The education of the farmer/Appendix


Note to p. 4.

The distinction between the general and the special education of the middle classes was most forcibly stated by Dr. Arnold at the time of the passing of the Reform Bill, in a letter on commercial schools, from which the following passages are extracted:—

On General and Special Education.

"But I confess that this is not the point upon which I feel much anxiety, I have little doubt that boys will be sufficiently taught all that they require for their particular calling; and scientific knowledge is so generally valued, and confers a power so immediately felt, that I think its diffusion may safely be reckoned on. … [But] though such knowledge be a very good education, as far as a man's trade or livelihood is concerned, yet, in a political sense, and as a qualification for the exercise of political power, it is no education at all. The distinction requires to be stated more fully.

"Every man, from the highest to the lowest, has two businesses: the one his own particular profession or calling, be it what it will, whether that of soldier, seaman, farmer, lawyer, mechanic, labourer, &c.; the other his general calling, which he has in common with all his neighbours, namely, the calling of a citizen and a man. The education which fits him for the first of these two businesses is called professional, that which fits him for the second is called liberal. But because every man must do this second business, whether he does it well or ill, so people are accustomed to think that it is learnt more easily.

"A man who has learnt it indifferently seems, notwithstanding, to get through life with tolerable comfort; he may be thought not to be very wise or very agreeable, yet he manages to get married, and to bring up a family, and to mix in society with his friends and his neighbours. Whereas, a man who has learnt his other business indifferently, I mean his particular trade or calling, is in some danger of starving outright. People will not employ an indifferent workman when good ones are to be had in plenty; and therefore, if he has learnt his particular business badly, it is likely that he will not be able to practise it at all.

"This it is that, while ignorance of a man's special business is instantly detected, ignorance of his great business as a man and a citizen is scarcely noticed, because there are so many who share in it. Thus we see every one ready to give an opinion about politics, or about religion, or about morals, because it is said these are every man's business. And so they are, and if people would learn them as they do their own particular business all would do well; but never was the proverb more fulfilled which says that every man's business is no man's. It is worse indeed than if it were no man's; for now it is every man's business to meddle in, but no man's to learn. And this general ignorance does not make itself felt directly,—if it did, it were more likely to be remedied: but the process is long and roundabout; false notions are entertained and acted upon; prejudices and passions multiply; abuses become manifold; difficulty and distress at last press on the whole community; whilst the same ignorance which produced the mischief now helps to confirm it or to aggravate it, because it hinders them from seeing where the root of the whole evil lay, and sets them upon some vain attempt to correct the consequences, while they never think of curing, because they do not suspect, the cause."

After speaking of the influence of newspapers, and of the circumstances under which Editors are obliged to give the facts of the day or week (he is writing to a newspaper), Dr. Arnold proceeds:—

"Assuredly he who does honestly want to gain knowledge will not go to a newspaper to look for it.

"No, Sir, real knowledge, like everything else of the highest value, is not to "be obtained so easily. It must be worked fob, studied fob, thought FOR, and more than all, it must be played for. And that is education which lays the foundation of such habits, and gives them, so far as a boy's early age will allow, their proper exercise. For doing this, the materials exist in the studies actually pursued in our commercial schools; but it cannot be done effectually, if a boy's education is to be cut short at fourteen. His schooling may be ended without mischief, if his parents are able to guide his education afterwards; and the way to gain this hereafter is to make the most of the schooling time of the rising generation,—that, finding how much may be done even in their case, within the limited time allowed for their education, they may be anxious to give their children greater advantages, that the fruit may be proportionably greater.

"It may be that this is impracticable; to which I have only to say, that I will not believe it to be so till I am actually unable to hope otherwise."

On the Position of the Commercial Schoolmaster.

"The masters of our English or commercial schools labour under this double disadvantage—that not only their moral but their intellectual fitness must be taken upon trust. I do not mean that this is at all their fault; still less do I say that they are not fit actually for the discharge of their important duties: but still it is a disadvantage to them that their fitness can only be known after trial; they have no evidence of it to offer beforehand. They feel this inconvenience themselves, and their pupils feel it also—opportunities for making known their proficiency are wanting alike to both. It has long been the reproach of our law that it has no secondary punishments; it is no less true that we have no regular system of secondary education. The Classical schools throughout the country have Universities to look to: distinction at school prepares the way for distinction at college, and distinction at college is again the road to distinction and emolument as a teacher; it is a passport with which a young man enters life with advantage, either as a tutor or as a schoolmaster. But anything like local Universities—any so much as local distinction or advancement in life held out to encourage exertion at a commercial school, it is as yet vain to look for. Thus the business of education is degraded; for a schoolmaster of a commercial school, having no means of acquiring a general celebrity, is rendered dependent on the inhabitants of his own immediate neighbourhood; if he offends them he is ruined. This greatly interferes with the maintenance of discipline: the boys are well aware of their parents' power, and complain to them against the exercise of their master's authority. Nor is it always that the parents them-selves can resist the temptation of showing their own importance, and giving the master to understand that he must be careful how he ventures to displease them."—Miscellaneous Works of Dr. Arnold, p. 229.

Note to p. 23.

I have spoken in the text of Analytical Chemistry as an instrument of education not unsuited to boys under certain circumstances. In so speaking I surrendered my own first impressions out of deference to the authority of a distinguished member of the University to which I belong. But the opinion of Professor Voelcker on the other side is entitled to every weight, because his bias would naturally be expected to act in favour of chemistry; and he speaks after long experience of continental education, and also of the class of Englishmen whose education is here treated of. I am very much obliged to him for allowing me to print the following letter, called out by a difference of opinion in arranging questions for the West of England Examination. I ought, however, to say, that the questions to which Professor Voelcker refers are not so much intended for boys as for young men of 16 or 17; and that the particular point aimed at is to give candidates an opportunity of proving that they have handled, and can distinguish some of the substances about which they write, and that they have not acquired their knowledge from books only; in short, that their knowledge is real and not only verbal.

Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the age at which the study of chemistry should begin, there will be none among real educators or lovers of science as to the kind of knowledge to be encouraged.

Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, June 11, 1857.

My dear Sir,

I find that I differ from your friend as to the character of the chemistry which may be taught with advantage in schools.

I would restrict the instruction to the teaching of chemical physics, and have a very strong conviction that it is not desirable to teach practical chemistry, or, indeed, chemistry properly so called, in schools.

As an educational means, chemistry is not to be compared with other means of training the mind. The reasons are too obvious to require notice. The direct benefit resulting from the teaching of analytical chemistry in schools is nil.

Chemical science I believe can only be taught by lectures, illustrated by experiments, and by practical instruction in the laboratory. The lecturing system applied to schools for lads who ought to be made to work in class-hours, I consider to be one of the delusions of the present time, a delusion fraught with evil consequences. And as to the practical instruction, I beg to say that the question whether it is desirable or not to attach laboratories to schools, is no longer a matter of individual opinion, insomuch as it is a fact that laboratories in connexion with schools have proved complete failures.

I grant that two or three boys out of fifty may be benefited by practical instruction in experimental and analytical chemistry, but am also bound to add, that the rest only waste time which may be more usefully employed. This is the result not only of my own personal experience, but also that of many of my scientific friends in this country, at least of those who love science and desire its prosperity. Moreover, I would direct your attention to the fact, that the attempt has been made in Germany, on a large scale, to teach chemistry practically in schools for lads under 16 years of age, and has proved so complete a failure, that it has been all but universally abandoned in my native country.

You will thus observe that I differ from your friend in principle, and as I have a very strong opinion on the point, I do not wish to be counted responsible for the questions on Analytical Chemistry in General Examination, Department D, of the West of England Examination.

Believe me, my dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
Augustus Voelcker.

T. D. Acland, Esq.

Note to p. 35.

A Selection from the Questions on Mr, Pepper's Course of Lectures on Chemistry, Eton School Term, 1856.

The Air we Breathe.

Detail the experiments employed to demonstrate the materiality of the Air we breathe.

Describe a mode of showing that the Air has weight.

Describe the construction of the Barometer.

Upon what principle is the mode of analysing Air founded?

What is the composition of Air?

Give an illustration by figures of the exact nature of chemical analysis in the change which Phosphorus undergoes when used in the analysis of Air.

At what temperature does Mercury take Oxygen from the Air, and name the substance formed?

Who discovered Oxygen?—What did he use to procure it?

How many cubic inches of Oxygen will one ounce of Black Oxide of Manganese yield—also one ounce of Chlorate of Potash?

Give an example of the formation of an acid, an alkali, and a neutral body, by burning substances in Oxygen.

What is the weight of 100 cubic inches of Oxygen, and 100 cubic inches of Nitrogen?


What are the relative proportions of Earth and Water, measured in square miles, on the surface of the Earth?

Give examples of the universal presence of Water in Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral substances.

What is supposed to be the physical nature of Clouds?

What is the principle of an Artesian Well?

What are Intermittent Springs? How may they be accounted for?

Explain the importance of the expansion of Water at a certain temperature forming an exception to the general law:—that bodies expand with heat and contract with cold.

What is a Freezing Mixture, and upon what principle does it produce cold?

Why does not high-pressure Steam scald?

Describe the meaning of the term "Suspended Matter" in Water,

What are the usual Saline Matters found in Spring Water?

Describe the tests for detecting the presence of Lime in Water.

What is the meaning of the term Incrustation, as applied to Boilers?

How is it produced?

How do you account for the formation of Petrifaction?

Chemistry of the Breakfast Table.

What are the chief ingredients employed in the manufacture of China and Glass?

Why is a bright Metal Teapot preferred to a black one?

Of the Bread, Butter, Milk, Sugar, Tea, Coffee, and Cocoa, name those which contain Nitrogen.

Give an example of the meanings of the terms Proximate and Ultimate Elements.

What are the proximate constituents of Flour, Bread, and Meat?

What is supposed to be the basis of Gluten, Fibrin, Albumen, and other proximate constituents, according to the theory of Liebig?

Draw a rough section of a grain of corn, and describe the component parts.

What is the chief nutritive principle in Flour, and how obtained?

How is Flour converted into Bread?

What is the quantity of Bread usually obtained from 280 pounds of Flour, and what is the substance used to increase the weight of the Bread?

State the other adulterations of Bread, and the manner of detecting Alum and Sulphate of Copper.

How does Milk appear under the microscope? and what is Cream?

What does the mechanical operation of Churning effect?

How is Cheese made?

What is the simplest mode of testing the Purity of Milk?

Describe the eight processes required to convert Raw Sugar into the best White Lump Sugar.

On Iron.

What is the meaning of the term "Mineralised"?

Describe the various substances discernible by analysis in the Cleveland iron ore.

State the experiments employed to illustrate Artificial Oxidation.

Draw a Diagram of a section of a Blast Furnace, and describe its construction.

What are the materials mixed with the Iron Ore, to reduce it to the Metallic state?

How is the Ore prepared before it is placed in the Blast Furnace?

Explain the changes which occur in the Blast Furnace.

What are the Impurities contained in common Pig Iron?

Explain the Refining Furnace.

Give a Diagram, and describe the Puddling Furnace and the manner of removing the Metal from it.

What is the use of the great Hammer?

Describe the completion of the process, and the formation of Merchant Bar Malleable Iron.

Draw a sectional Diagram of Bessemer's new Apparatus.

Why does the Metal become so hot when the current of air is driven through it?

What are the three conditions of the Metal which may be obtained by Bessemer's process?

Describe the saving of Fuel, Time, and Labour in the new process, as compared with the old.

These questions, selected from those set by Mr. Pepper of the Polytechnic Institution to the Eton boys who attended his class, have been inserted, not only in illustration of my argument as to the progress of opinion, but because they appear to me to be well adapted to the true purpose of such Lectures, viz., to awaken in the minds of boys an interest in things around them without diverting their minds from the main work of their education. Mr. Pepper will, I hope, excuse this allusion to his labours, and also the liberty taken with his papers of questions, from which selections only are given.

Those who desire to supersede Latin verses, and all that they involve, in the system of the English public schools, with a view to substitute a more modern and miscellaneous course of instruction, may take warning from the results as viewed by thinking men in Germany.

German Experience of Modern Education.

"To boys the time soon comes when learning is no longer a play, and then care must be taken that whatever they learn they may learn thoroughly. Little; but that little right: is the principle of all real instruction. Much, and all only superficially, is the prevailing principle of the system of education of our time.…

"The old Grecian poet described a despicable character with these words,—πολλ' ἠπίστατο ἔργα, κακῶς δ' ἠπίστατο πάντα—'He knew many things, but knew them all badly.' 'Multum non multa' was a principle of education in a better time not long past away.

"… Hence the North German Gymnasia,[1] with their countless lectures, so arranged that every hour a fresh teacher appears with a fresh subject. …

"Each one accustoms himself to give out much as a task, and afterwards to require but little, because he does not know what the pupils may at that very time have to do for other teachers. …

"Under the pressure of mere secondary matters, the ancient languages, history, and mathematics, the principal foundations of all mental culture, sink down themselves to be mere secondary subjects, and the boy loses the true preparatory training for all higher study. The proper end of the gymnasium, TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN, is lost; for, instead of this, the pupil only learns how to bungle, and, instead of making even increasing demands upon his mental activity, he becomes content with the deceitful appearance of knowledge in a large variety of subjects. …

"… Nothing new can be offered them (the pupils), for they have already tasted everything, and think themselves perfectly acquainted with everything, although they are really acquainted with nothing, or rather with less than nothing, for every sensible teacher knows that he can sooner make something of a pupil who knows nothing of his subject, than of one who comes to him with a superficial and confused knowledge of it. …

"It is a hard saying of Schelling, but it is one that should be written in letters of gold, that ' A bungler in knowledge is always also a bungler in morality.' "—Christian Family Life, by Thiersch.

Note to p. 41.

By the special kindness of the Rev. Stephen Hawtrey I am permitted to give the results of his experience as to the effect of music, from an account of his school, printed for private circulation.

"Before dismissing the question of mental culture, I must refer to another branch of learning, my advocacy of which will, perhaps, be more readily received than my recommendation of a more general introduction of Latin and Euclid into our National Schools.

"I mean the learning music from notes. Independently of the result, viz. the power of reading music, 1 know nothing that is more valuable for fixing the attention of children than the study of music. It can be brought to bear on the culture of their minds at a very early age; long before they have made such progress in elementary knowledge as to take in hand the studies before spoken of; and it is the best preparation for them.

"Only watch a class of little boys, of seven and eight years old, learning to read music from Hullah's Sheets, under a good master. Mark their eyes; with what intelligence and keenness they are fixed on the tablet, from the time they begin to read the page of music to the end of it. If they once lose their place they are all abroad. I do not know any lesson that fixes the attention so keenly for three or four minutes consecutively as reading in time one of Hulllah's sheets.

"The power of attention, and consequent mental activity, which 1 have observed to result from making music from notes a regular part of the school business, has led me to say deliberately to the promoters of schools, that of two schools, ceteris paribus, if one (A) were to make music part of the school business, and the other (B) were not to do so, it would be found, at the end of a given time, that the scholars of (A) school would have learned every subject that had been taught in the (B) school, and would know them better, besides having acquired the knowledge of music.

"The whole school may be safely taught; at least all those who enter at the bottom of the school. There is not one boy in ten who has an ear so defective that it cannot be improved. And think only what you are doing for them; opening, as it were, a new sense—teaching them a new language—a language in which are written works of the highest genius and inspiration.

"If parochial clergymen realized the comfort which a power of reading music among the young men of the parish would, under God's blessing, prove to them, they would not hesitate a day in making the study of music part of the school business. As a bond for keeping the young men together, and attached to their school and clergy, it is invaluable. But, to be effectual, it must be done thoroughly—and it may be done thoroughly. By beginning at the age at which boys usually come to parochial schools, and continuing steadily, making the music lesson come in as regularly as the ciphering or reading lesson, the boys will have learned to read music before they know there is any difficulty in it.

"I do not here speak at random. We have now a choir of nearly, if not quite, fifty members; a considerable proportion of whom are young men who have been brought up at St. Mark's School, and are now following various employments in the town; and boys still at the school. They can all read music, and one evening every week they meet for the practice of singing. The music they sing is either first-class glees and madrigals, or Handel's and Mendelssohn's oratorios.

"It may readily be conceived that these weekly meetings to practise music of such a class must be a source of great pleasure; they keep together those that have been educated at the same school, and give to their clergy an opportunity of most agreeable intercourse with a very promising portion of their parishioners.

"Nor is it necessary that the young lads should withdraw from such meetings when they lose their treble voice. During the transition period, if they cannot sing, they can help in the orchestra, with their flutes, violins, &c. For it is not uncommon for our boys to find time and means for acquiring the knowledge of some musical instrument; the facility with which they can do this, and the dependence that can be placed upon them in orchestral accompaniments, no doubt arise from the readiness in reading music, and the feeling for time, which Hullah's method gives.

"Once a month they gather their friends and acquaintance together, and perform the music they have been practising. A few days ago they performed the 'Elijah' to an audience amounting to more than four hundred. It was not a little impressive to observe so large a social party of working-people listening for three hours, with riveted attention, to the wonderful strains in that work, given, with correctness and feeling, by their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers.

"The effect of such gatherings, in a social point of view, must not be inconsiderable—not to speak of the charm it must give to family intercourse, when these young men and boys sing together at home their glees, rounds, and part songs.

"At present, however, my business is with the intellectual effect of the study of music. "With reference to this point, I am persuaded that no one could look into the animated countenances of our boys, from nine to fifteen years of age, singing, with precision and self-reliance, such music as Handel's and Mendelssohn's choruses, without being persuaded that the acquirement they have made, and are using, must be exerting a great influence upon their mental development.

"The result strikes people as very extraordinary. I can only account for our success by supposing that a kind of action and reaction is going forward—their music acting on their other studies, and their other studies reacting on their music."

  1. The Gymnasium corresponds to the English Public School; it stands between the Preparatory School and the University.