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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/370

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362 Southern Historical Society Papers.

statements, as far as we are capable of judging; well gotten up by the publishers, and is a very good school history. Mr. Bruce is a Virginian, and his book is, therefore, written from a Southern point of view. But we think he fails to state the South' s position in ref- erence to the late war as strongly as it can or should be stated to our children; e. g., at Section 418, he says:

"The Southern people maintained, that the constitution was simply a compact or agreement between sovereign and independent States," &c.

without saying whether they were right or wrong in so maintaining. Again at Section 419, he says: "the South thought," &c. We think we know what the opinions of the author are on these impor- tant questions, and that our chileren should have the benefit of these opinions wherever they are based on such well ascertained facts as are here referred to.

STEPPING STONES TO LITERATURE.

The volumes with this title have been brought to our attention by Captain Carter R. Bishop, of Petersburg, a member of the commit- tee, and at our request he has prepared the following, it would seem, well merited criticism, which we respectfully commend to the serious consideration of the Board of Education of the State.

Captain Bishop's paper is as follows:

"This Committeee has hitherto confined its attention entirely to matters of history proper, but the lamented Dr. Hunter McGuire, in outlining our work, included among the subjects of our criticism, any text book of our schools which failed to do justice to the South.

' ' We have recently examined critically the series of readers in most common use and find them far from what they should be. An intelligent child soon learns that authors may dogmatize in the state- ment of facts about which there may be a difference of opinion. This puts him on his guard, and he accepts the teachings of his his- tory as truths subject to such future correction as may be justified by a wider knowledge of the matter.

"But the most ineradicable opinions are those formed by infer- ence, without assertion or contradiction, during the formative period of a child's mind. The error thus implanted is never suspected 'till it is unalterably fixed. There are poisons whose only manifestation is the inexplicable death of the victim. An antidote would have saved him, but its need was not indicated 'till death made it useless.