Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/91

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81
PLACE OF ENGLISH IN HIGHER EDUCATION.

which like the fruit but cannot destroy the seeds. In Asia wild, seed-bearing plantains are usually found growing in groups. In America, which has a much greater area of wilderness, the plantain must have spread far and wide, seeing that it has persisted in the wild state in the far more densely-inhabited East Indies. Therefore, it appears that in America the plantain has always been a seedless, cultivated plant, which can only have been introduced from Asia in preglacial times, through northern zones, for in that way alone was the immigration at all possible.—Ausland.

 

THE PLACE OF ENGLISH IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION.[1]
By A. B. STARK, LL.D.

PRESIDENT OF THE LOGAN FEMALE COLLEGE.

I SHALL begin with an unequivocal statement of my position: the study of the English language and literature should occupy the central place—the place of honor—in every scheme of higher education for English-speaking men and women. This primacy I claim for two principal reasons: first, the knowledge obtained from this study is of most worth in the practical affairs of real life; second, the right study of English may be made the instrument of the highest culture of the mind.

All educators, I believe, are agreed that a thorough knowledge of our mother-tongue is of supreme importance to every educated man or woman. The friends of classical studies urge, among their strongest arguments in favor of Latin and Greek, that through a careful study of these languages is the shortest and surest way to a thorough knowledge of English; while, on the other hand, the advocates of the new education magnify the importance of studying English. I think it unnecessary to dwell on this first proposition, and shall, therefore, pass at once to a consideration of the educational value of the study of English.

In my first advocacy of the importance of studying English—in a quarterly review article printed seventeen years ago—I concede "that the study of the vernacular is almost valueless as a means of education, or as an instrument of intellectual culture and discipline." I hope I am wiser to-day; I certainly hold a very different opinion. In that article I reviewed all the important books on the subject then published, and yet all those works, with the exception of Marsh's "Lectures" and Latham's "Handbook," have been forgotten. A course of real study

  1. A paper read before the National Educational Association, Louisville, Ky., August 15, 1877.