The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4
It is the duty of parents to educate their children—To be able to discharge this duty, parents themselves must be educated—Deficiency of education in Scotland—Means of supplying the deficiency—It is a duty to provide for children—Best provision for children consists in a sound constitution, good moral and intellectual training, and instruction in useful knowledge—What distribution of the parents' fortune should be made?—Rights of parents and duties of children—Obedience to parents—Parents bound to render themselves worthy of respect—Some children born with defective moral and intellectual organs—How they should be treated.
Next to the duty of providing for the physical health and enjoyment of their children, parents are bound to train and educate them properly, so as to fit them for the discharge of the duties of life. The grounds of this obligation are obvious. The human body and mind consist of a large assemblage of organs and faculties, each possessing native energy and an extensive sphere of action, and capable of being used or abused, according as it is directed. The extensive range of these powers, a prime element in the dignity of man, renders education exceedingly important. As parents are the authors and guardians of beings thus endowed, it is clearly their duty to train their faculties, and to direct them to their proper objects. "To send an uneducated child into the world," says Paley, "is little better than to turn out a mad dog, or a wild beast into the streets."
To conduct education properly, it is necessary to know the physical and mental constitution of the being to be educated, and also the world in which he is to be an actor. Generally speaking, the former knowledge is not possessed, and the latter object is very little regarded. How many parents are able to call up, even in their own minds, any satisfactory view of the mental faculties (with their objects and spheres of action) which they aim at training in their children? How many add to this knowledge an acquaintance with the physical constitution of the human being, and of the kind of treatment which is best calculated to develope favourably its energies and capabilities? Nay, who can point out even a body of professional teachers who are thus highly accomplished? I fear few of us can do so.
I do not blame either parents or teachers for the present imperfect state of their knowledge; because they themselves were not taught; indeed, the information here described did not exist a few years ago, and it exists but to a very limited extent still. Ignorance, therefore, is our misfortune, rather than our fault; and my sole object in adverting to its magnitude is to present us with motives to remove it. While it continues so profound and extensive as it has hitherto generally been, sound and salutary education can no more be accomplished than you can cause light to shine forth out of darkness. Scotland has long boasted of her superior education; but her eyes are now opening to the groundlessness of this pretension. In [unclear: Mar] 1835, Dr. Welsh, in the General page 38 Assembly, told the nation that Protestant Germany, and even some parts of Catholic Germany, are, in that respect, far before us. The public mind is becoming so much alive to our deficiencies, that better prospects open up for the future. The details of education cannot be here entered into; but it may be remarked, that Phrenology points out the necessity of training the propensities and sentiments, as well as cultivating and instructing the understandings of children. For accomplishing these ends, Infant Schools on Mr Wilderspin's plan are admirably adapted.
The objects of education are—to strengthen the faculties that are too weak, to restrain those which are too vigorous, to store the intellect with moral, religious, scientific, and general knowledge, and to direct all to their proper objects. In cultivating the intellect, we should bear in view that external nature is as directly adapted to our different intellectual powers as light is to the eye; and that the whole economy of our constitution is arranged on the principle that we shall study the qualities and relations of external objects, apply them to our use, and also adapt our conduct to their operation. The three great means of education are domestic training, public schools, and literature or books. The first will be improved by instructing parents; the second by the diffusion of knowledge among the people at large; while the third is now—through the efforts of those philanthropists who have given birth to really cheap moral and scientific literature (particularly Messrs Chambers of Edinburgh)—placed within the reach of every class of the community.
Messrs Chambers have lately added to their other means of instruction, a series of cheap books on education, in which the lights of modern knowledge are brought together to illuminate, and render practical, this interesting subject. Europe is, at this moment, only waking out of the slumbers of the dark ages; she is beginning to discover that she is ignorant, and to desire instruction. The sun of knowledge, however, is still below the horizon to vast multitudes of our British population; but they are startled by a bright effulgence darting from a radiant sky, and they now know that that light is the dawn of a glorious day, which will tend to terminate their troubled dreams of ignorance and folly. Let us help to arouse them—let us lead them to pay their morning orisons in the great temple of universal truth. "When they shall have entered into that temple, let us introduce them to nature and to nature's God; and let us hasten the hour when the whole human race shall join together, to celebrate His power, wisdom, and goodness, in strains which will never cease till creation pass away; for we know that the sun of knowledge (unlike the orb of day), when once risen, will never set, but will continue to emit brighter and brighter rays, till time shall be no more. In eternity, alone, can we conceive the wonders of creation to be completely unfolded, and the mind of man to be satiated with the fulness of information.
In the present course of Lectures I am treating merely of duties; and when I point out to you the foundation and extent of the duty of educating your children, it is all that I can accomplish. I cannot here discuss the manner in which you may best discharge this obligation. This instruction can be obtained only by a thorough education of your own minds; and the courses of lectures provided by the Philosophical Association are admirable auxiliaries to the attainment of this end. After you have become acquainted with Anatomy and Physiology as the keys to the physical constitution of man; with [unclear: Phrenology] as the development of his mental [unclear: constitution]; with Chemistry, Natural History. and
Natural Philosophy, as expositions of the external world and with Political Economy and Moral Philosophy as the sciences of human action; you will be in possession of the rudimentary or elementary knowledge necessary to enable you to comprehend and profit by a course of lectures on practical education, which is really the application of this knowledge to the most important of all purposes, that of training the body to health, and the mind to virtue, intelligence, and happiness. I hope that the directors of this Association will hereafter induce some qualified lecturer to undertake such a course, but I beg leave to express my humble conviction, that no error is more preposterous than that which leads many persons to suppose that, without this preliminary or elementary knowledge, parents can be taught how to educate their children successfully.
The process of education consists in training faculties, and communicating knowledge; and it appears to me to be about as hopeless a task to attempt to perform this duty by mere rules and directions, as it was for the Israelites to make bricks in Egypt without straw. I am the more anxious to insist on this point, because no error is more common in the practical walks of life, than the belief that a parent can learn how to educate a child without undergoing the labour of educating himself. Many parents of both sexes, but particularly mothers, have told me, that if I would lecture on Education, they would come and hear me; because they considered the education of their children to be a duty, and were disposed to sacrifice the time necessary for obtaining instruction how to discharge it. When I recommended to them to begin by studying Physiology, Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, and Phrenology, at least to such an extent as to be able to comprehend the nature of the body and mind which they proposed to train, and the objects by which the mind and body are surrounded, and on which education is intended to enable them to act,—they instantly declared that they had no time for these extensive inquiries, and that information about education was what they wanted, as it alone was necessary to their object. I told them, in vain, that these were preliminary steps to any available knowledge of education. They were so ignorant of mind and of its faculties and relations, that they could not conceive this to be the case, and refused to attend these courses of instruction.
If I could succeed in persuading you of the truth of this view, the permanence of this association, and the success of its lectures, would be secured; because the industrious citizens of Edinburgh would prize it as a grand means of preparing their own minds for the important duty of educating their children, and would no longer come hither merely to be amused, or to pass an idle hour; they would regard every science taught by this association, as a step towards the attainment of the most important object of human life—that of training the young to health, intelligence, virtue, and enjoyment.*
* The Lectures of the Philosophical Association, after being intermitted for several years, were resumed in the winter 1845-6.
It is of much importance to children to give them correct views of the real principles, machinery, and objects of life, and to train them to act systematically in relation to them, in their habitual conduct. What should we think of a merchant who should embark himself, his wife, family, and fortune, on board of a ship; take the command of it himself, and set sail on a voyage of adventure, without knowledge of navigation, without charts, and without having any particular port of destination in view? We should consider him as a lunatic: And yet many men are launched forth on the sea of active life, as ill provided with knowledge and objects, as the individual here imagined. Suppose, however, our adventurous navigator to use the precaution of placing himself under convoy, to attach himself to a fleet, to sail when they sailed, and to stop when they stopped, we should still lament his ignorance, and reckon the probabilities great of his running foul of his companions in the voyage, foundering in a storm, being wrecked on shoals or sunken rocks, or making an unproductive speculation, even if he safely attained a trading port. This simile appears to me to be scarcely an exaggeration of the condition in which young men in general embark in the business of the world. The great mass of society is the fleet to which they attach themselves; it is moving onwards, and they move with it; sometimes it is favoured with prosperity, sometimes overtaken by adversity, and they passively undergo its various fates; sometimes they make shipwreck of themselves by running foul of their neighbours' interests, or by deviating from the course, and encountering hazards peculiarly their own; but in all they do, and in all they suffer, they obey an impulse from without, and rarely pursue any definite object, except the acquisition of wealth, and they follow even it, without a systematic plan. If you consider that this moving mass called society is only a vast assemblage of individuals, nearly all equally ignorant, and that the impulses which they obey, are merely the desires of the most energetic minds, pursuing, often blindly, their individual advantage, you cannot be surprised at the strange gyrations which society has so often exhibited. In rude ages, the leaders and the people loved "the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," they moved to the sound of the trumpet, and rejoiced in the clang of arms. In our day, the leaders steer to wealth and fame, and the mass toils after them as best it may. In one year a cotton mania seizes the leaders, and vast portions of the people are infected with the disease. In another year, a mania for joint-stock companies attacks them, and their followers again catch the infection. In a third year, a fever for railroads seizes on them, and all rush into speculations in stock. In these varying aspects of social movements, we discover nothing like a well-considered scheme of action, adopted from knowledge, and pursued to its results. The leaders and the multitude appear equally to be moved by impulses which control and correct each other by collision and concussion, but in each of which thousands of individuals are crushed to death, although the mass escapes and continues to move forward in that course which corresponds to the direction of the last force which was applied to it.
It appears to me, that, by correct and enlarged knowledge of human nature, and of the external world, the young might be furnished with a chart and plan of life, suited to their wants, desires, and capacities, as rational beings. If they should subsequently become leaders, this would enable them to steer social course with greater precision and advantage than has been done in bygone times: or, if they remained humble members of the body-politic, to shape their individual courses, so as in some degree to avoid the collisions and concussions which reckless ardour, in alliance with ignorance, is ever encountering. A young man, if properly instructed, should commence active life with a clear perception of the natural laws by which social interests, and particularly those of the profession which he adopts, are governed; the results to which the various courses of action submitted to his choice are calculated to lead; and the steps by which these results are in general evolved. This advantage, however, is rarely possessed, and the young are left to grope their way, or to join the convoy and sail with the fleet, as they best are able.
Under the present system of impulsive and imitative action, one or other of two errors generally infects the youthful mind. If the parents of a family have long struggled with pecuniary difficulties, and the depression of poverty, but ultimately, after much exertion and painful self-denial, have attained to easy circumstances,—they teach their children almost to worship wealth; and at the same time fill their minds with vivid ideas of laborious exertions, sacrifices, difficulties, cares, and troubles, as almost the only occurrences of life. They represent expense and enjoyment as closely allied with sin; and young persons thus trained, if they possess well-constituted Drains, often become rich, but rarely reap any reasonable satisfaction from their earthly existence. They plod, and toil, and save, and invest; they are often religious, on the principle of laying up treasures in heaven; but cultivate neither their moral nor their intellectual faculties; and at the close of life complain that all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
The second error is diametrically the opposite of this one. Parents of easy, careless dispositions, who have either inherited wealth, or been successful in business without much exertion, generally teach their children the art of enjoying life without that of acquiring the means of doing so; and such children enter into trade or engage in professions under the settled conviction (not conveyed by their parents, perhaps, in direct terms, but insensibly instilled into their minds by example), that the paths of life are all level, clear, and smooth; that they need only to put the machinery of business into motion; and that, thereafter, all will go smoothly forward, affording them funds and leisure for enjoyment, with little anxiety, and very moderate exertion. Young persons thus instructed, if they do not possess uncommonly large organs of Cautiousness and Conscientiousness, go gaily on in active life for a brief space of time, and then become the victims of a false system, and of inexperience. They are ruined, and suffer countless privations. The errors of both these modes of training the young should be avoided.
After health, education, and virtuous habits, the best provision that a parent can make for his son, is to furnish him with sound views of his real situation as a member of the social body. The Creator having destined man to live in society, the social world is so arranged that an individual, illuminated by a knowledge of the laws which regulate social prosperity, by dedicating himself to a useful pursuit, and fulfilling ably the duties connected with it, will meet with very nearly as certain a reward, in the means of subsistence and enjoyment, as if he raised his food directly from the soil. Astonishing stability and regularity are discoverable in the social world, when its constitution and laws of action are understood. If legislators would cease to protect what they can national, but which are really class interests, and would leave the business world free to its spontaneous movements, enforcing by law only the observ- page 40 ance of justice,—the labourer, artisan, manufacturer, and professional practitioner, would find the demands for their labour, goods, or other contributions to the social welfare, to follow with so much constancy and regularity, that, with ability, attention, and morality on the part of each, they would very rarely indeed be left unprovided for. It is of great importance to press home this truth on the minds of the young, and to open their understandings to a perception of the causes which operate in producing this result, that they may enter into active life with a just reliance on the wisdom and goodness of the Creator, in providing the means of subsistence and enjoyment for all who discharge their social duties; and yet with a feeling of the necessity of knowledge, and of the practice of that moral discipline which enforces activity and good conduct at every step, as the natural and indispensable conditions of success.
In our own country, the duty of teaching sound and practical views of the nature of man as an individual, and of the laws which regulate his social condition, to the young, has become doubly urgent since the passing of the Reform Act. Under the previous system of government, only the wealthy were allowed to exercise the political franchise; and as education was a pretty general concomitant of wealth,—power and knowledge (so far as knowledge existed) were to a great degree united in the same hands. Now, however, when great property is no longer indispensable to the exercise of political influence, it is necessary to extend and improve general education. The middle classes of this country have in their own hands the power of returning a majority of the House of Commons; and as the Commons hold the strings of the national purse, and, when nearly unanimous, exercise an irresistible influence in the state, it is obvious that those who elect them ought to be educated and rational men.
In past ages, government has been conducted too often on short-sighted empirical principles, and rarely on the basis of a sound and comprehensive philosophy of man's nature and wants: hence the wars undertaken for futile and immoral purposes; hence the heavy taxes which oppress industry and obstruct prosperity; hence, also, the restrictions, protections, and absurd monopolies, which disgrace the statute-book of the nation;—all of which are not only direct evils, but are attended by this secondary disadvantage—that they have absorbed the funds, and consumed the time and mental energy, which, under a better system, would have been dedicated to the improvement of national and public institutions. Henceforth the government of this country must be animated by, and act up to, the general intelligence of the nation; but it will be impossible for it to advance to any considerable extent beyond it. Every patriot, therefore, will find in this fact an additional motive to qualify himself for expanding the minds, and directing the steps, of the rising generation, that Britain's glory and happiness may pass, untarnished and unimpaired, to the remotest posterity of virtuous and enlightened men.*
The question next arises, What provision in money or land is a parent bound to make for his children? To this no answer, that would suit all circumstances, can be given. As parents cannot carry their wealth to the next world, it must of course be left to some one; and the natural feelings of mankind dictate that it should be given to those who stand nearest in kindred and highest in merit in relation to the testator. With respect to children, in ordinary circumstances, this cannot be questioned; for it is clearly the duty of parents to do all in their power to make happy the existence of those whom they have brought into the world. But difference of customs in different countries, and difference of ranks in the same country, render different principles of distribution useful and proper. In Britain, a nobleman who should distribute L.100,000 equally among ten children, would do great injustice to his eldest son, to whom a title of nobility would descend, with its concomitant expenses; but a merchant who had realized L.100,000, would act more wisely and justly in leaving L.10,000 to each of ten children, than in attempting to found a family by entailing L.82,000 on his eldest son, and leaving only L.2000 to each of the other nine. I consider hereditary titles as an evil to society, and desire their abolition; but while they are permitted to exist, the distribution of wealth should bear reference to the expenses which they necessarily entail on those who inherit them. The United States of America have wisely avoided this institution: and by the laws of most of these States, an equal distribution of the family estate, real and personal, among all the children, ensues on the death of the parents. This practice appears to me to be wise and salutary. It tends to lessen that concentration of all thought and desire on themselves and their families, which is the besetting sin of the rich; and it teaches them to perceive that the prosperity of their children is indissolubly linked with that of their country. As a general rule, parents ought to make the largest provisions for those members of their families who are least able, from sex, constitution, capacity, or education, to provide for themselves.
In the lower ranks of life, where both sexes engage in labour, an equal distribution may, other circumstances being equal, be just; in the. middle ranks (in which it is the custom for males to engage in business, but in which females, in general, do not), if the parents have a numerous family and moderate fortune, I should consider the sons amply provided for, by being furnished with education and a calling; while the property of the parents should be given chiefly to the dependent daughters. It is impossible, however, as I have already hinted, to lay down rules that will be universally applicable.
* * The remarks in the text apply with still greater force to the United States of America. There, the supreme political power is wielded by the mass of the people. No rational person will maintain that one ignorant man is a proper ruler for a great nation; but additions to numbers do not alter the species. Twenty, or a hundred, or a thousand ignorant men, are not wiser than one of them; while they are much more dangerous. They inflame each other's passions, keep each other's follies in countenance, and add to each other's strength. If the United States, therefore, desire to avoid anarchy and ruin, they must educate the mass of their people
Obedience to the organic laws affords the only means of maintaining family possessions undissolved; and until men shall seek the aid which they present, in order to secure a great, virtuous, and flourishing posterity, they will in vain frame acts of Parliament to attain their object.
Parents have rights as well as duties in relation to their children. They are entitled to the produce of the child's labour during its nonage; to its respect and obedience; and, when infirm, to maintenance, if they be in want. These rights on the part of parents imply corresponding duties incumbent on children. The obligation on children to discharge them, flows directly from the dictates of Veneration, Conscientiousness, and Benevolence. It has been objected to Phrenology, that it presents no organ of filial piety—But it points to these three organs as contributing to the fulfilment of duty to parents. Veneration dictates reverence, respect, and obeligence; Conscientiousness dictates gratitude, or a return for their care and affection; while Benevolence impels to the promotion of their happiness by every possible means. Adhesiveness binds old and young in the bonds of reciprocal attachment.
In the lower and middle ranks of life, parents often complain of want of respect and obedience on the part of their children; but a common cause of this evil may be found in the deficient knowledge, harsh dispositions, and rude manners of the parents themselves, which are not calculated to render them really objects of respect to the higher sentiments of their children. The mere fact of being father or mother to a child is obviously not sufficient to excite its moral affections.* The parent must manifest superior wisdom, intelligence, and affection, with a desire to promote its welfare; and then respect and obedience will naturally follow. The attempt to render a child respectful and obedient by merely telling it to be so, is as little likely to succeed as the endeavour to make it fond of music by assuring it that filial duty requires that it should love melody. We must excite the faculty of Tune by pleasing strains; and in like manner the moral sentiments must be addressed by their appropriate objects. Harsh conduct tends naturally to rouse the faculties of Combativeness, Destructiveness, and Self-Esteem; while the Moral Sentiments can be excited only by rational, kind, and just treatment: As reasonably might a father hope to gather figs from a thorn tree as to gain the love and respect of his children by maltreating or neglecting them. If a parent desire to have a docile, affectionate, and intelligent family, he must habitually address himself to their moral and intellectual powers; he must make them feel that he is wise and good—exhibit himself as the natural object of attachment and respect;—and then, by average children, the reciprocal duties of love and obedience will not be withheld.
If parents knew and paid a just regard to the natural and reasonable desires of the young, they would be far less frequently disobeyed than they actually are. Many of their commands forbid the exercise of faculties which in children pant for gratification, and which Nature intended to be gratified; and the misery and disappointment consequent on baulked desire have an effect very different from that of disposing to affection and obedience. The love of muscular motion, for instance, is irrepressible in children, and physiology proves that the voice of Nature ought to be listened to; yet the young are frequently prohibited from yielding to this instinct, that the family or teacher may not be disturbed by noise; tasks unsuitable to their age and dispositions are imposed; their health and happiness are impaired; and when peevishness, unpalatable to the parents, ensues, the children are blamed for being cross and disobedient!
A friend, who is the father of several intelligent children, told me that before he studied Phrenology and the natural laws, he taught his children the Shorter Catechism, and required their obedience on the strength of the Fifth Commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," assuring them that God would punish them by premature death if they disobeyed this injunction. God, he said, had power of life and death over all, and, as he was just, he would enforce his authority. The children soon learned, however, by experience, that this consequence did not follow: they disobeyed, and were threatened; but, finding themselves still alive, they disobeyed again. He was not successful, therefore, by this method, in enforcing obedience.
After becoming acquainted with the natural laws, he still taught them the commandment, but he gave them a different explanation of it. You see, said he, that there are many objects around you, dangerous to your lives: there is fire that will burn you, water that will drown you, poison that will kill you; and also, there are many practices which will undermine the constitution of your vital organs; such as your heart, your stomach, or your lungs (explaining uses of these at the same time), and cause you to die; as you have seen John and Janet, the children of Mrs Wilson and Mrs Brown, die. Now, because I am old, and have listened to my parents, and have studied and observed a great deal, I know what will injure you, and what will not, better than you know yourselves; and I am willing to communicate my knowledge and experience to you, that you may avoid danger and not die, if you choose to listen to, and obey me: but, if you prefer taking your own way, and acting on your own ignorance, you will soon discover that God's threat is not an empty one; you will come home some day, suffering severely from your own rashness and self-will, and you will then learn whether you are right in your disobedience;—you will then understand the meaning of the commandment to be, that if you obey your parents, and avail yourself of their knowledge and experience, you will avoid danger and live; while if you neglect their counsels, you will, through sheer ignorance and self-will, fall into misfortune, suffer severely, and perhaps die. He said that this commentary, enforced from day to day by proofs of his knowing more than the children, and of his ability to advise them to their own good, was successful; they entertained a higher respect for both the commandment and him, and became more obedient.
* * An American clerical Reviewer objected to the text, that it sets aside the Bible, which commands children to honour their father and mother without regard to their qualities. He forgot that the Scriptures require parents to adorn themselves with all the Christian virtues, and that the Fifth Commandment obviously implies that they shall have fulfilled this duty, as the condition of receiving the reverence of their children
In exacting obedience from children, it should never be forgotten that their brains are very differently constituted from each other, and that their mental dispositions vary in a corresponding degree. The organ of Veneration, besides, is generally late in being developed, so that a child may be stubborn and unmanageable under one kind of treatment, or at one age, who will prove tractable and obedient under a different discipline, or at a future period. The aid which parents may derive from Phrenology can hardly be overrated. It enables them to appreciate the natural talents and dispositions of each child, to modify their treatment, and to distinguish between positively vicious tendencies (such as deceit, lying, dishonesty) and other manifestations (such as stubbornness and. disobedience), which often proceed from misdirection of faculties (Self-Esteem and Firmness) that will prove extremely useful under moral guidance in the maturity of the understanding. The reason for watchfulness and anxiety is much greater in the former than in the latter case; because dishonesty, falsehood, and pilfering, betoken not only over-active organs of Secretiveness and Acquisitiveness, but a native deficiency of the controlling moral organs, which is a more serious evil. When the moral organs are adequately possessed, the perceptions of children regarding right and wrong are naturally active and acute; and although individuals with a large development of the organs of the higher sentiments may, under the impulse of the propensities, commit errors in youth, they will certainly improve as age and experience increase.—Where the moral organs are very defective, the character tends to deteriorate in mature life. After the restraints imposed by parental authority are withdrawn, and respect for the world is blunted, persons deficient in these faculties are prone to become victims to their inferior feelings, to disgrace themselves, and to bring sorrow on their connections.
As some individuls are really born with such deficiencies of the moral organs as incapacitate them for pursuing right courses of action, although they possess average intellectual power, and are free from diseased action of the brain; and as there is no legal method of restraining them unless they commit what the law accounts crime; great misery is often endured by their relatives in seeing them proceed from one step of folly and iniquity to another, until they are plunged into irretrievable ruin and disgrace. The Phrenologist who discovers that the source of the evil lies in an imperfect development of the moral organs, views them as patients, and desires that physical restraint should be applied to prevent the abuses of their lower propensities, which they have not sufficient morality to command.* But there is no law authorizing their relatives to treat them in this manner against their inclinations. In some other countries this defect is supplied. At the village of Horn, near Hamburgh, there is a house of refuge for juvenile offenders for both sexes, named Das Rauhe Haus. It consists of several plain inexpensive buildings, situated in a field of a few acres, without walls, fences, bolts, bars, or gates. It is supported by subscription, and the annual cost for each individual in 1837, when I visited it, was L.10, 4s. sterling. It then contained 54 inmates, of whom 13 were girls. A portion of them were offenders who had been condemned by the courts of law for crimes, and suffered the punishment allotted to them in the house of correction, and who afterwards, with the consent of their parents, had come voluntarily to the institution for the sake of reformation. Another portion of them consisted of young culprits apprehended for first offences, and whose parents, rather than have them tried and dealt with according to law, subscribed a contract by which the youths were delivered over for a number of years to this establishment for amendment. And a third portion consisted of children of evil dispositions, whose parents voluntarily applied to have them received into the institution, for the reformation of their vicious habits. Among this last class we saw the son of a German nobleman, who had been sent to it as a last
should punish severely those who err through moral blindness arising from deficiency of certain parts of the brain." The reviewer does not propose to inquire whether this statement be borne out by facts or not; but at once assumes that it is not, and proceeds thus: "This is, indeed, ' a Revelation,' and there can be little doubt that at Sing-Sing and Auburn it would receive a most cordial reception." As my motto is "res non verba" (facts not arguments), I submit the following narrative to the consideration of the Reviewer, and of other persons in a similar frame of mind to his. On the 22d October 1839, I visited the State Prison of Connecticut, at Wethersfield, accompanied by the Rev. Mr Gallaudet, the Rev. Principal Totten, Dr A. Brigham, and four or five other gentlemen, who had attended my course of Lectures on Phrenology, then nearly concluded; it Hartford. I had illustrated the doctrine in the text by the exhibition of numerous casts, and impressed on their minds the peculiar forms of development which distinguish the best from the worst constituted brains. Mr Pillsbury, the Superintendent of the Prison, brought a criminal into his office, without speaking one word concerning his crime or history. I declined to examine his head myself, but requested the gentlemen who accompanied me to do so, engaging to correct their observations, if they erred. They proceeded with the examination, and stated the inferences which they drew, respecting the natural dispositions of the individual. Mr Pillsbury then read from a manuscript paper, which he had prepared before we came, the character as known to him. The coincidence between the two was complete. The prisoner was withdrawn, another was introduced, and the same process was gone through, and with the same result in regard to him. So with a third, and a fourth. Among the criminals, there were striking differences in intellect and in some of the feelings, which were correctly stated by the observers.
* * A writer in the New York Review stigmatises the doctrine in the text, as being "calculated to weaken our sense of accountability, or shake our confidence in moral distinctions." He quotes from the "Reports" of these Lectures the following words: "Extensive observation of the heads of criminals, and inquiry into their feelings and histories, place it beyond a doubt, that in many of them conscience is, and always has been, either very defective, or had literally no existence." "It is extremely questionable whether society
Similar institutions are much wanted in this country, and they should be established, and aided by the law. I know of numerous and most distressing examples of young persons going to utter and irreclaimable ruin in property, health, and character, who by no human means, if not by such institutions, could have been saved.
If parents have transmitted to their children well balanced and favourably developed brains, and discharged their duty in training, educating, and fitting them out in the world, they will rarely have cause to complain of ingratitude, or want of filial piety. Where the brains of the children are ill constituted, or where training and education have been neglected or improperly conducted, the parents, in reaping sorrow and disappointment from the behaviour of their offspring, are only suffering the natural consequences of their own actions; and if these are punishments,. they should read in them an intimation of the Divine displeasure of their conduct. In proportion to the development and cultivation of the moral and intellectual faculties, are gratitude and filial piety strongly and steadily manifested by children. By the well-principled and respectable members of the middle and lower ranks, parents are scarcely ever left in destitution by their children, if they are at all capable of maintaining them; but among the heartless, reckless, and grossly ignorant, this is not uncommon. The legal provision established for the poor, has tended to blunt the feelings of many individuals in regard to this duty; yet great and beautiful examples of its fulfilment are frequent, and we may expect that the number of these will increase as education and improvement advance.
Among the domestic duties I might enumerate the reciprocal obligations of masters and servants; but as the general principles which regulate the conduct of men as members of society apply to this relationship, I shall not enter into them at present.