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can be ascertained, in all departments of human life? Who would risk himself with an ignorant engineer, if he could get a skilled one ? Who would employ a poor clerk if he could get a good one? The objection made to emulation is that it excites wrong motives. However this may be, and however casuists may regard it, it is quite certain that the merit-roll is the strongest stimulant to intellectual exertion which can be presented to young men. Nor can we perceive, after much observation on its effect, that it has impaired the purely moral motives of action, or excited evil passions, to be remembered in after life. At West Point all the moral actions which are visible and tangible are brought within the scale of the meritroll, and often the fate of a young man is determined far more by his standing in conduct, than in studies.
11. STUDY, DISCIPLINE, AND FRUITS. Having thus sketched the historical progress of the Academy in the path of scientific culture, it remains for us to state what it is; what it has done ; and what men have conducted it.
Without entering into minute details, we shall very briefly state the present methods of study and discipline. The leading studies in their order are Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Astronomy, Engineering, Chemistry, French, Tactics, Artillery Practice, Mineralogy, Ethics,' and History. This course is wholly scientific, the practical part being adapted strictly to military purposes. In the early period of the institution, some attempt was made to introduce the classics, but it was found impracticable, with the limited time allowed the cadets. Indeed, it may be doubted whether any institution can have more than one tone. All branches of human learning may be embraced in the proper schedule of university instruction; but has any university given equal attention to all branches of education? What are called colleges in our country, all airn at fitting young men for the civil professions—Law, Medicine, and Theology. They therefore make the classics the principal branch of study, and are right, since Law, Medicine, and Theology have their foundation deep laid in the classic ages. Literature also is a part of professional knowledge, necessary to adorn and illustrate the history and theory of professional science. Hence, in these lines of instruction specially have run the studies of the college, and from these is derived the tone of college education. The object of the Military Academy was totally different. It was not civil, but martial life, for which the young men were fitting. It was neither a metaphysical discussion, nor a hair-splitting argument on the law, in which they were expected to excel. They were to learn the sternor arguments of the battle-field ; to arrange squadrons for the hardy fight; to acquire that profound knowledge of the science and materials of nature, which should fit them for the complicated art of war; to defend and attack cities; to bridge rivers; to make roads; to provide armaments; to arrange munitions ; to understand the topography of countries; and to foresee and provide all the resources necessary to national defense. This was the object of the Military Academy, and to that one end it was adapted. The method of education may be happily stated under the heads of Studies, Physical and Moral Discipline, and of Military Exercises.
1. The subjects and method of study we have already mentioned; Mathematical, Philosophical, Mechanical, Chemical, Military, and French, the military language. These being the chief topics of study, the students and the time were suitably divided into classes and hours. There are four classes, occupying four years, as usual in colleges. There are ten months of study, the intermission being in the hot months of July and August, when only military studies and exercises are pursued. The studies of a day are necessarily modified, by the introduction of military exercises which consume much time. The regular study hours (which include also the recitations,) are from 8 A. M. to 1 P. M., and from 2 P. M. to 4 P. M., making seven hours of study and recitations. Generally four hours more are consumed in military exercise and discipline, being the hours before breakfast, and after 4 P. M. Thus eleven hours are generally occupied either in study or exercises. The evening also after dark, is devoted to study in so far that with occasional exceptions, the cadets are required to be in the rooms. In this division of time we find a continual alternation of study and exercise ; leaving the least possible time for idleness, or mere amusement. Indeed, the problem of education is to find the maximum of development, with the minimum of idleness. To this should be added, that the development should be co-relatively, intellectual, physical, and moral.* It is not merely ignorance, but unequal development, which is the great misfortune of mankind. How many great and glorious intellects have been lost, because there were no counter-balances to the force which, inclined in only one direction, carried them off into a ' wilderness of fruitless objects !
* We use the word moral, in preference to spiritual, because, in its comprehensive sense, including the latter ; but by no means intimating, that in this Christian country, we should make any place of education a mere reproduction of Persian or Greek models. Our servile imitation of the Ancients, often makes us forget that we are neither Spartans nor Romans. The man who attempts at this day to revive the institutions of Pagan Greece, is as false to true Philosophy, as he is to true Christianity.
In the course of studies pursued at West Point, the main feature is the method of study. We can give an idea of this in a few words. The very first thing done at West Point is to recognize the fact, that intellects are unequal ; in other words, that of a given number of young men, commencing a severe and elaborate course of studies, there will be some who can not endure it, and can not get through ; and others, who while they will come up to the requisites for graduation, can not equal a third class, who are capable and ambitious of receiving the highest style of education. This recognition is effected thus : a class enters the Academy, we will say eighty in number. This class enters on the 1st of September; and on the 1st of January there is a semi-annual examination. This four months of study by that class is regarded as a period of probation, which will furnish some test of the abilities of its several members. When the January examination is held, some are found deficient, and they are at once discarded. Then the remaining class are numbered, according to what is then their apparent merit, and they are divided into sections of from fifteen to twenty each ; those highest on the roll being placed in the first section; those next in the second, &c. Usually there are four of these sections. The professor usually teaches the first section; his assistant the second, and so on. It is obviously a decided advantage to be in the first section, and there is usually a struggle to get there. But, a cadet may change his position in his class, at any time, by his own efforts. This he can only do, however, by more strenuous efforts. Then, if he be in the second section, he may at the end of the year be found to have a higher aggregate of good marks in study and conduct than some of those in the first section. In that case he will be transferred. Thus the ambition of the student has always placed before it the possibility of higher class rank, and if his talents and industry are capable of it, he will attain it.
The method of study at West Point, which in all institutions is the important point, is the rigidly demonstrative, in those studies which admit of it, and the positively practical in those which do not. The course of studies requires this, if the subjects of study are to be thoroughly understood. There is little of the purely metaphysical or transcendental known or pursued at West Point. No abstract speculations or merely theoretical inquiries occupy their minds. It is the actually knowing, and doing, in which they are engaged. As far as can be made practically useful, the oral method
is pursued. In mathematical and mechanical, engineering and tac tical studies, this is largely the case. The blackboard, we have said, was first introduced into this country by Professor Crozet, at West Point. How largely this is used in all institutions of education now, our readers well know. It has proved one of the most efficient means of instruction at West Point. The student of the inathematical section, for example, begins with a text-book on Algebra, in his hand; but, it is on the blackboard where the workings of his mind are chiefly exhibited. He learns what he can from the book, but, on the blackboard the professor makes him trace out what he has done, not merely by telling what he knows, but what he don't know; detects his weak place, and forces his mind (so far as such force is possible,) to think, and think rightly on the subject before him. This thinking, we need not tell experienced teachers, is the great thing which education is to teach. If a student can not, or will not think studiously and industriously, he will not long remain at West Point. There is not, as in civil colleges, the great fallow field of poetry, history, and metaphysics, in which he may show his classical professor that he has acquired rich things, although ignorant of mathematics. It will not do to say that he has wandered with Greeks and Romans around the ruins of Troy, or by the waters of Babel. There is no such compensating princi. ple in the system at West Point. The cadet must study what is set before him; must study it hard ; must think upon it, and disci pline his mind to systematic modes of thought.
2. This leads us to the Specific Discipline of the Academy. This is partially included in what we have already said. The intel lectual discipline is mainly maintained by the method of study; but there is a grand and perfect system of discipline, which we may briefly describe. The term DISCIPLINE is derived from disciples, discipulus, and means originally teaching of knowledge; but this is not all, nor entirely its modern sense. Discipline is training in knowledge and virtue, in order and diligence, in good conduct, and good habits. To do this requires a control of the body as well as mind; of food and raiment; of time and exercise ; as well as the imparting of facts and ideas. It was in the former sense rather than of the latter, that the word EDUCATION, (to lead forth,) was understood among the ancients, and so far as they went they were right. It was this discipline in virtue, temperance, courage, fortitude, and self-denial, which was taught in the days of Persian Cyrus, and Greek Leonidas. It was adopted among the early Christians; but, Cowper well said :
“In colleges and halls in ancient days,
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Nothing can be more certain than the decline of " discipline" in modern civil institutions. “ Colleges and Halls” advertise a much enlarged course of studies; they call to their aid the most learned professors; and they proclaim “ all the modern improvement," and yet it is quite certain, that a pupil can walk for years their learned halls, and at last receive the honors of graduation with a very small share of either learning, diligence, or virtue. Civil institutions may be most excellent for all, who either by early care or natural inclination are willing to use their opportunities for their intellectual or moral advancement. Nay, more, all open irregularities will be corrected, and all possible means afforded for spiritual improvement. But there are two things impossible to overcome the popular and almost universal license allowed youth, (under the name of freedom) and the total want of any ultimate power to restrain it. These stand directly in the way of thorough discipline. At a Government Military Institution, this is directly reversed. The very first thing taught is positive obedience. The cadet can not be a week at West Point without knowing that he can not govern himself, but must be governed by others. If he is either not fit or not willing, the faculty meet the case in short and decisive language : “If you are either unable or unwilling to pursue the course of study and discipline, we direct you must instantly go. There are plenty more worthy to fill your place." There is, then, no alternative for the cadet but to go forward, and exert himself to the utmost, or not to go at all. There can be no loitering by the way, to slumber in idleness, or waste in dissipation, or pursue the pleasures of literature.
There is no doubt that this stern and constant discipline is the great merit of West Point. It acts on the whole conduct and character. We have already said, that the class-standing determined by the merit-roll, determined their position relatively, and their rank in the army, and by consequence, great distinctions and differences in after life.
Let us see how this merit-roll is made up. The first thing done is to mark each cadet with a figure (having relation to an agreed scale of numbers,) for every act done or undone, in study, conduct,