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scholarship. Now we are on debatable ground, and the friends of sound learning are called to defend a fortress once regarded as impregnable, but now deemed vulnerable. The arguments against the classics are potent, pungent, and plausible. We must treat them with the dignity that their authorship demands, and yet, if possible, turn upon their authors the burnished steel of their own weapons; or, admitting the force of their arguments, present others so incalculably stronger as to leave no room for doubt on which side the scale must turn.
On the very threshold of our investigation we are convinced, with no disposition to contravene the logic, that the classics are not necessary for what may be termed the selfish utility of ordinary existence.
We are not called upon to speak or to write in the vernacular of these tongues; the amount of actual knowledge with which they supply us, to answer the positive demands of any calling in life, is by no means commensurate with the time and labor expended in their acquirement; and lastly, experience proves that the students in our high schools and colleges can at best only look a little way down into the unfathomable depths, and only appreciate the merest modicum of the transcendent beauty and unparalleled power of these dead though living languages. If these things be true, shall we encourage our children to devote two-thirds of their preparatory course and one-third of their college training to these studies ? This system of education, if it stands, must stand on its own merits ; no stolid veneration for the past, as past; no amount of genuflexions at the altars of the ancient, as ancient, will cause the arrest of any logically supported innovation of commerce, religion, or education in the world's to-morrow. The obelisks of Egypt have joined the itinerancy, and the all-absorbing cry in the march of events now is, “Old things have passed away.” We are, therefore, brought face to face with the question, Are the claims of the classics for the first place in a finished practical education capable of being unanswerably defended? We maintain that they are, and that no other system yet devised, or devisable, can, for general excellence, successfully compete with the classical.
Education is two-fold in its nature; there are general training and special training. By general training we niean the development of all the faculties of the mind; the unfolding of our entire nature, the burnishing of every weapon that God has placed in the arsenal of the brain ; the germination, the budding, the blossoming, and the harvesting of the fruitage of every seed with which God has impregnated the human mind as it comes fashioned from his hand. By special training we mean that technical knowledge which is essential to the performance of certain specific functions in life, as the manipulation of the tools of a trade,-for instance, the business of a carpenter, or the keeping of debits and credits, and the making out of the balance sheet in business, the office of an ac
countant. Of these two departments, which may almost be termed the culture of the intellect and the training of the hand, or the furnishing of material which makes character, and the skill which may produce bread and butter--of these two, the general far transcends in importance the special; it is not only incomparably superior to it in point of comparison, but it is in a large measure the antecedent cause which makes success in specific callings possible.
We do not propose in this discussion to measure out the proportion of general and special training essential to a perfect system of education,we simply say, in passing, that the impartation of technical knowledge is, to a large extent, beyond the pale of those limits by which the functions of the public school are, or ought to be, circumscribed.
We do not teach a boy the battles of the civil war, that he may the better know how to handle a breech-loading rifle to shoot rebels with, in the possible contingencies of the future. We do not teach a boy geography that he may know where to purchase a ticket, or what road to take to go from Chicago to St Louis. We do not teach him arithmetic that he may know to what extent in percentage he is gambling, if he buys wheat at one dollar a bushel, hoping he may sell at “one dollar three,” without ever seeing the wheat. We do not teach algebra and geometry, botany and chemistry, for the technical facts contained in the formula and proofs of the mathematics, or the nomenclature of the physical sciences. We teach them all that we may prepare the boy for the possibilities of manhood; that he may the better perform the functions of true citizenship, advance civilization, improve society, make life more secure, property safer, and liberty more stable. It is the imparting of this general knowl- . edge, the development of this general culture, the laying of foundations for true moral and intellectual manhood, that make the common school, the high school, and the state university legitimately sustainable from the public treasury.
Having, by the briefest process, laid down the premise that general education, with the special, but rather than the special, is the duty of the public school, it is our province now to prove the conclusion to which we come, that, for the acquirement of this education, the Latin and Greek languages are the most efficient appliances which can be used.
OPINIONS OF EDUCATORS. First. The educators and the educated are the strongest supporters of a classical education. We must judge largely of the value of any commodity by the testimony of those best acquainted with its ingredients and the result of its application. If our babe were dangerously sick, we would not, for we would be self-chargeable with murder, trust to our own skill in the manipulation of medicines for its relief, nor would we put him into the hands of a tyro or a quack in medicine, but we would call the most skilful physician our means would allow, or even a consultation of the best physicians obtainable by telephone or telegraph, and trusting implicitly in their knowledge and experience, would believe, if the child · died, that it was inevitable or, if he lived, that “it was due to their professional skill. If we had a difficult and important question to be solved by the department of justice, and much depended upon the points of law to be deduced, and the precedents of court decisions, we would not put the case into the hands of the parasitical shysters that infest our cities, but we would rather select some eminent attorney, skilled in jurisprudence, who knew how to ravel the mysteries of law, and, relying upon his judgment, would rest the case, contident that all its righteousness would be made plain to judge and jury. We are always willing, or ought to be willing, to defer to the opinions of those whom we acknowledge know more than we do, and it is far more probable that we should hold erroneous opinions on subjects of which we know little, than that they should be mistaken, who, from long study, investigation, and experience, are recognized as authority on these same subjects. If we would study biology in its advanced theories, we go to Haeckle; if astronomy, to La Place or Le Verrier; in chemistry, to Liebig; in physics, to Tyndall and Helmholtz, and such lights as these, in the firmament of science. May we not be equally convinced of the value of classical study by the great thinkers and writers of every age, of both hemispheres ? But, you say, the laws and facts of physical science are demonstrable. Proof is deducible with mathematical precision. So we say the influence of the classics upon the growth of intellect is equally deducible. There is a logical exactness which mathematics impart; a beautiful culture which modern languages afford; a love for investigation, discovery, and experiment which the sciences give; but above all and including all, there is a purer, stronger discipline, which the knowledge of the classics guarantee.
Were it possible in the space of one article, we might classify the opinions of eminent men upon this question, but we will only briefly quote from a few, gathered from different sources.
A letter received from President Hurlbut, of Middlebury college, a man who stands eminent among the classical scholars of the country, says:
“We are disposed to deplore the injury done to high education by dropping the classics, as is the modern fashion." Dr. Porter, the author of the Philosophy of the Human Intellect," and the venerable ex-President of Yale college-God bless him a man who, with his keen stiletto, has pricked the bubble of the "new education," and, by the sternness and sturdiness of his logic, has done more than any other to produce an ebb in the tide of public opinion against the classics, says: “The
controversies of the past few years, in respect to humane and literary studies, have established the conviction, beyond question, that there is no substitute for classical culture.” Lord Macaulay, whose essays are an inspiration to every scholar, says, in speaking of the disciplinary power of the classics: “We believe that men who have been engaged up to one or two and twenty in studies which have no inmediate connection with the business of any profession, and of which the effect is merely to open, invigorate, and to strengthen the mind, will generally be found, in the business of every profession, superior to men who have at eighteen or nineteen devoted themselves to the especial studies of their calling." Bonamy Price, writing on Greek and Latin in the Contemporary Review, says: "The opportunities, the demands for reasoning in a real and sound study of the classics are absolutely endless, and in no field has a teacher such a range for forcing his disciples to think closely and accurately; . . . and I confidently assert that for the purpose of making a youthful student think long and accurately, and of forcing upon him the perceptions of the efficiency and results of right reasoning, no better tool can be applied than a speech in Thucydides, a discussion in Aristotle, or a chapter in the epistles of St. Paul.” Prof. Swing, that eloquent martyr to fossilized Calvinism, in his scholarly reply to the dastardly attack of the notorious Richard Grant White upon the public school system, says: “ That old teacher,''-referring to the learned Rabbi Gamaliel, in his instruction of Paul,—“that old teacher combined morals and language, piety and literature, uprightness and Greek, and, if there be a better system of education, the world has not found it, nor come any where near making its discovery.” When any one differs from the conclusions of these men and such as these, it behooves him to examine well the grounds of his dissent, for whatever has the weight of their authority behind it, has therein a strong presumption in its favor.
But let us pass from the conviction of isolated cases, for the opposition will argue that proofs just as weighty, and far more convincing, since they proceed from the standpoint of the useful and the practical, are deducible in favor of making mathematics and the sciences more than an equivalent substitute for the classics. Mathematics, some one proclaims, are the foundation of the throne of God. Scientists, the scintillations of whose genius shoot upwird, eminating from the spark of divinity in human intellect, “as they nightly assault the skies" to ascertain the re lations of the burning world above to our own planet, or to obtain the unconditional surrender of some obstinate asteroid or star of the tenth magnitude, or as they delve into the earth to unlock the hidden treasures which God has buried there for the genius of the nineteenth century to reveal, confidently proclaim that the displacement of Greek by physical science is the harbinger of a new era in civilization and culture. And yet, when I hear these men whose ability to argue against the classics comes from a study of the classics in their earlier years, I think of the words which Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Brutus :
“ But 'tis a common proof,
Lowliness is young ambition's ladder
By which he did ascend.” Allowing isolated testimony for or against the classics to go for what it is worth, let us turn to facts. Although it is true, lamentably true, that during the last five, yea, twenty-five years, a score of articles has been written to prove that the sciences should have preference over the Greek, and that even the Latin should be shorn of its power, where one has been written to sustain the classics; and although much unfortunate opinion has been manufactured thereby, nevertheless, not one respectable college in the United States has entirely furled the standard of the classics, or lowered it from the pinnacle where it has blown to the winds since the Pilgrims established Harvard, in 1536. The highest academical honors are everywhere, if possibly we may be compelled to except Harvard, given only to classical students.
The only perceptible influence that the clamor for science has gained has been that colleges have introduced a multitude of new courses, and allowed students to more generally follow their inclinations and tastes, and what they regarded as the dictates of necessity. Some restrictions were placed upon Harvard and Michigan in the earliest part of this article; but in justice to these institutions it should be said that Harvard requires for admission in maximum, as much Latin and Greek as most colleges demand at the end of the freshman year; and the professors of Michigan told me quite recently, that at no time in the history of that institution were the classics so strongly intrenched as at present, and that many young men, influenced to enter without Greek, were of their own accord commencing its study under private tutors, self-convinced that the demands of true scholarship, as well as those for the highest degree, required at least an elementary knowledge of the Greek, and all this in the face of the fact, that for many years, a very large percentage of the State money has been expended to build up and make enticingly attractive the technical schools of that eminent State university. With a statement from the Honorable George P. Marsh, scholar, writer, and politician, graduate of Dartmouth, author of "Lectures on the English Language," for many years representative in Congress, and still later minister to Italy, we close the argument for the classics drawn from the