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Saint-Cyran an "Evangelical."

friend who afterwards was professor of theology at Louvain, and then Bishop of Ypres. This friend was Jansenius. Their searches after truth had brought them to opinions which in the England of the nineteenth century are known as "Evangelical." According to "Catholic" teaching all those who receive the creed and the sacraments of the Church and do not commit "mortal" sin are in a "state of salvation," that is to say the great majority of Christians are saved. This teaching is rejected by those of another school of thought who hold that only a few "elect" are saved and that the great body even of Christians are doomed to perdition.

§ 7. Such a belief as this would seem to be associated of necessity with harshness and gloom; but from whatever cause, there has been found in many, even in most, cases no such connexion. Those who have held that the great mass of their fellow-creatures had no hope in a future world, have thrown themselves lovingly into all attempts to improve their condition in this world. Still, their main effort has always been to increase the number of the converted and to preserve them from the wiles of the enemy. This SaintCyran sought to do by selecting a few children and bringing them up in their tender years like hot-house plants, in the hope that they would be prepared when older and stronger, to resist the evil influences of the world.

§ 8. His first plan was to choose out of all Paris six children and to confide them to the care of a priest appointed to direct their consciences, and a tutor of not more than twenty-five years old, to teach them Latin. "I should think," says he, "it was doing a good deal if I did not advance them far in Latin before the age of twelve, and made them pass their first years confined to one house or a


Short career of the Little Schools.

monastery in the country where they might be allowed all the pastimes suited to their age and where they might see only the example of a good life set by those about them." (Letter quoted by Carré, p. 20.)

§ 9. His imprisonment put a stop to this plan, "but," says Saint-Cyran, "I do not lightly break off what I undertake for God;" so when intrusted with the disposal of 2,000 francs by M. Bignon, he started the first "Little School," in which two small sons of M. Bignon's were taken as pupils. The name of "Little Schools," was given partly perhaps because according to their design the numbers in any school could never be large, partly no doubt to deprecate any suspicion of rivalry with the schools of the University. The children were to be taken at an early age, nine or ten, before they could have any guilty knowledge of evil, and SaintCyran made in all cases a stipulation that at any time a child might be returned to his friends; but in cases where the master's care seemed successful, the pupils were to be kept under it till they were grown up.

§ 10. The Little Schools had a short and troubled career of hardly more than fifteen years. They were not fully organized till 1646; they were proscribed a few years later and in 1661 were finally broken up by Louis XIV, who was under the influence of their enemies the Jesuits. But in that time the Gentlemen of Port-Royal had introduced new ideas which have been a force in French education and indeed in all literary education ever since.

To Saint-Cyran then we trace the attempt at a particular kind of school, and to his followers some new departures in the training of the intellect.

§ 11. Basing his system on the Fall of Man, Saint-Cyran came to a conclusion which was also reached by Locke

Saint-Cyran & Locke on Public Schools.

though by a different road. To both of them it seemed that children require much more individual care and watching than they can possibly get in a public school. SaintCyran would have said what Locke said: "The difference is great between two or three pupils in the same house and three or four score boys lodged up and down: for let the master's industry and skill be never so great, it is impossible he should have fifty or one hundred scholars under his eye any longer than they are in school together: Nor can it be expected that he should instruct them successfully in anything but their books; the forming of their minds and manners [preserving them from the danger of the enemy, Saint-Cyran would have said] requiring a constant attention and particular application to every single boy, which is impossible in a numerous flock, and would be wholly in vain (could he have time to study and correct everyone's peculiar defects and wrong inclinations) when the lad was to be left to himself or the prevailing infection of his fellows the greater part of the four-and-twenty hours." (Thoughts c. Ed. § 70.)

§ 12. An English public schoolmaster told the Commission on Public Schools, that he stood in loco parentis to fifty boys. "Rather a large family," observed one of the Commissioners drily. The truth is that in the bringing-up of the young there is the place of the schoolmaster and of the school-fellows, as well as that of the parents; and of these several forces one cannot fulfil the functions of the others.

§ 13. According to the theory or at least the practice of English public schools, boys are left in their leisure hours to organize their life for themselves, and they form a community from which the masters are, partly by their own over-work,

Shadow-side of Public Schools.

partly by the traditions of the school, utterly excluded. From this the intellectual education of the boys no doubt suffers. "Engage them in conversation with men of parts and breeding," says Locke; and this was the old notion of training when boys of good family grew up as pages in the household of some nobleman. But, except in the holidays, the young aristocrats of the present day talk only with other boys, and servants, and tradesmen. Hence the amount of thought and conversation given to school topics, especially the games, is cut of all proportion to the importance of such things; and this does much to increase what Matthew Arnold calls "the barbarians'" inaptitude for ideas.

§ 14. What are we to say about the effects of the system on the morals of the boys? If we were to start like SaintCyran from the doctrine of human depravity, we should entirely condemn the system and predict from it the most disastrous results;* but from experience we come to a very

* A master in a great public school once stated in a school address what masters and boys felt to be true. "It would hardly be too much to say that the whole problem of education is how to surround the young with good influences. I believe we must go on to add that if the wisest man had set himself to work out this problem without the teaching of experience, he would have been little likely to hit upon the system of which we are so proud, and which we call "the Public School System." If the real secret of education is to surround the young with good influences, is it not a strange paradox to take them at the very age when influences act most despotically and mass them together in large numbers, where much that is coarsest is sure to be tolerated, and much that is gentlest and most refining—the presence of mothers and sisters for example-is for a large part of the year a memory or an echo rather than a living voice? I confess I have never seen any answers to this objection which apart from the test of experience I should have been prepared to pronounce satisfactory. It is a simple truth that the moral

The Little Schools for the few only.

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different conclusion. Bishop Dupanloup, indeed, spoke of the public schools of France as ces gouffres." This is not what is said or thought of the English schools, and they are filled with boys whose fathers and grandfathers were brought up in them, and desire above all things to maintain the old traditions.

§ 15. The Little Schools of Port-Royal aimed at training a few boys very differently; each master had the charge of five or six only, and these were never to be out of his presence day or night.*

§ 16. It may reasonably be objected that such schools would be possible only for a few children of well-to-do parents, and that men who would thus devote themselves could be found only at seasons of great enthusiasm. Under ordinary circumstances small schools have most of the drawbacks and few of the advantages which are to be found in large

dangers of our Public School System are enormous. It is the simple truth that do what you will in the way of precaution, you do give to boys of low, animal natures, the very boys who ought to be exceptionally subject to almost despotic restraint, exceptional opportunities of exercising a debasing influence over natures far more refined and spiritual than their own. And it is further the simple but the sad truth, that these exceptional opportunities are too often turned to account, and that the young boy's character for a time-sometimes for a long time is spoiled or vulgarized by the influence of unworthy companions." This is what public schoolmasters, if their eyes are not blinded by routine, are painfully conscious of. But they find that in the end good prevails; the average boy gains a manly character and contributes towards the keeping up a healthy public opinion which is of great effect in restraining the evil-doer.

"The number of boarders was never very great, because to a master were assigned no more than he could have beds for in his room. (Fontaine's Mémoire, Carré, p. 24.)

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