Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/712

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.





Messrs. Editors:

WHILE this discussion about the great ascendency given the study of the classics in all of our institutions of learning is going on, we beg to offer the following facts: Here we have the great University of Michigan, the pride of the State, with its fourteen hundred students, and schools of literature, science, and the arts, dentistry, law, pharmacy, music, medicine, political and sanitary science, and one can graduate and take the coveted degree of A. B., receive the commendation of his teachers, then study in a post-graduate course and receive the degrees of A.M. and Ph.D., and be an educated fool so far as knowing anything of elocution is concerned, or having acquired any knowledge of the structure and composition of his own body or of the laws of health.

To the credit of the university, it may be said that many courses of study are offered and a wide latitude given for choice; but, ¦while four years of study in Latin and two in Greek are required in the preparatory schools and about one and a half year each in Latin and Greek in the university, nothing is required in the fitting schools or university in either elocution or physiology and hygiene, and there is absolutely no provision made in any department for teaching the former, and nothing in the latter is required or offered candidates for the degree of A.B. worthy of the name. It still seems to be considered of vastly more importance to have a smattering of Latin and Greek than to know anything about one's own body and how to care for it, or to speak well our own tongue.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 23, 1884.


Messrs. Editors:

After reading what Herbert Spencer says of the "Sins of Legislators," I am impressed with the idea that it would be a step in the right direction to make it a necessary qualification for a member of Congress or State Legislature that he shall pass a satisfactory examination before some university board, and get a certificate showing his attainments in the studies of political economy and civil government. This would at least compel candidates for those positions to devote some time to the study of those branches—a thing they now seldom do. I see no reason why they should not be compelled to prepare themselves for their work as much as common-school teachers do now.

J. G. Malcolm.
Topeka, Kansas, July 1, 1884.



Messrs. Editors:

The May number of "The Popular Science Monthly" contained an article entitled "An Experiment in Prohibition," some of the statements in which were so one-sided and inaccurate that they can not be allowed to pass without challenge. Among those statements were assertions that in the State of Vermont the prohibitory law is "an absolute dead letter"; that the returns of the United States revenue officers show that there are in that State four hundred and forty-six places where intoxicating liquors are sold; that "in the city of Burlington there are about threescore places where liquor is sold; and in Rutland, St. Albans, and all the larger towns, a proportional number, and in every village in the State, with the exception of a few inconsiderable hamlets, at least one such place"; that "a large proportion of the dram-shops are located upon the principal streets and there is no concealment or attempted concealment of the illegal traffic conducted within them"; and that prosecutions of liquor-sellers, on whom persons arrested for intoxication have disclosed, are "very common," but are confined to "the lowest class of liquor-dealers" and are "invariably for a first offense."

Two of these statements contradict each other. K prosecutions, though only for first offenses and of the lowest class of liquor-dealers, are "very common," it can not be correct to say that the law is an absolute dead letter. Most certainly it is not an absolute dead letter.

The statement of the number of places in Vermont where intoxicating liquors arc sold was obtained from a newspaper compilation, from the returns of the United States Collector of Internal Revenue for the year ending April, 1883. The same returns show that, of the 446 persons paying the United States tax as dealers in intoxicating liquors, about three hundred were druggists, who must use, and keep, and sell, alcohol and spirits for purposes recognized as legitimate. While some of these undoubtedly sell liquors to a greater or less extent for other than "medicinal, mechanical, and chemical purposes," their shops can not, as a class, be called "dram-shops"—and many