Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/543

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up to the universities, and give to them in the main their own uncultured tone. As it is from the universities that public schoolmasters are for the most part drawn, the bar to improvement seems strong indeed. One obvious way to break this vicious circle lies, it is true, at hand. I can not consider it conveniently here, and I am loath to touch upon it. But this much must be said: it can not be for the welfare of any religious body that its highest offices should be filled as often as they are from a class—the class of head masters—which persistently and almost professionally sets its face against natural knowledge. For it is thus a premium is placed on one-sided and therefore imperfect culture at the very fountain-head of education. Still more rarely can it be for the advantage of a public school to be under the guidance of a member of a class which has, speaking generally, consistently shown both fear and dislike of Nature and her interpreters. Whatever hope there may be in the future for relief in this matter, it is probable that such relief will rather be effected from the outside than from the inside.

As to this influence from the outside, where shall we look for it? Clearly in the aspirations, ambitions, and discontents of the better classes. The better classes are the more intelligent classes, and these are, without any doubt whatever, formed from the ranks of the artisan or handicraftsman—whether of our cities or our fields—and especially from the ranks of those who have been artisans or handicraftsmen, but whose ability has advanced them, say, from the laborer to the farmer, from the carpenter to the builder, from the nail-maker to the engineer, from the apprentice on a barge to the captain of a "liner." It is here or hereabouts that the very marrow of our nation lies. The aspirations of these classes are opposed directly and indirectly by the more ignorant classes both above and below them. The dangerous classes are the idle classes of all ranks. He would do a far greater service to the commonwealth who should give useful employment to the idle rich than he who should sweep away a thousand slums.

It is disastrous folly to fight against the inevitable. Science will take, and is taking, its proper place in our system of education. Men may bury themselves in the darkest crypts of ignorance; they may raise the densest smoke of prejudice or spread most diligently their little umbrellas of effeminacy, and fancy they have shut out the sun from the whole earth. The contest, if contest it can be called, which is waged against science, consists of hysterical vituperation on the one hand, and mainly pity on the other. Such a contest is only of passing interest, for the issue admits of no doubt. On the side of our opponents there are, it is true, the prejudices and ignorances of the half-cultured; but on the other there is the whole universe. They who oppose the in-