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while the attention is thus distracted, and borne away from subject to subject at the command of an hour-glass, the overloaded memory is ingeniously propped by a complex artificial system of common-places, to which there lies but one small objection, that it is more difficult to understand, remember, and apply, than to recollect things by their natural associations.
The eldest children have now arrived at an age when the intellects usually begin to exert themselves, when the senses and the imagination are active in their influence on the judgment, and present endless themes for the exercise of its hitherto untried powers: but here again art and tuition interfere to spoil the work of nature. Opinions on all subjects are presented for acceptance, "ready cut and dried," and all books are prohibited except under the direction of a person hired to read with the young folks, and to impress on them a due obstinacy and pertinacity, not only in sectarian religion and factious politics, but in matters of criticism and general literature. The poor creatures are never suffered to think for themselves; and they are consequently as dogmatic and as positive on Homer, Racine, Byron, Hume, Bishop Berkeley, and Adam Smith, as they are on transubstantiation and the thirty-nine articles. Their notions are in all cases alike infused in the true parrot way, independent of unprejudiced reason, and unfounded on legitimate deduction: and thus cribbed up in an intellectual manège, they are ready to be committed into the hands of some favourite reviewer, (whose periodical oracles will lead them in his own orthodox faith)-incapable of receiving a new idea, or of being disturbed in an ancient prejudice; too timid to doubt, too unpractised to enquire, and too feeble to tolerate in others opinions they can neither comprehend nor combat themselves.
The manner in which the young folks passed their infancy was well fitted for this subjection of the intellect. Brought into company after dinner, for the mere purposes of maternal vanity, the rest of their life was passed with nursery-maids, and with instructors scarcely more enlightened than nursery-maids. If, perchance, they ventured on a question, it was evaded by a lie or an equivoque; sometimes because the respondent was too ignorant to reply; sometimes, because the questionist was too scrutinizing for the contradictions and absurdities of received opinions and practices. At best, their knowledge was made up of isolated particularities, unconnected by general views or enlarged principles. That "Dr. Gripetithe is a very good man," or "Colebs in search of a Wife, is a very good book," was the deepest stretch of their judgments on men and things, before they were launched into the prescribed course of hardy assertions and unexamined opinions, which afterwards formed the climax of their education.
The business of education is one of so much difficulty, that with all the accumulated experience of ages, the most striking geniuses are still found amongst those, who have escaped altogether from the trammels of scholastic discipline, and who have been formed by the direct influence of things, operating under the pressure of strong necessities.
* These terms are not exclusively applicable to those sects and parties which are deemed heterodox. A churchman may have the zeal of a sectarian, and a govern ment-man be a factious partizan. The phrases are used, therefore, without reference to aany particular creed, civil or religious, and merely in contradistinction to true religion and genuine patriotism.
The real object of a good education is fact; the scope to which, both in public and in private instruction, it is habitually adapted, is opinion. How far this is a necessary evil, is a subject too vast for the present paper. It is sufficient to notice, that in the actual state of society opinions are esteemed more important than solid information; and that infinitely more care is taken to preserve the world as it is, than to push it forward in the career of improvement. As long as this condition remains, there can be no question on the superiority of public over private tuition. In public institutions the habits inculcated may be vicious, the opinions and prejudices may be false (and indeed this is but too frequently the case); still, however, these vices and these false notions are those of the many. The pupil of the public is at least sure to be in the majority; while the creature of private instruction may be in error, both with reference to the nature of things, and to his own social and personal interests, to boot. If our national schools seldom permit their youth to get the start of their age and country, they are at least on a level with it; while domestic education fixes in its subject all the local peculiarities by which it is surrounded. It may make him wiser and better than others; it more frequently leaves him below the average standard; and almost always it renders him quizzical, bashful, and timid; unfit for the business of life, and unequal to figure in society. Few persons are competent to educate their own children; and it is a vast presumption in the idle and the ignorant to undertake the charge. However imperfect public education may be, it is at least systematic-a connected and arranged whole, which does not change with every caprice in the instructor.
Girls' schools, for the most part, partake of the vices both of public and of private tuition; while, from the limited scope of female education, it may be more safely trusted to domestic superintendents: but any thing is better than the eternally meddling, changing, hesitating, yet persevering interference, of an ignorant, shallow, pretending mother, whose utmost effort is to constantly toil after fashions, which she can never overtake; and to torment and tease her children with endless undigested experiments in the conduct of mind and body.
Under all plans of education, however, the fate of children is sufficiently hard; for if private tuition be too much a matter of caprice, public schools are too much an affair of routine. Many a child suffers incredibly, and goes through much unjust punishment; because the business of the school is neither adapted to his personal taste, nor to the mode and degree of his mental developement. In private instruction a boy may sometimes escape being treated like a blockhead, because his tutor has not the ability to discover the difficulty which impedes his progress; but in public schools the master has not the time, nor will the system ever allow enquiry into such minutia. There is a theoretic equality in the capacities and attainments presupposed in all public instruction; and woe to the lad who is either above or below this level! This serves to explain the tedious march of public education, in which six or eight years are spent in the imperfect acquirement of two languages-a miserable loss of time!
But to come back to the point from which we started: What a mass of misery, what tears and sufferings, are accumulated within the space of these years! what privations, what indignities, what injustice! Of all the youths crowded into a public school, how few are there to
whom learning is not rendered a most irksome and detested slavery, and who do not leave the establishment with a firm resolution never again to open a book from the moment of their emancipation! Is this necessary ?—is this desirable? and if not, can it be remedied? These are important points for the consideration of parents. Thank Heaven, I have no children to educate; and thank Heaven again, I have left behind almost the recollection of that always envied, always praised epoch, of childhood, from which all are so happy to escape: -an epoch of feebleness, helplessness, ignorance, close restraint, and subjection. I would not undergo it again, to be born heir to a Dukedom. C. M..
THE FLOWER THAT FEELS NOT SPRING.`
FROM the prisons dark of the circling bark
From the lark and linnet, the blackbird and thrush.
To light and life from the darkness leaping;
And water'd its bed with a father's tears,
Such as angels shake from their sunny wings,-
As the matin ray of the god of day
Brightens the dew which at last it dries :
Yes, Fanny, I cannot regret thy clay,
When I think where thy spirit has wing'd it way.
So wither we all-so flourish and fall,
Like the flowers, and weeds that in churchyards wave;
Our leaves we spread over comrades dead,
And blossom and bloom with our root in the grave;-
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust!
If death's worst smart is to feel that we part
From those whom we love and shall see no more,
It softens his sting to know that we wing
Our flight to the friends who have gone before,
BRITISH GALLERIES OF ART.-NO. VI.
LET those who would see this delightful collection to the best advantage, choose for their visit to it a fine sunshiny day-in winter. Let them, as they wind along the hard ringing road from Championhill to the pretty village in the centre of which the College is situated, (I am taking it for granted that they will choose to walk the latter part of the way), let them observe the trees, denuded of their green attire as if purposely to form a study for the artist and the lover of nature, spreading forth their thousand branches against the cold gray sky— their solid trunks (alike in summer and winter) rising from the green earth like pillars, and here and there wreathed with the clasping ivy, that gives ornament in return for support;-let them, as they pursue the gracefully winding and picturesque road that leads to the village, watch (through the unclothed hedgerows) the various changes in the prospect on either hand-which they cannot do in summer, and which would scarcely look more lovely if they could;-let them listen to the low call of the robin-redbreast, as he flits pertly from the road-side at their approach, or sings wildly sweet as he perches himself on the topmost twig of yonder thorn that has been suffered to outgrow the rest of the close-cut hedge ;-finally, let them, as they arrive at and are about to enter the Gallery, turn to the little upland that faces it at a short distance, heaving its green bosom into a gentle sweep, and looking as bright and happy beneath the winter sun as it does beneath the
The reader must not think that I am heedlessly calling upon him to attend to these objects of external nature, instead of leading him at once to those of which we are more immediately in search. I have purposely asked him to fix the former on his memory, and to yield himself for a moment to their influence exclusively, in order that, by a pleasing and not abrupt contrast, he may be the better prepared to appreciate the blush, the bloom, the burning glow of beauty that will fall upon his senses from the rich summer of Art that greets him on his entrance to this exquisite Gallery: for whatever season may obtain without, within these walls a perpetual summer reigns, and diffuses its sweet influence through all that come, in virtue of those exquisite works of the Flemish landscape-painters which form the staple of this collection. Not that it is without many most choice and a few invaluable specimens of almost all the other classes of the art; but the landscapes of Cuyp, of Both, of Wouvermans, of Wynants, of Ruysdael, &c.-but particularly those of Cuyp-are its distinguishing features.
To describe a landscape, even of Claude or Cuyp, is but to offer the reader Nature at third or fourth hand; for, though these works themselves are in many instances, as objects of direct sight, as good as the scenes they represent, yet any description of them can never be made so. In fact, no description of them, as pictures, can be given : any attempt to do so must end in being a description of a natural scene; and this is not what is wanted, generally speaking. I shall therefore endeavour, instead, to point out a few of the distinguishing characteristics of the artists whose works I am alluding to; and then
refer to such of their works in this Gallery as seem calculated to illustrate my meaning.
ALBERT CUYP is incomparably the finest among the Flemish landscape-painters, with the exception of Paul Potter. There is a simplicity, a purity, and a truth of character about his best works, which none of his other rivals were capable of reaching; and there is, at the same time, not only an absence of all the faults, but a union of nearly all the merits, by which those rivals were distinguished respectively. Čuyp has all the delicious warmth and elegance of Both, without that feathery lightness of touch in the details which so frequently takes from He has all the sweetness of Wouverthe natural effect of his scenes.
mans, without his finical and affected niceness; all the brightness of Wynants, without his patchy, fluttery, and undecided mode of handling; and all the elegance and neatness of Berchem, without that insipid and mawkish manner which dilutes even the best results of his efforts.-Cuyp must have possessed incomparably more imagination than any other Flemish landscape-painter, or than all the others united; for, though he appears rarely to have strayed beyond the suburbs of his native town of Dort, he has, by the aid of an extremely limited number of objects of study that he met with there, created scenes of the most chaste and exquisite beauty, unlike any thing that he could have seen, and yet consistent with nature and with themselves in every particular. He seems to me to have conceived these scenes in his mind in the first instance, and (so to speak) finished them there, and then to have as it were breathed them on his canvass, almost without the aid of his pencil-so sweetly clear, delicate, and ethereal some of them are. I now allude in particular to two or three in this collection. Number 3, in the first room, is an open country, with a broken fore-ground, bare of trees, two cows and two men in the centre, and distant hills; and yet there is a fascination in the effect of it that is indescribable. It seems all-cattle, men, ground, hills, clouds, and all-made of woven air and sunshine. There are no marks of the pencil about it. You cannot tell how it got there,-unless, as I before said, it has been -a vision of the golden agebreathed there. And you cannot be sure that it will stay before you -that it is not an illusion of the mindand that when you take your eyes off it, it will not, when they return, have disappeared. I confess that this, and two or three others of the same kind in this collection, give me a more apt idea of the golden age of the poets than all the classical works expressly intended to typify it even those of Claude and Poussin themselves; and this notwithstanding the perfect truth of the details introduced into them, and above all, the rude and altogether modern character of the figures, -No. 18, in the same room, is another deand the dresses they wear.It is a landscape consisting of two delicious example of what I mean. partments, divided from each other by two of those rich and elegantlyfoliaged trees that Claude so frequently ran up in the centre of his pictures. The right-hand department is a secluded spot, shaded from the sun by light foliage, with a pool of clear water to make it still cooler-and two silent fishers to make it still more silent; while the left is all open, stretching away into the distance, and misty with heat,
-the distant mountain seeming to quiver through the mist, as objects do that you see beyond an open space of sand or earth from which the heat