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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/432

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probably continue to furnish matter for debate for some time to come. Mr. Preece finds fault with those physicists who object to recognize in electricity a form of energy, and insists that the engineer has a right to speak of electricity as he finds it, and therefore to speak of it as "energy." This is a dispute into which we can not enter further than to say that the arguments urged by Mr. Preece do not seem to us to touch the position of the physicists. We are with him entirely, however, when he says that "the engineer feels that steam and electricity in his hands have done more to economize labor, to cheapen living, to increase wealth, to promote international friendship, to alleviate suffering, to ward off war, to encourage peace, than all the legislation and all the verbosity of the politician." It is satisfactory to think that, while science is being railed at in certain quarters, its methods are being ever more fruitful of good to mankind. Science is doing its part nobly in the world, and, if moral results do not seem to keep pace with the enlightenment of the age, that should be a matter of special concern to those who feel themselves responsible for the moral interests of the community. May it not be reasonably said that, if they would do their work as well as the man of science is doing his, an equal success would crown their labors? It is all doubtless a matter of the adjustment of means to end; and, when the right means are employed in the moral sphere, we may expect to see there a progress not less marked than that which is now taking place in theoretical and practical science.




No more timely or important document has been given to the world, of late years, than the protest reprinted in our present number from the "Nineteenth Century," on the subject of the sacrifice of education to examinations. The protest in question is signed by the leading educators of Great Britain, and by many others eminent in science and letters. It is re-enforced by separate articles by England's greatest philologist, Prof. Max Müller; her greatest historian, Prof. Freeman; and her most brilliant and philosophical essayist, Mr. Frederic Harrison. All these men see clearly that a great intellectual and moral injury is being done to the nation by an excessive use of examinations, and, generally, by an excessive stimulation of the work of education. The universities do their own share of mischief by offering large pecuniary prizes as the rewards of proficiency tested by examinations. The Government helps on the evil cause by making access to the public service a simple question of "marks." Teachers obtain their positions and schools their grants in the same way; while the unfortunate pupils are having their studies continually interrupted in order that some one may grub at the roots of their growing knowledge for the purpose of spying out how weak a thing it is, and, in doing so, making it still weaker.

The philosophy of the whole business is simple enough. So long as the intellectual development of a country is following a simple, unforced course, education will be pursued for the sake of the essential benefits it brings; and educators will think chiefly, if not exclusively, of the true intellectual interests of their pupils. There will not be a feverish anxiety to ascertain the precise results achieved at a score of different points in a course of instruction. It will rather be taken for granted that only those who desire to profit will seek instruction, and that the result of their studies will appear in some spontaneous form in later days. If questions are asked, it will be for the sake of exciting intellectual interest, or of giving an opportunity for diversities of treatment of a certain topic. It will not be done in the spirit of the highwayman who offers you the alternative of surrendering your money or your life. But when once a