Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/573

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557
LITERARY NOTICES.

At first the students did not grasp the sweeping force of the new laws, and one case of discipline, resulting, however, in a renewal of the broken contract by the student and college authorities, occurred before the idea was firmly fixed that the students were to be a self-governing body as far as their conduct is concerned, and that the only concern of the faculty was the observance of the contract and the retention of the students, or the end of contract relations with them if their promise should be broken.

Since this case, say the faculty, a higher tone has been observable among the students. They are no longer watched; professors do not feel called upon to act as police-officers; there is a freedom and self-accountability not known before, and consequently a better grade of deportment than before. After a student has been informed that he is no longer a member of college because he has broken his promise to obey the college laws, no further attention is paid to him. Should he come to recitations, as he can do, because they are open to visitors, he will be regarded exactly as a visitor. He can leave town or not, just as he chooses, and he can go to another college, as far as any notice from Amherst is to be feared. By the agreement among the colleges, no student could go from one to another without papers showing an honorable dismissal. No student expelled from one could find an open door at the other. Amherst has now withdrawn from that position.

President Seelye has made the following slight correction of the foregoing:

We have not yet relinquished the former prohibition upon the admission of students expelled from other colleges, nor are all who will sign the contract placed on an equal footing and no questions asked; on the contrary, no student is admitted here without a careful inquiry into his antecedents and his standing, nor unless he gives satisfactory evidence that his contract will be kept. We have only relinquished our claim upon the other colleges to help us by their prohibitions in maintaining our discipline.

We regard this experiment as having great significance. It is something to have this evidence of liberal aspiration on the part of college authorities, and it is much to have so prompt an acknowledgment of the salutary results of the reform; but everything is gained when such an institution steps forward and plants itself upon a great principle hitherto regarded as a mere matter of theory. It is more than a change in the form of government; it is an actual transfer of the governing power. Contracts are common things, and it may seem a small matter that a student should make a contract with the college where he proposes to be educated. But the contract is, that he is to govern himself, and voluntarily to square his conduct to the prescribed requirements of the institution. Honor, pride, ambition, are all pledged that he will keep his engagement. It is no small thing for a college quietly and effectually, to secure these forces on the side of order, and thus avoid the conflict and antagonism with its students that coercive government naturally engenders; and it is certainly no small thing for the student to take a relation that will involve the constant and vigilant exercise of the most manly traits of character. The college thus becomes in an important sense a school of moral self-culture, a discipline in manhood, and offers the best preparation that can be given for the duties and responsibilities of practical life.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Anthropology: An Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization. By Edward B. Tylor, D. C. L., F. R. S. With Illustrations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 448. Price, $2.

The appearance of Mr. Tylor's long-expected manual of anthropology will be welcomed by many as a valuable contribution to the cause of advancing education. Anthropology, the science of man, is the latest and highest product of growing knowledge. Speculations concerning the nature of man began early, and were mixed up with the loose knowledge that gradually accumulated; but it is only in quite recent times that this knowledge has begun to be winnowed and sifted and verified and classified,