Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/715

This page has been validated.
697
LITERARY NOTICES.

profession. They are the acquisitions by which clergymen get a living. Our old colleges were all originally seminaries for training professional divines. The traditional curriculum was shaped for the uses of a vocation. Clergymen have been the heads of the colleges for centuries. Every President of the College of New Jersey, for a hundred and twenty-seven years, from Dickinson to McCosh, has been a professional divine. Greek and Latin, rhetoric and logic, and mental and moral philosophy, which Bishop Harris would palm off upon the Michigan boys as giving the only true education, have been the bread and butter of doctors of divinity ever since divinity became a regular business. Let Bishop Harris confine his pot-boiling curriculum for preachers to the technical schools of the profession, the theological seminaries. It is high time that general education were rescued from this slough of specialism and placed upon loftier grounds.

The Bishop denounces the "fell spirit of utilitarianism"; that is, the vile and pernicious impulse to usefulness. What does he think of the clerical spirit in education, as shown, say, in the history of the English universities? Under clerical domination they have notoriously been the fastnesses of bigotry, intolerance, proscription, and scandalous abuse of trust and power. Their professor-ships and fellowships and scholarships have been sinecures for men in "holy orders ,1; and the institutions have been fettered and trammeled by absurd theological tests, which public sentiment in England has been fighting for half a century, and has not even yet been able to extirpate. Those universities were ages ago the professional schools for the education of the clergy, and, under continued priestly headships, they have clung with desperation to the dominant studies of theological culture. And, as for the spirit of greed, the unscrupulous perversion of endowments and the ravenous struggle for profitable places, which have been displayed in the long hierarchical administration of those great schools, have been the disgrace of civilization. It is fit that the representative of this system should do his best to keep modern science out of the curriculum of the University of Michigan!

But it is a vain and futile work. Bishop Harris's vehement protest shows that he recognizes the strength of the new tendencies. The same newspaper that brings the report of his speech contains also the following significant paragraph: "Cornell University seems to have introduced a notable change in commencement orations and essays. Among the number chosen for public presentation this year is a paper by Mr. R. P. Green, on 'The Sewage of Ithaca as a Hydraulic Problem,' and one by Miss M. Hicks on 'Tenement-Houses, a Social Problem in Architecture.' Among the list from which these papers are chosen are several on broader subjects, as 'The Relation of Modern Science to Education,' etc." When such topics as these are earnestly taken up by students, and college studies become a fit preparation for dealing with them, society will then begin to reap the substantial benefits, which have hitherto been but scantily afforded by the higher education.

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

Early Man in Britain, and his Place in the Tertiary Period. By W. Boyd Dawkins, F.R.S. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 537. Price, $6.50.

The subject of primitive man and his history, as obscurely traced by archaeological research, has now come to be so extensive that is has become necessary to concentrate research in special directions, as the whole field is too large for any one man to cultivate. Professor Dawkins has, accordingly, taken up the question of "Early Man in Britain," and even in his elaborate volume he is unable to present the discussion in its completeness. In his work on