Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/710

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voted by the citizens themselves, local elective boards to spend the money raised by taxation and control the schools, and for the higher grades of instruction permanent endowments administered by incorporated bodies of trustees. This is the American voluntary system, in sharp contrast with the military, despotic organization of public instruction which prevails in Prussia and most other states of Continental Europe. Both systems have peculiar advantages, the crowning advantage of the American method being that it breeds freemen. Our ancestors well understood the principle that, to make a people free and self-reliant, it is necessary to let them take care of themselves, even if they do not take quite as good care of themselves as some superior power might.

And now, finally, let us ask what should make a university at the capital of the United States, established and supported by the General Government, more national than any other American university. It might be larger and richer than any other, and it might not be; but certainly it could not have a monopoly of patriotism or of catholicity, or of literary or scientific enthusiasm. There are an attractive comprehensiveness and a suggestion of public spirit and love of country in the term "national;" but, after all, the adjective only narrows and belittles the noble conception contained in the word "university." Letters, science, art, philosophy, medicine, law, and theology, are larger and more enduring than nations. There is something childish in this uneasy hankering for a big university in America, as there is also in that impatient longing for a distinctive American literature which we so often hear expressed. As American life grows more various and richer in sentiment, passion, thought, and accumulated experience, American literature will become richer and more abounding, and in that better day let us hope that there will be found several universities in America, though by no means one in each State, as free, liberal, rich, national, and glorious, as the warmest advocate of a single crowning university at the national capital could imagine his desired institution to become.




ONE Friday morning, a few weeks ago, as I was looking over the Nation, my eye fell upon an advertisement, inserted by the proprietors of the New York Tribune, announcing the final destruction of Darwinism. What especially riveted my attention was the peculiar style of the announcement: "The Darwinian Theory utterly de-