I HAVE read or heard that James Mill punished his daughters for bad reasoning. What penalties were inflicted I did not learn; but so drastic a method of dealing with defects of thought, which are in many cases due to incurable defects of nature, does not commend itself to me.
I should, however, be inclined to inflict on young people certain punishments for exaggerations and mis-statements--punishments having relevance to the offences and naturally serving to check them. In each instance a fit task would be to write out a correct definition of the misused word, followed by some examples of its appropriate use. The penalty would be slight and in all respects improving; since, besides impressing on the offender the meaning of the word, it would constitute an exercise in definition: there would be frequent discipline in exact thinking. Such discipline is ignored in the current conceptions of education, though immensely more important than much other discipline that is insisted on. Of course parallel kinds of penalties might be inflicted for mis-state-