Page:Home Education by Isaac Taylor (1838).djvu/31

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its comparative advantages.

no trivial importance, as a means of sending forth, among the school-bred majority, those with whose habits of mind there is mingled a firm and modest sentiment of self-respect—not cynical, but yet unconquerable, resting as it will upon the steady basis of personal wisdom and virtue. It is men of this stamp who will be the true conservators of their country's freedom.

It may accord well enough with the designs of the promoters despotism, whether democratic or monarchical, to recommend or en�orce public education, both among the lower and the upper classes: nor indeed could any species of lawless power be secure so long as, from the bosom of many homes—homes sacred to truth and goodness, there were continually coming forth those whose minds have not been drilled to move in rank and file—who wear no livery of opinion, and whose undefined tastes are as decisively opposed, as are their formal principles, to arrogant usurpations of whatever name.

If we suppose home education to be very rarely practised in a community, while public education should prevail; it must happen that all mettds of teaching would tend continually toward uniformity, and would, every year, with fewer exceptions, be ruled—if not actually by law, at least by fashion, until at length, either by statutes, or by usages which none would dare to infi-inge, the particular course of study, and the modes of instruction, would become everywhere the same; so that youth, hearing the same things, in the same tone, on all sides, would be moulded into a tenper of unthinking acquiescence.

But instead of this, only let the practice of home education be mixed, in a fair proportion, throughout a country, with that of public education, and then any such dead uniformity must be broken up. Busy law, or intolerant fashion, may rule absolutely in colleges and schools; but neither the one nor the other will so easily invade families.