Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“No, not quite enough ; but he cuts a we've named ain't small potatoes, are figure, though, now, mind, I tell ye." they?" N. “No, sir, I consider them N. “He does indeed, particularly as Sec. all to be large ones.” C. “ That they retary. One of his late State-papers is are, the thumpin’est kind of big ones, or almost as full of figures as the Census.” else I don't know nothing about it.” C. “ So I said, when I read it. The After a pause of about a minute, with a world rubs its eyes, I guess, when he violent, but invisible and noiseless inward writes,—don't it now?” N. “ Oh, cer- cachination, we said, “From your very tainly, and would be glad to close them remarkable taste and knowledge, I should again. But his figures, though very bold hope you are a Loco—that is--a Demoand strong-far too strong, indeed, for the crat.” C. “ I ain't nothin'else, I guess.” facts,-were very dark-negro figures, N. " That shows your judgment. All altogether.” C.'" Wall, now, I did no- great men are Locos, except six.'” C. tice that his figures was a little nigger « So 1 think. I s’pose you're a Loco, of fied ; but any how, as you say, they're course ?" N. “ I'm almost afraid to say, very strong indeed.” N. “Well, don't for fear you'd tell on me, if we should you think Crittenden, Rives, Preston, be beaten.” C. “Indeed, I wouldn't, and Buchanan are strong men ?” C. “I friend. I'm dark as a wolf's mouth.” N. guess they are ! Ain't it fun to hear • Well, now, don't mention it. I'm a them great speakers ?” N. “ Oh, capital! Whit, sir-a Whig now and always, There's Colonel Benton, too, a great man, here and everywhere.” C. “ The d-, and a great egotist.” C.“ Yes, sir; he's you are! Now, who'd have thought it? great any how."

N. “ He's the great Wall, many men of many minds. I'm author of the “Gold Humbug.' C. “So not a very strong Democrat, myself, he is—a great author, very great, indeed.” Henry Clay's a great man, very great, N. “But there's another Colonel, who very great, indeed.” N. “ Yes, sir, too has run for Lieutenant-General in the great for us to criticise, or for his country Loco army, but who is willing to serve to appreciate. Good day, sir.” C. as kettle-drum Major, or even to march Why, now you ain't a-going a'ready? in the rank and file.' He is a great Take another cigar.” N. “I thank man; and, like a true soldier, has shown you sir. I have had sufficient enjoyment a deep attachment to the colors.” C. “Yes, in “smoking' the biped.” And thus we he likes the colors, I tell ye, and he'll die parted,--he apparently pondering over by 'em.” “ But don't you think ibe occult meaning of our last remark; Wright, and Van Buren, and Tyler, and and we thoroughly diverted at the ex caPolk are great men !” C. “ Yes, sir, all thedrâ decisions of the fellow, who found of 'em ; very great men.” N. “ The first, his bliss not in his real ignorance, but in is the Great Magician; the second, the the dubious conceit that he was wise. Little Magician; the third, the Great And oftimes since that comical display Traitor; the fourth, the Great Unknown.” of stolid presumption--while sitting in C. « Jest what I've often said, sir.” N. our studio, absorbed by grave books, or “ It seems to me, that we have more sorrowful reflections; or when in the great men than we need. Isn't it a pity deep midnight, we have gazed through some three or four of them—for instance, the wavering light on the face of the Calhoun, Benton, and Van Buren-bad carved angel, and counted the footnot been born in other countries, to dif- steps of the minutes by the tickings of fuse the blessings of progressive de- the ancient clock, wondering whether mocracy?!” C. “I think it is now, a they have any mode of computing the very great pity, very great, indeed. We golden years of Heaven, and if the faces could supply the world with Presidents, of the angels, that see God alway, not to mention Vice-Presidents and Gov. have not some faint antetype in the love. ernors.” N. “ Yes, indeed.

What a

liest imaginings of earth-the twinkpity, too, that here and there one of our ling eyes and vapid face of the pseudogreat men indulges too freely in un critic have inexplicably risen up before natural excitements, instead of remaining us, awaking uncalled for laughter-yetstrictly “aquæ potator ! You under- only to carry us still farther back to the sad stand me?" Oh, yes,” said he, with fair girl-how fair! how mournful !great gravity, but eyeing us very closely; who passed into the earth—nay, not there, « Oh, certingly. Though I can't say I but into Heaven-so early—because, like to see men such very queer potatoes.' The greatest men, though, are always a

•Whom the gods love, die young.' leetle queer. But, queer or not, the men

NOSMETIPSI.

N.

[ocr errors]

HOW SHALL LIFE BE MADE THE MOST OF?

In our country, individual success and Ages, who deemed words, not ideas or eminence, and social improvement, have facts, the prime objects of knowledge. been to an indefinite degree retarded by A great part of the time spent at school iwo bad habits prevalent in all classes of is spent in the acquisition by rote of society. One is the habit of entering words without meaning,-a process, in upon an avocation or profession without which no faculty of mind, except the a competent preliminary education; the memory, is exercised. For years, often, other, that of changing professions at the scholar is made to recite daily from pleasure, so that a man of seventy years the Dictionary a series of definitions, freof age will often have pursued from two quently less intelligible than the words to five or six different callings at different defined,,not unfrequently wholly void of periods of his life. To these wasteful meaning to the pupil, while he well knows habits, there is a tendency to add a the signification of the words defined. third, derived from the earliest and most For instance, every child knows the barbarous ages, that of combining several meaning of the word network ; but not professions in the same person at the one gray-haired man in a hundred could same time. Believing that these habits, deluce any possible signification from and the notions on which they are based, Johnson's accurate definition of it: “Anyare false in theory, and radically bad in thing reticulated or decussated at equal practice, we design, in the present article, distances, with intercesses between the to maintain in opposition to them the intersections.” This example will show following propositions :-1. Every man how much connection there is between ought to be thoroughly educated for his the studying of definitions (so called) and profession or calling, whatever it be. learning the meaning of words. 2. A man ought to continue through life Another inordinate and unjustifiable in the same profession. 3. No man should waste of time in common schools, results statedly exercise more than one calling from what is called the study of Gramat a time. These propositions may seem mar, which a boy, six years old, is often obvious; yet our readers will see, we obliged to commence, in which he has a think, in the sequel, that they need re weary exercise every subsequent day of iteration and enforcement.

his school life, and at length leaves school I. Every man ought to be thoroughly with no more idea of the purpose, for educated for his profession or calling, which his Grammar was written, than if whaterer it be.

it had been in Chinese or Sanscrit. The We might make a general division of exercise is, at first, the committing to the different callings exercised in a com memory of a technical jargon, entirely munity into mechanical and liberal, or beyond his power of comprehension ; those which are exercised chiefly by and, afterwards, the mechanical repetihand-labor, and those which are exer tion of certain stereotyped formulas, concised mainly by mental labor, the results cerning the separate words in Young's of which are made available by the voice Night Thoughts, or Pope's Essay on and the pen—both classes equally ne. Man, (commonly called parsing,) wherecessary and honorable, both equally as a fourth part of the time spent in con. geeding and rewarding mental energy versation with his teacher, or in reading, and attainments, but differing from each or trying to write good English, would other in their processes. For these call- give him ten times the knowledge of his ings there is, or ought to be, a preliminary mother tongue, which he thus attains. education both general and particular; Practical grammar is best acquired by and both are with sad frequency neglect the eye and ear-may be imbibed, with ed or slighted.

out express study, by familiarity with For professions exercised by hand. good speakers and writers, and fixed in labor, the general education is furnished the mind without pain or weariness; but by our common schools; and they are the theory of grammar cannot be attain. very far from furnishing the kind of ed by him who is conversant with one education which the farmer or mechanic language only. Grammar is, no less than needs. The coinmon system of education physiology, a comparative science, and is worthy of the schoolmen of the Middle the principles and laws of one's own

his own.

language can be understood and account- of our common schools is, that they make ed for only by him who has studied other no provision for instructing and exercis. languages in connection with it, and has ing their pupils in English composition. thus formed an idea of what is essential This is indeed unnecessary for one who to all languages and what is peculiar to is willing to be a mere drudge of the farm

or the workshop. But no young man For this acquisition of hard, and to him should regard this as his destiny. Every unmeaning words, let us now see what one should expect to rise, by degrees, the future farmer or mechanic foregoes. into the higher walks of his profession, In the first place, he is generally taught to conduct its more extended operations, nothing of natural history, or science. and to take his well-earned place among He is to earn his livelihood by directing citizens of merit, standing and influence. the vital energies, or the mechanical or But every man, who occupies such a pochemical forces of nature. Soils, earths, sition as this, must write,—he must write metals, woods, alkalies, acids--- these are business letters, if nothing else; and, if the materials on which, or with which, incapable of making a respectable appearor to produce which, the labors of his

ance on paper, he may meet with count. future life are to be spent. Yet, in most less drawbacks and embarrassments, may cases, he is suffered to leave school, with lose opportunities for improving his conout having been put in possession of a dition, and may be permanently kept back single fact or principle in geology, chem. in the rear ranks of his calling or profesistry, or natural philosophy; without any sion. But a well-indited letter is always knowledge of the structure of his own a letter of recommendation for the writer, planet, or of any of its component ele- and has, in many instances, been the ments; without the slightest comprehen- proximate cause of eminent success and sion of any of the laws or processes good fortune. which nature lends to art, and by which While, in these and other respects, alone the soil can be made productive, or those who are to exercise agricultural handicraft successful. No wonder that and mechanical callings ought to be well our farmers so often dress and sow their educated, let them also regard a prolonged land at haphazard, change crops at a and thorough apprenticeship to the future venture, and transmit effete and sterile business of life as essential to ultimate acres to their posterity. No wonder that, success and respectability. In some of in American manufactures, colors so often the countries of Europe, no man can esfade, and cements part, and fabrics shrink. tablish himself in his trade, without No wonder that the ill-made bears so having gone through a prescribed period alarming a proportion to the well-made, and mode of apprenticeship; and, in Gerand that the honesty and good faith of many and Belgium, it was formerly the the manufacturer are often no guarantee universal custom, (and it is still frequently for the excellence of his wares.

done,) for a young man, when he has Another necessary element of education learned his trade so far as his master for the future farmer or mechanic is al- could teach it, to visit the several places most excluded from our common schools, where his trade is best understood, and namely--geometry, the science of mea to work as a journeyman for a few weeks sure and proportion, essential to educate or months at each, so as to get an inthe eye, to guide the labors of the hand, sight into whatever might facilitate the and to give symmetry, tastefulness and processes, or improve the manufactures, elegance to the planning and finishing of in which he was engaged. With us, on innumerable products of industry, the other hand, the old rules and habits sential also, in many departments of la- of apprenticeship are almost broken up. bor, to a contractor's preliminary calcu- The seven years' novitiate has dwindled lations, that he may defraud neither him. into four, three, and two. Nay, we someself nor his employer. In the Prussian times hear of a young man's learning as Common School system, both the depart- much of a trade as he can in a still less ments of knowledge now named, are period, and then establishing himself in deemed no less indispensable, than read. business, with this fragmentary stock of ing and writing; and we trust that the knowledge and skill. Now there is no time will soon arrive, when no District doubt, that the principal operations of School in our own country will graduate every trade may be learned in a few its pupils without them.

months, and that, after a very short apAnother enormous deficiency in most prenticeship, one may seem to work suffi

-es

ciently well to be his own master. But lay, be made to yield ten times their prethere are a thousand little things, such as sent annual revenue. care in the choice and seasoning of ma We have thus spoken of the least eduterials, slight touches, delicate finishings, cation, which a farmer or mechanic ought which can be learned only by one's la- to have. Let it not be supposed, howboring long under the eye of a man of ever, that we regard the highest possible experience and skill. They are things, intellectual culture as misplaced, sunk or which a master could not call to mind, wasted in these professions. A thorough so as to tell or show them to those under classical or literary education might not his instruction at any particular time, but indeed enable one to increase his crops into the knowledge of which the appren or to manufacture a better style of goods ; tice would grow gradually and almost but it would contribute vastly to his perimperceptibly. And these little things sonal happiness, to his social influence, often constitute' nearly half the value of and to the intelligent discharge of the a well-made article. "To take the item of various duties and trusts that devolve on cabinet furniture for an illustration, the him as a parent, friend, neighbor and actual value, as determined by their du- citizen. We heartily wish that many of rability, of equally well looking articles, the graduates of our colleges, instead of is nearly or quite doubled by the appli- swelling the already crowded ranks of cation of care and skill to minute details, the (so called) liberal professions, would which would be thought of only

by a turn their attention to the class of profesthoroughly trained workman. Every sions now under consideration, and do gentleman knows too, that a coat, made everything possible to exhibit sound and by a tailor who thoroughly understands various learning as the accomplishment his business, will wear and look well of the individual man, and not simply as nearly twice as long, as one made by an a prescribed routine of preparation for a awkward and inexperienced tailor. It is particular walk in life. Should such inchiefly on account of difference in the stances hereafter become frequent, they thoroughness of previous training, that would have a direct and irresistible influsome mechanics are crowded with work, ence in eradicating the absurd and antiwhile others can get very little to do. republican idea, imported from the artiThese last have been found out. They ficial state of society in the old world, are never employed a second time by the that a man's respectability depends in same person, whereas, two or three years anywise on what he does, and not on more of boyhood devoted to the acquisi- what he is. tion of their trades, would have made We pass now to the education of canthem prosperous for life.

didates for what are called the learned In agriculture, the sons of farmers com- professions, which number, no doubt, as monly learn, during their minority, as many ignorant and unqualified pretenders, much as their fathers can teach them; as they do fit and worthy membersFor but the general establishment of agricul- these we would place the standard of tural schools, with competent professors general education very high ; and, as we of natural science and its various practi- must make a selection from among the cal applications, with model fields and many topics that present themselves, we experimental gardens, would be of ines- propose to speak particularly of the imtimable value in raising the profession, portance of a thorough classical education both in an economical and intellectual to the members of these professions. We point of view. It is no doubt known to choose this topic the rather, because we many of our readers, that the most muni- apprehend that the current of general ficent provision has been made for the feeling is setting strongly against classical establishment of an agricultural school, studies. As an index of this, we might on the plan of the celebrated Fellenberg adduce the fact, that the oldest and best Institution, in Switzerland, under the au- endowed literary institution in the county spices of Harvard University, by the will now suffers its pupils to suspend Latin of the late Benjamin Bussey, of Roxbury, and Greek, if they choose, after a single Massachusetts. We are fully authorized year's study. Our age is utilitarian in the by the statistics of English agriculture in most grovelling sense of the word; and saying, that, by the application of scien- the community at large can see no use in tific principles and the use of improved the consumption of months and years of modes of tillage, the cultivated lands of study upon dead languages, and the liteour Atlantic states, might, on an average, rature of nations long since extinct. at less than twice the present annual out Let us then see what these languages

and their literature can do for the clergy- and individual sentiment and action. The man and the lawyer. They are to be both preacher must know men as they are, to writers and speakers, and as such, should give aim to his endeavors to make them be accomplished in the arts of persuasion. what they should be; while it is only by To this end, they must be well acquainted the same kind of knowledge, that the with the structure, powers and resources lawyer can adapt his style and topics of of their native tongue, which no man can illustration and argument to the stupidity be, who is not conversant with other lan- which he must penetrate, the prejudices guages than his own, and, especially, which he must remove, or the sound sense who is not conversant with those classic and wakeful intellect which he must contongues, whence the English has derived vince or persuade. Now, as each indiviso many of its words and idioms. These dual is the aggregate or result of all that languages, too, though doubtless, no less he has been, so does the whole past enter than our own, derived from various into the present condition of the race. and unlike sources, were fused by glow. Nothing is so truly living as the past. It ing ages of eloquence and song, into en- gives shape, and hue and breath to the tire congruity of form and feature; and, present. Thought, once uttered, written by being, in the popular phrase, dead lan or acted, never dies. The past, which is guages, are endowed with an unchanging finished, interprets the present, which is life, and therefore are more capable of unfinished. The present exhibits phenorigorous analysis, and afford better illus- mena, the past shows whence they come trations of the laws of universal grammar, and why they are. He then, who omits than the modern tongues, which still bear from his familiar knowledge, any extenconspicuous marks of their miscellaneous sive or emphatic chapter of the past, fails origin, and which are varying their rules to comprehend the present. But the hisand idioms from year to year. Then, too, tory and culture of Greece and Rome, next the public speaker needs a diction, at once to those of Judea, do form the most extenconcise and flexible, full of vigor, nerve sive and emphatic chapters of the whole and point, and at the same time adapting past. The Greek, the Roman mind, each itself with ease to every class of subjects, has left traces of itself, too deeply engra. occasions or audiences; and how can he ven for time or change to obliterate them. better acquire such a diction than by fa- We must study their records, that we may miliarity with those noble ancient tongues identify in our own age, their ideas and -the one bearing in every word the sig- sentiments, the effects of their institutions, nature of a severe, majestic simplicity, the fruits of their culture. the other, many voiced, yet never losing There are peculiar reasons, why the its identity, shaping its élastic idioms to teacher of religion should be a classical every conceivable mode of grandeur and scholar. He is the interpreter of God to beauty? Then again, as to rules and man; and all God's Scriptures should be models in oratory, we know not how one his familiar study. God writes all history. who would rise above mediocrity, can Every chapter, every phasis of human dispense with the study of those old ora condition, every political revolution, every tors, who could hold in check, and sway, form of culture, bears not only the impress at will, the fierce, multitudinous democra- of human wisdom or folly, virtue or guilt, cies of Greece and Rome; nor can the but also the venerable handwriting of public speaker find, anywhere among Divine Providence. In the condition and modern writers, the minute, exhausting destinies of nations and of races there is analysis of the kinds, modes, instruments, as clear and full a revelation of the attrisources and topics of argument and ap- butes of the Almighty, as there is in the peal, which Cicero and Quintilian furnish, vast and glorious works of nature. Thus, so that it is hardly too much to term their for religious teaching, the past holds to rhetorical works essential parts of the the present a torch kindled by the same training of those, who, by speech or writ- breath that inspired prophets and apostles. ing, are to mould the decisions, sentiments Viewed in this aspect, the finished records and characters of the few or the many. of Greek and Roman civilization, arts,

Again: Man should be the constant science, domestic and social life, spanning study both of the lawyer and the preacher. as they do the most brilliant and eventful They both need a familiar acquaintance centuries of the world's history, furnish with the human condition and character, an exhaustless repertory of religious with the existing elements of civilization counsel and wisdom-an expanded comand progress, with the springs of public mentary upon Divine revelation-a vast,

« ZurückWeiter »