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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/14

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are essential to the one great end in view, that knowledge which is the essential condition of the power of observing, interpreting, and ruling natural phenomena.

In such a course as this it is obvious that the study of Greek would have no place, even if there were time to devote to it, and we can not alter the appointed span of human life, even out of respect to this most honored and worthy representative of the highest literary culture. Of course, no one will question that the scholar who can command both the literary and the scientific culture will be thereby so much the stronger and more useful man; and certainly let us give every opportunity to the "double firsts" to cultivate all their abilities, and so the more efficiently to benefit the world. But such powers are rare, and the great body of the scientific professions must be made up of men who can only do well the special class of work in which they have been trained; and, if you make certain formal and arbitrary requisitions, like a small amount of Greek, obstacles in the way of their advancement, or of that social recognition to which they feel themselves entitled as educated men, those requisitions must necessarily be slighted, and your policy will give rise to that cry of "fetich" of which recently we have heard so much.

Now, all the schools which prepare students for Harvard College are classical schools. We do not wish to alter these schools in any respect, unless to make them more thorough in their special work. As I have already said, the small amount of study of natural science which we have forced upon them has proved to be a wretched failure, and the sooner this hindrance is got out of their way the better. We do not wish to alter the studies of such schools as the Boston and Roxbury Latin Schools, the Exeter and Andover Academies, the St. Paul's and the St. Mark's Schools, and the other great feeders of the college. No—not in the least degree! We do not ask for any change which in our opinion will diminish the number of those coming to the college with a classical preparation by a single man. We look for our scientific recruits to wholly different and entirely new sources. For, although we think that there are many students now coming to us through the classical schools who would run a better chance of becoming useful men if they were trained from the beginning in a different way, yet such is the social prestige of the old classical schools and of the old classical culture that, whatever new relations might be established, the class of students which alone we now have would, I am confident, all continue to come through the old channels.

This is not a mere opinion; for only a very few men avail themselves of the limited option which we now permit at the entrance examinations—nine, at least, out of ten, offering what is called maximum in classics.

We look, then, for no change in the classical schools. Our only