Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/725

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695
EDITOR'S TABLE.

nized, under a three-hundred power of the microscope, as octahedra. Knowing well that such paper is used in all other Kindergartens throughout the country, and knowing also the habit of children putting everything available in their mouths, and especially of swallowing paper, I think the use of a sort colored with an arsenical pigment deserving of the severest reprehension. Yon may, if you please, show these tubes to any of the able chemists of your city, or describe them as you may see fit.

Yours truly,
 George Hay, M. D., Analyst,
Analytical Laboratory. 45 Diamond St.
Alleghany City, Pa.,
January 16, 1880.
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EDITOR'S TABLE.

"LET WELL ENOUGH ALONE"

A GOOD illustration of the tendencies of officialism in education, as well as in politics, is afforded by the recent inaugural address of the new President of the New York Board of Education, Mr. Stephen 0. Walker. He said he had formerly been opposed to the policy of taxing the people to sustain academic or high-class education. But no sooner does he find himself in the official saddle than all doubt is dissipated, and he becomes the eager apologist of things as they are. And this is the more remarkable, as he betrays a lurking consciousness that there is a good deal hereabout that will not bear examination, and of which the less is said the better. He admonishes some people that they had better have a care, and not push things much further, as there may come a day of reckoning. Therefore he urges quiet and acquiescence, and deplores all excitement and agitation. A certain questionable policy being consummated beyond what its promoters could have ever dreamed, he thinks the rule should be now, "Let well enough alone." Mr. Walker is reported as saying: "We not only have two colleges, whose expenses are met by general taxation, with curricula embracing every known subject of academic instruction, but, in the course of study of our grammar and primary schools, the subjects presented number fifteen or twenty, and, of course, embrace many which are neither essential nor elementary. Never having been able to give full assent to the arguments which are claimed to prove the propriety of making academic education a public charge, I am ready, and even eager, to accept the present situation of affairs, and to say to the champions of what is called higher education, and to the less eloquent and active advocates of elementary instruction, let well enough alone. I foresee dangers in agitation and disturbance. I see much good in things as they are. If those who sincerely believe that the Government should be so parental and munificent as to place within the reach of every aspiring lad the means of the most ample technical or professional education will only rest content with the large measure of success they have already gained, with the crowded seats of advanced learning endowed beyond all dreams of private munificence, by legislation, which subsidizes for their support the property, real, personal, and mixed, of the whole Commonwealth, they will not hazard the attainments already made. In pushing for more there is, in my judgment, a possibility of arousing a power in the community, of great weight by reason of its wealth, its clear judgment, its conservative and logical methods, which shall bring all the force of argument and capital against the existence, at public expense, of academic education in any form."

Having got two colleges, embracing every known subject of academic instruction, and grammar-schools devoted to fifteen or twenty subjects which are