Page images

because it improves memory, or taste, or gives precision, or develops the faculty of speech? All these are but partial and fragmentary statemenis, so many narrow glimpses of a great and comprehensive truth. That truth I take to be, that the modern European civilization from the middle age downwards is the compound of two great factors, the Christian religion for the spirit of man, and the Greek (and in a secondary degree the Roman) discipline for his mind and intellect. St. Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles, and is in his own person a symbol of this great wedding. The place, for example, of Aristotle and Plato in Christian education is not arbitrary, vor in principle mutable. The materials of what we call classical training were prepared, and we have a right to say were advisedly and providentially prepared, in order that it might become, not a mere adjunct, but (in mathematical phrase) the complement of Christianity in its application to the culture of the human being, as a being formed both for this world and the world to come.

If this principle be true, it is broad, and high, and clear enough; and it sup plies a key to all questions connected with the relation between the classical training of our youth, and all other branches of their secular education. It must of course be kept within its proper place, and duly limited as to things and persons. It can only apply in full to that small proportion of the youth of any country who are to become in the fullest sense educated. It involves no extravagant or inconvenient assumptions concerning those who are to be educated for trades and professions, in which the necessities of specific training must more or less limit general culture. It leaves open every question turning upon individual aptitudes and inaptitudes; and by no means requires that boys without a capacity for imbibing any of the spirit of classical culture are still to be mechanically plied with the instruments of it after their unfitness in the par. ticular subject matter has become manifest. But it lays down the rule of education for those who have no internal and no external disqualification ; and that rule becoming a fixed and central point in the system, becomes also the point around which all others may be grouped.

CLASSICAL SCHOLARSHIP. , Dr. Donaldson, in an Essay on Liberal Education in 1856, entitled Classical Scholarship and Classical Learning, considered with especial reference to Competitive Tests and University Teaching, takes strong ground in favor of maintaining the supremacy of classical studies in the public schools and universities, to the still further subordination of mathematical study, and to the assigument of instruction in the natural sciences to special schools.

If we confine ourselves to the province of the intellect, Education is properly a cultivation and development of those faculties, which all men have in common, though not all in the same degree of activity. Information, when it is nothing more, merely denotes an accumulation of stray particulars by means of the memory. On the other hand, Knowledge is information appropriated and thoroughly matured. We speak of knowledge of the world, knowledge of our profession or business, knowledge of ourselves, knowledge of our duties—all of which employ a completeness and maturity of habit and experience. And when knowledge extends to a methodical comprehension of general laws and principles, it is called Science. It is the natural and proper tendency of in. formation to ripen into knowledge, just as knowledge itself is not complete until it is systematized into science. And as intellectual education necessarily presumes a certain increase in the information or acquired knowledge of the person under training, it is clear that, while the main object of education, namely, the gradual development of the faculties, should never be neglected, the information conveyed and the method of imparting it should be such as to lay the foundation and pave the way, for the superstructure of knowledge and science, in the case of those persons whose capacity and tastes render such an enlargement of the future field of study either probable or desirable. From this it follows, that the great object of education is utterly ignored by those teachers, who, when the mind is unformed and undisciplined, force upon the memory a crowd of unconnected and unprolific recollections, which can neither be digested nor retained, and which, if retained, produce no results on the healthy action of the understanding.

Even in cases, when this process is postponed beyond the period of earliest boyhood, even when it is adopted after a certain course of real mental disci. pline, its effects are prejudicial to the ripening mind, and unfavorable to the confirmation of those accurate habits without which information seldom settles into knowledge or rises into science. And it is always desirable that the process of liberal education should be carried on as long as possible, and that the acquirement of special knowledge, whether tending to science or applicable immediately to professional practice, should be postponed until the youth has accomplished more than half of the third septennium of his life. That periods of seven years constitute a real element in the life of man is acknowledged by the tacit consent or familiar language of all nations. At any rate, our own experiences teaches us that at seven years old the child passes into the boy, by a change of dentition; that at 14, the age of puberty is attained; at 21 the age of manhood; at 42 the age of maturity; and at 63—the grand climacteric as it is calied—the period of senility. Such a subdivision presumes that while growth of body is completed at 20, strength of body must be reached, if at all, at 30, and strength of mind, when we have well passed 35, which Dante calls

• John William Donaldson, D. D., was born in London, June 10, 1811—wos educnted first at the University of London, then at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he stood second in the first class of the Mathematical Tripos, in 1834, and the yenr following was elected follow. His tirst publication, The Theater of the Greeks, was issued in 1836, which was followed by New Craiylus in 1839, of which a new and enlarged edition was issued in 1859, and which, with his Var. ronicanus issued in 1814, ranked him with the grent scholars of Germany. In 1860 he married the daughter of Sir Thomas Mortlock, and became head inaster of Bury St. Mary Grammar School. His edition of Antigone of Sophocles, of the Book of Jashar, of the Odes of Pindar, his Greek and Intin_School, Grammars and Greek Lexicon, all show fine and accurate scholarship. lle died February 10, 1861.

'the midway of our life.' And taking this view of the matter we might maintain with great confidence, that the education of the reasoning powers can not really terminate before the body has attained to maturity; that no man can be get free from the duty of forming and invigorating his mind before the period at which he reaches a full development of his material growth; that while his frame is still uuformed his understanding can not bave reached its completion, and that his intellect can not be perfect as an instrument of thought until nature has set the stamp of manly beauty on the young man's brow.

This necessity for a commensurate progress in mental and bodily growth, this presumption that accomplishment of the mind and beauty of person are atlained at the same period, namely, when the boy has grown into a man, is involved in the language of that pation which understood better than any other wlierein beauty consists, and by what means the graces and refinements of body and mind can best be imparted and secured. The Greeks had only one word to express personal beauty and mental accomplishment. The arjective Kalós, in its primary sense, furnished with outward adornments' in general; that of which the outward form or the outward effects are pleasing and grateful. •But,' as I have said elsewhere (New Cratybes, $ 324), to the Greek idea of káddos something beyond mere outward garnishing of the person was required; it was not a languishing beauty, a listless though correct set of features, an enervated voluptuousness of figure, to which the homage of their ad. miration was paid. It was the grace and activity of motion, which the practice of gymnastic exercises was calculated to promote the free step, the erect mien, the healthy glow, combined with the elegances of conversation and the possession of musical accomplishments; it was in fact the result of an union of the poveikń and youvartij of which their education was inade up.' The name, which the Greeks gave to the process of making the mind and body both elegant or handsome or clever, implied that the business was not complete till a fullness of stature and a maturity of understanding had been attained. They ealled it raidcia, or boy-training,' and the word also noted the period of life during which this bringing up or education was to be carried on.

With the Greeks, then, I believe that a liberal or general education-that which the Romans called humanitas, because the pursuit and discipline of science is given to man only of all the animals-ought to be carried on as long as the mind and body are still immature, that is, nearly till the twentieth year if possible; and while I believe with Plato that the boy-training. which alone is worthy of the name, is that which is pursued for its own sike without reference to extrinsic objects (Legg. I. p. 643 B), I think also that we import into the legitimate province of the teacher that which does not belong to it, when we crowd a mass of multifarious acquirements into the period allotted to the growth and improvement of our reasoning powers and our physical energies.

The true object of a liberal education is thus described by Döderlin:

Even at the present day, one hear voices which tell us that the school forms a more appropriate preparation for the business of life wlien it encourages such employments as are most subservient to this, and most connected with it. For example, the medical man will be best trained by the earliest possible study of the physical sciences. But reason has prophesied, and experience has sulfilled the prediction, that this sort of education (the infallibility of which has always found the quickest acceptance with the most narrowminded, and which appears to the most superficial the only road to an adequato training) is calculated only to debase every one of the more intellectual occupations to the rank of a better sort of trade. Accordingly, all public schools, unless they mistake their destination, hold this as an unassailable principle: that although a classical education presumes that all its pupils are designed for some intellectual employment, it does not trouble itself to inquire what particular sort of employment this is to be. The future physician and lawyer, as well as the future clergyman and teacher, essentially different as their contemplated employments may be, are trained precisely in the same manner, having regard only to that which they have in common, namely, that their ulterior occupation, whatever it may be, will demand the most practiced exercise of the intellectual faculties.

"It is the primary object of the education of classical schools to impart to the mind of every pupil a capacity for learning that business of which the Universities and other higher institutions profess to convey the definite teaching. The schoolmaster, therefore, is not deterred by the thongbt, that so much of the learning which he has, with great pains and infinite labor, conveyed to liis scholars, and which they have acquired with no little exertion of their own, has been learned by many of them only to be forgotten sooner or later. As the senlptor, when he has finished his statue, does not hesitate to break up the model (the most troublesome part of his work), so the grown-up man does not forget or lay aside, what he was tauglit at school, until he has derived the full advantage from these studies. He may fail to recognize their unseen fruits, but he can not eradicate them: for his lessons have strengthened his mind in learning and thinking, just as his exercise in the playground braced and invigorated his body.'— Reden und Aufsätze. And Frederic Jacobs has protested in language equally forcible.

It has been repeatedly said, that it is of less consequence in youth what a man learns, than how he learns it, and that the saying of Hesiod, The half is often better than the whole,' admits of an application bere. The heaping up of knowledge for the sake of knowledge brings no blessing; and all education, in which vanity bears the sceptre, nisses its object. The young are not called upon to learn all that may by possibility be useful at some future period; for if so, as Aristotle facetiously remarks, we should have to descend to learning cookery ; but only such particulars as excite a general activity of mind, sharpen the understanding, enliven the imagination, and produce a beneficial effect on the heart. Not only on grounds of science, but also, and especially, on moral grounds, it is more important to be master of one subject than to be superficially acquainted with many. Knowledge strengthens; superficial acquaintance with many branches of knowledge puffs up and produces a pedantic arrogance; and this is perhaps the most unhappy endowment which a youth can carry with him from school into the world. It is hated because it is illiberal. Illiberality, however, with regard to knowledge, always prevails in those who know neither its root nor its summit.'

To attempt to support by arguments a view of liberal education, which bas been held by enlightened men from the days of Plato and Aristotle down to our time, would be only to waste words. And I shall consider myself entitled to start from the postulates, that, wherever it is possible, that is, in all cases which fall within the scope of University teaching, the discipline of the mind should be carried on to the end of the period of adolescence; that this discipline should be general and not professional; and that it should not consist in sciolism or a smattering of miscellaneous acquirements.

ENGLISH AND GERMAN SCHOLARSITIP COMPARED. Having introduced into the exposition of the present drift of English opinion, on the relative value of studies in the curriculum for a modern liberal education-much that is relatively disparaging to English scholarship, we cite the following passages from an elaborate defense of English Classical Training by Dr. Donaldson.

In order, however, that I may confute the educational objectors on their own ground, and meet the invidious comparison with the Scholarship of Germany, to which they provoke us, I must inquire into the system of classical education pursued in that country, and I must examine the means which they possess of producing scholars, and the causes which create so large a number of writers on learned subjects. In such an inquiry it would not be fair to take as our text-books the biographical sketches of two scholars recently deceased-Godfrey Hermann, of Leipsig, the greatest Greek scholar among the modern Germang, who died on the last day of 1848, and Charles Lachmann, of Berlin, their greatest Latin scholar and general philologer, who died soon after, though at a much earlier age, on March 13, 1849. By selecting these two specimens of German scholarship we should indeed adduce the most favorable instances which could be found, but we should not exemplify the general character of the German philologer. For, in their activity of mind and body, Hermann and Lachmann came nearer to Englishmen than 99 out of 100 Germans; and both


of them made more progress in classical composition than any Gelehrten of their time. In a word, Hermann and Lachmann deserved to be called scholars, and wanted nothing to give a perfect finish to those accomplishments for which nature had so well qualified them, except the advantages of an English education, and the competition of an English University. . .

Let me, however, leave these exceptional cases of extraordinary men, and trace the ordinary career of one of the best class of German philologers. My imaginary Bursch shall have every advantage at starting. He shall not, like Heyne and Lobeck, be obliged to struggle with the inconveniences which result from the res angusta domi. His father shall be, if you please, a learned inan and Garnison-Prediger in some great city, which contains a first-rate Gymnasium. His mother shall be the intelligent and accomplished daughter of a field-officer in the Prussian army. With such parents his education will commence at home, and he will not need the Projymnasium or preparatory school. I will suppose that he shows at an early age great docility and a considerable power of acquiring knowledge, and that in fact he promises from the first to be a Philolog. In due course of time he is sent to the Gymnasium or grainmar-school of the place. If he enters at the age of eight or nine, he passes through all six classes of a school of some 150 boys. Here he not only learns Latin and Greek with some Hebrew, but is also instructed in his own language and French, and receives regular lessous in geography, history, mathematics, and natural philosophy. I am only concerned with bis classical training, which will be best inferred from an account of liis studies during his last year in the first class. He has read 450 lines of Homer's Iliad, half the Elipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, and the Euthyphro of Piato: he has als) been worked in Rost's Greek Grammar. In Latin he has read some odes of lioraco and some Orations of Cicero, and has been exercised in the theory of Latin style both out of Zumpt's Grammar, and out of one of the numerous exercisebooks which they have in Germany. He has done some of Vümel's Greek exercises; and has written Latin themes. But we hear nothing of his verse composition, except perhaps that he has volunteered some Latin Alcaics as the fruit of his private studies. Under the same head we find it recorded that he has read a good deal of Cicero and Livy, llorace's Sitires, a little Plautus, some Homer, Xenophon, and Plato. And so, at the age of 16 or 17, he is sent to the University with some such character as this: Egregie institutus, post examen publicum multa cum laude dimissus, Academium Bonnensem petiit, philologorum studiis deditus.” As this is the only real training, as a scholur, which our young philolozer will have, it is worth while to inquire what it amounts to. He bas acquired the faculty of writing tolerable Latin prose, and it must be admitted that the Germans generally surp.iss us in this; nor is the fact surprising, when we recollect that the Universities keep up, as we shall sce, a practical demand for the accomplislıment. In Latin verse, however, he has had no experience, and has probably never written a line of metrical Greek. Indeed his knowledge of quantity is very uncertain, and as in some Gymnasiums they are taught to pronounce Greek by the accent, the longs and shorts are as often wrong as right. The manner in which our student has read the few classical authors with which he is acquainted, depends on the abilities and scholarship of his Rector, and it is to be remarked that in Germany nearly all the really good scholars remain settled as Professors at the Universities, and are not, as with us, as frequently found at the head of the public schools. If our young philologer has not received a scholarlike training at school, he will hardly make good his deficiencies at the University. He will there have the option of attending a great number of lectures, publice, privatim, and privatissim", when his occupation will be writing down for an hour at a time the dictations of the Professor. There will probably be a Seminarium Philologicum, in which some Professor will exercise a class in Latin writing and disputation, or preside at discussions on the text and interpretation of the classical writers. The whole curriculum is calculated to stimulate and assist private study, to give systematic information on the pet subjects of the leading Professors, and to prepare a young man for the profession or trade of learned book-making. After some years spent in this way, and perhaps diversified by occasional employment as a private tutor, he takes his degree as "Doctor in Philosophy" by

« EelmineJätka »