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in Great Britain (perhaps it has a kind of rival in the summer school); but, judging from very recent indications, it is likely to have a new trial under new auspices. I refer to the Home University League, connected with the educational department of the New York Times, and the so-called Cosmopolitan University, which is just now projected by the proprietor of the Cosmopolitan Magazine. In this university, we are told, students will be subjected to no expense of any kind. They are to forward their names and addresses to the president, and a statement in regard to their occupations, aims, previous courses of study, and the studies they desire to pursue, and pledge themselves to devote a certain number of hours to study every day. Recitations and examinations will be carried on by correspondence, after the Chautauqua plan. I have seen it stated that some time ago sixteen hundred applications for enrolment had already been received. The expense involved is likely to be great; but Mr. Walker, the promoter of the scheme, has confided to the public his expectation that he will get back “some, if not all, of this money” through the advertising which his magazine will thus receive.*
As an offset to this movement toward “extension,” the only fact of importance that has come to my notice is the change of policy adopted at Williams College, which seems to be a change in the direction of limitation. Amid the universal craze for organization and consolidation and expansion and bigness the Williams College scheme has its attractions. It proposes to diminish instead of enlarging the classes : first, by reducing the amount of aid extended to students; and, secondly, by raising the standard of requirements for admission, and making the whole course one of higher scholarship. In the scientific course - a course adopted a few years ago with reference to increasing the number of students — the new requirements are said to be almost prohibitive. They are certainly as rigid as any in the country. It is reported indeed that, with a view to making Williams a distinctively classical institution, the question of abolishing the scientific course altogether is under consideration. The time has perhaps come for a reaction against universal extension; and this experiment, if really entered upon, will be watched with much interest.
This case of Williams College brings before us not only the question of methods, but the question of subjects,- of courses of study, of a reformed curriculum. This is a matter upon which
* A general outline of Mr. Walker's plan was given in the Cosmopolitan for September, 1897.
much thought has been bestowed ever since the conflict between the scientific and the classical view of things began (or, as some would prefer to say, between the practical and the ornamental). The increase in the number of electives in our colleges has taken place at the demand of the champions of a more practical training, and the same influence can be traced in the increased number of those who study for a specialty. The same worship of utility which condemns a college training as worthless for the business man leads the friends of the college to modify the college curriculum, so that business men may discover its value and its utilitarian possibilities. We should of course rejoice that learning is in our day becoming practical, that it comes home to men's business and bosoms. But, if any man ought to rise above the domination of the auri sacra fames, that man is the scholar ; and he ought not to forget that specialization may be carried too far, to the serious injury of general culture. It does not follow, however, that the function of the manual training and trade schools is not a most important one; and it is to be hoped that the reports on this subject, this year, will bring us a record of progress and prosperity.
A sign of progress worthy of mention here is that afforded by the movement toward the establishment of authoritative courses of study, of courses which may be regarded as such by parents and others specially concerned. A recent writer in the Outlook (July 24, 1897) speaks of the “disposition of leading schoolmasters throughout the country to co-operate in establishing, so far as possible, a uniform basis of work, founded on experience and scholarly investigation as to the best courses of study in all branches of knowledge.” A committee of ten, with Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler at its head, has already done good service in this field, and is likely to go on doing it. Here, too, we may refer to the action of the authorities of New Haven, who have decided to introduce into the schools of that city the study of the city ordinances, – those that apply to the care of the streets, the commission of nuisances and violations of the laws of good order and good health.
The mention of this subject brings us near to the great question of the relations of morality and religion to the courses of study in our schools. Some years ago Professor J. R. Seeley called attention to the fact that nowhere in all England was there
definite instruction given in morality. I know there are those who doubt whether such instruction is possible or desirable, but there are
others who feel that it is one of the imperative needs of our time. Heretofore the matter has been discussed in connection with the contention of the Roman Catholic Church in favor of school instruction in religion; but to-day it rises before us in a somewhat different light,- for example, in such utterances as this in a recent number of the Outlook :
The greatest desideratum in our public school system is the development of its moral and religious power. By moral power, we mean power to make its pupils recognize the laws of right and wrong ; by religious power we mean power to make them recognize the truth that these are not empirical rules of conduct, formulated and enacted for convenience, but are all applications of one great eternal, immutable, divine law. The old-time distinction between the religious and the secular is untenable. Even a factory or a bank cannot be carried on successfully without the recognition of ethical rules resting upon and drawing their sanction from eternal and immutable law. But the school is more than a factory or a bank. Education is character-building; and the very foundation of character is reverence for law, not for human edicts, but for divine principles.
We have learned in the past that the subject is beset with difficulties, but it is a subject which will not keep down out of sight. We might hope to find some aid in the solution of the problem in the Sunday-schools of the land, if these were really schools. But, notwithstanding the immense amount of labor laid out upon it by specialists during the past thirty or forty years, the Sunday-school stands to-day the embodiment of superficiality. Who shall teach the great army of Sunday school teachers throughout the world that Sunday-school teaching is a science as well as an ecclesiastical function or an act of devotion ? And who shall teach them to make use of their precious and brief opportunity of imparting to the rising generation instruction in morality? I see that President Hall, of Clark University, has been talking recently to the young people of the Christian Endeavor Societies of the significance and seriousness of oaths and vows and Christian Endeavor pledges and the demoralizing effect of their habitual violation. But these young people ought to have learned all this long ago in the Sunday-school and in the family.
This brings me to the last point that I shall touch upon. We have seen to-day what a process of education is being carried on outside of school hours and school buildings. But I wonder whether we appreciate the educational processes perpetually going
forward apart from all systematized instruction. What is it that educates those who have passed beyond school days, and who perhaps have a contempt for learning? A year ago, in our educational session, I referred to the educational influence of the fraternities which have become so numerous in every American community. I spoke also of the education imparted by the newspaper. We shall hear to-day of the educational influence of the drama. But above all these influences stands, or ought to stand, as an educating force, the family. The time has come for recalling men to a recognition of the function of education in family life. This, as we have seen, is not simply a training of the intellect: it is character-building, and the place of all places in which to conduct this important, this sublime process is the household. For years past the family has relinquished the task of moral and spiritual training to the school and the various Sunday organizations; but it must resume it, and thus vindicate its importance in the national life. I observe that the “George Junior Republic," of which we are to hear more definitely later in the week, is being severely criticised for its failures and excesses. I know less about this “Republic" than I ought; but it occurs to me that, if its failures are serious, they may be explained in part by the fact that it is a republic of individuals, and not a republic of households. The household seems to be the unit in national life ; and individualism, thus embodied and magnified, must ultimately fail. One of the great tasks of the coming time in this American nation this nation of boarding houses, this nation of youths running at large, this nation anxiously endeavoring to naturalize the chaperon - is the restoring of the family to its place and the developing of its educational power. God speed all true reformers, but, above all others, those who make this their sacred aim !
2. THE PERVERSION OF FUNDS IN THE LAND
BY D. G. PORTER, ESQ., OF WATERBURY, CONN.
[Read Tuesday morning.]
In July, 1862, the Congress of the United States passed an act distributing vast areas of the public lands among the several States in the ratio of their population, the proceeds of the sales of which were to be devoted, according to the exact language of the act here quoted, to the endowment and maintenance of colleges "in which, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, the leading object should be to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.”
Now, with much that is crude, obscure, and ambiguous in the language of this act, one thing at least is plain, and that is the purpose for which and the parties for whom the benefit of the grant was chiefly intended. It was for the industrial classes and to promote their liberal and practical education. This is the one thing that is absolutely plain in the language of the act. It will be observed, also, that the industrial classes were to be educated in and for, not out of, the several pursuits and professions of life.
It will be seen at once that the problem here proposed for legislators and educators was not one of the ordinary kind. If the purpose had been to furnish educational facilities for the comparatively well-to-do, non-industrial classes, the matter would have been simple enough. It would only have been necessary to establish the colleges and equip them with the necessary apparatus of instruction, and invite the students to attend and pay their bills. But for the industrial classes, obliged to work for their living, and who had not time and means at their command, and who, under the ordinary arrangements, could not pay their bills, the case was