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[363] his duty stops. If the lesson have been learnt, it is well; if it have not, nothing remains but punishment, after a sufficient number of such offences shall have been accumulated to demand it; and then it comes, halting after the delinquent, he hardly knows why. The idea of a thorough commentary on the lesson; the idea of making the explanations and illustrations of the teacher of as much consequence as the recitation of the book, or even more, is substantially unknown in this country, except at a few preparatory schools.

The consequence is, that, though many of our colleges may have a valuable apparatus for instruction, though they may be very good, quiet, and secluded places for study, and though many of the young men who resort thither may really learn not a little of what is exacted or expected from them, yet, after all, not one of our colleges is a place for thorough teaching; and not one of the better class of them does half of what it might do, by bringing the minds of its instructors to act directly and vigorously on the minds of its pupils, and thus to encourage, enable, and compel them to learn what they ought to learn, and what they easily might learn.

Consider, only, that as many years are given to the great work of education here as are given in Europe, and that it costs more money with us to be very imperfectly educated than it does to enjoy the great advantages of some of the best institutions and universities on the Continent. And yet, who in this country, by means here offered him, has been enabled to make himself a good Greek scholar? Who has been taught thoroughly to read, write, and speak Latin? Nay, who has been taught anything, at our colleges, with the thoroughness that will enable him to go safely and directly onward to distinction in the department he has thus entered, without returning to lay anew the foundations for his success? It is a shame to be obliged to ask such questions; and yet there is but one answer to them, and those who have visited and examined the great schools of Europe have bitterly felt, there, what this answer is, and why it must be given.

In some of our colleges there may be a reason for this state of things. Their means are small, their apparatus incomplete, their instructors few. They do what they can; but they cannot do much more than spread before their students a small part of the means for acquiring knowledge, examine them sufficiently to ascertain their general diligence, and encourage them to exertion by such rewards and punishments as they can command. And in doing this they may do the community great service, and honorably fulfil their own duties.

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