very little regarding the causes or the nature of diseases. That is partly true and partly not true. Unquestionably, the true theory of disease is yet to be wrought out, although every thing leads us to suppose that science is at last upon the right track; but, unquestionably, in relation to the germ of disease, great conquests are yet to be made, and it is a matter of great satisfaction to me, and, I doubt not, to all of you, that one of the most careful of American investigators is to speak on that subject this evening. So, too, the relations of ozone to various diseases is a matter in which conquests are still to be made. There are multitudes of questions yet to be solved, but still many have been solved already. And a very great conquest was made when it was found that zymotic diseases had relation to physical causes, and that the causes were ascertainable and removable. So, too, we have made conquests, as I have stated already, in sanitary engineering. There is material for study. We have made great advances in the study of vital statistics—there is another object of study. I think that this objection, feeble as it is at present, should rapidly become more feeble as science advances, and it can have but little weight among thoughtful men.
But there is another class of objections which are more constantly made—the same objections that have been made to every change in the curriculum of study, from the days of Erasmus until now, and to any liberty in the choice of studies. Those objections are on the score of Discipline and Culture. I remember once that, when this objection was made in the presence of the late Horace Greeley, he cried out, "Discipline! I hate the word." Nor was this exclamation unnatural. Few words have done more harm to the progress of education than this. I am the last to say any thing against what is now known as the older system of education, or of classical education in general. I prize it; I love it; but, if there were no other argument to show that it is by no means the only mode of discipline or study, the return made by the Commissioners of the English Government, after their examination of the English public schools, is certainly proof on this point. It is there shown that seventy per cent, of the students under the old system, carried out as it is to its very highest point, failed to make any worthy use of their advantage.
What are disciplinary studies? I maintain simply that they are those which for any reason whatever a man takes hold of, and which take hold of him. It matters not whether the study be in obedience to natural tastes, or whether it be forced upon the student. This is the thing—that the study be taken hold of, and that it take hold of the mind of the person studying. Now, in our primary instruction, the studies which I here advocate take hold of great numbers of pupils; take hold of them by virtue of their being a relief from other
- President Barnard, of Columbia College, presented a paper on "The Germ Theory of Disease in its Relations to Hygiene."