Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/174

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ing in literature in this fashion; and I do not see any difficulty beyond the initial repugnance of the professors of languages to be employed in this task, and the fear, on the part of candidates, that undue stress might be placed on points that need a knowledge of originals.

I will conclude with a remark on the apparent tendency of the wide options in the commissioners' scheme. No one subject is obligatory; and the choice is so wide that by a very narrow range of acquirements a man may sometimes succeed. No doubt, as a rule, it requires a considerable mixture of subjects: both sciences and literature have to be included. But I find the case of a man entering the India service by force of languages alone, which I cannot but think a miscarriage. Then the very high marks assigned to mathematics allow a man to win with no other science, and no other culture, but a middling examination in English. To those that think so highly of foreign languages, this must seem a much greater anomaly than it does to me. I would prefer, however, that such a candidate had traversed a wider field of science, instead of excelling in high mathematics alone.

There are, I should say, three great regions of study that should be fairly represented by every successful candidate. The first is the sciences as a whole, in the form and order that I have suggested. The second is English composition, in which successful men in the India competition sometimes show a cipher. The third is what I may call loosely the humanities, meaning the department of institutions and history, with perhaps literature: to be computed in any of the regions of ancient and modern history. In every one of these three departments I would fix a minimum below which the candidate must not fall.


WE owe an apology to a very respectable class of persons for the apparent, but we trust only apparent, and certainly involuntary, discourtesy of the thesis to which we invite attention. The late Mr. Mill, in a well-known passage, called the Conservatives the stupid party. We do not call them so, nor their opponents. All we venture to assert of both is, that in a universe of graduated intelligence they are not highest in the scale. The great majority of even prominent politicians have just the gifts which make a man conspicuous in a town-council or a board of guardians: physical energy, moral persistency, and ideas on a level with those of their fellows. Miss Martineau, in her very candid "Autobiography," has recorded her sense of the mental and moral inferiority of the political men with

  1. Condensed from Fraser's Magazine.