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Mistake, error, is the discipline through which we advance. It is an undoubted fact, that, silently, books of a higher order are taking place of the worthless. Happily, the instability of the human mind works sometimes for good, as well as evil, men grow tired at length even of amusements. Works of fiction cease to interest them, and they turn from novels to books, which, having their origin in deep principles of our nature, retain their hold of the human mind for ages. At any rate, we see in the present diffusion of literature the tendency to universality of which I have spoken.
The remarks now made on literature, might be extended to the fine arts. In these we see, too, the tendency to universality. It is said, that the spirit of the great artists has died out; but the taste for their works is spreading. By the improvements of engraving, and the invention of casts, the genius of the great masters is going abroad. Their conceptions are no longer pent up in galleries open to but few, but meet us in our homes, and are the household pleasures of millions. Works, designed for the halls and eyes of emperors, popes and nobles, find their way, in no poor representations, into humble dwellings, and sometimes give a consciousness of kindred powers to the child of poverty. The art of drawing, which lies at the foundation of most of the fine arts, and is the best education of the
for nature, is becoming a branch of common education, and in some countries is taught in schools to which all classes are admitted.
I am reminded, by this remark, of the most striking feature of our times, and showing its tendency to universality, and that is, the unparalleled and constantly accelerated diffusion of education. This greatest of arts, as yet little understood, is making sure progress, because its principles are more and more sought in the common nature of man; and the great truth is spreading, that every man has a right to its aid. Accordingly, education is becoming the work of nations. Even in the despotic governments of Europe, schools are open for every child without distinction; and not only the elements of reading and writing, but music and drawing are taught, and a foundation is laid for future progress in history, geography, and physical science. The greatest minds are at work on popular education. The revenues of states are applied most liberally, not to the universities for the few, but to the common schools. Undoubtedly, much remains to be done; especially a new rank in society is to be given to the teacher; but even in this respect a revolution has commenced, and we are beginning to look on the guides of the young as the chief benefactors of mankind.
Thus, we see in the intellectual movements of our times, the tendency to expansion, to universality; and this must continue. It is not an accident, or an inexplicable result, or a violence on nature; it is founded in eternal truth. Every mind was made for growth, for knowledge; and its nature is sinned against, when it is doomed to ig
The divine gift of intelligence was bestowed for higher uses than bodily labour, than to make hewers of wood, drawers of water, ploughmen, or servants. Every being, so gifted, is intended to acquaint himself with God and his works, and to perform wisely and disinterestedly the duties of life. Accordingly, when we see the multitude of men beginning to thirst for knowledge, for intellectual action, for something more than an animal life, we see the great design of Nature about to be accomplished ; and society, having received this impulse, will never rest till it shall have taken such a form as will place within every man's reach the means of intellectual culture. This is the revolution to which we are tending: and without this, all outward political changes would be but children's play, leaving the great work of society yet to be done.
ARNOLD. [The opinions of so eminent a man as the late Dr. Arnold on Classical Education must always command the attention of every candid inquirer. Those who advocate the general Education of the People are somewhat too apt to say that Latin and Greek are useless things. There cannot, in our view, be a greater instance of narrow-mindedness. It is the abuse of the study of Latin and Greek that alone is to be condemned. Arnold was the model of a sensible teacher: and the following extract from an account of his own school at Rugby, which he published in the Quarterly Journal of Education,' in 1834, puts this question of Classical Education on the surest footing. Thomas Amold was born at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, in 1795; he died of spasm of the heart in 1842; having devoted the greater part of his useful life to the instruction of the young. As an author he is best known by his . Roman History.' But the great beauty of his character was never generally understood till the publication of his · Life and Correspondence.' The following account of his mode of living at Laleham, where he received private pupils from 1819 to 1828, is from the pen of one of those pupils :-and it eminently shows the great cause of Arnold's unrivalled success as the Head Master of a Public School, in which capacity he closed his too short career :
“ The most remarkable thing which struck me at once on joining the Laleham circle was, the wonderful healthiness of tone and feeling which prevailed in it. Everything about me I immediately found to be most real; it was a place where a new-comer at once felt that a great and earnest work was going forward. Dr. Arnold's great power as a private tutor resided in this, that he gave such an intense earnestness to life. Every pupil was made to feel that there was a work for him to do—that his happiness as well as his duty lay in doing that work well. Hence, an indescribable zest was communicated to a young man's feelings about life; a strange joy came over him on discovering that he had the means of being useful, and thus of being happy; and a deep respect and ardent attachment sprang up towards him who had taught him thus to value life and his ownself, and his work and mission in this world. All this was founded on the breadth and comprehensiveness of Arnold's character, as well as its striking truth and reality; on the unfeigned regard he had for work of all kinds, and the sense he had of its value both for the complex aggregate of society and the growth and perfection of the individual. Thus, pupils of the most different natures were keenly stimulated: none felt that he was left out, or that, because he was not endowed with large powers of mind, there was no sphere open to him in the honourable pursuit of usefulness. This wonderful power of making all his pupils respect themselves, and in awakening in them a consciousness of the duties that God had assigned to them personally, and of the consequent reward each should have of his labours, was one of Arnold's most characteristic features as a trainer of youth; he possessed it eminently at Rugby; but, if I may trust my own vivid recollections, he had it quite as remarkably at Laleham. His hold over all his pupils I know perfectly astonished me. It was not so much an enthusiastic admiration for his genius, or learning, or eloquence which stirred within them; it was a sympathetic thrill, caught from a spirit that was earnestly at work in the world—whose work was healthy, sustained, and constantly carried forward in the fear of God—a work which was founded on a deep sense of its duty and its value; and was coupled with such a true humility, such an unaffected simplicity, that others could not help being invigorated by the same feeling, and with the belief that they too in their measure could go and do likewise.
“In all this there was no excitement, no predilection for one class of work above another; no enthusiasm for any one-sided object; but an humble, profound, and most religious consciousness that work is the appointed calling of man on earth, the end for which his various faculties were given, the element in which his nature is ordained to develop itself, and in which his progressive advance towards heaven is to lie. Hence, each pupil felt assured of Arnold's sympathy in his own particular growth and character of talent; in striving to cultivate his own gifts, in whatever direction they might lead him, he infallibly found Arnold not only approving, but positively and sincerely valuing for themselves the results he had arrived at; and that approbation and esteem gave a dignity and a worth both to himself and his labour."]
A reader unacquainted with the real nature of a classical education, will be in danger of undervaluing it, when he sees that so large a portion of time at so important a period of human life is devoted to the study of a few ancient writers, whose works seem to have no direct bearing on the studies and duties of our own generation. For instance although some provision is undoubtedly made at Rugby for acquiring a knowledge of modern history, yet the History of Greece and Rome is more studied than that of France and England; and Homer and Virgil are certainly much more attended to than Shakspere and Milton. This appears to many persons a great absurdity; while others who are so far swayed by authority as to believe the system to be right, are yet unable to understand how it can be so. A Journal of Education may not be an unfit place for a few remarks on this subject. It
may be freely confessed that the first origin of classical education affords in itself no reasons for its being continued now. When Latin and Greek were almost the only written languages of civilized man, it is manifest that they must have furnished the subjects of all liberal education. The question therefore is wholly changed, since the growth of a complete literature in other languages; since France, and Italy, and Germany, and England, have each produced their philosophers, their poets, and their historians, worthy to be placed on the same level with those of Greece and Rome.
But although there is not the same reason now which existed three or four centuries ago for the study of Greek and Roman literature, yet there is another no less substantial. Expel Greek and Latin from your schools, and you confine the views of the existing generation to themselves and their immediate predecessors: you will cut off so many centuries of the world's experience, and place us in the same state as if the human race had first come into existence in the year 1500. For it is nothing to say that a few learned individuals might still study classical literature; the effect produced on the public mind would be no greater than that which has resulted from the labours of our oriental scholars; it would not spread beyond themselves, and men in general after a few generations would know as little of Greece and Rome, as they do actually of China and Hindostan. But such an ignorance would be incalculably more to be regretted. With the Asiatic mind we have no nearer connection and sympathy than is derived from our common humanity. But the mind of the Greek and of the Roman is in all the essential points of its constitution our own; and not only so, but it is our mind developed to an extraordinary degree of perfection. Wide as is the difference between us with respect to those physical instruments which minister to our uses or our pleasures; although the Greeks and Romans had no steam engines, no printing presses, no mariner's compass, no telescopes, no microscopes, no gunpowder; yet in our moral and political views, in those matters which most determine human character, there is a perfect resemblance in these respects. Aristotle, and Plato, and Thucydides, and Cicero, and Tacitus, are most naturally called ancient writers; they are virtually our own countrymen and contemporaries, but have the advantage which is enjoyed by intelligent travellers, that their observation has been exercised in a field out of the reach of common men; and that having thus seen in a manner with our eyes what we cannot see for ourselves, their conclusions are such as bear upon our own circumstances, while their information has all the charm of novelty, and all the value of a mass of new and pertinent facts, illustrative of the great science of the nature of civilized man.
Now when it is said, that men in manhood so often throw their Greek and Latin aside, and that this very fact shows the uselessness of their early studies, it is much more true to say that it shows how completely the literature of Greece and Rome would be forgotten, if our system of education did not keep up the knowledge of it. But it by no means shows that system to be useless, unless it followed that when a man laid aside his Greek and Latin books, he forgot also all that he had ever gained from them. This, however, is so far from ,