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scholarship, for the simple reason, that there were no grammar schools on this side of the ocean, at which more than a smattering of Greek and Latin could be acquired The people of the South now began to send their children to Northern colleges, where the standard of classical learning had never been high, even under the old régime, because the fortunes of the people did not admit of their giving their youth a foreign education, and where until, very recently, it continued to be exceedingly low. Here is an explanation of the whole affair. Following mechanically the old system, we have confined our boys almost exclusively, during their whole elementary course, to the very studies which it was impossible they should cultivate successfully. We have insisted on making them classical scholars, and nothing but classical scholars, when there was no such thing as a classical teacher to be had in the whole country for love or money.
The first fifteen or sixteen years of life were thus thrown away almost entirely-childhood, and a good part of youth were struck out of existence, for all purposes of solid improvement; for, a young gentleman was sent to college, as a matter of course, ignorant of every thing but a few grammar rules, which he did not know how to apply, and a few scraps of Greek and Latin (hideously mispronounced) which he did not know how to construe. Of the four years allotted to the college course, a very considerable portion was thrown away upon the same mockery of classical studies; but it would be injustice to deny, that something more was acquired at the same time. Before the young man was admitted to his first degree, he had a fair chance of picking up a little geometry, a little chemistry, a little school-logic, and quite as much as was desirable of Scotch metaphysics. These various attainments, surmounted with a suitable stock of self-sufficiency, and a lofty contempt of prejudice and authority, fitted hini to enter with advantage upon the duties of active life. The truth is, however, that the root of this execrable system, is not to be sought in the discipline of the college, which, as things go, is a mere hospital of incurables. We must begin at the beginning. A boy when he is matriculated at a university, ought to be already an accomplished scholar, in the highest sense of the word. He ought to be critically versed in Latin and Greek as well as in English, that is to say, he ought to be able to write them all with correctness, and have his mind deeply imbued with the beauties which a knowledge of thein reveals to the adept. But if he have acquired nothing, before he go to a college, what can the most assiduous and learned teacher make of him there in years,
but a smatterer and a charlatan? Such is the true
historical explanation of the fact; and now we ask, what has democracy to do with it? We venture to say, that, if by any magic, three such schools as Eton, Westininster and Winchester, or the Charter-House, could be established in the three great divisions of the Atlantic States, in the course of ten years, at the outside, a total change would take place in the state of literature all over the country. We speak advisedly, from the wonderful progress which, without such a help, we have made in the same period just elapsed. But we need not tell a Scotchman how difficult it has been found to get up a good grammar school, even under a monarchical government, and in the "modern Athens," itself. Indeed, it is strange enough, but not so strange as ridiculous, to hear the objection to our want of classical learning coming from such a quarter. We should like to be informed how many scholars could be found, on the most accurate survey, between Johnny Groat's House and the Tweed!
In education as in other things, the beginning is half the work. If we are still behind hand in this important concern, it is owing to causes growing out of the situation of the country, not of the form of government. The people considered either in their individual or collective capacity, have been anything but indifferent to education and letters. It is almost superfluous to cite examples to shew this. What can be more magnificent, than the liberality which Harvard has experienced from the opulent merchants of Boston ? And where can any society be found more entirely devoted to liberal pursuits, than that of the city just mentioned? The same spirit has prevailed in every part of the country-even where circumstances have been far less favourable to its developement. This State, for instance, appropriates annually much more than a tithe* of its whole revenue to the instruction of its people. She has founded at great expence, a college which has been justly complimented by Captain Hall, and furnished it with a most excellent library. She annually appropriates to the support of it, about $15,000. By this means, the advantage of attending the lectures of some of the most learned men in America, is extended to all who can afford a small annual advance out of their own funds.
To the education of the poor, in free schools, we give nearly $40,000 per annum. All this for a population of only 240,000 whites. This is only one out of many other equally shining examples in the Atlantic States, while in the West, whole townships of land in those rising commonwealths, have been consecrated to letters, and the education of youth provided for by a solemn covenant, and placed beyond the
* More accurately a sixth,
reach of chance, or change among “the canon laws of their foundation."
So who does not see from Captain Hall's, own shewing, that the reason why a greater number do not become literary men by profession, is, that they have something, at least, more agreeable to do.
Every thing in America, as I believe I have before mentioned, appears to be antedated-every thing and every body is on the moveand the field is so wide and so fertile, that no man, whatever be his age, if he possess the slightest spark of energy, can fail to reap from the virgin soil an adequate barvest. By the word adequate, I mean a sufficient return for bis own maintainance and that of a family. Thus the great law of our nature, be fruitful and multiply, having no check, supersedes every other, carrying before it classics, science, the fine arts, letters, taste, and refinements of every description, in one great deluge of population.
" This is hardly any figure, being almost literally the fact. As applied to education, its effects are somewhat of the following nature. A boy who hears and sees nothing at all around him but independence, and individual license to do almost any thing, very soon becomes too wild for his father's house; and off he is sent to school. When there, he is restless himself, and the cause of restlessness in others; for he worries his parents till he accomplishes his purpose of going to college. This point gained, his object is to run through the required course as fast as possible, get his examination over, and take his degree, that he may be at liberty to follow the paths of his predecessors, and scamper away to the fertile regions of the West or South, where, whatever betides him, in whatever line of industry his taste or talents may be cast, he is sure of being able to support a wife and children.
“This appears to be going on, with slight shades of difference, over the whole United States, and is, in truth, the inevitable consequence of their geographical and political situation. The Americans assure us that it cannot possibly be altered. Perhaps not. At all events, it must be submitted to, but whether for good or för evil is not now the question. The real point is, whether or not any modified restraint can be placed upon the operation of such powerful principles of human action in the case of the young men of that country, so as to give them, along with their present advantages, those also which spring out of classical knowledge ?-I fear not.
" What answer, for instance, can be made to a lad of sixteen, who sees before him so wide and tempting an area for bis immediate exertions to expand themselves in—who is certain that if he marries tomorrow, with scarcely a dollar in his pocket, he may rear up half-adozen children in as many years, and maintain them in abundance, till they are in a state to shift for themselves? Or who begs you to tell him in what respect Greek and Latin, or the differential calculus, will advance his project of demolishing the wilderness, and peopling the ground where it stood? Or how a knowledge of the fine arts will improve the discipline of a gang of negroes on a rice or cotton plantaVOL. IV.NO. 8.
tion? You can really say nothing in reply. For what instruction vou give him in reading and writing he is most grateful; but for all the graces of literature, or the refinements of science, or the elegancics of polished societies, he cares not half a straw. In fact, they are so much in his way, that if he chanced to have picked any of them up, he feels tempted afterwards to fling them from him as troublesome encumbrances, only tending to excite distrust in those unqualified to appreciate such attainments.” Vol. i. pp. 304 305.
If, however, this young Rapid had been made nolens volens to acquire an adequate fund of classical learning while he had yet nothing else to do, and before he got such high-flying notions into his head, viz. at a grammar-school, we will answer for it, the whole complexion of his destiny had been altered. But educated as we are in this country, it is too late to think, at eighteen or nineteen, of going back to our accidence. None but those who are very fortunately circumstanced, can attempt such a laborious and disheartening enterprize, and even they may have cause to repent of their aspiring efforts at improvement, when they come to discover bow unequal a chance they stand in a country where there are so few to sympathize with them. But what, we ask again, has democracy to do with this? It is human nature that is to blame-it is those feelings which Milton so feelingly alludes to in one of his letters—“Why should not all the fond hopes, that forward youth and vanity are fledge with, call me forward more powerfully, than a poor, regardlesse and unprofitable sin of curiosity should be able to withold me, whereby a man cuts himself off from all action, and becomes the most helpless, pusillanimous and unweapoved creature in the world, the most unfit and unable to do that which all mortals aspire to, either to be useful to their friends, or to offend their enemies." How can we wonder then, that active life, with all the present and tempting rewards which it holds out to ambition and enterprize, should draw into its vortex almost all the available talent of the country. If, even under the most favourable circumstances, literary pursuits, however elevated, and ennobling, and congenial to his own incomparable spirit, were felt by Milton to require an effort of self-denial, what shall be said of them in such a country as this? But under all these disadvantages, inseparable and accidental, a life of contemplation would have vastly more attractions, were each of our larger cities filled with gentlemen, well-grounded in classical learning at school, though they went no further, giving countenance and support to literary men.
Upon the whole, the question about the operation of a government, is a practical one, and can be decided only by experience.
Who would suppose, à priori, that the much injured close boroughs should have been so often, we pay almost say uniformly, the refuge of distressed parliamentary reform-men, driven off the field of a county election by an ungrateful people, with "sad overthrow and foul defeat ?" Who would imagine that a tribunal of justice could owe its independence to the very venality of its places—as was undoubtedly the case with the Parliament of Paris? The causes which produce any given effect in politics, are far too complicated and obscure, to be discovered by the coup d'æil militaire of a philosopher of the quarter-deck, galloping through a country at the rate of twentyodd miles a-day, Sundays included. There is no experimentum crucis to detect them, even for the benefit of more cautious inquirers; and the highest wisdom amounts here to no more than a sage empiricism-acquiesing as our fathers did in an established order of things until its evils become insufferable, and then making just such changes as the occasion calls for, and no more. Those who judge from superficial appearances or general maxims, will be forever blundering. Every republic will pass with them for a licentious democracy, and every republican "have the manners of a Swiss bred in Holland.” While, on the contrary, to those accustomed to popular institutions, the very name of royalist will be synonimous with sycophant and slave, and the whole scheme of monarchical government appear incompatible with dignity and virtue. Would the rudest and coarsest citizen of this country gain by exchanging places with the creature, painted by Count Hamilton in the following sentence, as best fitted to make his way to preferment in an English court ? “Il jugea qu'an milieu d'une cour florissante en beautés et abondante en argent, il ne devait s'occuper que du soin de plaire à son maitre, de faire valoir les avantages que la nature lui avait donnés pour le jeu et mettre en usage
de nouveaux stratagêmes en amour." Yet even Caplain Hall would scarcely venture to deny that many hundreds of such men hold up their heads with all the insolence of conceded superiority in Bondstreet and the Park, and that a stranger in England is apt to hear more of them than of any other class of people. As a further illustration of the danger of trusting to first appearances, we would add, the changes that are made at every election in the composition of Congress and the State Legislatures. Captain Hall has very naturally exaggerated the importance of this fact. He takes the mean ratio, and finds it less than three years ; then infers that there can be no experience at all in our statesmen. Now this may be very good arithmetic, but it is very bad politics. The fact is, that these changes are almost exclusively