What can I do with my boy? I can afford, and am glad, to give him the best training to be had. I should be proud to have him turn out a preacher or a learned man; but I don’t think he has the making of that in him. I want to give him a practical education; one that will prepare him, better than I was prepared, to follow my business or any other active calling. The classical schools and the colleges do not offer what I want. Where can I put him? Here is a real need and a very serious problem. The difficulty presses more heavily upon the thoughtful American than upon the European. He is absolutely free to choose a way of life for himself and his children; no government leading-strings or social prescriptions guide or limit him in his choice. But freedom is responsibility.
Secondly, being thus free, and being also in face of the prodigious material resources of a vast and new territory, he is more fully awake than the European can be to the gravity and urgency of the problem. Thirdly, he has fewer means than any other, except the English parent, of solving the problem to his son’s advantage. It is one hundred and thirty years since the first German practical school (Realschule) was established, and such schools are now common. Sixty years ago, in France, the first Napoleon made great changes, mostly useful ones, in methods of education. For more than a generation the government schools of arts and trades, arts and manufactures, bridges and highways, mines, agriculture, and commerce, have introduced hundreds of well-trained young men every year into the workshops, factories, mines, forges, public works, and counting-rooms of the empire. These young men begin as subalterns, but soon become the commissioned officers of the army of industry.
The American people are fighting the wilderness, physical and moral, on the one hand, and on the other are struggling to work out the awful problem of self-government. For this fight they must be trained and armed. No thoughtful American in active life reaches manhood without painfully realizing the deficiencies and shortcomings of his own early training. He knows how ignorance balks and competition overwhelms, but he knows also the greatness of the material prizes to be won. He is anxious to have his boys better equipped for the American man’s life than he himself was. It is useless to commend to him the good old ways, the established methods. He has a decided opinion that there are or ought to be better ways. He will not believe that the same methods which trained some boys well for the life of fifty or one hundred years ago are applicable to his son; for the reason, that the kind of man which he wants his son to make did not exist in all the world fifty years ago. So without any clear idea of what a practical education is, but still with some tolerably distinct notion of what it is not, he asks, “How can I give my boy a practical education?”
Thanks to the experience gained during the last twenty years in this country, it is easier to answer this question than it used to be. Certain experiments have been tried whose collective results are instructive. There have been found many American parents willing to try new experiments even in the irrevocable matter of their children’s education, so impressed were they with the insufficiency of the established system. It requires courage to quit the beaten paths in which the great majority of well-educated men have walked and still walk. A boy who is brought up in a different way from his peers and contemporaries, with different information, habits, and associations, suffers somewhat both in youth and manhood from the mere singularity of his education, though it may have been better than the common. If it were the custom for all young men, whose parents were able to let them spend one third of the average human span in preparation for the rest, to study Chinese ten years or more; if scraps of Chinese had the same potent effect on the popular imagination as have classical quotations in Parliament, and selections from Plutarch in Congress; if, in short, acquaintance with Chinese were the accepted evidence of having studied till twenty-one or twenty-five years of age before beginning to earn a living, it might well be matter of serious consideration for a careful parent, whether his son had not better devote the usual number of years to the study of that tongue.
Without a wide-spreading organization, no system of education can have large success. The organization of the American colleges and their connections is extensive and inflexible. Endowed institutions offer teaching at less than its cost. A large number of professors trained in the existing methods hold firm possession, and transmit the traditions they inherited. Then there are the recognized text-books, mostly of exquisite perverseness, but backed by the reputation of their authors and the capital of their publishers. Lastly, the colleges have regular inlets and outlets. They are steadily fed by schools whose masters are inspired by the colleges, and they as regularly feed all the real and all the so-called learned professions. 5
The new education must also be successfully organized, if it would live. A system of education which attracts no great number of boys, which unites its disciples in no strong bonds of common associations and good-fellowship, and which, after years of trial, is not highly organized with well-graded schools, numerous teachers, good text-books, and a large and increasing body of attached alumni, has no strong hold upon the community in which it exists. Let us see what has been done towards this organization.
We wish to review the recent experience of this country in the attempt to organize a system of education based chiefly upon the pure and applied sciences, the living European languages, and mathematics, instead of upon Greek, Latin, and mathematics, as in the established college system.1 The history of education is full of still-born theories; the literature of the subject is largely made up of theorizing; whoever reads it much will turn with infinite relief to the lessons of experience. But it should be observed that it is experience in mass, the experience of institutions, the experience of a generation, and not individual experience, which is of value. To have been a schoolmaster or college professor thirty years only too often makes a man an unsafe witness in matters of education: there are flanges on his mental wheels which will only fit one gauge. On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that conservatism is never more respectable than in education, for nowhere are the risks of change greater. Our survey of the institutions which represent the new education in this country will be absolutely impersonal; the merits of different systems are to be discussed, not the characters or qualifications of the men who have invented, or worked under, these systems. This limitation of the discussion is judicious, from all points of view; for in no country is so little attention paid by parents and students to the reputation of teachers for genius and deep learning as in our own. Faradays, Rumfords, and Cuviers would get very few pupils here, if their teachings were unmethodical and objectless, if, in short, they taught under a bad general system. Spasmodic and ill-directed genius cannot compete in the American community with methodical, careful teaching by less inspired men. This American instinct seems, on the whole, to be a sagacious one. Nevertheless, it is only when genius warms and invigorates a wise and well-administered system, that the best conditions are attained.
We must begin our survey with the institutions of highest grade, because from the parents point of view the higher school necessarily determines in large measure the nature of the lower school, just as the shape, weight, and bearings of a superstructure determine the form and quality of its foundations. The foundation-plan is the last to leave a careful architects office. In choosing a preparatory school, the careful parent will consider to what it leads; above all, he will make sure that the school is not an impasse. The higher and lower institutions are, indeed, mutually dependent; if the admission examinations of the colleges and polytechnic schools seem, on the one hand, to sharply define the studies of the preparatory schools; on the other hand, it is quite true that the colleges and advanced schools are practically controlled in their requisitions by the actual state of the preparatory schools. They can only ask for what is to be had. They must accept such preparation as the schools can give.
Institutions which exist only on paper, or which have been so lately organized that their term of actual work is only counted by months, will not be alluded to. The agricultural colleges begotten by Congress are all in this category. A large school can hardly get under way in less than four or five years. Three kinds of institutions or organizations for giving the new education are to be distinguished: the scientific schools connected with colleges; the scientific courses organized within colleges; and the independent schools especially devoted to nonclassical education. These three organizations will be considered in succession.
The greater part of the scientific schools of the United States are connected with colleges. Such are the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College, the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard College, the Chandler Scientific School of Dartmouth College, and the School of Mines of Columbia College. Two considerations seemed to justify this connection: first, the natural desire to utilize the libraries, collections, and cabinets of apparatus already belonging to the colleges; and, secondly, the expectation of engaging the professors of the colleges in the work of the new schools. It was thought that an unnecessary duplication of buildings, equipments, and salaries might thus be avoided. These advantages have been in part realized, but only in part. The scientific schools have needed separate buildings, and to a large, extent separate apparatus and separate professorships; but the college libraries have been a gain to them, and some courses of lectures, delivered to undergraduates of the colleges, have been open to the students of the scientific schools, though not always much resorted to by them. Except at Dartmouth, the aid of the college professors has been more apparent than real, because, being greatly overtasked with college work, these professors have had little time or energy to spare for the scientific schools.
A decided disadvantage is to be offset against any advantages which the scientific schools may have gained from their association with established colleges. A new system of education, crude, ill-organized, and in good degree experimental, has been brought into direct comparison and daily contact with a well-tried system in full possession of the field. The foundling has suffered by comparison with the children of the house. Even where there have been no jealousies about money or influence, and no jarrings about theological tendencies or religious temper, the faculty and students of the scientific school have necessarily felt themselves in an inferior position to the college proper as regards property, numbers, and the confidence of the community. They have been in a defensive attitude. It is the story of the ugly duckling.
An impression prevailed at the outset, that a scientific school was to be a professional school in the same sense as a law or medical school, and that graduates of the colleges would continue their studies in the scientific schools precisely as they do in the schools of law, medicine, and theology. The men who projected the Harvard and Yale schools were evidently under this impression. Experience has shown that the scientific schools proper are not recruited in this manner to any considerable extent. Between 1846 and 1868 there have appeared on the rolls of the Lawrence Scientific School the names of one hundred and sixtyfour persons who had already received some degree or other before they joined the school; but most of these persons remained but a short time in the school. Since the foundation of the school, only twelve graduates of Harvard College have thought it worth their while to take the degree of Bachelor of Science at the Lawrence Scientific School; and only ten other persons have possessed any other degree at the time of receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science. Between 1847 and 1868 there have appeared on the rolls of the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts (of which department the Yale Scientific School made the chief part) the names of one hundred and sixty-nine persons who had received a degree of some sort before they joined the school. This number is much more considerable in proportion to the whole number of students than in the Lawrence Scientific School, and requires some explanation. During the greater part of the existence of the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts, the two departments, or divisions, of engineering and chemistry, together constituting the Yale Scientific School, have made up the bulk of the department, as they have at Harvard. But at Yale there has all along been something else. Instruction of a higher character than that given in the college proper has been steadily offered in the classics, Sanscrit and other Oriental languages, the modern languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and physics. A small number of graduates of Yale and other colleges have each year availed themselves of these opportunities. Exactly how many it is not possible to learn from the annual catalogues, because the students in the Department of Philosophy and the Arts (which included, as a subdivision, the Scientific School) have not always been classified on the catalogue. In some years the discrimination was made.
Thus it appears that:
In 1853 to 54 there were 3 such advanced students who already held the degree of A.B.
In 1854 to 1855, there were 9.
In 1855 to 1856, there were 8.
In 1856 to 1857, there were 7.
In 1857 to 1858, there were 3.
In 1858 to 1859, there were 2.
In 1859 to 1860, there were 10.
In 1860 to 1861, there were 8.
What was true in these years was doubtless true to a greater or less extent in all~ The greater number of persons possessed of degrees when they became members of the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts have been, not members of the scientific school proper, but men who were really taking a post-graduate course of instruction in philology, philosophy, history, or pure science. For the benefit of these persons the degree of Doctor of Philosophy was created in 1860. It is true that, of the 169 persons who held degrees at the time of joining the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts, few remained long. Since the foundation of the department, only eight graduates of Yale College have taken the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy; only twelve have taken the degree of Doctor of Philosophy; and no other persons have possessed any other degree at the time of receiving these. The other scientific schools have not fared better, in this respect, than those of Harvard and Yale. The Chandler School, at Dartmouth, gave 504 degrees of Bachelor of Science between 1854 and 1864, but not one of these bachelors possessed any other degree. The Columbia School of Mines has received a certain number of Columbia Bachelors of Arts as special students; but as this 207 school was only founded in 1864, and has undergone material modifications since the start, the average quality of its graduates is yet to be determined.
Whatever, therefore, may have been the anticipations of their founders, it is evident that, as a matter of fact, the scientific schools, as they have been actually conducted, have not attracted college graduates in any considerable number. They have not been professional schools in the same sense as the schools of law, medicine, and theology; nor, speaking generally, have they been schools of higher grade than the colleges, in respect to the average quality of their students. The methods of instruction at some of them have been such as are suitable for advanced students; but the methods have been in advance of the students.
In plan, these scientific schools are not all alike. They agree in requiring no knowledge of Latin and Greek for admission, and in excluding the dead languages from their schemes of instruction, but in many essential respects they differ widely. Thus, the minimum age of admission is eighteen at the Cambridge School, seventeen at the Columbia School, sixteen at the Sheffield School; and fourteen at the Chandler School. The requisites for admission are very various, and the schemes of study and methods of instruction are not the same at any two of these four schools. Each school must be examined by itself.
The history of the development of the Department of Philosophy and the Arts in Yale College is so full of instruction as to justify us in dwelling upon it at some length; it is at once an epitome of the past history of scientific instruction in this country, and a prophecy of its future. The department was established in 1847, at a time when a thrill of aspiration and enthusiasm seems to have run through all the New England colleges. As at Harvard in 1846, and at Columbia in 1864, it was a laboratory of applied chemistry which was really the principal feature of the new scheme; but at Yale, advanced instruction in philology, philosophy, and pure science, suitable for graduates, was also offered. In the five years from 1847 to 1852 the average annual number of students was only about sixteen. In 1852 a department of engineering was added to the department of chemistry; and a degree of Bachelor of Philosophy was offered to students who remained two years in either department, and passed satisfactory examinations in three branches of study within the same department. The two departments of chemistry and engineering were entirely distinct. A student might take the degree in either department without knowing anything of the studies pursued in the other. As there was no examination for admission, and only a narrow, one-sided, two years course of study in either department, it is not surprising that the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy soon came to be slightly considered; it really stood for very little culture. In the eight years from 1852 to i86o the average annual number of students was about forty-seven. A slight change for the better occurred in 1858, when candidates for a degree were required to pass an examination in French or German.
Thus far the Yale Scientific School had borne a strong re semblance to what the Lawrence Scientific School at Cambridge then was, and has always remained; but in i86o the teachers in the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts, dissatisfied with the fruits of their labors, took a great step in advance.
They first systematized the post-graduate instruction in philosophy, philology, and science by offering the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Bachelors of Arts, Science, or Philosophy, who after two additional years of study should give good evidence of high attainment in two distinct branches of learning. Candidates for this degree, not already Bachelors, were required to pass an admission examination equivalent to that required for the bachelors degree, the three bachelor degrees taking equal rank. This Doctors degree has been given thirteen times since 1861. The existence of this programme of instruction at Yale, unpretentious but genuine, and perseveringly offered to a few real students, taken in connection with the facts, that one hundred and sixty-nine persons possessed of degrees have studied something additional to the ordinary college course in this Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts since its foundation; that one hundred and sixty-four persons possessed of degrees have been members of the Lawrence Scientific School within the same period; that the Columbia School of Mines has received a few persons possessed of degrees; and that young Americans go every year to Europe, in search of better educational facilities than they suppose their own country to afford them, proves that there is a small but steady demand in the older American communities for instruction higher than that of the ordinary college course, and yet different from that of the law, medical, and theological schools. This legitimate success at Yale, on a really high level, if also on a modest scale, points the way to improvements which ought soon to be made at all the more important American “universities,” which will then better deserve their ambitious title.
At the same time, the Yale instructors in the Department of Philosophy and the Arts reorganized completely the Scientific School by constituting, first, a three years general course of studies, embracing mathematics, physical science, modern languages, literature, history, political economy, and commercial law; secondly, a special course in chemistry, which included French, German, English, botany, physical geography, physics, history of the inductive sciences, geology, and logic, besides the chemistry; and, thirdly, a special course in engineering, which included French and German, and lectures upon astronomy, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, and geology, besides the studies which bear most directly upon engineering. These two special courses at first covered but two years but in 1862 the first year of the general course was required of all candidates for a degree in the chemical department, besides the two years special course; and in 1864 a three years course of study was definitely adopted as the plan of the whole school. Other special departments have since been added to the original ones of chemistry and engineering, but the fundamental plan of the school is essentially unchanged since 1864. A years course of general studies precedes a two years course in some one of seven different departments. These departments are chemistry and mineralogy, natural history and geology, engineering, mechanics, agriculture, mining, and a selected course in science and literature. The studies of these seven departments are in large measure common; but there is nevertheless a very decided divergence into different ways at the beginning of the second year of the school, according to the student bent or to his choice of a profession. Since 1864 every candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy has been required to pass successfully through a three years course of carefully selected studies, a generous course, embracing mathematics, English, French, and German, moral, mental, and political philosophy, and history, besides a large variety of scientific subjects. This scheme is of course analogous to that of the common American college, with a large elective element in the last two years. The classics are omitted, the course is only three years long instead of four, and the studies of the last two years hate a distinctly practical or professional turn; but there is the same regular course of studies leading to a degree, the same movement by classes, and a range of subjects as extensive as in the common college course. It should be said that, in 1864, the Congressional grant to promote the giving of instruction in agriculture, and the mechanic arts, so wisely given to Yale College by the Connecticut Legislature, began to influence for good the development of the Scientific School.
Another marked change in the policy 209 of this school deserves attention. Up to i86o there was no real examination for admission. Anybody, no matter how ignorant, could join the chemical department; and, in the engineering department, some acquaintance with algebra, geometry, and plane trigonometry was all that was required. No previous knowledge of chemistry was expected of students entering the laboratory. The Yale school did not differ from the Cambridge school in this respect. In fact, the Lawrence Scientific School had no other requisites for admission than those above mentioned until this year (1868). In 1860 the Yale Scientific School established an examination for admission to any department of the school. This examination comprised arithmetic, algebra, geometry, plane trigonometry, the elements of natural philosophy and chemistry, English grammar, and geography. The same preparation in Latin as for the college proper was also recommended to the candidate for admission to the Scientific School. This admission examination has been but slightly modified since 1860. The history of the United States has been substituted for chemistry, and Latin is about to be insisted upon as a qualification for admission.2
The changes in the Yale school since i86o have all had one aim, namely, to raise the grade of the school by getting in a better class of students, and then teaching them more and better. The methods of a professional school have been abandoned as unsuitable, and those of a college have been taken up; but the apparent declension is a real elevation. For a loose-jointed, one-sided scheme has been substituted one which is both methodical and comprehensive. It is interesting to see that the improvement has been appreciated. The average annual number of students in the period from 1847 to 1852 was sixteen; in the period from 1852 to 1860 it was forty-seven, but the average attendance was largest in the earlier years of this period; since 1860 the annual number of students has steadily risen from thirty-eight, the number of that year, to one hundred and twenty-two in 1867 -68. Nineteen teachers now take an active part in the work of instruction. Every legitimate effort is made to carry as many students as possible through the regular course, and bring them up to the standard fixed by the examination for the degree. Effort in this direction is needed; for numbers of students resort to the school for brief periods, to their own injury and that of the school. Since the foundation of the school, only one hundred and twenty-eight degrees of Bachelor of Philosophy have been given.
The Lawrence Scientific School at Cambridge is, and always has been, what the Yale school also was at first, a group of independent professorships, each with its own treasury and its own methods of instruction. The several departments are so distinct that the student in one department has no necessary connection with any other. Each student is, as it were, the private pupil of some one of the professors, and the other professors are no more to him than if they did not exist. The pupils of the professor of chemistry, the pupils of the professor of engineering, the pupils of the professor of comparative anatomy, and at rare intervals a pupil in mineralogy or botany, make up the school. The assistants in the Museum of Zoology help to swell the number of students enrolled in. the annual catalogue. There is no common discipline, and no general course of coordinated studies which all candidates for any degree must pass through. A young man who has studied nothing but chemistry, or nothing but engineering, and who is densely ignorant of everything else, may obtain the sole degree given by the school, that of Bachelor of Science. There appears never to have been any examination for admission, except that some knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry has been required, before a student could join the department of engineering. It has been the practice to receive students into the chemical laboratory without requiring any previous knowledge of chemistry, or indeed of anything else. Nominally, students have not been admitted until they were eighteen years of age, but practically this rule has proved quite elastic. The degree of Bachelor of Science can be obtained in any one department by residing at least one year at Cambridge, and passing the examination of that single department. This examination has usually been passed after a residence of from eighteen to thirty months. This system, or, rather, lack of system, might do for really advanced students in science, for men in years and acquired habits of study, in fact, the school has been of great service to a score or two of such men, but it is singularly ill adapted to the wants of the average American boy of eighteen. The range of study is inconceivably narrow; and it is quite possible for a young man to become a Bachelor of Science without a sound knowledge of any language, not even his own, and without any knowledge at all of philosophy, history, political science, or of any natural or physical science, except the single one to which he has devoted two or three years at the most.3
The annual number of students in the Lawrence Scientific School, thus composed of five or six distinct departments, has fluctuated irregularly between a maximum of eighty (in 1854 -55) and a minimum of forty-nine (in 1867 -68). The average annual attendance may be said to have been sixty-four, the majority being students of engineering. Of this number only very few entered more than one department, and but a small proportion remained long enough in the school to finish satisfactorily even that course of study. In fifteen years (1851--65 inclusive) only one hundred and forty-six degrees of Bachelor of Science were given.
The two schools thus far considered are the oldest scientific schools, connected with colleges, in the country, and they have had the prestige of connection with the two leading colleges in the United States. Their experience has been various, and is of great value for the guidance of new enterprises.
In 1852 the Chandler Scientific School at Dartmouth College was founded. The age of admission was put at fourteen; and the requisites for admission were very low, being little more than a decent grammar-school training. A regular course of studies, covering three years, and ending in a degree of Bachelor of Science, was laid down at the start, and was extended to four years in 1857. It must be confessed that the humble starting-point of the course necessarily lowers the character of the whole; but, nevertheless, the range of studies is considerable. English, French, and German, mathematics, the elements of several sciences, and sundry subjects in history, philosophy, and logic, make part of the course. The fourth year is the only one which presents any elective elements; it is divided into a course for civil engineering, a commercial course, and a general course. Up to 1864 the average annual number of students in the Chandler Scientific School was less than forty. Since that year it has materially increased, reaching sixty-three in 1867 -68. Dartmouth College has lately received two gifts which will materially add to its resources, and enable it to elevate the character of its scientific instruction. Sylvanus Thayer, Brigadier-General of Engineers, U. S. A., has given the college fifty thousand dollars as a foundation for a school of architecture and engineering; and the New Hampshire Legislature has wisely transferred to the college the Congressional grant in aid of technical instruction in agriculture and the mechanic arts.
The Chandler Scientific School has labored under the serious disadvantage Its Organization. 211 of having too intimate a connection with the college properIt has borne another name, and offered instruction of a lower character than that of Dartmouth College. It cannot be said to have had a distinct faculty. Some of the teachers in the college have given a part of their time to the subordinate course. It has been distinctly in a position of inferiority.
The Columbia School of Mines was founded in 1864, with a somewhat narrower scope than the schools thus far described. Its object was to give instruction in those branches of science which relate to mining and metallurgy; and, perhaps unintentionally, it held out to persons engaged in mining and metallurgical enterprises the hope that graduates of the school would be competent forthwith to conduct works, whether new or old.
It was doubtless intended to suggest that the three years course of study laid out in the school programme would give an adequate preliminary training to young men, who, after some years of experience in actual works, would become competent to conduct mining and metallurgical enterprises. It is to be regretted that the paragraph of the catalogue in which the objects of the school are announced, taken in connection with a very recent statement by the President of Columbia College, and a passage in a circular lately issued by the school, still gives some support to the erroneous notion that young men can be made competent at any school, no matter how good, to take up immediately the charge of great enterprises in mining, manufacturing, or road and bridge building. 4
A technical school lays the best foundation for later work; if well organized ,with a broad scheme of study, it can convert the boy of fair abilities and intentions into an observant, judicious man, well informed in the sciences which bear upon his profession; so trained, the graduate will rapidly master the principles and details of any actual works, and he will rise rapidly through the grades of employment; moreover, he will be worth more to his employers from the start than an untrained man. Nevertheless, after the school, a longer or shorter term of apprenticeship upon real works of engineering, mining, building, or manufacturing will be found essential for the best graduates of the best technical schools. When people are content with the services of the last graduates of the medical school as family physicians, when the youngest bachelors of laws are forthwith retained with heavy fees for important cases, it will be time enough to expect that young men who have just completed their school training for the difficult professions of the engineer, manufacturer, miner, or chemist, will be competent at once to take charge of mines, manufacturing establishments, or large works of engineering. No matter how good the polytechnic, scientific, technological, or mining schools may be, it is a delusive expectation that their graduates will be able to enter at once the highest grades of employment, and assume the direction of practical affairs upon a large scale immediately upon leaving the schools. Common sense brings any one who considers the magnitude of the investments necessary in mining and metallurgical works to this conclusion. Young men of twenty to twentyfour are seldom equal to great money responsibilities.
The Columbia School of Mines was organized during one of the periodical hot turns of the intermittent miningfever to which the American people is subject. It began in 186465 with twenty-nine students; but in the following year the catalogue bore the names of eighty-nine, while eight professors and four assistants took part in the work of instruction. About one half were special students, mostly of chemistry or assaying, who did not follow the regular course of instruction, and indeed remained but a short time in the school. Not a few students took merely a six weeks or two months course of instruction in assaying. In the next year (1866--67) there were one hundred and five students in the school, of whom thirty-eight were special students; twenty-five out of the one hundred and five held degrees, mostly Columbia degrees of Bachelor of Arts. In the year 1867 -68 there were one hundred and nine studei4s in the school, of whom forty-four were special; twenty-one out of the one hundred and nine held the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Beside the professors attached to other departments of Columbia, who give a portion of their time to the School of Mines, four professors and eight assistants in chemistry, drawing, and metallurgy are exclusively devoted to the School of Mines. The course of study has undergone some change since the beginning in 1864. It was originally a single three years course; but within the last year a preparatory year has been added, which practically makes the whole course four years long, and during the last two years of the four a considerable elective element has been introduced into the course. The minimum age for entrance was originally eighteen, and is now seventeen. The requisites for admission are arithmetic and the elements of algebra and geometry. The studies of the first year are required of all students; in the second year the mathematics and chemistry become elective; in the third and fourth years each student chooses one of four courses, namely, mining engineering, metallurgy, geology and natural history, and chemistry. The majority of the studies in these four courses are common to all; but there are, nevertheless, considerable divergences. The degree of Engineer of Mines or Bachelor of Philosophy is conferred on those students who, at the end of the course, pass satisfactory examinations. Students are expected to visit mines and works during the vacations, and report upon them in full, with all necessary drawings and specimens.
The principal subjects in which instruction is given are mathematics, mining engineering, chemistry including mineralogy, geology, and metallurgy. French and German are included in the programme of studies; but, singularly enough, it appears, from President Barnards Report for 1868, that the provision for instruction in the modern languages is very defective. Drawing is also required; but there is only one assistant in drawing against six in chemistry. The tabular view of exercises and the list of officers indicate that the teaching of chemistry and the allied subjects occupies a very large, and indeed the most important, place in the work of the school.
We come now to the examination of the scientific or English courses organized within colleges. These courses run parallel with the classical course of instruction which it has been the primary object of the American colleges to provide. They are cast in the same mould as the classical course; but the metal is of a different composition. The experiment of conducting parallel classical and scientific courses in one and the same institution is by no means a new one. It is merely being tried afresh on a large scale and under new conditions in this country, after having failed in Europe. In Brown University, Union College, and the University of Michigan, for example, there have existed for several years two or more parallel courses, one the common semi-classical course; the other, or others, constructed on the same framework as the classical course by simply replacing Latin and Greek, or Greek alone, by living European languages, and at the same time expanding a little the mathematical and scientific instruction. A student may choose either course, but not two; at the end of one course he will probably be a Bachelor of Arts; at the end of the other, a Bachelor of Science or Philosophy.
At Union College the second course is called scientific, but the graduates in it take the degree of Bachelor of Arts. One feature in the announcement of Union College touching the scientific course is amusing. When Latin was the common speech of scholars, diplomas were naturally written in that language, as being the most generally intelligible; and the custom, though it has lost much of its original significance, is observed to this day in American colleges. But, unfortunately, the graduates of the scientific course of Union College are not supposed to understand Latin, although they receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Under these circumstances, the authorities of Union College have had a happy inspiration. Since a diploma would evidently be worthless unless expressed in some foreign language or other, Union College announces that the diploma for students of the scientific course is expressed in French. The authorities of Union are countenanced in this absurdity by the Chandler School at Dartmouth. By far the larger number of students at Union choose the classical course. The great falling off in the number of students resorting to Union College since 1860,* to whatever cause or causes it may be due, is sufficient to prevent any friend of the system from quoting that college, at any rate, in its support. There exist at Union an engineering department and a chemical department distinct from the college proper; but the number of students in both has been and is small. It should be said, however, that, while the college as a whole has been rapidly losing students, the chemical department has increased its numbers.
At Brown University (Providence), an English and scientific course was introduced into the college plan as early as 1846. It was soon lost to sight in the loose and exaggerated elective system which prevailed there for some years. But it has reappeared in the shape of a three years course of instruction, parallel with the Freshman, Sophomore, and junior years of the regular college curriculum, and ending with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. The classics may be omitted altogether, or one dead language may be studied instead of two. This course is simply a shorter and less comprehensive course of study than the regular course for the degree of Bachelor of Arts; and the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy must, of course, be regarded as of less value than the other. The inferior course of study is less attractive than the classical course. Though the students of the two courses are entered in the same classes, and, to a large extent, pursue the same studies in the same class rooms under the same teachers, the number of students who aim at the superior degree of Bachelor of Arts is much larger than the number of those who are content to he Bachelors of Philosophy.
At the University of Michigan the scientific courses as they stand in the programmes are essentially the ordinary college four years course, with the suppression of both Latin and Greek, or of Greek alone; the gaps being filled in with modern languages, drawing, and a little additional mathematics. A course in civil engineering is made out by converting the Senior year into a year of special instruction in geology, mechanics, and engineering. A course in mining engineering is arranged by introducing into the last two years of the scientific course certain studies which have a direct hearing upon that profession. The students in these various courses are united in most of their studies, separated in comparatively few. Scientific students and classical students appear in the same classes, Senior, Junior, Sophomore, and Freshmen; but the classical students receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts, the scientific students the degree of Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineer, or Mining Engineer. The students of the classical course are decidedly in the majority, especially in the Junior and Senior years.
The simultaneous carrying on of what should be such different courses of instruction within the same walls, in the same community of students, and by one and the same corps of instructors, is, we believe, very disadvantageous to both systems of training. Such a combination has been thoroughly tried in the Lycees of France, and has completely failed and been abandoned. In Germany it has seemed expedient to separate the two courses, even during the school-boy period; and for the higher instruction of both systems entirely separate institutions have been found necessary. The fact is, that the whole tone and spirit of a good college ought to be different in kind from that of a good polytechnic or scientific school. In the college, the desire for the broadest culture, for the best formation and information of the mind, the enthusiastic study of subjects for the love of them without any ulterior objects, the love of learning and research for their own sake, should be the dominant ideas. In the polytechnic school should be found a mental training inferior to none in breadth and vigor, a thirst for knowledge, a genuine enthusiasm in scientific research, and a true love of nature; but underneath all these things is a temper or leading motive unlike that of a college.
The student in a polytechnic school has a practical end constantly in view; he is training his faculties with the express object of making himself a better manufacturer, engineer, or teacher; he is studying the processes of nature, in order afterwards to turn them to human uses and his own profit; if he is eager to penetrate the mysteries of electricity, it is largely because he wants to understand telegraphs; if he learns French and German, it is chiefly because he would not have the best technical literature of his generation sealed for him; if he imbues his mind with the profound and exquisite conceptions of the calculus, it is in order the better to comprehend mechanics. This practical end should never be lost sight of by student or teacher in a polytechnic school, and it should very seldom be thought of or alluded to in a college. Just as far as the spirit proper to a polytechnic school pervades a college, just so far that college falls below its true ideal. The practical spirit and the literary or scholastic spirit are both good, but they are incompatible. If commingled, they are both spoiled.
It is not to be imagined that the mental training afforded by a good polytechnic school is necessarily inferior in any respect to that of a good college, whether in breadth, vigor, or wholesomeness. Certain it is that an average graduate of the Zurich Polytechnicum or the Paris Ecole Centrale has a much better title to be called learned ~ than most graduates of American colleges and professional schools. He has studied more, harder, and to better effect, though in a different spirit. But the two kinds of education cannot be carried on together, in the same schedules, by the same teachers. 5
The classical course will hurt the scientific, and the scientific the classical. Neither will be at its best. The experience of the world and common sense are against such experiments as those of Brown, Union, and Michigan. Nevertheless, they may be good temporary expedients during a transition period, or in crude communities where hasty culture is as natural as fast eating. They do good service in lack of better things.
The incompatibility of the practical spirit and the literary spirit, which has here been dwelt upon, may appear to some to limit unduly the number of subjects proper to be taught in colleges. The tendency to the practical side of every subject which befits a good polytechnic school would be improper in a college; but the same subjects may to a very great extent be taught in both. One and the same subject may be studied in two very unlike frames of mind. We have only desired to urge the incompatibility of one temper with another temper, both being good in their separate places.
Another unjust inference might be drawn from what has been said of the impossibility of carrying on two long courses of instruction of different aim and essence within the same schedules of hours and terms and the same walls. It might be inferred that the applied sciences are necessarily unfit to be taught or studied in a university, taking that word in its best sense. It cannot be said too loudly or too often, that no subject of human inquiry can be out of place in the programme of a real university. It is only necessary that every subject should be taught at the university on a higher plane than elsewhere. Even scholars are apt to be intolerant of this subject or that in university schemes; one can see no sense in archaeology; another condemns natural history as being without practical applications, useless for training, and frightfully absorbent of money; a third finds pure science wholesome meat, but applied science utilitarian chaff. It is impossible to be too catholic in this matter. But the American university has not yet grown out of the soil, and we are rather meeting a theoretical than a practical objection. The incidental remark may be permitted, that a university, in any worthy sense of the term, must grow from seed. It cannot be transplanted from England or Germany in full leaf and bearing. It cannot be run up, like a cotton-mill, in six months, to meet a quick demand. Neither can it be created by an energetic use of the inspired editorial, the advertising circular, and the frequent telegram. Numbers do not constitute it, and no money can make it before its time. There is more of the university about the eight or ten Yale graduates who are studying in the Yale Department of Philosophy and the Arts, than in as many hundred raw youths who do not know more than a fair grammar school may teach. When the American university appears, it will not be a copy of foreign institutions, or a hot-bed plant, but the slow and natural outgrowth of American social and political habits, and an expression of the average aims and ambitions of the better educated classes. The American college is an institution without a parallel; the American university will be equally original.
Besides the scientific schools connected with colleges, and the scientific or English courses within colleges, there exist in the United States several independent schools in which mathematics, the exact sciences and their applications, the modern languages, and philosophy form the staple of instruction. Such are the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, and the School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston.* These two schools have a certain general resemblance; they are independent establishments; they have the same minimum age of admission, namely, sixteen years, although practically the average age of the students who enter these institutions is decidedly above this minimum; they do not require any Latin or Greek for admission, and do not admit these languages to their courses of study; finally, in each the course of study lasts four years. In the comprehensiveness of their courses of instruction, in the number of teachers employed, and in their general scale of operations, these schools differ materially.
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest school of its sort in the country. Its organization has undergone several changes since its establishment in 1824; but for the past fifteen years it has offered a substantial four years course of instruction in the various branches of engineering. The programme comprehends, besides the general and special studies absolutely essential for engineers, a certain amount of instruction in English, French, natural science, and philosophy. This pioneer school has attracted a good number of young men; and of its graduates a large proportion have become engineers or railroad men. Up to 1867, the school had given four hundred and twenty-one degrees, an average of ten a year. It appears from this average number of degrees, that only a small proportion of the students finish the course. In 1851 there were fifty-three students; the number increased steadily until 1856, when there were one hundred and twenty-three; from this point the number fell off each year until 1861 -62, when there were only sixty-five students in the school. Since then the number of students has risen rapidly.* In 1867 -68 ten teachers were employed in the school.
It may be mentioned, in passing, that the Troy school is one of the many American institutions in which the experiment of making manual labor a part of the regular curriculum has been tried, and has failed. In spite of the uniform failure which has attended such experiments, the idea that it is practicable for a young man to engage regularly in productive manual labor, and to train his mental faculties to a high degree at the same time, still keeps its hold upon the American mind. Reading, writing, and arithmetic may indeed be taught to young children who work in factories half of the day, as the English half-time schools have demonstrated; but advanced instruction is not to be had on such terms.
Then, again, it is essential that manual work, to be genuine and not make-believe, should be done on a farm, or in a shop, where the primary object is to produce profitably and make money, not to teach. IV school farm or machineshop is a very different place from a real farm or shop. The two things are as different as a militia muster and a field of battle. The fact is, that, in training his brains, a young man cannot have his cake and eat it too. An hour a day of judicious exercise, which had better be for fun than for money, will keep anybody of fair constitution, who eats and drinks with discretion, sleeps regularly, laughs well, and is careful what he breathes, in good working order. Every hour more than this spent in hand work is so much time lost for better things.
Labor is not exercise. To be sure, a young man cannot read and write fourteen hours a day; but when he cannot be studying books he can be catching butterflies, hunting for flowers and stones, experimenting in a chemical laboratory, practising mechanical drawing, sharpening his wits in converse with bright associates, or learning manners in ladies society. Any of these occupations is much better for him than digging potatoes, sawing wood, laying brick, or setting type.
The most ample course of instruction which has been thus far offered in this country to students who demand a liberal and practical education as well as a training specially adapted to make them ultimately good engineers, manufacturers, architects, chemists, merchants, teachers of science, or directors of mines and industrial works, is that organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston. The course extends through four years. The studies of the first and second years, and certain general studies in the third and fourth years, are required of all regular students. At the beginning of the third year each student selects one of six courses, which he fob lows during his third and fourth years at the school. These six courses are
1. Mechanical Engineering.
2. Civil Engineering.
4. Geology and Mining
5. Building and Architecture.
6. General Science and Literature.
To enter the school the candidate must be at least sixteen years old, and he must pass an examination in arithmetic, algebra, plane geometry, English grammar, and geography. Algebra, solid geometry, trigonometry, elementary mechanics, chemistry, English, German, and drawing, both free-hand and mechanical, are the studies of the first year; spherical trigonometry, analytic geometry, and the first principles of the calculus, descriptive astronomy, surveying, physics (sound, heat, and light), qualitative chemical analysis, English, French, German, and drawing including perspective, are the studies of the second year. In the third year, physics, geology, history, the Constitution of the United States, English, French (or Spanish), and German, are absolutely required of all regular students, besides the special studies of the particular course which they select. In the fourth year, political economy, natural history, French (or Italian), and German are required of all regular students, besides the special studies. The elective studies of the third and fourth years, distributed among the six professional courses above mentioned, are, in brief, the calculus, mechanics, descriptive geometry, machinery, the various subjects embraced in civil engineering, spherical astronomy, chemistry in all its branches, history, architectural design, mining, and mining engineering. Two points deserve special mention, first, the unusual development given to instruction in the modern languages; and, secondly, the stress laid upon drawing in all the courses. The position of architectural design in the scheme is also worth noting. Here is a course of liberal training which includes as one of its elements a subject usually confined to amateurs and professional men, and yet a subject which is a valuable part of aesthetic culture. People who complain that, as a general rule, even the education called liberal does not recognize the artistic side of human nature will find here a unique provision.
It is very obvious that the student who should be led by competent men, provided with the necessary tools, through such a four years course of study as this, would have received a training which would be neither loose, superficial, nor one-sided. Between this course and the ordinary semiclassical college course there is no question of information by one and formation by the other; of cramming utilitarian facts by one system, and developing mental powers by the other. Both courses form, train, and educate the mind; and one no more than the other, only the disciplines are different. Either course, well organized, can make out of a capable boy a reasoning man, with his faculties well in hand. One man swings dumb bells, and walks another rows, and rides on horseback; both train their muscles. One eats beef; another mutton; but both are nourished.
People who think vaguely about the difference between a good college and a good polytechnic school are apt to say that the aim of the college course is to make a rounded man, with all his faculties impartially developed, while it is the express object of a technical course to make a one-sided man, a mere engineer, chemist, or architect. Two truths are suppressed in this form of statement. First, faculties are not given by God impartially, to each round soul a little of each power, as if the soul were a pill, which must contain its due proportion of many various ingredients. To reason about the average human mind as if it were a globe, to be expanded symmetrically from a centre outward, is to be betrayed by a metaphor. A cutting-tool, a drill, or auger would be a juster symbol of the mind. The natural bent and peculiar quality of every boys mind should be sacredly regarded in his education; the division of mental labor, which is essential in civilized communities in order that knowledge may grow and society improve, demands this regard to the peculiar constitution of each mind, as much as does the happiness of the individual most nearly concerned. Secondly, t& make a good engineer, chemist, or architect, the only sure way is to make first, or at least simultaneously, an observant, reflecting, and sensible man, whose mind is not only well stored, but well trained also to see, compare, reason, and decide. The vigorous training of the mental powers is therefore the primary object of every well-organized technical school. At the same time a well-arranged course of study, like that of the New Haven school, the Troy school, or the Institute of Technology, will include a vast deal of information and many practical exercises appropriate to the professions which the students have in view.
But an attractive programme on paper and the actual course of instruction as practically realized, may be two very different things, as those who have read many programmes and seen many schools know best. It is easy to devise or copy a comprehensive program me; it is hard to execute moderately well even a simple one. The number and quality of the teachers actually employed in a school are the best tests of its real character. The completeness with which the school is equipped with the apparatus necessary for technical instruction is also a matter of real, though secondary, importance. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology already employs (1868) twenty teachers, of whom thirteen are professors, although the school only began in 1865. These professors and assistants teach nowhere else; their whole teaching power is expended in the school.
Herein an independent institution has an advantage over a scientific school connected with a college. The list of the faculty of an attached school is often swelled with the names of men who give most of their time to the college proper, and an insignificant fraction only to the scientific school. The number of students attending this school has increased rapidly during its first three years of life, reaching 167 in 1867 - 68. So far, therefore, as comprehensiveness of programme, number of teachers, and number of students go, this school has taken the lead of all the scientific or polytechnic schools of the country. It is a good omen for the future of technical education, that the longest, fullest, and most thorough course has so promptly proved the most attractive. Something of this prompt success is due, however, to the exceptional character of the community in the midst of which this school has been founded. The same school in other American communities might not have been so quickly successful.
The experimental period in the development of technical instruction in the United States is past. Henceforth the American parent, who wants to give a practical education to his son, may know clearly what is accessible to him as an alternative with the college. He may find at several schools a carefully arranged and comprehensive course of coordinated studies, lasting three or four years, and covering the same period of life as the common college course, namely, the period from sixteen or eighteen till twenty or twenty-two. This comprehensive course of studies is generally called, in such schools as those at New Haven, Troy, and Boston, the regular or general course; and the students who follow it are the regular students, in contradistinction to the partial or special? students, who study only one subject, or a few irregularly selected subjects, among all those taught in the school.
These partial or special students are of two sorts in most of the technical schools. First, men of age and acquirements, who come to add to their previous attainments a special training in some professional subject, some one application of science to the arts; to meet the wants of such men has been and is one of the most useful functions of the technical schools. Secondly, young men of imperfect preliminary training, whose parents think, or who themselves think, that they can best become chemists by studying nothing but chemistry, or engineers by only attending to the mathematics and their applications, or architects by ignoring all knowledge but that of architectural design. This notion is certainly a very crude one; but it deceives many uninstructed parents and inexperienced young men. It would be as sensible to give a child nothing but law-papers to read, on the ground that he is destined for the law. Such partial or special students injure their school, both by interfering with the order and discipline of the school while they are students, and by failing in after life, and so bringing an unjust discredit upon scientific education.5
While they are students, they are in the school ranks, so to say, but they are out of step. When they go into the world, they soon show themselves to be inadequately trained. They have built an ill-proportioned structure upon inadequate foundations. The scientific schools, in their earlier days, sent many such illiberally educated men into the scientific professions, and it will still take them years to recover from the bad effects of this serious mistake. Some of the most vigorous of these very men have since realized the defects of their early training, and are now the warmest friends of the improved methods of scientific education. If the presence of these partial or special students, whose industry and abilities are simply misdirected, is an injury to the technical schools, it will be plain to all, that these schools must suffer still more in receiving, as most of them have been compelled to do, students who take a part of the regular course simply because they are incompetent or too lazy to do the whole. All the scientific schools of the country, Whether connected with colleges or not, have suffered from the fact, that boys and young men who, from lack of wit or vigor, were found incompetent to pursue the usual classical studies of the preparatory school or the college, turned to the loosely organized scientific schools as safe harbors for their laziness or stupidity. The scientific schools haves been recruited in large part, of course, from that excellent and numerous class of young men who have more taste and capacity for science than for language and literature, and who have followed their natural bent in making choice of a school and a profession; but they have also been the refuge of shirks and stragglers from the better organized and stricter colleges. This evil is a temporary one, incident to what has been the experimental condition of education through science. It will correct itself, when the new system of education is as well organized as the old, and when the community understands the legitimate inlets and outlets of the new schools, how to get into them, and what they lead to.6
To avoid misapprehension, let it be distinctly stated that the scientific schools have already done a very timely and necessary work in this country by training, although hastily and imperfectly, a certain number of specialists, such as assayers, analysts, railroad engineers, and teachers of science, to very useful functions. And again, let it be acknowledged with thankfulness, that genius, or even an unusual vigor of mind and will, often overcomes in after life that worst of obstacles, insuperable for common men, an inadequate or mistaken training in youth.
At present it is the wise effort of the faculties of all the leading polytechnic or scientific schools to carry as many of their pupils as possible through the regular . course of study; in other words, they recommend their pupils to lay, during three or four years between seventeen and twenty-two, a broad and strong foundation for the strictly professional studies, of which a part are pursued in the school, and a part during the apprenticeship which should follow their school life. We have next to discuss the nature of the preparation for this three or four years course of scientific and literary studies. A young man cannot well enter upon this course much before his seventeenth or eighteenth year. What kind of a preparatory school & hall the parent select, who proposes to send his son at the right age to a scientific, polytechnic, or technological school? What preliminary training would be most advantageous, and what is actually attainable?
1. In the course of the winter of 1846 47 arrangements were made by the government of the University for the organization of an advanced school of science and literature. It is intended that instruction shall he given in this school to graduates and others in the various branches of exact and physical science, and in classical learning. Annual Catalogue of Harvard College for 1847 48. In the spring of 1848 this further statement was added: It has been deemed advisable by the corporation, for the present, to limit the operations of the school to the Department of Physical and Exact Science. Harvard College Catalogue. It has long been felt at Yale College to be important to furnish resident graduates and others with the opportunity of devoting themselves to special branches of study, either not provided for at present, or not pursued as far as individual students may desire With the hope of accomplishing tills object more fully and satisfactorily, the Corporation… in August, 1847, established a new department called the Department of Philosophy and the Arts. The branches intended to be embraced in this department are such as in general are not included under theology, law, and medicine; or, more particularly, mathematical science, physical science, and its application to the arts, metaphysics, philology, literature, and history. Annual Catalogue of Yale College, 1847 48. The actual addition to the facilities of the College consisted in a laboratory of applied chemistry.
2. Although this [Latin] is not yet required as a condition for admission, it will probably he so at an early day. Catalogue of 1864 --65. And, after the examination of 1868, some proficiency in Latin will be included among the requisites for admission. Catalogue of s867 63
4. The object of the (Columbia) School of Mines is to furnish to the students the means of acquiring a thorough scientific and practical knowledge of those branches of science which relate to mining and the working up of the mineral resources of this country, and to supply to those engaged in mining and metallurgical operations persons competent to take charge of new or old works, and conduct them on thoroughly scientific principles. Annual Catalogue, 1864-65. Those who have been already recommended to the trustees for graduation, and those who will be so before the approaching Commencement, may be safely pronounced to be accomplished professional men, capable of undertaking the management of important works in engineering or metallurgy, and wanting only a few years of experience to place them with certainty in commanding positions. Annual Report of the President of Columbia College, June 1, 1868. Persons desiring to secure the services of mining engineers, metallurgists, or chemists to take charge of mines or manufacturing establishments are requested en apply at the school in person or by letter. Circular of May 15, 1868.
5. The term “learned profession” is getting to have a sarcastic flavor. Only a very small proportion of lawyers, doctors, and ministers, the country over, are Bachelors of Arts. The degrees of LL. B. and M. D. stand, is the average, for decidedly less culture than the degree of AB., and it is found quite possible to prepare young men of scanty education to be successful pulpit exhorters in a year or eighteen months. A really learned minister is almost as rare as a logical sermon.
6. On the catalogue of the University of Michigan for 1867 - 68 there stand the names of three hundred and eighty-seven law students, not one of whom appears to have possessed at that stage of his education any degree whatever. There are four teachers. To enter the school, a young man must be eighteen years of age, and he must present a certificate of good moral character. Nothing else is required. To obtain a degree he must follow certain courses of lectures through two terms of six months each. Nothing else is required. It is possible that the degrees really possessed by law students have been omitted; but degrees are printed against the names of their possessors in other departments of the University on the same catalogue. Among one hundred and fortysix persons who received the degree of LL. B., in that year, seventeen had other degrees, a very small proportion. On the same catalogue there are enrolled four hundred and eleven medical students, of whom nineteen already possess a Bachelors degree. There are eleven teachers. The school is established in the small town of Ann Arbor, quite remote from large hospitals. Poor humanity shudders at the spectacle of so large a crop of such doctors. Such professional schools may, indeed, be the best which the hastily organized, fast-growing American communities will support; but the word learned can only be conventionally applied to professions for which the preliminary training exacted is so short and so loose.
The United States naval and military academies are not referred to at length, because access to them is not free. A thoroughly vicious system of selecting the candidates for admission to these schools annuls the influence they might otherwise exert upon technical education in this country. A patron, and not a good previous training, being the essential requisite, no schools make it their business to give such training. In France for many years, and lately in England too, numerous private schools make a special point of fitting young men for the competitive examinations which regulate the admission to the government military and naval schools. France is essentially democratic but it seems extraordinary that England, else stronghold of caste, should be more democratic than America in the important matter of appointing to the public service.