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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/366

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352
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

degree, and no regular account is kept of attendance at lectures. He must give due notice of his intention to be a candidate, and must present a list of the lectures he has heard, the list certified by the signatures of the professors and of the quæstors; the latter officer vouches for the payment of all fees. But, most important of all, he must present a dissertation which shall be an original and thorough investigation in some portion, no matter how minute, of his general field of research. Though he is treated to a rigorous oral examination, this written work has the greater weight in forming the decision of the examiners. But the degree is, after all, of little importance to the student; the question is, whether be would do well to study at the German university at all. In general, we may answer that the center of the world's scholarship is there, and, if a young man knows that be wants learning, there is the place to get it at its best. the allowances to be made for pedantry are not so grave as we are wont to imagine, and the fruits of ripe and patient investigation are offered, with a generous band, in both lecture-room and pamphlet. there is, after all, no paradox in the conclusion that, while the boy may lose promptness, alertness, manners, fluency in English, and even health, the man gains, besides knowledge, incentives and standards that may make him a better citizen.

 

STATE USURPATION OF PARENTAL FUNCTIONS.

(Letter to the London "Times.")

SIR: Your reviewer, reviewing Mr. Spencer's valuable book of "Man vs. The State" with great sympathy and interest, seems to wonder why Mr. Spencer does not believe in and admire the Factory Acts. Surely to protect children against parents greedy of gain is and must be a right act seems to be his instinctive thought, as it is that of so many other persons.

Will you let me point out one reason why these acts were and always will be, till they are swept away, a very mischievous, though a well-meant, stupidity? They simply are one among the many other stupid attempts to make an official regulation take the place of the unselfish care of parents for their children. How absurd the whole thing seems as one looks quietly back on what took place! Before any acts were passed, parents were supposed—and probably with justice enough in many cases—to be overworking their children, selling their bone and muscle for the wages they received. the acts are passed, and then the air is filled with congratulations on the immense progress made. Moloch shall not be worshiped any more; the white slavery is over; neither the manufacturer nor the parent shall draw an unholy