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This volume contains a series of letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain written by John Ruskin. They are numbered 91, 93 94 95 and 96. It looks as if they were published singly in 1883 and 1884 as there are what appear to be original fronts each priced at ten pence included at the rear of this book. As the pagination between letters No. 91 and 93 is not continuous it may that they are originals. The back of one of the covers has the following information :- For reasons which will be explained in the course of these Letters, I wish to retain complete command over their mode of publication. For the present they will be sold by Mr. George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington Kent ., etc., etc. The book measures 15 by 22.5cms approx. The leather spine and corners are worn in places, but it is still in a good strong condition and the contents are firmly held. Apart from a few pages with a corner fold when carelessly closed, and 3 pages with a couple of foxed spots the text pages are extremely clean and fresh. The illustrations are simply but attractively drawn by someone with the initials K C.
Quote 1 Why beauty is so often given to girls who have only the mind to misuse it, and not to others? answered, in the first place, that the mystery is quite as great in the bestowal of riches and wit; in the second place, that the girls who misuse their beauty, only do it because they have not been taught better, and it is much more other peoples fault than theirs; in the third place, that the privilege of seeing beauty is quite as rare a one as that of possessing it, and far more fatally misused. All real ugliness in cither sex means some kind of hardness of heart, or vulgarity of education.
Quote 2 The three Rs? And I do not choose to teach (as usually understood) the three Rs; first, because, as I do choose to teach the elements of music, astronomy, botany, and zoology, not only the mistresses and masters capable of teaching these should not waste their time on the three Rs; but the children themselves would have no time to spare, nor should they have. If their fathers and mothers can read and count, they are the people to teach reading and numbering-, to earliest intelligent infancy. For orphans, or children whose fathers and mothers cant read or count, dame (infant) schools in every village.
Quote 3 How to teach? Every child should be measured by its own standard trained to its own duty, and rewarded by its just praise. It is the effort that deserves praise, not the success ; nor is it a question for any student whether he is cleverer than others or duller, but whether he has done the best he could with the gifts he has. The madness of the modern cram and examination system arises principally out of the struggle to get lucrative places ; but partly also out of the radical blockheadism of supposing that all men (women) are naturally equal, and can only make their way by elbowing (or backstabbing). A good artist will admit that there is far less personal pleasure in doing a thing beautifully than in seeing it beautifully done.
Quote 4 Anyone whos child desires an education will be bettered by it, the child who dislikes it, only disgraced.
Of course, I am speaking here of intellectual education, not moral. <b>The laws of virtue and honour are, indeed, to be taught compulsorily to all men ; whereas our present forms of education refuse to teach them to any ; and allow the teaching, by the persons interested in their promulgation, of the laws of cruelty and lying, until we find these British islands gradually filling with a breed of men who cheat without shame, and kill without remorse.</b> John Ruskin 1884.