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livered to the youths in such a manner that it may not only be passed on, but shall gather depth and elevation from generation to generation.
The first duty of those who have a share in this great task—a share, indeed, falls to every man and woman is to perceive that the social organization, with its traditions, its motives, and its learning, though a structure of many parts, is, as before remarked, an organic whole. Its true significance can be understood only by those who look upon it, not as a thing of shreds and patches, as it is apt to appear on a hasty view, but as a structure like unto our own bodies in its complexity; where the individual parts have their separate life, but where the true being arises from the association of their activities; where health and disease are alike to be found. Furthermore, it must be remembered that the social body, unlike the frames of those who compose it, is to a great extent determinable by the intelligence and the forethoughtful labor of the men and women who share the benefits it confers. Thus, while such societies are to a great extent spontaneous, and exist even in highly developed forms without the conscious care of their members, their best success, the elevation to which we may hope to see them attain, depends upon the intelligence and self-devotion of their citizens. Those who bear the responsibilities of teachers are particularly charged with the implantation of these motives in the social structure; for it is only from the growth of such an understanding that we may hope to elevate human society to its highest attainable plane. Clearly, their most eminent task is to make men see the history of their present status, and their duty in the light of this understanding.
Coming now to the special duties of those whose province it is to care for the immediate tasks connected with the transmission of learning, let us see what light the natural history of the matter
casts upon the problem. The most important observation which the naturalist has to make is that the system by which this end is effected should be such as to convey to each member of the society enough of the motives of his kind to insure his thorough initiation into the brotherhood of man. It is of course obviously impossible, in any complicated social system such as our own, to transmit to each youth any considerable share of the traditions and motives which reside in it. Therefore a selection must be made; some of the young men or women are to enter on particular employments, and need the learning of their special occupations, — a learning which would be useless to those of other callings. This system of division, already begun, must evidently go far. All the definite professions, such as law, medicine, engineering, the various employments where long training of eye and hand as well as skill of mind is required, will have to be provided for by a certain amount of special education. The main point is to attain this end in such a manner that the youth may not, in gaining his special training, be too far separated from the best traditions of his people.
The educator who considers his problems in the large way clearly sees that the important task is to put each student in possession of the motives of his kind in such a way that the transmission will have the most improving effect; he looks upon all specialization which demands or threatens to require the separation of the youth from the general current of cultivation as an evil; he naturally seeks every means of accommodation by which the end of the specialist can be attained without diverting the student too far from the main tide of those influences which experience has shown to be uplifting. This view as to the need of general culture in education is by no means novel: it has found more or less expression in the writings
of many of the great students of such questions; it is distinctly indicated in the system of education which we have inherited; it is indeed at the foundation of our plan of common school education, and finds its fullest expression in our greater universities.
So long as the store of culture remained in a form where it could be appropriated in something like its fullness by each seeker, the system of schooling which, from the time of the Greeks through successive advancements, culminated in the modern university, served the cause of education in a fairly complete way. The student who was so fortunate as to be destined to receive an extended training began his tasks with the theory that the first eighteen years or so of his life should be devoted to the acquisition of the large inheritances of knowledge, and that on this general foundation his special training of a professional nature should be made to rest: the lawyer, the clergyman, and the physician had in most cases the same preliminary education. With the recent advance of science and the development of the arts which depend upon the new learning, there has been a tendency to specialize the education of engineers, chemists, and the other men who deal with the new professions, so ordering their training that they are entirely separated from their brethren of other intellectual employments. This seems to me in its nature a mistake which every considerate educator should deplore.
The first, and as yet the most evident tendency to specialize our education, so that each profession may have the largest share of time for the training of those who seek to enter it, is seen in the establishment of technical schools, with their plan of work so arranged that their students seek no learning which does not more or less directly bear upon the craft they intend to pursue. These detached trade schools originated in Europe, where they were founded with the
deliberate intention of separating the education of engineers from that deemed appropriate for the gentry or the men of the learned walks of life. The parting of the old and new educations clearly rests in the main upon the rather preposterous assumption that the modern or scientific arts are in a way less respectable or dignified than the ancient and more culture-breeding occupations, and in part upon the belief that the new employments require less well informed men than the old. Other and equally unfounded assumptions occasionally have a share in determining the separation of the schools of applied science from the established institutions of culture. Now and then it is urged that the spirit of the universities is disengaged from the practical affairs of men, so that the students in them fail to acquire that sense of duty and devotion to it which is demanded in the bread-winning occupations. Again, we hear that time and money, those elements of capital which have ever to be considered, are alike wanting in the case of our youths who are to take charge of the practical work of the world.
Separately stated, and taken without an understanding as to the place in the transmission of learning which, after many centuries of experience, has been assigned to universities, these arguments for the separation of mechanical and industrial education from the old culture seem plausible, but in a large analysis of the situation they are seen to be fallacious. No one who has come to understand the relation of the application of energy to our civilization can doubt that, in the world's esteem, the engineer is soon to take the place of the military man, and that those who are to apply force in the peaceful occupations of the arts are to have a station coequal, at least, with that of the soldier who devotes his life to the ancient and destructive uses of power. Whatever of opprobrium may at first have pertained to mechanical tasks will disappear as their intellectual station
comes to be recognized, as it needs must be. The notion that these modern occupations do not call for the same enlarging education that has been devoted to the old professions is likewise due to a misconception. It is necessary, indeed, that those who are engaged in the great industrial revolutions should understand the nature of those societies in which their work is to be done. We are surely right in demanding for them all the enlargement of perspective given by the training which is to prepare the theologian, the jurist, or the physician.
If it be in any measure true that our universities are, by their motives, separated from our economic life, and that they fail to inform their pupils concerning such important matters, it is because they do not have among their students and teachers a due number of those who are concerned with the modern callings. The claim should be, not for a plan which will still further separate these agents for the transmission of learning from the body of the people, but rather for measures which may remedy the defect, and make the universities effective in transmitting the new as they have been in handing down the ancient culture.
As for the claim that time and money cannot be spared for the education of men who are to devote themselves to engineering and mechanic arts, except within the limits of their immediate necessities, the argument is no stronger than it is when applied to those who are to enter on the old professions. Pushed to its legitimate conclusion, it would limit an extended education to youths of wealth and prospective leisure. It is, moreover, clear that, decade by decade, through the advance of the mechanic arts, our societies are able to devote more wealth to the enlargement of promising youths. This is no time to begin to pauperize our education. Least of all is it fit that its advantages should be denied that class of men to whom we look with confidence for an ever-increasing share
of comfort and spiritual advantage to every citizen.
It is evident that the foregoing considerations bring us to the problem as to the place and functions of the university in our modern life. Although the question is far too large to be treated adequately in this writing, there are certain general facts deserving of notice which may be briefly set forth. In the first place, it seems plain that this great business of handing down the intellectual capital of society must be lodged in some institution. It cannot safely be left to haphazard. At first, and through long experiment, essays were made in giving over this work to the churches; the result was failure. In the later time, which has indeed not yet passed away, an endeavor was made to confide these interests to civil governments, to states which had already quite enough to do in caring for other interests. It seems to me clear that if there is to be any headship, any source of direction, in our educative work, it must be found in the universities, the only institutions which have proved themselves in any way fit to discharge this duty.
If we look upon universities as institutions which are to maintain and guide the spirit which leads to the transmission of learning; if we expect from them accomplishment comparable to that of the churches in caring for religion, or of the state in guarding civil liberty, certain very grave responsibilities are seen to rest upon them. Their first duty is to provide all classes of men with a large share of those impulses and understandings which have controlled human progress. Their function is, so far as in them lies, to see that none go forth to. the directing work of the world without some guiding sense of those motives which have inspired civilization. So far as the system of our universities hinders or does not favor this end, it should be reformed. If they are to guide in the transmission of learning, they must deal
with the matter in a broad and inclusive way.
It seems to me that without determined plan, without, indeed, any conscious understanding of the conditions, our universities have already gone far on the way of preparing themselves to deal with the varied culture of our modern life. To take but one instance, chosen because of no favor, but for the reason that it alone is well known to me, I may set forth the steps by which Harvard University has pushed forward in the work of adapting the instruction which it gives to the needs of this country. For about a century and a half the requirements of the public seemed to be sufficiently met by the ancient college. The first enlargement led to the establishment of separate schools which met the needs of the ancient professions, divinity, medicine, and law. With the beginning of the present half century we note a further effort to adapt the system of instruction to the more differentiated state of public affairs. The Lawrence Scientific School was established, and in rapid succession schools of agriculture and horticulture, dentistry, and veterinary surgery were founded. A number of great establishments, having research for their primary object, and yet of teaching value, have grown up within the university. The Astronomical Observatory, the Arnold Arboretum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Peabody Museum of American Ethnology and Archæology, as well as several other lesser laboratories of research, indicate something of the progress which has been made in adapting this institution to the needs of our society.
Of late years, the work of fitting the university system to the public need has in good part been accomplished through the enlargement effected in the Lawrence Scientific School. When first instituted, this school was scantily supported by laboratories and the other elements of plant demanded in its work. The cre
ation and enlargement of these establishments have now made it possible for that school to provide departments in which the student may make himself fit for eight different occupations which demand a science training. This brief history of the enlargement and application of instruction in Harvard University is but an illustration of what has been going on in every important seat of culture in this country.
There are other ways in which our universities have gone forth towards the work of the world. So far as the elective systems of the University of Virginia and of Harvard College have been extended, they have enabled the student to combine his work of culture for its own sake with the preparation for a calling. It seems certain that we shall enter on the next century with a college system which will lead men towards rather than away from the paths of professional duties. The experience with elective work appears sufficient to show that culture in the best sense is not to be lost by this liberty which has been granted to peculiar capacities and needs. In the schools of science which have been established alongside of the colleges, a successful effort has been made to adapt the entrance requirements to the instruction given in the public high schools. As the elective system makes head in these secondary institutions of learning, the way will be opened by which the children of the people may pass directly to the undergraduate work of the universities.
It now appears that the conditions which led, in the greater number of our American institutions, to the grouping of professional schools around an original college, or seat of what has been termed pure culture, afford certain peculiar advantages. To the college proper we may assuredly look for the perpetuation of those ancient ideals of learning to which we need so far as possible to conform in all our advancement. Experi
ence shows, in Harvard University at least, that we may trust to the dissemination of this spirit throughout the whole of a great establishment. Teachers and pupils alike acquire those enlarged views of education which we cannot hope to develop under any other conditions. In this spontaneous response of our universities to the demand which our American public make upon them we have the best possible evidence as to their fitness
to assume a directing function, in the task of transmitting the body and spirit of learning. It is clear that our people have been right in their curious affection for these establishments. They have, after the manner of free men, discerned something of the great work which these institutions were to do. In proportion as they see the task the more clearly, we may expect them to magnify this work. N. S. Shaler.
LOWELL, BROOKS, AND GRAY IN THEIR LETTERS.
Or all devices for trapping personality, perhaps the private letter is the most effective. Men have been known to box themselves up in a sonnet, and an autobiography, if long enough, may have a corner in which the person is at last discovered; but letters, whether they tell what the writer knows or what he does, are often fairly indicative of what he is. There is just enough of form about them to distinguish them from the amorphism of talk; not so much as to drive out the spontaneity which betrays the secret of self. And if, when we read letters, we know enough of the writer otherwise to apply the necessary correctives and explanations, the letters are often singularly interpretative, and especially valuable for giving just that comprehensive look at a person which almost justifies us in saying that we
The season has brought us an unusual gift in three books which contain, with a minimum of editorial intrusion, portraits thus self-drawn of three notable Americans of our generation, a great humanist, a great preacher, and a great savan. It is possible in each case to approach the subject with a tolerably full knowledge of the deliberate contribution each has made toward the ad
vancement of learning or the enrichment of the spirit. Lowell's writings were gathered and revised by their author shortly before his death; the six volumes of Brooks's sermons, his lectures on preaching, and his noble tract on toleration form no mean precipitate of a life which ran eloquence; and the library of Gray's work in botanical science is well represented by the volumes which he published, and those collected after his death from his scattered writings. Yet, though one may have had this previous acquaintance, rather because he has had it, he will discover in these several groups of letters new and delightful modes of access to the men themselves.
In a letter to Mr. Fields, who had apparently been waving his wand over him to conjure a novel, Lowell makes the confession: "As for the novel, in the first place I can't write one, nor conceive how any one else can; and in the next I would sooner be hanged than begin to print anything before I had wholly finished it. . . . The truth is, my brain requires a long brooding time ere it can hatch anything. As soon as the life comes into the thing it is quick enough in chipping the shell." In these two sentences Lowell hits off well the limitations and the familiar working of his