Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/638

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Pestalozzi? I think to these questions we must seriously answer: No! There is a lack of harmony between the school-house and the busy world that surrounds it. Some have even claimed that we are wrong in supposing that education diminishes crime. Let us see if there is any truth in their position.

You know how often a life is a failure from defective education. Too often do we see young people, who might have been educated to eminent usefulness, cast

". . . unfinished
Into this breathing world scarce half made up."

I have seen poor lawyers, who, under a proper system of training, would have made excellent mechanics, and not a few highly educated, able-bodied men actually begging for the price of a day's board. I recall one man in particular who was able to speak several languages, but because no one would employ him as a linguist he must needs beg, for he knew not how to work. Now, when a man's education has been misdirected, and he is thrown upon the world shackled by outgrown theories, bewildered by false lights, and altogether unprepared for the work which perhaps he was born to do, and when in his extremity he resorts to knavery and violence and fraud to secure what he knows not how to get by fair means, those who directed or should have directed his education can not be held blameless.

The moral influence of occupation is very great. A sphere of labor congenial and absorbing, that fully occupies one's thoughts and energies, is a strong safeguard of morality. If you would keep men out of mischief, keep them busy with agreeable work or harmless play. The balance of employments is fixed by our state of society and the grade of our civilization. Now, if indiscriminately we educate all our youth away from certain occupations and into certain others, as is very clearly the case, some employments will be crowded, and consequently degraded; in others, the choicest positions will be filled by foreigners, and the lowest posts, wherein labor is without dignity, must perforce be filled by those who have neither taste nor fitness for their work. The result is broils, plots, and social disorder.

Thirty years ago an eloquent Frenchman (Frédéric Bastiat) charged the one-sided education of his countrymen with being an actual danger to society. He argued that the "stranded graduates," as he called those who, unable to navigate the rough waters of practical life, had been tossed high and dry on the reefs along the shore, "filled with a sense that the country which had encouraged them to devote their best years to classic studies owed them a living, or a means of living, would become the leaders of mobs and officers at the barricades."

More Light.—When the shadow of death was drawn over the great Goethe, he uttered his last wish for "more light." We must echo his cry, if we would prepare our American system of education for a more glorious destiny. We treat our children too much as the