A spirit, breathing the language of independence, is natural to Englishmen, few of whom are disposed to brook compulsion, or submit to the dictates of others, when not softened by reason, or tempered with kindness.
The same stimulus that animates men to action, will have a proportionate effect on juvenile minds.
I am persuaded, that if any attempt is made to improve the education of the poor, and such an unmanly spirit should guide the resolution of a society or committee for that purpose, it would render the design abortive.
Indeed, I am sometimes inclined to doubt whether some men consider youth as rational and intelligent beings, with minds capable of expansion, and talents formed for usefulness.
Mankind are divided into sects, and individuals think very differently on religious subjects, from the purest motives; and that gracious common Parent, who loves all his children alike, beholds with approbation every one who worships him in sincerity.
All are agreed, that the increase of learning and good morals are great blessings to society.
At a moderate calculation, among a million of persons inhabiting the metropolis, there are, at least, twenty-five thousand children who attend these schools, and cost their parents as many pounds sterling, per annum.
Many thousands of youth have been deprived of the benefit of education thereby, their morals ruined, and talents irretrievably lost to society, for want of cultivation: while two parties have been idly contending who should bestow it.
IT is difficult to speak or write with becoming moderation or propriety, on topics to which we are biased by prejudice, interest, or even principle.
A system of education, which would not gratify this disposition in any party, is requisite, in order to obviate the difficulty, and the reader will find a something said to that purpose in perusing this tract.
May this plain statement of facts prevail on the friends of the rising generation to interpose for their welfare; that the education of children may no longer be to parent and master a lottery, in which the prizes bear no proportion to the enormous number of blanks.
The institution of a public library, containing books on education, would be well adapted for the information of teachers, many of whom are not able to purchase expensive publications on those subjects.
This system of encouragement proves serviceable as a preventive of punishment, the attainment of the tickets being a reward, the forfeiture of them the reverse; and, as such, boys seem often more affected by their loss than by coercion.
When obedience to the Divine precepts keeps pace with knowledge, in the mind of any man, that man is a Christian; and when the fruits of Christianity are produced, that man is a disciple of our blessed Lord, let his profession of religion be what it may.
I was induced to establish several orders of merit, from conviction that emulation, well directed, becomes a useful servant; and, that the latent genius of some youth is more easily brought into action this way, than by the more sordid gratification of self-interest.
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