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268
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

education" is hardly yet historical. Not many "nations" have gone far into the experiment; those which have done so are recent, and the results by no means confirm President Hayes's conclusion. Prussia leads in popular education, and that education is tributary, not to the victories of peace, but to the victories of war, the first fruit of which is a grinding military despotism. The popular education of Germany, moreover, exemplifies in a marked degree the antagonism we have referred to, and is wholly subordinated to military ends. The following remarks of Professor Dabney, in a late number of the "Princeton Review," bear decisively upon this point: "Recent history is more instructive, because it offers us illustrious experiments of popular education carried for two generations as far as it is ever likely to be carried. Our overweening hopes of good from mere mental culture are much curtailed by observing that the condition of Christendom was never more ominous and feverish than it now is, after these efforts at education. Military preparations were never so immense, or so onerous to the national industry. The spirit of war was once ascribed to the ambition of kings, regardless of the blood of their peace-loving subjects. But we now see that, since the instructed peoples have acquired influence in the governments of Europe, this fell passion is more rife than ever. It seems, moreover, that the German nation, the most educated one of all, is in as unstable a condition as the rest. The wildest political heresies prevail; and these rulers, the special and boasted exemplars of popular education, rely least on popular intelligence, and most on the sword, to save society from destruction. Intelligent men there dismiss the idea with ridicule that any actual diffusion of intelligence among the peasantry, by the schools, is the real safeguard of their universal suffrage. They tell us that not one in three exercises his accomplishment of reading when an adult—a statement which the scanty circulation of newspapers among them confirms. They say that the primary schools are useful chiefly as a drill in obedience. They teach the child early to submit to superiors, to move at the sound of a bell, to endure tasks, to fear penalties, to study punctuality, at the command of others. Then comes the conscription, and seven years' drill in arms, to confirm the habit of submission. Thus the German system produces a peasant who is in the habit of voting as the upper classes bid him, not of thinking for himself! It is presumed that this picture of the virtues of the system is not very flattering to our American hopes."

 

 

DR. EDOUARD SEGUIN.

In the death of Dr. Seguin, which occurred October 28th, the community has lost a man of genius and also of peculiar and eminent usefulness. Though a physician, and devoting himself to a specialty in his profession, the results of his studies are of very broad application, and are sure to be increasingly appreciated in the future.

Dr. Seguin was born at Clamecy, in France, in 1812, studied medicine and surgery in Paris, and early devoted himself to the investigation of nervous diseases, and particularly to the nature and treatment of idiocy. When he took up the subject of the education and training of the weak-minded, it had been but very little explored; there was profound and widespread ignorance of all its principles, and it was hedged about by inveterate prejudices and superstitions. In the seventeenth century St. Vincent de Paul gathered a few idiots and labored assiduously for years to instruct them, though with very little success. In 1799 Jean Gaspard Itard, an eminent French surgeon and a disciple of Condillac, grappled with the problem in the case of the