar month
12 cal. mon.     1 year
13 lunar months, 1 day, 6 hours, or 365 days, 6 hours, 1 year.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, which alone
Hath twenty-eigth, except Leap year,
And twenty-nine is then its share.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Troy Weight_.

24 grains         1 pennywt.
20 pennywhts.     1 ounce
12 ounces         1 pound

       *       *       *       *       *

_Avoirdupoise Weight_.

16 drams          1 ounce
16 ounces         1 pound
28 pounds         1 quarter
4 quarters        1 hund. wt.
20 hund. wt.      1 ton

       *       *       *       *       *

_ Apothecaries Weight._

20 grains      1 scruple
3 scruples     1 dram
8 drams        1 ounce
12 ounces      1 pound

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wool Weight_.

7 pounds     1 clove
2 cloves     1 stone
2 stones     1 tod
61/2 tods      1 wey
2 weys       1 sack
12 sacks     1 last

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wine Measure_.

2 pints         1 quart
4 quarts        1 gallon
10 gallons      1 ank. brandy
42 gallons      1 tierce
63 gallons      1 hogshead
84 gallons      1 puncheon
2 hogsheads     1 pipe
2 pipes         1 ton

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ale and Beer Measure_.
2 pints          1 quart
4 quarts         1 gallon
8 gallons        1 firkin of ale
9 gallons        1 firk. of beer
2 firkins        1 kilderkin
2 kilderkins     1 barrel
14 barrel        1 hogshead
2 barrels        1 puncheon
3 barrels        1 butt

       *       *       *       *       *

_Coal Measure_.

4 pecks         1 bushel
9 bushels       1 vat or strike
3 bushels       1 sack
12 sacks        1 chaldron
91 chaldron     1 score

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dry Measure_.

2 pints        1 quart
2 quarts       1 pottle
2 pottles      1 gallon
2 gallons      1 peck
4 pecks        1 bushel
2 bushels      1 strike
5 bushels      1 sack flour
8 bushels      1 quarter
5 quarters     1 wey or load
5 pecks        1 bushl. water measure
4 bushels      1 coom
10 cooms       1 wey
2 weys         1 last corn

       *       *       *       *       *

_Solid or Cubic Measure_.

1728 inches     1 foot
27 feet         1 yard or load

       *       *       *       *       *

_Long Measure_.

3 barleycorns     1 inch
12 inches         1 foot
3 feet            1 yard
6 feet            1 fathom
51/2 yards          1 pole or rod
40 poles          1 furlong
8 furlongs        1 mile
3 miles           1 league
20 leagues        1 degree

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cloth Measure_.

24 inches      1 nail
4 nails        1 quarter
4 quarters     1 yard
5 quarters     1 English ell
3 quarters     1 Flemish ell
6 quarters     1 French ell

       *       *       *       *       *

_Land or Square Measure_.

144 inches     1 foot
9 feet         1 yard
303/4 yards      1 pole
40 poles       1 rood
4 roods        1 acre
640 acres      1 mile

This includes length and breadth.

       *       *       *       *       *


36 pounds      1 truss of straw
56 pounds      1 do. of old hay
60 pounds      1 do. of new hey
36 trusses     1 load


  Two farthings one halfpenny make,
  A penny four of such will take;
  And to allow I am most willing
  That twelve pence always make a shilling;
  And that five shillings make a crown,
  Twenty a sovereign, the same as pound.
  Some have no cash, some have to spare--
  Some who have wealth for none will care.
  Some through misfortune's hand brought low,
  Their money gone, are filled with woe,
  But I know better than to grieve;
  If I have none I will not thieve;
  I'll be content whate'er's my lot,
  Nor for misfortunes care a _groat_.
  There is a Providence whose care
  And sovereign love I crave to share;
  His love is _gold without alloy_;
  Those who possess't have _endless joy_.


  Sixty seconds make a minute;
    Time enough to tie my shoe
  Sixty minutes make an hour;
    Shall it pass and nought to do?

  Twenty-four hours will make a day
    Too much time to spend in sleep,
  Too much time to spend in play,
    For seven days will end the week,

  Fifty and two such weeks will put
    Near an end to every year;
  Days three hundred sixty-five
    Are the whole that it can share.

  Saving leap year, when one day
    Added is to gain lost time;
  May it not be spent in play,
    Nor in any evil crime.

  Time is short, we often say;
    Let us, then, improve it well;
  That eternally we may
    Live where happy angels dwell.


  Sixteen drachms are just an ounce,
    As you'll find at any shop;
  Sixteen ounces make a pound,
    Should you want a mutton chop.

  Twenty-eight pounds are the fourth
    Of an hundred weight call'd gross;
  Four such quarters are the whole
    Of an hundred weight at most.

      Oh! how delightful,
      Oh! how delightful,
      Oh! how delightful,
      _To sing this rule_.

  Twenty hundreds make a ton;
    By this rule all things are sold
  That have any waste or dross
    And are bought so, too, I'm told.

  When we buy and when we sell,
    May we always use just weight;
  May we justice love so well
    To do always what is right.

      Oh! how delightful,
        &c., &c., &c.


  Twenty grains make a scruple,--some scruple to take;
  Though at times it is needful, just for our health's sake;
  Three scruples one drachm, eight drachms make one ounce,
  Twelve ounces one pound, for the pestle to pounce.

  By this rule is all medicine mix'd, though I'm told
  By Avoirdupoise weight 'tis bought and 'tis sold.
  But the best of all physic, if I may advise,
  Is temperate living and good exercise.


  Two pints will make one quart
    Of barley, oats, or rye;
  Two quarts one pottle are, of wheat
    Or any thing that's dry.

  Two pottles do one gallon make,
    Two gallons one peck fair,
  Four pecks one bushel, heap or brim,
    Eight bushels one quarter are.

  If, when you sell, you give
    Good measure shaken down,
  Through motives good, you will receive
    An everlasting crown.


  Two pints will make one quart,
    Four quarts one gallon, strong:--
  Some drink but little, some too much,--
    To drink too much is wrong.

  Eight gallons one firkin make,
    Of liquor that's call'd ale
  Nine gallons one firkin of beer,
    Whether 'tis mild or stale.

  With gallons fifty-four
    A hogshead I can fill:
  But hope I never shall drink much,
    Drink much whoever will.


  Two pints will make one quart
    Of any wine, I'm told:
  Four quarts one gallon are of port
    Or claret, new or old.

  Forty-two gallons will
    A tierce fill to the bung:
  And sixty-three's a hogshead full
    Of brandy, oil, or rum.

  Eighty-four gallons make
    One puncheon fill'd to brim,
  Two hogsheads make one pipe or butt,
    Two pipes will make one tun.

  A little wine within
    Oft cheers the mind that's sad;
  But too much brandy, rum, or gin,
    No doubt is very bad.

  From all excess beware,
    Which sorrow must attend;
  Drunkards a life of woe must share,--
    When time with them shall end.

The arithmeticon, I would just remark, may be applied to _geometry_.
Round, square, oblong, &c. &c., may be easily taught. It may also be
used in teaching _geography_. The shape of the earth may be shewn by
a ball, the surface by the outside, its revolution on its axis by
turning it round, and the idea of day and night may be given by a ball
and a candle in a dark-room.

As the construction and application of this instrument is the result
of personal, long-continued, and anxious effort, and as I have rarely
seen a pirated one made properly or understood, I may express a
hope that whenever it is wanted either for schools or nurseries,
application will be made for it to my depot.

I have only to add, that a board is placed at the back to keep the
children from seeing the balls, except as they are put out; and that
the brass figures at the side are intended to assist the master when
he is called away, so that he may see, on returning to the frame,
where he left off.

The slightest glance at the wood-cut will shew how unjust the
observations of the writer of "Schools for the Industrious Classes, or
the Present State of Education amongst the Working People of England,"
published under the superintendance of the Central Society of
Education, are, where he says, "We are willing to assume that Mr.
Wilderspin has originated some improvements in the system of Infant
School education; but Mr. Wilderspin claims so much that many persons
have been led to refuse him that degree of credit to which he is
fairly entitled. For example, he claims a beneficial interest in
an instrument called the Arithmeticon, of which he says he was the
inventor. This instrument was described in a work on arithmetic,
published by Mr. Friend forty years ago. The instrument is, however,
of much older date; it is the same in principle as the Abacus of the
Romans, and in its form resembles as nearly as possible the Swanpan
of the Chinese, of which there is a drawing in the Encyclopaedia
Brittanica. Mr. Wilderspin merely invented the name." Now, I defy
the writer of this to prove that the Arithmeticon existed before I
invented it. I claim no more than what is my due. The Abacus of the
Romans is entirely different; still more so is the Chinese Swanpan;
if any person will take the trouble to look into the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, they will see the difference at once, although I never
heard of either until they were mentioned in the pamphlet referred to.
There are 144 balls on mine, and it is properly simplified for infants
with the addition of the tablet, which explains the representative
characters as well as the real ones, which are the balls.

I have not yet heard what the Central Society have invented; probably
we shall soon hear of the mighty wonders performed by them, from one
end of the three kingdoms to the other. Their whole account of the
origin of the Infant System is as partial and unjust as it possibly
can be. Mr. Simpson, whom they quote, can tell them so, as can
also some of the committee of management, whose names I see at the
commencement of the work. The Central Society seem to wish to pull me
down, as also does the other society to whom reference is made is the
same page of which I complain; and I distinctly charge both societies
with doing me great injustice; the society complains of my plans
without knowing them, the other adopts them without acknowledgment,
and both have sprung up fungus-like, after the Infant System had been
in existence many years, and I had served three apprenticeships to
extend and promote it, without receiving subscriptions or any public
aid whatever. It is hard, after a man has expended the essence of his
constitution, and spent his children's property for the public good,
in inducing people to establish schools in the principal towns in
the three kingdoms,--struck at the root of domestic happiness, by
personally visiting each town, doing the thing instead of writing
about it--that societies of his own countrymen should be so anxious to
give the credit to foreigners. Verily it is most true that a Prophet
has no honour in his own country. The first public honour I ever
received was at Inverness, in the Highlands of Scotland, the last was
by the Jews in London, and I think there was a space of about twenty
years between each.



_Method of instruction, geometrical song--Anecdotes--Size--Song

       *       *       *       *       *

"Geometry is eminently serviceable to improve and strengthen the
intellectual faculties."--_Jones_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the novel features of the Infant School System, that of
geometrical lessons is the most peculiar. How it happened that a mode
of instruction so evidently calculated for the infant mind was so long
overlooked, I cannot imagine; and it is still more surprising that,
having been once thought of, there should be any doubt as to its
utility. Certain it is that the various forms of bodies is one of the
first items of natural education, and we cannot err when treading in
the steps of Nature. It is undeniable that geometrical knowledge is of
great service in many of the mechanic arts, and, therefore, proper
to be taught children who are likely to be employed in some of those
arts; but, independently of this, we cannot adopt a better method of
exciting and strengthening their powers of observation. I have seen a
thousand instances, moreover, in the conduct of the children, which
have assured me, that it is a very pleasing as well as useful branch
of instruction. The children, being taught the first elements of form,
and the terms used to express the various figures of bodies, find in
its application to objects around them an inexhaustible source of
amusement. Streets, houses, rooms, fields, ponds, plates, dishes,
tables; in short, every thing they see calls for observation, and
affords an opportunity for the application of their geometrical
knowledge. Let it not, then, be said that it is beyond their capacity,
for it is the simplest and most comprehensible to them of all
knowledge;--let it not be said that it is useless, since its
application to the useful arts is great and indisputable; nor is it to
be asserted that it is unpleasing to them, since it has been shewn to
add greatly to their happiness.

It is essential in this, as in every other branch of education,
to begin with the first principles, and proceed _slowly_ to their
application, and the complicated forms arising therefrom. The next
thing is to promote that application of which we have before spoken,
to the various objects around them. It is this, and this alone, which
forms the distinction between a school lesson and practical knowledge;
and so far will the children be found from being averse from this
exertion, that it makes the acquirement of knowledge a pleasure
instead of a task. With these prefatory remarks I shall introduce
a description of the method I have pursued, and a few examples of
geometrical lessons.

We will suppose that the whole of the children are seated in the
gallery, and that the teacher (provided with a brass instrument formed
for the purpose, which is merely a series of joints like those to a
counting-house candlestick, from which I borrowed the idea,[A] and
which may be altered as required, in a moment,) points to a straight
line, asking, What is this? A. A straight line. Q. Why did you not
call it a crooked line? A. Because it is not crooked, but straight. Q.
What are these? A. Curved lines. Q. What do curved lines mean? A. When
they are bent or crooked. Q. What are these? A. Parallel straight
lines. Q. What does parallel mean? A. Parallel means when they are
equally distant from each other in every part. Q. If any of you
children were reading a book. that gave an account of some town which
had twelve streets, and it is said that the streets were parallel,
would you understand what it meant? A. Yes; it would mean that the
streets were all the same way, side by side, like the lines which we
now see. Q. What are those? A. Diverging or converging straight lines.
Q. What is the difference between diverging and converging lines and
parallel lines? A. Diverging or converging lines are not at an equal
distance from each other, in every part, but parallel lines are. Q.
What does diverge mean? A. Diverge means when they go from each other,
and they diverge at one end and converge at the other.[B] Q. What does
converge mean? A. Converge means when they come towards each other.
Q. Suppose the lines were longer, what would be the consequence? A.
Please, sir, if they were longer, they would meet together at the end
they converge. Q. What would they form by meeting together? A. By
meeting together they would form an angle. Q. What kind of an angle?
A. An acute angle? Q. Would they form an angle at the other end? A.
No; they would go further from each other. Q. What is this? A. A
perpendicular line. Q. What does perpendicular mean? A. A line up
straight, like the stem of some trees. Q. If you look, you will see
that one end of the line comes on the middle of another line; what
does it form? A. The one which we now see forms two right angles. Q.
I will make a straight line, and one end of it shall lean on another
straight line, but instead of being upright like the perpendicular
line, you see that it is sloping. What does it form? A. One side of
it is an acute angle, and the other side is an obtuse angle. Q. Which
side is the obtuse angle? A. That which is the most open. Q. And which
is the acute angle? A. That which is the least open. Q. What does
acute mean? A. When the angle is sharp. Q. What does obtuse mean? A.
When the angle is less sharp than the right angle. Q. If I were to
call any one of you an acute child, would you know what I meant? A.
Yes, sir; one that looks out sharp, and tries to think, and pays
attention to what is said to him; and then you would say he was an
acute child.

[Footnote b: Mr. Chambers has been good enough to call the instrument
referred to, a gonograph; to that name I have no objection.]

[Footnote B: Desire the children to hold up two fingers, keeping them
apart, and they will perceive they diverge at top and converge at

_Equi-lateral Triangle_.

Q. What is this? A. An equi-lateral triangle. Q. Why is it called
equi-lateral? A. Because its sides are all equal. Q. How many sides
has it? A. Three sides. Q. How many angles has it? A. Three angles.
Q. What do you mean by angles? A. The space between two right lines,
drawn gradually nearer to each other, till they meet in a point.
Q. And what do you call the point where the two lines meet? A. The
angular point. Q. Tell me why you call it a tri-angle. A. We call it a
tri-angle because it has three angles. Q. What do you mean by equal?
A. When the three sides are of the same length. Q. Have you any thing
else to observe upon this? A. Yes, all its angles are acute.

_Isoceles Triangle_.

Q. What is this? A. An acute-angled isoceles triangle. Q. What does
acute mean? A. When the angles are sharp. Q. Why is it called an
isoceles triangle? A. Because only two of its sides are equal. Q. How
many sides has it? A. Three, the same as the other. Q. Are there any
other kind of isoceles triangles? A. Yes, there are right-angled and

[Here the other triangles are to be shewn, and the master must explain
to the children the meaning of right-angled and obtuse-angled.]

_Scalene Triangle_.

Q. What is this? A. An acute-angled scalene triangle. Q. Why is it
called an acute-angled scalene triangle? A. Because all its angles are
acute, and its sides are not equal. Q. Why is it called scalene? A.
Because it has all its sides _unequal_. Q. Are there any other kind of
scalene triangles? A. Yes, there is a right-angled scalene triangle,
which has one right angle. Q. What else? A. An obtuse-angled scalene
triangle, which has one obtuse angle. Q. Can an acute triangle be an
equi-lateral triangle? A. Yes, it may be equilateral, isoceles, or
scalene. Q. Can a right-angled triangle, or an obtuse-angled triangle,
be an equilateral? A. No; it must be either an isoceles or a scalene


Q. What is this? A. A square. Q. Why is it called a square? A. Because
all its angles are right angles, and its sides are equal. Q. How many
angles has it? A. Four angles. Q. What would it make if we draw a
line from one angle to the opposite one? A. Two right-angled isoceles
triangles. Q. What would you call the line that we drew from one angle
to the other? A. A diagonal. Q. Suppose we draw another line from the
other two angles. A. Then it would make four triangles.


Q. What is this? A. A regular pentagon. Q. Why is it called a
pentagon? A. Because it has five sides and five angles. Q. Why is it
called regular? A. Because its sides and angles are equal. Q. What
does pentagon mean? A. A five-sided figure. Q. Are there any other
kinds of pentagons? A. Yes, irregular pentagons? Q. What does
irregular mean? A. When the sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A hexagon. Q. Why is it called a hexagon? A.
Because it has six sides and six angles. Q. What does hexagon mean? A.
A six-sided figure. Q. Are there more than one sort of hexagons? A.
Yes, there are regular and irregular. Q. What is a regular hexagon?
A. When the sides and angles are all equal. Q. What is an irregular
hexagon? A. When the sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A regular heptagon. Q. Why is it called a
heptagon? A. Because it has seven sides and seven angles. Q. Why is it
called a regular heptagon? A. Because its sides and angles are equal.
Q. What does a heptagon mean? A. A seven-sided figure. Q. What is
an irregular heptagon? A. A seven-sided figure, whose sides are not


Q. What is this? A. A regular octagon. Q. Why is it called a regular
octagon? A. Because it has eight sides and eight angles, and they are
all equal. Q. What does an octagon mean? A. An eight-sided figure. Q.
What is an irregular octagon? A. An eight-sided figure, whose sides
and angles are not all equal. Q. What does an octave mean? A. Eight
notes in music.


Q. What is this? A. A nonagon. Q. Why is it called a nonagon? A.
Because it has nine sides and nine angles. Q. What does a nonagon
mean? A. A nine-sided figure. Q. What is an irregular nonagon? A. A
nine-sided figure whose sides and angles are not equal.


Q. What is this? A. A regular decagon. Q. What does a decagon mean? A.
A ten-sided figure. Q. Why is it called a decagon? A. Because it has
ten sides and ten angles, and there are both regular and irregular

_Rect-angle or Oblong_.

Q. What is this? A. A rectangle or oblong. Q. How many sides and
angles has it? A. Four, the same as a square. Q. What is the
difference between a rectangle and a square? A. A rectangle has two
long sides, and the other two are much shorter, but a square has its
sides equal.


Q. What is this? A. A rhomb. Q. What is the difference between a rhomb
and a rectangle? A. The sides of the rhomb are equal, but the sides of
the rectangle are not all equal. Q. Is there any other difference? A.
Yes, the angles of the rectangle are equal, but the rhomb has only its
opposite angles equal.


Q. What is this? A. A rhomboid. Q. What is the difference between a
rhomb and a rhomboid? A. The sides of the rhomboid are not equal, nor
yet its angles, but the sides of the rhomb are equal.


Q. What is this. A. A trapezoid. Q. How many sides has it? A. Four
sides and four angles, it has only two of its angles equal, which are
opposite to each other.


Q. What do we call these figures that have four sides. A. Tetragons,
_tetra_ meaning four. Q. Are they called by another name? A. Yes,
they are called quadrilaterals, or quadrangles. Q. How many regular
tetragons are among those we have mentioned? A. One, that is the
square, all the others are irregular tetragons, because their sides
and angles are not all equal. Q. By what name would you call the whole
of the figures on this board? A. Polygons; those that have their sides
and angles equal we would call regular polygons. Q. What would you
call those angles whose sides were not equal? A. Irregular polygons,
and the smallest number of sides a polygon can have is three, and the
number of corners are always equal to the number of sides.

_Ellipse or Oval_.

Q. What is this? A. An ellipse or an oval. Q. What shape is the top or
crown of my bat? A. Circular. Q. What shape is that part which comes
on my forehead and the back part of my head? A. Oval.

The other polygons are taught the children in rotation, in the same
simple manner, all tending to please and edify them.

The following is sung:--

  Horizontal, perpendicular,
  Horizontal, perpendicular,
   Parallel, parallel,
   Parallel, lines,
  Diverging, converging, diverging lines,
  Diverging, converging, diverging lines.

  Spreading wider, or expansion,
  Drawing nearer, or contraction,
    Falling, rising,
    Slanting, crossing,
  Convex, concave, curved lines,
  Convex, concave, curved lines.

  Here's a wave line, there's an angle,
  Here's a wave line, there's an angle;
    An ellipsis,
    Or an oval,
  A semicircle half way round,
  Then a circle wheeling round.

Some amusing circumstances have occured from the knowledge of form
thus acquired.

"D'ye ken, Mr. Wilderspin," said a child at Glasgow one day, "that we
have an oblong table: it's made o' deal; four sides, four corners, twa
lang sides, and twa short anes; corners mean angles, and angles mean
corners. My brother ga'ed himsel sic a clink o' the eye against ane at
hame; but ye ken there was nane that could tell the shape o' the thing
that did it!"

A little boy was watching his mother making pan-cakes and wishing
they were all done; when, after various observations as to their
comparative goodness with and without sugar, he exclaimed, "I wonder
which are best, _elliptical_ pan-cakes or _circular_ ones!" As this
was Greek to the mother she turned round with "What d'ye say?" When
the child repeated the observation. "Bless the child!" said the
astonished parent, "what odd things ye are always saying; what can you
mean by liptical pancakes? Why, you little fool, don't you know they
are made of flour and eggs, and did you not see me put the milk into
the large pan and stir all up together?" "Yes," said the little
fellow, "I know what they are made of, and I know what bread is
made of, but that is'nt the shape; indeed, indeed, mother, they are
_elliptical pan-cakes_, because they are made in an _elliptical
frying-pan_." An old soldier who lodged in the house, was now called
down by the mother, and he decided that the child was right, and far
from being what, in her surprize and alarm, she took him to be.

On another occasion a little girl had been taken to market by her
mother, where she was struck by the sight of the carcasses of six
sheep recently killed, and said, "Mother, what are these?" The reply
was, "Dead sheep, dead sheep, don't bother." "They are suspended,
perpendicular, and parallels," rejoined the child. "What? What?" was
then the question. "Why, mother," was the child's answer, "don't you
see they hang up, that's suspended; they are straight up, that's
perpendicular; and they are at equal distances, that's parallel."

On another occasion a child came crying to school, at having been
beaten for contradicting his father, and begged of me to go to his
father and explain; which I did. The man received me kindly, and told
me that he had beaten the child for insisting that the table which
he pointed out was not _round_, which he repeated was against all
evidence of the senses; that the child told him that if it was round,
nothing would stand upon it, which so enraged him, that he thrashed
him, as he deserved, and sent him off to school, adding, to be thus
contradicted by a child so young, was too bad. The poor little fellow
stood between us looking the picture of innocence combined with
oppression, which his countenance fully developed, but said not a
word. Under the said table there happened to be a ball left by a
younger child. I took it up and kindly asked the man the shape of it?
he instantly replied, "_Round_." "Then," said I, "is that table the
same shape as the ball?" The man thought for a minute, and then said,
"It is _round-flat_." I then explained the difference to him between
the one and the other, more accurately, of course, than the infant
could; and told him, as he himself saw a distinction, it was evident
they were not both alike, and told him that the table was circular.
"Ah!" said be, "that is just what the little one said! but I did not
understand what circular meant; but now I see he is right." The
little fellow was so pleased, that he ran to his father directly with
delight. The other could not resist the parental impulse, but seized
the boy and kissed him heartily.

The idea of _size_ is necessary to a correct apprehension of objects.
To talk of yards, feet, or inches, to a child, unless they are shown,
is just as intelligible as miles, leagues, or degrees. Let there then
be two five-feet rods, a black foot and a white foot alternately, the
bottom foot marked in inches, and let there be a horizontal piece to
slide up and down to make various heights. Thus, when the height of a
lion, or elephant, &c. &c., is mentioned, it may be shown by the rod;
while the girth may be exhibited by a piece of _cord_, which should
always be ready. Long measure is taught as follows:

  Take barley-corns of mod'rate length,
    And three you'll find will make an inch;
  Twelve inches make a foot;--if strength
    Permit; I'll leap it and not flinch.
  Three feet's a yard, as understood
    By those possess'd with sense and soul;
  Five feet and half will make a rood,
    And also make a perch or pole.
  Oh how pretty, wond'rously pretty,
    Every rule
    We learn at school
  Is wondrously pretty.

  Forty such poles a furlong make,
    And eight such furlongs make a mile,
  O'er hedge, or ditch, or seas, or lake;
    O'er railing, fence, or gate, or stile.
  Three miles a league, by sea or land,
    And twenty leagues are one degree;
  Just four times ninety degrees a band
    Will make to girt the earth and sea.
  Oh how pretty, &c.

  But what's the girth of hell or heaven?
    (No natural thought or eye can see,)
  To neither girth or length is given;
    'Tis without space--Immensity.
  Still shall the good and truly wise,
    The seat of heaven with safety find;
  Because 'tis seen with inward eyes,
    The first resides within their mind.
  Oh how pretty, &c.

Whatever can be shewn by the rod should be, and I entreat teachers not
to neglect this part of their duty. If the tables be merely learnt,
the children will be no wiser than before.

Another anecdote may be added here, to shew that children even under
punishment may think of their position with advantage. Doctor J., of
Manchester, sent two of his children to an infant school, for the
upper classes, and one of his little daughters had broken some rule in
conjunction with two other little ladies in the same school; two of
the little folks were placed, one in each corner of the room, and Miss
J. was placed in the centre, when the child came home in the evening,
Doctor J. enquired, "Well, Mary, how have you got on at school to
day?" the reply was "Oh, papa, little Miss ---- and Fanny ----, and I,
were put out, they were put in the corners and I in the middle of the
room, and there we all stood, papa, a complete _triangle_ of dunces."
The worthy doctor took great pleasure in mentioning this anecdote
in company, as shewing the effect of a judicious cultivation of the
thinking faculties.

In my peregrinations by sea and land, with infants, we have had some
odd and amusing scenes. I sometimes have had infants at sea for
several days and nights to the great amusement of the sailors: I have
seen some of these fine fellows at times in fits of laughter at the
odd words, as they called them, which the children used; at other
times I have seen some of them in tears, at the want of knowledge,
they saw in themselves; and when they heard the infants sing on deck,
and explain the odd words by things in the ship, the sailors were
delighted to have the youngsters in their berths, and no nurse could
take better care of them than these noble fellows did.

I could relate anecdote after anecdote to prove the utility of this
part of our system, but as it is now more generally in the training
juvenile schools, and becoming better known, it may not be necessary,
especially as the prejudice against it is giving way, and the public
mind is better informed than it was on the subject, and moreover it
must be given more in detail in the larger work on Juvenile Training
or National Education.



_Its attraction for children--Sacred Geography-Geographical song--and
lesson on geography_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"From sea to sea, from realm to realm I rove."--_Tickell_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Geography is to children a delightful study. We give some idea of
it at an early period in infant schools, by singing, "London is the
capital, the capital, the capital, London is the capital, the capital
of England," and other capitals in the same way; and also by pictures
of the costumes of the various people of the world. To teach the four
quarters of the globe, we tell children the different points of the
play-ground, and then send them to the eastern, western, northern, or
southern quarters, as we please. A weathercock should also be placed
at the top of the school, and every favourable day opportunities
should be seized by the teachers to give practical instructions upon

[Footnote A: If the lesson is on objects it will shew how children are
taught the points of the compass, with which we find they are very
much delighted, the best proof that can be given that it is not
injurious to the faculties.]

Sacred geography is of great importance, and children are much pleased
at finding out the spots visited by our Saviour, or the route of the
apostle Paul.


  The earth, on which we all now live,
  Is called a globe--its shape I'll give;
  If in your pocket you've a ball,
  You have it's shape,--but that's not all;
  For land and water it contains,
  And presently I'll give their names.
  The quarters are called, Africa,
  Europe, Asia, and America;
  These contain straits, oceans, seas,
  Continents, promontories,
  Islands, rivers, gulfs, or bays,
  Isthmusses, peninsulas,--
  Each divides or separates
  Nations, kingdoms, cities, states,--
  Mountains, forests, hills, and dales,
  Dreary deserts, rocks, and vales.

   In forests, deserts, bills, and plains,
     Where feet have never trod,
   There still in mighty power, He reigns,
     An ever-present God.


  The _east_ is where the sun does rise
  Each morning, in the glorious skies;
  Full _west_ he sets, or hides his head,
  And points to us the time for bed;
  He's in the _south_ at dinner time;
  The _north_ is facing to a line.

The above can be given as a gallery lesson, and it will at once be
seen that it requires explanation: the explanation is given by the
teacher in the same way as we have hinted at in former lessons, though
for the sake of those teachers who may not be competent to do it, we
subjoin the following:

Q. Little children what have we been singing about? A. The earth on
which we live. Q. What is the earth called? A. A globe. Q. What is the
shape of a globe? A. Round, like an orange. Q. Is the earth round,
like an orange? A. Yes. Q. Does it always stand still? A. No, it goes
round the sun. Q. How often does it go round the sun in a year? A.
Once. Q. Does it go round anything else but the sun? A. Yes, round its
own axis, in the same way as you turn the balls round on the wires
of the arithmeticon. Q. What are these motions called? A. Its motion
round the sun is called its annual or yearly motion. Q. What is its
other motion called? A. Its diurnal or daily motion. Q. What is caused
by its motion round the sun? A. The succession of summer, winter,
spring, and autumn, which are called the four seasons, is caused by
this. Q. What is caused by its daily motion round its own axis? A. Day
and night. Q. Into what two principal things is this earth on which we
live divided? A. Into land and water. Q. Into how many great parts is
the globe divided? A. Into five. Q. Which are they? A. Europe, Asia,
Africa, America, and Australia. Q. Which part do you live in? A. In
Europe. Q. We sung that those great parts contained

  Straits, oceans, seas,
  Continents, promontories,
  Islands, rivers, gulfs, or bays,
  Isthmusses, peninsulas.

Q. What is a strait? A. A narrow part of the sea joining one great sea
to another. Q. What is an ocean? A. A very large sea. Q. What is a
gulf or bay? A. A part of the sea running a long way into the land.
Q. What is a continent? A. A very large tract of land. Q. What does a
continent contain? A. Nations and kingdoms, such as England. Q. What
more? A. Many cities and towns. Q. What more? A. Mountains. Q What are
mountains? A. Very high steep places. Q. What more does a continent
contain? A. Forests, hills, deserts, and valleys. Q. What is a forest?
A. Many large trees growing over a great deal of the land is a forest.
Q. What are hills? A. Parts of the ground which rise higher than the
rest. Q. What is a desert? A. A part of the earth where nothing will
grow, and which is covered with hot sand. Q. What is a valley? A. A
part of the earth which is lower than the rest, with hills at each
side. Q. Who made all that we have been speaking of? A. Almighty God.

I can remember the time when no national school in England possessed
a _map_. It was thought dangerous to teach geography, as in fact
anything but cramming the memory, and reading and writing. With regard
to the reading I will say nothing as to how much was understood,
explaining then, was out of the question. What a change have I lived
to see!



_Pictures--Religious instruction--Specimens of picture lessons
on Scripture and natural history--other means of religious
instruction--Effects of religious instruction--observation_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The parents of Dr. Doddridge brought him up in the early knowledge of
religion. Before he could read, his mother taught him the histories of
the Old and New Testament, by the assistance of some Dutch tiles in
the chimney of the room where they usually sat; and accompanied her
instructions with such wise and pious reflections, as make strong and
lasting impressions upon his heart"--_See his Life_.[A]

[Footnote A: This gave me the idea of introducing Scripture pictures
for the infants; and that they are successful can be vouched for by
hundreds of teachers besides myself.]

       *       *       *       *       *

To give the children general information, it has been found advisable
to have recourse to pictures of natural history, such as of birds,
beasts, fishes, flowers, insects, &c., all of which tend to shew the
glory of God; and as colours attract the attention of children as soon
as any thing, they eagerly inquire what such a thing is, and this
gives the teacher an opportunity of instructing them to great
advantage; for when a child of his own free will eagerly desires to be
informed, he is sure to profit by the information then imparted.

We use also pictures of public buildings, and of the different trades;
by the former, the children acquire much information, from the
explanations which are given to them of the use of buildings, in what
year they were built, &c.; whilst by the latter, we are enabled to
find out the bias of a child's inclination. Some would like to be
shoemakers, others builders, others weavers, others brewers, &c.;
in short it is both pleasing and edifying to hear the children give
answers to the different questions. I remember one little boy, who
said he should like to be a doctor; and when asked why he made choice
of that profession in preference to any other, his answer was,
"Because he should like to cure all the sick people." If parents did
but study the inclinations of their children a little more, I humbly
conceive, that there would be more eminent men in every profession
than there are. It is great imprudence to determine what business
children shall be of before their tempers and inclinations are well
known. Every one is best in his own profession--and this should not be
determined on rashly and carelessly.

But as it is possible that a person may be very clever in his business
or profession, and yet not be a Christian, it has been thought
necessary to direct the children's attention particularly to the
Scriptures. Many difficulties lie in our way; the principal one arises
not from their inability to read the Bible, nor from their inability
to comprehend it, but from the apathy of the heart to its divine
principles and precepts. Some parents, indeed, are quite delighted if
their children can read a chapter or two in the Bible, and think that
when they can do this, they have arrived at the summit of knowledge,
without once considering whether they understand a single sentence of
what they read, or whether, if they understand it, they _feel_ its
truth and importance. And how can it be expected that they should
do either, when no ground-work has been laid at the time when they
received their first impressions and imbibed their first ideas? Every
one comes into the world without ideas, yet with a capacity to receive
knowledge of every kind, and is therefore capable, to a certain
extent, of becoming intelligent and wise. An infant would take hold
of the most poisonous reptile, that might sting him to death in an
instant; or attempt to stroke the lion with as little fear as he would
the lamb; in short, he is incapable of distinguishing a friend from
a foe. And yet so wonderfully is man formed by his adorable Creator,
that he is capable of increasing his knowledge, and advancing towards
perfection to all eternity, without ever being able to arrive at the

I am the ardent friend of _religious_ education, but what I thus
denominate I must proceed to explain; because of the errors that
abound on this subject. Much that bears the name is altogether
unworthy of it. Moral and religious sentiments may be written as
copies; summaries of truth, admirable in themselves, may be deposited
in the memory; chapter after chapter too may be repeated by rote, and
yet, after all, the slightest salutary influence may not be exerted
on the mind or the heart. These may resemble "the way-side" in the
parable, on which the fowls of the air devoured the corn as soon as
it was sown; and hence those plans should be devised and pursued from
which we may anticipate a harvest of real good. On these, however, my
limits will only allow a few hints.

As soon as possible, I would have a distinction made between the form
and power of religion; between the grimaces and long-facedness so
injurious to multitudes, and that principle of supreme love to God
which he alone can implant in the heart. I would exhibit too that
"good will to man" which the gospel urges and inspires, which regards
the human race apart from all the circumstances of clime, colour,
or grade; and which has a special reference to those who are most
necessitous. And how can this be done more hopefully than by
inculcating, in dependence on the divine blessing, the history,
sermons, and parables of our Lord Jesus Christ; and by the simple,
affectionate, and faithful illustration and enforcement of other parts
of holy writ? The infant system, therefore, includes a considerable
number of Scripture lessons, of which the following are specimens:


The following method is adopted:--The picture being suspended against
the wall, and one class of the children standing opposite to it, the
master repeats the following passages: "And Joseph dreamed a dream,
and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. And
he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, the dream which I have dreamed;
for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo! my sheaf
arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round
abort, and made obeisance to my sheaf."

The teacher being provided with a pointer will point to the picture,
and put the following questions, or such as he may think better, to
the children:

Q. What is this? A. Joseph's first dream. Q. What is a dream? A. When
you dream, you see things during the time of sleep. Q. Did any of you
ever dream any thing?

Here the children will repeat what they have dreamed; perhaps
something like the following:--Please, sir, once I dreamed I was in a
garden. Q. What did you see? A. I saw flowers and such nice apples. Q.
How do you know it was a dream? A. Because, when I awoke, I found I
was in bed.

During this recital the children will listen very attentively, for
they are highly pleased to hear each other's relations. The master
having satisfied himself that the children, in some measure,
understand the nature of a dream, he may proceed as follows:--

Q. What did Joseph dream about first? A. He dreamed that his brother's
sheaves made obeisance to his sheaf. Q. What is a sheaf? A. A bundle
of corn. Q. What do you understand by making obeisance? A. To bend
your body, which we call making a bow. Q. What is binding sheaves? A.
To bind them, which they do with a band of twisted straw. Q. How many
brothers had Joseph? A. Eleven. Q. What was Joseph's father's name? A.
Jacob, he is also sometimes called Israel.

Master.--And it is further written concerning Joseph, that he dreamed
yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I
have dreamed a dream more; and behold the sun and moon and eleven
stars made obeisance to me.

Q. What do you understand by the sun? A. The sun is that bright object
in the sky which shines in the day-time, and which gives us heat and
light. Q. Who made the sun? A. Almighty God. Q. For what purpose did
God make the sun? A. To warm and nourish the earth and every thing
upon it. Q. What do you mean by the earth? A. The ground on which we
walk, and on which the corn, trees, and flowers grow. Q. What is it
that makes them grow? A. The heat and light of the sun. Q. Does it
require any thing else to make them grow? A. Yes; rain, and the
assistance of Almighty God. Q. What is the moon? A. That object which
is placed in the sky, and shines in the night, and appears larger than
the stars. Q. What do you mean by the stars? A. Those bright objects
that appear in the sky at night. Q. What are they? A. Some of them are
worlds, and others are suns to give them light. Q. Who placed them
there? A. Almighty God. Q. Should we fear and love him for his
goodness? A. Yes; and for his mercy towards us. Q. Do you think it
wonderful that God should make all these things? A. Yes. Q. Are there
any more things that are wonderful to you? A. Yes;--

  Where'er we turn our wondering eyes,
    His power and skill we see;
  Wonders on wonders grandly rise,
    And speak the Deity.

Q. Who is the Deity? A. Almighty God.

Nothing can be a greater error than to allow the children to use the
name of God on every trifling occasion. Whenever it is necessary, it
should, in my opinion, be commenced with Almighty, first, both by
teacher and scholars. I am convinced, from what I have seen in many
places, that the frequent repetition of his holy name has a very
injurious effect.


Q. What is this? A. A picture of Solomon's wise judgment. Q. Describe
what you mean? A. Two women stood before king Solomon. Q. Did the
women say any thing to the king when they came before him? A. Yes; one
woman said, O my Lord, I and this woman dwell in one house, and I had
a child there, and this woman had a child also, and this woman's child
died in the night. Q. To whom did the women speak when they said, O my
Lord? A. To king Solomon. Q. What did the woman mean when she said, we
dwell in one house? A. She meant that they both lived in it. Q. Did
the woman say any thing more to the king? A. Yes; she said the other
woman rose at midnight, and took her son from her. Q. What is meant by
midnight? A. Twelve o'clock, or the middle of the night. Q. What did
the other woman say in her defence? A. She said the live child was
hers, and the other said it is mine; this they spake before the king.
Q. When the king heard what the women had to say, what did he do? A.
He said bring me a sword; and they brought a sword before the king. Q.
Did the king do any thing with the sword? A. No; he said, divide the
child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Q. What
did the women say to that? A. One said, O my Lord, give her the living
child, and in nowise slay it; but the other said, let it be neither
mine nor thine, but divide it. Q. What took place next? A. The king
answered and said, Give her the living child, and in nowise slay it,
she is the mother thereof. Q. What is meant by slaying? A. To kill any
thing. Q. To which woman was the child given? A. To the woman that
said do not hurt it. Q. What is the reason that it was called a wise
judgment? A. Because Solomon took a wise method to find it out. Q. Did
the people hear of it? A. Yes, all Israel heard of it, and they
feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do
judgment. Q. What is meant by all Israel? A. All the people over whom
Solomon was king? Q. If we want to know any more about Solomon where
can we find it? A. In the third chapter of the first book of Kings.

_Incidental Conversation_.

Q. Now my little children, as we have been talking about king Solomon,
suppose we talk about our own king; so let me ask you his name? A.
King William the Fourth.[A] Q. Why is he called king? A. Because he is
the head man, and the governor of the nation. Q. What does governor
mean? A. One that governs the people, the same as you govern and
manage us. Q. Why does the king wear a crown on his head? A. To denote
that he governs from a principle of wisdom, proceeding from love.
Q. Why does he hold a sceptre in his hand? A. To denote that he is
powerful, and that he governs from a principle of truth. Q. What is a
crown? A. A thing made of gold overlaid with a number of diamonds and
precious stones, which are very scarce? Q. What is a sceptre? A. A
thing made of gold, and something like an officer's staff. Q. What is
an officer? A. A person who acts in the king's name; and there are
various sorts of officers, naval officers, military officers, and
civil officers. Q. What is a naval officer? A. A person who governs
the sailors, and tells them what to do. Q. What is a military officer?
A. A person who governs the soldiers, and tells them what to do. Q.
What does a naval officer and his sailors do? A. Defend us from our
enemies on the sea. Q. What does a military officer and his soldiers
do? A. Defend us from our enemies on land. Q. Who do you call enemies?
A. Persons that wish to hurt us and do us harm. Q. What does a civil
officer do? A. Defend us from our enemies at home. Q. What do you mean
by enemies at home? A. Thieves, and all bad men and women. Q. Have
we any other enemies besides these? A. Yes, the enemies of our own
household, as we may read in the Bible, and they are the worst of all.
Q. What do you mean by the enemies of our own household? A. Our bad
thoughts and bad inclinations. Q. Who protects and defends us from
these? A. Almighty God. Q. Are there any other kind of officers
besides these we have mentioned? A. Yes, a great many more, such as
the king's ministers, the noblemen and gentlemen in both houses
of parliament, and the judges of the land. Q. What do the king's
ministers do? A. Give the king advice when he wants it. Q. And what do
the noblemen and gentlemen do in both houses of parliament? A. Make
laws to govern us, protect us, and make us happy. Q. After they have
made the laws, who do they take them to? A. To the king. Q. What do
they take them to the king for? A. To ask him if he will be pleased to
approve of them. Q. What are laws? A. Good rules for the people to go
by, the same as we have rules in our school to go by. Q. Suppose the
people break these good rules, what is the consequence? A. They are
taken before the judges, and afterwards sent to prison. Q. Who takes
them before the judge? A. A constable, and afterwards he takes them to
prison, and there they are locked up and punished. Q. Ought we to love
the king? A. Yes, and respect his officers. Q. Do you suppose the king
ever prays to God? A. Yes, every day. Q. What does he pray for? A.
That God would be pleased to make him a wise and good man, so that he
may make all his people happy. Q. What do the Scriptures say about the
king? A. They say that we are to fear God and honour the king. Q. Who
was the wisest king? A. King Solomon. Q. How did he become the wisest
king? A. He asked God to give him wisdom to govern his kingdom well;
and God granted his request. Q. Will God give our king wisdom? A. Yes,
he will give him what is best for him. It says in the Bible, if any
man lack wisdom let him ask of God, for he giveth all men liberally,
and upbraideth not. Q. What is the best book to learn wisdom from? A.
The Bible. Q. Is the queen mentioned in the Bible? A. Yes; it is said
queens shall be thy nursing mothers. Q. Who came to Solomon besides
the two women? A. The queen of Sheba, she came to ask him questions.
Q. When he answered her questions what happened? A. The queen was so
much delighted with his wisdom, that she gave him a hundred and twenty
talents of gold, and spices in abundance. Q. How much is one talent
of gold worth? A. Five thousand, four hundred, and seventy-five
sovereigns. Q. Did she give him anything more? A. Yes, she gave him
precious stones. Q. What are precious stones? A. Diamonds, jasper,
sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl,
topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, amethyst. Q. Did king Solomon give the
queen of Sheba anything? A. Yes, he gave her whatsoever she desired,
besides that which she brought with her. Q. Where did she go? A. She
went away to her own land. Q. What part of the Bible is this? A. The
ninth chapter of the second book of Chronicles, Master. The queen is
mentioned in other places in the Bible, and another day I will tell in
what parts.

[Footnote A: This lesson was written in the life time of our late
sovereign. It can easily be applied by the judicious teacher, and made
to bear upon present circumstances, and I earnestly hope that her
present gracious Majesty may become patroness of infant education. Not
infant education travestied, but the thing itself.]


The picture being suspended as the others, and a whole class being in
the class-room, put the pointer into one of the children's hands, and
desire the child to find out the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The other
children will be on the tip-toe of expectation, to see whether the
child makes a mistake; for, should this be the case, they know that
one of them will have the same privilege of trying to find it; should
the child happen to touch the wrong picture, the teacher will have at
least a dozen applicants, saying, "Please, sir, may I? Please, sir,
may I?" The teacher having selected the child to make the next trial,
say one of the youngest of the applicants, the child walks round the
room with the pointer, and puts it on the right picture; which will be
always known by the other children calling out, "That is the right,
that is the right." To view the child's sparkling eyes, who has found
the picture, and to see the pleasure beaming forth in his countenance,
you might imagine that be conceived he had performed one of the
greatest wonders of the age. The children will then proceed to read
what is printed on the picture, which is as follows: "The Nativity of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" which is printed at the top of the
picture. At the bottom are the following words: "And she brought forth
her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him
in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."--We then
proceed to question them in the following manner:--

Q. What do you mean by the Nativity of Jesus Christ? A. The time he
was born. Q. Where was he born? A. In Bethlehem of Judea. Q. Where did
they lay him? A. In a manger. Q. What is a manger? A. A thing that
horses feed out of. Q. What was the reason they put him there? A.
Because there was no room in the inn. Q. What is an inn? A. A place
where persons lodge who are travelling, and it is like a public house.
Q. What do you mean by travelling? When you go from one place to
another; from London into the country, or from the country into
London. Q. Is any thing else to be understood by travelling? A. Yes,
we are all travelling. Q. What do you mean by all travelling? A. We
are all going in a good road or else in a bad one. Q. What do you mean
by a good road? A. That which leads to heaven. Q. What will lead us to
heaven? A. Praying to God and endeavouring to keep his commandments,
and trying all we can to be good children. Q. Can we make ourselves
good? A. No; we can receive nothing, except it be given us from
heaven. Q. What is travelling in a bad road? A. Being naughty
children, and not minding what is said to us; and when we say bad
words, or steal any thing, or take God's name in vain. Q. Where will
this road lead to? A. To eternal misery.

Here we usually give a little advice according to circumstances,
taking care always to avoid long speeches, that will tend to stupify
the children. If they appear tired, we stop, but if not, they repeat
the following hymn, which I shall insert in full, as I believe there
is nothing in it that any Christian would object to.

  Hark! the skies with music sound!
  Heavenly glory beams around;
  Christ is born! the angels sing,
  Glory to the new-born King.

  Peace is come, good-will appears,
  Sinners, wipe away your tears;
  God in human flesh to-day
  Humbly in the manger lay.

  Shepherds tending flocks by night,
  Heard the song, and saw the light;
  Took their reeds, and softest strains
  Echo'd through the happy plains.

  Mortals, hail the glorious King
  Richest incense cheerful bring;
  Praise and love Emanuel's name,
  And his boundless grace proclaim.

The hymn being concluded, we put the following questions to the

Q. Who was the new-born king? A. Jesus Christ. Q. Who are sinners? A.
We, and all men. Q. What are flocks? A. A number of sheep. Q. What are
shepherds? A. Those who take care of the sheep. Q. What are plains? A.
Where the sheep feed. Q. Who are mortals? A. We are mortals. Q. Who
is the glorious king? A. Jesus Christ. Q. What is meant by Emanuel's
name? A. Jesus Christ.

Here the teacher can inform the children, that Jesus Christ is called
by a variety of names in the Bible, and can repeat them to the
children if he thinks proper; for every correct idea respecting
the Saviour which he can instil into their minds will serve as a
foundation for other ideas, and he will find that the more ideas the
children have, the more ready they will be in answering his questions;
for man is a progressive being; his capacity for progression is his
grand distinction above the brutes.


The picture being suspended as before described, we proceed thus:--

Q. What is this? A. Jesus Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Q. Who
was Lazarus? A. A man who lived in a town called Bethany, and a friend
of Christ's. Q. What is a town? A. A place where there are a great
number of houses, and persons living in them. Q. What do you mean by a
friend? A. A person that loves you, and does all the good he can for
you, to whom you ought to do the same in return. Q. Did Jesus love
Lazarus? A. Yes, and his sisters, Martha and Mary. Q. Who was it that
sent unto Jesus Christ, and told him that Lazarus was sick? A. Martha
and Mary. Q. What did they say? A. They said, Lord, behold he whom
thou lovest is sick. Q. What answer did Jesus make unto them? A. He
said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God. Q.
What did he mean by saying so? A. He meant that Lazarus should be
raised again by the power of God, and that the people that stood by
should see it, and believe on him. Q. How many days did Jesus stop
where he was when he found Lazarus was sick? A. Two days. Q. When
Jesus Christ wanted to leave the place, what did he say to his
disciples? A. He said, let us go into Judea again. Q. What do you mean
by Judea? A. A country where the Jews lived. Q. Did the disciples say
any thing to Jesus Christ, when he expressed a wish to go into Judea
again? A. Yes, they said, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone
thee, and goest thou thither again? Q. What did Jesus Christ tell
them? A. He told them a great many things, and at last told them
plainly that Lazarus was dead. Q. How many days had Lazarus lain in
the grave before he was raised up? A. Four. Q. Who went to meet Jesus
Christ, when she heard that he was coming? A. Martha; but Mary sat
still in the house. Q. Did Martha say anything to Jesus when she met
him? A. Yes, she said, Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had
not died. Q. Did Martha tell her sister that Jesus Christ was come? A.
Yes; she said, the Master is come, and calleth for thee. Q. Did Mary
go to meet Jesus Christ? A. Yes; and when she saw him, she fell down
at his feet, and said, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had
not died. Q. Did Mary weep? A. Yes, and the Jews that were with her.
Q. What is weeping? A. To cry. Q. Did Jesus weep? A. Yes; and the Jews
said, Behold, how he loved him. Q. Did the Jews say any thing else? A.
Yes; they said, Could not this man that opened the eyes of the blind,
have caused that even this man should not have died? Q. What took
place next? A. He went to the grave, and told the persons that stood
by to take away the stone. Q. And when they took away the stone, what
did Jesus Christ do? A. He cried, with a loud voice, Lazarus, come
forth; and he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot, with
grave clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin.--Jesus
saith unto them, loose him, and let him go; and many of the Jews which
came to Mary, and had seen these things which Jesus did, believed
on him. Q. If we wanted any more information about Lazarus and his
sisters, where should we find it? A. In the Bible. Q. What part? A.
The eleventh and twelfth chapters of John.

I have had children at the early age of four years, ask me questions
that I could not possibly answer; and among other things, the children
have said, when being examined at this picture, "That if Jesus Christ
had cried, softly, Lazarus, come forth, he would have come."--And when
asked, why they thought so, they have answered, "Because God can do
anything;" which is a convincing proof that children, at a very early
age, have an idea of the Omnipotence of the Supreme Being. Oh, that
men would praise the Lord for his goodness to the children of men!


Q. What is this? A. A picture of the Last Supper. Q. What do you mean
by the last supper? A. A sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ himself.
Q. What do you understand by a sacrament? A. There are two sacraments,
baptism and the holy supper, and they are both observed by true
Christians. Q. We will speak about baptism presently, but as we have
the picture of the holy supper before as, let me ask if it is called
by any other name? A. Yes; it is said that Jesus kept the passover
with his disciples, and when the even was come he sat down with them,
and as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it,
and gave to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body. Q. What
took place next? A. He took the cup, and when he had given thanks,
he gave it them, saying, This is my blood, the blood of the New
Testament, which is shed for many. Q. Did Jesus command this ordinance
to be observed by his people? A. Yes; he said in another place, This
do in remembrance of me (Luke xxii. 19). Q. What ought those persons
to remember who do this? A. They should remember that Jesus Christ
died on the cross to save sinners. Q. Is any thing else to be
understood by the sacrament of the Lord's supper? A. Yes, a great deal
more. Q. Explain some of it. A. When they drink the wine, they should
recollect that they ought to receive the truth of God into their
understandings. Q. What will be the effect of receiving the truth
of God into our understandings? A. It will expel or drive out all
falsehood. Q. What ought they to recollect when they eat the bread?
A. They should recollect that they receive the love of God into their
wills and affections. Q. What will be the effect of this? A. It will
drive out all bad passions and evil desires; for it is said, he that
eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him
(John vi. 27). Q. Is any thing more to be understood by these things?
A. Much more, which we must endeavour to learn when we get older. Q.
How will you learn this? A. By reading the Bible and going to a place
of worship.[A]

[Footnote A: There are many more of similar lessons, and, if any
thing, more simple, which accompany the pictures and apparatus which
I supply for Infant Schools; the profits from which will assist to
enable me, if I am blessed with health and strength, still further to
extend the system.]

Allow such things as these to be brought before the infant mind: let
the feelings of the heart, as well as the powers of the understanding,
be called into exercise; let babes have "the pure milk of the Word"
before "the strong meat;" let as little stress as possible be laid on
"the mere letter," and as much as possible on "the spirit" of "the
truth;" let it be shewn that piety is not merely rational, but in the
highest degree practicable; let this be done with diligence, faith,
and prayer, and I hesitate not to say, that we shall have an increase
of the religion of the _heart_.

Religious instruction may be given in other ways. Let the teacher take
a flower or an insect, and ask the, children if they could make such a
one; and I never found one who would answer, "Yes." A microscope will
increase the knowledge of its wonders. The teacher may then make a
needle the subject of remark; the children will admit that it is
smooth, very smooth; let him tell them it is the work of man, and
as such will appear imperfect in proportion as it is examined; and
shewing them it through the microscope, they will perceive it is rough
and full of holes. As a contrast, let him take a bee, obtain their
observations on it as it is, give them a short history of it, and they
will acknowledge its superiority over the needle. But on viewing it
through the microscope, astonishment will be increased, and I have
heard many say at such a time, "O sir, how good (meaning _great_) God
must be!" The sting may then be pointed out, as _unlike_ the needle,
and perfectly smooth; and thus truth may be imparted in a manner the
most interesting and delightful.

The influence of such considerations on _character_ is obvious. When
the _greatness_ of God is spoken of, allusion may be made to our
pride, and to the importance of humility; his _goodness_ may suggest
the evil of unkindness, and the importance of benevolence; and
his _truth_ may lead to remarks on its necessity, and the sin of

A small plot of ground may moreover be appropriated to the children;
some grains of wheat, barley, or rye may be sown, and they may be told
that, at a certain time, they will spring forth. Often will they go,
and anxiously watch for this; and at length they will say perhaps,
"Please, sir, such a thing has come up; we know it is so, for it is
just what you said it would be." Week after week the progress of
vegetation will be observed, and the fulfilment of the master's
promise will greatly tend to increase _his_ influence. So great will
_he_ appear, that his words and commands will be more regarded; while
it will be his object to trace the wonders which he predicted to their
divine Source. I have frequently observed, on such occasions, what I
should term an act of infant worship. Often has the question been put
to me, "Please, sir, is it wicked to play?" as if the spirit were
awed, and transgression against God were regarded with dread. Caution
has been also discovered in the use of the divine name; and I have
listened with delight to such remarks as these: "Please, sir, when we
sing a hymn, we may say Gad, or if we talk about the sun, we may say
God made it; and it isn't taking his name in vain, is it? But when we
talk of God as boys do in the street, that is very wicked!"

The following facts will illustrate the benefit of scriptural

A little boy, about four years and a half old, belonging to an Infant
School, went to see his cousin, a little girl about his own age. At
bed-time, the little boy, to his great surprise, saw her get into bed
without having said her prayers. The little fellow immediately went up
to the side of the bed, and put this question to her: "Which would you
rather go to, heaven or hell?" The little girl said, "I don't know!"
"Not know!" said the boy; "Why, wicked people go to hell, and the
good go to heaven, a happy place." The little girl then said, "Why,
I should like to go to heaven." "Ah!" but replied the little fellow
again, "You did not say your prayers; and all that go heaven pray to
God." She then said, "Will you teach me to pray your prayer?" "If
I lived with you," said he, "I would; but if you go to the Infant
School, they will teach you to say your prayers, and sing hymns too."

One day, while the teacher of an Infant School was speaking to his
little children, from the conversation of our Lord with the woman
of Samaria at the well, a gentleman present asked the following
questions: "Where should we go to worship God?" When a little boy
answered, "To a throne of grace." "And where is a throne of grace?"
"Any where," answered the boy; "for where we kneel down, and pray to
God with our hearts, we are _then_ at a throne of grace."

There are times when the children are in a better state to receive
religious instruction than others. A teacher of observation will
soon perceive this, and act accordingly; if, however, the thing is
overdone, which it may be, and which I have seen, then the effect is
fatal. Hypocrisy will take the place of sincerity, and the heart will
remain unaffected and unimproved.

A little boy, the subject of the following anecdote, being six years
of age, and forward in his learning, I considered him fit to be sent
to another school; and informed the parents accordingly. The father
came immediately, and said, he hoped I would keep him till he was
seven years of age; adding, that he had many reasons for making the
request. I told him, that it was the design of the Institution to take
such children as no other school would admit; and as his child had
arrived at the age of six, he would be received into the national
school; moreover, as we had a number of applications for the admission
of children much younger, I could not grant his request. He then said,
"I understand that you make use of pictures in the school, and I have
good reason to approve of them; for," said he, "you must know that I
have a large Bible in the house, Matthew Henry's, which was left me by
my deceased mother; like many more, I never looked into it, but kept
it merely for show. The child, of course, was forbidden to open it,
for fear of its being spoiled: but still he was continually asking me
to read in it, and I as continually denied him; indeed, I had imbibed
many unfavourable impressions concerning this book, and had no
inclination to read it, and was not very anxious that the child
should. However, the child was not to be put off, although
several times I gave him a box on the ear for worrying me; for,
notwithstanding this usage, the child would frequently ask me to read
it, when he thought I was in a good humour; and at last I complied
with his wishes; 'Please, father,' said the child, 'will you read
about Solomon's wise judgment' 'I don't know where to find it,' was
the reply. 'Then,' says the child, 'I will tell you; it is in the
third chapter of the first book of Kings.' I looked as the child
directed, and, finding it, I read it to him. Having done so, I was
about to shut up the book; which the child perceiving, said, 'Now,
please, father, will you read about Lazarus raised from the dead?'
which was done; and, in short," said the father, "he kept me at it for
at least two hours that night, and completely tired me out, for there
was no getting rid of him. The next night be renewed the application,
with 'Please, father, will you read about Joseph and his brethren?'
and he could always tell me where these stories were to be found.
Indeed, he was not contented with my reading it, but would get me into
many difficulties, by asking me to explain that which I knew nothing
about; and if I said I could not tell him, he would tell me that I
ought to go to church, for his master had told him, that that was
the place to learn more about it; adding, 'and I will go with you,
father.' In short, he told me every picture you had in your school,
and kept me so well at it, that I at last got into the habit of
_reading for myself_, with some degree of delight; this, therefore, is
one reason why I wish the child to remain in the school." A short time
afterwards, the mother called on me, and told me, that no one could be
happier than she was, for there was so much alteration in her husband
for the better, that she could scarcely believe him to be the same
man. Instead of being in the skittle-ground, in the evening, spending
his money and getting tipsy, he was reading at home to her and his
children; and the money that used to go for gambling, was now going
to buy books, with which, in conjunction with the Bible, they were
greatly delighted, and afforded both him and them a great deal of
pleasure and profit.

Here we see a whole family were made comfortable, and called to a
sense of religion and duty, by the instrumentality of a child of six
years of age. I subsequently made inquiries, and found that the whole
family attended a place of worship, and that their character would
bear the strictest investigation.

The following anecdote will also shew how early impressions are made
on the infant mind, and the effects such impressions may have in the
dying moments of a child. A little boy, between the age of five and
six years, being extremely ill, prevailed on his mother to ask me to
come and see him. The mother called, and stated, that her little boy
said be wanted to see his master so bad, that he would give any thing
if he could see him. The mother likewise said, she should herself be
very much obliged to me if I would come; conceiving that the child
would get better after he had seen me. I accordingly went; and on
seeing the child considered that he could not recover. The moment I
entered the room, the child attempted to rise, but could not. "Well,
my little man," said I, "did you want to see me?" "Yes, Sir, I wanted
to see you very much," answered the child. "Tell me what you wanted
me for." "I wanted to tell you that I cannot come to school again,
because I shall die." "Don't say that," said the mother, "you will
get better, and then you can go to school again." "No," answered the
child, "I shall not get better, I am sure; and I wanted to ask master
to let my class sing a hymn over my body, when they put it in the
pit-hole." The child, having made me promise that this should be done,
observed, "You told me, master, when we used to say the pictures, that
the souls of children never die; and do you think I shall go to God?"
"You ask me a difficult question, my little boy," said I. "Is it,
sir?" said the child, "I am not afraid to die, and I know I shall
die." "Well, child, I should not be afraid to change states with you;
for if such as you do not go to God, I do not know what will become of
such as myself; and from what I know of you, I firmly believe that
you will, and all like you; but you know what I used to tell you at
school." "Yes, sir, I do; you used to tell me that I should pray to
God to assist me to do to others as I would that they should do to
me, as the hymn says; and mother knows that I always said my prayers,
night and morning; and I used to pray for father and mother, master
and governess, and every body else." "Yes, my little man, this is part
of our duty; we should pray for every one; and, I think, if God sees
it needful, he will answer our prayers, especially when they come from
the heart." Here the child attempted to speak, but could not, but
waved his hand, in token of gratitude for my having called; and I can
truly say, that I never saw so much confidence, resignation, and true
dependence on the divine will, manifested by any grown person, on a
death-bed, much less by a child under the tender age of seven years. I
bade the child adieu, and was much impressed with what I had seen. The
next day the mother called on me, and informed me that the child had
quitted his tenement of clay; and that just before his departure had
said to her, and those around him, that the souls of children never
die; it was only the body that died; that he had been told at school,
while they were saying the pictures, that the soul went to God, who
gave it. The mother said that these were the last words the child
was known to utter. She then repeated the request about the children
singing a hymn over his grave, and named the hymn she wished to
have sung. The time arrived for the funeral, and the parents of the
children who were to sing the hymn made them very neat and clean, and
sent them to school. I sent them to the house whence the funeral was
to proceed, and the undertaker sent word that he could not be troubled
with such little creatures, and that unless I attended myself the
children could not go. I told him that I was confident that the
children would be no trouble to him, if he only told them to follow
the mourners two and two, and that it was unnecessary for any one to
interfere with them further than shewing them the way back to the
school. I thought, however, that I would attend to see how the
children behaved, but did not let them see me, until the corpse was
arrived at the ground. As soon as I had got to the ground, some of the
children saw me, and whispered, "There's master;" when several of them
stepped out of the ranks to favour me with a bow. When the corpse was
put into the ground, the children were arranged round the grave, not
one of whom was more than six years of age. One of them gave out the
hymn, in the usual way, and then it was sung by the whole of them;
and, according to the opinions of the by-standers, very well. The
novelty of the thing caused a great number of persons to collect
together; and yet, to their credit, while the children were singing,
there was not a whisper to be heard; and when they had finished the
hymn, the poor people made a collection for the children on the
ground. The minister himself rewarded one or two of them, and they
returned well stored with money, cakes, &c. This simple thing was
the means of making the school more known; for I could hear persons
inquiring, "Where do these children come from?" "Why, don't you know?"
replied others, "from the Infant School." "Well," answered a third,
"I will try to get my children into it; for I should like them to be
there of all things. When do they take them in, and how do they get
them in?" "Why, you must apply on Monday mornings," answered another;
and the following Monday I had no less than forty-nine applications,
all of which I was obliged to refuse, because the school was full.[A]

[Footnote A: This circumstance took place in the heart of London, and
some of the chief actors in it are now men and women; and should
this meet the eye of any of them, I am sure they will not forget the
circumstances, nor entirely forget their old teacher.]


When teachers are conversing with their children, they should always
take care to watch their countenances, and the moment they appear
tired, to stop. An hour's instruction when the children's minds and
hearts are engaged, is better than many hours effort, when they are
thinking of something else. In addition to thirty-four pictures of
Scripture history, we have sixty of natural history, each picture
having a variety of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, and flowers. The first
thing we do is to teach the children the names of the different
things; then to distinguish them by their forms; and, lastly, they are
questioned on them as follows: If the animal is a horse, we put the
pointer to it, and say--

What is this? A. A picture of a horse. Q. What is the use of the
horse? A. To draw carts, coaches, waggons, drays, fire-engines,
caravans, the plough and harrow, boats on the canal, and any thing
that their masters want them. Q. Will they carry as well as draw? A.
Yes, they will carry a lady or gentleman on their backs, a sack of
corn, or paniers, or even little children, but they must not hit them
hard, if they do, they will fall off their backs; besides, it is very
cruel to beat them. Q. What is the difference between carrying and
drawing? A. To carry is when they have the whole weight on their
backs, but to draw is when they pull any thing along. Q. Is there any
difference between those horses that carry, and those horses that
draw? A. Yes; the horses that draw carts, drays, coal-waggons, stage
waggons, and other heavy things, are stouter and much larger, and
stronger than those that carry on the saddle, and are called draught
horses. Q. Where do the draught horses come from? A. The largest
comes from Leicestershire, and some come from Suffolk, which are
very strong, and are called Suffolk punches. Q. Where do the best
saddle-horses come from? A. They came at first from Arabia, the place
in which the camel is so useful; but now it is considered that those
are as good which are bred in England? Q. What do they call a horse
when he is young? A. A foal, or a young colt. Q. Will he carry or draw
while he is young? A. Not until he is taught, which is called breaking
of him in. Q. And when he is broke in, is he very, useful? A. Yes; and
please, sir, we hope to be more useful when we are properly taught.
Q. What do you mean by being properly taught? A. When we have as much
trouble taken with us as the horses and dogs have taken with them. Q.
Why, you give me a great deal of trouble, and yet I endeavour to teach
you. A. Yes, sir, but before Infant Schools were established, little
children, like us, were running the streets.[A] Q. But you ought to
be good children if you do run the streets. A. Please, sir, there is
nobody to tell us how[B], and if the man did not teach the horse, he
would not know how to do his work.

[Footnote A: This answer was given by a child five years of age.]

[Footnote B: This answer was given by a child six years of age.]

Here we observe to the children, that as this animal is so useful to
mankind, it should be treated with kindness. And having questioned
them as to the difference between a cart and a coach, and satisfied
ourselves that they understand the things that are mentioned, we
close, by asking them what is the use of the horse after he is dead,
to which the children reply, that its flesh is eaten by other animals
(naming them), and that its skin is put into pits with oak bark, which
is called tanning; and that when it is tanned it is called leather;
and leather is made into shoes to keep the feet warm and dry, and that
we are indebted to the animals for many things that we both eat and
wear, and above all to the great God for every thing that we possess.
I cannot help thinking that if this plan were more generally adopted,
in all schools, we should not have so many persons ascribing
everything to blind chance, when all nature exhibits a God, who
guides, protects, and continually preserves the whole.

We also examine the children concerning that ill-treated animal, the
ass, and contrast it with the beautiful external appearance of the
zebra; taking care to warn the children not to judge of things by
their outward appearance, which the world in general are too apt to
do, but to judge of things by their uses, and of men by their general
character and conduct. After having examined the children concerning
the animals that are most familiar to us, such as the sheep, the cow,
the dog, and others of a similar kind, we proceed to foreign animals,
such as the camel, the elephant, the tiger, the lion, &c. &c. In
describing the use of the camel and the elephant, there is a fine
field to open the understandings of the children, by stating how
useful the camel is in the deserts of Arabia; how much it can carry;
how long it can go without water; and the reason it can go without
water longer than most other animals; how much the elephant can carry;
what use it makes of its trunk, &c. All these things will assist the
thinking powers of children, and enlarge their understandings, if
managed carefully. We also contrast the beautiful appearance of the
tiger with its cruel and blood-thirsty disposition, and endeavour to
shew these men and women in miniature, that it is a dangerous plan
to judge of things by outward appearances, but that there is a
more correct way of judging, which forms a part of the business of
education to explain.

The children are highly delighted with these pictures, and, of their
own accord, require an explanation of the subjects. Nay, they will
even ask questions that will puzzle the teacher to answer; and
although there is in some minds such a natural barrenness, that, like
the sands of Arabia, they are never to be cultivated or improved,
yet I can safely say, that I never knew a child who did not like the
pictures; and as soon as I had done explaining one, it was always,
"Please, sir, may we learn this?" "Please, teacher, may we learn
that?" In short, I find that I am generally tired before the children;
instead of having to apply any magisterial severity, they are
petitioning to learn; and this mode of teaching possesses an advantage
over every other, because it does not interfere with any religious
opinion, there being no body of Christians that I know, or ever heard
of, who would object to the facts recorded in the Bible, being thus
elucidated by pictures. Thus a ground-work may be laid, not only of
natural history, but of sacred history also; for the objects being
before the children's eyes, they can, in some degree, comprehend them,
and store them in their memories. Indeed, there is such attraction in
pictures, that you can scarcely pass a picture-shop in London, without
seeing a number of grown persons around the windows gazing at them.
When pictures were first introduced into the school, the children told
their parents; many of whom came and asked permission to see them; and
although the plates are very common, I observed a degree of attention
and reverence in the parents, scarcely to be expected, and especially
from those who could not read.

It is generally the case, that what we have always with us, becomes so
familiar, that we set little store by it; but on being deprived of it
for a time, we then set a greater value on it: and I have found this
to be the case with the children. If the pictures we make use of in
the schools be exposed all at once, and at all times, then there would
be such a multiplicity of objects before the eyes of the children,
that their attention would not be fixed by any of them; they would
look at them all, at first, with wonder and surprise, but in a short
time the pictures would cease to attract notice, and, consequently,
the children would think no more of them than they would of the paper
that covers the room. To prevent this, and to excite a desire for
information, it is always necessary to keep some behind, and to let
very few objects appear at one time. When the children understand,
in some measure, the subjects before them, these may be replaced by
others, and so on successively, until the whole have been seen.

Some persons have objected to the picture of Christ being represented
in the human form, alleging that it is calculated to make the children
think he was a mere man only, and have thought it better that be
should not be represented at all; the man that undertakes to please
all will soon find out his mistake, and, therefore, be must do the
best he can, and leave the objectors to please themselves; yet it is
a great pity little children should suffer from the ill-grounded
objections of those who cannot do better. On visiting a school, take
notice of the pictures hanging about, if they are dusty, and have not
the appearance of being well-used, be sure that the committee have
never seen a good infant school, or that the teacher has never been
properly trained, and, therefore, does not know how to use them.



_Object Boards--Utility of this Method_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The eyes will greatly aid the ears."

       *       *       *       *       *

As I have before said that it is our object to teach the children from
objects in preference to books, I will mention a method we adopt for
the accomplishment of this purpose. It consists of a number of boards,
of which, and of their use, the following description will convey an
accurate idea.

The boards are about sixteen inches square, and a quarter of an inch
thick: wainscot is the best, as it does not warp. These will go into
the groove of the lesson post: there should be about twenty articles
on each board, or twenty-five, just as it suits the conductors of the
school; there should be the same quantity of things on each board, in
order that all the children may finish at one time; this will not be
the case, if there be more objects on one board than another. I will
give an account of a few of our boards, and that must suffice, or I
shall exceed the limits I have prescribed to myself.

The first board contains a small piece of gold in its rough state, a
piece of gold in its manufactured state, a piece of silver in both
states, a piece of copper in both states, a piece of brass in both
states, a piece of iron in both states, a piece of steel in both
states, a piece of tinfoil, a piece of solder, a screw, a clasp nail,
a clout nail, a hob nail, a spike nail, a sparable, and a tack.

These articles are all on one board, and the monitor puts his pointer
to each article, and tells his little pupils their names, and
encourages them to repeat the names after him. When they finish at one
post they go to the next.

The next board may contain a piece of hemp, a piece of rope, a piece
of string, a piece of bagging, a piece of sacking, a piece of canvass,
a piece of hessian, a piece of Scotch sheeting, a piece of unbleached
linen, a piece of bleached linen, a piece of diaper linen, a piece of
dyed linen, a piece of flax, a piece of thread, a piece of yarn, a
piece of ticking, a piece of raw silk, a piece of twisted silk, a
piece of wove silk, figured, a piece of white plain sills, and a piece
of dyed silk, a piece of ribbon, a piece of silk cord, a piece of silk
velvet, &c.

The next may contain raw cotton, cotton yarn, sewing cotton,
unbleached calico, bleached calico, dimity, jean, fustian, velveteen,
gause, nankeen, gingham, bed furniture, printed calico, marseilles,
flannel, baise, stuff; woollen cloth and wool, worsted, white, black,
and mixed.

The next may contain milled board, paste board, Bristol card, brown
paper, white paper of various sorts, white sheep skin, yellow sheep,
tanned sheep, purple sheep, glazed sheep, red sheep, calf skin, cow
hide, goat skin, kid, seal, pig leather, seal skin, wash leather,
beaver, &c.

The next may contain about twenty-five of those wood animals which
are imported into this country, and are to be had at the foreign toy
warehouses; some of them are carved exceedingly well, and appear very
like the real animals.

The next may contain mahogany, and the various kinds of wood.

The next may contain prunings of the various fruit trees, all about an
inch long, or an inch square.

The next may contain the different small articles of ironmongery,
needles, pins, cutlery, small tools, and every other object that can
be obtained small enough for the purpose.

The lessons are to be put in the lesson-post the same as the picture
lessons; and the articles are either glued, or fastened on the boards
with screws or waxed thread.

I would have dried leaves provided, such as an oak leaf, an elm
leaf, an ash leaf, &c. &c. The leaves of ever-greens should be kept
separate. These will enable a judicious instructor to communicate a
great variety of valuable information.

On some things connected with such instruction I find I arrived at the
same conclusions as Pestalozzi, though I have never read his works,
and for some years after my first efforts, did not know that such
a person existed. I mean, however, to give my views on teaching by
objects more fully in a work I hope soon to prepare, to be entitled
"The Infant Teacher in the Nursery and the School."

The utility of this mode of teaching must be obvious, for if the
children meet with any of those terms in a book which they are
reading, they _understand them immediately_, which would not be the
case unless they had seen the _object_. The most intellectual person
would not be able to call things by their _proper names_, much less
describe them, unless he had been taught, or heard some other person
call them by their right names; and we generally learn more by mixing
with society, than ever we could do at school: these sorts of lessons
persons can make themselves, and they will last for many years, and
help to lay a foundation for things of more importance.

I am convinced the day is not far distant when a museum will be
considered necessary to be attached to every first rate school for the
instruction of children.

Sight is the most direct inlet for knowledge. Whatever we have seen
makes a much stronger impression upon us. Perception is the first
power of mind which is brought into action, and the one made use
of with most ease and pleasure. For this reason object lessons are
indispensable in an infant school, consisting both of real substances
and of pictures. The first lesson in Paradise was of this kind, and we
ought therefore to draw instruction from it. "And out of the ground
the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the
air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and
whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name of



_Exercise--Various positions--Exercise blended with
instruction--Arithmetical and geometrical amusements_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Would you make infants happy, give them variety, for novelty has
charms that our minds can hardly withstand."

       *       *       *       *       *

As an Infant School may be regarded in the light of a combination of
the school and nursery, the _art of pleasing_, forms a prominent part
in the system; and as little children are very apt to be fretful, it
becomes expedient to divert as well as teach there. If children of
two years old and under are not diverted, they will naturally cry
for their mothers: and to have ten or twelve children crying in the
school, it is very obvious would put every thing into confusion. But
it is possible to have two hundred, or even three hundred children
assembled together, the eldest not more than six years of age, and yet
not to hear one of them crying for a whole day. Indeed I may appeal to
the numerous and respectable persons who have visited Infant Schools,
for the truth of this assertion; many of whom have declared, in my
hearing, that they could not have conceived it possible that such a
number of little children could be assembled together, and all be so
happy as they had found them, the greater part of them being so very
young. I can assure the reader, that many of the children who have
cried heartily on being sent to school the first day or two, have
cried as much on being kept at home, after they have been in the
school but a very short time: and I am of opinion that when children
are absent, it is generally the fault of the parents. I have had
children come to school without their breakfast, because it has not
been ready; others have come to school without shoes, because they
would not be kept at home while their shoes were mending; and I have
had others come to school half dressed, whose parents have been either
at work or gossipping; and who, when they have returned home, have
thought that their children were lost; but to their great surprise and
joy, when they have applied at the school, they have found them there.

Need any thing more be advanced than these facts, to prove, that it is
not school, or the acquirement of knowledge, that is disagreeable to
children, but the system of injudicious instruction there pursued.
Children are anxious to acquire knowledge, and nothing can be more
congenial to their taste than association with those of their own age;
but we ought not to wonder that little children should dislike to go
to school, when, as in most of the dames' schools, forty or fifty,
or perhaps more, are assembled together in one room, scarcely large
enough for one-third of that number, and are not allowed to speak to,
or scarcely look at each other. In those places, I firmly believe,
many, for the want of proper exercise become cripples, or have their
health much injured, by being kept sitting so many hours; but as
children's health is of the greatest consequence, it becomes necessary
to remedy this evil by letting them have proper exercise, combined as
much as possible, with instruction; to accomplish which many measures
have been tried, but I have found the following to be the most

The children are desired to sit on their seats, with their feet out
straight, and to shut each hand; and then ordered to count a hundred,
or as many as may be thought proper, lifting up each hand every time
they count one, and bringing each hand down again on their knees
when they count another. The children have given this the name of
blacksmith, and when asked why they called it blacksmith, they
answered, because they hammered their knees with their fists, in the
same way as the blacksmith hammers his irons with a hammer. When they
have arrived at hundred (which they never fail to let you know by
giving an extra shout), they may be ordered to stand up, and bring
into action the joints of the knees and thighs. They are desired to
add up one hundred, two at a time, which they do by lifting up each
foot alternately, all the children counting at one time, saying, two,
four, six, eight, ten, twelve, and so on. By this means, every part of
the body is put in motion; and it likewise has this advantage that by
lifting up each foot every time, they keep good time, a thing very
necessary, as unless this was the case, all must be confusion. They
also add up three at a time, by the same method, thus, three, six,
nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, and so on; but care must be taken not
to keep them too long at one thing, or too long in one position, thus
exercising the elbow joints, by pushing them out and drawing them back
as far as possible.

  Come here, my dear boy, look at baby's two hands,
  And his two little feet upon which baby stands;
  Two thumbs and eight fingers together make ten;
  Five toes on each foot the same number again.

  Two arms and two shoulders, two elbows, two wrists,
  Now bind up your knuckles, make two little fists;
  Two legs and two ancles, two knees, and two hips.
  His fingers and toes have all nails on their tips.

  With his hands and his feet he can run, jump, and crawl,
  He can dance, walk, or caper, or play with his ball;
  Take your hoop or your cart, and have a good race,
  And that will soon give you a fine rosy face.

  Oh! what would my boy do without his two hands;
  And his two little feet upon which baby stands!
  They're the gift of kind heaven for you to enjoy,
  Then be thankful to heaven, my dear little boy.

Having done a lesson or two this way, they are desired to put their
arms out straight, and to say, one and one are two, two and one are
three, three and one are four, four and one are five, five and one are
six, six and two are eight; and in this way they go on until they are
desired to stop.

It should be observed, that all _graceful_ actions may be adopted. I
am sorry to find, from visits to various schools, that the movements
of the children have degenerated into buffoonery; they have been
allowed to put themselves into the most ridiculous postures, and have
thus raised objections which would not otherwise have been urged. As,
however, the whole Infant System is designed to make the _children
think_, I would urge the _teachers_ to guard against their being
automatons. Let them mark every impropriety with promptitude, and
correct it with judgment.

I have specified these methods not as being the only ones practicable,
or fit to be adopted, but merely, as hints to the judicious teacher,
who will doubtless think of many others, conducive to the same end:
and the more he can diversify them the better. It is the combination
of amusement with instruction, which, in my opinion, renders the
system so successful; and unimportant or improper even as it may
appear to some, is of more real service in the management of young
children, than all the methods of restraint and coercion, which have
been hitherto but too generally pursued.

The children may also learn the pence and multiplication tables, by
forming themselves into circles around a number of young trees, where
such are planted in the play-ground. For the sake of order, each class
should have its own particular tree; that when they are ordered to the
trees, every child may know which tree to go to; as soon as they are
assembled around the trees, they are to join hands and walk round,
every child saying the multiplication table, until they have finished
it; they then let go hands, and put them behind, and for variety's
sake, sing the pence table, the alphabet, hymns, &c. &c.; thus the
children are gradually improved and delighted, for they call it play,
and it is of little consequence what they call it, so long as they are
edified, exercised, and made happy.

This plan is calculated to impress the lessons on their memories, and
is adapted for fine weather, when they can go out to play, as it is
called. But as in wet or snowy weather, they cannot go out of the
school, we then have recourse to the mode previously mentioned.
Besides it is necessary that children should have exercise in winter
as well as in summer, in wet as well as in dry weather; for this
purpose we have several swings in the school-room, made of cord only,
on which the children are allowed to swing, two at a time. The time
that they are permitted to be on the swing, is according to what they
have to repeat. If it is the pence table, they say--

  Twenty pence are one and eightpence,
    That we can't afford to lose;
  Thirty pence are two and sixpence,
    That will buy a pair of shoes.

  Forty pence are three and fourpence,
    That is paid for certain fees;
  Fifty pence are four and twopence,
    That will buy five pounds of cheese.

  Sixty pence will make, five shillings,
    Which, we learn is just a crown;
  Seventy pence are five and tenpence,
    This is known throughout the town.

  Eighty pence are six and eightpence,
    I'll always try to think of that;
  Ninety pence are seven and sixpence,
    This will buy a beaver hat.

  A hundred pence are eight and fourpence,
    Which is taught in th' Infant School;
  Eight pence more make just nine shillings,
    So we end this pretty rule.[A]

[Footnote A: A covered play-ground is desirable where practicable.]

As soon as the table is thus gone through, the children who are on the
swings get off, and others supply their places, until, probably,
the pence table has been said twenty times; then we go on with the
multiplication table, until the children have repeated as far as six
times six are thirty-six; when the children on the swings get off and
are succeeded by two more on each swing; they then commence the other
part of the table, beginning at six times seven are forty-two, until
they have finished the table. During this time it should be borne
in mind, that all the children are learning, not only those on the
swings, but those who are sitting in the school; and it is surprising
to see with what alacrity the children will dispatch their other
lessons, when it is a wet day, in order to get to the swings. In
addition to the knowledge acquired by this method, it is admirably
calculated to try their courage. Many little boys and girls, who at
first are afraid to get on the swings, will soon swing standing on
one leg, and perform other feats with the greatest dexterity, at once
showing their increased courage and greater activity. We generally
let four or five children come to a swing, and those that can seat
themselves first, are entitled to the first turn, for they are never
lifted on. In the anxiety to get on the swing, some of them will
perhaps get out of temper, especially those who are not disciplined;
but when this is detected they are not allowed to swing that day,
which soon makes them good-natured to each other, and very cautious
not to get into a passion. Thus, in some degree, their bad tempers are
corrected, which is very desirable. It is a current remark, that bad
workmen find fault with the tools; and lazy teachers find fault with
the swings, because they must perpetually watch the children. We are
so tinctured with the old plan of _rivetting_ the children to _seats_,
that I despair of ever seeing the opposite plan become general in my
time. As soon as two children are seated on each swing, to preserve
order, the others retire (generally speaking) in the greatest good
humour to their seats.

Some will, I know, be apt to exclaim, surely this is encouraging and
fostering bad feelings--creating enmity and ill-will amongst the
children; but I say, No, it is teaching them to feel a spirit of
generous emulation, as distinguishable from that of ill-nature or

Beside the swings, in many schools they have a very useful addition to
the play-ground. I mean the gymnastic pole.

Although it is most proper for the master in the play-ground to relax
altogether the brow of magisterial severity, yet there is no occasion
for him to withdraw the influence of love. He will not prove a check
to the enjoyment of the children, if, entering into the spirit of
their innocent pastimes, he endeavours to heighten their pleasures by
a judicious direction of their sports.

Among other amusements, which his ingenuity may suggest, I would
mention a geometrical amusement, which is very practicable. First, let
a certain number of children stand in a row. Opposite to these let one
or more children be placed as directors to order the change of figure.
A straight line, we will suppose, is the first thing shown by the
position of the children; the next thing to be formed is a _curve_, by
the advancement of each end; then a half-circle,--a circle, by joining
hands in a ring;--two equal parallel lines, by the division of the
number in action; next a square,--triangle, &c. &c. These changes
may either be made at the command of the master, or, as we before
proposed, of one or more children acting as officers to direct these
geometrical movements.

Had it been constantly borne in memory that God is the creator of the
body of a child as well as of its mind; and that the healthy action of
both is requisite for happiness and usefulness, more attention would
have been paid to the due and proper exercise of children than has
hitherto been done. He has implanted an instinctive impulse to
activity in every young child, which displays itself in almost
incessant motion, where there is perfect health, and when there is
opportunity. To restrain this unnecessarily, is therefore to act in
opposition to the laws of nature; and the end must be a certain injury
to the child. To prevent this evil, and to act in obedience to these
laws, the various actions of clapping the hands, folding the arms,
twisting the fists, and various other motions have been introduced.
By these means a spirit of restlessness, which would undoubtedly show
itself under unnecessary restraints, is converted into a motive of
obedience, and thus even a moral influence is produced, by what
would appear a mere childish play. They may all be gone through with
elegance and propriety: and no rude or indelicate action should be
allowed. Many masters are too free in making a show of these exercises
to visitors, who are perhaps amused with them, but this is to divert
them from their proper use. They were only invented to be introduced
at intervals, when the children's attention began to flag, or to give
them that proper exercise which their tender age required. How has
everything connected with the infant system been burlesqued! and thus
sensible persons have been led to despise infant education, which
if rightly understood by them, would be seen to be one of the most
powerful moral engines that can be put into action for the welfare of
our fellow-creatures, especially of the poorer classes.



_Infant ditties--Songs on natural history--Moral lessons in
verse--Influence of music in softening of the feelings--Illustrative

       *       *       *       *       *

"Music hath charms"

       *       *       *       *       *

Music has been found a most important means of _mental_ and _moral_
improvement. Its application took place from my finding a great
difficulty in teaching some children, especially the younger ones, to
sound their letters; and hence I determined to set the alphabet to a
simple tune. I sang it frequently to the children when they were low
or dispirited, and although none attempted the same sounds at first,
I had the satisfaction of observing unusual attention. My next effort
was very injudicious; for I urged on them the imitation of these
sounds before they were actually capable of so doing; and hence, as
more reflection would have shewn, only discordance arose. Having told
them then to listen _only_, as they did at first, I soon discovered
that having learned the tune through the proper organ--the ear, they
were able to imitate it with the voice. We then by the same means
marked the distinction between vowels and consonants with a tune that
was longer and rather more difficult. As the monitor always pointed
out the letters in succession while the children were singing,
attention was excited and secured, and error effectually prevented, as
correct time and tune could not be kept unless every child sung the
right letter.

Success as to the alphabet led to the adoption of music in the
teaching of arithmetic. This was available in two ways, first by
combining with it physical exercise, and then by tasking the faculties
of observation. The former was effected as follows: the children sang,
one is the half of two, two is the half of four, three is the half of
six, &c. &c., and then brought one hand down on the other alternately,
without however making too much noise, so as to interrupt the time;
the latter was accomplished by the arithmeticon, which has already
been explained. A few specimens of the ditties thus used shall now be
given; and several others, both hymns and moral songs are to be found
in the Manual, recently published by myself in conjunction with a


  Our days four seasons are at most,
    And Infancy's the time of Spring;
  Oh! with what trouble, care, and cost,
    Must we be taught to pray and sing.

  In Summer as our growth proceeds,
    Good fruit should hang on every branch;
  Our roots be clear'd from evil weeds,
    As into knowledge we advance.

  Our Autumn is the season, when
    Temptations do our minds assail.
  Our fruits are proved in manhood; then
    Let not sin, death, and hell prevail.

  For Winter brings old age and death,
    If we've good fruits laid up in store;
  Soon as we gasp our latest _breath_,
    We land on a _triumphant shore_.


  On March the twenty-first is Spring,
  When little birds begin to sing;
  Begin to build and hatch their brood,
  And carefully provide them food.

  Summer's the twenty-first of June,
  The cuckoo changes then his tune;
  All nature smiles, the fields look gay,
  The weather's fair to make the hay.

  September, on the twenty-third,
  When sportsmen mark at ev'ry bird,
  Autumn comes in; the fields are shorn,
  The fruits are ripe; so is the corn.

  Winter's cold frosts and northern blasts,
  The season is we mention last;
  The date of which in _truth_ we must
  Fix for December--twenty-first.


  All human beings must (with birds and beasts)
  To be complete, five senses have at least:
  The sense of hearing to the ear's confined;
  The eye, we know, for seeing is design'd;
  The nose to smell an odour sweet or ill;
  The tongue to taste what will the belly fill.
  The sense of feeling is in every part
  While life gives motion to a beating heart.


  If you'd in wisdom's ways proceed,
  You intellectual knowledge need.
  Let science be your guiding star,
  Or from its path you'll wander far.

  'Tis science that directs the mind,
  The path of happiness to find.
  If _goodness_ added is to _truth_,
  'Twill bring reward to every youth.


  All pence by the generous deposited here,
  When holidays come I will equally share.
  Among all good children attending this school,
  I should wish not to find a dunce or a fool.
  Then listen, all you, who a prize hope to gain,
  Attend to your books, and you'll not hope in vain.



  Come, children, listen to me now,
  And you shall hear about the cow;
  You'll find her useful, live or dead,
  Whether she's black, or white, or red.

  When milk-maids milk her morn and night,
  She gives them milk so fresh and white;
  And this, we little children think,
  Is very nice for us to drink.

  The curdled milk they press and squeeze,
  And so they make it into cheese;
  The cream they skim and shake in churns,
  And then it soon to butter turns.

  And when she's dead, her flesh is good,
  For _beef_ is our true English food;
  But though 'twill make us brave and strong,
  To eat too much we know is wrong.

  Her skin, with lime and bark together,
  The tanner tans, and makes it leather;
  And without _that_ what should we do
  For soles to every boot or shoe?

  The shoemaker cuts it with his knife,
  And bound the tops are by his wife,
  And then he nails it to the last.
  And after sews it tight and fast.

  The hair that grows upon her back
  Is taken, whether white or black,
  And mix'd with mortar, short or long,
  Which makes it very firm and strong.

  The plast'rer spreads it with a tool,
  And this you'll find is just the rule,
  And when he's spread it tight and fast,
  I'm sure it many years will last.

  And last of all, if cut with care,
  Her horns make combs to comb our hair;
  And so we learn--thanks to our teachers,
  That cows are good and useful creatures.


  Hark now to me, and silence keep,
  And we will talk about the sheep;
  For sheep are harmless, and we know
  That on their backs the wool does grow.

  The sheep are taken once a year,
  And plunged in water clean and clear;
  And there they swim, but never bite,
  While men do wash them clean and white.

  And then they take them, fat or lean,
  Clip off the wool, both short and clean,
  And this is call'd, we understand,
  Shearing the sheep, throughout the land.

  And then they take the wool so white,
  And pack it up in bags quite tight;
  And then they take those bags so full,
  And sell to men that deal in wool.

  The wool is wash'd and comb'd with hand,
  Then it is spun with wheel and band;
  And then with shuttle very soon,
  Wove into cloth within the loom.

  The cloth is first sent to be dyed;
  Then it is wash'd, and press'd and dried;
  The tailor then cuts out with care
  The clothes that men and boys do wear.


  Come, children, let us now discourse
  About the pretty noble horse;
  And then you soon will plainly see
  How very useful he must be.

  He draws the coach so fine and smart,
  And likewise drags the loaded cart,
  Along the road or up the hill,
  Though then his task is harder still.

  Upon his back men ride with ease,
  He carries them just where they please;
  And though it should be many a mile,
  He gets there in a little while.

  With saddle on his back they sit,
  And manage him with reins and bit,
  The whip and spur they use also,
  When they would have him faster go.

  And be the weather cold or hot,
  As they may wish he'll walk or trot;
  Or if to make more haste they need,
  Will gallop with the greatest speed.

  When dead his shining skin they use,
  As leather for our boots and shoes;
  Alive or dead, then, thus we see
  How useful still the horse must be.


  The cow, the sheep, the horse, have long,
  Been made the subject of our song;
  But there are many creatures yet,
  Whose merits we must not forget.

  And first the dog, so good to guard
  His master's cottage, house, or yard,--
  Dishonest men away to keep,
  And guard us safely while we sleep.

  For if at midnight, still and dark,
  Strange steps he hears, with angry bark,
  He bids his master wake and see,
  If thieves or honest folks they be.

  At home, abroad, obedient still,
  His only guide his master's will;
  Before his steps, or by his side,
  He runs or walks with joy and pride.

  He runs to fetch the stick or ball,
  Returns obedient to the call;
  Content and pleased if he but gains
  A single pat for all his pains.

  But whilst his merits thus we praise,
  Pleased with his character and ways,
  This let us learn, as well we may,
  To love our teachers and obey.


[Footnote A: The following tale, though not adapted for the younger
children of an Infant School, and too long to be committed to memory
by the elder ones, might be read to such by the master, and would
serve as an admirable theme for conversation. It is likewise well
adapted as a tale for family circles.]


  "What nice plum-cakes," said JAMES to JOHN,
  "Our mother sends! Is your's all gone?"
  "It is," JOHN answered; "is not thine?"
  "No, JOHN, I've saved one half of mine;

  "It was so large, as well as nice,
  I thought that it should serve for twice,
  Had I eat all to-day, to-morrow
  I might have mourn'd such haste in sorrow;
  So half my cake I wisely took,
  And, seated in my favourite nook,
  Enjoyed alone, the _double pleasure_,
  Of present and of future treasure."
  "I, too," said JOHN, "made up my mind
  This morning, when our mother kind
  Sent down the cakes so nice and sweet,
  That I but half to-day would eat,
  And half I ate; the other half--"
  JAMES stopp'd his brother with a laugh;
   "I know what you're about to say,--
    The other half you gave away.
    Now, brother, pray explain to me,
    The charms which you in _giving_ see.
    Shew me how _feasting_ foes or friends
    Can for your _fasting_ make amends."
   "A poor old man," said JOHN, "came by,
    Whose looks implored for charity.
    His eyes, bedimm'd with starting tears,
    His body bowed by length of years,
    His feeble limbs, his hoary hairs,
    Were to my heart as silent prayers.
    I saw, too, he was hungry, though
    His lips had not informed me so.
    To this poor creature, JAMES, I gave
    The half which I had meant to save.
    The lingering tears, with sudden start,
      Ran down the furrows of his cheek,
    I knew he thank'd me in his heart,
      Although he strove in vain to speak.
    The joy that from such acts we gain
    I'll try for your sake to explain.
    First, God is pleased, who, as you know,
      Marks every action that we do;
    That God 'from whom all blessings flow,'
      So many JAMES to me and you.
    _Our mother_, next, had she but seen
      Her gifts of kindness so employ'd,
    Would _she_ not JAMES, well pleased have been;
    And all my feelings then enjoy'd?
    _The poor old man_, was _he_ not pleased?
      Must not his load of sorrow be,
    Though but for one short moment, eased,
      To think, 'Then some one feels for me.'
    But still you ask, of all this pleasure,
      How much will to _the giver_ fall?
    The whole, rich, undiminish'd treasure,--
  _He_ feels, _he_ shares the joy of _all_.
  We eat the cake, and it is gone;
  What have we left to think upon?
  Who's pleased by what we then have done?
  How many pray, JAMES, more than one?
  The joys by sympathy supplied
  Are many, great, and dignified.
  But do not on my word rely,
  Whilst you, dear JAMES, the fact may try;
  And if you do not find it true,
  I'll next time eat _both halves_ with you!"

       *       *       *       *       *

It is desirable that the master should add instrumental to vocal
music. He should be able to play on the violin, flute, or clarionet,
but, as he must speak much, the former is to be preferred. Such is the
influence of the weather, that children are almost always dull on dull
days, and then a little music is of great advantage. On wet days, when
they cannot go into the play-ground, it assists them in keeping the
step when they march, it cheers and animates their spirits, and, in
some measure, compensates for their privations. It will also aid
various evolutions.

Music may be employed, moreover, to soften the feelings, curb the
passions, and improve the temper, and it is strange that it should not
have been employed till the operation of the Infant System, to which
it is absolutely indispensable. When, for instance, after a trial by
jury, as explained in a former page, the children have been disposed
to harshness and severity, a soft and plaintive melody has produced
a different decision. To recite one case; when I was organizing the
Dry-gate School in Glasgow[A], a little girl in the gallery had lost
of her ear-rings (which, by the way, like beads, is a very improper
appendage, and ought by all means to be discouraged), and on
discovering the fact, commenced a most piteous lamentation. I made
inquiry for it immediately, while the children were seated in the
gallery, but in vain; and I subsequently found it in the hands of a
little girl at the bottom, who was attentively examining it, and who
gave it me the moment it was demanded. On asking the children what was
to be done in this case, they said she should have a pat of the hand.
I then showed, that had she intended to steal it, she would have
secreted it, which she did not, and that her attention was so absorbed
by it, that she had not heard my inquiry; but one little boy was not
satisfied; he said, "She kenned right weel it was nae her ain;" but
after singing a simple and touching air, I was pleased to find his
opinion changed. "Perhaps, sir," he said, "ye may as weel forgie her
this ance, as she is but a wee thing."

[Footnote A: This school has since become a very important Normal
school, from which many others have emanated, the head master
being the one I originally instructed: Mr. Stowe, also, one of the
directors, has applied the principles of the Infant School System to
the instruction of older children, which is called Stowe's Training
System; being applied to juveniles, with great success. I know of no
school, except the Dublin Normal Schools, equal to those, and of no
masters superior to those I have seen who have been taught there.]

The music chosen for children should be easy and simple, fluent and
varied. Hymn tunes should be of a rather lively character, as the more
dull and sombrous are not well adapted to the infant ear. Airs for
the tables or exercising songs are required to be very cheerful and
inspiring, and then they tend to excite pleasure and liveliness, which
should often be aimed at in an infant school.

As children take much interest in singing, and readily learn verses by
heart, so as to sing them, although not properly instructed in their
meaning or rightly understanding them, singing has been considered by
many persons the "soul of the system." This is a grievous error as
regards the intellectual advancement of the children, and still worse
as regards their health and that of the teacher. I have at times
entered schools as a visitor when the mistress has immediately made
the children show off by singing in succession a dozen pieces, as if
they were a musical box. Thus to sing without bounds is a very likely
way to bring the mistress to an early grave, and injure the lungs of
the dear little children. Use as not abusing is the proper rule,
tar all the new modes of teaching and amusing children that I have
introduced; but it has often appeared to me that abuse it as much as
possible was the rule acted upon. Call upon the first singers of the
day to sing in this manner, and where would they soon be?



_Method of instruction--Grammatical rhymes_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"A few months ago, Mr. ---- gave his little daughter, H----, a child
of five years old, her first lesson in English Grammar; but no
alarming book of grammar was produced on the occasion, nor did the
father put on an unpropitious gravity of countenance. He explained
to the smiling child the nature of a verb, a pronoun, and a

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been well observed, "that grammar is the first thing taught,
and the last learnt." Now, though it is not my purpose to pretend that
I can so far simplify grammar, as to make all its rules comprehensible
to children so young as those found in infant schools, I do think
that enough may be imparted to them to render the matter more
comprehensible, than it is usually found to be in after years.

The great mystery of grammar results, in my opinion, from not making
the children acquainted with the things of which the words used are
the signs, and moreover, from the use of a number of hard words,
which the children repeat without understanding. For instance, in the
classification of words, or the parts of speech, as they are called,
_nouns, substantives_, and _adjectives_, convey, as terms, no idea to
the minds of children; and, in spite of the definitions by which their
import is explained, remain to them as unintelligible as the language
of magical incantation. That the children can easily comprehend the
difference between words which express the names of things, and
those which express their qualities, and between words which express
actions, and those which express the nature of those actions, is
undeniable; and this is just what should be taught in an infant
school. In the first place, let the children be accustomed to repeat
the names of things, not of any certain number of things set down on a
lesson card, or in a book, but of any thing, and every thing, in the
school-room, play-ground, &c.: next let them be exercised in telling
something relating to those things--_their qualities_; as for
instance, the school-room is _large, clean_, &c.,--the children
are _quiet, good, attentive_, &c.--the pictures are _pretty_: the
play-ground is _pleasant_, &c. Having accustomed the children, in this
manner, first to give you the _names_ of things, and then to observe
and repeat something respecting them--you have gained two ends; you
have, first, taught the children to be observant and discriminative;
and, secondly, you have taught them to distinguish two distinct
classes of words, or _names_ and _qualities_; and you may now, if
you please, give them terms by which to distinguish these respective
classes, viz. _substantives_ and _adjectives_. They will no longer be
mysterious words, "signifying nothing," but recognized signs, by which
the children will understand and express definite ideas. The next
thing you have to teach them is, the distinction betwixt singular and
plural, and, if you think proper, masculine and feminine; but before
you talk to the children about _plural number_ and _masculine gender_,
&c., let them be made acquainted with the realities of which these
hard-sounding words are the signs.

Having made the classification of words clear and comprehensible, you
next proceed to the second grand class of words, the verbs, and their
adjuncts, the _adverbs_. With these you will proceed as with the
former; let action be distinguished by words;--the children _walk,
play, read, eat, run_; master _laughs, frowns, speaks, sings_; and
so on; letting the children find their own examples; then comes the
demand from the master for words expressing the manner of action. How
do the children _walk?--slowly, quickly, orderly_. How do they _read,
eat run!_ How does the master _laugh, speak, sing?_ The children now
find you ADVERBS, and it will be quite time enough to give them terms
for the classification they thus intuitively make, when they have a
clear idea of what they are doing. When this end is attained, your
children have some ideas of grammar, and those clear ones. There is no
occasion to stop here. Proceed, but slowly, and in the same method.
The tenses of the verbs, and the subdivision into active, passive, and
neuter, will require the greatest care and attention which the
teacher can use, to simplify them sufficiently for the children's
comprehension; as it will likewise enable them to understand the
nature and office of the other classes of words. As, however, it is
not my intention to write a grammar here, but merely to throw out a
few hints on the subject, I shall leave the further development of
the plan to the ingenuity of those who may think fit to adopt its
principles, as above laid down.

  English Grammar doth us teach,
  That it hath nine parts of speech;--
  Article, adjective, and noun,
  Verb, conjunction, and pronoun,
  With preposition, and adverb,
  And interjection, as I've heard.
  The letters are just twenty-six,
  These form all words when rightly mix'd.
  The vowels are a, e, o, i,
  With u, and sometimes w and y.
  Without the little vowels' aid,
  No word or syllable is made;
  But consonants the rest we call,
  And so of these we've mention'd all.
  Three little words we often see,
  Are articles,--_a, an_, and _the_.
  A noun's the name of any thing--
  As _school_, or _garden, hoop,_ or _swing_.
  Adjectives tell the kind of noun--
  As _great, small, pretty, white,_ or _brown_.
  Instead of nouns the pronouns stand,
  John's head, _his_ face, _my_ arm, _your_ hand.
  Verbs tell of something being done--
  To _read, write, count, sing, jump_, or _run_.
  How things are done the adverbs tell--
  As _slowly, quickly, ill_, or _well_.
  Conjunctions join the nouns together--
  As men _and_ children, wind _or_ weather.
  A preposition stands before
  A noun, as _in_ or _through_ a door.
  The interjection shows surprise--
  As, _oh!_ how pretty, _ah!_ how wise.
  The whole are called nine parts of speech,
  Which, reading, writing, speaking teach.


  Three little words we hear and see
  In frequent use, _a, an_, and _the_;
  These words so useful, though so small,
  Are those which articles we call.

  The first two, _a_ and _an_, we use
  When speaking of one thing alone;
  For instance, we might wish to say
  An _oak_, a _man_, a _dog_, a _bone_.

  _The_ speaks of either one or more,--
  The cow, the cows, the pig, the pigs,
  The plum, the plums (you like a score),
  The pear, the pears, the fig, the figs.

  An oak, a man; means _any_ oak,
  Or _any_ man of all mankind;
  A dog, a bone, means _any_ dog,
  Or _any_ bone a dog may find.

  This article we only use
  Whenever it may be our wish
  To speak of some determined thing,
  As thus;--_the_ bird, _the_ ox, _the_ fish.

  By which we mean not _any_ bird,
  That flying in the air may be,
  Or _any_ ox amongst the herd,
  Or _any_ fish in stream or sea.

  But some one certain bird or ox,
  Or fish (let it be which it may)
  Of which we're speaking, or of which
  We something mean to write or say.

  Remember these things when you see
  The little words, a, an, and the.
  These words so useful, though so small
  Are those which articles we call.

Nothing can be more absurd than to compel young children to commit
to memory mere abstract rules expressed in difficult and technical
language. Such requires a painful effort of the mind, and one
calculated to give a disgust against learning. _Grammar was formed on
language and not language by grammar_, and from this it necessarily
follows, that children should acquire a considerable store of words
from a knowledge of reading and of things, before their minds are
taxed by abstract rules. To be thoroughly understood they require
words to be compared with words, and one word to be compared with
another; and how can this be done without the memory being amply
supplied with them previously. Such simple instruction as this chapter
directs may easily be given; but to attempt much more would be like
endeavouring to build an elegant and ornamental structure before you
had collected materials to build with.



_Method Explained--Its success_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"He tried each art."--_Goldsmith_.

       *       *       *       *       *

All persons acquainted with children are aware of the torpor of some
minds, and of the occasional apathy of others, and to this it is
necessary to provide some counteraction. This is done effectually by
what is called the elliptical plan, according to which, words are
omitted in a narrative or poem repeated by the teacher, for the
purpose of being supplied by the children.

These exercises are very agreeable to the children, and by them some
features of the mental character become conspicuous. Children are
usually sensible of their need of instruction, but if they can make
it appear that any of their statements are original, their delight is
especially manifest. There seems, too, a dislike at first, to take any
trouble to arrive at the truth; careless children will therefore guess
several times; but an observant teacher will at once perceive that
there is no effort of the understanding, point it out to the child,
and thus prevent its recurrence.

Dr. Gilchrist observes, in a letter sent to me, "You have now the
whole method before you, and I shall boldly stake all my hard-earned
fame, as a practical orientalist, on the salutary consequences that
will spring from the adoption of short elliptical tales at your
interesting institution."

My usual practice with respect to the elliptical method of teaching,
is, to deliver some appropriate, simple, extemporaneous tale, leaving
out but few words at first, and those such as must obviously strike
the children; as they get used to the plan, I make the omissions more
frequent, and of words less obvious. The following specimens will
render the whole plain to the understandings of my readers.

  A gardener's youngest[a] ---- was walking among the
  fruit[b] ---- of his father's[c] ----, he saw a little[d]
  ---- fly up and sit on one of the[e]---- of the trees;
  the[f] ---- lifted a stone, and was going to[g]---- it at
  the poor[h]---- which seemed to[i]---- most sweetly

  My[k] ---- is[l] ---- of moss and hair,
  The[m] ---- are[n]---- and sheltered there;
  When[o]---- soon shall my young[p] ---- fly
  Far from the[q]---- school[r]---- eye."

  The[s]---- eldest[t]---- who understood the[u]----
  of birds came up at that moment, and[v]----
  out, throw down the[w] ----, you hard-hearted[x] ----
  and don't[y] ---- the innocent[z] ---- in the middle of his
  song; are you not[aa]---- with his swelling red-breast,
  his beautiful sharp eye, and above all with the[bb] ---- of
  his notes, and the familiar[cc] ---- he assumes, even in
  the[dd] ---- of a[ee]---- like you? Ask your youngest[ff]
  ---- here if she remembers the[gg]---- which her good[hh]
  ---- read to her yesterday of a very[ii]---- boy, who
  was very[kk]---- to a harmless green[ll] ---- which
  he caught[mm] ---- for hunger, among the[nn]---- in the[oo]
  ---- of winter.

[Footnote a: Son]

[Footnote b: trees]

[Footnote c: garden]

[Footnote d: bird]

[Footnote e: branches]

[Footnote f: boy]

[Footnote g: throw]

[Footnote h: bird]

[Footnote i: sing]

[Footnote k: nest]

[Footnote l: built]

[Footnote m: eggs]

[Footnote n: laid]

[Footnote o: hatched]

[Footnote p: ones]

[Footnote q: roaming]

[Footnote r: boy's]

[Footnote s: gardener's]

[Footnote t: son]

[Footnote u: notes]

[Footnote v: called]

[Footnote w: stone]

[Footnote x: rogue or boy]

[Footnote y: disturb or hurt]

[Footnote z: bird]

[Footnote aa: pleased or delighted]

[Footnote bb: sweetness or melody]

[Footnote cc: air]

[Footnote dd: presence]

[Footnote ee: naughty boy]

[Footnote ff: sister]

[Footnote gg: story]

[Footnote hh: mother, aunt &c.]

[Footnote ii: naughty or good]

[Footnote kk: cruel or kind]

[Footnote ll: finch or linnet]

[Footnote mm: perishing or dying]

[Footnote nn: snow]

[Footnote oo: depth or middle.]

The following little verses upon the same principle have been found
to answer extremely well, by putting one child in the rostrum, and
desiring him purposely to leave out those words that are marked, the
other children will fill them up as he goes.

  I must pray
  Both ---- and day.

  Before ---- eat
  I must entreat,
  That ---- would bless
  To me ---- meat.

  I must not play
  On God's own day,
  But I must hear
  His word with fear.

  It is a sin
  To steal a pin
  Much more to steal
  A greater thing.

  I must work,
  And I must pray,
  That God will feed
  Me day by day.

  All honest labour,
  God will bless;
  Let me not live
  In idleness.

  I will not be
  Or rude or wild,
  I must not be
  A naughty child.

  I will not speak
  Of others ill,
  But ever bear
  To all good-will.

  I'd rather die
  Than tell a lie,
  Lest I be lost

  I'll ---- my bread
  From ---- to door,
  Rather ---- steal
  My neighbour's store.

  I must not kill
  A little fly;
  It is an act
  Of cruelty.

  I must not lie,
  I must not feign,
  I must not take
  God's name in vain.

  Nor may my tongue
  Say what is wrong;
  I will not sin
  A world to win,

  In my Bible
  I am to read,
  And trust in God
  In all my need.

  For Christ alone
  My soul can save,
  And raise my body
  From the grave.

  Oh! blessed Saviour,
  Take my heart
  And let not me
  From thee depart.

  Lord, grant that I
  In faith may die,
  And live with thee
  Above the sky.


  God made the ---- that looks so blue,
   God made the ---- so green,
  God made the ----  that smell so sweet,
   In ---- colours seen.

  God made the ---- that shines so bright,
   And gladdens all I see;
  It comes to give us ---- and light,
   How ---- should we be!

  God made the ---- bird to fly,
   How ---- has she sung;
  And though she ---- so very high,
   She won't ---- her young.

  God made the ---- to give nice milk,
   The horse for ---- to use;
  I'll treat them ---- for his sake,
   Nor dare his gifts abuse.

  God made the ---- for my drink,
   God made the ---- to swim,
  God made the ---- to bear nice fruit,
  Which does my ---- so nicely suit;
   O how should I ---- him!

"O Lord, how manifest are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them
all!"--Psalm civ. 24.

       *       *       *       *       *

I subjoin, as an exercise for teachers themselves, the following hymn,
as one calculated to induce reflections on the scenes of nature, and
direct the mind to that Being who is the Source of all excellence!

  Hast ---- beheld ---- glorious
  Through all ---- skies his circuit run,
  At rising morn, ---- closing day,
  And when he beam'd his noontide

  Say, didst ---- e'er attentive
  The evening cloud, ---- morning dew?
  Or, after ----, the watery bow
  Rise in the ---- a beauteous ----?

  When darkness had o'erspread the ----
  Hast thou e'er seen the ---- arise,
  And with a mild and placid ----
  Shed lustre o'er the face of night?

  Hast ---- e'er wander'd o'er the plain,
  And view'd the fields and waving ----,
  The flowery mead, ---- leafy grove,
  Where all ---- harmony ---- love.

  Hast thou e'er trod the sandy ----
  And ---- the restless ---- roar,
  When roused by some tremendous ----
  It's billows rose ---- dreadful form?

  Hast thou beheld the ---- stream
  Thro' nights dark gloom, ---- sudden gleam,
  While the bellowing thunder's ----
  Roll'd rattling ---- the heaven's profound?

  Hast thou e'er ---- the cutting gale,
  The sleeting shower, ---- the biting hail;
  Beheld ---- snow o'erspread the
  The water bound ---- icy chains?

  Hast thou the various beings ----
  That sport ---- the valley green,
  That ---- warble on the spray,
  Or wanton in the sunny ----?

  That shoot along ---- briny deep,
  Or ---- ground their dwellings keep;
  That thro' the ---- forest range,
  Or frightful wilds ---- deserts strange?

  Hast ---- the wondrous scenes survey'd
  That all around thee ---- display'd?
  And hast ---- never raised thine
  To Him ---- bade these scenes arise?

  'Twas GOD who form'd the concave ----
  And all the glorious orbs ---- high;
  ---- gave the various beings birth,
  That people all the spacious ----.

  'Tis ---- that bids the tempests
  And rolls the ---- thro' ---- skies:
  His voice the elements ----
  Thro' all the ---- extends His sway.

  His goodness ---- His creatures share,
  But MAN is HIS peculiar ----.
  Then, while they all proclaim ---- praise,
  Let ---- his ---- the loudest ----.

The elliptical plan has been found to be most successful, and has been
applied with equal success in schools for older children, and also
children of another grade. Messrs. Chambers, I believe, are the only
persons, as far as I know, who have the honesty to acknowledge the
source from whence this plan was taken.



_National schools--British and foreign societies--Sunday

       *       *       *       *       *
  "Is it then fitting that one soul should pine
    For want of culture in this favour'd land?
  That spirits of capacity divine
    Perish, like seeds upon the desert sand?
  That needful knowledge, in this age of light,
  Should not by birth be every Briton's right?"


       *       *       *       *       *

Although it has been the special design of the present work to speak
of the first efforts of _art_ in assisting the proper development of
the mental and moral faculties, I shall take the liberty of indulging
in a few remarks on the methods at present adopted in the more
advanced stages of education, as seen in our National and Sunday
Schools. I need, I am sure, offer no other apology for so doing,
than the fact that it is in these institutions the infant poor
must complete their education; it is in these schools, the budding
faculties must either ripen or perish; and the moral principles become
confirmed or weakened. Certain I am, that it is the wish of all
concerned in these praiseworthy institutions _to do their best_ for
the attainment of this object--the welfare and improvement of the
rising generation of the poor classes; and therefore I the less
reluctantly offer a few thoughts on the subject, which it is my humble
opinion may not be altogether useless.

With regard to National Schools, I must say, there is too much form,
and too little of the spirit of instruction to be found in their
management: the minor faculties are attended to in preference to the
higher ones; it is the memory alone which is called into action; the
understanding is suffered to lie in a state of torpid inactivity.

Their lessons, their plan of using them, and their discipline
altogether, are of that monotonous nature, that the children always
seem to me to be dosing over them. I know it will be pleaded that the
number to be taught at once, renders this defect unavoidable; that it
is impossible to teach a large body of children, in such a way as to
secure the attention and activity of the whole. And it is so far true,
as to its being impossible to detect and reform every idle pupil,
who finds an opportunity of indulging his idleness in the divided
attention of his teacher; but I do think, if it be impossible to cure
the evil, it may be in a great degree prevented. Make your system
interesting, lively, and inspiriting, and your scholars will neither
be able nor willing to slumber over it. Every one knows what an effect
is produced on the physical faculties by a succession of the same
sound; for instance, by the long continued chiming of a single bell;
it induces a drowsiness which we find it impossible to resist, except
by turning our attention to another thing; but let a number of bells
strike out into a merry peal, how quickly we are aroused, how lively
we become, whilst their various _changes_ secure the attention and
interest which their pleasing and spirited tones first excited. And
just so it is with the mind in the matters of education; you must give
a variety of tones, a newness of aspect to your lessons, or you will
never be able to keep up a lively attention in your scholars. For
this purpose I would particularly recommend to the attention of all
concerned, the chapters in this volume on geometry, conversation,
pictures, and likewise that on the elliptical method. By adopting the
plan recommended in these chapters, the children will have something
to do, and to do that something they must be _active_. The first
object of the teacher is to excite a thirst for knowledge; not to pour
unwelcome information into the mind.

It will probably be said, that however well adapted the plan
recommended may be for the infantine scholars for whom it was
designed, yet, it does not follow that it may be equally advantageous
for those of a more advanced age; and if by this it is meant, that the
very same lessons, &c., are not equally applicable in both cases,
I perfectly agree with the truth of the objection; but it is the
_principle_ of education that I recommend, and would affirm to be as
applicable to children of the most advanced age, as to those of the
youngest. And I may further add that unless this is done, these
schools will not be in a proper state to receive our children, so
as to carry on the cultivation of all the faculties, instead of the
memory only. It is not sufficient to store the memory, we must give
employment to the understanding. It is not sufficient to talk to the
children of piety and of goodness; we must present them with a living
example of both, and secure, as far as possible, an imitation of such

As applicable to Sunday Schools, I would particularly recommend the
use of picture lessons on scripture subjects, for the use of the
junior classes, to be used as a sort of text for conversation, suited
to the state of their mental faculties. I am convinced that the
knowledge acquired by this method is likely to make a deeper and more
lasting impression, than that imparted in a less interesting mode.
Nor should the lessons on natural history be neglected, in my humble
opinion, in the system of Sunday School instruction; inasmuch as the
more the children know of the wonders of creation, the greater must be
their reverence of the Almighty Creator; in addition to which it will
enable the teachers to supply variety, a thing so agreeable, and,
indeed, indispensable, in the instruction of children. For these
reasons, I think it could not justly be considered as either a
misemployment or profanation of the Sabbath-day. For the elder
children, moreover, it would be advisable to have occasional class
lectures, simplified for the purpose, on astronomy, natural history,
&c.; and although it might be unadvisable to occupy the hours of the
Sabbath-day with the delivery of them, they might be given, on some
week-day evening, and should be made the medium of reward to good
behaviour; such children as had misbehaved themselves being proscribed
from attending. When thus seen in the light of a privilege, they
would not fail to be interesting to the little auditors, as well as
conducive to good behaviour.

Sunday Schools should not be too large, nor should children remain
in them too long. I have observed some instances, when this has been
neglected, of choices being made, and connections formed, which must
be often very prejudicial.

It is with some degree of reluctance and apprehension, I touch upon
another topic--that of religious doctrine. As schools for gratuitous
instruction have been established by most of the religious sects
extant, it is obvious that some dissimilarity of sentiment on
religions subjects must exist, as imparted in such schools. Let it not
be supposed, that I would cast a censure on any religious body, for
establishing a school devoted to such a blessed purpose. On the
contrary, I rejoice to see, that however various their theories may
be, their opinion of Christian practice, as evinced in such actions,
is the same. But one thing I would say, to each and to all, let a
prominence be given to those fundamental truths of love and goodness
which Christianity inculcates. Let the first sounds of religion which
salute the ears of infancy, be that heavenly proclamation which
astonished and enraptured the ears of the wakeful shepherds, "Peace
on earth and good-will towards men." It was the herald-cry by which
salvation was ushered into the world, and surely no other can be so
proper for introducing it into the minds of children. I must candidly
own, that I have occasionally witnessed a greater desire to teach
particular doctrines, than the simple and beautiful truths which
form the spirit of religion; and it is against this practice I have
presumed to raise a dissentient voice.

The conductors of schools, in connexion with the British and Foreign
School Society, have generally spoken more highly of the Infant
System than others, and this is certainly to be attributed to
more congeniality, since in them the mental powers are more fully
exercised, and there is a greater variety in the instruction given.
The only objection I can discover to them, is one that lies equally
against the National Schools--I mean the opportunities afforded for
monitorial oppression; but this may be obviated in both cases by the
judgment and vigilance of the teachers. It should be added, that
schools of both kinds demand occasional inspection from those
intimately acquainted with the systems avowedly adopted, as they
appear very different in different places. I will only mention further
on this topic, that many schools are too large. No Infant School, I
conceive, should exceed 200, nor should a National or British and
Foreign School exceed 400, when under the care of one master.

One half of these numbers would be much better than the whole, and
tend greatly to the success of the schools; but funds are so difficult
to raise, from the apathy shown by persons in general to the
instruction of the poor, and therefore the schools are so few in
number, that it is absolutely requisite to place as great a number of
children as possible under one master, that expense may be saved. When
will this sad state of things be changed, and the country at large see
that the noblest object it can ever attempt is, to rear up its whole
population to intelligence, virtue, and piety?

In conclusion, I would observe, that as the foregoing remarks have
been kindly made, in such a manner, it is my hope, they will all be

It is most gratifying to me to be able to add, that since the above
remarks were written, great improvements have been made in National
Schools, a large portion of the public attention has been lately drawn
to the subject, and it is almost universally admitted that the present
system is capable of considerable improvement. This must be gratifying
to those persons who have borne the heat and burthen of the day. The
National Society are taking measures to improve their systems, and
also by forming Diocesan Societies to establish Normal schools for the
instruction of teachers on improved principles throughout the country.
I would to God the Church of England had done this long ago; she would
have had fewer enemies, and could now have put on a bolder front.

I trust in God that even now it is not too late, and that
circumstances may transpire to render her efforts in this sacred cause
doubly effective. She has lately made a noble stand in defence of
principle; this will have its proper effect; but she must not stop
there, for the enemy is in the field; and though he is quiet for a
time, the many-headed dragon is not crushed. The utmost vigilance
will be necessary to counteract the wiliness of the serpent; real
improvements in education must be adopted; the books used in her
schools must be revised and improved; a larger amount of knowledge
must be given to the poorer portion of her sons, and then a beneficial
reaction will not be far distant. She has done much, but she has much
more to do. If she does not pre-occupy the ground, there are others
that will. Dependence upon the Divine Will, sound discretion, and
Christian principle, must be her guide; goodness must be her fortress,
and truth her finger post, and then I for one perceive that she will
not fail, for the bulk of her people are still favourable to her, and
will rise up in her defence, when their assistance is required; and
if I mistake not the signs of the times, there will be work for the
thinking portion of the laity soon cut out, work which I fear the
clergy cannot, or will not do, but which, nevertheless, must be done.
God grant that it may be done well, whoever may be the instruments.



_Introduction to botany--First lessons in natural history--First
truths of astronomy--Geographical instruction--Conclusion_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Tis on his mother's bosom the babe learns his first lessons; from
her smile he catches the glow of affection; and by her frown, or
her gentle sighs he persuaded to give up what his ignorance or
selfishness prompt him with pertinacity to retain. Happy where this
sweet, this powerful influence is well directed,--where the mother's
judgment guides her affectionate feelings."--_Taylor_

       *       *       *       *       *

Many persons, eminent by their charitable acts, and who express
themselves generally desirous of aiding in any plan which may
contribute to the improvement and happiness of the poorer classes,
have, nevertheless, been unwilling to assist in the establishment of
Infant Schools, fearful that the superior method pursued in these
schools should render the children educated therein, much better
informed than the children of the richer classes, who might thus
be supplanted in numerous lucrative and honourable situations in

From this circumstance one of the two following conclusions must be
drawn; either that the system of education pursued in the higher
schools is very faulty and imperfect, or that the fears of those
persons are entire groundless.

If the first be true, then it cannot be denied that the consequences
feared by the richer classes must necessarily take place, if, either
from prejudice or apathy, they continue the same faulty and imperfect
method of education, which, by the expression of these fears, they
positively declare is usually pursued in the higher schools; but the
remedy is easy. Let the same good principles of tuition be introduced
into nurseries, and into those schools to which the children of
the rich are sent, and the latter will not fail to maintain their
patrimonial ranks in society. They need then have no fear least the
poorer classes should become too intellectual, but, on the contrary,
they will soon find that their own welfare, security, and happiness
will not only be insured, but will increase in proportion as the
poorer classes gain knowledge; for by the method of instruction
pursued in the _Infant Schools_, the knowledge there acquired is
necessarily accompanied by the practice of industry, sobriety,
honesty, benevolence, and mutual kindness; in fine, by all the moral
and religious virtues.

That the system of instruction recommended in the foregoing pages is
equally applicable to the children of the rich as to those of the
poor, there can be no doubt; and it might be adopted either in schools
established on its principles or in the nursery. It is, indeed,
obvious that it might be carried to a much greater extent, where the
means of so doing would not be wanting. Many things might be taught,
which it is neither advisable nor practicable to teach in the schools
established for the instruction of poor children.

Whilst the elements of number, form, and language, may be taught by
the means and after the manner recommended in the preceding chapters
on the respective subjects, there are other branches of knowledge
which might enter into the scope of nursery instruction with great
advantage to the children.

As an introduction to _botany_, I would make the children acquainted
with the progress of vegetation, _not from words, but from
observation_. I would have three or four garden-pots filled with
mould, introduced into the nursery at a proper season of the year; the
children should be asked, what is in the pots.--"Dirt," or "mould,"
will of course be the reply. They should then be shewn the seeds which
are to be deposited in the mould, and assuming in the eyes of the
children a prophetic character, the mother or governess should inform
them of the process of vegetation, and that about a certain time a
pretty flower will make its appearance in the pots: the seeds should
then be deposited in the mould, and the pots placed in a proper
situation. It would not be improper to let the children themselves sow
the seed; thus convincing them of their power of being useful, and
becoming the instrument of so great a wonder, as the transformation of
a seed into a flower. During the time the seed is lying unperceived
beneath the mould, the children should frequently be sent to look "if
the pretty flower has come up," or questioned as to what they
were told concerning it. At length the green shoot will make its
appearance, just peeping above the mould, to the no small surprise and
gratification of the little observers. They will mark with attentive
eagerness the progress of its growth, the appearance of the bud, and
the gradual development of "the pretty flower," till they are fully
convinced of the wisdom of the parent or teacher who foretold
all which has happened, and made acquainted with the process of
vegetation, not from words, but from observation. Certain it is, that
such a lesson could not be wholly useless. In the first place it might
be made the means of impressing them with ideas of the Almighty
power, highly conducive to piety; secondly, it would beget a habit of
observation; thirdly, it would be likely to produce a love of flowers
and the vegetable world, favourable to their future pursuits in the
science of botany; and, lastly, it would inspire their little breasts
with a love and respect for the parents or teachers who were wise and
kind enough to teach them so many true and wonderful things.

As an efficient and amusing introduction to _natural history_, I would
have every nursery provided with a microscope, by means of which the
minds of the children might be excited to wonder and admiration at the
amazing beauty and perfection of the insect world, and the astonishing
construction of various substances, as seen through this instrument.
So far would this be from begetting habits of cruelty, that it would
be very likely to check them. Many children who would be loath to
torture a large animal, such as a cat, a dog, or a bird, feel no
compunction at ill-using a fly, because it appears to them so
insignificant an animal; but had they once witnessed, by means of a
microscope, the wonderful and perfect conformation of the insect, I am
persuaded they would be less inclined to make the distinction.

Various devices might be made use of to teach the first truths of
_astronomy_. So simple a device as an apple, with a wire run through
its centre, turned round before a candle, might serve to explain the
phenomena of day and night; whilst the orrery, with the accompaniment
of a simple and familiar lecture--(it should be much more so, indeed,
than any I have heard or read)--would make them acquainted with those
stupendous facts which strike us with as astonishment and awe. It
has been well observed by Dr. Young, with respect to the wonders of

  "In little things we search out God--in great
  He seizes us."

One thing I would here notice--that it should be a constant practice
to remind the children, that in the apple and the orrery, they see
only a resemblance to the earth and the heavenly bodies, that _they_
are vast in size and distance, beyond their comprehension; at the same
time leading them to an actual observation of the heavens by means
of a telescope. This would be a high treat to the children, and
productive of correct notions, which are but too apt to be lost where
we are under the necessity of teaching by signs so infinitely unlike,
in size and nature, as the candle and the apple, and the brass balls
and wires of the orrery, to the earth and the heavenly orbs.

For giving the children their first lessons in _geography_, I would
have a floor-cloth in every nursery, painted like a map, but of course
not filled up so perfectly as maps for adults necessarily are. It
should contain a correct delineation of the position of a certain
space of the globe, we will say, for instance, of England; let the
children then be told to proceed from a certain spot, to go through
certain counties, towns, &c., and to fetch a piece of cloth from
Yorkshire, or a knife from Sheffield, cheese from Cheshire, butter
from Dorset, or lace from Huntingdonshire, &c., &c. The lessons thus
given would be at once amusing and instructive both to the governess
and children. If preferred, these maps might be painted of a less
size, to cover a table. No difficulty would be found to get a set of
such table-covers or floor-cloths painted, if the public would once
encourage the plan.

There are now large skeleton maps published, which have merely the
principal cities, towns, and rivers, &c., marked down, so as not to
present too many objects to confuse the young eye. There are also
picture maps in which the chief productions of a country, both
vegetable and animal, are delineated in their proper places. These
would form a great aid in nursery instruction, and also for an infant
school. Let the great truth be ever borne in mind, that what is seen
by the eye is more quickly understood and more certainly remembered,
than what is merely described or made known in words.

I would also have an oblong tray made to hold water, large enough to
cover a table. In this I would fasten pieces of cork, cut out in the
shape of land, according to the best maps, while other small bits of
cork should represent the mountains and hills on the surface of the
respective islands. By application to the toy-makers, a sufficient
number of animals might be got to stock the respective islands, &c.,
with their appropriate inhabitants; whilst the manufactures, and many
of the natural products of the different places, might be readily
supplied by the ingenuity of the parent or governess. A little boat
should then be provided, and a voyage to a given part undertaken;
various islands might be touched at, and various commodities taken
on board or exchanged, according to the mercantile instructions the
children should receive; whilst brief accounts might at first be
read or given of the climate, productions, and inhabitants of the
respective places, till the little scholar should be able to conduct
the voyage, purchase or exchange commodities, and give an account of
the various countries and their inhabitants, &c., by himself. Certain
I am that more might be acquired, by this toothed, of geographical
knowledge, in one week, than by the old method in a twelvemonth: and
what the children did learn they would always remember. I might extend
these suggestions to the size of a small volume, had I space to do so;
but the limits of the present one forbid; at a future period, should
my active employments permit, I may resume the subject of _nursery
hints_ in an extended and separate form.

There are, indeed, many excellent works already published on the
subject; but as by the suggestions and contributions of many, every
plan is likely to be perfected, no one is justified in withholding any
thing likely to promote the desired object.

A due improvement of these advantages will make the progress of the
higher classes more than commensurate with that of the lower. It is
obvious, that the former have resources which cannot be obtained by
the latter. They have the means, too, of availing themselves of all
improvements in education, of engaging the most intelligent and
efficient instructors, and of frequently changing the scene for
their children, and consequently the objects which come under their
observation. Which, I ask, is the more honourable course,--to object,
as some do, to the education of the infant poor, lest they should
learn too much, or to improve, then, the opportunities they have, by
which they and their children they surpass all others?

A few words ought to be added on discipline at home. It is not
uncommon to hear parents, in all classes of society say, "That child
is too much for me. I cannot manage him at all." We should think him a
most unpatriotic Englishman who should say the French are too strong
for us, we cannot beat them; but very far more absurd and truly
unparental it is to confess that a mere child is master of its
parents. A grown person and an infant, what a contrast! True it is,
that many a child has become very unmanageable, but this may always be
traced to early neglect. If from the earliest infancy the young mind
is trained to little acts of obedience, they will soon become habitual
and pleasant to perform; but if improper indulgence and foolish
kindness be practised towards children, they must, of course, grow
up peevish, fretful, and ill-tempered, obstinate, saucy, and
unmanageable. "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap." Let this
truth be ever engraved upon the minds of all parents. A constant
exercise of parental love in allowing all that is fit and proper, and
a firm and judicious use of parental authority, in strictly refusing
and forbidding all that is unsuitable or wrong, should harmoniously
unite their power in training up the young. Punishments, as a last
resource, ought to be used; but never in a spirit of anger, wrath, or
revenge. If administered calmly and mildly they will have a double
power. Every wilful offence of a child seems to say, "Correct me, but
with judgment." It may be painful to a parent to put on the "graver
countenance of love," but _true parental love_ will always do it. Oh
that all parents in every rank of life saw and acted upon the great
truth, that the noblest object that they can present to themselves,
and the greatest obligation that is laid upon them, is to rear up
their children to intelligence, virtue, and piety; to make them good
rather than great, for if they are the former, they will assuredly be
the latter in its highest and truest sense.[A]

[Footnote A: Should the reader be pleased with this volume, I may
refer to another work of mine just published, entitled "A System for
the Education of the Young."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Having now finished all that I have to say on Infant Schools, I would,
in conclusion, breathe forth a sincere petition to the throne of
Divine Truth and Goodness, for the prosperity and spread of the
System; in which I am sure I shall be joined by all who have been
convinced of its beneficial effects in promoting the present and
everlasting welfare of human beings.

Mysterious are thy ways, O God; yet who was ever disappointed that
asked of thee in a right spirit? Prosper, then, thy work which
is begun in the world, we beseech thee, O Lord; may thy gracious
providence so encircle and protect the rising generation, that there
may be no more complaining in our streets. Protect them, O Lord, from
the many dangers that surround them, as soon as they draw their breath
in this vale of tears, and put into the hearts of those who have the
means to consider the state of the infant poor, to give them the
assistance they need. Grant that thy blessed example may be followed
by many, for thou didst desire that children should come unto thee,
and not be forbidden, and thou didst take them up in thine arms and
bless them, declaring, that of such is the kingdom of heaven. May thy
creatures, therefore, not be ashamed to notice little children, but
co-operate, hand and heart with each other, and endeavour to teach
them all good. May difference of sentiment and opinion be laid aside
and forgotten; and may all join hand and heart in endeavouring to
rescue the infant race from danger; and so these tender plants may be
nurtured with the dew of thy divine blessing, and be thus made fit
subjects for thy heavenly kingdom, where the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary are at rest. May thy divine influence descend
abundantly upon all those who have hitherto turned their attention to
infant children; may they feel great pleasure in doing good; may they
receive thy grace and protection abundantly; and when their days of
probation are ended, may they find a place in thy heavenly mansions,
and there glorify thee throughout the boundless ages of eternity.

[Footnote A: This prayer written more than thirty years ago. The
reader will see a great portion of the prayer has been answered; the
subject has been mooted in Parliament; the Government have mooted
the question of Education; and even the sovereign has recommended
attention to it in a speech from the throne. This feeling only wants a
right direction given to it, and all will be well.]

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