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150 per cent. What a tremenduous army Pottsville. He said he had come here to of illiterates compulsory education ban- hear this speech more than anything else, ished from England and Scotland! Those and had regretted a hundred times that he now coming here from England, Scot- had agreed to be tacked on to the tail of land and Wales are educated. In former it—and no doubt when he was through years illiteracy abounded among the ar- his hearers would sympathize in that feelrivals here from those countries; now we ing. In Pottsville we mean to carry out begin to see the difference. Ireland will the law as thoroughly as possible. The soon make education compulsory; see- Secretary of the Board is ready for his ing the tremendous advantages gained part of the work--the Superintendent will by her sister countries, a strong senti-help him, and teachers will be expected to ment is spreading there to enjoy similar report results and suggest any improvebenefits. When compulsory education ments that may be necessary. The City was being agitated in England, its op. and Borough Superintendents in their winponents said it was un-English ter meeting at Harrisburg during the sesmethod. Just so there are those in this sion of the Legislature had all the educaState who say it is un-American to have tional bills before them, among them this such a law here. According to that one that has since become a law; and it statement ignorance is American, but was the general opinion that not much these opponents would not admit that. I would come of it, but it was the best that need not follow that line of thought fur- could be done. Some of us think better ther in this presence.

of it now, and we at home propose to get But time presses, and I shall detain out all that is in it. But it must not be you only a few minutes longer. The ef- forgotten that there are difficulties about fective compulsory measure is a growth, it. For instance, the exemption clause is not a creation. While we may be very loose. All weak-minded children are exanxious to eradicate the evil of illiteracy empt, and there will be parents who do as quickly as possible, we must not for- not care to have their children instructed, get the experience of other States and who will have very weak-minded chilcountries. Favorable public sentiment dren. Physical weakness also exempts; is as important to carry out properly the there will be an increase of a kind of sickprovisions of a law, particularly one like ness some of us have heard of, which compulsory education, as it is to get the comes on quickly about opening hour, law enacted. We need the good will of and disappears as quickly afterwards. The the people to make effective any law upon certificate of any teacher will exempt; or this important question. Its require- a physician may pronounce a schoolhouse ments must be reasonable, and anything unhealthy, and so on. Then there is the like oppression avoided, bearing always question, which sixteen weeks of the term in mind that Pennsylvania has never en- of forty weeks or less. Parents may be in forced education. The bill vetoed at the no hurry to send their children, and boards last session is a reasonable, moderate of directors who mean to enforce the law measure. It will oppress no one. It will want to know about that point. We will interfere with no parent as to how he must not expect a new thing to work pershall educate his child, except that he fectly, and these are some of the points be instructed in the common English where modifications of the law may be branches. We believe this law has necessary begun a righteous movement toward just- MR. FARR: I think the gentleman ice to our children. How useful and magnifies the difficulties. The experivaluable it shall be depends upon the ence in Massachusetts is that prosecutions people themselves, and more particularly are few, and fines still fewer, and yet upon the school officers and teachers. they get the desired result. I do not The Legislature has done its part. I believe many people will lie awake nights doubt not you will do yours. I ask only concocting excuses or evasions of this that you will seriously consider and study law; I believe the sentiment of the peoits possibilities, sure that your experience ple generally is in favor of it, and will will help to bring out its good points and bring in nearly all without friction. The correct its defects.

provisions of the bill are purposely made

very moderate, in order to get the solid The discussion of the subject was then backing of the people. As to the exemptaken up by Supt. B. F. PATTERSON, of tions, it seems to me the provision for physical and mental disability was abso- | by abandoned forts, exploded shells, and lutely necessary.

I wish before I sit half-filled trenches. So the triumphant down to emphasize the distinction be- march of thought is marked by abantween non-attendants and truants, which doned hypotheses, exploded theories and seems sometimes to be lost sight of. empty conjectures. There are those who have never seen the The same phenomenon is observable inside of a school house, and never will, in the special science to whic we teachexcept by the operation of some such leg- ers are addicted. Men of my years have islation as this; yet many of these will lived through a succession of educational come as soon as officially notified, know- fads, and our predecessors, near and reing that there is power behind the officer. mote, were doomed to traverse a similar There is no answer to the fact that ninety- route.

Within our

own time objectfive per cent of the people are educated teaching rose in the East, if not as a sun, in the public schools, and from these come at least as a star of the first magnitude; only twenty per cent. of the criminals. but its distinctive light has been lost in What right have we to deprive any child, its passage across the horizon. Then especially those that need it most, of this appeared other lights, from time to time, great moral influence? And we can only great and small, to which we did homreach them by this kind of legislation. I age, such as Manual Training and the hope all you school people will take hold Inductive Method; and now the suns or of it as our friend from Pottsville prom- meteors that are beginning to blaze on ises to do, and get all the good there is our pedagogic firmament are Concentrain it, and you will have results.

tion and "A Pot of Green Feathers."

It will be readily guessed that I in

clude “Education according to Nature," EDUCATION ACCORDING TO or “Follow Nature” among educational NATURE.

fads. In the sense just stated I do; only

“Nature" must be considered as the BY W. H. PAYNE, LL. D.

most respectable of these fads by reason

of its antiquity and longevity; though E would do the world

sometimes, as in the case of Joseph Payne vice who should write an impartial and other imitators of Mr. Spencer, the history of fads, showing the rise, pro- whole treatment is little better than cant, gress, termination and results of each. shallow and offensive. Such a history would doubtless discover The precept "Follow Nature" is prevto us the fact that even the thinking alent in ethics, in education and in medworld is addicted to hobby-riding, and icine, where Nature is set up as a criterion that successive fads are the rungs of a of right and wrong, of true and false.

A ladder on which thought ascends from practice that is supposed to be in conlower conceptions to higher, and thus formity with Nature is thereby proved to gains wider and wider horizons for truth. be right, or true; while a practice that What were Nominalism and Realism but can be shown to be contrary to Nature is philosophical fads, engrossing men's assumed to be wrong, or false. Thus, thoughts for a season, kindling the con- Aristotle defends slavery because it is troversial spirit up to the fighting point, natural, some men being born to rule, then waning in interest, and finally giv- others to serve; some being strong, others ing place to other fads? Phlogiston, weak; while he condemns usury, or the Malthusianism, Darwinianism, the Neb- taking of interest, because it is unnatural. ular Hypothesis, Phrenology, and prob- Flocks and crops springing from the soil, ably Free Coinage, Christian Science and are wealth proper, and for convenience Hypnotism, are phenomena of the same they may be converted into money; but sort. These are all “guesses at truth.” to produce money from money, a dead Their devotees, indeed, regard them as thing from a dead thing, is unnatural. truth itself, but successive thinkers finally and therefore wrong. separate the grains of pure metal from The phrase " Education according to the larger volume of alloy, garner the Nature at once suggests the name of precious residue into the general store- Rousseau; for it was he who, in his house of science, and then make a ven- "Émile," fairly set the fashion for subseture at new guesses. The line of Sher- quent writers on education, great and man's march to the sea is now marked small. Mr. Spencer adopts the new fashion, and his pages are overshadowed with | discovered or reproduced, according to capital N's. He accepts the uew myth- the Spencerian dogma, there is no nat. ology, writes out a new creed, and virtu- ural place in this system for literature ally founds a new school of theorists. and kindred subjects. Literature is too No theologian was ever more dogmatic. much tainted with art to fit into a scheme He postulates Nature as an infallible of education according to Nature. guide, and then deduces educational pro- Like Rousseau, Mr. Spencer is clearest cesses with almost mathematical precis- when he applies his hypothesis to moral ion. Whatever will not fit into his sys- education. Prior to experience, an intem, as history, he conveniently rejects. fant, if permitted, will put its little fin

Though Rousseau does not define na- gers in the flame of a candle. Let it do ture, he makes it quite easy to infer what this, advises Mr. Spencer, even though a he means by the term, and a proximate painful blister is the consequence. Acdefinition would stand about as follows: cording to the same method the child The material world affected by physical may lay hold of hot fire-bars and spill forces (gravity, heat, light, electricity, boiling water on its tender skin. In this etc.), and inhabited by uncivilized men. fashion the infant is being educated For purposes of right education Emile is through experience by its godmother to be pushed as far back as possible into Nature. This is a reappearance of Rousthis primitive and uncorrupted world ; seau's doctrine of consequences. From and society itself, in order to be rescued this point of view education may be defrom growing corruption, must make a fined as experience coming from contact return toward this primitive simplicity with matter and with physical force, or, and perfection. This was Rousseau's in shorter phrase, with one's environideal education and his ideal state of so- ment. ciety; but he had the sense to know that It may be urged against Rousseau and these ideals were impracticable, and so his disciples that the golden age of socihe accepts a compromise. He uses con- ety is not in the remote past, but in the summate art to reproduce a quasi state of future; that humanity is making a fornature; but this more than Herculean ward movement, slow, perhaps, but sure; effort involves him in countless contra- that what we call civilization will not be dictions, absurdities and follies.

abandoned for savagery; that cities, RousMr. Spencer personifies nature (Na- seau's special abomination, are both a ture), and thus carries the myth to its product and an agent of civilization ; and most perfect development. With him that his assumption of the nobility of Nature is physical force personified, and primitive man is an unsupported fiction. education is experience, or contact with The untutored savage, as seen and deenvironment. His general theory may scribed by travelers, is Nature's handibe summarized as follows: The individ- work, a fair specimen of what she can do ual of to-day must be educated just as in the way of educating when unassisted the race was educated historically; the by human art. It has not been observed, race was self-instructed through experi- | however, that men are made either hapence; the individual must, therefore, rely pier or better by being allowed to revert on his personal experience for his knowl- to a state of nature. edge and training. As Nature was the Again, a proper conception of nature tutor of the race, so Nature must be the will include man, his endowments and tutor of each individual of the race. Of his works. Is not man as natural a procourse, in accordance with this theory, duct as a beaver or a horse ? If instinct the knowledge that is of most worth is is a natural endowment of the beaver, Science; for Science has grown out of the why are not reason, imagination and lanexperiences of the race-is, in the Aris- guage also natural endowments of man? totelian sense, a natural product, and is Why make a radical distinction between knowledge that can be reproduced and the defenses built by beavers and the deverified by each succeeding generation of fenses built by men? Why is it less natlearners. Past experiences, constituting ural and right for men to live in commuwhat is commonly known as history, nities than for bees and ants? Why is cannot be thus reproduced and verified, not a poem as natural a product as a and therefore history is not knowledge bird's nest ? proper. And as literature-a play of When Mr. Spencer asserts that “huShakespeare, for example--cannot be re- manity has progressed solely by sell-instruction," he either falls into an obvious therefore, be manipulated, shaped and error or he uses terms in an extraordinary governed as though they were inert, sepse. It would be as true to assert that senseless matter. humanity has progressed solely by capi- There are no gradations in Nature's talization. Men capitalize their experi- lessons; she deigns no explanation, she ences in labor-saving machines and in is as silent as a sphinx; the graded school proverbs. One generation invents a is, therefore, unnatural, and the teacher snare, a trap or a hook; the next gene- should be merely a stern and silent ration is spared the effort of making these monitor. inventions, but simply accepts and uses I call attention to these absurdities, them, and devotes the time and effort not because they are sanctioned by Rousthus saved to the making of other inven- seau and Spencer, but because they show tions. Experience begets wisdom; this the near limitations of this specious docwisdom is embodied or capitalized in trine of Nature. proverbs, and then these proverbs serve Instead of accepting the poetical fiction other men for warning and guidance in that Nature (still using the term in the place of wasteful experience. Humanity Spencerian sense) is our goddess and our has never squandered its time in rein- guide, some of us who have not the fear venting and rediscovering. The "gene of the new mythology before our eyes sis of knowledge in the race" takes place would respectfully maintain that this through capitalization and discovery, same Nature, in some of her work, should and, thus understood, it is quite true that be disinfected, deodorized, and otherwise the individual must follow the same prevented from doing her worst. Only course. Mr. Bain is evidently right in give her a fair chance, and Nature, in declaring that the assumption that the the form of scarlatina, diphtheria or child's education is to be in the main a cholera, will decimate whole villages and process of discovery or of rediscovery, is cities. In such and all similar cases Naa “bold fiction." In some subjects, as ture is a remorseless, relentless Fury, mathematics and physical science, redis- who is to be pursued, captured, and covery is conceivable, but in the main thrown headlong into the sea and miserimpracticable; while in others, as history ably drowned. In other terms, and dropand literature, it is impossible, if not in- ping figure, the joint work of Christianity, conceivable.

science and civilization is to subdue Mr. Spencer's hypothesis of Nature as Nature, to make her man's servant rather the true guide in human education easily than man's master, to make her minister runs into the reductio ad absurdum. Let to his joys rather than to his sorrows. us see where this specious hypothesis There is to be a new earth, rescued from will land us:

Nature and transformed by human art, This Nature is simply brute matter, or and it is to be peopled by a race recreated brute force, absolutely divested of feeling, by education and

by education and the Gospel; and without sympathy and without pity; the throughout this secular process the donteacher should, therefore, be the personi- inant force is to be the human intellification of brute, unfeeling force.

gence and the human will. The nature In her distribution of pains and penal- we are to follow is “nature humanized," ties, Nature never distinguishes between nature informed with bumanity," to innocence and deliberate transgression-adopt the happy phrase of Richard Grant the same punishment falls on the infant White. as on the hardened criminal; the teacher So far, the treatnient of my theme has is, therefore, to take no account of mo- been negative, in the main, the purpose tive, but must regard the fact of trans- being to show that the hypothesis of Nagression only.

ture as a faultless paragon is subject to Nature makes no distinction between grave limitations; that this general doca block of wood that falls from the roof trine is very far from being safe and of a house and a child that tumbles from wholesome; and like all other fads, it a chamber window ; for her use they are seizes upon a fraction of a truth, fancies merely two pieces of matter which she that it is the whole truth, and then protreats in the same manner; or, if she claims the new marvel to the world with makes any distinction at all, she favors a cackling of delight. the block of wood, life and feeling here I will now venture on a more positive being at a discount. Children should, i treatment of this theme, and, putting


entirely aside whatever is mystical or countries we have never visited ? I once mythical, will iry to state in plain prose had a pupil who was a thorough convert some of the things that seem to be im- i to the Spencerian doctrine that there plied in education according to nature. could be no knowledge where there was In dealing with the precept “Follow no personal experience.

“ Have you Nature," the task of the interpreter is ever been abroad?" I asked. “No." twofold: (1) to determine what Nature “Then do you know that there is such a is and what she does; and (2) then to de- city as London ?" "No." How termine whether it is wise to follow her would you gain this knowledge?I in the cases stated. At this stage of ed- would go there." “How would you ucational science it is high time to disre- know when you reached there?So gard fiction, myth and personification, authority confronts us on every hand ! and to give to this vague term an articu- The new theory broke down at this point. late meaning. My interpretation of the Again, on this hypothesis, what is the term Nature may not be the correct one, function of books ? Possibly Mr. Spencer but it is an honest effort to reach the may have learned all his philosophy from truth. Those who reject any given in- his own observations and reflections; but terpretation owe it to the cause they are on his own hypothesis why does he write attempting to serve to state in plain terms so many books for others to read ? Scholtheir own interpretation.

arship and culture have always meant, The one word that most nearly inter- and will ever mean, a loving devotion to prets nature, as it seems to me, is experi- | good books. ence, and to follow nature is to make I venture to say that the following experience the sole or the main source of statements are substantially true: our knowledge and discipline. It is The process we call civilization is the usually said that there are two sources of triumph of art over nature, and is a knowledge, experience and language ; inark of human progress. Men will not but the precept "Follow Nature" forbids renounce the essential concomitants of the intervention of language as a source civilization and revert to a state of nature of knowledge and makes the process of in pursuit of happiness or moral good. learning a course in personal experience. The men of each new generation will Experimental knowledge is the only real start forward from the vantage ground knowledge; all we truly know is included secured for them by their predecessors on within the circle of our personal experi- the earth. They will accept and use the ences, of our sensations, and of the infer- | labor-saving machines which they inherit ences we draw from them. Rousseau from the past, and without wasting time sequesters Êmile, so far as possible, from and strength in the effort to reinvent, the society of men, in order that he may they will capitalize their own experience be tutored by Nature, that is, by experi- and wisdom in some other or better laence. Instead of the mother, Mr. Spencer bor-saving devices. makes the candle flame, the fire-bars and The knowledge gained by experience boiling water, the teachers of the child. and experiment is capitalized and transPrimitive man, we

are told, had no mitted in books, and the great mass of teacher but experience; the successive men in each new generation will gain generations of men have gained their their knowledge by the interpretation of knowledge in the same way; experience the books left by the wise and the good. is, therefore, the typical process of human The pretense lately set up that students education, the only royal road to learning. in science are to gain their knowledge

A few tests applied to this theory inductively by personal research in the would seem to show its general unsound- way of rediscovery, is a shallow fad. It. ness. Is history knowledge? On the would be just as reputable to counsel. hypothesis that the real test of knowl- men to construct their own almanacs.. edge is experience, there can be no such | Try to imagine a class of even univer-thing as historical knowledge; for we sity students attempting to rediscover the cannot be brought into personal relations atomic weight of chlorin, or even the with the events which have given rise to specific gravity of iron ! history.

Can virtue, in an intelligent sense, be Is our knowledge of geography limited capitalized, transmitted and taught, so to what we have learned by travel ? May that in the moral life each generation we be said to know anything of the may start from a higher vantage-ground;

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