Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/603

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STATE EDUCATION: A HELP OR HINDRANCE?

ism. The history of these changes is the history of social progress, of civilization; but it is unintelligible apart from comparative jurisprudence, which is not only the forerunner of a complete science of history, but of the true philosophy of law, which shall rise above all forms and customs, and discover to mankind the generative principle of the just and of the unjust, and make of positive law nothing less than organized justice and right. When that science has been achieved we shall, for the first time, see the real character of that actual law of nature which was undreamed of by Ulpian and Grotius, a law not disclosed to us at the beginnings of society, but only to be disclosed at its end; not while man's possibilities are unfathomed, but when he shall have grown to his noblest nature. Never may we rise to a knowledge of uniform law, uniform justice, until law and justice have manifested themselves to us in perfection, and that will be when their evolution has been completed, not before. The beginning is no nearer nature than the end, for all is nature. Whatever man has been, whatever may be, is due to a larger law, of which positive law is but a part. That law is the true law of Nature, and is knowable only by its manifestations, not by vain guessings as to its character. It can never be wholly known, for Nature discloses herself gradually, and her law will not be made manifest until the end has come.

 

STATE EDUCATION: A HELP OR HINDRANCE?
By the Hon. AUBERON HERBERT.

FOR ten years we have been busy organizing national education. A vigorous use of bricks and mortar is not generally accompanied by a careful examination of first principles,[1] but now that we have built our buildings and spent our millions of public money, and civilized our children in as speedy a fashion as that in which the great Frank Christianized his soldiers, we may perhaps find time to ask a question which is waiting to be discussed by every nation that is free enough to think, whether a state education is or is not favorable to progress?[2]

It may seem rash at first sight to attack an institution so newly created and so strong in the support which it receives. But there are some persons, at all events, whom one need not remind that no external grandeur and influence, no hosts of worshipers can turn wrong

  1. Has Mr. Leslie Stephen said somewhere, that it is easier to build churches than to think about what is to be taught inside of them?
  2. I ought to say that I have changed my opinions as regards the action of the state since 1870. I could not have made this change without the assistance of Mr. Herbert Spencer's writings.