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THE PEOPLE THEIR OWN INSTRUCTERS.
“It is no doubt manifest, that the people themselves must be the great agents in accomplishing the work of their own instruction. Unless they deeply feel the usefulness of knowledge, and resolve to make some sacrifices for the acquisition of it, there can be no reasonable prospect of this grand object being obtained.But it is equally clear that to wait until the whole people with one accord make the determination to labor in this good work, would be endless. A portion of the community may be sensible of its advantages, and willing at any fair price to seek them, long before the same laudable feelings become universal ; and then successful efforts to better their intellectual condition cannot fail to spread more widely the love of learning, and the disrelish for sensual and vulgar gratifications. But although the people must be the source and the instruments of their own improvement, they may be essentially aided in their efforts to instruct them
selves. Impediments which might be suffered to retard or wholly to obstruct their progress, may be removed ;
noved; and efforts which, unassisted, might prove fruitless, arising perhaps froin a transient or only a partial enthusiasm for the attainnient of knowledge, may, through judicious encouragement, become effectual, and settle into a lasting and an universal habit.” Glasgow Discou. se,
[The People will never be their own instructers, until they so learn to read, that they will afterwards read to learn—not until they are taught to think while they observe, and observe while they think. The meagre unmeaning moiety of verbage, they now get from the schools, in the place of real, well defined knowledge, cannot help them in the difficult and sublime process of self-education; and we shall never see many who are the best taught of allself-taught
so long as the schools give little or nothing to the people to commence with. A good elementary education is all that is ne
cessary to self-instruction. Said Edmund Stone, the Mathematician: “Does any man need to know any more than the twenty-six letters, to learn every thing else ?" But he must learn these twenty-six letters distinctly, and with delight—the first steps must be taken understandingly and with joy, or else he will not have that ability and strong desire to progress in the path of knowledge, so necessary to ensure zuc
It will not do to teach the child to say its primer, cypher to reduction, and hate knowledge all the rest of its life! If so, instead of the people's being “their own instructers,” the great majority will
" Live unknown, and steal into a peasant's grave.”
THE PLEASURES OF KNOWLEDGE.
"It may be easily demonstrated that there is an advantage in learning, both for the usefulness and the pleasure of it. There is something positively agreeable to all men, to all, at least, whose nature is not most grovelling and base, in gaining knowledge for its own sake. When you see any thing for the first time, you at once derive some gratification from the sight being new; your attention is awakened, and you desire to know more about it. If it is a piece of workmanship, as an instrument, a machine of any kind, you wish to know how it is made; how it works; of what use it is. If it is an animal, you desire to know where it comes from ; how it lives; what are its dispositions, and, generally, its nature and habits. You feel this desire too without at all considering that the machine or the animal may ever be of the least use to yourself practically ; for, in all probability, you may never see them again. But you have a curiosity to know all
about them, because they are new and unknown. You accordingly make inquiries; you feel a gratification in getting answers to your questions; that is, in receiving information, and in knowing more ; in being better informed than you were before. If you happen again to see the same instrument or animal, in some respects like, but differing in other particulars, we find it pleasing to compare them together, and to note in what they agree, and in what they differ. Now, all this kind of gratification is of a pure and disinterested nature, and has no reference to any of the common purposes of life ; yet it is a pleasure-an enjoyment. You are nothing the richer for it; you do not gratify your palate, or any other bodily appetite ; and yet it is so pleasing that you would give something out of your pocket to obtain it, and fore. go some bodily enjoyment for its sake. The pleasure derived from science is exactly of the like nature, or rather it is the very same. For what has been just spoken of is in fact science, which, in its most comprehensive sense, only means knowledge, and in its ordinary sense