Page images

doing. She immediately established art schools all over the kingdom. At the Exposition of 1862 she found she was making creditable advancement in art manufactures. At the Paris Exposition of 1867, England stood among the foremost, and in some branches of manufacture distanced the most artistic nations. It was the schools of art that accomplished this great result in the period of sixteen years. “The United States still held her place at the foot of the column," and, we are sorry to say it, remains too near the foot yet.

For a hundred years or more, drawing has played an important part in industrial education of the French. Their wealth, according to good authority, is owing principally to their drawing schools, which are said to be the main-stays of their art industry to-day. By means of this art culture in their schools, they have raised themselves to the mastery of the departments of art and art manufacture. Although France has been engaged in many costly wars, and her national debt is burdensome, she surprised Germany and all the rest of the world, by paying off her late war indebtedness before it was due. How was she enabled to do this? Her art manufactures are demanded by every civilized country in the world. Her industrial products having more of taste and skill than of buik, cost less for transportation than breadstuffs and raw materials; hence she commands the markets of the world for just those manufactures that it is to the interest of any nation to produce. A late writer in the commercial department of the New York Independent says, “We are now paying a good many millions of dollars yearly to France for mere style in cotton goods, and calicoes may be seen lying on the same counters in our dry-goods stores, not very different in material value, which differ in price full five hundred per cent. It is the elegance, the superior taste, the artistic designs of French calicoes which impart to them a value in ladies' eyes which our own calicoes do not possess, and it should be the aim of our manufacturers to compete with them either in our own or in foreign markets."

It would be interesting to show how the remaining European countries regard this matter of industrial drawing. Suffice it to say that Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Russia stand in the front rank with France and England while all are vying with each other for excellency in industrial art manufactures.

This impulse in favor of educating all so as to give the seeing eye and the ready hand has been wafted over the Atlantic Ocean, and has found its first lodgment on Plymouth Rock. Massachusetts, with a never-failing instinct as to how money is to be made, has passed a law (in 1870) requiring drawing to be taught in all her public schools, and establishing evening schools for giving instruction in drawing to all persons over fifteen years of age. We find these evening schools filled with persons of all ages from fifteen to sixty years. Even these older students are eager to learn, and as they become sensible of what they have lost, they bemoan the fate that prevented their learning to draw when younger.

In the spring of 1875 the State of New York, following the example of Massachusetts, passed a law making drawing a compulsory study. This law went into operation the first day of October of the same year, and


the school authorities are doing all they can to make the introduction of this study universal. Within the last year we understand that Pennsylvania has been making earnest efforts for the advancement of industrial drawing in her common schools.

It requires no prophet to foresee what is to be the result. It seems almost useless to say that unless the Western, Southern, and Southwestern States begin to meet this advanced movement in favor of drawing by a similar movement in our schools, these Eastern States, on account of the superior skill of their workmen, will bring us under a more exacting tribute than we are at present. They will continue to send us calicoes, carpets, furniture, and other art manufactures, which we ought to produce at home, and we shall continue to delve in the earth in order to produce the raw material to send to them in exchange. We shall find that it will take a great deal of corn, wheat, cotton, and wool to buy a small quantity of prints and other finer fabrics which we consider desirable.

We feel that it is useless to say any more in favor of the practical and disciplinary value of drawing. The American people are said to be eminently practical. Hence it would seem only necessary to show them that a want exists in order to have it supplied. The Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia last year has given us a strong push in the right direction. We have come home convinced, I have no doubt, that we are behind other first-class countries in the matter of art education, and that if we wish to hold our own in the markets of the world, we must give our children the best possible advantages for training their eyes and their hands. We ought to be convinced, I think, that no other subject of study is now so much needed in our schools; that “nothing else could add such rapid wealth to the country-wealth of tasteful production, and wealth of enjoyment of tasteful products.”

Let us now turn to the æsthetic phase of the subject, and contemplate some of the pleasures and enjoyments that may be enlarged, if not created, by a training in drawing. A person trained in art, in the language of Addison, “is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving. He can converse with a picture and find an agreeable companion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description, and often feels a greater satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows than another does in the possession. It gives bim, indeed, a kind of property in everything he sees, and makes the most rude, uncultivated parts of nature administer to his pleasures, so that he looks upon the world, as it were, in another light, and discovers in it a multitude of charms that conceal themselves from the generality of mankind.”'

The love of the beautiful, and the desire for ornament, are as natural and universal as any other desire of human nature. “For some gratification of taste, what privations have not men submitted to, and those the very last of their race whom it would be proper to call foolish or visionary. The universal efforts of mankind to show that “ beauty of effect and decoration are no more a luxury in a civilized state of society than warmth and clothing are a luxury to any state.” They make mani. fest a positive want that cannot be neglected without great injury to the human character. This desire is one of the earliest to manifest itself. Man in a savage state frequently feels the need of ornamenting his body even before he feels the need of clothing it. This longing for ornament is entirely absent in none, and it grows in the same ratio as progress in civilization. As man advances in culture and refinement he is no more satisfied with the decoration of the rude tent or wigwam, but he seeks gratification in the beauties of architecture, painting, and sculpture.

Ideality, or a love of the beautiful, being a constituent element of man's nature, we find the world affords abundant opportunity for the exercise of this faculty. We are surrounded by beauty on all sides. 'Nature is one vast galaxy of beauty.” “All along the wild old forest God has carved the forms of beauty. Every cliff, and mountain, and tree, is a statue of beauty. Every leaf, and stem, and vine, and flower, is a form of beauty. Every hill, and dale, and landscape, is a picture of beauty. Every cloud, and mist-wreath, and vapor-vail, is a shadowy reflection of beauty. Every spring, and rivulet, lakelet, river, and ocean, is a glassy mirror of beauty. Every diamond, and rock, and pebbly beach, is a mine of beauty. Every sun, and planet, and star, is a blazing face of beauty. All along the aisles of earth, all over the arches of heaven, all through the expanses of the universe, are scattered, in rich and infinite profusion, the life-gems of beauty.” “From the mote that plays its little frolic in the sunbeam, to the world that blazes along the sapphire spaces of the firmament, are visible the ever-varying features of the enrapturing spirit of beauty.” And yet these enchanting scenes of beauty are a comparatively sealed-book to the great mass of mankind. We are made conscious of all this beauty only by means of sight, the noblest of the senses. Ruskin says: “The more I think of it, I find this conclusion more impressed upon me, that the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and to tell what it saw in a plain way.

Hundreds of people can talk to one who thinks, but thousands can think to one who can see."

Something more than eyes are necessary, however, that we may see. Right seeing comes from training. Anything that cultivates the power of correct vision really enlarges the world for us, for whatever is not seen or perceived by us might as well not exist, so far as we are concerned. Drawing is a means to open our blind eyes to the beauties of nature and art which surround us, in the greatest profusion, but of which many of us are entirely unconscious. It brings us into contact with nature in her most pleasing and elevating aspect; and through "that elder scripture, writ by God's own hand,” we are led to "look through nature up to nature's God.” Cousin says: “God is necessarily the last reason, the ultimate foundation, the completed ideal of all beauty. This is the marvellous beauty that Diotimus had caught a glimpse of, and thus paints to Socrates in the ‘Banquet':

"Eternal beauty, unbegotten and imperishable, exempt from decay as well as increase, which is not beautiful in such a part and ugly. in such another, beautiful only at such a time, in such a place, in such a relation, beautiful for some, ugly for others, beauty that has no sensible form, no visage, no hands, nothing corporeal, which is not such a thought or such a particular science, which resides not in any being different from itself,

as an animal, the earth, or the heavens, or any other thing, which is absolutely identical and invariable by itself, in which all other beauties participate, in such a way, nevertheless, that their birth or their destruction neither diminishes nor increases, nor in the least changes it! * * In order to arrive at this perfect beauty, it is necessary to commence with the beauties of this lower world, and, the eyes being fixed upon the supreme beauty, to elevate ourselves unceasingly toward it by passing, thus to speak, through all the degrees of the scale, from a single beautiful body to two, from two to all others, from beautiful bodies to beautiful sentiments, from beautiful sentiments to beautiful thoughts, until from thought to thought we arrive at the highest thought, which has no other object than the beautiful itself, until we end by knowing it as it is itself.'

Finally, of the youth who has been properly trained in drawing and art, and who has learned to love the beautiful forms that everywhere surround him, we may say, in the language of another, that “God's glory of the sunset-all of the divine offerings in the natural world-will be his while life lasts, and when the white vail of flesh standing between him and his hereafter falls away from him into the bosom of demanding earth, memory will keep her seat in the mysterious intelligence he calls his soul, and hold them sacred to him forever."


Mr. Jones, of Massillon :- I am heartily in sympathy with the views presented. A subject of such vast importance, of so much practical utility, and of such value to the state and nation, deserves careful consideration.

Eminent educators, after having studied the school system of other countries, tell us that drawing should form a part of the course of study in our schools.

An excellent beginning has been made in our larger cities; the smaller towns are waiting to ascertain the best means of introducing and studying it. It is urged that we have no time or place for it. I believe that provision can and should be made for it in our schools.

It is also objected that but few pupils can draw, and that it is not wise to educate a few boys for artisans in our schools. The same objection may be made against any study in our course. I believe that the statistics will show that the work in drawing, where it has been systematically taught, will compare with the work in any other branches. In examining the work of several of our schools (every pupil being represented), the results have far exceeded my anticipations. If we can enable our pupils to take a higher stand in the trades which they may pursue, it is our duty to do it. Pupils should be able not only to draw, but to read drawings. In reference to ornamental drawing it has been wisely said 'Any mechanic, or apprentice, or a man, or a boy, who can sit down and laboriously copy a picture, or a beautiful landscape, or the head of Medusa, has an accomplishment that is of little worth to himself or to any body else; but if he can readily pencil or sketch a machine, or picture a tool, or design the workmanship which he wishes to have constructed, if he has learned drawing, not only pictorial language, and can express himself, and can understand the thought another expresses in that language, he has acquired an art of inestimable value to any condition, profession, or pursuit, in which he can be engaged."



E. O. Vaile, of Cincinnati, read a paper on the

SPELLING REFORM. The question of amending and simplifying English orthography is at a point where it can no longer be classed among the extravagant and abominable propositions of fanatics and lunatics. When we look at the scholarship, and authority, and number of the men who are heartily in favor of reform, it seems the height of rashness for any one to raise a voice in argument against the movement.

At the head of the list of out-spoken advocates of the Reform, stands the most distinguished philologist of his age, Max Müller, Professor of Sanscrit and Comparative Philology, in the University of Oxford. His essay upon the subject a year ago, in the Fortnightly Review, is the most able and weighty argument that has yet appeared. Above him in eminence in some respects, and heartily sympathizing with the movement, stands one of the foremost of England's scholars, and probably her greatest statesman, Wm. E. Gladstone. In so many words he advises those interested in this question to busy themselves in considering in what way opinion can be brought to bear on the matter. On the list of supporters are many names inferior only to these already mentioned: Alexander Bain, whom I need not describe to this audience as one of the most eminent philosophers and educationists of our time; Dr. Meiklejohn, Prof. of History and Art of Education in the University of St. Andrews; Dr. R. G. Latham, Richard Morris, Rev. W. W. Skeat, Geo. W. Moon, and many others whom you would recognize not only as eminent users of the English language, but also as most profound students of its history and literature. Besides these, of persons distinguished in one way or another, there is Charles Reed, the honored chairman of the London School Board, Otto Trevelyan, the nephew and biographer of the late Lord Macaulay, Charles Mackay, the poet, Helen Taylor, member of the London School Board, and distinguished for her attainments, as well as her relation to the late John Stuart Mill, Dr. Morell and Rev. J. R. Byrné, H. M's inspectors of schools, Dr. Morell being high in rank as an author and scholar. These persons are all living, I believe; but their names are to be found already in the records of distinguished Englishmen. To this same list must be added the names of two of England's honored dead, Dr. Thirlwall, eminent as the historian of Greece, and Lord Lytton, the statesman and novelist. Dr. Thirlwall said :—“I look upon the established system of spelling, if an accidental custom may be so called, as a mass of anomalies, the growth of ignorance and chance, equally repugnant to

« PreviousContinue »