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LITERARY NOTICES.

through by the methods of the politician, and half-strangled in the bonds of routine. So great has been the dissatisfaction—we might almost say, dismay—at the discovery, that we hear of the formation of a committee of citizens who propose to charge themselves with the duty of watching the action of our educational authorities, and, if possible, bring the working of the state machine into measurable accord with the reasonable demands of the community—demands predicated upon a knowledge of the results which well-directed private enterprise is made to yield. So, then, we first of all arm the state with full power for all purposes of public education, and then, when the business falls—as fall it must—into the hands of the politicians, and these proceed to act according to their natural instincts, we organize volunteer committees to infuse a little of the breath of life, a little of the vigor of private enterprise, a little of the true spirit of science into the unwieldy organization we have called into existence. We abandon private effort through a conviction that it will not meet the case, will not educate the people fast enough, and then we resort to it again in order to make the governmental machine move. Surely, under the circumstances, we are entitled to ask why private effort and enterprise should ever have been abandoned, why education should ever have been mixed up with politics at all. If we have so many prominent citizens prepared to act as a kind of Vigilance Committee to keep the politicians, to whose care our educational interests have been committed, from violating or mismanaging their trust, surely the same citizens might do much toward organizing a system of education for the people, and making it work for the general advantage. We know it is taken for granted to-day that parents will not pay, directly, for the education of their children. In less enlightened days they were prepared to do so, and to make considerable sacrifices for the purpose; but in these days, having tasted the sweets of free schools, they regard education as something which should not entail any visible or appreciable sacrifices. The assumption, no doubt, is largely based on fact, but can it be claimed that the change is a happy one? If not, if it is an unhappy one, can we too soon set about turning the current of people's feelings in another direction? We do not propose to discuss the question at any length at present, but merely wish to point to the fact, which recent events in this city have rendered notorious, that all is not for the best in the nominally and reputedly best possible system of education. Here, in New York, the system has, to a large extent, broken down. It is seen not to be a system of education in the true sense, but a system the main elements of which are political, and which, consequently, feels no impulsion toward improvement. The committee of citizens are no doubt armed with good intentions, and we highly applaud their action in coming forward at this juncture; but we fear their zeal will wane before the steady persistence of the enemy. To hand over education to the state is a step easier to take than to retrace; and the evils of the political management of education are very much easier to protest against than to cure.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

A History of Political Economy. By J. K. Ingram, LL.D. With preface by Prof. E. J. James, Ph.D. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 15 + 250. Price, $1.50.

The author of this book is the writer of the article "Political Economy" in the latest edition of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," and the book is, for the most part, a reproduction of that Article. Prof. James, in his preface, characterizes the present treatise as "the first serious attempt by a properly qualified English writer to present a view of the progress of economic thought," and adds that it "will compare favorably with any