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Beginners' difficulties lightened.
Mulcaster or of Ratke, that everything should be taught through the mother-tongue.
Next, the Port-Royalists sought to give their pupils an early and a pleasing introduction to literature. The best literature in those days was the classical; and suitable works from that literature might be made intelligible by means of translations. In this way the Port-Royalists led their pupils to look upon some of the classical authors not as inventors of examples in syntax, but as writers of books that meant something. And thus both the mother-tongue and literature were brought into the school-room.
§ 28. When the boys had by this means got some feeling for literature and some acquaintance with the world of the ancients, they began the study of Latin. Here again all needless difficulties were taken out of their way. No attempt indeed was made to teach language without grammar, the rationale of language, but the science of grammar was reduced to first principles (set forth in the Grammaire Générale et Raisonnée of Arnauld and Lancelot), and the special grammar of the Latin language was no longer taught by means of the work established in the University, the Latin Latin Grammar of Despautère, but by a "New Method" written in French which gave essentials only and had for its motto: "Mihi inter virtutes grammatici habebitur aliqua nescire-To me it will be among the grammarian's good points not to know everything." (Quintil.)*
* Lancelot's "New way of easily learning Latin (Nouvelle Méthode four apprendre facilement la langue Latine)” was published in 1644, his method for Greek in 1655. This was followed in 1657 by his "Garden of Greek Roots Jardin des racines grecques)" (see Cadet, pp. 15 ff.)
The Port-Royalists seem to me in some respects far behind Comenius, but they were right in rejecting him as a meth diser in language.
Begin with Latin into Mother-tongue.
§ 29. With this minimum of the essentials of the grammar and with a previous acquaintance with the sense of the book the pupils were introduced to the Latin language and were taught to translate a Latin author into French. This was a departure from the ordinary route, which after a course of learning grammar-rules in Latin went to the "theme," ie., to composition in Latin.
The art of translating into the mother-tongue was made much of. School "construes," which consist in substituting a word for a word, were entirely forbidden, and the pupils had to produce the old writer's thoughts in French.*
learning. Lancelot in the preface to his "Garden of Greek Roots,"
* Lemaître, a nephew of La Mère Angélique, was one of the most
Sense before Sound. Reason must rule.
$30. From this we see that the training was literary But in the study of form the Port-Royalists did not neglect the inward for the outward. Their great work, which still stands the attacks of time, is the Port-Royal Logic, or the Art of Thinking (see Trans. by T. Spencer Baynes, 1850). This was substantially the work of Arnauld; and it was Arnauld who led the Port-Royalists in their rupture with the philosophy of the Middle Age, and who openly followed Descartes. In the Logic we find the claims of reason asserted as if in defiance of the Jesuits. "It is a heavy bondage to think oneself forced to agree in everything with Aristotle and to take him as the standard of truth in philosophy. . . . . The world cannot long continue in this restraint, and is recovering by degrees its natural and reasonable liberty, which consists in accepting that which we judge to be true and rejecting that which we judge to be false." (Quoted by Cadet, p. 31.)*
to me and made me read pieces from poets and orators, and saw that I noticed the beauties in them both in thought and diction. Moreover he taught me the right emphasis and articulation both in verse and prose, in which he himself was admirable, having the charm of a fine voice and all else that goes to make a great orator. He gave me also many rules for good translation and for making my progress in that art easy to me." (Dufossé's Mémoires, &c., quoted by Cadet, p. 9.) It was Lemaître who instructed Racine (born 1639, admitted at Les Granges, Port Royal des Champs, in 1655).
* In 1670 the General of the Jesuits issued a letter to the Society against the Cartesian philosophy. The University in this agreed with its rivals, and petitioned the Parliament to prohibit the Cartesian teaching. This produced the burlesque Arrêt by Boileau (1675). "Whereas it is stated that for some years past a stranger named Reason has endeavoured to make entry by force into the Schools of the University . . . where Aristotle has always been acknowledged as judge without appeal and
Not Baconian. The body despised.
§ 31. To mark the change, the Port-Royalists called their book not "the Art of Reasoning," but "the Art of Thinking," and it was in this art of thinking that they endeavoured to train their scholars. They paid great attention to geometry, and Arnauld wrote a book ("New Elements of Geometry ") which so well satisfied Pascal that after reading the MS. he burnt a similar work of his own.
§ 32. The Port-Royalists then sought to introduce into the school-room a “sweet reasonableness.” They were not touched, as Comenius was, by the spirit of Bacon, and knew nothing of a key for opening the secrets of Nature. They loved literature and resolved that their pupils should love it also; and with this end they would give the first notions of it in the mother-tongue; but the love of literature still bound them to the past, and they aimed simply at making the best of the Old Education without any thought of a New.
8 33. In one respect they seem less wise than Rabelais and Mulcaster, less wise perhaps than their foes the Jesuits. They gave little heed to training the body, and thought of the soul and the mind only; or if they thought of the body they were concerned merely that it should do no harm. "Not only must we form the minds of our pupils to virtue,"
not accountable for his opinions. Be it known by these presents that this Court has maintained and kept and does maintain and keep the said Aristotle in perfect and peaceable possession of the said schools ... and in order that for the future he may not be interfered with in them, it has banished Reason for ever from the Schools of the said University, and forbids his entry to disturb and disquiet the said Aristotle in the possession and enjoyment of the aforesaid schools, under pain and penalty of being declared a Jansenist and a lover of innova. tions." (Quoted by Cadet, p. 34.)
Pedagogic writings of Port-Royalists.
says Nicole, we must also bend their bodies to it, that is, we must endeavour that the body do not prove a hindrance to their leading a well-regulated life or draw them by its weight to any disorder. For we should know that as men are made up of mind and body, a wrong turn given to the body in youth is often in after life a great hindrance to piety." (Vues p. bien élever un prince, quoted by Cadet, p. 206.)
§ 34. But let us not underrate the good effect produced by this united effort of Christian toil and Christian thought. "Nothing should be more highly esteemed than good sense," (Preface to the Logique), and Port-Royal did a great work in bringing good sense and reason to bear on the practice of the school-room. When the Little Schools were dispersed the Gentlemen still continued to teach, but the lessons they gave were now in the "art of thinking" and in the art of teaching; and all the world might learn of them, for they taught in the only way left open to them; they published books.
8 35. Of these writers on pedagogy the most distinguished was "the great Arnauld," ie., Antoine Arnauld, (1612-1694) brother of the Mère Angélique. His “Règlement des Études" shows us how literary instruction was given at Port-Royal. In these directions we have not so much the rules observed in the Little Schools as the experience of the Little Schools rendered available for the schools of the University. On this account Sainte-Beuve speaks of the Règlement of Arnauld as forming a preface to the Treatise on Studies (Traité des Études) of Rollin. In the Règlement we see Arnauld yielding to what seems a practical necessity and admitting competition and prizes. Some excellent advice is given, especially or practice in the use of the