Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/450

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

as the moral nature of man is greater than the intellectual; for veracity is the heart of morality.[1]

This declaration should be accepted as the fundamental principle, and the very inner spirit, of true education in all departments and as being as truly characteristic of the right form of culture as of the correct method of seeking professional knowledge. It is a characteristic of every correct form of study or of aspiration.

The 'ladder' which, in our country, leads 'from the gutter to the university' for every man who, possessing brain and physical vigor, wills it, includes the successive rounds of the public-school system. The purpose of that organization is to fit, as well as may be, 'all sorts and conditions' of youth for the life of the average citizen of our republic. It properly includes in its curriculum only those subjects which are of most value to the average citizen and it can not, and should not be expected to, provide either those luxuries of education rightfully desired by the well-to-do, or the special forms of training demanded by those proposing to enter on special lines of work, as into either of the professions. If it offers manual training, it is because that is found, on the whole, advantageous to all citizens, and sufficiently so to justify its insertion into an already crowded curriculum. Should, here and there, as in Europe, often, a trade-school be established, it should be justified by the general demand, among the people of the vicinity, for such a training; being a requirement of the place as a seat of the special manufacture, or, as with the common trades, by its systematic teaching of principles and methods that meet the needs of all and which can not be as readily, perfectly, completely and economically taught by other systems.

That 'ladder' includes our secondary schools, in which a selected body of youth are collected who have been found, by a sort of evolutionary selection, to be exceptionally well fitted to receive that higher sort of instruction. Here it is often possible for a determination of the choice of vocation intelligently and safely to be made. The polestar may be discovered and the course may be laid directly for the desired haven. But this course must be steered, as best possible, through available and safe channels and the youth seeking ultimately to enter a great profession may be compelled—often indeed, greatly to his advantage—to follow the courses set for him by the school which is intended to promote the education of other sorts of minds. It is commonly the fact, however, that the studies here offered include those fundamentals of professional preliminary work which should always be acquired previous to entrance upon purely professional study and hence time is not wasted in securing this, which is also, fortunately, always desirable culture.


Huxley, 'Coll. Essays,' III., 189.