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discretion. This applies chiefly to the monitors of reading and arithmetic.
It frequently happens, that boys distinguish themselves much in their learning at school; and occasional letters, sent by the master to their parents, to inform them of this, is encouragement for the child to continue a regular attendance at school.
It is a common practice for one class to try to excel another. The highest class, as to proficiency in learning, occupies the most honourable place in the school: a place no otherwise distinguished from the rest, than that it is the customary seat of that class. When an inferior excels a superior class, the superior class quits its station, and goes down to the seats of the inferior. When this happens, the superior class finding itself excelled, and not liking the disgrace, usually works very hard to regain its former seats.
These contests are decided by writing on the slate, or in a book.-—The performance of every boy in an inferior class, is compared impartially with that of a boy in the superior. The umpire decides which is the best of the two. On which side the decision is given, a number 1, is minuted down on a slate, in favour of that class; then the umpire, or monitor appointed to decide, proceeds making comparisons between two boys of each class, till both classes are entirely examined. When the examination, which
may be compared with polling at elections, is finished, the number of ones in favour of each class is cast up, and decided in favour of that which has the majority. The industry and exertion this creates is surprising; and the exultation which takes place among the boys, when they find the majority in favour of their own class, and the manner in which the monitors spur on their classes, by reproaches, when boys are remiss; and by commendations, when they strive to excel, affords much pleasure. When a contest of this kind occurs, which frequently happens, the whole school, and, above all, the monitors of the classes, are so interested, that, if per mitted, they would attend to no other business while the decision is carrying on. The contest is speedily terminated, mostly in less than ten minutes. A striking advantage accrues from this emulation: each monitor and scholar is interested in such a degree, in the contest, that he exerts his utmost abilities-and, having once discovered what they are able to do, the master knows what to require of them to do in future, according to the specimen they have shown of their abilities. It is a contest much in the nature and spirit common in elections; but controlled and directed, without excess, in a peaceful way, to a very useful purpose.
OFFENCES AND PUNISHMENTS.
The chief offences committed by youth at school, arise from the liveliness of their active dispositions. Few youth do wrong for the sake of doing so. If precedence and pleasure be united with learning, they will soon find a delight in attending at school. Youth naturally seek whatever is pleasant to them,
with avidity; and, from ample experience have I + found, that they do so with learning, when innocent
pleasure is associated therewith. If any misconduct should be punished by severity, vice and immorality are the chief subjects; and, I am convinced that it is not always indispensable in those cases, having known many a sensible boy reformed without, and that, from practices as bad as almost any that usually occur in schools.
That children should idle away their time, or talk in school, is very improper--they cannot talk and learn at the same time. In my school talking is considered as an offence; and yet it occurs very seldom, in proportion to the number of children: whenever this happens to be the case, an appropriate punishment succeeds.
Each monitor of a class is responsible for the cleanliness, order, and quietness of those under him. He is also a lad of unimpeachable veracity—a qua
lification on which much depends. He should have a continual eye over every one in the class under his care, and notice when a boy is loitering away his time in talking or idleness. Having thus seen, he is bound in duty to lodge an accusation against him for misdemeanor. In order to do this silently, he has a number of cards, written on differently: as, ! I have seen this boy idle,' I have seen this boy talking,' &c. &c. This rule applies to every class, and each card has the name of the particular class written thereon: so that, by seeing a card written on as above, belonging to the first or sixth, or any other reading class, it is immediately known who is the monitor that is the accuser. This card is given to the defaulter, and he is required to present it at. the head of the school--a regulation that must be complied with. On a repeated or frequent offence, it after admonition has failed, the lad to whom he presents the card has liberty to put a wooden log round his neck, which serves him as a pillory, and with this he is sent to his seat. This machine may weigh from four to six pounds, some more and some less. The neck is not pinched or closely confined—it is chiefly burthensome by the manner in which it encumbers the neck, when the delinquent turns to the right or left. While it rests on his shoulders, the equilibrium is preserved; but, on the least motion one way or the other, it is lost, and the logs operate as a dead weight upon the neck.
Thus, he is confined to sit in his proper position.
If this is unavailing, it is common to fasten the legs + of offenders together with wooden shackles: one
or more, according to the offence. The shackle is a piece of wood about a foot, sometimes six or eight inches long, and tied to each leg. When shackled, he cannot walk but in a very slow, measured pace: being obliged to take six steps, when confined, for two when at liberty. Thus accoutred, he is ordered to walk round the school-room, till tired out-he is glad to sue for liberty, and promise his endeavour to behave more steadily in future. Should not this punishment have the desired effect, the left hand is tied behind the back, or wooden shackles fastened from elbow to elbow, behind the
back. Sometimes the legs are tied together. Oc+ casionally boys are put in a sack, or in a basket,
suspended to the roof of the school, in the sight of all the pupils, who frequently smile at the birds in the cage. This punishment is one of the most terrible that can be inflicted' on boys of sense and abilities. Above all, it is dreaded by the monitors: the name of it is sufficient, and therefore it is but
seldom resorted to on their account. Frequent or * old offenders are yoked together sometimes, by a
piece of wood that fastens round all their necks: and, thus confined, they parade the school, walking backwards-being obliged to pay very great attention to their footsteps, for fear of running against