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he is not capable of exercising, such choice in so grave a problem as that of determining all the further subject-matter of his education.
In the matter of assuming full political rights and privileges the State requires the youth to have reached the age of twentyone. I do not suppose that there is anything magical about this particular number. Some young men would be ready for suffrage earlier ; some men are never really ready for it. But a line must be drawn somewhere. And certainly, after the youth has spent two years in the drill of college life, he is much better fitted than when he enters for exercising his choices in respect to the rest of his education ; but then only in a limited way. Professor Palmer, however, thinks it almost self-evident that when the boy leaves home, at about eighteen years of age, is the best time for him to begin to say what he will study; and that, all at once, and from that time onward, he should have the entire say. It seems to me that the very fact of the new surroundings with which college life begins is an argument the other way. After the youth has developed awhile in his new surroundings, has adjusted himself to them, has learned from experience in them how matters pertaining to study go, and what the different courses opening before him are, then, and not till then, should he be summoned to the grave task of deciding. It is better, too, that he should be introduced gradually to the responsibilities of deciding. A headlong plunge into freedom is not a real good. Moreover, I am one of those who still believe that an educated man should be trained to some good degree in each of the five great branches of human knowledge, — in mathematics ; in language, including literature ; in physical science; in the history of his race; in philosophy, or the knowledge of mind in its relations to all else. It is, then, precisely because I do not believe that the New Education draws its lines in the right place that I am opposed to what I regard as its extreme measures and not well-guarded ideas. In an enlarged use of option for the later years of college life I do believe ; but my belief in the elective system at all in the American college is not so strong as my distrust of the lengths to which it is being carried by the so-called New Education.
There is one argument of Professor Palmer which is so much a matter of taste and impression, and so little a matter of statistics and logic, that it is not open to discussion. I refer to his conviction that a better type of manliness is developed at Harvard in the students than is to be found in other colleges that have less completely adopted the principles of the New Education. In behalf of my own pupils, and on the ground of careful observations, I will simply say, - I do not believe that any manlier men than those at Yale are to be found in any college in the country,
Upon the subject of cultured manliness in the undergraduate student, I find myself holding the same ideal as that presented by Professor Palmer, but differing from him considerably, in my judgment, as to the best way of realizing it. It seems to me that he has left the great ethical law of habit, and the immense value of the pressure of immediate necessity, too much out of the account. We want, indeed, to train the young to make right choices, spontaneously, and with a generous love of duty. But none of us live under the sole influence of high ideals set at some remote distance from us. Day by day we choose to do our tasks because the hour for them has come, and the immediate pressure of the environment is upon us. Shall the physician go to his office when the hour comes ? His patients are there in waiting. He is expected daily at the appointed hours, — and not merely eighty-four per cent. of these hours. Shall the clerk be at the store, or the book-keeper at his desk, when the hour for beginning business has arrived ? He must be there: not because he will suffer physical torture if absent; nor yet because he will finally discover that much absence for many years has not, on the whole, been for his best interests. He must be there because he is living under a system which makes it for his immediate interest to be there; and, indeed, has been so trained under such a system that he scarcely contemplates the possibility of not being there. Under a system of education which kindly but firmly invites men to choose right, in view of consequences that fit close to their daily and hourly lives, the best character will be trained. It is most like the divine system under which we live as bound together by associated action.
The ground of Professor Palmer's argument from experience has now been pretty well traversed. I am quite content to leave the facts and impressions on both sides to be weighed by all who may be interested in such discussion. In closing I shall express
- in the name of the great majority of those engaged in the practical work of education in this country — some of the fears felt as to the ultimate results of the New Education. These fears are not bugbears, incontinently and obstinately opposed to the fair spirit of progress; they are honest and strong fears.
We are afraid that the New Education (meaning by this the method in use at Harvard) will increase the tendency to selfindulgence and shallowness, which is already great enough in American student life. A smattering of many knowledges, hastily and superficially got, is the temptation of our modern education. The chief remedy must be in a selection of certain topics to be pursued with large persistence and thoroughness by all those who choose to associate themselves for purposes of common study. If the average American boy, on entering college, had had a discipline, and had made acquisitions in a few lines of study, at all equaling the results reached by the German gymnasium, he might more safely be left to choose for himself. One's eyes must be already well opened to hop about, fetter free, from twig to twig, upon the tree of knowledge. But our freshman has had no such mental discipline; he has made no such acquisitions. The graduate of a German gymnasium knows, indeed, more of some subjects than the majority of the professors of the same subjects in not a few of our so-called colleges. Two years more of continued study in prescribed lines is certainly little enough. [It will be noticed that this statement is quite independent of any opinion as to what should be taught in fitting-school and early college years ; it implies only that something should be secured as thoroughly taught.)
We are afraid of the effect of the New Education upon the academies and fitting-schools of the country. Slowly but steadily the quality of the work done in the preparation of boys for college has been improving. The colleges have continually made increased demands upon the preparatory schools ; these schools have been continually responding better and better to the demands made upon them. But now they are to be called upon for a bewildering variety of “courses.” How shall they meet the demands made upon them by the many ways amongst which a boy may make his choice to enter the college doors as thrown open by the New Education? What interest will boys continue to take in the mathematics and ancient classics of the fitting-school when these pursuits are required simply to get into college through one of these many doors, and are then liable to be abandoned as soon as the goal of free election has been attained ?
We are afraid of the effect of the unrestricted elective system upon the higher education of the country. The standard of such education has constantly been rising for many years. The old methods were, indeed, faulty in many particulars, – in some inherently so, in more as a matter of accidental and temporary applica
VOL. V. - NO. 25.
tion. Yet, after all, they gave something that had a definite and tangible value. The new methods, in themselves considered, are better. The new learning and science are, of course, infinitely richer and broader than the old. In order to introduce them to the college undergraduate, however, is it necessary to take everything as respects the subject-matter of his education out of the direct control of the older and wiser party in the transaction, and commit it to the choice of the younger and more inexperienced? If this is to be, how will it not affect, almost disastrously for a time, the interests of the higher education? There are, to be sure, many ways of being educated ; there are already many schools giving different quantities and kinds of knowledges and powers of action. Hitherto all ways and schools have invited the choices of the men who have attended them only in a general way. They have said, virtually, If you choose me, you choose a certain kind and amount of discipline in knowing and doing, and you must abide by your choice. We know how, as respects both matter and manner, to reach the end better than do you; we will, in the main, choose the path for you. But what of connected, steady discipline in certain lines will a higher education come to represent in this country if the so-called "new" method of giving into the hands of the pupil all choice of subject, from one short period of education to the next, is to prevail ?
Finally, we are afraid of the effect of the New Education upon the character of youth. We are still afraid of the very issues in which Professor Palmer finds his arguments for the benefits of the system he approves. It is not enough to show that some improvement in various particulars has taken place in student character and student life at Harvard since this system was most completely put in place there. I think I have shown that in every respect, except the one of securing $175,000 instead of $250,000 a year, and of making a smaller percentage of annual gain in numbers, the results of the system still in vogue at Yale are equal, or superior, to those at Harvard. The argument, from an experience of one or two years in a single institution, does not quiet the fears which are grounded in old-time convictions and common institutional customs that have their roots in many centuries. We need much more light, both from reason and from observation, before we can see our way clearly to prefer the so-called “ New Education” to one which is, in our judgment, wiser, although both new and old.
George T. Ladd. New Haven, Conn.
REVELATION AS A FACTOR IN EVOLUTION.
“ Christianity is the order of the world, and it is in the order of the world. It is a revelation, but a revelation in the order of the universe." - Rev. T. T. MUNGER.
No law of nature has been discovered except through the patient examination of many facts; nor can any law that is not built upon facts stand. On the other hand, it is an unquestionable truth that our knowledge of facts is, to a great extent, the outcome of the discovery of natural laws. When once, in any department of science, a working hypothesis has been reached, its obligation to facts is amply repaid by the reflex light which it throws upon them. From the standpoint of the newly discovered principle we may often be said to rediscover the very facts that have conducted us to it. The proportions of whole groups of phenomena, and even of subordinate principles, become essentially modified when they have found a place under a more comprehensive law which discloses their relations to other groups and principles.
Evolution, as a universal method, aspires to the very first place in the hierarchy of law. It is, in fact, a tentative statement of that unity of principle which has long been held, by a scientific faith, to underlie all nature. If its claims are made good, therefore, it will leave nothing unmodified. The connection of great departments of thought hitherto isolated will be progressively apprehended. Forces that have appeared to be antagonistic will be seen as complementary. Ideas that have had their rise in limitation of view will be dissipated, and the atom of truth which they contained will be incorporated in some larger thought. One conspicuous result of the application of such a principle must be to bring into greater prominence those features of phenomena and of departments of thought that mark their kinship to the rest of our knowledge, and to sink proportionately those features by which they are differentiated and held apart. The more completely isolated, therefore, any section of our thought the more will a rearrangement of it be necessary.
Now the Christian revelation, as ordinarily conceived, has occupied a place so completely outside that order of the world which we have designated natural as to seem almost the antithesis of it. The ideas of interference, reversal, overruling, have been made so prominent in Christianity that the change required for its adop