Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/419

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reality. Educated men were no longer disputative machines; they were invigorated by the records of noble actions, they caught again the fire of orators long since dead, they felt what it must have been to live in the Athens of Pericles and Plato, or in the Rome that withstood the victorious army of Hannibal; or, turning to modern times, they saw in the new-born science of the age that which excited the highest curiosity and hope. That complete severance and sharp-dividing line which lay between the men of speculation and the men of action in the Middle Ages was annulled in the sixteenth century, to the immense advantage of both, and has never since been revived. But, since the sixteenth century, there has been a fresh development of science, a fresh creation of noble literature. Science is sure to have its advocates, and to them it may safely be left. But shall we make no systematized effort to reap the full benefit of the writings of those great authors, the lives of those transcendent statesmen, soldiers, and discoverers by land and sea, that have adorned the annals of Europe since the birth of its present order? It is incredible that we should not. And few, indeed, must they be who have not reason to lament that they have not been furnished with better means for acquainting themselves with that whole family of nations among whom our lives are cast. We walk in the dark at present, and, as any one may know who considers our recent political history, with tottering feet and uncertain steps. Surely no further argument can be necessary to prove that all knowledge which tends to throw light on our national relations is a most important acquisition.

And all our schools, all our educational bodies, except the old universities, are doing their best to remedy these our present defects. But the universities are the keystone of the whole system; all training to which they do not give the final touch is defective and aimless; and, governed as they are by men of the highest ability and experience, it stands to reason that they have advantages for organizing a scheme of instruction which no ordinary school-master can have. Heavy are the difficulties which oppose the cultivation of modern languages, even in schools which take them up most zealously. Is it not the inevitable conclusion that the universities are imperatively bound to supply some central system of instruction in modern literatures?—Contemporary Review.


By Prof. VOIT.


IN order to understand the importance of the nutritive salts in food, we must first ascertain how far its mineral elements are nutritious, how far they are indispensable, and when they may be considered as in excess.