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tend to attach undue importance to the intellectual achievements of a youth's early years. Again, are we sure that a tendency is wholly good which is in the direction of creating such a well-organised professional society of teachers as to immerse them in a world of similar interests and standards, and somewhat to detach them from opportunities of mixing freely and constantly, and as a matter of course, with all sorts and conditions of other people? The school is only too apt to get a standpoint and standard of its own. It is not an end in itself, but an organ of the incessantly changing national life. And is there not special reason therefore for teachers to keep in touch with men and women of all sorts and of very different kinds of experience and occupation?
I have urged that national education in its true sense is not a matter of schools alone but partly the organised provision of good and tested teaching in all subjects necessary to be learnt, partly the attempt to furnish opportunities for the effective development and training of individual wills, and partly the pressure of a sort of envelope of varied influences acting on the sympathies, the imagination, the judgment and the will, stimulating all alike into activity but, so far as may be, imparting, not identity of belief, or of ideal, or of prejudice, but a certain uniformity of tone to the complexion of the mind, a certain predisposition to conform to a general type. And I have tried to show that, by reason of very deep and ancient fissures in our national life, England has been peculiarly ill-disposed towards the idea of anything tending to give the advantage, either in propaganda or in social opportunity or in prestige, to one or other of certain broadly differing views of life and of national duty. Montesquieu said of the English people that, of all others, it "has best known how to enlist in its service these three great things-religion, commerce and liberty." Whatever be the truth of this observation, it will be agreed that these three things are apt to be disintegrating elements in any form of spiritual or intellectual monopoly.
It is still frequently said that every nation stands for an idea, but it is not easy to define the idea for which England (not to speak of the British Empire) stands to-day-unless indeed it is for the conviction that no single idea is adequate to the consciousness of a modern nation and that what is most needed is protection against outward assault (and in less measure against internal bullying), so as to permit the growth, the interplay, the fusion or reaction of varying ideas and ideals within the compass of the national life. One indeed we arefor defence; but divided still, profoundly divided, in regard to schemes of inner unifying organisation in so far as they might threaten to override with violence, or attempt to obliterate, conscientious differences of faith or opinion. And, therefore, I would venture to maintain that what Emerson called the English duality is, in its truer manifestations and when rightly understood, the essential characteristic of the national mind, and that, though perhaps it is the source of temporary weakness, and, under existing circumstances, of some national peril, our mixture of ideals is the fount of much lasting strength and freshness of mind and sympathy. For is it not characteristic of our most trusted leaders to shrink from extremes, however tempting and effective, and rather to stumble on, at the cost of being misunderstood, often at the cost of much slipshod and unsatisfactory compromise, and at the cost of seeming to attempt to combine incompatible opposites—yet nevertheless to maintain that in the logic of life the middle way is nearest to the truth; that out of all the opposite and apparently conflicting tendencies-freedom and authority, inquiry and obedience, individual liberty and State control, private effort and corporate life-comes the resultant force which best helps us forward to better things; and that, as Aristotle said, "tact and perception, not reasoning, must decide the mean"?
There are some, indeed, to whom this view is repugnant, and whose minds can find no rest except under the fixed
authority of some established rule. Others again are so constituted as to fret against any interference with individual liberty in the sphere of thought, or with communal or sectional independence in the sphere of political action. But I am speaking of the central mass of the English people, and of them it seems true that they instinctively incline to institutions which attempt, in Pascal's words, "the union and harmony of two seemingly opposite truths." Our political instinct leads us to feel that, even in the case of the conflicting tendencies of authority and freedom, balance and combination are not unattainable. How to accomplish such a combination may baffle our powers of constructive statesmanship; but even failure to achieve it leaves us none the less unwilling to regard either extreme tendency as in itself a sufficient principle of wise action. And of no part of our political task is this so true as of that which appertains to national education. Yet the balance, even when attained, is unstable and soon disturbed by the natural growth of new needs. Each generation, in its attempt to restore the balance, has to lay special stress on the one principle or on the other, according to the needs of this or that part of the body politic. In education, for example, it was necessary early in the century to fight against the false claims to authority put forward by some who spoke on behalf of the Established Church. In our own time it is rather on the value of a strong central authority that stress needs to be laid. Yet neither in complete freedom from central control, nor in any extreme form of State or municipal monopoly, are we likely to find the right balance of educational policy. Both elements, skilfully adjusted and ever in course of readjustment, are necessary, if we are to secure educational progress according to modern standards and yet retain educational freedom. But there is no ready-made formula, by help of which our statesmen can fix the balance. They have to find it as best they can, cautiously feeling their way with such help as is given by the lessons of history by
administrative tradition, by foreign experience, and by their own practical knowledge of the character and predilections of the nation which they serve. Rules and precedents help up to a certain point, but at every great crisis in national history (and the present is a crisis in the history of national education) we reach the limit beyond which the help of old rules cannot go.
Yet I am far from intending to argue that a mush of muddle-headed compromise and of unprincipled concession has any claim to be regarded as the golden mean. Nor again
is the true via media to be marked out by any mechanical calculation of the half-way point between two conflicting extremes. On the contrary, any such intermediate measure may miss gaining that part of the truth which lies with each of the two extremes. It may sometimes be necessary to combine two apparently opposite and conflicting tendencies, and to hold them together in order to gain an expression of the whole truth. But, in the main, Richard Baxter's words hold true, "Greater light and stronger judgment are usually with the reconcilers than with either of the contending parties." Yet nowhere is a surer purpose needed than on the via media, along which the traveller feels his way, exerting every intellectual gift in judging the changing indications of safety and danger, but always conscious that, indispensable as is the utmost intellectual exertion, it rarely suffices as a guide through the perplexities and shifting perils among which he has to pass. Something of deeper origin and of more subtle power than conscious reasoning is needed by him as a guide. New problems arise before him not contemplated by the writers who have summarised for him the experience of the past. Just as the moral genius pushes his way through the new conditions which confront him, and by means of this exploration furnishes the experience out of which philosophers revise old rules of conduct or formulate new ones: so the political genius of a great statesman, interpreting (and in turn
supported by) the political instinct of his nation, has to feel its way through problems which are so embryonic and involved that no man may with confidence predict their final issue.
In conclusion I would submit that, under modern conditions and in the case of such a country as our own, the part of the State in national education is not to stand aloof altogether, as some extreme individualists would hold: nor, as Adam Smith contended, to provide primary schools and ignore everything else: nor, as John Stuart Mill suggested, to maintain a system of schools of its own as one among several competing systems; but rather to draw toward itself, to inspire, to stimulate, and (when needful) to aid, each and every type and instance of efficient and needed school, while absorbing, controlling, crushing none; aiming, that is, not at monopoly, but at comprehensive federation of schools and colleges; at strengthening educational freedom, not at any restriction of it; at self-criticism, not at the discouragement of criticism; at the planning, and record of careful and systematic experiments; at the very liberal encouragement of educational, psychological and hygienic research of all kinds, in all types of schools, and those not in England alone; and at the wide diffusion, among all concerned, of the accurate but varied and outspoken observations thus secured, with a view to the development and guidance of a well-informed and skilfully observant public and professional opinion.
But still more earnestly would I plead that in all plans for education, because education is one of the spiritual aspects of the national life, there is need for the utmost circumspection in adjusting the claims of humane studies and of physical science, as well as those of liberal culture and of professional training. We need constantly to remind ourselves that the rising generation has not to be prepared merely to pass examinations, or for an imaginary life of ideal ease and intellectual recreation, nor yet on the other hand merely to play a boisterous part in struggles for private gain; but that the chief object of education