Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/654

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
654
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

seems not now to be, whether state education shall be inaugurated, but rather what kind it shall have. The state must retain control of all the elements necessary to its life. The educational element the state can not intrust to any organism beyond its control. Sovereignty must control the education which is the life and soul of the state.

The discussion on Sir John Lubbock's bill in the British Parliament, of recent date, was in relation to the studies to be introduced into the curriculum, rather than the question of state interference. An extract from "Nature," an English print, will set this matter in its proper light:

"It is unnecessary," says the writer, "for us to go again into the merits of the question which has been so often and so thoroughly discussed in these pages, especially as the 'Times' has put it quite as forcibly as there is occasion of doing at present. It certainly seems sad, nationally, indeed, that a few more millions of those who will have the destinies of this country in their hands are likely to be launched into active life, with all their education to acquire, ere legislation steps in to give us the advantages which nearly every other civilized nation gives to its children. Every day we hear of the ignorance of the working-classes, every other month 'congresses' are held to devise means to remedy the consequences of this ignorance: ignorance of the laws of health; ignorance of household economy; ignorance of the implements and objects of labor; ignorance of the laws of labor and production; ignorance of the nature of the commonest objects with which they come into contact every day; ignorance of almost everything which it would be useful and naturally beneficial for them to know; an ignorance, alas! more or less shared by the 'curled darlings' of the nation. Yet every day's paper shows how keen is the industrial competition with other nations, and how in one department after another we are being outstripped by the results of better—i. e., more scientific—knowledge; the poor pittance of 'elementary knowledge' asked for in Sir John Lubbock's bill is refused by a minister[1] whose own education leaves much to be desired. This state of things can not long continue, and, with such advocates for the children as the 'Times' and Mr. Forster, we may hope that next time Sir John Lubbock brings forward his bill it will meet with a happier fate."—("Popular Science Monthly," vol. xiii, pp, 562, 563.)

The truth expressed in the above quotation, that England, holding one of the most advanced positions of the human race, is yet being outstripped in one industry and another, in one department after another, "by the results of better—i. e., more scientific—knowledge," can not fail, in the reflecting mind, to suggest another truth: that civil society is a constantly developing organism, the range of whose future specialties must remain unknown. Yet through all, in the line of its direction, it is evident that some power must control. This

  1. Lord George Hamilton.