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tion to mere systems and conventional forms as is consistent with avoiding solecisms. This principle carried into detail would allow much less weight to the study of languages (especially of dead languages) than is usually considered its due in our great public schools,— where, in fact, the acquisition of the latter seems to be regarded as the one and only object of education; while, on the other hand, it would attach great importance to all those branches of practical and theoretical knowledge, whose possession goes to constitute an idea of a well-informed gentleman,- as, for example, a knowledge of the nature and constitution of the world we inhabit; its animal, vegetable and mineral productions, and their uses and properties as subservient to human wants; its relation to the system of the universe, and its natural and political subdivisions; and, last and most important of all, the nature and propensities of man himself, as developed in the history of nations and the biography of individuals; the constitutions of human society, including our responsibilities to individuals and to the social body of which we are members; in a word, as extensive a knowledge as can be grasped and conveyed in an elementary course, of the actual system and laws of nature, both physical and moral.
Again, in a country where free institutions prevail, and where public opinion is of consequence, every man is, to a certain extent, a legislator; and for this his education (especially when the government of the country lends its aid and sanction to it) ought, at least, so far to prepare him as to place him on his guard against those obvious and popular fallacies which lie across the threshold of this, as well as of every other subject with which human reason has anything to do. Every man is called upon to obey the laws, and therefore it cannot be deemed superfluous that some portion of erery man's education should consist in informing him what they are. On these grounds it would seem to me that some knowledge of the principles of political economy, of jurisprudence, of trade and manufactures, is essentially involved in the notion of a sound education. A moderate acquaintance also with certain of the useful arts, such as practical mechanics or engineering, agriculture, draftsmanship, is of obvious utility in every station of life; while in a commercial country the only remedy for that proverbial short
sightedness to their best ultimate interest which is the misfortune rather than the fault of every mercantile community upon earth, seems to be to inculcate, as a part of education, those broad principles of free interchange and reciprocal profit and public justice on which the whole edifice of permanently successful enterprise must be based.
The exercise and development of our reasoning faculties is another grand object of education, and is usually considered, and in a certain sense justly, as most likely to be attained by a judicious course of mathematical instruction; while it stands, if not opposed to, at least in no natural connection with, the formal and conventional departments of knowledge (such as grammar and the so-called Aristotelian logic). It must be recollected, however, that there are minds which, though not devoid of reasoning powers, yet manifest a decided inaptitude for mathematical studies; which are estimative, not calculating; and which are more impressed by analogies, and by apparent preponderance of general evidence in argument, than by mathematical demonstration, where all the argument is on one side, and no show of reason can be exhibited on the other. The mathematician listens only to one side of a question ; for this plain reason, that no strictly mathematical question has more than one side capable of being maintained otherwise than by simple assertion, while all the great questions which arise in busy life and agitate the world are stoutly disputed, and often with a show of reason on both sides, which leaves the shrewdest at a loss for a decision.
This, or something like it, has often been urged by those who contend against what they consider an undue extension of mathematical studies in our Universities. But those who have urged the objection have stopped short of the remedy. It is essential, however, to fill this enormous blank in every course of education which has hitherto been acted on, by a due provision of some course of study and instruction which shall meet the difficulty, by showing how valid propositions are to be drawn, not from premises which virtually contain them in their rery words, as in the case with abstract propositions in mathematics, nor from the juxtaposition of other propositions assumed as true, as in the Aristotelian logic; but facts and ci
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from the broad consideration of an assemblage of facts and circumstances brought under review. This is the scope of the Inductive Philosophy,— applicable, and which ought to be applied (though it never yet has fairly been so), to all the complex circumstances of human life, to politics, to morals and legislation, to the guidance of individual conduct and that of nations. I cannot too strongly recommend this to the consideration of those who are now to decide on the normal course of instruction to be adopted in your College. Let them have the glory — for glory it will really be — to have given a new impulse to public instruction, by placing the Novum Organum for the first time in the hands of young men educating for active life, as a text book, and as a regular part of their college course. It is strong meat, I admit, but it is manly nutriment; and, though imperfectly comprehended (as it must be at that age, when the college course terminates), the glimpses caught of its meaning, under a due course of collateral explanation, will fructify in after life; and, like the royal food with which the young bee is fed, will dilate the frame, and transform the whole habit and economy. Of course it should be made the highest book for the most advanced classes. — Sir John Herschel.
WHAT EDUCATION CAN DO. — Why is it that towns in New England, seemingly-alike, so often yield such different contributions of talent and activity to the State ? Why is it that from some one secluded and unpretending village there have not unfrequently gone forth in a single generation a surprising number of powerful and useful minds? Search into its history, and you will find that at some time the public spirit, either of the community or of individuals, has there provided superior means of education for the young, and so developed talent which else had slumbered in neglect. There was a spirit in advance of the age, and it is rewarded by furnishing to the age its leaders. . . . I could point you to a small town* in Massachusetts, which thirty years ago was little more than an agricultural village. A single individual, of limited means, but of large views, made that place his residence. He interested himself at once in the cause of education in the town. He lectured on the
subject. He reached the good sense of the people. They united to establish an academy of the first' order. The town rapidly advanced in consideration. It became the resort of scholars from a wide circle of country around. It was soon prized as a place of residence, and in twenty years the property of the town has increased in value six fold. The academy has since grown into a college, and is educating hundreds of the choicest minds of the State. How much will that town have reason forever to rejoice in the interest taken by Noah WEBSTER in its educational concerns ! - Rev. Wm. A. Goodrich, 1852.
THE NEGLECT OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE. — The fearful death-rate of many of our large towns, and the neglected and unsanitary state of our villages, show that whatever our legislation may have been, it has yet failed to produce any great impression on the mass of our population; dirt and filth, disease and death, keep pace with our activity. . . . But if the law is inefficient or unacted upon, it arises from the want of knowledge on the part of the people themselves. Not only does this ignorance tell upon the legislature, but, even were it possible for the legislature to provide all the conditions of a healthy existence, the object would not be obtained, unless the people were sufficiently instructed to avail themselves of the rights thus conferred upon them. I have alluded to some of the great facts upon a knowledge of which our healthy existence depends. It is in vain that the legislature enacts a plan upon which houses shall be built to insure ventilation, unless the inhabitants of these houses understand the worth of fresh air. In vain is fresh water brought to our doors, if in our indolence and ignorance we refuse to use it. There must be intelligence both in the legislator and those for whom he legislates, if we are to take advantage of our present knowledge of the laws of life to secure us from disease and death.
When one sees how little is the effort made to introduce into our general system of education a knowledge of those great laws of physics, chemistry and physiology on which our life depends, one is filled with dismay at the prospect before us. When the leading educationists in our country are carrying on a controversy as to whether in our examinations the highest rates of marks shall be given to classics, mathematics, history or modern languages, one
feels that they are quarrelling over dry bones, and forgetting all that which gives life and reality to our existence. It is not till the great facts of the natural sciences shall take a proper position in the study of our schools and universities, ... and the great laws are taught by which the Creator governs the life of the world, that we can expect the people to exercise that judgment and self. control with regard to their health, the want of which causes the sacrifice of holocausts of victims every year. - Dr. Edwin Lankester.
COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION FOR PUBLIC OFFICES. — We can scarcely conceive a deeper injury inflicted on the primary and secondary education of the country than that it should be moulded and directed with the direct purpose of enabling its pupils to pass competitive examinations for government appointments. As it is, the system of prizes, of pressure, of show, of shining, ostensible results, is producing an effect that is worse than questionable. The master is more bent upon cramming the memory than cultivating the mind of his pupils; upon filling the soil rather than preparing it; upon working his boys so as to make a creditable appearance on a show day, rather than in laying that solid foundation which will make them sensible and successful men in after life, upon forcing those promising scholars who will do him honor, rather than upon aiding those more numerous slow ones to whom he owes especial duty. Every one conversant with primary schools, in particular, knows how great is this danger. Inspectors look for specimens; parents look for positive, obvious attainments. Real mental improvement and strengthening is too commonly unsought for and unperceived by both. The peril and the mischief of our present improved popular education is in its tendency and temptation to prepare scholars for examinations, instead of preparing them for life; and our Reformers, in their headlong course, propose to augment this temptation and this tendency tenfold, by dangling before the eyes of schoolmasters and scholars throughout the land the glittering bait of a government appointment!- English National Review.
FLOGGING IN ENGLISH SCHOOLS. — “In 1809 began the mastership of Keate, four feet high, with the pluck of ten battalions"