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the force of collective unity. But unity, collective or individ. ual, requires a verb in the singular, which the two objects linked by "both” do not get, as they do not yet deserve, if they shall ever deserve it; whence arises, I conceive, that vague feeling of disagreement which puzzles our friend Rhetor. The obscure suggestion of unity, emerging first, instantly encounters the suggestion of plurality, which, though indefinitely the stronger, is blurred, so to speak, by the collision. It is this blur, resulting from the conflict of these opposing suggestions, that disturbes his critical instinct. Hinc illa nauseola!
RHETOR. The explanation appears reasonable to me.
SYNTAX. But it does not answer your question. Does this blur, as you call it, Mr. Critic, corrupt the purity of the sentence? Do you mean to say the expression is bad English?
CRITIC. Not precisely; for it is still protected by good usage. If, indeed, one would realize in how slight a degree usage after all has moved in this case, he has only to reform the sentence on the lines whereon usage has been moving, so that it will read: “Both Smith and Jones was present.” In this form it must shock everybody, and him perhaps most of all whose refined sense catches the subtle incongruity of the accepted form. Rhetor's qualm, I hold, is real, but the fault which excites it is not sufficiently clear and distinct to be stigmatized as false syntax.
SYNTAX, What, then, does your blur signify?
CRITIC. It signifies that if usage should go farther on these lines, the present form may fall under the reproof of criticism, and, before it is positively condemned, be quietly dropped by the best writers. It signifies that“ both” has become so strong a connective that if it becomes much stronger it will pair the objects it connects; in which event it either will have to be used with great caution or discarded altogether. In a word, it signifies a nascent solecism: it is a buoy marking a hidden rock in the current of good English.
Syntax. A buoy invisible to the naked eye cannot answer a very pressing need, I think.
Critic. Possibly not. Meantime, I venture to say, there are those even now who, admonished by the fine qualm to which Rhetor confesses, give a wide berth to the form of expression that occasions it.
RHETOR. This I certainly do, for one. Before a plural noun
referring to two, and in the nominative case, or two singular nouns equivalent to such a noun, I habitually avoid the use of “both," feeling instinctively, I suppose, what our friend Critic has enabled me to perceive consciously, that the whole force of the word runs counter to the syntax of the sentence. Thanks to him, I can now give a reason for the faith that has long been in me.
SYNTAX. Pardon me, but, in my opinion, your reason and your faith are of a piece,
A bolt of nothing, shot at nothing. The truth is, if I must say it, you and Critic in this matter, it seems to me, do exactly what Bays in the Dunciad invokes his goddess to do:
You quite unravel all the reasoning thread,
And hang a curious cobweb in its stead. CRITIC. Take heed, my good friend. In the matter of words you know the advice of the poet whose lines you have just adapted :
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. You may be trusted not to head the procession, but whether you will keep up with it or lag behind is another question, which I respectfully commend to your consideration. Who was it defined a fogy as a conservative run to seed ? SYNTAX. You, I guess.
PAUL R. SHIPMAN. EDGEWATER PARK, N. J.
CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL THOUGHT IN FRANCE.
The year 1890, following that of the Universal Exposition, noted for its pedagogic congresses and reunions, has not been as remarkable from the pedagogic point of view as its prede
But useful reforms, and, above all, that slow advance in detail which can alone solidify educational institutions, have held their usual course.
National education always occupies the first place in the public mind. Without pretending to rival Germany in pedagogic fecundity, works in which the future requirements of our instruction are discussed, and in which principles and methods of discipline and teaching are explained, increase daily, and France is becoming a classic land of pedagogy.
The three grades of our public instruction attest equally the ardor of this awakening interest, this constant desire for progress; and I shall strive in a few words to point out the salient points in our pedagogic history since the close of the Exposition in 1889, by glancing at the three grades of instruction-elementary, secondary, and higher.
At present there is least to say of elementary instruction. It is quietly striving to apply the laws which since the establishment of the Republic have caused a revolution in the popular instruction of our country. In order to put legislative propositions of such considerable moment as compulsory and lay education into practical effect, it is necessary, as the proverb says, “ donner du temps au temps.” The secular tradition of indifference as regards public education, and the complete submission to ecclesiastical authority, are not overthrown in a day. The active campaign of the French clergy in 1881 against "the wicked laws and the Godless schools" is well known. But in spite of the strenuous resistance which for the past ten years has been opposed to the will of the liberal majority in the Chamber of Deputies, by bishops in their pastoral letters, priests in their sermons, and the whole Catholic Church in its daily work and, above all, by the refusal of its
sacraments, the lay school--national, not confessional, where morality rather than dogma is taught-is firmly established in France.
Many signs indicate that the aims of the new laws are fast becoming facts. The conflict of past years has given place to an armistice. The clergy have not given up the fight against those educational institutions which are guilty, in their eyes, of separating the school from the Church, and of forbidding all interference in elementary instruction. But its most influential members are forced to confess that the cause of lay instruction is gaining ground in France. This is what Monsignor Freppel, deputy from Brest and Bishop of Angers, confessed with some bitterness in his New Year's address to the clergy of his diocese: “The dechristianization of the primary schools is progressing slowly but surely, and as this advance is silent, it has become all the more dangerous, since, as in all other matters, we shall end by becoming accustomed to it.” Yes, we are becoming accustomed to it, for this dechristianization of elementary schools--that is to say the sectarian character of the programmes, and the lay teaching body--accords with the principle of liberty of conscience; since in a school which is attended by children of all religions, to which Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Free-thinkers are legally obliged to send their sons, it is inadmissible that the instructor, who himself may belong to any religious confession, shall be forced to teach the dogmas of some one church. We are becoming accustomed to it, because all observers, of whatever party, know that lay instructors, though they do not teach the Catholic catechism any longer, are not less careful of the religious belief of their pupils. The true promoter of our academic revolution, M. Jules Ferry, laid great stress upon this point in his circular of the 17th of November, 1883: "Vous ne toucherez jamais avec trop de scrupules à cette chose delicate et sacrée qui est la conscience de l'enfant."
Another sign of this armistice is the silence of the representatives of the clerical party in the Chamber of Deputies during the discussion of the budget of public education for 1891. M. Charles Dupuy, reporter of the budget, in reply to a deputy of the Right who advised more economy in educational expenses, said, during the meeting of the 20th of November, 1890: "It seems to me that you have given up launching imprecations and invectives against the laws that we
have made; and if you do this no longer, it can only be because these laws have become accepted facts.”
In spite of the great results achieved, our system of elementary instruction has not reached its highest possible development. The regularity of school attendance is far from satisfactory, and compulsory attendance exists only on paper. In rural schools, as soon as field work begins, in the spring months, the children stay at home. Our village schools are little more than half-year schools, deserted during the summer months by a large part of their population. When our fields are covered with crops requiring the attention of all the family, the school benches are deserted. And it is to be feared that the only solution of this problem will be the establishment of "half-time" schools, which, instead of the regular six hours session, shall require but two or three hours of attendance, leaving the child free for the remainder of the day. It is far better to have the children in school for a short time than not at all.
If we are still groping for the solution of the problem of regular attendance and that of providing diligent pupils for our one hundred thousand public school teachers, our primary instruction seems to have hit upon programmes that at least are definitive, and whose general characteristics should not be materially modified.
Secondary instruction has become, however, a veritable battlefield, where humanists and realists, the defenders of ancient languages and the adherents of modern languages, of that instruction whose frame-work is the study of French, German, English, and the sciences, contend with each other. The educational value of Greek and Latin is under discussion in every state in Europe. The German Emperor, who in his leisure moments does not disdain to be a pedagogue, has just brought this question before the Prussian kingdom. In 1889 the Hungarian Parliament, during seven sessions, discussed the question of the advisability of retaining or discontinuing the study of Greek in the gymnasia. In France, too, the discussion is heated, and has been carried on for several years without arriving at any definite solution.
At the present time two courses of secondary instruction coexist in our lycées and colleges. The classical course, properly so called, dating from the sixteenth century,—which, in spite of successive modifications and numerous adaptations