Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/694

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

is discredited, as the subtilties of the schoolmen were discredited at the time of the Renaissance."

Mr. Browning has not much faith in this kind of knowledge for purposes of education, but, if it is bound to come and something must be given up, he will stick by his Greek, let who will suffer. He says: "If one of the two languages must go, let it be Latin. Greek is in every respect more valuable. As a language it is more beautiful, more rich, more flexible. Its literature is incomparably superior. The loss of Latin can be compensated by the languages derived from it. Nothing can supply the place of Greek. It is idle to suppose that if Greek were omitted from our regular school curriculum it would continue to be studied by the older boys."

Nothing certainly could be more idle, for the study is not adapted to modern general wants, and therefore has to be maintained by compulsion and its position maintained by an artificial coercive policy. Science, on the other hand, has grown up outside the schools, without endowments, and has been mainly developed by private enterprise because it is adapted to the present stage of progress of the human mind.

One of the "Times" correspondents thus replies to Browning's suggestion that Latin be sacrificed:

"The answer to Mr. Oscar Browning's question, Why should not Latin be thrown over, if one of the two classical languages must cease to be compulsory at the universities? is not far to seek. It is true that Greek is easier to learn, can be mastered thoroughly in less time, has an incomparably finer literature, and brings back times of greater interest than Latin; but these advantages are surely trifling when compared with the fact that Latin is the foundation of the languages which half Europe speaks and all Europe understands, and that it was a Latin-speaking people which formed the institutions, legal, social, ecclesiastical, and political, which we now maintain. I suspect that the genius of the English character is too Roman, or at least too anti-Hellenic, to gain as much from a moderate acquaintance with Greek culture as it has gained from a moderate acquaintance with the prominent Latin authors."

 

 

RESTRICTIVE TENDENCIES IN GERMANY.

The great German experiment in empire-making conducted in these modern days by the "man of blood and iron" brings with it a train of developments which would be startling if they were not so legitimate and natural. Bismarck has the reputation of being a man of action and a great practical administrator, but behind and deeper than all this he is a thinker and a theorist, and the final estimate of him will depend, not on the greatness of the transactions which he has directed, but upon the character of his opinions. He holds certain hypothetical views of human nature, society, and government, and upon these he acts: the question is. Will time vindicate their truth? He is now at the height of power, and is lauded as a bold, sagacious, far-seeing statesman: will the future disclose him as a purblind political quack, as ignorant of his age and of all conditions of national permanence in modern times as the brilliant French adventurer who ravaged Europe in the beginning of the present century? This we shall not undertake to decide, but it looks, at any rate, as if Bismarck were cutting out work for his successors which they will probably not be able to perform.

When recently Professor Virchow solemnly admonished the scientific men of Germany to beware how they exercised the liberty of scientific discussion, lest they provoke governmental interference and suppression, it was thought, outside of Germany, that he was hardly in earnest, and was merely girding at