Page images
PDF
EPUB

James Ferguson..--No. 5.

lics, pneumatics, electricity and astronomy; in

all of which, my encouragement has been great(CONCLUSION.)

er than I could have expected. “ I could easily see by the color of the paper, - The best machine I ever contrived is the and by the ink lines upon it, that it must have eclipsareon, of which there is a figure in the been done many years before I saw it. He then thirteenth plate of my Astronomy. It shows told me, what I was very certain, that he had the time, quantity, duration and progress of neither stolen the thought from me, nor had I solar eclipses, at all parts of the earth. My from him. And from that time till his death, next best contrivance is the universal dialling Mr. Ellicott was one of my best friends. The cylinder, of which there is a figure in the eighth figure of this machine and delineation is in the plate of the supplement to my Mechanical Lecseventh plate of my book of Astronomy.* tures.

“Soon after the style was changed, I had my “ It is now thirty years since I came to Lonrotula newly engraved; but have neglected it don; and during all that time I have met with too much, by not fitting it up and advertising the highest instances of friendship from all it. After this I drew out a scheme, and had it ranks of people, both in town and country, engraved, for solving all the problems of the which I do here acknowledge with the utmost rotula except the eclipses; and in place of that, respect and gratitude ; and particularly the it shows the times of rising and setting of the goodness of our present gracious sovereign, sun, moon and stars; and the positions of the who, out of his privy purse, allows me fifty stars for any time of night. In the year 1747, pounds a year, which is regularly paid without I published a dissertation on the harvest-moon, any deduction.” with the description of a new orrery, in which

“ Here Ferguson's own narrative ends. Bethere are only four wheels. But having never

fore his death, he was admitted as a member of had grammatical education, nor time to study the Royal Society, without the initiatory or anthe rules of just composition, I acknowledge nual fees; an honor which had been conferred that I was afraid to put it to the press; and for

on the illustrious Newton, and the ingenious the same cause I ought to have the same fears

and self-taught mathematician, Thomas Simpstill. But having the pleasure to find that my

son of Woolwich ; but generally reserved for first work was not ill received, I was embolden

distinguished foreigners. On many occasions ed to go on, in publishing my Astronomy, Me

he received marks of attention from George III. chanical Lectures, Tables and Tracts relative to

who attended some of the lectures of the inseveral arts and sciences, The Young Gentle

genious astronomer, and often sent for him to man and Lady's Astronomy, and a small trea

counsel upon scientific subjects. From an idea tise on Electricity, and Select Mechanical Exer

that he was extremely poor, Ferguson received cises. “ In the year 1748, I ventured to read lectures many handsome presents : but to the astonish

ment of all who knew him, he left upwards of on the eclipse of the sun that fell on the fourteenth of July in that year : afterwards I began November, 1776, in the 66th year of his age.”

£6000 at his death, which happened on the 6th to read astronomical lectures on an orrery which

«« « Ferguson,' says Dr. Hutton, 'must be I made, and of which the figures of all the wheel

allowed to have been a very uncommon genius, work are contained in the sixth and seventh

especially in mechanical contrivances and invenplates of my Mechanical Exercises. I next be

tions. * * * His general mathematical knowl. gan to make an apparatus for lectures on me

edge was little or nothing. Of algebra he unchanics, and gradually increased the apparatus derstood little more than the notation; and he for other parts of experimental philosophy, buy- often told me that he could never demonstrate ing from others what I could not make for my

one proposition of Euclid's Elements ; his conself, till I brought it to its present state. I then

stanc method being to satisfy himselt as to the entirely left off drawing pictures, and employed truth of any problem with a measurement by myself in the much pleasanter business of read

scale and compass.' ing lectures on mechanics, hydrostatics, hydrau

“ To this Sir David Brewster adds:- He

possessed a clear judgment, and was capable of Your correspondent has an edition of this Astronomy thinking and writing on philosophical subjects in two volumes, 8vo., revised by Dr. Brewster. He has owned it about forty years ; and it was the first treatise with great accuracy and precision. He had a on that subject he ever studied.

peculiar talent for simplifying what was complex; for rendering intelligible what was ab. • I had hardships of different kinds to constract; and for bringing down to the lowest ca- flict with,” he wrote in after life, in reference to pacities what was naturally above them. His his early training, " which I felt more sensibly unwearied assiduity in the acquisition of knowl. in proportion to the tenderness with which I edge, may be inferred from the great variety of had been treated at home. But my chief afflichis publications; and when we reflect on the tion consisted in my being singled out from all very unfavorable circunstances in which he the other boys, by a lad about fifteen years of was educated, and the little assistance which he age, as a proper object on whom he might let received from others, we cannot fail to wonder loose the cruelty of his temper. I choose to at the style in which all his works are compos- forbear a particular recital of the many acts of ed. On some occasions his style is uncommon- barbarity with which he made it his business ly correct and animated. When admiring the continually to persecute me. It will be suffidisplays of wisdom and beneficence in the eco- cient to say, that he had, by his savage treatnomy of nature, he often rises into a species of ment of me, impressed such a dread of his fig. eloquence, characterized by the most artless ure on my mind, that I well remember being simplicity, and infinitely more affecting than the afraid to lift up my eyes upon him higher than labored and polished periods of the professed his knees, and that I knew him by his shoeorator. In his manners he was affable and mild; buckles better than any other part of his dress." in his disposition, communicative and benevo- Some of Cowper's biographers attribute, in a lent. He was distinguished by none of those measure, his mental sufferings in later life to peculiarities of temper, and eccentricities of the effects of this early irritation of, and conconduct which we generally observe in literary stant strain upon, his acutely sensitive nerves. men. If Mr. Ferguson had any foibles, they If this is so, what a terrible responsibility lies • lean'd to virtue's side;' and even his wonder- at the door of him who was in any degree the ful simplicity of character, which, in a state of means of bringing such a weight of suffering artificial manners, is too apt to be regarded as a upon such a mind as Cowper's ! failing, and exposed to ridicule and scorn, tended only to heighten the respect in which he was

From the New York Teacher. constantly held.''

Brooklyn Normal School.---Fifth Annual “ The astronomer is thus elegantly noticed by

Commencement. Capel Lloft, in his poem on the Universe :

In the following article we give an account of • Nor shall thy guidance but conduct our feet, the Fifth Anniversary of this Institution, which O honor'd shepherd of our latest days !

was held on the 14th of February, 1861, in the Thee, from the flocks, while thy untutored soul, Academy of Music. Nature in childhood, trac'd the starry course,

Three thousand five hundred tickets of ad. Astronomy, enamored, gently led

mission were issued ; and yet so great was the Through ail the splendid labyrinths of heaven, And taught thee her stupendous laws; and cloth'a, demand, that double the number would not In all the light of fair simplicity,

have supplied it. Thy apt expression.'”

But we choose to let others speak of that Suffield, Ct.

which so directly concerns our work, rather

than speak of it ourselves. Little Cowper's Enemy.

The city and the New York press were well

represented on the occasion; and from their reWhen the poet Cowper was a little boy he ports we extract so much as may be necessary was excessively timid and sensitive. He was to give an intelligent idea of the proceedings. sent, at the age of six years, motherless and · Last evening, (Feb. 14th,) the Commenceforlorn, to “make his way" at Dr. Pitman's ment Exercises of the Normal School took school, and many a boy would have done i: place in the Academy of Music, before one of bravely; but this poor little timid child could the largest and most brilliant audiences that not make his way at all. All the little nerve has ever been assembled within its walls. Every which he carried with him to the school was portion of the building was crowded by an aubattered out of him by a big boy, who seems to dience in which was concentrated the learning, have made it his especial business to “cow” fashion and beauty of the city. It would be one who needed but little discipline of any kind invidious to mention the names of any of the to bring him to a fitting state of subjection. Idistinguished persons present, as almost every

P. G.

ence.

person of any note in the city was in the audi- that their efforts and aspirations towards use

fulness and excellence had been appreciated. On the stage were seated the graduates, taste

Mr. Field was greeted with warm demonstrafully arrayed in white, which had a most beau- tions of applause at the conclusion of his retiful effect, in contrast with the green foliage of

marks. the trees, represented in the scenery by which

Mr. Bulkley, City Superintendent and Printhey were surrounded. The members of the cipal of the School, then addressed the audience. Board of Education, the Clergy, members of

MR. BULKLEY'S ADDRESS. the Common Council, and other distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen : -- We present to you visitors, occupied seats on either side. The ef-to-night one of the departments of our public fect of the whole arrangement was strkingly school system. The question may here arise, beautiful.

are these ladies qualified to be trachers? We The exercises were opened about half-past answer they are — that they have attained all seven o'clock by the singing of the anthem, that is necessary in the education of teachers. . God is the refuge of his people,' by the school, It has always been the aim of the Board of Ed. after which the Rev. Rr. Robinson delivered an ucation in Brooklyn to endeavor to give all the Earnest prayer to the throne of Divine Grace for efficiency to the system of education which is the blessing of the Almighty upon the proceed- capable of being given by the means put into ings of the evening.

its hands by the authorities of the city. The Mr. T. W. Field, the chairman of the Normal Board found that it could not always select perSchool Committee, was then introduced and sons of the first order for educational ability, to

place in their schools except at the cost of more spoke as follows:

than double the amount available for the purMR. FIELD'S ADDRESS.

pose; because experience and high educational He said it had devolved on him, as chairman talent demanded it. They had therefore to use of the Normal School Committee, to make an the money which was intended for other departaddress on this occasion. If • an address' ments, and we are sorry it is not larger, so as meant a very simple statement, the remarks to give more efficiency to the department. I which he would offer might be called so. This see before me some of the city fathers, and. with was no idle show — no spectacle got up for the all due courtesy, I would say to you, gentlepurpose of self-glorification. The Board of men, deal with a more liberal hand towards the Education had desired to present to the city of interests of the public schools. You have un. Brooklyn, in one view, what had been accom- der your charge the best interests of the city, plished by the Normal School system. They and we have the representatives of our system wished the audience to take the simple cxercises here on the stage. You have in your streets, that would be offered to them in the same spirit from day to day, men who are paid for the purof simplicity and good faith with which they pose of arresting those who violate the rights of were offered. The exercises they would behold person and property; you have another class of were not intended to fill up a vacancy, or to en- men—and with all due respect I speak of themdeavor to replace, in any manner, the gorgeous the firemen, who risk life and limb in defence of musical and operatic displays with which the our property and our lives. These (the police Academy of Music had become familiar, but and firemen) you supply with a liberal hand, simply to show what this Normal School sys- but how do these interests compare with those tem was accomplishing, and to make a fair which we present to you here to-night, – those rounding off to the scholastic course of these interests which lie at the very foundation of our young ladies. This school was established for past and future history and glory as a city and the purpose of training teachers in the great nation. We say to you, then, open your hand, work of cultivating the human mind, and the and when we ask an appropriaiion for the purpresent meeting was to show how far they were pose of increasing the usefulness of the schools, capable of such a noble task. He hoped that do not cut off our demands by the $10,000, but such a place in the estimation of the audience give what is necessary, and we will so educate as was due to these young ladies would be ac- the community that you will not have to hire corded them, in a kindly and sympathizing spir- men arıned with locust clubs and revolvers, to it, so that they might go forth upon their noble keep down public transgressors. Education in and beautiful mission, cheered by the knowledgelany phase is one of the great and important in

stars

terests of the city. We say to you, then, foster rose and joined in the chorus ; a flag was low. it, and give us all that is necessary to perfect it, ered from the top of the stage, and the enthusiuntil it shall have become commensurate with asm of the audience was raised to the highest the whole wants of the community. (Applause.) pitch. Applause shook the house; many rose

The speaker then went on to speak of the to their feet and waved hats and handkerchiefs, Normal School system. There is hardly a city and round after round of cheers greeted each in the United States, at the present time, which verse, It was, perhaps, the most thrilling scene has not its Normal School; but the State of yet enacted in the new academy. New York has still more. We have not only The Rev. Dr. Vinton, of Trinity Church, our city Normal Schools, but we have a State New York, was then introduced, and spoke as Normal School, and there are besides this, an- follows: nual conventions of teachers for the purpose of

REV. DR. VINTON'S ADDRESS. taking into consideration the best methods of

My time has not yet come, but I am not sor. imparting instruction, and all the other ques- ry, after what has just passed before this assemtions relative to the diffusion of knowledge, bly of American citizens, that I am called on to and in these conventions and institutes the as

speak. For the evils that have been with such sembled teachers address themselves wholly to adroit satire represented to us in the last most the high objects for which they are assembled.

excellent composition, of secession and disunWe ask, then, on behalf of this object, ladies

ion, have indeed befallen that noble flag that has and gentlemen, your earnest sympathy, and oi

waved over our heads. (Cheers.) It has now the city fathers, we ask that they may give to become dimmed in the lustre of that galaxy of us all that is necessary in order that we may be

and this is the fault of bad education. enabled to build more school houses in the city, It is because our Southern brethren for thirty and extend the system until we have been ena

years have been taught by their teachers, by bled to disseminate the blessings of education ; their mothers, and they by the politicians, that so that every child may be able, in all the no- State rights, so called, include the right of bility and dignity of an educated manhood, to breaking up the Union, on the principle that has stand up in the right use of its intellectual pow- been so weli stated, of individuality and fancied er and be prepared to perform his duty as an in

independence. (Cheers.) How important, then, telligent citizen.

the institution this night set before you - the In conclusion, Mr. Bulkley turned to the teacher of teachers. It has taken thirty years young ladies of the graduating class, and said : to inculcate this vicious doctrine in the Southern • Young ladies of the Normal School, I congrat- mind. A generation has grown from the cradle ulate you with all my heart. After the toil and to manhood, before it has been possible for one labor of study you now reap the rewards of to utter with success and approbation the senyour endeavors, by receiving from the hands of timent of disunion which bas broken up, apthe Board of Education, the diplomas you have parently — and only apparently — the nation. so fairly earned. Young ladies ! while you (Loud cheers.) In ancient times, education, as have thus far gone on progressively from step now, was one of the important matters of the to step, you should not fail to remember what State. Historically, education may be said to still lies before you; and I hope that from this be divided into two kinds, that of the Romans day forth you will be greater students than ever. and that of the Athenians. The Roman gor. Every day should register a new step of your ernment was a part of its education; while in progress, and increase your desire for improve- the Grecian, education was a part of its government. And whenever you shall change the re- ment. In this country, as in Athens, the latter lations which now exist, may you still be teach- is the principle on which education has been ers in whatever capacity you may be called upon established. When the government was a part to act; and may you all at last ineet in the Up- of the education of the people, only those who per School where the Great Teacher presides, were educated were governors. And hence in and from his lips ever learn such lessons as he the Roman, education was a monarchical and alone can give.' (Applause.)

aristocratic feature. But in Athens, where edAfter the reading, in most admirable style, of ucation became a part of the government itself, a composition on Secession,' by the Rev. Mr. the government was democratic. That is the Studley, Mr. N. R. Collins was introduced, and character of our government and of our general sang the Star Spangled Banaer. The pupilsleducation. Our government stands or falls as

ment.

the people are educated, and educated rightly, child was to flog it into him, and many a good according to the principles that God has estab. Alogging have I had on that principle, and I aclished, confirmed by history and experience. knowledge it to be a rery good one.

But here Now, in the Athenian school of education, we see the principle of teachers of teachers, and which our country has adopted, we find that they, too, of the softer sex, gentle woman. That the great principle was development - incite- is a Normal school. Normal is a type, to which All the powers of man were admitted all things should conform.

The teachers are to be so excellent, that they were to be brought taught, and when they go forth each to her out — made as keen and bright as it was possi- school, each teaching will conform to the norma ble to accomplish. The consequence was, that or type of the teaching th-y have received. with that partial scheme of education, the Athe- Hence in reading over the first report of this nians become the most acute people in all histo- school I found six principles, important for us ry. And when the conqueror was at the gate, to understand, are taught: first, the system of the people were at that time in an assembly like instruction ; second, government, and the means this, discussing dialectic questions. They be- of preserving order ; third, the memory and came a nation of causists, because of their keen how to discipline and strengthen it; fourth, intellectual power of discrimination. There

recitation ; fifth, good deportment and how sewas wanting, then, in that education, that which cured ; and last, but not least, moral and phywould make a strong peoplı. And the reverse

sical development and how to obtain it. Let of this was the Spartan principle, for that, in this system be implanted in them, and do you its Normal, did use repression - nothing to be not see what a sentiment goes forth from this developed and incited but self-denial — people centre over our whole country, making us Ameto be trained to hardy fortitude, to be capable

ricans, speaking one language of liberty, and of endurance. The most necessary things of putting an end to this discordant language of life, the most convenient things, were denied; Ashdod? And there is a vicious system, which silver utensils, and all that went to gratify the has been, before Normal schools were thought taste and comforts of a man, were, by the laws of, adopted in England and transplanted tothis of Lycurgus, denied to the Spartan people. The country - the Lancasterian system. It is not, consequence was, on that system, a nation capa

like the Spartan, repressive, nor like the Atheble of endurance and fortitude, such as no peo

nian, developing, nor like the Christian, exerple have ever since evinced, but with it all a cising the whole man — fallen indeed, and therecovetous nation ; desiring those lawful things

fore repressed in his fall — but regenerated and denied, attempting to get them by fraud - 50 therefore called forth and incited to virtue. But that stealing in Sparta was no crime — the only without regarding the human soul, the Lancacrime was, being caught at it. Now the sys

sterian regarded the mind as an empty vessel, tem adopted in America, while it improves in and attempted to fill it up with bald facts. some measure upon these two systems, adopts

Hence the memory alone was appealed to in what is true is each and arrives at the best re

that system, and exercised. Ladies and gentlesults of both. Methinks I see now, the Athe- men, I abhor that system. The mind, the soul, nian walks — Socrates, Plato, Epicurus, Zeno, is not an empty vessel; it is the living power, followed by their youthful pupils of the mascu

and education is from its derivation - educo line sex. These were the Normal teachers of to lead forth, to lead out of, to bring the power Athens. But there is one exhibition left to this of the soul out and up to truth, like the vine latter age and this country, mentioned by your

that you train in its tendrils, to the sunshine

and the dew of heaven - this is indeed educaSuperintendent. We see of late years for the first time, teachers of teachers, of the sex born tion, by the training up of the principles of the to be teachers — our mothers — the first teach-soul, in all its qualities and powers, with due ers of humanity, in the impressionable years of apprehension of its relations to God as to manchildhood, making the deepest impressions, and bringing it up to His truth; and along the trails to last the longest. I could almost wish, fel- that He has established for its growth in excellow citizens, that I was a boy again, that I lence and virtue. I am sorry, Mr. President, might have the blessing of such preceptors as I that I am to speak but fifteen minutes. I have see here before me. In my own early days we no doubt they are passed. I could not withhad hard-fisted school-masters, and the idea hold, sir, from thus speaking on this sudden was, that the most impressive way to teach a call, when, sir, there is before me this uncoma

« PreviousContinue »