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dire' means "dreadful,” horrible,' evil in a great degree.? Hydras, and gorgons, and chimeras dire,' says Milton; and the Diræ' of the ancients were the Furies of hell.
By what conventional rules, by what settled laws of custom and usage, in the thirty-one Grammar and Writing Schools of Boston, or in any of them, has it come to pass, that the mildest' accents of gentleness and love — and those intended to appear' such to a stranger '- should shake the heart of a pupil with consternation, for the dire consequences' they portend'? Whence this profanation of the words and tones of affection; whence this execrable hypocrisy, and this open, unblushing avowal of it? Was the utterer of this sentiment unconscious of its baseness, or did he so far mistake the moral sense of this community as to suppose it could pass without rebuke? How has it come to pass, that when a teacher passes round among his pupils, in the presence of visiters and strangers, and, to all outward appearance, says cheeringly, and in the mildest tones, to a young master, Well, my fine fellow,' or · My
to a young miss, they should know that, as soon as those visiters are in the street, their limbs will be girdled with stripes? If this sentence, about the mildest terms' being portentous of dire consequences,' were read to the Thirty-one, without rousing a dissenting voice, then I believe they are the only thirty-one men to be found in the city of Boston who could hear it unmoved. Let me say, that it is doctrines on the subject of School Discipline' like those contained in the * Remarks, and practices conformable to them, which, in so many places, have degraded the sacred name of school teacher ; and made that most intrinsically honorable of all appellations a hissing and a by-word among men.” Reply, pp. 157, 158.
Surely, this is a very harsh construction of the Teacher's language. If a distinguished stranger — a foreign minister, for instance -should visit one of our Boston schools, we should think it was a proof, not of “execrable hypocrisy,” but of decency and good taste in the master, not to annoy his visiter by any painful exhibition of the details of discipline, but to postpone the infliction of any punishment that might be necessary to a more convenient season.
On occasion of a public visitation of a seminary, it is quite common to have the apartment swept and garnished with particular care, and the walls ornamented with some simple arrangement of flowers and
green branches. Would it not be harsh to charge the instructer, on this account, with prac
tising hypocrisy and deceit, and laboring to give his visiters a false idea of the neatness and order commonly preserved in the establishment ? To dwell upon and exaggerate the meaning of the word “ dire,” by connecting it with horrible ideas of gorgons, and chimeras, and the Furies, is as ludicrous as it is unjust. Every reader gifted with common sense must perceive, that the phrase " dire consequences” is here used by the teacher in a half playful sense, implying a state of mind which is the very opposite of bitterness and severity.
In the notice which introduces the “ Remarks " the following sentence. " The teacher, who has stood for many years, himself against a host of five or six hundred children from all ranks and conditions of society, thinks he may once ask a hearing before the public.” The morsel of a quotation in this sentence is not in very good taste, but it seems inoffensive enough. Fatigued and harassed by his unremitting duties, the teacher might well claim some sympathy, on the ground that he has so long stood alone " against a host ” of children, though each one of his pupils, individally, was to him an object of strong affection. "Few would think of 6nding in this casual expression any sign of opposition, loathing, or hostility towards those who were intrusted to his charge. Yet Mr. Mann comments upon it as follows :
“ Before the vestibule, in the outer court of this temple which the Thirty-one have reared and consecrated to education, is the following inscription : "The teacher who has stood for many years, " himself against a host” of five or six hundred chil. dren.' Yes; "against a host'! — not for, not with, but adversely to ; — not as a guide and counsellor, but," for many years,' as a combatant and antagonist ! - the whole presenting the image of belligerent forces and a hostile array, of whose fierce encounters the school-room is the battle-ground ! ”
This is the ingenuity of fault-finding run mad. Coming from any other person, we should at once pronounce it to be captious and unreasonable.
In considering the cases adduced by Mr. Mann, of large institutions successfully managed by moral suasion," or very mild means, the teacher properly takes a distinction between what he calls " sanative establishments” almshouses, insane asylums, “ redemption institutes," prisVOL. LX. No. 126.
and the like and the common schools of a great city. He argues very rightly, that the situation of the unfortunate inmates of such asylums necessarily creates in their ininds a sense of entire dependence and indebtedness, which renders them far more susceptible of control. He might have added, — the consideration being of still greater weight, that these unhappy persons remain constantly within the walls, under the eye of their guardians, the system of management thus operating upon them without break, and without the admission of foreign and injurious influences ; while the boys of the Boston public schools are under the charge of their teachers for not more than a fourth part of the twenty-four hours, and, during the rest of the time, many of them are at home with vicious, foolish, or negligent parents, or are exposed to all the corrupting and hardening influences of the streets of a large city.
Whether the distinction here set up is broad enough to justify the use of physical coercion in common schools, after it is shown that “ sanative establishments” can be managed without it, or without the use of equivalent means equally objectionable, we do not undertake to say ; probably it is not.
But the distinction is evidently good as far as it goes ; it is a fair and inoffensive argument, which deserves to be candidly considered. Will it be believed, that Mr. Mann so far perverts this argument as to charge the Teacher with maintaining the monstrous doctrine, that kindness is the appropriate means of influence “ for thieves and vagabonds,” but not “for honest, noble-souled boys”? But we will do the Secretary the justice, severe though it be, of quoting his own words. “A way, then, is
open, one condition is still left, — by which you may save your children from the degradation of stripes, and the dastard crouchings of fear; and by which you may secure for them a government and training, whose means are active occupations, music, and Christian love,' — Christian instruction and Christian benevolence.' Abandon them. Strip off the lineaments of love from your countenance, and put on those of a fiend. Let your words scorch instead of counselling. For embraces, give blows. When night comes on, send them abroad for theft, instead of teaching them to bend their knees, and lift up their voices, in thanksgiving for the past blessings of the light, and the coming blessings of the darkness ;
pp. 152, 153.
and at last, when the officers of the law shall have seized them for theft, or burglary, or incendiarism, console yourselves with the reflection, that, for such children,kindness is the appropriate, and should be the almost exclusive means of influence';. that they can now be blessed by Christian instruction and Christian love,' because their present condition has only a very partial bearing upon the question of discipline in our common schools.'
It is an old rule for the logical conduct of a discussion, that an opponent is not to be charged with any odious consequences that may, fairly enough, be deducible from his doctrine, unless he expressly avows and defends them. The reasonableness of this rule is evident. He may not have foreseen that his opinion would lead to such results, and would have shrunk with horror from them, if he had ; or he may not have carefully limited his statement, supposing that the necessary and obvious qualifications and exceptions would be taken for granted. Now, the writer of the last portion of the “ Remarks” has but one object in view ; he endeavours to show, that “school discipline must be based upon authority, as a starting-point"; he holds, that the duty of submission and obedience, as such, explicit and unreserved, must be inculcated on the mind of a child, even, if it be necessary, by a resort to extreme means, poral punishment. Of course, it is sufficiently implied, is, indeed, it be not expressly stated in the sentence we have already quoted, that all milder means must first be tried, and physical pain be made the last resort. Mr. Mann takes no notice of this limitation, and argues, or rather declaims, throughout, on the supposition, that the whole philosophy of school discipline, according to the Teacher, is contained in the four words, “ Authority, Force, Fear, Pain”; these are Mr. Mann's words, or rather the selection and collocation are his ; he afterwards alters them to “ Power, Violence, Terror, Suffering.” He says, “ It is here, that the * Remarks' introduce us to a frozen midnight, where the light of love is extinguished, and all moral sentiment and humanity are congealed.” Very strong language, certainly, and strikingly opposed to that of Mr. Emerson, who gives his entire assent to the doctrine of the Teacher as above stated, saying, “This most important principle is sustained with power and success; it is placed, so far as reasoning can
place it, on an immovable foundation.” Mr. Emerson even admits the necessity of using the authority of brute force “ in extreme cases,” though he grieves that this idea " should have occupied so large a place in so pure a mind as that from which this portion of the Remarks' came. Will Mr. Mann include in his anathema all who have expressly sanctioned this doctrine of the Teacher ?
But the most striking instance of the transgression of the logical rule above stated still remains. Mr. Mann insists, that the Teacher has stated his principle “ without making any exception as to age, sex, or disposition.” No express exception, it is true ; but would not charity imply one ? At any rate, does not the rule already given forbid his taking any advantage of this omission in arguing against the ain principle ? And yet he proceeds to hold the Teacher responsible for defending the abominable practice of " flogging girls,” though there is not one word upon this topic in any part of the Remarks.” Why not also make him answerable, since there is no exception as to age, for whipping infants less than a year old ? There would be quite as much charity and justice in the latter case as in the former. We can hardly believe, that, in the Boston public schools, females are actually exposed to this degradation and cruelty. If they are, in the name of decency and humanity, earnestly do we entreat the guardians of those institutions to put an immediate stop to the disgraceful practice. But whether the practice exists or not, Mr. Mann, when his only ostensible purpose is to reply to the remarks of the Teacher, has no right to make him responsible for an inference from his doctrine, which he neither avows nor defends. To heap up indignant denunciations on this point, under the circumstances of the present discussion, is to cast unreasonable and undeserved odium upon his opponent, without advancing a step in the refutation of that opponent's principles. The following extract affords a fait specimen of his language upon this theme.
“ In the clear vista of futurity, pictured against a serener sky, and glowing in a celestial light, I see, by the eye of faith, the heralds of Universal Peace. The great prophecy of Christianity is at last fulfilled. Emblems have become realities, and hope is lost in fruition. There is peace on earth and good-will among men. But lo! what hideous spectacle profanes this hal