Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/628

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cal progress; the greater mobility of all womanly functions being less readily stiffened into inactivity. This principle, applied to the nervous system, should prolong the period of greatest mental activity, and hold the balance which measures the working value of the sexes with even justice.

Is it true that average women to-day are less versed than average men in abstract thinking, feeling, or acting? Not in New England! Not in any locality where they have equal education. They have not become savants! But circumstances have not yet impelled them to become such. In these days, philosophers grow by steady accretions, like every thing else. No full-armed Minerva can be expected to spring by simple heredity from a paternal Jupiter; but the laws of mental inheritance are too little known to enable us to decide that the daughters of the nineteenth century are less gifted than the sons. When women are convinced that the antagonisms between growth and reproduction, though embracing all personalities, must yet leave them all intact, every thing else may be left to adjust itself, with no solicitude for the ultimate results.

 

THE NOBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE.[1]

ERVING PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AND MINERALOGY IN HARVARD COLLEGE.

WITHIN a comparatively few years schools for the instruction of artisans have become a prominent feature in the educational systems both of this country and of Europe, and seem destined to supersede the old system of apprenticeships. The establishment of these schools has been an important step in human progress, not because any great advantage has been gained in the cultivation of mechanical skill, but because here the future mechanic acquires culture of the mind as well as skill of the hand. Indeed, it may be doubted whether our utilitarian age can ever successfully compete with those "elder days of art" when

But, if our industrial schools do not make better mechanics than the workshops of the olden time, they certainly educate better men, and, by adding to skill, knowledge, they are elevating the mechanic and ennobling his calling.

If, therefore, these schools are the representatives in our age of the workshops with their bands of apprentices in the days of yore, then

  1. An address delivered before the Free Institute at Worcester, Mass., July 28, 1874.