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A SERIES OF ADDRESSES AND ARGUMENTS
THE CLAIMS OF SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION.
BY PROFESSORS TYNDALL, HENFREY, HUXLEY, PAGET, WHEWELL,
MR. MILL, ETC.
“Scientific Education, apart from professional objects, is but a preparation for judging rightly of man, and of his requirements and interests."
John Stuart Mill.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by
D. APPLETON & CO., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern
District of New York,
The system of Popular Education in this country has become an established fact, and the extensive provisions for it in all the States show how generally and thoroughly it is appreciated. But the movement which led to it proceeded from the feeling of a want to be supplied, rather than from any clear perception of the character of the
thing wanted. While the struggle was to get it accepted, · any thing passing under the name of Education—any thing
learned from books at stated times and in set places-was sufficient.
But the first step being taken and the System secured, the question inevitably arises as to its character, defects, and the means of its improvement; and this is now the supreme consideration. Deeper than all questions of Reconstruction, Suffrage, and Finance, is the question, What kind of culture shall the growing mind of the nation have? The recent and extensive organization of Normal Schools for the more thorough and systematic preparation of Teachers, is proof of a general. desire to improve the methods and raise the standard of popular instruction ; and there are many other indications of a growing disposition to carry educational inquiries down to first principles, and to bring the system into better harmony with the needs of the times.
Among other imperfections of the prevailing education, in all its grades, one of the most serious is a lack of the study of Nature. The importance of giving a larger space to scientific subj"cts, in our educational courses, is being every year more and more felt and acknowledged. In place of the excess of verbal acquisition and mechanical recitation, we need more thinking about things; in place of the passive acceptance of mere book and tutorial authority, more cultivation of independent judgment; in place of the arbitrary presentation of unrelated subjects, the branches of knowledge require to be dealt with in a more rational and connected order; and in place of much that is irrelevant, antiquated, and unpractical in our systems of study, there is needed a larger infusion of the living and available truth which belongs to the present time. A conviction of the extent of its defects and needs has led many of the most eminent thinkers to criticise the existing Educational Systems, and to urge the claims of the various sciences to increasing consideration. These opinions have generally been expressed in the form of lectures and incidental arguments, which are not convenient of access; and a belief that it would be a useful service at the present time to collect some of the most important of them, has led to the present compilation.