Page:Essays on the Higher Education.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

sity. If the general theory of the purchasableness of all things which enter into a university were true, it would still have to be said that the ordinary estimate of the amount required is inadequate. But surely, as long as the primary and indispensable prerequisite of a genuine and great university, wherever under the sky it may be located, is a body of teachers and pupils rightly trained, and united and animated by the right spirit, the actual result attainable by merely giving large sums of money will not fulfil a worthy ideal.

The speculative method, when employed by persons informed in the principles and practice of education, is, of course, far safer and more valuable than when employed by the ignorant. Yet I can never forget that institutions, unlike systems of abstract truth, are not wisely treated in the purely speculative way. A university is, at most, an institution; it is a complicated system of means through which one set of persons operates upon another set of persons for the accomplishment of certain ends. But every means must afford an answer to four inquiries: Out of what material can it be constituted? Who or what is to use it? Upon whom or upon what is it to be used? For what end is it to be used? To inquire as to what the American philosophy should be, savors of irrationality; and the inquiry would have the same savor if it took the form, What should the Scottish,