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to such progress always comes from without and above. The civilization of the world has a fountain-head. The same law holds true in education. An ignorant community has no inward impulse to lead it to educate itself. Just where education is most needed there it is always least appreciated and valued. The half-savage population of Ban de la Roche had for centuries hugged their barbarism, when the good Oberlin went among them. Berkeley, a colonial Governor of Virginia, thanked God that there were no free schools in his colony, and only twice twelve months ago the slave shamble, instead of the school-house, still stood at the cross-roads of the Old Dominion. The demand for education is always awakened by external influences and agencies. Hence, Adam Smith and other writers on political economy expressly except education from the operation of the general law of supply and demand.
This law has a wide application in school affairs. Communities that have, indeed, some general appreciation of education, rest satisfied with very indifferent schools until some influence supplies the impulse to reform and progress. No one obstacle lies so directly across the track of school advancement as the idea entertained by nearly every community that they have attained unsurpassed excellence in education; and this self-flattery often exists where the work of reform needs to be most earnestly undertaken. A National Bureau would hold up to many school systems a mirror which would reveal attainable results and desirable changes.
I remark, finally, that the creation of a National Bureau would be a practical recognition by the government of the value and necessity of universal education as a means of perpetuating free institutions. It would impart to the common school cause a dignity and a character which would surely widen its influence and enhance its efficiency. It would be an argument for the education of the people, which would be felt throughout the country.
The highest success of the Bureau will, of course, depend much upon the manner in which it is officered. Instead of being made a burrow for seedy politicians, it must be made the center of the ripest experience, and the most eminent attainments to be found among the educators of the country. The work of such a Bureau must be directed by a mind that comprehends the aim and scope of education, its philosophy, its history, its processes, its practical details.
But we need to go further than this. Commissions similar to the great Commissions that have been sitting successively in Great Britain, should be appointed by Congress to examine respectively into our systems of collegiate education, our professional or special schools, and the instruction of our public schools. Such investigations would exert a powerful influence upon our educational systems which have as yet neither crystallized nor fossilized. Now is the opportune time to introduce changes and modifications.
Let it be remembered that the next great problem of republican institutions is the uplifting of each successive generation of Americans to a true comprehension of their high duties and responsibilities. In this sublime work, society, the state, and the nation must be conjoined. Around each child born into American liberty, they must stand as a triple guaranty that the boon of education shall not be denied.
Xn. STUDIES AND CONDUCT.
SUGGESTIONS BT MEN EMINENT IN LETTERS AND AITAIR8.
LETTER FROM LORD BROUGHAM TO ZACHARY MACAULEY, ESQ., ON THE TRAIN-
Newcastle, March 10, 1823. Mr Dear Friend:—My principal object in writing to yon to-day is to offer you some suggestions, in consequence of some conversation I have just had with Lord Grey, who has spoken of your son (at Cambridge) in terms of the greatest praise. He takes his account from his son; but from all I know, and have learnt in other quarters, I doubt not that his judgment is well formed. Now you, of course, destine him for the bar, and, assuming that this, and the public objects incidental to it, are in his views, I would fain impress upon you, (and through you, upon him,) a truth or two which experience has made me aware of, and which I would have given a great deal to have been acquainted with earlier in life from the experience of others.
First, that the foundation of all excellence is to be laid in early application to general knowledge, is clear; that he is already aware of; and equally so it is, (of which he may not be so well aware,) that professional eminence can only be attained by entering betimes into the lowest drudgery—the most repulsive labors of the profession—even a year in an attorney's office, as the law is now practiced, I should not hold too severe a task, or too high a price to pay, for the benefit it must surely lead to; but, at all events, the life of a special pleader, I am quite convinced, is the thing before being called to the bar. A young man whose mind has once been well imbued with general learning, and has acquired classical propensities, will never sink into a mere drudge. He will always save himself harmless from the dull atmosphere he must live and work in, and the sooner he will emerge from it, and arrive at eminence. But what I wish to inculcate especially, with a view to the great talent for pub* lie speaking which your son happily possess, is that he should cultivate that talent in the only way in which it can reach the height of the art, and I wish to turn his attention to two points. I speak on this subject with the authority both of experience and observation; I have made it very much my study in theory; have written a great deal upon it which may never see the light, and something which has been published; have meditated much and conversed much on it with famous men; have had some little practical experience in it, but have prepared for much more than I ever tried, by a variety of laborious methods, reading, writing, much translation, composing in foreign languages, &c, and I have lived in times when there were great orators among us; therefore I reckon my opinion worth listening to, and the rather, because I have the utmost confidence in it myself, and should have saved a world of trouble and much time had I started with a conviction of its truth.
1. The first point is this,—the beginning of the art is to acquire a habit of easy speaking; and, in whatever way this can be had (which individual inclination or accident will generally direct, and may safely be allowed to do so,) it must be had. Now, I differ from all other doctors of rhetoric in this,—I say, let him first of all learn to speak easily and fluently, as well as sensibly as he can no doubt, but at any rate let him learn to speak. This is to eloquence, or good public speaking, what the being able to talk in a child is to correct grammatical speech. It is the requisite foundation, and on it you must build. Moreover, it can only be acquired young, therefore let it by all means, and at any sacrifice, be gotten hold of forthwith. But in acquiring it every sort of slovenly error will also be acquired. It must be got by a habit of easy writing (which, as Wyndham said, proved hard reading) by a custom of talking much in company; by speaking in debating societies, with little attention to rule, and more love of saying something at any rate than of saying any thing well. I can even suppose that more attention is paid to the matter in such discussions than in the manner of saying it; yet still to say it easily, ad libitum, to be able to say what you choose, and what you have to say,—this is the first requisite, to acquire which every thing else must for the present be sacrificed.
2. The next step is the grand one—to convert this style of easy speaking into chaste eloquence. And here there is but one rule. I do earnestly entreat your son to set daily and nightly before him the Greek models. First of all he may look to the best modern speeches (as he probably has already); Burke's best compositions, as the "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents;" speech "On the American Conciliation," and " On the Nabob of Arcot's Debt;" Fox's "Speech on the Westminster Scrutiny," (the first part of which he should pore over till he has it by heart); "On the Russian Armament," and "On the War," 1808, with one or two of Wyndham's best, and very few, or rather none, of Sheridan's; but he must by no means stop here. If he would be a great orator, he must go at once to the fountain head, and be familiar with every one of the great orations of Demosthenes. I take for granted that he knows those of Cicero by heart; they are very beautiful, but not very useful, except perhaps the Milo, pro Ligario, and one or two more; but the Greek must positively be the model; and merely reading it, as boys do, to know the language, won't do at all; ho must enter into the spirit of each speech, thoroughly know the positions of the parties, follow each turn of the argument, and make the absolutely perfect and most chaste and severe composition familiar to his mind. His taste will improve every time he reads and repeats to himself (for he should have the fine passages by heart,) and he will learn how much may be done by a skillful use of a few words and a rigorous rejection of all superfluities. In this view I hold a familiar knowledge of Dante to be next to Demosthenes. It is in vain to say that imitations of these models will not do for our times. First, I do not counsel any imitation, but only an imbibing of the same spirit. Secondly, I know from experience that nothing is half so successful in these times (bad though they be) as what has been formed on the Greek models. I use a very poor instance in giving my own experience, but I do assure you that both in courts of law and Parliament, and even to mobs, I have never made so much play (to use a very modern phrase) as when I was almost translating from the Greek.
I commenced the peroration of my speech for the Queen, in the Lords, after reading and repeating Demosthenes for three or four weeks, and I composed it twenty times over at least, and it certainly succeeded in a very extraordinary degree, and far above any merits of its own. This leads me to remark, that though speaking, with writing beforehand, is very well until the habit of easy speech is acquired, yet after that he can never write too much; this is quite clear. It is laborious, no doubt, and it is more difficult beyond comparison than speaking off-hand; but it is necessary to perfect oratory, and at any rate it is necessary to acquire the habit of correct diction. But I go further, and say, even to the end of a man's life he must prepare word for word most of his finer passages. Now, would he be a great orator or no t In other words, would he have almost absolute power of doing good to mankind, in a free country or no f So be wills this, he must follow these rules.
Believe me truly yours,