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The true aim of school training is the due and harmonious development of all the faculties of our naturephysical, mental, moral, and spiritual. Such development depends, of course, upon many influences. Of these I am, in the following pages, concerned chiefly with one — the influence upon a boy's total character of his surroundings at school, in so far as these surroundings can be made for the boy by the schoolmaster, And my main and immediate, though not my only object, is to prevail upon schoolmasters to introduce as soon as possible into their schools certain reforms in harmony with the known laws of health, such reforms being, as I believe, quite practicable, and of infinite importance to the physical, and therefore to the mental, moral, and religious health of the boys. I should also be very thankful if I could induce parents to give more attention than I think they usually do give to educational questions which affect so profoundly the whole present and future lives of their boys.
My time is so much occupied that it is not likely that I should ever have written even such a fragment as this, if I had not been in a way compelled to do so. And the compulsion was this. I have not been able to close my eyes to the fact that at our great Public Schools some of the elementary laws of health are usually being terribly broken, and that grievous injury is being done to the minds and bodies of thousands of boys for the lack of a few simple reforms. And I came to regard it as a simple duty, the neglect of which would be wrong, to write down what suggestions I had to make in the way of reform, and to make them public. But I have had, among the multifarious duties of my profession, only fragments of time at my disposal, and the result is something very fragmentary. I have specially desired not to delay the publication of what I have written. For I believe that there are many reasons why such proposals as I have made are more likely to arouse interest and promote discussion, and therefore to be useful, at the present time, than if they were brought forward later. I have, therefore, thought it best to dispense with such elaboration as could have been produced only at the expense of time.
Though there is, in my judgment, much that is imperfect in Public School education, and though I have, in what follows, frequently blamed schoolmasters for allowing such imperfections to continue, I must at once