Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/745

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

had no part in the college system; or, if on sufferance he found a place, his time was devoted to anything else rather than to the promotion of science. It is not many years since the faculty of one of our State universities Spent a whole afternoon discussing a proposal to abolish laboratory work in science, and the substitution for it of good text-books and suitably illustrated lectures.

All this time, as Emerson has said, "the good spirit never cared for the colleges, and, while all men and boys were being drilled in Greek, Latin, and mathematics, it had left these shells high on the beach, and was making and feeding other matters in other parts of the world." These other matters were the study of men and plants and animals, the laws and forces of Nature, the laws which govern human life, and the manifold laws of divine workings—to which we give the name of science. Everywhere in Europe and America men were eagerly devoting their lives to this work, but in nineteen cases out of twenty these men were outside of the colleges.

Have I drawn the picture in colors too dark? In an address given in Detroit eighteen years ago, Andrew D. White used these words: "While the United States has pushed the roots of its public-school system down into the needs and feelings of the whole people, and thus obtained a deep, rich soil which has given sturdy growth, it has pushed the roots of advanced education down into a multitude of scattered sects, and has obtained a soil wretchedly thin and a growth miserably scant.

"Within the last twenty years I have seen much of these institutions, and I freely confess that my observations have saddened me. Go from one great State to another, in every one you will find that this unfortunate system has produced the same miserable results—in the vast majority of our States not a single college or university worthy the name; only a multitude of little sectarian schools with pompous names and poor equipments, each doing its best to prevent the establishment of any institution broader and better.

"The traveler arriving in our great cities generally lands in a railway station costing more than all the university edifices in the State. He sleeps in a hotel in which is embarked more capital than in the entire university endowment for millions of people. He visits asylums for lunatics, idiots, deaf, dumb, and blind, nay, even for the pauper and criminal, and he finds them palaces. He visits the college buildings for young men of sound mind and earnest purpose, the dearest treasures of the State, and he generally finds them vile barracks.

"Many noble men stand in the faculties of these colleges, men who would do honor to any institution of advanced learning in the world. These men of ours would, under a better system, develop