Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/554

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

out upon a sea which was certain, from the history I have brought before you, to be full of opposing currents.

I have had a statement prepared showing what the most distinguished of our old students and of those who have succeeded in the department's examinations are now doing. The statement shows that those who have been responsible for our share in the progress of scientific instruction have no cause to be ashamed.

Conclusion.—I have referred previously to the questions of secondary education and of a true London University, soon, let us hope, to be realized.

Our college will be the first institution to gain from a proper system of secondary education, for the reason that scientific studies gain enormously by the results of literary culture, without which we can neither learn so thoroughly nor teach so effectively as one could wish.

To keep a proper mind-balance, engaged as we are here continuously in scientific thought, literature is essential, as essential as bodily exercise, and if I may be permitted to give you a little advice, I should say organize your athletics as students of the college, and organize your literature as individuals. I do not think you will gain so much by studying scientific books when away from here as you will by reading English and foreign classics, including a large number of works of imagination; and study French and German also in your holidays by taking short trips abroad.

With regard to the university. If it be properly organized, in the light of the latest German experience, with complete science and technical faculties of the highest order, it should certainly insist upon annexing the School of Mines portion of our institution; the past history of the school is so creditable that the new university for its own sake should insist upon such a course. It would be absurd, in the case of a nation which depends so much on mining and metallurgy, if these subjects were not taught in the chief national university, as the University of London must become.

But the London University, like the Paris University, if the little history of science teaching I have given you is of any value, must leave our normal college alone, at all events till we have more than trebled our present supply of science teachers.

But while it would be madness to abolish such an institution as our normal school, and undesirable if not impossible to graft it on the new university, our school, like its elder sister in Paris, should be enabled to gain by each increase in the teaching power of the university. The students on the scientific side of the Paris school, in spite of the fact that their studies and researches are looked after by fourteen professors entitled Maîtres de Conférences, attend certain