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painted with consummate art; and in Canadian colony, and heartless political this instance the art consists in so han- economy had no place there.
Nor was dling the relations of cause and effect there any room for free-thinkers : when as to make them speak for themselves. the king, after 1685, sent out word that These pages are alive with political phi- no mercy must be shown to heretics, losophy, and teem with object lessons of the governor, Denonville, with a pious extraordinary value. It would be hard ejaculation, replied that not so much as to point to any book where history more a single heretic could be found in all fully discharges her high function of Canada. gathering friendly lessons of caution
Such was the community whose career from the errors of the past.
our historian has delineated with perfect Of all the societies that have been soundness of judgment and unrivaled composed of European men, probably wealth of knowledge. The fate of this none was ever so despotically organized nationalistic experiment, set on foot by as New France, unless it may have been one of the most absolute of monarchs, the later Byzantine Empire, which it re- and fostered by one of the most devotsembled in the minuteness of elaborate ed and powerful of religious organizasupervision over all the pettiest details tions, is traced to the operation of causes of life. In Canada, the protective, pa- inherent in its very nature. The hopeternal, socialistic, or nationalistic theory less paralysis, the woeful corruption, the of government — it is the same old clo- intellectual and moral torpor, resulting ven hoof, under whatever specious name from the suppression of individualism, you introduce it
was more fully car- are vividly portrayed ; yet there is no ried into operation than in any other discursive generalizing, and from mocommunity known to history, except an- ment to moment the development of the cient Peru. No room was left for indi- story proceeds from within itself. It is vidual initiative or enterprise. All un- the whole national life of New France dertakings were nationalized. Govern- that is displayed before us. Historians ment looked after every man's interests of ordinary calibre exhibit their subject in this world and the next : baptized and in fragments, or they show us some schooled him; married him and paid the phases of life and neglect others. Some bride's dowry; gave him a bounty with have no eyes save for events that are every child that was born to him ; stocked startling, such as battles and sieges, or his cupboard with garden seeds and com- decorative, such as coronations and pelled him to plant them; prescribed court balls; others give abundant details the size of his house, and the number of manners and customs; others have of horses and cattle he might keep, and their attention absorbed by economics ; the exact percentages of profit he might others, again, feel such interest in the be allowed to make, how his chimneys history of ideas as to lose sight of mere should be swept, how many servants he material incidents. Parkman, on the might employ, what theological doc- other hand, conceives and presents his
, trines he might believe, what sort of subject as a whole. He forgets nothing, bread the bakers might bake, and where overlooks nothing ; but whether it is a goods might be bought and how much bloody battle, or a theological pamphlet, might be paid for them ; and if, in a or an exploring journey through the society so well cared for, it were possible forest, or a code for the discipline of to find indigent persons, such paupers nunneries, each event grows out of its were duly relieved from a fund estab- context as a feature in the total developlished by government. Unmitigated be- ment that is going on before our eyes. nevolence was the theory of Louis XIV.'s It is only the historian who is also phiVOL. LXXIII. - NO. 439.
losopher and artist who can thus deal in off against the romantic though lurid block with the great and complex life of background of Indian life, the artistic a whole society. The requisite combi- effect
effect becomes simply magnificent. nation is realized only in certain rare Never has historian grappled with anand high types of mind, and there has other such epic theme, save when Herodbeen no more brilliant illustration of it otus told the story of Greece and Persia, than Parkman's volumes afford.
or when Gibbon's pages resounded with The struggle between the machine the solemn tread of marshaled hosts like socialistic despotism of New France through a thousand years of change. and the free and spontaneous political Thus great in his natural powers and vitality of New England is one of the great in the use he made of them, Parkmost instructive object lessons with which man was no less great in his occasion the experience of mankind has furnished and in his theme. Of all American hisus. The depth of its significance is torians he is the most deeply and pecuequaled by the vastness of its conse- liarly American, yet he is at the same quences. Never did destiny preside time the broadest and most cosmopoliover a more fateful contest; for it de- tan. The book which depicts at once termined which kind of political seed the social life of the stone age and the should be sown all over the widest and victory of the English political ideal richest political garden plot left untilled over the ideal which France inherited in the world. Free industrial England from imperial Rome is a book for all pitted against despotic militant France mankind and for all time. The more for the possession of an ancient conti- adequately men's historic perspective nent reserved for this decisive struggle, gets adjusted, the greater will it seem. and dragging into the conflict the belat- Strong in its individuality and like to ed barbarism of the stone age, - such nothing beside, it clearly belongs, I think, is the wonderful theme which Parkman among the world's few masterpieces of has treated. When the vividly contrast- the highest rank, along with the works ed modern ideas and personages are set of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Gibbon.
THE ETHICAL PROBLEM OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The political instincts of the people nent to ask whether the public schools of the United States have led them to are fulfilling the mission for which they seek the best possible system of public
were founded. schools, and the supreme motive for the There has been for some time an inexpenditure of the vast sums of money creasing interest in the moral aspect of that have been voted with great willing the public school problem. One indicaness for their foundation and their con- tion of this is seen in the appearance dur tinued support has been the education of ing the last two years of seven rather the youth of the country for citizenship. notable textbooks upon ethics, especially The final test of all citizenship must be designed for schools of lower grade. The an ethical one; and especially is this true question that is now asked, however, does in a democracy where the stability of its not find its answer in any reply given to life depends upon the character of its citi- the query raised as to the wisdom of pubzens. With this fact in view, it is perti- lishing these books, for it seeks to go
behind the inquiry, Should ethics be The question still awaits us, however, taught at all to boys and girls of the age What is the public school system achievof those in the public schools ? It asks ing for public morals ? whether the problem of public morals is Just at present there is a movement involved in the very nature of the sys- in various quarters to introduce instructem as such.
tion in the theory of morals into even No one denies that the education of the lower grades of the schools ; but no the thirteen million children in these one seems to be sure that this will not schools has much to do with the destiny produce self-conscious prigs, or encourof the republic, nor that the country has age morbid introspection rather than sturplaced its future, for good or evil, in the dy morality. But all are agreed that hands of the public school teacher. it is the function of the public schools
The church may have the capacity not to say of all schools, for that matfor the moral training of the youth of ter to produce what some one calls the country; but, great as is its influence, “unconscious rectitude” in these thirteen the ethico-religious movement is not at million children. All appear to believe present far reaching enough to fashion that development of morality is essential, even the majority of these thirteen mil- and few that the teaching of mere ethical lion pupils into citizens in whom right- theories will be of much value. eousness shall be the controlling element; The problem involves, then, the study and there is no reason for thinking that of the system as a system from the standit will be in the immediate future. point of practical morality, to see if it is
The home comes much nearer meeting a moral force in and of itself. Its power the need; but doubtless Mr. G. H. Palm- for righteousness depends upon what it er's statement is correct, in his article is by virtue of its plan, purpose, and Can Moral Conduct be Taught in Schools? scope ; upon its spirit, genius, and the “ The home,” he says, “ which has hith- manner in which it is realizing the ideal erto been the fundamental agency for that has brought it into existence. fostering morality in the young, is just It is not possible at present to make a now in sore need of repair. We can no comprehensive and accurate study of the longer depend upon it alone for moral moral value of the public school system. guardianship. It must be supplemented, The method of examination must be inpossibly reconstructed.” It still does, ductive, and the conditions vary so greatand always will, train the choice few forly in different communities that it is exleadership; but after enumerating the ceedingly difficult to reach conclusions homes in which the best that was in that are drawn from a sufficiently large Puritanism still is the controlling ele- number of facts to make one's deducment, and those that develop morality tions satisfactory. The literature upon by means of the self-respect engendered the subject, and in fact upon the general by intellectual and æsthetic culture, — in subject of the public schools, especially fact, all those in which high ideals pre- from a sociological and economic point dominate, there is still left a vast num- of view, is exceedingly meagre. A good ber where self-seeking is the main prin- illustration of this point is the article in ciple of life. If to the number of children the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia in these latter homes are added the thou- Britannica, where, in over one hundred sands who exist with scarcely any trace
of its large and closely printed pages upon of home life to shelter them, we shall be the United States, less than quarter of a forced to admit that there would be a page is devoted to this institution, and moral crisis if the public school were not even what is written is of no special value. doing its beneficent work.
Such papers as the articles of Dr. Rice which have lately appeared in The Forum More than this, however, there is ethiwill furnish the basis of other work, and cal value in the very conception from encouragement should be given to such which the movement started, and the idea critical examinations of the system; and along which it has developed. The nomuch more work of this nature must be tion of self-improvement for a high end done before a comprehensive and dis- has in itself moral worth ; for it demands criminating thesis can be written upon the that the youth of the country shall be real influence of the public schools upon upright not only because excellence of the morals of the country.
character is a good in itself, but because Certain conclusions, however, in re- it promotes the good of the state. The gard to their power can be reached, and expenditure of such a large proportion these ought to be stated in an article at- of the public revenues, the erection of tempting to give a judicial opinion of their so many buildings, the employment of ethical merits. First there should be in- such large numbers of high-minded perdicated the points both of direct and of sons, the creation and constant support indirect ethical value, and then the lines of such an elaborate scheme, for the one of weakness or of positive failure. purpose of producing good citizens, are
Modern psychology, leading to the object lessons that must have great influstudy of the objective manifestations of ence upon the public. mind, tells us that “ habit covers a very What has been said indicates some of large part of life ; ” that instincts are the lines in which the schools exert a disimply habits to which there is an innate rect moral influence ; but in addition to tendency; and that these habits are due this a large amount of testimony shows to what is characterized as the "plasti- that, especially where there is a compulcity” of brain matter to outward influ- sory school law, a sense of responsibility
Whether, for example, as one of has been developed in parents, making our distinguished writers upon psycho- them recognize their own obligations. physics has told us, the habit of putting This, the reflex influence of the public one's hands into one's pockets is mechani- schools upon the communities in which cally nothing but the reflex discharge, or the system is at its best, is shown in many not, the fact remains that “the walking ways. Parents whose education has been bundle of habits of later years ” does spin meagre and faulty have become learners his fate for good or evil in that plastic themselves, and have been led for the first state which covers the time when the child time to consider seriously the duties and is usually a pupil in the public schools. future of their children ; and this thought
a If this is true, there is reason for saying for the welfare of others has had a wholethat there is ethical value in the syste- some reaction upon their own lives. matic order and discipline that are found In naming the elements that give moral in the majority of these schools. The value to the public schools mention should constant and punctual attendance, the or- be made of the indirect good accomderly arrangement of pupils, together plished by keeping large numbers of chilwith strict requirements in connection dren from the haphazard companionship with these matters, fit one for successful of the streets, and from idleness and debusiness life, and create a sense of re- grading influences. Especially in the sponsibility in regard to the use of time. larger towns and cities has this been true. The system of the public schools tends to To this negative protective good should make the pupil systematic, and helps to be added the positive advantage derived produce the accurate and methodical man from the acquisition of habits of neatness, or woman of later years. The testimony personal cleanliness, and, in many schools, in regard to this is incontrovertible. good manners.
After enumerating these things, which be
power for resisting wrong or for the are more or less incidental to the sys- performance of duty. tem, and others that might and ought to In this connection mention should be be considered, it still remains to be said made of a certain force of character that the greatest ethical value in the pub- which may be produced by the element lic school system is, and must ever be, of continuity in the courses of study the intellectual work that is accomplished through which the pupils are required by it. There can be no doubt that there to pass. So far as these are fitted to is a great amount of teaching that is not the normal, natural method of mental only unmoral, but positively immoral, in growth in the pupil they have ethical its direct or indirect influence. Recent value. Obedience to the laws of mental publications demonstrate this fact, and development is essential to the highest
, show that the public schools will be at type of manhood, and abnormal, restricttheir best as a moral force when their ed, unnatural mental growth is apt to work is thoroughly scientific.
produce immorality. Their success, then, in achieving the The things that have been mentioned purpose for which they have been cre- lie on the hopeful side of this problem, ated depends primarily upon the charac- and on the whole they make the outlook ter of the instruction that is given in encouraging. They lead, however, to the them. It may be true that “pupils will question, How can an institution which not learn their lessons in arithmetic if is fraught with so much good, and which they have not already made some pro- is necessary to the life of the state, be still gress in concentration, in self-forgetful- further improved, and how can certain ness, in acceptance of duty;” but it is evils within it be eradicated ? To do a equally true that mental exactitude and little in the effort to answer this questhoroughness of work, under the influ- tion, and also that this statement of the ence of a teacher whose method is sci- moral problem of the public schools may entific and whose spirit is earnest, will not be one-sided, an examination must be develop the elements that produce con- made of the evils that at least modify centration, self- forgetfulness, and duti- their usefulness. fulness. The tendency of mechanical, Dr. Rice says, in his last article on unscientific instruction is towards immo- Our Public School System, “ One half the rality. Schools that are under the con- work of placing the schools
healthtrol of selfish officials, with incompetent ful foundation has been accomplished supervision and antiquated methods of when the members of the boards of eduteaching, have no power to quicken those cation become endowed with the desire springs of action which are the sources to improve the schools.” To accept as of morality. On the other hand, ethical final the opinion that they are perfect capacity and moral strength can and always results in the evil elements' beought to be produced by a high-minded coming conspicuous. The most dangerinstructor in and through the very pro- ous official is the one who regards no cess of teaching arithmetic, grammar, and criticism as valid simply because it is utgeography. Mental activity and intellec- tered against the public schools. Neglect tual self-respect are important factors in of such an essential institution is not the truest morality. Habits of attention worse than bigoted satisfaction with it and observation may be developed into and all that pertains to it. self-control, and the power of judgment The pride of its friends is that it is a into capacity for distinguishing between great system of education. Mention has right and wrong. The ability to hold
The ability to hold already been made of the value of the eleone's self uninterruptedly to any task may ment of continuity in a course of study,