Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/793

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faculties. These men are the dunces of the classical department, they add nothing to its strength, and in every classical school are a hindrance to the better students; but some of them may become able and useful men, if their interest can be aroused in objective realities. Of our present students, it is only this class that the proposed changes would really affect. Those who have tastes and aptitudes for linguistic studies would continue to come through the old channels, and of such only can classical scholars be made.

I know very well it is said that, although the classical department would be glad to be rid of this undesirable element, yet the change could not be made without endangering the continuance of the study of Greek in many of our classical schools. But can the university be justified in continuing a requisition which is recognized to be opposed to the best interests of an important class of its patrons? And certainly it is not necessary to protect the study of Greek in this country by any such questionable means. I have a great deal more faith myself in the value of classical scholarship than many of my classical colleagues appear to possess. Never has one word of disparagement been heard from me. I honor true classical scholarship as much as I despise the counterfeit. To maintain that the class of classical dunces, to whom I have referred, appreciate the beauties of classical literature or derive any real advantage from the study is, in my opinion, to maintain a manifest absurdity. Fully as much do the convicts in a treadmill enjoy the beauties of the legal code under which they are compelled to work; and if, as Chief-Justice Coleridge has recently maintained, in his speech at New Haven, classical scholarship is the best preparation for the highest distinctions in church and state, certainly its continuance does not depend on the minimum requisition in Greek of this university.[1] The "new culture," although a much "younger industry," does not ask for any such artificial protection. It only asks for an opportunity to show what it can accomplish, and this opportunity it has never yet had. Even if the largest liberty were granted, those who seek to promote a genuine education, based on natural science, would labor under the greatest disadvantages. Not only is the apparatus required for the new culture far more expensive than that of an ordinary classical school, but also more personal attention must be given to each scholar, and the ordinary labor-saving methods of the class-room are wholly inapplicable. In the face of such obstacles as these conditions present, the new culture can advance only very gradually; and, amid the rivalry of the old system, it can only succeed by maintaining a very high degree of efficiency. The new way will certainly not offer any easier mode of admission to college than the old; and when it is remembered that the classical system has the control of all the endowed secondary schools, the prestige of past success,

  1. This article was written and read to the Faculty of Harvard College shortly after Lord Coleridge's visit to the United States, in the autumn of 1883.