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Even in civilized societies a greater share of education is entrusted to simple imitation than is, perhaps, generally conceived. The common exercise of the limbs, the practice of numerous little arts, the use of language itself, that noble distinction of man from inferior animals, are all imbibed without direct instruction. Manners, customs, the decencies of life, and even sentiments of morality and religion, are in great measure derived from the propensity to imitate and adopt whatever is habitually heard and seen. Great part of the wisdom of the wise and of the virtue of the good is thus insensibly acquired: indeed, so much is done by it, that it may rather be made a question what else is requisite in education, than what is the efficacy of this: And surely if it can be shown that what is most valuable to the man can be obtained at no other expence than that of setting proper examples in the way of the child, for his spontaneous imitation, such a training will be thought preferable to the elaborate and uncertain process of artificial instruction.
It cannot escape observation, that in the list of things which young people are usually set to learn, some may be termed essential, and others only subordinate; and though all persons will not agree in the particulars which are to be referred to each of these classes, yet it will be generally allowed that the essential are such as exert the greatest influence upon after-life. To secure these, though at the expence of the others, ought to be the care of every wise parent: and the first step to it is that parents themselves should resign the vanity of showing off their children by forced acquisitions which are only admired in them as children, and are thrown by and forgotten on the approach to maturity. It is very much on their account that children are secluded from family society, and banished to boarding schools, where they live in severe restraint or rude familiarity, estranged from all domestic endearments, and deprived of the means of knowing any thing of that world which they are shortly to enter. The most agreeable view of human society is that of an assemblage of human beings of every age, sex, and condition, acting in their mutual relations to each other, mingling in serious and sportive occupations, and taking their several parts in the grand drama of life. In such a society it is that minds are formed, that knowledge and manners make their silent progress, and that the imitative principle gradually leads on the young to the character and acquirements of maturity. It is an assortment of individuals made by the hand of nature, in which all have duties to perform, pleasures to receive, and improvements to make. Banish a part of what composes family, and the whole system is defective. It should comprehend not only the father and mother, the servants, and the child in the cradle, but the rising youth in every successive gradation. From such a complete band, as it were, proceeds the full harmony of the charities of life. The children of middle age look down upon the infants with tender affection, and up to the elder branches with a softened respect; thus fostering emotions which are to make them amiable and estimable in future life. When the
the well-grown boy employs himself in teaching, conducting, and protecting his younger brothers and sisters, and the womanly girl assists her mother in the cares of the nursery, what a fund of skill and patience are they acquiring for the most important duties of men and
It may be made a general remark, that when any one of the divisions of mankind is separated from the rest, and forms a society apart, a generic character is produced by virtue of the imitative principle, widely deviating from that which it would have maintained while mingled with the mass. Thus the monastic societies, male and female, have composed a race of beings, in their manners and sentiments scarcely preserving any similarity with those of the world they have renounced. Those governments which have been desirous of training military men to the highest pitch of ferocity, have been careful to prevent them from mixing in the scenes of civil life. Soldiers long confined to a garrison, and sailors to a ship, are apt totally to forget their relation to the community at large, and to become assimilated to a band of robbers in their den. The Zaporavian Gossacs are so sensible of the effects of this seclusion, that in their community, which is an association for blood and plunder, they admit no women or children. I would not say any thing unnecessarily harsh of institutions among ourselves which many approve; but I might be permitted to ask, what are those boasted virtues of hardy resolution, unshaken fidelity to their companions, steady combination against authority, and defiance of punishment and censure, which are acquired at our public schools, but qualities resembling those of the detached societies above-mentioned, and directly hostile to the principles which produce the welfare of society in general?
With respect to the schools for the other sex, I cannot suppose them nurseries of dispositions like these, nor am I a believer in the stories circulated, chiefly among the licentious, concerning the prevalence of gross violations of decency in them. I am convinced, that in all the reputable seminaries of this class the higher morals are guarded with due vigilance. But I would ask those who are best acquainted with them, whether the society of a number of equals, under rigorous restraint, without the softening of domestic pleasures and parental endearments, do not frequently tend to fret and sour the temper, and give scope to mean and spiteful passions, to envy, detraction, and tale-bearing, which render unlovely the most amiable part of the creation?
What is the result of all these observations? That since the imitative principle has such a powerful operation upon the future character, it is of the highest importance that proper objects should be presented to it during the early years of life-and that due advantage should be taken of its influence, to inculcate those lessons which by no other means can be so easily and efficaciously impressed upon the youthful mind. Domestic education alone affords the opportunity of applying this principle in the fullest and most beneficial manner; and therefore, in a general view, deserves the preference to other modes.
There are, however, various exceptions to this preference of a hone education, which demand attention. The first to be mentioned is a most serious one: it is, that in the present state of manners a child frequently cannot draw his examples from a more improper source than his father's house. And if such an awful consideration be unable to produce a change in the parental economy, doubtless its weight is decisive. Let the child rather be exiled to the remotest parts of the earth than stay to date his ruin from home. Nor, when the danger is manifest, would I think of concealing or palliating it by proposing the expedients of separate apartments, a distinct establishment, or other safeguards, which must all prove unavailing where the current of dissolute manners runs strong. One remark, however, I will venture to make. Where the principal hazard is supposed to arise from the idea a child of family and fortune brought up at home will acquire of his own consequence, by means of the deference and submission he will experience from servants and dependants, that will not be effectually obviated at a public school. The pretended equality in those schools is rather imaginary than real. There, not less than at home, are parasites and panders, vigilant to flatter his pride and minister to his inclinations. When boys of inferior fortune are sent to public seminaries for the avowed purpose of ingratiating themselves with the sons of persons of rank, can it be supposed that the latter will be left ignorant of their importance, and uncorrupted by its effects? The generosity of spirit usually attributed to youth educated at those schools is, I fear, of no genuine kind; and the mercenary character of the age has in no instance more disgusted me, than in the sentiments I have discovered in some of these tiros, who, in speaking of the reputation and proficiency of some of their fellow-scholars, have dwelt with peculiar complacency on the advantages they were likely to derive from them in the pursuit of pecuniary emolument. Fair fame, literary pleasures, the gratification of parents and friends, were ideas that appeared quite foreign to their conceptions; and gain seemed as much their leading object, as if simple and compound interest, rather than Cicero and Horace, had been the study of their years.
Another exception to domestic education arises from the necessity of acquiring certain objects of instruction which cannot be attained in the requisite degree at home, even with the assistance of a day school, which I consider as no deviation from the domestic plan. These objects are chiefly, in the male sex, classical literature in its highest form; in the female, the accomplishments of polite life in an equal style of perfection. Of the existence of this necessity no general judgment can be formed. It is an individual question in each particular case, and only to be determined by the views of the parent as to the future destination of the child. Doubtless there are desirable situations in this country which can scarcely be obtained without a high classical reputation, and, it may be added, without those connections, and that habit of pushing and elbowing through a crowd of competitors, which are the usual acquisitions of a public school. If these are
to be had at any rate, the price must be paid for them'; and it may be prudentially right to sacrifice every thing-except (some will say) morals to such an object. As I am now speaking of the earlier periods of education, it is needless to point out, as further exceptions, those professional studies which are to be sought in universities and academies. At the time when they commence, the season approaches in which domestic life must of course be renounced, and new scenes be entered upon. The imitative principle, however, ought still to be kept in sight, for its operation is scarcely less powerful than at an earlier age. It now points to fashion; and if some seminaries are characterised by the fashion of idleness and dissipation, and others by that of industry and sobriety, a parent who has his son's best interest in view will not hesitate about the preference. To imitation, likewise, may be referred the peculiarities of sect and party which now begin to be strongly marked and permanently fixed; and they who are concerned in supporting such distinctions must take care to place suitable models before the imitative youth.
Of those necessities which oblige females in certain ranks of life to pursue accomplishments by a sacrifice of the qualifications requisite to make them good wives and mothers, I confess myself an inadequate judge; nor shall I venture to say any thing concerning the accomplishments themselves, and the best mode of acquiring them. There is one female accomplishment, however, on which I shall take the liberty to make a few remarks, and this is a talent for conversation. I believe I shall not err in placing it at the head of all attainments with respect to its attractive powers. Other excellencies inspire occasional admiration, but this rivets the attention. It fascinates even more, at least more generally, than beauty; nor is it fitted for the throng and circle alone, but exerts its influence in the private party, and constitutes the charm of domestic society. That it is so little cultivated among us may seem surprizing; but there are no masters to teach it, nor do wealth and rank afford peculiar facilities for acquiring it. In fact, as far as it is a qualification to be learned, and not the gift of nature, next to the essential requisite of a well-furnished mind, the habit of holding free and mixed conversation must be the most efficacious aid. But where is this advantage to be obtained? Certainly not within the walls of a boarding-school, where the trivial chatter of children among one another, only interrupted by the chilling presence of despotic governesses, must exclude every possible attempt at rational and animated converse. Domestic life, when it is what it ought to be, is the only female school for this attainment. Where parents have the ability to lead, and the sense to encourage, proper conversation, and where a due mixture of well-educated visitors of both sexes and all ages infuses life and variety into the social circle, there is the theatre where this delightful accomplishment receives its birth and perfection.
It is unnecessary to specify other exceptions to domestic education, arising from circumstances which depreciate the value of home, VOL. III. C
though not of an immoral nature; such are vulgarity, ignorance, aukward manners, singularities, and the like. In these cases it is not the object of wise parents to make the children similar to themselves, and therefore the imitative principle must have other models to work after. If these cannot be provided but by means of a school, the expedient must be submitted to as the least evil. It may likewise be proper sometimes to check the force of domestic imitation, even when upon the whole well-directed, by temporary absences and changes of scene, lest so close a family-likeness be caught as to render the young mere copies of the old, and mannerists in character. But this may be left to the suggestions of good sense without further remark; and I now close a discussion, which the importance of the subject has carried beyond its intended limits.
ACCOUNT OF THE GULPH AND TERRITORY OF CATARO
I shall now leave more minute details, and briefly point out a ge neral view of the state of Cataro. In extent it is very inconsiderable, the whole of its territory comprising only the banks of the Gulf (in many places so hemmed in by the adjoining rocks as scarcely to admit a foot-path), the tongue of land which partly separates the two basons, and that which lies between the outer bason and the Adriatic. The number of inhabitants, I conceive, does not exceed 15,000, the bulk of whom are Sclavonians, and profess the Greek religion. The Venetian families settled here, though few in point of number, form, however, the most respectable part of the community, if I may judge by the influence they seemed to possess over the public affairs of the state. In manners, language, and customs, these differ in no respect from the Italians but the native Sclavonians still retain their own peculiar dress and language. The Catarini carry on a little inland commerce with their warlike neighbours the Montenegrins, to whom they sell arms, ammunition, &c. and purchase in return provisions, such as cattle, poultry, vegetables, and a little corn-for of this latter article they procure their principal supply from the Levant. The produce of their own territory is so trifling, as scarcely to afford a scanty supply for three months in the year, except in the articles of small wine and oil, of which they make more than sufficient for home consumption. In fact, the whole of this state exists by its commerce between Trieste and the Levant, in which trade it employs two or three hundred vessels, and many of these above three hundred tons burthen. The Catarini are esteemed the most expert mariners in the Adriatic, for, being compelled by the local situation of their territory to trust to the sea, not only for affluence, but for existence, they are taught from childhood to be seamen, To the French government, therefore, at all