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Cicero, and I should be forced to believe that a different estimate must be the result of some degree of ignorance of Latin. In all the qualities which make up the value of Greek for our educational uses, I feel bound to say I place Latin unquestionably next. As a language, merely, as a study in the art of expression, it can be placed second only to Greek, while as a literature, a record of expressed thought, I know no names in French or German literature which in a just estimate I think are to be put on the level with Cicero, Tacitus, Horace and Virgil. But I do feel that the modern languages are apt to be undervalued, and I also feel that a larger place is due to these studies in our academies and colleges, and that more space can be allowed them without injury to the classical course.
Other considerations and arguments of equal weight and value must be omitted here; but I cannot forbear to say again, that it is with special regard to the characteristics of modern life — the life which now surrounds us, — the graphic pictures of which are certainly one of the most striking and valuable features of Mr. Adams's address; it is in reference to that life with which we are now associated, that I should most earnestly oppose the proposition which Mr. Adams presents ; for I take issue with the idea which is suggested by him, when, referring to the function and work of the college, he says: “When one is given work to do, it is well to prepare one's self for that specific work.” I say, no college student has any “specific work” given him, in this sense, to “prepare for.” No college student knows or can know to what work life will call or direct him. Mr. Adams's account of his own career furnishes a good example of this fact. This is the period when, to recur to Mr. Adams's strong phrase, “the best thing we can do is to let our minds soak and tan in the vats of literature.” If it be true, as I think it is, of other periods of our lives, that
“ The world is too much with us ; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers," it is important, beyond estimate, that the period of student life should be guarded from the premature intrusion of the cares and preoccupations which soon enough will fix the nature and limit of our activities, if they do not narrow the outlook and darken the pathway of life.
Therefore, there is in my judgment no study so valuable, so exactly adapted, as a preparation for the work to be done in public or private life, here in America to-day, as the study of the Greek language and literature; and I have the conviction, that this study is, and will be, whether it remains a part of our prescribed courses or not, the real basis and test of culture, of that mental training and equipment which distinguishes the educated from the uneducated or partly educated, as surely as gold is and will be, whether statutes ordain it or not, in the world's real measure of pecuniary value. No bustle of business nor din of progress, no clamor of politics nor pride of science, I have perfect faith, will ever for long overbear the spirit in man to which poetry, oratory, philosophy and literature answer; and so, finally, it must result that this study now described in a few high places, as a “ fetish,” will be more ardently pursued, more wisely taught, more intelligently valued, by all those, whether in academical or practical life, who believe that the highest secular guaranty of the strength and permanence of our civilization is the diffusion of sound and thorough liberal education.
By Hon. J. W. PATTERSON, N. H.
We say of the young man when he graduates from school or college, that he has finished his education. If this were literally true, the young man would be dead, and, if left unburied, would be an unabated nuisance.
The function of the school is to awaken and direct the mental faculties into right action, so that ever after, they may improve under the object teaching of practical life. Graduation is the commencement of a new development. Education is the ceaseless building up of personality by the intellectual digestion of objective and subjective themes of thought, and the work of the school is to initiate and guide the process till thinking and growth become a fixed habit of our being.
We can assign no conventional limits to the improvement of our capacities, if properly cultivated, and hence the sweep of our power and the sphere of our influence • are widened by the processes of the sun.”
The mind grows as the body does from within outward by nutrition, and, while there is an intrinsic force in each mind which assimilates all mind-food into the quality of its own nature, and so preserves the essential differences of personal character, yet the future man is determined in an important sense, by what the mind feeds upon. It is as easy to change the tone, texture, and strength of the mental and moral faculties in youth by a change of diet, as of the body. Each man builds himself. Our eternity is bosomed in the years of pupilage.
“ The spirits
And in to-day already walks to-morrow." In this light it will be seen that the schools of a people are a determinate factor in moulding national character and destiny, for nations are but agyregates of individuals. Our work as teachers becomes fundamental and takes its place among the primal forces of statecraft and civilization. Its influence should be formative and causal, not resultant; should give, rather than take character from the public life of the time.
But there must be a limit to this law. The schools may stagnate in some eddy of the dead past and arrest the progress of mankind. The philosophy of the great Stagirite shaped the scholastic policy of the world quite too long for the welfare of nations, and it was well that the spell of his power was broken by the shock of the reformation. The theory and practice of the schools in all great epochs, will be brought into harmony with the social and political organism of the state. Perhaps for their own infiuence and the peace of society, it is best they should be. It will be the work of the great thinkers who are prophetic of the future, to cast into them the leaven of a higher life and so keep in motion that resistless under-flow which draws after it the tide of human progress through all the ages.
The theory of the world in respect to the ends of education has swung to the opposite pole within the historic period. Ancient philosophy turned its contemplation from the realm of the senses exclusively to the region of
impalpable ideas. Seneca affirmed that it was the office of science to form the soul, not to use the hands. Plato and Aristotle would not debase pure science or soil the mind in its pursuit by bringing it down to do the work of a slave. It was an abuse of elemental forces to harness them to the car of human necessity and so lighten the drudgery of toil. In the whole history of Greece, no mill was run by water, and none in Rome till the Christian era. The deductions of the pure reason were things too lofty and divine to be associated with the production of food or the gains of trade. Poetry and eloquence, architecture and statuary, and kindred arts were the objects in which the conceptions of the Greek scholar found expression. IIe sought intellectual culture for its own sake and reached a force and finish of mental faculty never surpassed.
The Roman youth studied the principles and art of war and the civil law, and became a military chieftain or statesman. He ruled and legislated for the world, for the nation demanded and the schools fitted him for such a career.
This contempt of the ancients for the utilities, was a necessary deduction from their theory of the natural inequality and divinely appointed conditions of the different orders of society. If the gods had foredestined a man to servitude, it was unreasonable to enlighten his mind, or alleviate his appointed task, by the intervention of science. It would only engender a factious discontent and disturb the settled order of the state.
But a higher philosophy than that of Socrates, taught the equality of men, and from that divine truth, have sprung the social activity and political institutions of our modern life. As this Christian dogma spread downward