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akin to that shadowed forth in the poems thrust before us the pervading selfishness, of Shelley, that would mankind give up dishonesty, brutality. Yet when we crittheir old institutions, prejudices, and er-icise nursery management, and canvass rors, all the evils in the world would at the misbehavior of juveniles, we habitually once disappear; neither notion being ac- take for granted that these culpable men ceptable to such as have dispassionately and women are free from moral delinstudied human affairs.
quency in the treatment of their offspring ! Not that we are without sympathy with So far is this from the truth, that we do those who entertain these too sanguine not hesitate to say that to parental mishopes. Enthusiasm, pushed even to fa- conduct is traceable a great part of the naticism, is a useful motive power — per domestic disorder commonly ascribed to haps an indispensable one. It is clear the perversity of children. We do not that the ardent politician would never assert this of the more sympathetic and undergo the labors and make the sacri- self-restrained, among whom we hope fices he does, did he not believe that the most of our readers may be classed, but reform he fights for is the one thing need we assert it of the mass. What kind of ful. But for his conviction that drunken- moral discipline is to be expected from a ness is the root of almost all social evils, mother who, time after time, angrily the teetotaler would agitate far less shakes her infant because it will not suckle energetically. In philanthropy as in her, which we once saw a mother do ? other things, great advantages result How much love of justice and generosity from division of labor ; and that there may is likely to be instilled by a father who, be division of labor, each class of philan- on having his attention drawn by his thropists must be more or less subordi- child's scream to the fact that its finger is nated to its function — must have an ex- jamined between the window-sash and aggerated faith in its work. Hence, of the sill, forthwith begins to beat the child those who regard education, intellectual instead of releasing it? Yet that there or moral, as the panacea, we may say are such fathers is testified to us by an that their undue expectations are not eye-witness. Or, to take a still stronger without use; and that perhaps it is part case, also vouched for by direct testimony of the beneficent order of things that
what are the educational prospects of their confidence can not be shaken. the boy who, on being taken home with
Even were it true, however, that by a dislocated thigh, is saluted with a castisome possible system of moral government gation ? It is true that these are extreme children could be moulded into the desired instances - instances exhibiting in human form; and even could every parent be beings that blind instinct which impels duly indoctrinated with this system; we brutes to destroy the weakly and injured should still be far from achieving the ob- of their own race. But extreme though ject in view. It is forgotten that the they are, they typify feelings and conduct carrying out of any such system pre-sup- daily observable in many families. Who poses, on the part of adults, a degree of has not repeatedly seen a child slapped by intelligence, of goodness, of self control, nurse or parent for a fretfulness probably possessed by no one. The great error resulting from bodily derangement? made by those who discuss questions of Who, when watching a mother snatch up juvenile discipline, is in ascribing all the a fallen little one, has not often traced, faults and difficulties to the children and both in the rough manner and in the none to the parents. The current as- sharply-uttered exclamation—“You stusumption respecting family government, pid little thing !" an irascibility foretellas respecting national government, is, that ing endless future squabbles? Is there the virtues are with the rulers and the not in the harsh tones in which a father vices with the ruled. Judging by educa- bids his children be quiet, evidence of a tional theories, men and women are en- deficient fellow-feeling with them? Aro tirely transfigured in the domestic rela- not the constant, and often quite needless, tion. The citizens we do business with, thwartings that the young experience the people we meet in the world, we all the injunctions to sit still, which an active know to be very. imperfect creatures. In child can not obey without suffering great the daily scandals, in the quarrels of nervous irritation, the commands not to friends, in bankruptcy disclosures, in law- look out of the window when traveling suits, in police reports, we have constantly by railway, which on a child of any intel
ligence entails serious deprivation — are nation so in a family, the kind of governnot these thwartings, we ask, signs of a ment is, on the whole, about as good as terrible lack of sympathy? The truth is, the general state of human nature perthat the difficulties of moral education mits it to be. It may be said that in the are necessarily of dual origin—necessarily one case, as in the other, the average charesult from the combined faults of parents racter of the people determines the quali.: and children. If hereditary transmission ty of the control exercised. It may be is a law of nature, as every naturalist inferred that in both cases amelioration of knows it to be, and as our daily remarks the average character leads to an amelioraand current proverbs admit it to be; then, tion of system; and further, that were it on the average of cases, the defects of possible to ameliorate the system without children mirror the defects of their pa- the average character being first ameliorents; on the average of cases, we say, rated, evil, rather than good, would folbecause, complicated as the results are by low. It may be urged that such degree the transmitted traits of remoter ances- of harshness as children now experience tors, the correspondence is not special but from their parents and teachers, is but a only general. And if, on the average of preparation for that greater harshness cases, this inheritance of defects exists, which they will meet with on entering then the evil passions which parents have the world, and that were it possible for to check in their children imply like evil parents and teachers to behave towards passions in themselves : hidden, it may be, them with perfect equity and entire symfrom the public eye; or perhaps obscured pathy, it would but intensify the sufferby other feelings; but still there. Evi- ings which the selfishness of men must, in dently, therefore, the general practice of after life, inflict on them.* any ideal system of discipline is hopeless : “But does not this prove too much ?": parents are not good enough.
some one will ask. "If no system of Moreover, even were there methods by moral culture can forthwith make childwhich the desired end could be at once ren altogether what they should be; if, effected, and even had fathers and mo- even were there a system that would do thers sufficient insight, sympathy, and this, existing parents are too imperfect to self-command to employ these methods carry it out; and if, even could such a consistently, it might still be contended | system be successfully carried out, its rethat it would be of no use to reform sults would be disastrously incongruous family discipline faster than other things with the present state of society; does it are reformed. What is it that we aim to not follow that a reform in the system do? Is it not that education of what- now in use is neither practicable nor deever kind has for its proximate end to sirable ?" No. It merely follows that prepare a child for the business of life, reform in domestic government must go to produce a citizen who, at the same on, pari passu, with other reforms. It time that he is well conducted, is also merely follows that methods of discipline able to make bis way in the world? And does not making his way in the world (by * This is the plea put in by some for the rough which we mean, not the acquirement of treatment experienced by boys at our public schools; wealth, but of the means requisite for pro- ture world whose imperfectious and hardships preperly bringing up a family)-does not pare them for those of the real world: and it must this imply a certain fitness for the world be admitted that the plea has some force. But it is as it now is? And if by any system of a very insufficient plea. For whereas domestic and culture an ideal human being could be school discipline, though they should not be very
much better than the discipline of adult life, should produced, is it not doubtful whether he at any rate be somewhat better; the disciplina would be fit for the world as it now is ? which boys meet with at Eton, Winchester, Harrow, May we not, on the contrary, suspect that etc., is much worse than that of adult life-much his too keen sense of rectitude, and too more unjust, cruel, brutal. Instead of being an aid elevated standard of conduct, would make culture of our public schools, by accustoming boys
to human progress, which all culture should be the life alike intolerable and impossible? And to a despotic form of government and an intercourse however admirable the result might be, regulated by bruto force, tends to fit them for 3 considered individually, would it not be lower stute of society than that which exists. And self-defeating in so far as society and pos- those who are brought up at these schools, this bar
chiefly recruited as our legislature is from among terity are concerned ? It may, we think, barizing influence becomes a serious hindrance to be argued, with much reason, that as in a national progress.
neither can be nor should be ameliorated, I against the table, it suffers a pain, the reexcept by installments. It merely follows membrance of which tends to make it that the dictates of abstract rectitude more careful for the future; and by an will, in practice, inevitably be subordinat- occasional repetition of like experiences, ed by the present state of human nature it is eventually disciplined into a proper -by the imperfections alike of children, guidance of its movements. If it lays of parents, and of society; and can only hold of the fire-bars, thrusts its finger be better fulfilled as the general charac- into the candle-flame, or spills boiling ter becomes better.
water on any part of its skin, the resultAt any rate, then,” may rejoin our ing burn or scald is a lesson not easily critic, “it is clearly useless to set up any forgotten. So deep an impression is proideal standard of family discipline. There duced by one or two such events, that can be no advantage in elaborating and afterwards no persuasion will induce it recommending methods that are in ad- again to disregard the laws of its convance of the time.” Again we must con- stitution in these ways. tend for the contrary. Just as in the case Now in these and like cases, Nature of political government, though pure rec-illustrates to us in the simplest way, the titude may be at present impracticable, it true theory and practice of moral disciis requisite to know where the right lies, pline-a theory and practice which, howso that the changes we make may be to- ever much they may seem to the superwards the right instead of away from it; ficial like those commonly received, we so in the case of domestic government, an shall find on examination to differ from ideal must be upheld, that there may be them very widely. gradual approximations to it. We need Observe, in the first place, that in bodifear no evil consequences from the main- ly injuries and their penalties we have tenance of such an ideal. On the average misconduct and its consequences reduced the constitutional conservatism of mankind to their simplest forms. Though, accordis always strong enough to prevent a too ing to their popular acceptations, right rapid change. So admirable are the ar- and wrong are words scarcely applicable rangements of things that until men have to actions that have none but direct bodigrown up to the level of a higher belief, ly effects; yet whoever considers the matthey can not receive it: nominally, they ter will see that such actions must be as may hold it, but not virtually. And even much classifiable under these heads as when the truth gets recognized, the ob- any other actions. From whatever basis stacles to conformity with it are so persist- they start, all theories of morality agree ent as to outlive the patience of philan- in considering that conduct whose total thropists and even philosophers. We results, immediate and remote, are benemay be quite sure, therefore, that the ficial, is good conduct; wbile conduct many difficulties standing in the way of a whose total results, immediate and renormal government of children, will al- mote, are injurious, is bad conduct. The ways put an adequate check upon the ef- happiness or misery caused by it are the forts to realize it.
ultimate standards by which all men judge With these preliminary explanations, of behavior. We consider drunkenness let us go on to consider the true aims and wrong because of the physical degeneracy methods of moral education-moral edu- and accompanying moral evils entailed on cation, strictly so called, we mean; for the transgressor and his dependents. Did we do not propose to enter upon the theft uniformly give pleasure both to taker question of religious education as an aid and loser, we should not find it in our catato the education exclusively moral. This logue of sins. Were it conceivable that we omit as a topic better dealt with sepa- benevolent actions multiplied human pains rately. After a few pages devoted to we should condemn them—should not conthe settlement of general principles, dur-sider them benevolent. It needs but to ing the perusal of which we bespeak the read the first newspaper leader, or listen reader's patience, we shall aim by illustra- to any conversation touching social affairs, tions to make clear the right methods of to see that acts of parliament, political parental behavior in the hourly occurring movements, pbilanthropic agitations, in difficulties of family government. common with the doings of individuals,
are judged by their anticipated results in When a child falls, or runs its head I multiplying the pleasures or pains of men.
And if on looking under all secondary su- are checked when they go wrong. After perinduced ideas, we find these to be our home education has ceased, and when ultimate tests of right and wrong, we can there are no longer parents and teachers to not refuse to class purely physical actions forbid this or that kind of conduct, there as right or wrong according to the bene- comes into play a discipline like that by ficial or detrimental results they produce. which the young child is taught its first
Note, in the second place, the character lessons in self-guidance. If the youth enof the punishments by which these physi- tering upon the business of life idles away cal transgressions are prevented. Punish- his time and fulfills slowly or unskillfully ments, we call them, in the absence of a the duties intrusted to him, there by and better word; for they are not punish- by follows the natural penalty: he is disments in the literal sense. They are not charged, and left to suffer for a while the artificial and unnecessary inflictions of evils of relative poverty. On the unpain ; but are simply the beneficent checks punctual man, failing alike his appointto actions that are essentially at variance ments of business and pleasure, there conwith bodily welfare-checks in the ab- tinually fall the consequent inconvenisence of which life would quickly be de- ences, losses, and deprivations. The stroyed by bodily injuries. It is the pe- avaricious tradesman who charges too culiarity of these penalties, if we must high a rate of profit, loses his customers, so call them, that they are nothing more and so is checked in his greediness. Dithan the unavoidable consequences of the minishing practice teaches the inattentive deeds which they follow : they are nothing doctor to bestow more trouble on his pamore than the inevitable reactions entailed tients. The too credulous creditor and by the child's actions.
the over-sanguine speculator alike learn by Let it be further borne in mind that the difficulties which rashpess entails on these painful reactions are proportionate them, the necessity of being more cauto the degree in which the organic laws tious in their engagements. have been transgressed. A slight acci- throughout the life of every citizen. In dent brings a slight pain, a more serious the quotation so often made à propos one, a greater pain. When a child tum- of these cases—“The burnt child dreads bles over the door-step, it is not ordained the fire” we see not only that the that it shall suffer in excess of the amount analogy between this social discipline and necessary, with the view of making it Nature's early discipline of infants is unistill more cautious than the necessary suf- versally recognized; but we also see an fering will make it. But from its daily implied conviction that this discipline is experience it is left to learn the greater of the most efficient kind. Nay more, or less penalties of greater or less errors; this conviction is not only implied, but and to behave accordingly.
distinctly stated. Every one has heard And then mark, lastly, that these others confess that only by "dearly natural reactions which follow the child's bought experience” had they been inwrong actions, are constant, direct, unhe- duced to give up some bad or foolish sitating, and not to be escaped. No course of conduct formerly pursued. threats: but a silent, rigorous perform- Every one has heard, in the criticisms ance. If a child runs a pin into its finger, passed on the doings of this spendthrift pain follows. If it does it again, there is or the other speculator, the remark that again the same result: and so on perpetu. advice was useless, and that nothing but ally. In all its dealings with surrounding “bitter experience” would produce any inorganic nature it finds this unswerving effect: nothing, that is, but suffering the persistence, which listens to no excuse, and unavoidable consequences. And if further from which there is no appeal; and very proof be needed that the penalty of the soon recognizing this stern though bene- natural reäction is not only the most effificent discipline, it become extremely care- cient, but that no humanly-devised penalful not to transgress.
ty can replace it, we have such further Still more significant will these general proof in the notorious ill-success of our truths appear, when we remember that various penal systems. Out of the many they hold throughout adult life as well as methods of criminal discipline that have throughout infantine life. It is by an ex- been proposed and legally enforced, none perimentally-gained knowledge of the na- have answered the expectations of their tural consequences, that men and women | advocates. Not only have artificial pun. ishments failed to produce reformation, check upon such delinquency. It is unbut they have in many cases increased the questionable that the scoldings, and criminality. The only successful reforma- threats, and blows, which a passionate pa tories are those privately-established ones rent visits on offending little ones, are efwhich have approximated their régime to fects actually produced in such a parent by the method of Nature—which have done their offenses; and so are, in some sort, little more than administer the natural con- to be considered as among the natural resequences of criminal conduct: the natural actions of their wrong actions. And we consequences being, that by imprisonment are by no means prepared to say that or other restraint, the criminal shall have these modes of treatment are not relativehis liberty of action diminished as much ly right-right, that is, in relation to unas is needful for the safety of society; controllable children of ill- controlled and that he shall be made to maintain adults; and right in relation to a state of himself while living under this restraint. society in which such ill-controlled adults Thus we see not only that the discipline make up the mass of the people. As by which the young child is so success already suggested, educational systems, fully taught to regulate its movements is like political and other institutions, are also the discipline by which the great generally as good as the state of human mass of adults are kept in order, and nature permits. The barbarous children more or less improved ; but that the dis- of barbarous parents are probably only to cipline humanly devised for the worst be restrained by the barbarous methods adults, fails when it diverges from this which such parents spontaneously employ; divinely ordained discipline, and begins to while submission to these barbarous mesucceed when it approximates to it. thods is perhaps the best preparation such
children can have for the barbarous so. Have we not here, then, the guiding ciety in which they are presently to play principle of moral education ? Must we a part. Conversely, the civilized memnot infer that the system so beneficent in bers of a civilized society will spontaneits effects, alike during infancy and ously manifest their displeasure in less maturity, will be equally beneficent violent ways — will spontaneously use throughout youth? Can any one believe milder measures : measures strong enough that the method which answers so well in for their better-natured children. Thus the first and the last divisions of life will it is doubtless true that, in so far as the not answer in the intermediate division ? expression of parental feeling is concerned, Is it not manifest that as ministers and the principle of the natural reäction is alinterpreters of Nature” it is the function ways more or less followed. The system of parents to see that their children of domestic government ever gravitates habitually experience the true conse towards its right form. quences of the conduct-the natural re- But now observe two important facts. actions : neither warding them off, nor in- In the first place, observe that, in states tensifying them, nor putting artificial con- of rapid transition like ours, which witsequences in place of them? No unpre- ness a long-drawn battle between old and judiced reader will hesitate in his assent. new theories and old and new practices,
Probably, however, not a few will con- the educational methods in use are apt to tend that already most parents do this, be considerably out of harmony with the that the punishments they inflict are, in times. In deference to dogmas fit only the majority of cases, the true conse for the ages that uttered them, many paquences of ill-conduct—that parental an- / rents inflict punishments that do violence ger, venting itself in harsh words and to their own feelings, and so visit on their deeds, is the result of a child's transgres- children unnatural reactions; while other sion—and that, in the suffering, physical parents, enthusiastic in their hopes of innor moral, which the child is subject to, it mediate perfection, rush to the opposite experiences the natural reäction of its extreme. And then observe, in the semisbehavior. Along with much error cond place, that the discipline on which this assertion, doubtless, contains some we are insisting is not so much the ex. truth. It is unquestionable that the dis- perience of parental approbation or displeasure of fathers and mothers is a true approbation, which, in inost cases, is only consequence of juvenile delinquency; and a secondary consequence of a cbild's conthat the manifestation of it is a normal duct; but it is the experience of those re