Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/462

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and the child is also led to a consideration of genetic and causal relations, attention should be directed to historical events. With right that instruction which points at most to a more formal transmission of precepts—religious instruction—is not limited to mere dogmatic teaching, but seeks in sacred history a means of learning. But nothing is so highly adapted to such teaching as what is called natural history, in which real objects are dealt with, and genetic processes may be immediately demonstrated. Our Folk schools are making daily progress in observational instruction, and it is only to be desired that the application of mere pictures may be supported by illustrations from real objects.

In the higher schools teaching of the languages has had the lion's share from the beginning. As the gymnasia grew out of the Latin schools of the middle ages, the preference of Latin has remained their constant inheritance. The Greek, the introduction of which is due to the humanists, has taken a place by its side. This circumstance has had the happy result, we thankfully recognize, for enlightened Europe, of gaining for all those peoples who have had a part in it a common basis of cultivation which has contributed more than anything else to promote mutual understanding and the feeling of fellowship. During a long time the general use of the Latin language by the learned has in the most opportune manner facilitated the intercourse of all literary men.

The condition has now become different, very different; and even those who, fully recognizing the highly beneficial influence of the classical languages upon European civilization, desire a continuance of their study, must grant that it is impossible to restore the old relations. The national languages have come into their natural right, and much as we may deplore the increasing polyglot character of learned works, and evidently as it concerns us that we are not qualified to read a multitude of excellent treatises in the original, we must still recognize that no power in the world is competent to produce a change within a conceivable time. Our literary schools only exceptionally furnish graduates who can speak Latin or write a fluent Latin essay; and the universities have been forced, contrary to their inclination, to remove the Latin language from their courses of instruction and from practical use. The confusion of tongues has entered the learned world and secured its sanction.

It was from the beginning on the weak side of the humanistic institutions that they preferred Latin. It must be conceded that they could not do otherwise. They found the Latin the universal language of the Church and the land. They were Latin schools. They simply continued what had been the general praxis through a thousand years of exercise. But they received with it