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else, to separate feeling from action, to sever the natural connection between benevolent impulses and benevolent deeds, to dissociate emotions of pity for distress from a desire to succor and relieve it, how can the flood of this reading be stayed? I answer, that much can be done by the substitution of books and studies which expound human life and human duty, as God has made them to be. Neither by the force of public opinion, nor by any enactment of the Sovereign Legislature, can the noxious works which now infest the community be gathered into one Alexandrian pile, and by the application of one torch, the earth be purified from their contaminations. No! It must be done, if done at all,-in the expressive language of Dr. Chalmers,-" by the expulsive power of a new affection." A purer current of thought at the fountain can alone wash the channels clean. For this purpose, I know of no plan, as yet conceived by philanthropy, which promises to be so comprehensive and efficacious, as the establishment of good libraries in all our school districts, open respectively to all the children in the State, and within half an hour's walk of any spot upon its surface.
NOTE. On the 3d day of March, 1842, the Legislature passed a Resolve offering a bounty of $15, to each school district in the State, which would appropriate $15,-both sums to be expended for the purchase of a school library. By subsequent Resolves, enlarging the provisions of the former, it is now provided that where a district contains more than twice sixty children, three times sixty, &c., it may draw as many times $15 from the State Treasury, as the number sixty is contained in the number of its children, on condition of raising an equal sum. Towns not districted may draw in the same proportion. A great majority of the districts in the State have already availed themselves of the privileges of these Resolves.
ON SCHOOL PUNISHMENTS.
My subject is, Punishment, and, more especially, CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, in our schools. Important questions are agitated, respecting its rightfulness and expediency, under any circumstances; and, if rightful and expedient, at all, then respecting its mode, its extent, and the circumstances under which it should be inflicted. I despair of reconciling the conflicting opinions which are entertained on these topics; but may I not hope to elucidate some points, pertaining to them, and perhaps to lessen the distance between the extremes of doctrine now existing amongst us?
All punishment, considered by itself, is an evil. In other words, all pain, considered by itself, is an evil; and the immediate object of punishment is the infliction of pain. I think that no one who does not altogether deny the existence of evil, will deny that pain, abstracted from all antecedents and consequences, is evil; and, if any one denies that evil exists, I answer him in the language of Soame Jenyns, let him have the toothache, or get into a law-suit." The ultimate object of punishment is to avert an evil greater than itself. We justify ourselves for inflicting it,-not because it is a pleasure to us to do so,-for that would be diabolical; nor wholly because the culprit deserves it; for if we could arrest him and
reform him, as well without the infliction of pain as with it, no benevolent man would prescribe the pain; and, amongst all civilized nations, when a malefactor, who has been condemned to death, becomes insane, he is respited until reason is restored; although it is clear that the loss of reason cannot expiate the past offence, and, therefore, that the deserts of the transgressor remain the same as before. We do not then inflict punishment wholly because it is deserved; but we inflict it that we may ward off a greater evil by a less one, a permanent evil by a temporary one. We administer it, only as a physician sometimes administers poison to a sick man, not because poison is congenial to the healthy system, nor, indeed, because poison is congenial to the diseased system; but because it promises to arrest a fatal malady until appropriate remedial measures can be taken. Would any person be upheld or approved, by a sane community, for inflicting the pain of punishment upon a child, when he could have produced the desired object as well without it? Punishment, then, taken by itself, is always to be considered as an evil. The practical deduction from this principle, is, that the evil of punishment should always be compared with the evil proposed to be removed by it; and, in those cases only, where the evil removed preponderates over the evil caused, is punishment to be tolerated. The opposite course would purchase exemption from a less evil, by voluntarily incurring a greater
These principles seem clear, and for their support I believe we have the concurrent opinion of all writers of any note, on jurisprudence or ethics, and of all sensible men. In following out these principles to their application, I fear I may fall into error; and I proceed, with unfeigned diffidence, to a further development of my views.
Should I differ from others, I only ask,-what I am most ready, on my own part, to give,—a candid reconsideration of the points of disagreement.
Let me premise, that there are two or three peculiar difficulties attending the discussion of this subject. If the truth lies, as I believe it does, in the mean and not in either of the extremes, then those ultraists who believe in the doctrine either of no-punishment, or of all-punishment, will be prone to seize upon arguments or concessions, on their own side, to reject those on the other side, and thus confirm themselves in their respective ultraisms; and perhaps, at the same time, bring forward a charge of inconsistency. Probably there is no subject, which it is more difficult for a speaker to balance well in his own mind, and to leave well-balanced in the minds of his hearers.
Again; it is undoubtedly true that most men have formed their opinions on the subject of punishment, more from feeling and less from reflection, than perhaps on any other subject whatever. In conversing upon this topic, I have almost uniformly observed, that my collocutor has advanced positive, decided general opinions, and then adverted to some particular fact, in his own experience or observation, on which the general opinions had been founded. But sound opinions. are usually the result of an extended survey of facts. Here, however, the intensity with which a single fact has been felt is a substitute for numbers. The judgment of many a man has been decided, if not enlightened,-respecting the whole subject of punishment, by one vivid impression made, while a schoolboy, on his back or hand. Two boys fight. One of them gets seriously injured. The schoolmaster punishes the victor. The vanquished boy and his parents approve the avenging dispensation, and become strenuous advocates for high-toned discipline. The victorious,