8 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections
THE DEATH OF MR, J. L. YOUNG.
Some nine months sgo, in recording the deter- mination of Mr. J. L. Young to retire from the position which he had so long occupied as pro prietor and principal of the Adelaide Educa-
tional Institution, and to sever his connection with the teaching profession, we took occasion to allude to the inestimable service which he had rendered to the cause of education in the colony, and expressed the hope that he might long be spared to enjoy his we!l-earned repose. Unfortunately it has happened otherwise, for the last mail brought the sad, and to his friends the altogether startling, intelligence that he had died on board the Orient steamer John Elder, while on his way to England to rejoin his family, who had preceded him some months before, and that his body had been consigned to the deep. There are not many men who have been con- nected with South Australia in any capacity whose loss could give rise to more genuine sorrow, or be lamented by a wider circle of affectionate friends, than will be the death of this well- known and most genial and true-hearted schoolmaster. Few of his old scholars — and they may be reckoned by hundreds, if not by thousands — will hear the news un- moved. From all accounts we are justified in saying that if ever teacher possessed the faculty of gaining the unreserved confidence and love of his pupils, it was Mr. Young. They regarded him not so much as their school- master as their loyal friend and sympathizing councillor. Many there are who, long after they had ceased to be his scholars, continued to seek and to receive his ready and kindly advice ; and there are not a few who attribute a large measure of their success in life to the healthful, invigorating, and even in- spiring influence of his teachings. Mr. Young was endowed with great natural attainments, and to these were superadded the charms and graces of careful mental culture. A diligent reader, and a close and acute ob- server, he was eminently qualified to undertake the work of an instructor. Not only was he skil- ful in presenting in a close and cogent form the very essence of the knowledge obtained from books, but be broke loose entirely from the trammels of routine, and by drawing his illus- trations from Nature and from passing events, according to the character of the subject upon which he wished to enlighten his pupils, he gave a living interest to his lessons. An enthusiast in his profession, his aim was to awaken the enthusiasm of his pupils, and cause them to love study for its own sake. His system was such that a boy, unless deter- mined not to learn, could not avoid profiting by his teaching. There were no wearying rote lessons, information was imparted in a light and pleasing style, and the seeds sown were none the less likely to fructify because the soil was carefully prepared for them. He recognised that the chief end of education is to stimulate and train tbe reasoning faculties; that the duty of the schoolmaster is not to cram the memories of his scholars with a mass of dry and undigested facts, but to open their minds to impressions and to lay the foundation for a superstructure of sound knowledge by making intelligible to them the principles of things and encouraging them to con- tinue research on their own account. Imbued with a horror of creeds as being cramping in their effects, there was in his school course no approach to dogmatic religious instruction, and yet his teachings, no matter what the subject might be, were pervaded by the true spirit of practical religion. The claims of the Creator to the profoundest reverence of his creatures were enforced when he
enlarged upon the discoveries of science ; affection for purity and truth was inculcated when he discoursed of moral philosophy ; and admiration for all that's good, and noble, and manly was insisted upon in his lessons in history and other topics. One of his favourite studies was political economy, and he strove to train his pupils to a right conception of their duties and approaching responsibilities as citizens. He took pains to lay before them the problems they would have to face, and without any attempt at dogmatism, to assist them in the task of honestly solving them. Many of these who had the benefit of studying under him frankly admit that his instructions played a prominent part in fitting them to fight the battle of life. His passionate love of liberty, his intense hatred of ???????, his utter scorn of meanness in every shape, were all the more conspicuous in contrast with the retiring modesty and self-depreciation of the man and the extreme simplicity and naturalness of his manners. The wearing duties which he had faithfully performed for so many years, and the fact that after all his exertions he was left with but a very moderate share of worldly goods, had no effect in depressing his spirits, ' I feel,' he said to one of his old pupils shortly before leaving Adelaide, 'as youthful as I did twenty years ago, and when I get home and see my wife acd children again I shall have nothing left to wish for.' The esteem in which he was held by bis old scholars was shown by their presentation to him on December 17 of last year, on its becoming known that he in- tended visiting England, of a purse of 386 sovereigns, contributed largely by those who had left the institution under his charge many years before, and their grief will be intensified by the more than ordinarily sad circumstances attending his death. After a long, laborious, and honourable career as a trainer of youth, he was going home to enjoy some years of rest with his family in Cornwall, fully intending to return with them to South Australia, which, in his estimation, enjoys the finest institutions, and, taken all in all, is tbe most delightful place of residence in the world. Before his departure he had prepared a lecture, giving in his own genial style his impressions of tbe colony, and one of his most pleasant anticipations was that he would have the opportunity of urging the working men and struggling farmers of England to seek their fortunes in this new land. It is sad to think that
hit bright hopes of the future have had such an ending, and that he should be cut off in the full maturity of his powers, and just when he had retired upon a modest competency with every intention of devoting his leisure to advancing the interests of the colony for which he had such a strong affection. Those who knew him best will say that, although the manly teacher, the gentle counsellor, the steadfast friend is gone, there still exists for him a lasting monu- ment in the hearts of his friends and pupils. Valuable as have been Mr. Young's services to the community, his life, from a public point of view, has been an uneventful one. His early years were spent in Cornwall, where his father, who is atill alive, now resides. Attached as he afterwards became to South Australia, he always looked forward to spending some years with his family amid tbe charming coast scenery in tbe neighbourhood of Veryan in his native county. After receiving tbe rudiments of his education he entered King's College, where he re- mained from 1843 to 1845. Here he had as a fellow-student Mr. Sidney Clark, of this city. He devoted his attention largely to engineering, a subject in which he showed great aptitude. His course of study also included various branches of science and mathematics, in which he gained some distinction. He next spent some time on the Continent of Europe in pursuing his studies at one of the German Universities. His scholastic duties were agree- ably interspersed with rambles in company with his tutors among the grand scenery of Bavaria, the Tirol, and Switzerland. On returning to England he continued his engineering studies, and assisted in the construction of one or two lines of railway in England. But the love of adventure was strong in him, and while yet little more than a youth set sail for Australia in the Panama, he having as a fellow passenger the late Mr. Whitridge, of this journal, with whom he remained on terms of the closest intimacy. Soon after tbe outbreak of the Victorian dig- gings he visited the neighbouring colony, but did not remain there long. Acting upon the solicitations of his friends, who at first urged him to accept the charge of a projected proprie- tary school, he began the profession of teaching. At first he set to work in a very small way in a building at the rear of the old Ebenezer Chapel, off Rundle-street, his first pupils being Mr. Caleb Peacock and Mr. J. Partridge. His school increased, and he took possession of pre- mises in Stephens-place, where he remained tor many years helping to mould the minds of suc- cessive relays of scholars. In connection with his school, known as the Adelaide Educational Institution, in the conduct of which he was assisted by several masters, among whom the names of his brother, Mr. Oliver Young, now living in Cornwall, and Mr . Thomas Bennett stand conspicuous, he established a boarding-school, which was also attended by a large number of boys. In tbe management of this scholastic institution he had the advantage of the advice and occasional help of
the late Mr. John Howard Clark, to whom be was greatly attached. When the Stow Memorial Church was built Mr. Young removed his day-school to tbe old Congregational building in Freeman-street, and accommodated his boarders at his residence at Parkside. Finding tbe work of managing both establishments too severe for him, he combined the two at Parkside, an arrangement which resulted in a large reduction in tbe number of his pupils. He carried on operations for several years, but at tbe end of 1830 broke up the school, resolving to retire from the active work of a profession to which he had devoted close upon thirty years of his life, the only break in the arduous duties of his profession being in 1860, when he paid a short visit to England. During the heyday of his success as a teacher Mr. Young was wont to have a half-yearly speech-day and distribution of prizes in White's ' Rooms, and many will remember the thoughtful and interesting reports read by him on such occasions. Numbers of men now occupying prominent positions in the colony were among the prize takers at these periodical demonstra- tions, one of the features of which was the pre- sentation of the 'Old Scholars' Prize,' pur chased by the Old Scholars' Association, which also was wont to have an aunual social - gathering in honour of the Adelaide Educational Institution. It is only right to add that Mr. Young never took kindly to these public speech-days, and in later years con- tented himself with publishing in the news papers a modest list of prizetakers. During the first year of the Competitive Examinations some of his scholars offered themselves and gained a good place among the recipients of honours ; but he subsequently declined to be asso- ciated with the movement, which, it will be remembered, was but short-lived. Mr. Young took very little part in public affairs, finding tbe work of the school sufficient to absorb nearly all his spare time ; but he, in conjunction with Mr. Feinagle, Mr. John Howard CIark, and we believe the late Mr. Whitridge originated the Philosophical Society, which has now blossomed into the Royal Society of South Australia. Mr. Young leaves behind him a wife and a large family of sons and daughters. The eldest son, Mr. Algernon Sidney Young, is resident in South Australia, but Mrs. Young and the other children are in Cornwall, whither they went last year in advance of Mr. Young himself, who, after completing business arrangements proceeded homeward in the John Elder. From the account of a fellow-passenger it appears that the deceased gentleman, who left Adelaide apparently in the best of health and spirits, was attacked with sciatica on the voyage, and became very despondent. For about two days he suffered from an almost unconquerable drowsiness, and on July 26 he was found in his cabin unconscious. A fit of apoplexy came on when the vessel was in the Red Sea, and in spite of every attention on the part of the ship's surgeon and another medical gentleman who happened to be amongst the passengers, he never recovered from the attack, and died quietly in the evening.