Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/139

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

lege presidents can say to the contrary, on public attention.

As regards Germany the opinion which, as we have said, Prince Bismarck expressed years ago is strongly confirmed by Mr. William H. Dawson's recent work on Germany. We take the following summary of his observations on this question from the London Saturday Review:

"He draws a very gloomy picture of the result of too many universities and too much higher education. We should like to think he exaggerated here, but we are forced to admit he does not. Twenty-two seats of learning are yearly 'turning out studied men in thousands,' and the unfortunate 'studied men' are lucky if, at the age of thirty-five, they are earning the wages of English bank clerks. The paternal state finds money for universities and looks to the qualifications for the professions and the civil service; but that paternal state can not provide its carefully examined would-be lawyers and doctors and civil servants and teachers with briefs and patients and posts and pupils; and, as a consequence, the educated unemployed increase mightily in numbers year by year. Still more formidable are the 'breakages'—the horde of superficially book-learned young fellows of the middle and lower middle ranks whom stupidly ambitious fathers have sent to universities (the state aiding) to fail in examinations when they ought to be selling groceries or hoeing potatoes. These undoubtedly form a truly 'dangerous class'; unfit for real intellectual effort, they have just sufficient smattering of letters, philosophy, economics, and science to make them the readiest tools of the agitator and the most permanent and effective nuisances to society, against which they have the very real grievance that they are unable to serve it in any useful way."

We have the case here very succinctly stated. These are the men who say that "the world owes them a living," the truth being that they have contracted a debt both for previous living and for education which they have little prospect of ever being able to wipe out. The sooner we recognize the fact that our modern systems of education are largely experimental, and that much of the way we have gone may have to be retraced, the better it will be for the permanent peace of society. At present we are using too much yeast of a not very wholesome kind, and the result is an excessive and dangerous amount of social fermentation.


The Story of the Sun. By Sir Robert S. Ball, F. R. S. Eleven Plates and Eighty-two Illustrations. 8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 376. Price, $6.

This great story, draped in its simple yet eloquent diction, will perchance recall to the reader's mind some bygone evening when, by the shore of a sheltered and tranquil lake, he may have beheld reflected in its depths the crumbling glories of a nation's ancient structure, intermingling with the pinnacles of the modern edifice, devoted to the promotion of science in its latest reaches of infinite research. In such a scene, what food may not one find for reflection in a mental as well as the physical sense! The simile drawn may stand as reverting to certain antique theories of the sun, when contrasted with our nowaday ascertainable data.

Indeed, if this latest work of Sir Robert S. Ball were presented to the student stripped of all but the illustrations, it would, we feel assured, be pronounced a uniformly artistic and harmonious story without words. In the author's preparation of the work he gratefully acknowledges the assistance rendered him by such marked names in astronomical science as Prof. Pickering, of Harvard College Observatory; the famous French savant M. Flammarion; Prof. Holden, of Lick Observatory; Prof. Janssen, and many others. Even the reading of proofs was consigned to the charge of four unquestionable authorities. In all these aids, the essential purport of the volume, including such pronounced care, purity of style, logic-