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M. for barrack life and Verbal Realism.
and the faith it inculcates in the powers of the young human spirit, if rightly nurtured and directed, are merits everlasting." (Masson iij, p. 252.)
§ 33. But in this moral glow and in an intense hatred of verbalism lie as it seems to me the chief merits of the Tractate. The practical suggestions are either incomprehensible or of doubtful wisdom. The reforming of education was, as Milton says, one of the greatest and noblest designs that could be thought on, but he does not take the right road when he proposes for every city in England a joint school and university for about 120 boarders. The advice to keep boys between 12 and 21 in this barrack life I consider, with Professor Laurie, to be "fundamentally unsound;" and the project of uniting the military training of Sparta with the humanistic training of Athens seems to me a pure chimæra.
34. When we come to instruction we find that Milton after announcing the distinctive principle of the Realists proves to be himself the last survivor of the Verbal Realists. (See supra, p. 25). No doubt
"His daily teachers had been woods and rills,"
but his thoughts had been even more in his books; and for the young he sketches out a purely bookish curriculum. The young are to learn about things, but they are to learn through books; and the only books to which Milton attaches importance are written in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. He held, probably with good reason, that far too much time "is now bestowed in pure trifling at grammar and sophistry." "We do amiss," he says, "to spend 7 or 8 years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek as might be learned otherwise easily and delight
Milton succeeded as man not master.
fully in one year." Without an explanation of the "otherwise" this statement is a truism, and what Milton says further hardly amounts to an explanation. His plan, if plan it can be called, is as follows: "If after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, the boys were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen short book lessoned throughly to them, they might then proceed to learn the substance of good things and arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This," adds Milton, "I take to be the most rational and most profitable way of learning languages." It is, however, not the most intelligible.
§ 35. "I doubt not but ye shall have more ado to drive our dullest and laziest youth, our stocks and stubbs, from the infinite desire of such a happy nurture than we have now to hale and drag our choicest and hopefullest wits to that asinine feast of sow thistles and brambles which is commonly set before them as all the food and entertainment of their tenderest and most docible age." We cannot but wonder whether this belief survived the experience of "the pretty garden-house in Aldersgate." From the little we are told by his nephew and old pupil Edward Phillips we should infer that Milton was not unsuccessful as a schoolmaster. In this we have a striking procf how much more important is the teacher than the teaching. A character such as Milton's in which we find the noblest aims united with untiring energy in pursuit of them could not but dominate the impressionable minds of young people brought under its influence. But whatever success he met with could not have been due to the things he taught nor to his method in teaching them. In spite of the "moral glow" about his recommendations they are "not a bow for
He did not advance Science of Education.
every [or any] man to shoot in that counts himself a teacher."
§ 36. Nor did he do much for the science of education. His scheme is vitiated, as Mark Pattison says, by "the information fallacy." In the literary instruction there is no thought of training the faculties of all or the special faculties of the individual. "It requires much observation of young minds to discover that the rapid inculcation of unassimilable information stupefies the faculties instead of training them," says Pattison; and Milton absorbed by his own thoughts and the thoughts of the ancients did not observe the minds of the young, and knew little of the powers of any mind but his own.
For information the youths are not required to observe for themselves but are to be taught a general compact of physicks." "Also in course might be read to them out of some not tedious writer the Institution of Physick; that they may know the tempers, the humours, the seasons, and how to manage a crudity."
§ 37. Even the study of the classics is advocated by Milton on false grounds. If, like the Port-Royalists, he had recommended the study of the classical authors for the sake of pure Latin and Greek or as models of literary style, the means would have been suited to the end; but it was very different when he directed boys to study Virgil and Columella in order to learn about bees and farming. In after-life they would find these authorities a little out of date; and if they ever attempted to improve tillage, "to recover the bad soil and to remedy the waste that is made of good, which was one of Hercules's praises,” they would have found a knowledge of the methods of Hercules about as useful as of the methods of the Romans.
Milton an educator of mankind.
§ 38. Milton was then a reformer "for his own hand;' and notwithstanding his moral and intellectual elevation and his superb power of rhetoric, he seems to me a less useful writer on education than the humble Puritans whom he probably would not deign to read. In his haughty selfreliance, he, like Carlyle with whom Seeley has well compared him (Lectures and Addresses: Milton), addressed his contemporaries de haut en bas, and though ready to teach could learn only among the old renowned authors with whom he associated himself and we associate him.
$ 39. Judged from our present standpoint the Tractate is found with many weaknesses to be strong in this, that it coordinates physical, moral, mental and æsthetic training.
§ 40. But nothing of Milton's can be judged by our ordinary canons. He soars far above them and raises us with him "to mysterious altitudes above the earth” (supra, p. 153, note). Whatever we little people may say about the suggestions of the Tractate, Milton will remain one of the great educators of mankind.*
To Master Samuel Hartlib ("the Tractate" as it is usually called), was published by Milton first in 1644, and again in 1673. See Oscar Browning's edition, Cambridge Univ. Press.
§ 1. WHEN an English University established an exainination for future teachers,* the "special subjects" first set were "Locke and Dr. Arnold." The selection seems to ine a very happy one. Arnold greatly affected the spirit and even the organization of our public schools at a time when the old schools were about to have new life infused into them, and when new schools were to be started on the model of the old. He is perhaps the greatest educator of the English type, i.e., the greatest educator who had accepted the system handed down to him and tried to make the best of it. Locke on the other hand, whose reputation is more European than English, belongs rather to the continental type. Like his disciple Rousseau and like Rousseau's disciples the French Revolutionists, Locke refused the traditional system and appealed from tradition and authority to reason. We English revere Arnold, but so long as the history of education continues to be written, as it has been written hitherto, on the Continent, the only Englishman celebrated in it will be as now not the great schoolmaster but the great philosopher.
* The University of Cambridge. The first examination was 11 June, 1880.