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Middle Age system fell in 18th century.

mountains in which they first appeared, and must flow not in cataracts but smoothly along the plain among the dwellings of common men before they can be turned to account in the every-day business of life.

§ 2. The eighteenth century was soon distinguished by boundless activity of thought; and this thought was directed mainly to a great work of destruction. Europe had outgrown the ideas of the Middle Age, and the framework of Society, which the Middle Age had bequeathed, had waxed old and was ready to vanish as soon as any strong force could be found to push it out of the way. As Matthew Arnold has described it—

"It's frame yet stood without a breach
"When blood and warmth were fled;
"And still it spake it's wonted speech-
"But every word was dead."

Here then there was need of some destructive power that should remove and burn up much that had become mere obstacle and incumbrance. This power was found in the writings which appeared in France about the middle of the century; and among the authors of them none spoke with more effect than one who differed from all the rest, a vagabond without family ties or social position of any kind, with no literary training, with little knowledge and in conduct at least, with no morals. The writings of Rousseau and the results produced by them are among the strangest things in history; and especially in matters of education it is more than doubtful if the wise man of the world Montaigne, the Christian philanthropist Comenius, or that "slave of truth and reason" the philosopher Locke, had half as much influence as this depraved serving man.

§ 3. The work by which Rousseau became famous was

Do the opposite to the usual.

a prize essay in which he maintained that civilization, the arts and all human institutions were from first to last pernicious in their effects, and that no happiness was possible for the human race without giving them all up and returning to what he called the state of Nature. He glorified the "noble savage." If man had brought himself to a state of misery bordering on despair by following his own many inventions, take away all these inventions and you will have man in his proper condition. The argument seems something of this kind: Man was once happy: Man is now miserable: undo everything that has been done and Man will be happy again.

§ 4. This principle of a so-called "natural" state existing before man's many inventions, Rousseau applied boldly to education, and he deduced this general rule: "Do precisely the opposite to what is usually done, and you will have hit on the right plan." Not reform but revolution was his advice. He took the ordinary school teaching and held it up to ridicule, and certainly he did prove its absurdity. And a most valuable service he thus rendered to teachers. Every employment while it makes us see some things clearly, also provides us with blinkers, so to speak, which prevent our seeing other things at all. The school teacher's blinkers often prevent his seeing much that is plain enough to other people; and when a writer like Rousseau takes off our blinkers for us and makes us look about us, he does us a great deal of good. But we need more than this: if we have children entrusted to us we must do something with them and Rousseau's rule of doing the opposite to what is usual will not be found universally applicable. So we consult Rousseau again, and what is his advice?

§ 5. Rousseau would bring everything back to the

Family life. No education before reason.

"natural" state, and unfortunately he never pauses to settle whether he means by this a state of ideal perfection, or of simply savagery. The savage, he says, gets his education without any one's troubling about it, and so he infers that all the trouble taken by the civilized is worse than thrown away. (Girardin's Rousseau, ij., 85.) But he does not fall back on laisser faire. He urges on parents the duty of themselves attending to the bringing up of their children. "Point de mère, point d'enfant-no mother, no child," says he; and he would have the father see to the training of the child whom the mother has suckled.

§ 6. Rousseau's picture of family life is given us where few Englishmen are likely to find it, enveloped in the Nouvelle Héloïse. Here we read how Julie always has her children with her, and while seeming to let them do as they like, conceals with the air of apparent carelessness the most vigilant observation. Possessed by the notion that there can be no intellectual education before the age of reason, she proclaims: "La fonction dont je suis chargée n'est pas d'élever mes fils, mais de les préparer pour être élevés: My business is not to educate my sons, but to prepare them for being educated." (N. Héloïse, 5th P., Lett. 3.)*

§ 7. There is much that is very pleasing in this picture of ideal family life; but when Rousseau comes formally to propound his ideas on education, he gives up family life to attain greater simplicity. "Je m'en tiens à ce qui est plus simple," says he: "What I stick to is the more simple.” He tries to state everything in its lowest terms, so to speak; and this method is excellent so long as he puts on one side

* "Il n'y a point avant la l'homme." (N. II., 5th P.,

raison de véritable éducation pour Lett. 3. Conf. supra, p. 227.)

R. "neglects" essentials. Lose time.

only what is accidental, and retains all the essentials of the problem. But his rage for simplicity sometimes carried him beyond this. There is an old Cambridge story of a problem introducing an elephant "whose weight may be neglected." This is after the manner of Rousseau. In the bringing up of the model child, he "neglects" parents, brothers and sisters, young companions; and though he says that the needful qualities of a master may be expected only in " un homme de génie," he hands over Émile to a governor to live an isolated life in the country.

§ 8. This governor is to devote himself, for some years, entirely to imparting to his pupil these difficult arts-the art of being ignorant and of losing time. Till he is twelve years old, Émile is to have no direct instruction whatever. 66 At that age he shall not know what a book is," says Rousseau; though elsewhere we are told that he will learn to read of his own accord by the time he is ten, if no attempt is made to teach him. He is to be under no restraint, and is to do nothing but what he sees to be useful.

§ 9. Freedom from restraint is, however, to be apparent, not real. As in ordinary education the child employs all its faculties in duping the master, so in education "according to Nature" the master is to devote himself to duping the child. "Let him always be his own master in appearance, and do you take care to be so in reality. There is no subjection so complete as that which preserves the appearance of liberty; it is by this means even the wili is led captive."

§ 10. "The most critical interval of human nature is that between the hour of our birth and twelve years of age. This is the time wherein vice and error take root without our being possessed of any instrument to destroy them."

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Early education negative.

(Ém. ij., 79.) Throughout this season, the governor is to be at work training the pupil in the art of being ignorant and losing time. "The first education should be purely nega tive. It consists by no means in teaching virtue or truth, but in securing the heart from vice and the intellect from If you could do nothing and let nothing be done, if you could bring on your pupil healthy and strong to the age of 12 without his being able to tell his right hand from his left, from your very first lessons the eyes of his understanding would open to reason. Being without prejudices and without habits he would have nothing in him to thwart the effect of your care; and by beginning with doing nothing you would have made an educational prodigy."*

"Exercise his body, his organs, his senses, his powers; but keep his mind passive as long as possible. Mistrust all his sentiments formed before the judgment which determines their value. Restrain, avoid all foreign impressions, and to prevent the birth of evil be in no hurry to cause good; for good is good only in the light of reason. Look on all delays as so many advantages: it is a great gain to advance towards the goal without loss: let childhood ripen in children. In short, whatever lesson they may need, be


"La première éducation doit donc être purement négative. Elle consiste, non point à enseigner la vertu ni la vérité, mais à garantir le cœur du vice et l'esprit de l'erreur. Si vous pouviez ne rien faire et ne rien laisser faire; si vous pouviez amener votre élève sain et robuste à l'âge de douze ans, sans qu'il sût distinguer sa main droite de sa main gauche, dès vos premières leçons les yeux de son entendement s'ouvriraient à la raison; sans préjugés, sans habitudes, il n'aurait rien en lui qui pût contrarier l'effet de vos soins. Bientôt il deviendrait entre vos mains le plus sage des hommes; et, en commençant par ne rien faire, vous auriez fait un prodige d'éducation." Em. ij., 80.

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