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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/660

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

if we choose, the manifestations of their indwelling brutality, but can not hinder its secret permanence, amazing as such impulses seem to close observers. But all who are seriously devoted to progress may keep this truth fixed in view, that all elevation of classical studies at the expense of other branches of knowledge is a step backward into barbarism, and all furtherance of the exact sciences in the teaching of youth is a step forward toward civilization.

And, in this connection, I find great satisfaction in drawing attention to the address delivered at the opening of the Mason Science College, at Birmingham, by Huxley, the distinguished English scientist, and published in the number of "Nature" for October 7, 1880.

It seems that there arose in the mind of Sir Josiah Mason, an Englishman, apparently a money-getter of the purest type, the idea, certainly a most extraordinary one, of spending in his lifetime thousands of pounds, not in buying Krupp guns, but in establishing at Birmingham an amply endowed college, in which young persons might acquire "sound, extensive, and practical scientific knowledge." The founder of this institute leaves its managers all possible freedom as to the means for attaining this object, only binding teachers and pupils alike for all coming time in three particulars: Party politics of whatever nature are excluded; theology is shown the door once for all; and, in conclusion, it is expressly prescribed that the college shall make no provision for mere literary instruction and education.

There was something that did not occur to the mind of this Englishman, enriched by trade and industry, who felt that every step in his path of life was almost a stumble, by reason of his defective knowledge of the exact sciences. "It is not impossible," says Huxley, "that we shall hear this express exclusion of 'literary instruction and education' from a college which nevertheless professes to give a high and efficient education sharply criticised. Certainly the time was that the Levites of culture would have sounded their trumpets against its walls as against an educational Jericho."

The time has come, indeed, and the storm of indignation that arose, among the Levites of classical old England, is still echoing in the newspapers—a storm bursting not over the college alone, but specially over Huxley, so eminent in science, who dared in the course of his address to vindicate this idea.

"For those," he says, "who mean to make science their serious occupation, or who intend to follow the profession of medicine, or who have to enter early upon the business of life—for all these, in my opinion, classical education is a mistake; and it is for that reason that I am glad to see 'mere literary instruction and education' shut out from the curriculum of Sir Josiah Mason's college, seeing that its inclusion would probably lead to the introduction of the ordinary smattering of Latin and Greek. Nevertheless, I am the last person to question the importance of genuine literary education, or to suppose