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Boston; while Baltimore, with a much larger population, but fewer institutions of learning, and less facilities for education than Boston, has only two publishing houses altogether that are worthy of the name.
Those whose education has been neglected may be expected to object to all this, and ask, If superior culture has so salutary an effect in preventing chicanery, how does it happen that learned men are often the greatest transgressors ? and why are the best of them so ready to seek the aid of the wealthy, without taking much pains to inquire how their wealth has been acquired? The former question embodies no argument, but a fallacy. The most reliable statistics of ancient and modern times, as far as known, show that no other class of persons are guilty of less fraud, or any species of crime, in proportion to their numbers, than learned men, or men of superior culture. As to their following the rich, instead of the rich following them, the reason of that has been abundantly explained by Diogenes, who says that it is " because the philosophers know what they want, but the rich do not.”
To this we do not wish to make any addition for the present. Among the best there is room for improvement; and, with regard to the worst, a goodly number of them have already got their reward. Not a few, who, only a brief year or two ago, played the charlatan with the arrogance of a despot and the insolence of an upstart, are now dunning fourth-rate politicians for their influence, in order that they may obtain some petty office. The dry goods merchant who acted on the principle of getting all he could, and giving as little as he could, treating his clerk, and often his servantmaid, the same as his other creditors, is now very glad to procure employment in some Northern navy yard or custom house, where it is not likely that any fighting will have to be done. The jeweller who sold glass for diamonds and brass for gold, is very thankful to get the position of a subaltern in the commissary department, and the publisher of "sensation” books is full of gratitude if he can induce the politicians whose “Speeches and Works” he published (and which by themselves would have been sufficient to ruin him) to give him some employment, if only that of measuring molasses in one of the Feegee Islands. To speak of any of these, save in the language of sorrow and commiseration, would be like insulting the criminal in the hands of the executioner.
NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.
1. Le Grand-Père et ses quatre Petits-fils. Livre de Lecture à l'usage des
Écoles. Par Mme. FOUQUEAU DE Pussy, Apprové par le Conseil Royal de l'Instruction Publique. Eleventh American edition. By FRANCIS
S. WILLIAMS, Principal of a School for Young Ladies. 2. Conversations sur Le Grand-Père, designed for a first book in
French Conversation. By FRANCIS S. WILLIAMS.
From one end of Europe to the other, “Le Grand-Père" has been in use as a Reader for nearly twenty years; and, so far as our observation extends, it is universally regarded as the best. That before us is the first copy of it we have seen in this country; but that it is the eleventh edition is pretty conclusive evidence that its value is no less appreciated in America than it is in Europe. We are well aware that a book of any kind may be highly praised, and still be little worth ; nothing is more common than to pronounce the last publication superior to all others, without much regard to its intrinsic merits. But, if we assert that a book is superlatively good, or bad, we feel it incumbent on us to give our reasons for doing so, want no one to receive our estimate further than it is found, on examination, to be correct.
* In the first place, the fact that “ Le Grand-Père" has received the approval of the French Council of Public Instruction is at least présumptive evidence that it is well adapted for the purpose for which it is intended; for there is no tribunal more competent to decide upon its merits. But the latter are sufficiently obvious to every intelligent person. The plan of it is the best that could have been adopted: A well-educated, aged Captain receives into his family four grand-children, who are to attend the village school, and be under his guidance after school hours. One day each week is set apart for a conversation, in which all join; and sometimes a female domestic, remarkable chiefly for her superstition and curiosity, is permitted to "assist," for variety's sake. This continues for a year, so that there are fifty-two conversations, each occupying one chapter. In these conversations almost every conceivable topic is discussed, in a manner suitable to the capacities of the children; not formally, or with the avowed purpose, on the part of the grandfather, to give instruction; but incidentally-one topic being suggested by another, or by some passing incident, and what cannot be rendered sufficiently interesting otherwise, is illustrated by a brief story, which, independently of its engaging the attention, and making a lasting impression on the memory, embodies an excellent moral.
Each chapter is headed by a quotation from some great thinker, ancient or modern, which embodies a useful and striking precept, that serves as a sort of text for the conversation that is to follow. Thus, when religious intolerance is to be rendered as odious as it deserves, and liberty of conscience vindicated, we are presented with the admirable precept of Fénélon, that, since God tolerates all religions, we should do the same
Souffrons toutes les religions, puisque Dieu les souffre." All the great moralists and sages of the East, as well as the West, are thus laid under contribution for the instruction of the youthful mind. Thus, if kindness is to be shown to strangers, or to those we may never see again, Saadi, the Persian poet, is made to tell us, in the best French, that benefits are never lost, let them be bestowed where they may, &c., &c.-"Le bienfaits ne sont jamais perdu quelque part qu'on les place ; ni les bienfaiteurs inconnus, en quelque lieu qu'ils se cachent."
In this attractive and impressive manner are the grandchildren introduced to every subject; now to a lesson in geography, anon to a lesson in arithmetic, history, philosophy, grammar--each in turn, after a suitable interval-amusement alternating with instruction, curiosity being awakened in one conversation, to be gratified in another; so that, on reaching the end, the intelligent reader has acquired an amount of useful information, on multifarious subjects, which surprises himself.
Mr. Williams has done good service in introducing such a book to the American student; but he has erred in making it an expurgated edition. There was not the least need for this. Not one word has Mme. de Pussy written that the most bashful and modest has any cause to blush at. There might be some excuse for expurgation, if the work were rendered into English, but in the original there is none. Fortunately, nothing of much importance has been onnitted-only a brief passage here and there. We do not blame Mr. Williams for the loss of anything he has left out, but for being so squeamish as to suppose it was necessary to leave out any.
The Conversations sur Le Grand-Père embodies all that is valuable in the work just noticed, in the form of question and answer. In the first chapter or two, the questions are given in English, and the answers in French ; in all the rest, both questions and answers are in the original. The only fault we have to find in this is, that the editor gives the following advice to the teacher: “If well versed in French, he will not exact a rigid adherence to the answers before him, as others equally correct can, of course, be given; but, if not thoroughly acquainted with the language, it will be better for him to adopt one safe and correct model than to run the risk of the pupil's acquiring incorrect phrases." This implies that one may teach-at least pretend to teach—what he does not understand himself--nay, that he may be so ignorant of the language as not to be able to tell whether a phrase is right or wrong, and still be capable of teaching it. This is a great blunder on the part of Mr. Williams. But neither of the works before us is anything the worse for this, any more than it would be for anything we might say here. In one word, then, we know of no text books for the study of French, either in Europe or America, that surpass, if they equal, these.
Education : Intellectual, Moral and Physical. By HERBERT SPENCER,
author of “Social Statics,” &c. London: G. Manwaring. 1861.
Lord Brougham alone has done more for the cause of education in Great Britain than the author of this volume; indeed, there are not a few among the best judges who are of opinion that he has done more real good than even the famous ex-Chancellor. At all events, he is an original thinker, and what he believes to be calculated to elevate the condition of the masses, no fear of consequences deters him from being its advocate. For this he has been sneered at as a pedagogue,” by those who think that the less the people know, the better for the aristocracy, if not for the State at large. The peculiarity of his style has afforded a certain class of critics an excuse for attacks of this kind. He is too technical; he uses many words in his Essays on education which are not be found even in most dictionaries. This is certainly a defect; those writing for the people ought to address them in a language they can easily understand. But there are many things which ought to be done that cannot be done, and · probably this is one of them. Milton would have found it as difficult to write like Bunyan, as Bunyan would have found it to write like Milton. If Mr. Spencer erred through pedantry it is not to the masses he would have addressed himself. We should, then, rather thank him for his generous labors in a noble cause, than seek to disparage all because all is not perfect. His favorite system is that of Pestalozzi, simplified as much as possible. His remarks on the subject of discipline, addressed to parents as well as to teachers, are such as will meet the approbation of every sensible person. "It will daily be needful,” he says, "to analyze the motives of juvenile conduct-to distinguish between acts that are really good and those which, thongh simulating them, proceed from inferior impulses; while you will have to be ever on your guard against the cruel mistake, not unfrequently made, of translating neutral acts into transgressions, or ascribing worse feelings than were entertained.”
Mr. Spencer is not one of those who think that corporal punishment should never be inflicted; though he has too much refinement and humanity not to remind both parent and teacher that such punishment should be the last resource. " The rough-and-ready style of domestic government,” he forcibly observes, “is, indeed, practicable by the meanest and most uncultivated intellects. Slaps and sharp words are penalties that suggest themselves alike to the last reclaimed barbarian and to the stolidest peasant. Even brutes can use this mode of discipline; as you may see in the growl and half-bite with which a bitch will check a too exigeant puppy." The mistake of the present day, especially in this country, is that all should be left to “moral suasion," whereas daily observation proves that there are many girls, as well as boys, who laugh at “moral suasion,” as a means of making them do anything they do not like ; they are effected by it pretty much as the individual was who, being detected stealing clothes off the fence, was told by the owner that he would suffer at the last day for the theft: “Oh, then, if you please, madam, I'll take a few articles more, if I get off so long." It is a sad commentary on our boasted progress in civilization, that while the very worst class of novels are readily reprinted by our sensation" publishers, books like this, which are really instructive, are not thought worth the cost of printing.
A Compendium of Classical Literature, comprising Choice Extracts trans
lated from the best Greek and Roman Writers, with Biographical Sketches, accounts of their works, and notes directing to the best editions and translations. By CHARLES DEXTER CLEVELAND. 12mo,
Philadelphia: E. C. & J. Biddle & Co. 1861. In this volume we have the gems of classical literature in poetry and prose—the Greek from Homer to Longinus, the Prince of poets and the Prince of critics-the Latin from Plautus to Boëthius, the extracts from each writer being taken from the best translators. To the classical student the work will prove particularly valuable, as presenting admirable specimens of translation, and showing how much of the spirit of the original may be retained in an English dress; to the scholar it will be something like a series of meetings with old and beloved friends-meetings that will remind him of those days, which, though never to return, still continue to shed a grateful fragrance on his life, even in the midst of poverty and sick
This is no exaggeration of the influence of classical studies. We have never known one in any part of the world who, being capable of conversing with the master-minds of Greece and Rome in their own languages, would exchange, if he could, his ability to do so for all the pleasures that gold can purchase.
But if it be a pleasure to the scholar to find those gems that were at once the care and the delight of his youth, as they were originally composed, now rendered into his mother tongue, how much more agreeable must it be to the mere English reader, who, however intelligent in other respects, can judge of the giant intellects of Greece and Rome only through versions that have the reputation of being more or less faithful to the original. As no description can give an adequate idea of the Pyramids of