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§ 1. THE learned ideal established by the Renascence was accepted by Rabelais, though he made some suggestions about Realien* that seem to us much in advance of it. When he quotes the saying "Magis magnos clericos non sunt magis magnos sapientes" ("the greatest clerks are not the greatest sages"), this singular piece of Latinity is appropriately put into the mouth of a monk, who represents everything the Renascence scholars despised. In Montaigne we strike into a new vein of thought, and we find that what the monk alleges in defence of his ignorance the cultured gentleman adopts as the expression of an important truth.

§ 2. We ordinary people see truths indeed, but we see them indistinctly, and are not completely guided by them.

* I am sorry to use a German word, but educational matters have been so little considered among us that we have no English vocabulary for them. The want of a word for Realien was felt over 200 years ago. "Repositories for visibles shall be prepared by which from beholding the things gentlewomen may learn the names, natures, values, and use of herbs, shrubs, trees, mineral-juices (sic), metals, and stones." (Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen. London, 1672.)

Writers and doers. Montaigne u. Renascence.

It is reserved for men of genius to see truths, some truths that is, often a very few, with intense clearness. Some of these men have no great talent for speech or writing, and they try to express the truths they see, not so much by books as by action. Such men in education were Comenius, Pestalozzi, aud Froebel. But sometimes the man of genius has a great power over language, and then he finds for the truths he has seen, fitting expression, which becomes almost as lasting as the truths themselves. Such men were Montaigne and Rousseau. If the historian of education is asked "What did Montaigne do?" he will answer "Nothing." "What did Froebel say?" "He said a great deal, but very few people can read him and still fewer understand him." Both, however, are and must remain forces in education. Montaigne has given to some truths imperishable form in his Essays, and Froebel's ideas come home to all the world in the Kindergarten.

§ 3. The ideal set up by the Renascence attached the highest importance to learning. Montaigne maintained that the resulting training even at its best was not suited to a gentleman or man of action. Virtue, wisdom, and intellectual activity should be thought of before learning Education should be first and foremost the development and exercise of faculties. And even if the acquirement of knowledge is thought of, Montaigne maintains that the pedants do not understand the first conditions of knowledge and give a semblance not the true thing.—“ Il ne faut pas attacher le savoir à l'âme, il faut l'incorporer.-Knowledge cannot be fastened on to the mind; it must become part and parcel of the mind itself."*

* See the very interesting Essay on Montaigne by Dean R. W. Church.

Character before knowledge. True knowledge.

Here then we have two separate counts against the Renascence education :

1st.-Knowledge is not the main thing.

2nd. True knowledge is something very different from knowing by heart.

§ 4. It is a pity Montaigne's utterances about education are to be found in English only in the complete translation of his essays. Seeing that a good many millions of people read English, and are most of them concerned in education, one may hope that some day the sayings of the shrewd old Frenchman may be offered them in a convenient form.

§ 5. Here are some of them: "The evil comes of the foolish way in which our [instructors] set to work; and on the plan on which we are taught no wonder if neither scholars nor masters become more able, whatever they may do in becoming more learned. In truth the trouble and expense of our fathers are directed only to furnish our heads with knowledge: not a word of judgment or virtue. Cry out to our people about a passer-by, 'There's a learned man!' and about another 'There's a good man!' they will be all agog after the learned man, and will not look at the good man. One might fairly raise a third cry: 'There's a set of numskulls !' We are ready enough to ask 'Does he know Greek or know Latin? Does he write verse or write prose?' But whether he has become wiser or better should be the first question, and that is always the last. We ought to find out, not who knows most but who knows best." (I, chap. 24, Du Pédantisme, page or two beyond Odi homines.)

§ 6. The true educators, according to Montaigne, were the Spartans, who despised literature, and cared only for character and action. At Athens they thought about words,

Athens and Sparta.

Wisdom before knowledge.

at Sparta about things. At Athens boys learnt to speak well, at Sparta to do well: at Athens to escape from sophis tical arguments, and to face all attempts to deceive them; at Sparta to escape from the allurements of pleasure, and to face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, even death itself. In the one system there was constant exercise of the tongue, in the other of the soul. "So it is not strange that when Antipater demanded of the Spartans fifty children as hostages they replied they would sooner give twice as many grown men, such store did they set by their country's training." (Du Pédantisme, ad f.)

§ 7. It is odd to find a man of the fifteen hundreds who quotes from the old authors at every turn, and yet maintains that "we lean so much on the arm of other people that we lose our own strength." The thing a boy should learn is not what the old authors say, but "what he himself ought to do when he becomes a man." Wisdom, not knowledge! "We may become learned from the learning of others; wise we can never be except by our own wisdom." (Bk. j, chap. 24).

§ 8. So entirely was Montaigne detached from the thought of the Renascence that he scoffs at his own learning, and declares that true learning has for its subject, not the past or the future, but the present. "We are truly learned from knowing the present, not from knowing the past any more than the future." And yet "we toil only to stuff the memory and leave the conscience and the understanding void. And like birds who fly abroad to forage for grain bring it home in their beak, without tasting it themselves, to feed their young, so our pedants go picking knowledge here and there out of several authors, and hold it at their tongue's end, only to spit it out and distribute it amongst

Knowing, and knowing by heart.

their pupils." (Du Pédantisme.) "We are all richer than we think, but they drill us in borrowing and begging, and lead us to make more use of other people's goods than of our own. (Bk. iij, chap. 12, De la Physionomie, beg. of 3rd paragraph).


§ 9. So far Montaigne. What do we schoolmasters say to all this? If we would be quite candid I think we must allow that, after reading Montaigne's essay, we put it down with the conviction that in the main he was right, and that he had proved the error and absurdity of a vast deal that goes on in the schoolroom. But from this first view we have had on reflection to make several drawbacks.

§ 10. Montaigne, like Locke and Rousseau, who fol lowed in his steps, arranges for every boy to have a tutor entirely devoted to him. We may question whether this method of bringing up children is desirable, and we may assert, without question, that in most cases it is impossible. It seems ordained that at every stage of life we should require the companionship of those of our own age. If we

Perhaps the saying of Montaigne's which is most frequently quoted is the paradox Savoir par cœur n'est pas savoir: (“to know by heart is not to know.”) But these words are often misunderstood. The meaning, as I take it, is this: When a thought has entered into the mind it shakes off the words by which it was conveyed thither. Therefore so long as the words are indispensable the thought is not known. Knowing and knowing by heart are not necessarily opposed, but they are different things; and as the mind most easily runs along sequences of words a knowledge of the words often conceals ignorance or neglect of the thought. I once asked a boy if he thought of the meaning when he repeated Latin poetry and I got the instructive answer: "Sometimes, when I am not sure of the words." But there are cases in which we naturally connect a particular form of words with thoughts that have become part of our minds. We then know, and know by heart also.

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