President Eliot as an Educational Reformer
CONSIDERED merely as a literary product, the collected educational addresses of President Eliot, recently published in book form, are in no wise remarkable. The unit of his style is the word ; that is always exact, always weighty. Hence in inscriptions and characterizations where heroic achievements are cast into a sentence or a scholarly career is coined into a phrase, he is incomparable. In Educational Reform there is an occasional gem like this : " Two kinds of men make good teachers, — young men and men who never grow old.” For the most part, however, we get plain truths plainly stated, with little of that magic power to light up present facts with glowing reminiscences of kindred facts and fancies drawn from far-off lands and days, and to set the sentences to throbbing in rhythmic sympathy with the pulsations of the thought, which makes literary form as precious as the substance it conveys. Nor is the sum total of ideas set forth so very great. One who undertakes to read the collection through consecutively is soon reminded of the jury lawyer’s remark, — “Reiteration is the only effective figure of speech.”
Nevertheless, this book marks with absolute precision our one great educational epoch. For the author is no mere essayist or orator. As we flock to hear Nansen’s lectures, not for their literary charm or the range of new information they convey, but because we want to see the man who flung his ideas in the face of incredulous geographical societies, and built them into the Fram, and froze them into the ice floe, and drifted on them month after month, and drove them into his dogs in that last desperate dash for the pole: so here we see the man who for thirty critical years, as prime minister of our educational realm, has defied prejudice, conquered obstacles, lived down opposition, and reorganized our entire educational system from top to bottom. As Wordsworth said of his French revolutionary friend, Beaupuis, we feel that our educational institutions are
Of some great trial, and we hear the voice
Of one devoted, one whom circumstance
Hath called upon to embody his deep sense
In action, give it outwardly a shape,
And that of benediction, to the world.”
The one supremely eloquent feature of these essays and addresses is the dates they bear. To appreciate their significance, it is necessary to recall briefly the educational history of the last thirty years. Our first witness shall be the Harvard Catalogue for the year 186970. There is a single set of requirements for admission: the traditional Latin, Greek, and mathematics, with so much ancient history as, in the words of the President, “ a clever boy could commit to memory in three or four days.” Though some dozen electives are offered in each of the last three years, yet the backbone of the curriculum consists of prescribed studies supposed to be equally essential and profitable for all. Among the many things required of Freshmen are Champlin’s First Principles of Ethics and Bulfinch’s Evidences of Christianity. “ The Student’s Gibbon, about twenty selected chapters,” “ Stewart’s Philosophy of the Mind, about 350 pages,” and “ Cooke’s Chemical Philosophy, about 180 pages,” are among the half dozen things all Sophomores are compelled to learn. “ Bowen’s Logic, 313 pages, Reid’s Essays (selections), Hamilton’s Metaphysics, 300 pages, and Lardner’s Optics, Chapters I. — VII., XIII., and portions of Chapter XIV.,” are required of all Juniors. In the first term of Senior year the requirements are, “ Philosophy, Bowen’s Ethics and Metaphysics, Bowen’s Political Economy, Modern History, Guizot’s and Arnold’s Lectures, Story’s Abridged Commentaries on the Constitution ; ” and in the second term, “ History, Hallam’s Middle Ages, one volume, Religious Instruction, Political Economy, Bowen’s finished.” It is not so much the extent as the nature of these requirements — the large place given to metaphysics, and that of a single school in dogmatic form, finally narrowed down to the single learned author in charge of the department; the specification of the precise number of pages and fractions of a chapter ; the fact that instruction in science is primarily concerned with pages and chapters anyway ; and the notion that whether in one book or many a subject like political economy can be “ finished ” — that makes us rub our eyes and look twice at the title-page, to see if this indeed can be a catalogue of Harvard under President Eliot.
Against this hide-bound uniformity, this dead prescription, this dogmatism of second-rate minds, this heterogeneous aggregate of unrelated fragments of instruction, elementary from beginning to end, by which, as he says, “ the managers of American colleges have made it impossible for the student to get a thorough knowledge of any subject whatever,” the young President hurled his ideas of liberty in the choice of studies ; absolute freedom of investigation in teacher and taught; science by first-hand observation and fresh experiment and careful induction ; philosophy and religion by candid criticism of all proposed solutions of the problems of the spiritual life ; the supreme worth of the differences of individuals from one another in aptitude for acquisition and capacity for service. This, which has been one of his greatest contributions to education, was not so hard a task to accomplish at Harvard as it would have been elsewhere ; for a respectable beginning had already been made, and the needed funds for its development were forthcoming ; yet it was not without hard and steady fighting for each inch of ground that the principle was finally established throughout the college, when the Freshman work became largely elective in 1884. The triumph of the principle in the matter of requirements for admission, with all the added reality and life that it brings to secondary instruction, did not find complete acceptance with the faculty until a year ago, and is still affording food for protracted discussion in the Board of Overseers.
In the meantime President Eliot was fighting the same battle in behalf of the colleges of the country at large. Though wielding the enormous power and resources of Harvard with tremendous vigor, and making every move redound to her glory and advantage, he has ever had the most generous desire that others should share in whatever good thing Harvard has wrought out. Doubtless his mode of tendering his assistance has been open to misunderstanding on the part of those who did not know the man. Year after year, from 1870 down to 1888, he went into the Association of New England Colleges, pointing out to the representatives of sister institutions the defects of prescription and the blessings of freedom. A single specimen of the frankness he was wont to exercise in the presentation of this theme is preserved in an essay now reprinted from the Century Magazine for 1884, in which he says: “No knowledge of either French or German is required for admission to Yale College, and no instruction is provided in either language before the beginning of the Junior year. In other words, Yale College does not suggest that the preparatory schools ought to teach either French or German, does not give its students the opportunity of acquiring these languages in season to use them in other studies, and does not offer them any adequate opportunity of becoming acquainted with the literature of either language before they take the Bachelor’s degree. Could we have stronger evidence than this of the degraded condition of French and German in the mass of our schools and colleges ? ” Inasmuch as men like President Porter and President Seelye were not always able to appreciate the disinterested devotion to the true welfare of their respective institutions which President Eliot was wont thus to manifest on all occasions, the meetings of the Association of New England Colleges were often quite animated, in the days when this reform was being extended from Harvard to her sister institutions. To these meetings he has always come early, and he has stayed late ; bringing with him definite topics for discussion, and urging his associates to some positive educational advance. In 1894 he urged in the Association, and later repeatedly elsewhere, the establishment of a common board of examiners which should hold examinations at two or three hundred points throughout the United States, and whose certificates should be accepted by all the coöperating institutions. Although a large number is desirable for such coöperation, he proposed to start with five colleges besides his own.
And yet not five institutions could be found sufficiently ready to coöperate in such a vital and far-reaching scheme for elevating secondary education throughout the country, and saving us from the Dead Sea of superficiality. So very rare, even in educational institutions, is the disposition to put the interests of the community first, and to find the true interest of a particular college in generous devotion to these objective ends, that even the disinterestedness of this measure was suspected in quarters which ought to have been above the capacity for such suspicion.
At the very first President Eliot took in hand the improvement of professional training. In 1869 he found the Medical School little more than an irresponsible commercial venture. There were no requirements for admission ; attendance was required for two courses of lectures only, brief in themselves, and still farther abbreviated by the failure of the great majority of students to attend during the summer term. A student who passed successfully five out of nine oral examinations, of five minutes’ duration each, received a diploma ; although, as came out in the discussion of this matter in the Board of Overseers, he might not know the limit of safety in the administration of morphine, and one had actually killed two early patients in consequence. As the President says, “ Under this system young men might receive the degree of Doctor of Medicine who had had no academic training whatever, and who were ignorant of four out of nine fundamental subjects.”At his suggestion, the financial administration of the school was placed at once in the hands of the treasurer of the university ; the course of instruction was extended to three years of two equal terms at which attendance was required ; the course was made progressive throughout the three years ; laboratory work was added to the didactic lectures ; and written examinations were distributed through the three years, all of which each student was required to pass. By 1874 the students were divided into three classes, with rigid requirements for promotion. In 1877 physics and Latin were required for admission. To these requirements additions have repeatedly been made ; so that now the school is able to announce that in and after June, 1901, candidates must present a degree from a reputable college or scientific school, unless admitted by special vote of the faculty in each case. In 1892 the course was extended to four years. Since 1888 the elective principle has been recognized in the latter part of the course. President Eliot’s influence has done much to raise the profession of medicine from the refuge of “ uncultivated men, with scanty knowledge of medicine or of surgery,” to a position in which it is fully worthy of his high tribute when he says, “ It offers to young men the largest opportunities for disinterested, devoted, and heroic service.”
The Harvard Law School in 1869 was another illustration of the remark which President Eliot made in an address at the inauguration of President Gilman: “ During the past forty years the rules which governed admission to the honorable and learned professions of law and medicine have been carelessly relaxed, and we are now suffering great losses and injuries, both material and moral, in consequence.” Dean Langdell describes the condition as follows : “ In respect to instruction there was no division of the school into classes, but with a single exception all the instruction given was intended for the whole school. There never had been any attempt by means of legislation to raise the standard of education at the school, nor to discriminate between the capable and the incapable, the diligent and the idle. It had always been deemed a prime object to attract students to the school, and with that view as little as possible was required of them. Students were admitted without any evidence of academic acquirements ; and they were sent out from it, with a degree, without any evidence of legal acquirements. The degree of Bachelor of Laws was conferred solely upon evidence that the student had been nominally a member of the school for a certain length of time and had paid his tuition fees, the longest time being one and a half years.” At once a new course was established, and an examination was held for the degree. Early in the next academic year the first recorded faculty meeting was held ; and of the 198 meetings regularly held during the succeeding twenty-four years, the President of the university presided at all but five. In 1877 the course of study was extended to three years, and the tuition fee was raised to $150. Since 1896 only graduates of approved colleges have been admitted as candidates for the degree. Of 546 students attending the school the current year, 514 are college graduates.
The Divinity School in 1869 was a feeble institution, to which only six pages were assigned in the university catalogue; requiring no academic preparation beyond “ a knowledge of the branches of education commonly taught in the best academies and high schools.” Only five of the thirty-six students had received the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts, whereas six needy persons who were recipients of such degrees could have $350 apiece each year for the asking ; and a fund yielding from $150 to $200 apiece was divided among all applicants in the regular or partial course, regardless of ability or scholarship. The five professors were all adherents of a single sect. President Eliot from the first contended that “ the gratuitous character of the ordinary theological training supplied by denominational seminaries is an injury to the Protestant ministry. It would be better for the profession, on the whole, if no young men could get into it except those whose parents are able to support them, and those who have capacity and energy enough to earn their own way. These tests constitute a natural method of selection, which has long been applied in the other learned professions to their great advantage. Exceptions should be made in favor of needy young men of decided merit and promise, to whom scholarships should be awarded on satisfactory tests of ability and character.” Accordingly, in the year 1872-73 the promiscuous distribution of aid to all applicants in equal parts was stopped, and scholarships were established in its place. In order that “ the mendicant element in theological education might be completely eliminated, and the Protestant ministry put on a thoroughly respectable footing in modern society,” the President recommended in 1890 that the tuition fee be raised to the same amount as in other departments of the university. After much doubt and misgiving on the part of the friends of the school, this bold step was taken in 1897. Since 1882 a college education or its equivalent has been required of candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Divinity.
The President has always been the earnest advocate of absolute freedom in theological study. In his essay On the Education of Ministers, he commends the scientific spirit in these terms : " This spirit seeks only the fact, without the slightest regard to consequences; any twisting or obscuring of the fact to accommodate it to a preconceived theory, hope, or wish, any tampering with the actual result of investigation, is the unpardonable sin. It is a spirit at once humble and dauntless, patient of details, passionless but energetic, venturing into pathless wastes to bring back a fact, caring only for truth, candid as a still lake, expectant, unfettered, and tireless.” All this, and much more to the same effect, is admirable, and highly needed as a prophylactic against what he calls “ the terrible stress of temptation to intellectual dishonesty ” which besets the clerical profession. Yet when, as in his report for 1877-78, he went so far as to say, “ The various philosophical theories and religious beliefs should be studied before, and not after, any of them are embraced,” he fell into a one-sided intellectualism which gave some occasion for the widespread distrust of Harvard’s religious leadership that prevailed twenty years ago. Intimate acquaintance with him, however, is pretty sure to convince one of the truth of the remark which President Tucker once made, speaking of persons engaged in college work : “ President Eliot is the most religious man among us.” His earnest efforts in establishing the present system of religious worship at Harvard, together with the influence of the philosophical professors in their doctrines of the glory of the imperfect, the world of description and the world of appreciation, and the will to believe, have done much to correct the earlier tendency, and to reëstablish Harvard in the confidence of the community, as a centre of virtue and piety as well as of learning and research.
President Eliot is a Unitarian, and glories in the critical candor and intellectual honesty of which, until quite recently, that denomination had held too nearly a monopoly. Yet he is too broad and fair-minded to think for an instant of leaving the theological department or the religious life of a great national university in the hands of a single sect, least of all in the hands of a sect which represents but one tenth of one per cent of the nation’s population. Under his administration the Divinity School has become unsectarian in reality, as it always was in name. The faculty to-day consists of nine professors, of whom one is a Baptist, three are Orthodox Congregationalists, and five are Unitarians, and one instructor, who is an Episcopalian. The twenty-six students now in the school are distributed among the denominations as follows : Baptist, two ; Disciples, one ; Dutch Reformed, one ; Episcopal, three ; Christian, one ; Orthodox Congregational, four ; Presbyterian, three ; Swedenborgian, one ; Unitarian, ten. Of the students who have gone from the school during the past four years, seventy-four are pastors of churches as follows : Baptist, three ; Disciples, four ; Dutch Reformed, one; Episcopal, five; Methodist, six ; Orthodox Congregational, seventeen ; Presbyterian, six ; Unitarian, thirty-one ; Universalist, one ; and one is a missionary of the American Board. Of the eighteen men who have held the Williams Fellowships since their foundation in 1886, one became professor of philosophy in a state university, one a professor in a theological seminary, and the remaining sixteen pastors of churches as follows : Disciples, one ; Dutch Reformed, one ; Episcopal, one; Methodist, one ; Orthodox Congregational, six ; Presbyterian, five ; Unitarian, one. The live preachers to the university for the current year include one Baptist, one Episcopalian, one Presbyterian, and two Orthodox Congregationalists.
The condition of graduate work at Harvard in 1869 can be inferred from the fact that the degree of Master of Arts was given to all graduates of three years’ standing and of good moral character on payment of five dollars ; and no other degree beyond the Bachelor’s was offered. The new President at once gave notice that the granting of Master’s degrees on these easy terms would cease in 1872. After a year or two of fruitless experimentation with “ university lectures,” in 1872 the degrees of Master of Arts, Doctor of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy were offered on definite and exacting terms. In his report for 1876—77 we find the President quietly dropping the remark that, “ for a few years to come, it is to the improvement of this department of the university that the attention of the governing boards may be most profitably directed.” As a result of that profitably directed attention, Harvard performed successfully the arduous and delicate task of rearing a great graduate school on the broad foundation of undergraduate work, without injury, but with positive inspiration and elevation to the latter. It was the surplus intellectual resources accumulated under the elective system which made possible that unprecedented educational feat. The graduate school has never resorted to the expedient of hiring its students by guarantees of large pecuniary assistance. President Eliot was among the first to perceive the danger of repeating the error which has resulted in overcrowding the clerical profession with weaklings of all sorts, and thus lowering the tone of manliness and self-respect in the men who are to be college professors. There has been no disposition to turn out doctors as a matter of course after three years of mechanical work at some trivial task devised for the express purpose of grinding a thesis out of it. The school has planted itself firmly and haughtily on the Harvard degree of Bachelor of Arts, or its equivalent, and has steadfastly refused to confer the degree of Doctor on any man who has not grasped the subject as a whole, as well as developed some special aspect of it sufficiently to render him a competent, and, so far as training can contribute to it, an inspiring teacher. Not every one of the hundred and ninety Doctors of Philosophy and twenty - two Doctors of Science it has turned out will make a successful professor ; but the system is not one which, by concentrating half-trained men almost exclusively on the narrowest of technical investigations, makes failure the rule, and success the miraculous exception.
Having thus started every department of the university upon the pathway of reform, President Eliot next turned his attention to the secondary schools. As far back as his report for the year 1873—74, he had called attention to " the great importance to the colleges and to the community that the way be kept wide open from the primary school to the professional school, for the poor as well as for the rich, " and had said, “ The desired connection between the secondary schools and the colleges might be secured by effecting certain changes in the requisitions for admission to college on the one hand, and in the studies of the existing high schools on the other. But this is not the place to discuss these changes at length.”
Seventeen years later he found the place for such discussion at the meeting of the National Educational Association, in a speech which led to the formation of the famous Committee of Ten, of which he was appointed chairman. By his prodigious labors on that committee he secured national sanction for his longcherished views as to the worthlessness of short, scrappy information courses; the earlier beginning in the elementary schools of such subjects as algebra, geometry, natural science, and modern languages ; “ the correlation and association of subjects with one another by the programmes and by the actual teaching ; ” emphasis on the supreme importance of thorough training in English ; the doctrine that secondary schools supported at public expense should be primarily for the many who do not pursue their education farther, and only incidentally for the few who are going to college ; the doctrine of the equal rank, for purposes of admission to college, of all subjects taught by proper methods with sufficient concentration, time allotment, and consecutiveness ; and the corollary thereof, that college requirements for admission should coincide with highschool requirements for graduation. At the same time he secured the working out in detail of the practical application of these measures by representative experts in all the departments involved ; thus giving to secondary education the greatest impulse in the direction of efficiency, variety, serviceableness, and vitality it has ever received, and winning the grandest victory ever achieved in the field of American education.
Nor did he stop there. Finding by actual experiment with schoolboys brought to his own study that the entire reading matter included in a grammar-school course covering six years could be read aloud in forty-six hours, and that the work in arithmetic done during two years by giving one fifth of all the time of the school to it could be done by a bright boy fresh from the high school in fifteen hours ; finding by actual reading of everything used in that grammar school that the entire course was dull and destitute of human interest, consisting chiefly in the exercise of mere memory on such relatively useless matters as the capitals and boundaries of distant states; finding that the children and the community alike were suffering irreparable harm because the peculiar natural aptitudes of individual children were not appealed to, and consequently not developed : in 1891, after considerable discussion, and in spite of some opposition directed from the headquarters of conservatism, he secured from the Association of New England Colleges, at its annual meeting at Brown University, an indorsement of his plan for “ shortening and enriching the grammar-school course.” The recommendations then made covered five points: elementary natural history in the earlier years, to be taught by demonstrations and practical exercises, with suitable apparatus, rather than from books ; elementary physics in the later years, to be taught by the laboratory method ; algebra and geometry at the age of twelve or thirteen; and French, German, or Latin, or any two of these languages, from and after the age of ten. During the years immediately following he was busy advocating these reforms in primary and secondary education ; always resting Ins argument on the supreme importance, both for the children and for the community, that each individual’s peculiar powers should be trained to the highest degree, as a means to that equality of opportunity which is the glory of a true democracy, and that diversity of talent and function which is essential to happy and useful social life ; and pointing out that these reforms were quite as much in the interest of the many whose education ends at the grammar school or high school as for those who go to college.
In psychological analyses of the process of “ apperception ” and the related realm of " child study ” President Eliot has had but scanty interest. He has rather taken it for granted that if the table is spread with a feast of sufficient freshness and variety, and presided over by a tactful and generous host or hostess, the children can be counted on to get enough to eat; even if no prepared food is provided in powdered form, and although the hostess herself may be unable to delineate the precise details of the physiological processes of mastication, swallowing, digestion, and assimilation. His emphasis has always been upon the substance of the truth presented, not on the form of its apprehension by the receiving mind.
There have been men in our colleges more gifted than President Eliot in supplementing scanty resources and meagre equipment by the power of direct personal inspiration ; though in recent years he has made great gains in this respect, and his addresses on enlistment at the outbreak of the recent war, and on a memorial for those who died, rank among the most influential and uplifting counsels ever given by college officers to college students. And while other presidents may have been more expeditious in creating culture out of cash, he has never forgotten that " a quarter of one per cent means a new professorship ; ” has never been backward either in creating financial demands or in searching for fresh sources of supply. Yet he has never been in the least degree servile toward rich benefactors, but rather inclined to err in the direction complained of by an early benefactor whom Professor Dunbar reports as saying of the President, “ He comes to me for my money and my advice; and, like the women in the Scripture, the one is taken and the other left.”
Even in the brief sketch of reforms given above, the reader must have noticed the long lapse of time between the first prophecy of a reform and its fulfillment. When President Eliot was elected, George S. Hillard, meeting him on the street, said to him, " Do you know what qualities you will need most out there at Harvard ? ” President Eliot replied that he supposed he would need industry, courage, and the like. “ No,” said Mr. Hillard. “ What you will need is patience — patience — patience.” So it has proved. All these reforms have required ten, twenty, or thirty years for their accomplishment. The two reforms now pending are by no means new. The extension of the franchise to graduates of the professional schools was proposed eighteen years ago ; and the definition of requirements for admission which is now before the Board of Overseers is the working out of principles announced twenty-four years ago, and contained in germ in the inaugural address. Yet this marvelous patience has been no idle waiting fur the lapse of time, but the steady pressure of one who was confident that he was right, and sure that, if urged at every opportunity, the right would gain adherents and ultimately prevail.
President Eliot’s reforms have all been rooted in principles and purposes which at bottom are moral and religious. He has gone up and down the whole length of our educational line, condemning every defect, denouncing every abuse, exposing every sham, rebuking every form of incompetence and inefficiency, as treason to the truth, an injury to the community, a crime against the individual. To his mind, intent on making God’s richest gifts available for the blessing of mankind, a dull grammar school is an instrument of intellectual abortion; uniformity in secondary schools is a slow starvation process ; paternalism and prescription in college is a dwarfing and stunting of the powers on which the prosperity of a democratic society must rest; superficial legal training is partnership in robbery ; inadequate medical education is wholesale murder ; dishonest theological instruction is an occasion of stumbling more to be dreaded than “ that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be cast into the depths of the sea.”
Such has been the work of this educational reformer. What, then, has been his reward ? For the first twenty-five years he was misunderstood, misrepresented, maligned, hated with and without cause. It may be that it is an essential element of the reformer’s make-up that, in order to hold firmly and tenaciously his own views against a hostile world, he should be somewhat lacking in sensitiveness, and at times seem to take a hostile attitude toward those who differ from him. This, at any rate, seems to have been characteristic of President Eliot during the early years of his long fight for educational reform. In later years, now that most of his favorite reforms are well launched, and his services in their behalf are acknowledged with gratitude on all sides, there has been manifest a great change, amounting to the kindliest appreciation of temperaments widely different from his own. Even in the days of his apparent hardness he was never known to cherish personal animosity on account of difference of views. At the time when the fight was hottest in his own faculty, meeting an assistant professor, most outspoken in antagonism to all his favorite measures, who had received a call to go elsewhere, he said to him, “ I suppose you understand that your opposition to my policy will not in the slightest degree interfere with your promotion here.” Partly owing to the triumph of his views even in the minds of most of his old opponents who survive, partly owing to the change which the years with their increasing cares and sorrows have wrought in the man himself, he has come to be universally trusted, admired, and loved by all who know him well. Yet his chief reward has been that which he commended to another, “ the great happiness of devoting one’s self for life to a noble work without reserve, or stint, or thought of self, looking for no advancement, hoping for nothing again.”
No one can begin to measure the gain to civilization and human happiness his services have wrought. As compared with what would have been accomplished by a series of conservative clergymen, or ornate figureheads, or narrow specialists, or even mere business men such as by the uninformed he has most erroneously sometimes been supposed to be, his leadership has doubled the rate of educational advance not in Harvard alone, but throughout the United States. He has sought to extend the helping hand of sympathy and appreciation to every struggling capacity in the humblest grammar grade ; to stimulate it into joyous blossoming under the sunshine of congenial studies throughout the secondary years ; to bring it to a sturdy and sound maturity in the atmosphere of liberty in college life ; and finally, by stern selection and thorough specialization, to gather a harvest of experts in all the higher walks of life, on whose skill, knowledge, integrity, and self-sacrifice their less trained fellows can implicitly rely for higher instruction, professional counsel, and public leadership. In consequence of these comprehensive reforms, we see the first beginnings of a rational and universal church, not separate from existing sects, but permeating all; property rights in all their subtle forms are more secure and well defined ; hundreds of persons are alive to-day who under physicians of inferior training would have died long ago; thousands of college students have had quickened within them a keen intellectual interest, an earnest spiritual purpose, a “ personal power in action under responsibility,” who under the old régime would have remained listless and indifferent; tens of thousands of boys and girls in secondary schools can expand their hearts and minds with science and history and the languages of other lands, who but for President Eliot would have been doomed to the monotonous treadmill of formal studies for which they have no aptitude or taste; and, as the years go by, hundreds of thousands of the children of the poor, in the precious tender years before their early drafting into lives of drudgery and toil, in place of the dry husks of superfluous arithmetic, the thrice-threshed straw of unessential grammar, and the innutritions shells of unrememberable geographical details, will get some brief glimpse of the wondrous loveliness of nature and her laws, some slight touch of inspiration from the words and deeds of the world’s wisest and bravest men, to carry with them as a heritage to brighten their future humble homes and gladden all their after-lives. In such “ good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,” has there been given to this great educational reformer, in return for thirty years of generous and steadfast service of his university, his fellow men, his country, and his God, what, in true Puritan simplicity, he calls “ that finest luxury, to do some perpetual good in this world.”
William DeWitt Hyde.