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a separate view of the different prospects in Dove Dale, and other parts of Derbyshire; and as far recollection
I have not found any thing so beautifully executed at Seve. It must, however, be acknowledged, that the vox populi assigns the palm of superiority to the latter.
Having gone over the whole of this elegant exhibition, at which we experienced the greatest politeness and attentions, we returned through the walks of St. Cloud, and getting into our carriage, which was waiting for us at the entrance of the caves of voluptuousness, we drove off for Paris, through the Bois de Boulogne.
On our way, we saw several persons carrying away the dead body of General D'Estaing, who had just been shot by General Regnier, in a duel. The cause of the quarrel arose in Egypt, where both these officers served with great distinction. D'Estaing was an able officer, and is much regretted; but Regnier, is possessed of very splendid abilities, and has displayed an acute and penetrating genius, as well as an happy talent of observation, in an admirable account which he has sent to the Agricultural Society, concerning the state of Agriculture and Society in Egypt.
This unfortunate affair does not excite the sensation here, which the death of a fighting booby causes in London. Duelling is by no means so frequent as under the monarchy; the point of honour being little understood by the republican nobles. But, when they shall have seen a little good company, the system will be revived, as they are extremely fond of aping the manners, and even the follies of the old nobility.
General Regnier will not be prosecuted, as the laws of this country take no cognizance of suddendeath. Duelling is not even mentioned in the penal code. He is said to be waiting with impatience the arrival of Abdallah Menou in Paris, in order to have a shot at him also; and it is rumoured, that the Mussulman keeps out of the way, on purpose to avoid the combat. I think he acts wisely, for Reguier is a capital marksman, and unless Menou contrives to appease him, it is very probable that the former will send him among the Houri, very much against his inclination
Establishments for Public Instruction.
ABOVE one hundred and eighty different speeches and reports had been printed on the subject of Public Instruction, before any national school had been established. Some of these were charged with wild fire, and others were composed more to display the ingenuity of the author than to benefit the state. In old France, there were more universities, colleges, and public schools; and knowledge was communicated at a cheaper rate, than in any other part of the world. All these were overthrown by the Jacobin Revolution, and the funds or estates allotted to their support were confiscated, sold, or squandered on the adventurers, civil and military, who figured on the theatre of the French Republic.
The necessity of making some provision for the instruction of youth was at length universally felt, and out of a chaos of systems and schemes, something approaching to common sense, was finally adopted as a temporary expedient; for to this hour there is no general plan of education in the country, and those institutions which I am now about to describe, are calculated, with the ex
ception of the central and polytechnic Schools, for persons of mature age.
There are only three central schools in Paris, and their organization is so defective that it may be justly doubted, whether it would not be doing a service to the cause of literature, if they were suppressed. For, notwithstanding that to each of them are attached a library, mathematical instruments, and a botanic garden; the mode of conveying instruction must defeat the object of their institution. The abstract sciences and history fill up the whole course of education until the pupils are eighteen years of age. Geography, without which history cannot be understood, is not taught; there is no professor of foreign languages, and only one lecturer on the ancient tongues, who for an hour and a half reads daily a critical excursion, rather for his own amusement than for the advantage of his pupils, so that ancient literature cannot be said to be cultivated at all. The other professors discharge their duties in a manner equally exceptionable; nothing is left to the labours of the scholar, his understanding is not in the least exercised; he is only required to possess a supernatural memory. Public lectures are admirable methods of communicating science, particularly experimental science, to those who have previously made themselves acquainted with its elements; but to teach the abstract sciences to boys, merely by reading dissertations to them, is much the same as attempting to teach them the more abstruse parts of arithmetic, or to demonstrate a problem of Euclid without pen, ink, and paper. I conclude therefore, that these central schools are of no manner of use, but serve rather to display an idle ostentation on the part of the government, a parade of useless erudition on the part of the professor; and to nurture consummate ignorance and vanity in the scholar.
However, when the pupils have some how or other gone through their classes, they are removed to the Polytechnic school, which is the Parisian university. This change is certainly in their favour because they obtain by it nearly ten pounds sterling a year, which is a sum not to be despised by the future Receivers General of Europe. About four hundred boys are here finishing; Lebrun, not Charles François, the Consul, but Ponce-Denys-Ecouchard, the poet, and member of the National Institute, is the principal administrator. These members of the Institute burrow every where; it is a matter of no small importance to obtain a seat in their hall, for it is the anti-chamber to wealth, fame, and power. At this Polytechnic school, laboratories, mechanical workshops, a drawing-room, and philosophical apparatus are provided for the use of the pupils.
From this account of the state of Public Instruction in the capital, you may form a tolerable judgment of the progressive marche de l'esprit