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I have, therefore, thought it worth while to publish a few such imperfect sketches as these, with which the reader can hardly be less satisfied than the author. They may, however, prove useful till they give place to a better book.
Several of the following essays are nothing more than compilations. Indeed, a hostile critic might assert that I had used the scissors with the energy of Mr. Timbs and without his discretion. The reader, however, will probably agree with me that I have done wisely in putting before him the opinions of great writers in their own language. Where I am simply acting as reporter, the author's own way of expressing himself is obviously the best; and if, following the example of the gipsies and Sir Fretful Plagiary, I had disfigured other people's offspring to make them pass for my own, success would have been fatal to the purpose I have steadily kept in view. The sources of original ideas in any subject, as the student is well aware, are few,* but for irrigation we require troughs
want, and also, as it seems to me, a good deal which we do not want. The work characteristically opens with a 10th century description of the personal appearance of St. Mark when he landed at Alexandria. The author treats only of the times which preceded the Council of Trent. A very interesting account of early English education has been given by Mr. Furnivall, in the 2nd and 3rd numbers of the Quarterly Journal of Education (1867).
* Study of the old authors proves that the utterances of some of our most conspicuous reformers-of Mr. Lowe and Mr. Farrar, for instancedo not give much evidence of originality, as no doubt those gentlemen would readily acknowledge.
as well as water-springs, and these essays are intended to serve in the humbler capacity.
A word about the incomplete handling of my subjects. I have not attempted to treat any subject completely or even with anything like completeness. In giving a sketch of the opinions of an author one of two methods must be adopted; we may give an epitome of all that he has said, or by confining ourselves to his more valuable and characteristic opinions, may gain space to give these fully. As I detest epitomes, I have adopted the latter method exclusively, but I may sometimes have failed in selecting an author's most characteristic principles; and probably no two readers of a book would entirely agree as to what was most valuable in it: so my account must remain, after all, but a poor substitute for the author himself.
For the part of a critic I have at least one qualification-practical acquaintance with the subject. As boy or master, I have been connected with no less than eleven schools, and my perception of the blunders of other teachers is derived mainly from the remembrance of my own. Some of my mistakes have been brought home to me by reading works on education, even those with which I do not in the main agree. Perhaps there are teachers who on looking through the following pages may meet with a similar experience.
Had the essays been written in the order in which they stand, a good deal of repetition might have been
avoided, but this repetition has at least the advantage of bringing out points which seem to me important; and as no one will read the book as carefully as I have done, I hope no one will be as conscious of this and other blemishes in it.
I much regret that in a work which is nothing if it is not practically useful, I have so often neglected to mark the exact place from which quotations are taken. I have myself paid the penalty of this carelessness in the trouble it has cost me to verify passages which seemed inaccurate.
The authority I have had recourse to most frequently is Raumer (Geschichte der Pädagogik). In his first two volumes he gives an account of the chief men connected with education, from Dante to Pestalozzi. The third volume contains essays on various parts of education, and the fourth is devoted to German Universities. There is an English translation, published in America, of the fourth volume only. I confess to a great partiality for Raumer-a partiality which is not shared by a Saturday Reviewer and by other competent authorities in this country. But surely a German author who is not profound, and is almost perspicuous, has some claim on the gratitude of English readers, if he gives information which we cannot get in our own language. To Raumer I am indebted for all that I have written about Ratich, and almost all about Basedow. Elsewhere his history has been used, though not to the same extent.
C. A. Schmid's Encyclopädie des Erziehungs-und
Unterrichtswesens is a vast mine of information on everything connected with education. The work is still in progress. The part containing Rousseau has only just reached me. I should have been glad of it when I was giving an account of the Emile, as Raumer was of little use to me.
Those for whom Schmid is too diffuse and expensive will find Carl Gottlob Hergang's Pädagogische Realencyclopädie useful. This is in two thick volumes, and costs, to the best of my memory, about eighteen shillings. It was finished in 1847.
The best sketch I have met with of the general history of education is in the article on Pädagogik in Meyers Conversations-Lexicon. I wish someone would translate this article; and I should be glad to draw the attention of the editor of an educational periodical, say the Museum or the Quarterly Journal of Education, to it.
I have come upon references to many other works on the history of Education, but of these the only ones I have seen are Theodore Fritz's Esquisse d'un Système complet d'instruction et d'éducation et de leur histoire (3 vols. Strasburg, 1843), and Carl Schmidt's Geschichte der Pädagogik (4 vols.). The first of these gives only the outline of the subject. The second is, I believe, considered a standard work. It does not seem to me so readable as Raumer's history, but is much more complete, and comes down to quite recent times.
For my account of the Jesuit schools and of Pesta
lozzi, the authorities will be found elsewhere (pp. 2 and 198). In writing about Comenius I have had much assistance from a life of him prefixed to an English translation of his School of Infancy, by Daniel Benham (London, 1858). For almost all the information given about Jacotot, I am indebted to Mr. Payne's papers, which I should not have ventured to extract from so freely if they had been before the public in a more permanent form.
I am sorry I cannot refer to any English works on the history of Education, except the essays of Mr. Parker and Mr. Furnivall, and Christian Schools and Scholars, which are mentioned above, but we have a very good treatise on the principles of education in Marcel's Language as a Means of Mental Culture (2 vols. London, 1853). Edgeworth's Practical Education seems falling into undeserved neglect, and Mr. Spencer's recent work is not universally known even by schoolmasters.
If the following pages attract but few readers it will be some consolation, though rather a melancholy one, that I share the fate of my betters.
INGATESTONE, ESSEX: May, 1868.
R. H. Q.