Page:Home Education by Isaac Taylor (1838).djvu/16
their influence on the character, as the tender, profound, and personal affections which cement a happy family. The sacred feeling which is the bond of the home circle will by no means bear to be stretched much beyond the limits for which nature has woven it. The master of a school, if wise, firm, and kind, will no doubt draw to himself the respectful and grateful regards of his pupils; or of the better portion of them; and so a good feeling may pervade the mass; but who can believe that boys at school ever love their master as sons love a father; or that they can feel one towards another as brothers? Nature is not to be imitated on so large a scale in her finer productions.
Parents can hardly need to be reminded that if, in retaining their children at home, they have recourse to a stern and formal mechanism, or rigidly enforce a lifeless system of rules, to the exclusion of affection, the prime idea of home is lost, and the disadvantages of a public education are taken up, without its counterbalancing benefits. The children of any such family would certainly be happier, as well as better taught, at school, than at home.
Again; a principal and necessary distinction between the two systems, now compared, is this, that while, in the one, all methods of instruction and modes of training are, or may be, with more or less exactness, adapted to the faculties, tastes, and probable destination of the pupils singly, and may be accommodated to the individual ability of each; in the other system, that is to say at school, it is the mass of minds only, or some few general classes, at the best, that can be thought of. It is true that a sedulous and conscientious teacher, or an ambitious one, from other motives, may take pains to adapt his usual methods of training to the taste and capacity of certain individuals, under his care, lending aid to the feeble, and bestowing especial care upon the intelligent; but it might well be