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§ 1. The history of education, much as it has been hitherto neglected, especially in England, must have a great future before it. If we ignore the Past we cannot understand the Present, or forecast the Future. In this book I am going to speak of Reformers or Innovators who aimed at changing what was handed down to them; but the Radical can no more escape from the Past, than the Conservative can stereotype it. It acts not by attraction only, but no less by repulsion. There have been thinkers in latter times who have announced themselves as the executioners of the Past aud laboured to destroy all it has bequeathed to us. They have raised the ferocious cry, "Vive la destruction ! Vive la mort! Place à l'avenir ! Hurrah for destruction! Hurrah for death! Make room for the world that is to be!" But their very hatred of the Past has brought them under the influence of it. "Do just the opposite of what has been done and you will do right," said Rousseau; and this rule of negation would make the Past regulate the Present and the Future no less than its opposite, "Do always what is usual."

If we cannot get free from the Past in the domain of thought, still less can we in action. Custom is to all our

No escape from the Past.

activities what the mainspring is to the watch. We may bring forces into play to make the watch go faster or slower, but if we took out the mainspring it would not go at all. For our mainspring we are indebted to the Past.

§ 2. In studying the Past we must give our special attention to those periods in which the course of ideas takes, as the French say, a new bend.* Such a period was the Renascence. Then it was that the latest bend was given to the educational ideal of the civilized world; and though we seem now again to have arrived at a period of change, we are still, perhaps far more than we are aware, affected by the ideas of the great scholars who guided the intellect of Europe in the Revival of Learning.

§ 3. From the beginning to the end of the fifteenth century the balance was trembling between two kinds of culture, and the fate of the schoolboy depended on the result. In this century men first got a correct conception of the globe they were inhabiting. Hitherto they had not even professed to have any knowledge of geography; there is no mention of it in the Trivium and Quadrivium which were then supposed to form the cycle of things known, if not of things knowable. But Columbus and Vasco da Gama were grand teachers of geography, and their lessons were learnt as far as civilization extended.

The impetus thus given to the study of the earth might, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, have engrossed the mind of Europe with the material world, had not the leaning to physical science been encountered and overcome by an impulse derived from another discovery. About the

The rest of this chapter was published in the September, 1880, number of Education. Boston, U.S.A.

Discovery of the Classics.

time of the discovery of America there also came to light the literatures of Greece and Rome.

§ 4. When I speak of the discovery of the ancient literatures as rivalling that of America, this use of the word "discovery" may be disputed. It may be urged that though the Greek language and literature were unknown in the West of Europe till they were brought there by the fugitives after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, yet the works of the great Latin writers had always been known in Italy, and Dante declares himself the disciple of Virgil. And yet I cannot give up the word "discovery." In the life of an individual it sometimes happens that he suddenly acquires as it were a new sense. The world around him remains the same as before, but it is not the same to him. A film passes from his eyes, and what has been ordinary and unmeaning suddenly becomes a source of wonder and delight to him. Something similar happens at times in the history of the general mind; indeed our own century has seen a remarkable instance of it. In reading the thoughts of great writers of earlier times, we cannot but be struck, not only with their ignorance of the material world, but also with their ignorance of their ignorance. Little as they know, they often speak as if they knew everything. Newton could see that he was like a child discovering a few shells while the unexplored ocean lay before him; but in those days it required the intellect of a Newton to understand this. To the other children the ocean seemed to conceal nothing, and they innocently thought that all the shells, or nearly all, had been picked up. It was reserved for the people of our own century to become aware of the marvels which lie around us in the material world, and to be fascinated by the discovery. If the human race could live through several civilizations without opening its eyes to the

Mark Pattison's account of Renascence.

wonders of the earth it inhabits, and then could suddenly become aware of them, we may well understand its retaining unheeded the literatures of Greece and Rome for centuries, and at length as it were discovering them, and turning to them with unbounded enthusiasm and delight.

As students of education we can hardly attach too much importance to this great revolution. For nearly three centuries the curriculum in the public schools of Europe remained what the Renascence had made it. We have again entered on an age of change, but we are still much influenced by the ideas of the Renascence, and the best way to understand the forces now at work is to trace them where possible to their origin. Let us then consider what the Renascence was, and how it affected the educational system.

§ 5. In endeavouring to understand the Renascence, we cannot do better than listen to what Mark Pattison says of it in his "Life of Casaubon":-"In the fifteenth century was revealed to a world which had hitherto been trained to logical analysis, the beauty of literary form. The conception of style or finished expression had died out with the pagan schools of rhetoric. It was not the despotic act of Justinian in closing the schools of Athens which had suppressed it. The sense of art in language decayed from the same general causes which had been fatal to all artistic perception. Banished from the Roman Empire in the sixth century or earlier, the classical conception of beauty of form re-entered the circle of ideas after near a thousand years of oblivion and abeyance. Cicero and Virgil, Livius and Ovid, had been there all along, but the idea of composite harmony on which their works were constructed was wanting. The restored conception, as if to recoup itself for its long sup

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