Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/458

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calls one of the numerous acts of wise care whose blessed fruits we meet everywhere in this city, in this state. This institution, created when Prussia was still a feeble, small power, has grown with the state in importance and certainty of aim, and is now the nursery of physicians for by far the largest part of the Prussian-German army and for the Imperial German fleet. Whether scholar or teacher, each one of us feels how, with this elevated position of the school, his duty increases to perfect himself by means of incessant conscientious exercise.


I ASK myself if the system of education at present going on in our nation is a system which has a proper relation to the necessities of the nation. I look round me, to see the nation in chaos of thought and action; in what Mr. Gladstone has correctly defined as social revolution in one part, and mental revolution in all parts; mental revolution that might, by merest accident, by one or two days' shortness of food, from failure of foreign supply and panic thereupon, pass, after a few years of further chaos, into physical revolution. And the thought which occurs to my mind, as it must to all who think, is, Are we educating to prevent catastrophe? Are we educating the young to become useful, independent, and capable working members of society, ready to work with muscle as well as brain, in orderly and profitable form, or are we educating them to become mere troublers without design, repiners without hope, schemers without self-endurance, masters of the forces of Nature herself, knowing how to use them for temporary, selfish, insane objects, but not knowing how to apply them for splendid results and the general good?

The national necessities as the bases of national education are, first and foremost, these: that although in the early days of youth the three simple elementary educational practices of learning to read, to write, and to calculate, are necessities for the time, they are comparatively valueless unless combined with further necessities of a physical kind namely, sound and systematic muscular training; freedom of breathing, and circulation of the blood; practical training, so that the body can be structurally built up and sustained in health; preparation for all duties requiring precision, decision, presence of mind, and endurance; and readiness to acquire any craft or handicraft that may bring a useful living; in a word, an education that shall bring the

  1. From a Lecture delivered before the Society of Arts, April 28, 1882.