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SPECIAL INSTRUCTION IN GREAT BRITAIN.
I. INDIVIDUAL PROMOTERS OF REALISTIC INSTRUCTION.
Under the Church system of education, which supplanted the barbarism of an earlier period, and which prevailed throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as in Europe generally, all institutions, endowments and methods were designed to foster instruction in language, and those speculative studies which were found particularly useful in ecclesiastical affairs. But English literature is not without occasional witnesses to the defective arrangements then existing, and appeals and suggestions for other institutions and instruction.
SIR THOMAS ELYOT.
Sir THOMAS Elyor, in " The Governor, "* first published in 1544, which was designed to instruct men, and especially men of noble birth, in good morals, and in the ways of usefulness, recommends that young gentlemen be brought up “to draw, paint, and carve,” and put to frequent practice “with poises made of lead," lifting or throwing the heavy stone or bar, in wrestling, running, swimming, ling, dancing, and shooting with the long bow. In addition to these recreations, he praises the industry of the king of Prussia, "who in a time vacant from the affairs of his realm, planted innumerable trees, which long before he died brought forth abundance of fruit."
FRANCIS LORD BACON.
Francis Bacon (born in 1561 and died in 1626) was the earliest and ablest champion of a broad educational policy, both in opening up the whole field of science for better culture, and in founding new places of learning, and holding out stronger inducements for ingenious minds to devote themselves to natural science. In the preface to the Second Book on the Dignity and Advancement of Learning, addressed to the king, and written in 1605, he thus speaks of the deficiencies in the provisions for higher culture in his day, and the necessity of new schools dedicated to the study of the Arts and Sciences at large, as well as professorships, laboratories, and other facilities of experiment and practice.
First, therefore, among so many noble foundations of colleges in Europe, I find it strange that they are all dedicated to professions, and none left free to the study of arts and sciences at large. For if men judge that learning should be referred to use and action, they judge well; but it is easy in this to fall into the error pointed at in the ancient fable; in which the other parts of the body found fault with the stomach, because it neither performed the office of motion as the limbs do, nor of sense, as the head does; but yet, notwithstanding, it is the stomach which digests and distributes the aliment to all the rest. So if any man think that Philosophy and Universality are idle and unprofitable studies, he does not consider that all arts and professions are from thence supplied with sap and strength. And this I take to be a great cause, which has so long hindered the more flourishing progress of learning; because these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage, and not drunk deeper * For copious extracts, see Burnurd's American Journal of Education, vol. xvi. 483-496.
of. For if you will have a tree bear more fruit than it has used to do, it is not any thing you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth, and putting richer mould about the roots, that must work it. Neither is it to be forgotten that this dedication of colleges and societies to the use only of professory learning has not only been inimical to the growth of the sciences, but has also been prejudicial to states and governments. For hence it proceeds that princes when they have to choose men for business of state, find a wonderful dearth of able men around them; because there is no collegiate education designed for these purposes, where men naturally so disposed and affected might (besides other arts) give themselves especially to histories, modern languages, books of policy and civil discourse; whereby they might come better prepared and instructed to offices of state.
And because founders of Colleges do plant, and founders of Lectures do water, I must next speak of the deficiencies which I find in public lectures; wherein I especially disapprove of the smallness of the salary assigned to lecturers in arts and professions, particularly amongst ourselves. For it is very necessary to the progression of sciences that lecturers in every sort be of the most able and sufficient men; as those who are ordained not for transitory use, but for keeping up the race and succession of knowledge from age to age. This can not be, except their condition and endowment be such that the most eminent professors may be well contented and willing to spend their whole life in that function and attendance, without caring for practice. And therefore if you will have sciences flourish, you must observe David's military law: which was, "That those who stayed with the baggage should have equal part with those who were in the action;" else will the baggage be ill attended. So lecturers in sciences are as it were the keepers and guardians of the whole store and provision of learning, whence the active and militant part of the sciences is furnished; and therefore they ought to have equal entertainment and profit with the men of active life.
Certain it is that for depth of speculation no less than for fruit of operation in some sciences (especially natural philosophy and physic) other helps are required besides books. Wherein also the beneficence of men has not been altogether wanting; for we see spheres, globes, astrolabes, maps, and the like, have been provided and prepared as assistants to astronomy and cosmography, as well as books. We see likewise that some places instituted for physic have gardens for the examination and knowledge of simples of all sorts, and are not without the use of dead bodies for anatomical observations. But these respect but a few things. In general
, it may be held for certain that there will hardly be any great progress in the unraveling and unlocking of the secrets of nature, except there be a full allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be experiments appertaining to Vulcan or Dædalus (that is, the furnace or engine), or any other kind. And therefore as secretaries and emissaries of princes are allowed to bring in bills of expenses for their diligence in exploring and unraveling plots and civil secrets, so the searchers and spies of nature must have their expenses paid, or else you will never be well informed of a great number of things most worthy to be known. For if Alexander made such a liberal assignation of money to Aristotle, to support hunters, fowlers, fishers and the like, that he might be better furnished for compiling a History of Animals; certainly much more do they deserve it, who, instead of wandering in the forests of nature, make their way through the labyrinths of arts.
Bacon also advises an examination of the studies in existing Universities and Schools, in reference to leaving out some that are obsolete, and introducing others which are fresh and useful, and a reorganization generally to adapt the studies better to the natural order of development of the human faculties, and the future uses of life. He also suggests that the different Universities, or schools of learning, should be brought "into a noble and generous brotherhood;" that a more careful and accurate survey of the sciences actually cultivated “as well as of those not yet converted to use by the industry of man," should be made, and that better text-books and better methods of instruction generally should be introduced. In the Sixth Book, “ De Augmentis Scientiarum,” he gives the preference to the genetic method, where the teacher "transplants knowledge into the scholar's mind, as it crew in his own.” " Methods should vary according to the subject to be taught, for in knowledge itself there is great diversity.” "A judicious blending and interchange between the easier and more difficult branches of learning, adapted to the individual capabilities, and to the future occupation of pupils, will profit both the mental and bodily powers and make instruction acceptable. Go to nature and listen to her many voices, consider her ways and learn her doings; so shall you bend her to your will. For knowledge is Power"—is the substance of Bacon's Ped
JOHN MILTON. John Milton held and proclaimed views of educational reform more comprehensive and more radical even than those of Lord Bacon. In his Tractate on Education, addressed to Samuel Hartlib in 1644, he presented the outline of a system "designed to teach science with language, or rather to make the study of languages subservient to the acquisition of scientific knowledge," supplemented and utilized by the widest survey of practical operations in the field and workshop. The plan is liable to objection from the multiplicity of subjects embraced in its scope, and from the necessity in his day of resorting to textbooks, which very inadequately presented the principles of science and the processes of the arts; but the leading suggestions have been, within the last half-century, realized in the Polytechnic Schools of Germany, and are now partially embraced in the organization of the special schools of France.
Passing beyond the elementary projects of Ratich and Comenius, which he alludes to under the designation of "many modern Januas and Didactics," he accepts the study of language " as the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known," and especially “the languages of those people who have been most industrious after wisdom," but asserts that by better methods, a truly valuable knowledge of the Greek and Latin tongues and literatures can be "easily and delightfully" made in one-seventh of the time usually bestowed on their acquisition—which with most amounts only “to forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are acts of ripest judgments, in wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idioms." On such knowledge of the Latin and Greek, as he claims can be given, the substance of good things and arts in due order (as of agriculture in Cato, Varro, and Columella; of historical physiology in Aristotle and Theophrastus ; of natural history in Vitruvius, Pliny, Celsus; of ethics in Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Plutarch, &c.,) can be mastered in orderly perusal in acquiring these languages.
With the reading of Latin and Greek is to go along the daily “conning of sensible things (object teaching)," the study of arithmetic, geometry, geography, and astronomy with the use of the globes and of maps, the elements of natural philosophy and physics, higher mathematics with the instrumental science of trigonometry, fortification, architecture, engineering and navigation, and natural history, including minerals, plants and animals, and the elements of anatomy and hygiene. Here is a course of study closely resembling the best gymnasium and polytechnic courses of Germany; and to make the resemblance more close, the author exclaims: “To set forward all these proceedings in nature and mathematics, what hinders but that they may procure as oft as shall be needful the helpful experiences of hunters, fowlers, fishermen, shepherds, gardeners, apothecaries; and in other sciences, of architects, engineers, mariners, and anatomists "—"and this will give them such a real tincture of natural knowledge as they shall never forget, but daily augment with delight.”
* See Barnard's American Journal of Education, v. 663 ; xiii. 103.
To this range of the mathematical sciences and their applications, Milton adds constant and sound endoctrinating in the knowledge of virtue and hatred of vice, while their pliant affections are led through all the moral works of the best Latin and Greek authors, and the Evangelist and Apostolic Scriptures." Being perfect in the knowledge of personal duty, they may then begin the study of economics, followed by the beginning, and reasons of political societies (politics), and on Sundays and every evening, the highest matters of theology and Church history, ancient and modern. These high and severe studies are to be relieved by choice comedies and tragedies, the laws and specimens of the true cpic and lyric poem, and the divine harmonies of music heard and learned; and to be closed with the study and practice of logic and rhetoric, pursued in the ancient as well as modern text-books, and in the composition of original matter, so that when called on hereafter to speak in parliament or council, honor and attention would be waiting on their lips. “These are the studies wherein our noble and our gentle youth ought to bestow their time in a disciplinary way from twelve to one-and-twenty, unless they rely more upon their ancestors dead, than upon themselves living."
Milton does not overlook the importance of physical training, and throughout the Tractate associates manual labor, mechanical dexterity, and athletic sports, with the highest culture—the better to fit the youth of England "both for peace or war.” “Fencing, the exact use of their weapon, to guard and strike safely with edge or point; wrestling, wherein Englishmen are wont to excel; and regular military motions under sky or court, according to the season, first on foot, then as their age permits, on horseback to all the art of cavalry,” are in the regular programme of the Academy wbich Milton would institute for every city throughout the land. To these home exercises, occupying two hours in the day, he adds occasional excursions, sometimes "to go out and see the riches of nature and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth;" and in the long vacations, “to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides to all quarters of the land, learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building, and of soil for towns and tillage, harbors and ports of trade; sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing and seafight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them, would fetch it out, and give it opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into faslıion again the old admired virtues.” To enlarge experience and make wise observation, foreign travel is recommended for those who through age and culture can profit by the society and friendship of the best and most eminent men in places which they may visit.
Such is a very imperfect outline of this masterly treatise* of John Milton, in which the great poet and profound scholar anticipates many of the most advanced plans and practices of this age.
* The Tractate of Milton will be found in Barnard's American Journal of Education, ro', ii. 81, and xi. 451, and in Papers for the Teacher, Fifth Series, p. 115.
HARTLIB——PETTYM-HOOLE-COWLEY-DECKER. The period of the Commonwealth was signalized by plans of institutions, and suggestions of new subjects and methods of instruction, which, if they had not been buried under the reactionary influences of the Restoration, would have gradually overcome, as on the Continent, the unnatural supremacy of the dead languages, and have installed new courses into the schools of a commercial and manufacturing people. Drawing, mathematics, and the experimental and natural sciences, and modern languages, would long ere this have been recognized for their value in mental discipline, general knowledge, and special uses.
SAMUEL HARTLIB (1616–1665) was the son of a Polish merchant of Luthania married to an English woman, whose connections brought him to London in 1636. His whole time and fortune, including a pension of £300 from the Council of State, were devoted to the advancement of agriculture and education, and the public service generally. He died poor, and the government of that trifling and dissolute ruler Charles II. withheld his pension, although Milton speaks of him as “one sent hither by some good Providence from a far country, to be the occasion and incitement of great good to this island," and a paper in the Philosophical Transactions twenty years after his death, asserts that “his exposures of the defective husbandry of English farmers, and the expositions published by him of the better system of Flanders, had enriched England to the amount of untold millions.” His “ Academy,” in which (among other things] exercises of industry not usual thien in common schools, and the methods of Comenius and Ratich (whose “ Didactics," “ Janua," and "Orbis Pictus," he had caused to be translated and printed), were introduced, and his " Propositions for the erecting of a College of Husbandry," if properly sustained, would have opened up another well-spring of national wealth.
CHARLES HOOLE (1610–1666), a graduate of Oxford, an eminent schoolmaster, and the author of twenty-four pedagogical works, translated the “ Orbis Sensualium Pictus" and the "Janua Reserata Linguarum" of Comenius, and prácticed Object Teaching (the new method of our day) two hundred years ago in his school iu Louthbury, London, from a text-book “adorned with pictures to make children understand it better," and from “ things kept ready in every great school." His “ Usher's Duty" and “ New Discovery of the Old Art of Teaching," is valuable now for its intrinsic and permanent interest.
SiR WILLIAM PETTY (1623–1687), the founder of the House of Lansdowne, was not only a valuable contributor to the science of political economy, but by his “Plan of a Trade School," published in 1647, is justly entitled to the credit of being one of the earliest writers in the field of technical education.
ABRAHAM COWLEY (1618-1667), whose “ Plan of a Philosophical College" (first printed in 1662) was preferred by Dr. Johnson to that of Milton's Academy, anticipated by two hundred years the propositions now under consideration in England, as well as the schools and classes now in operation under the auspices of the Science Department, in which “ Art, Agriculture, Architecture, Navigation, the Mysteries of all Trades, and Natural Histories" were to be taught by Professors, "chosen for their solid and experimental knowledge of the things they teach," and assisted" by Laboratories for Chemical Operations and Gardens for all manner of experiments.”
Sir Nathan DESKER, in 1744, published an " Essay on the Causes of the Decline of the Foreign Trade," in which he urged the importance of English artizans learning to draw and design with taste. “A workman who is a good draughtsman will be more ingenious in a business that requires skill in drawing than one who is ignorant of it; so his work, being better designed, will improve the ingenuity of his apprentices who won't bear to see an ill-fancied piece of work."