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of the subjects which were tolerated in that loose and worldly age. Perhaps Gold. smith, Gray, Beattie, and Cowper furnish us with the best types of the styles of poetical composition which characterised the close of the eighteenth century; and Byron and Scott on the one hand, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and Tennyson on the other, represent to us the English of our own era.

Among the prose writings which have the greatest right to be regarded as representatives of the different forms of literary composition in England are, perhaps, Wycliffe's Bible, Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, the English Prayer Book, Bacon's Advancement of Learning, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, Milton's Polemical Tracts, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, Addison's contributions to the Spectator, Bishop Butler's Analogy, Jobnson's and Goldsmith's later writings, Dugald Stewart's Philosophy of the Mind, David Hame's History, and in later times the contributions to periodical literature of Southey, Macaulay, and Sydney Smith. This is necessarily a most imperfect enumeration, but each of these writers has been regarded in his own age as the foremost representative of some special peculiarity or tendency in our language ; and it may be safely said, that no knowledge of the general subject can be deemed complete or satisfactory, which does not include some acquaintance with the chief works of these authors and of their principal contemporaries.

We have only space to warn beginners in this study against one other temptation. A fondness for this subject is more likely than any other to betray them into unmethodical and unstudious habits. The perusal of works of general literature will become so pleasant an employment, that it will rather offer itself to the mind as a solace after study, than as a discipline for the mental powers. To some extent this is inevitable; but still it is very possible, and at the same time eminently useful, to make a study of English literature. We do not attempt to become acquainted with Greek or Roman literature without laborious analysis. We work at Homer and Æschylus, or Virgil or Cicero; look well into the origin of their words, the structure of their sentences, and the character of the imagery they employ; we turn their thoughts round and round, and look at them under different aspects, until we get their meaning leisurely into our minds; we do not think hours wasted if we can fully comprehend a page of such an author, exhausting all its meaning, realising all its pictures, and tracing out all the allusions. The work of construing and translating has enabled many Englishmen to get a fuller insight into the mind of classic authors than they have ever attained into the works of their own countrymen. Now, though we have not to translate or construe our own authors, yet a slow and patient analysis of one or two of their best works, is not only a duty we owe to our own language, but an exertion which would be well rewarded. There is matter, in a single page of the “Paradise Lost," or of “ Bacon's Essays," on which the investigation of hours might well be bestowed. There are historical and classical allusions to identify, archaic or unusual forms of expression to account for and examine, figurative language to explain. The exercise of paraphrasing portions, or converting them into modern English, is a peculiarly valuable one ; and in this way the study of a vernacular literature may be made to fulfil some of the highest purposes which are contemplated by the advocates of an exclusively classical training.

It needs to be remembered, that such minute analytical study of one or two authors is specially necessary in the case of beginners. Having taken one general survey of the stores of English literature, their first care should be to select one or two of the most productive portions of that rich quarry, and work at these resolutely and exclusively. Their earlier researches should rather be deep than wide. As the capacity for literary enjoyment increases, new channels of inquiry will open, and the student's attention will radiate from certain fixed points in a far more natural and useful order than if he adopted any other method. As to theories of literary development, and philosophic generalisations about styles of writing and schools of thinkers—all these may be deferred for the present; they will come as the reward of a studious and reflective life; they must not be adopted, then, by anticipation, or indulged in prematurely.

DECIMAL COINAGE. Our last number contained some rather lengthy extracts on this subject; but its extreme importance, especially to teachers, induces us to revert to it, and to add a few particulars as to the history of a controversy, the tendency of which towards one final solution becomes daily more marked and unmistakeable.

At a recent meeting of the Society of Arts, three papers were read and discussed, bearing reference to this interesting topic. The first advocated the system described in our last, of a decimal, centesimal, and millesimal subdivision of our present pound. The second was an ingenious recapitulation the arguments for retaining the

penny ; and a third propounded a plan for making the florin the principal unit of account.

Although we offer here (chiefly for the sake of country teachers, many of whom are probably out of the reach of such discussions) a brief summary of the main arguments employed on this occasion, we strongly recommend such teachers to make further and more minute inquiries on the subject. In doing so, they will find a tract recently put forth by the Decimal Association, or the report of a discussion contained in No. 117 of the “ Journal of the Society of Arts," will be of great assistance.

All schemes heretofore propounded for the decimalisation of our English money belong to one or other of two categories-one which retains the pound, the other which retains the penny. The two are obviously irreconcileable under any decimal system properly so called, for their relation to each other is 240 : 1, and that of the shilling to the penny is 12: 1. Either the penny or the tenpenny unit would, of necessity, displace the pound as our principal money of account, together with the shilling; a fact which is virtually admitted by the proposal to substitute for the pound a coin of 100 pence (8s. 4d.), under various names. On the other hand, the pound unit, if retained, requires nothing incompatible with any other unit proposed between itself and the shilling inclusive.

Since a new system cannot displace the old one, as it were, by sleight of hand, there must be due consideration for long-established habits, both of computation and of estimation by £ s. d. qr. The whole stock of ideas and facts concerning monetary value possessed by the present generation, and every existing record of finance, values, prices, &c., accumulated in the past for the use of the future, render it indispensable, not alone that values expressed by the old system should be convertible into any new notation which may be adopted (as also the converse) by the simplest possible operation, but that both notations should be reciprocally commensurable almost at a glance.

When sums recorded in £ s. d. qr. have to be expressed in the notation of the decimalised pound, i.e., pounds and mils, we find the most important item, the pounds, already decimalised to hand, so as not to require any change. The three denominations (fractions of the pound) which remain, suggest their own decimal equivalents at once to all classes (and they are numerous) already accustomed to make monetary calculations decimally; for a little practice is alone needful, in order to convert or read off those equivalents at sight.

On the other hand, if sums recorded in £ s. d. qr. have to be expressed by the system of the tenpenny and its mils; or of the tenpenny and hundredths of a penny, it will rarely happen but that every integer of the original sum will have to be altered. The pounds must be multiplied by 24 ; the shillings by 12; the remaining pence must be added to the last product, and the farthings represented by two additional places of figures next following. Both systems have three places of decimals after the unit, and both are susceptible of still further subdivision, if desired; but, per contra, while a pound unit needs but a single integer, that same value, expressed in tenpences, will always need an additional integer; and, in all cases beyond £4, two additional integers must be written down.

The principal advocates for the penny at the expense of the pound are

1st. Those who propose to adopt a penny as the unit, decimalising upwards to 10 pence, 100 pence, &c.

2nd. Those who adopt a tenpenny unit, decimalising downwards to the single penny and the tenth of a penny.

3rd. Those who adopt a farthing as the unit, decimalising upwards to 10 farthings, 2fd.; 100 farthings, 2s. Id.; 1,000 farthings, £1 0s. 10d.

It will be observed that, whether tenpenny or penny be the unit, there at present exists no coin which can be represented by unity in the next rank below the penny; so that, in either case, the simple decimal chain is broken at this stage. On the other hand, where the farthing is the starting point, every existing coin preserves its value undisturbed, but nothing except the farthing itself retains its specific rank in accountancy.

New gold coins, whether of 100 pence or 1,000 farthings, would lead to endless mistakes and confusion, unless all our existing gold coin were called in and demonetised.

The small difference in size and weight of the £1 0s. 10d. from the £1; of the 8s. 4d. from the half-sovereign; and of the tenpence from the shilling, have suggested to the advocates of the new coin a necessity to make it oval as a means of being readily distinguished. The very suggestion, strange as it is, is significant.

One of the favourite arguments in favour of a tenpenny piece, is the supposed facility of adapting it to many of the principal monetary standards in use in other countries; and it has been frequently asserted that a tenpenny piece, if coined, could, without difficulty, be used as equivalent to a French franc, a Greek drachmos, a Dutch or German half guilder or guilder, and a Spanish pistareen. It is also assumed by many, that five such pieces would equal an American or Spanish dollar. Now, the fact is, that in none of these cases would the coins be equivalent, and adjustment would be impossible in all. The actual value of the silver contained in these several coins differs considerably, and the values they conventionally represent differ still more. For example :-there would be 24,000 tenpennies in £1,000, and 25,221:55 French francs ; so that the approximation would amount to a difference of 1,222 francs, 55 centimes; or of £48 7s. 7*d. in £1,000. With regard to American dollars the case is almost as bad. There would be a difference of £15 in the £1,000, the dollar really representing 4s. 11d.

One of the strongest reasons for retaining one pound as the principal unit of account, and standard of value, has generally been overlooked. It is, that the gold pound is the sole representative of our national standard of value ; silver and copper passing current for a higher value than that of the metal they contain.

The first copper penny of the realm, as a legal tender, was struck at Birmingham, in 1797, and is the large rimmed penny now current, weighing exactly an ounce avoirdupois, as a ready popular test of weighed commodities. The more recent pennies are tokens, 24 to the lb., about half their nominal value, and a legal tender to twelve pence only. That sum is represented by another token, the silver shilling, current also for something more than its intrinsic value, and in turn a legal tender to 40 shillings only; whereas the sovereign is not a token current for more than its worth, but a legal tender to unlimited amount.

The pound sterling signifies 113 grains of fine gold, coined in a prescribed manner; and that being the one fixed point of the largest commercial system in the

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world, it were gratuitous fully in us to sink suddenly to an inferior unit; one moreover which, as a coin, is incapable of carrying its assumed value, and must remain a mere token of silver, its weight and intrinsic value varying with the market.

The reasons urged by Mr. Hugo Reid, for making the florin the principal coin of account, are ingenious and plausible. He would have the sovereign subdivided into tenths, hundredths, and thousandths; but in keeping accounts he would only name two of them, the florin and its hundredth. He refers to the fact, that we are accustomed to talk of 36s. or 75s., rather than of £1 16s. and £3 158. ; and that in France, though décime is a legal name, it is never used; as people prefer to call 4 francs 6 décimes 8 centimes by the name of 4 francs 68 centimes. He proposes, therefore, to make the florin the principal unit, and to call its hundredth part a cent; and he urges the following reasons in favour of the adoption of his system.

1. It is thoroughly decimal. 2. It has but two coins of account, the florin and its hundredth, 3. That hundredth, nearly the value of our present farthing, is sufficiently low in value to express the great majority of small transactions, and save the use of fractions. 4. It harmonises with two leading coins, the pound and the shilling: florins are brought to pounds by the simplest of all arithmetical operations, dropping the right-hand figure, which will be so many florins, the rest being pounds ; and pounds are brought to florins, by simply annexing a cypher, or other figure, at the right. And as the shilling is one-half of the principal coin of account, it will always be retained in the coinage, and shillings will be brought to florins, by the easiest divisor after 10, 2; and florins to shillings, by multiplying by 2.

Thus, 12,345 cents would be read 123 florins 45 cents; and it would be seen at once that there were £12 3A. They might be read £12 345 cents; but this would be objectionable, as giving three figures of the less coin ; or, they might be read £12 3A. 45c.; but this would be tedious and intricate, as involving three coins of account.

Notwithstanding the differences to which we have alluded, it is evident that there is a remarkable convergence of public opinion towards the system which we first described. It was suggested by the Parliamentary Committee originally appointed to investigate the subject, and their views have been subsequently endorsed by the emphatic recommendation of the Committee appointed to report upon the standards of weights and measures. The Bank of England, Chambers of Commerce, Commercial Associations, and a daily increasing number of men of science and of business, have expressed their approval of the plan.

The work is already partly done. We have a florin, a tenth of a pound; we want a silver tenth of that florin, which will probably be called a cent; and a copper tenth of that cent, to be called a mil. This is the simple and inevitable change in our monetary system ; and we repeat our earnest counsel to teachers of elementary schools, that they should first of all familiarize themselves with this arrangement, bear it in mind continually in their arithmetical teaching, and then try to make the system intelligible to their pupils. In doing so, they will be rendering a service to society of no mean importance.

“ Let us respect the happiness of children, and shield it with all justifiable care from being rudely disturbed: but be it never forgotten, that this state must have an end; that for all children a life of trial and hazard must speedily commence; that enjoyment is not the loftiest destination of man upon earth,—there being one far higher, for which the child ought to be prepared. We need not shrink, therefore, from employing our pupils, though it gives them pain, if otherwise it should be necessary : for thus they may be spared deeper griefs, or rendered able to surport them. Instruction should not in all respects be rendered easy and attractive; it is a grave and serious occupation, though in no wise devoid of interest."--Willm.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

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LESSONS FOR INFANT CLASSES. SIR,--On taking up some of the numbers of the Educational Record the other day, it struck me that the lessons there given as specimens are all addressed to the upper sections. Your correspondents seem to forget that there are lessons to be given to the lower sections of a school as well as to the higher. Or else they have an idea that they want little or no preparation, and that a lesson on a common object is too mean a subject for their pen, and unworthy to appear in print. From those who hold such opinions I differ, being fully persuaded that it is as essential to have good lessons given to children of seven and eight years of age as to those of twelve or fourteen. There is nothing like having a good foundation to build upon. I believe these lessons do want preparation, and that a lesson on a common object frequently presents far greater difficulties than one on the Gulf Stream, or the Cocoa Nut Palm. I am also fully convinced that quite as much skill, as great patience, and, if possible, more quiet activity is needed. It is also my humble opinion that such lessons are worthy of being brought before the public, and that there are many among us who would be glad if some of our more talented and experienced brother-teachers would favour us with a few models.

Thinking this a deficiency, I have prepared a lesson on one of the commonest of objects, a chair, for insertion in your journal, if you have room for it and deem it worthy of your pages, with the humble endeavour of filling up this deficiency.

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LESSON FOR A JUNIOR CLASS.-A CHAIR.

KINDS.—The following may be elicited from the children :-easy chairs, arm chairs, common chairs.

· Parts.-Back. What is the back for? To lean against. How should you sit when at meals ? Upright. Why? Because it would be rude to lean back. Men. tion another part. The legs. What are the legs for? What are the pieces of wood called which join the legs? Staves. Suppose a chair had no staves, what would happen to it? It would soon fall to pieces. Of what use are the staves then ? To keep it firm and strong. Why sbould not little boys put their feet on the staves ? Because they rub the paint off ; another, Because they rub the polish off ; another, Because the staves would soon be worn out. When the back legs and staves are joined together, what do they form ? Probably no boy knows. What do you call the piece of wood in which a picture is placed ? The frame. Then the back legs, and staves of a chair, when joined, form the frame. What is the part on which we sit called? The bottom, or seat. Recapitulate this division of the lesson.

OF WHAT MADE.--1. Seat. Of what are the seats of chairs made ? Some are made of wood. What are some chairs called that have wooden seats ? Windsor chairs. Where are wooden chairs generally used? There are some on the platform; another child, We have some in our kitchen; another, My mother has some nice polished ones in her parlour. What is the large passage in a gentleman's house called? You don't know... Where did you see the magic lantern the other evening? At the Town Hall. These large passages at the entrance of gentlemen's houses are not called town halls, but . . halls. Some of you that have been in a gentleman's hall can tell me what you saw there? Pegs to hang hats and cloaks on.

An umbrella stand. Mr. has a great painted båll, with lines and letters and figures on it, Sir.' What is it called? A globe. What else have

Some polished wooden chairs. Now where are wooden chairs used : Sometimes in schools, . kitchens, . . poor people's parlours, and . : gentlemen's halls. What are the bottoms of other chairs made of ? Rushes. Where do rushes grow?' On wel ground. What is done with them before they are used for seating

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