Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/126

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116
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

nothing novels, and women who want cheap books have to read them, because the men who print books dont want women to get a higher education, they really dont, and so they just flood the country with books that women have to read, because they cant get into the public liberaries, and aint allowed to buy books by Spensur and other learned people. Its just a conspiracy, Cousin Ralph says, to keep women down. I think its a great shame, dont you, Ma. But Suse and me mean to see if we cant get a first class education somehow. More next time, from

Your affectionate daghter,

Molly.

 

 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

GREEK AND LATIN AGAINST NATURE AND SCIENCE.

NOTWITHSTANDING all the efforts to reconcile and bring into harmony these great elements of education, it must be admitted that the antagonism stands out to-day more decisive than ever before. All the tendencies concur to sharpen and intensify it. In the light of the Baconian conception that "man is the interpreter of Nature, and Science its right interpretation," natural knowledge is rapidly extending and vindicating its increasing claims upon the mental cultivation of the age. But the capacities of acquisition on the part of youth remain limited; life is short, the period of study shorter, and the competition of subjects has forced more urgently than ever the necessity of choosing what shall be adopted as means of education and what passed by. Meantime the traditional culture fights every inch of the ground, will concede nothing, and redoubles its efforts for extension at every opportunity. The colleges raise their standards of the amount of Latin and Greek required for admission, and thus react upon the preparatory schools to stimulate classical studies and give them a higher place in popular consideration. There is, besides, a vigorous and wide-spread movement in behalf of what is called the "higher education of woman," which simply means the traditional ideal of culture. The female colleges are proud to duplicate the curriculums of the old classical establishments, and boast that they do not lower the standard of Latin and Greek. The boys have had a Latin school in Boston for two hundred and fifty years, to prepare for college; and the girls of that city, after failing to get into the old one, have established another within the past five years, which is said to be most flourishing and successful: rivalry and conflict are therefore inevitable, and our age has before it the broad issue between Latin and Greek on the one hand, and Nature and Science on the other hand, as means of cultivating the youthful mind.

The classical education is old, established, and invested with historic dignity, and as a consequence it is imperious and arrogant. That it has gone on for many centuries, is offered as its best reason why it should always go on. That there has been a progress in knowledge and in the human mind which has brought about a new order of things is ignored by it as of no significance. Nature and Science are regarded by it as mere upstarts of yesterday, full of vain pretension, and deserving only to be snubbed and thrust contemptuously aside. The last expression which we have seen of studied disparagement of Nature and Science in connection with education is an article by Mr. E. E. Sill, that appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly" for February, on "Herbert Spencer's Theory of Education." Mr. Spencer's little book upon that subject, as is well known, is a plea for more of nature and of science in our methods of mental cultivation, and Mr. Sill's article is a protest against this whole doctrine. He comes forward as a partisan of the old