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4. Again, the social culture which is incidental to the system is a matter of no small importance. To secure this the student does not need to make any expenditure of time, going out of his way, or leaving his proper work for the pleasure or improvement resulting from society. He finds himself naturally in the midst of it, and he adjusts himself to it instinctively. It influences his manners, his feeling, and his thought. He may be as little conscious of the sources of the influence as of the sunlight or the atmosphere; it will envelope him all the same, saving him from the excessive introversion, the morbid fancies, the moroseness, which sometimes arise in secluded study, giving him elasticity of spirits, and ease of movement, and refinement of character, not readily attained out of society. It seems desirable that our young men especially should enjoy these advantages during the period of their course of study, while the forces that form character work most efficiently.
5. Closely connected with this influence is the tendency to good order which we find in the system. The ease with which the discipline of so large a school is conducted has not ceased to be a matter of wonder to ourselves. One thousand students are gathered from every state in the Union, from every class in society, of every grade of culture—the great mass of them, indeed, bent on improvement, but numbers sent by anxious friends with the hope that they may be saved or recovered from wayward tendencies. Yet the disorders incident to such gatherings are essentially unknown among us.
Our streets are as quiet by day and by night as in any other country town. There are individual cases of misdemeanor, especially among the new comers, and now and then one is informed that his probation has been unsatisfactory; but in the regularly organized classes of the College and Ladies' Departments, numbering from two to four hundred in constant attendance, the exclusions have not on the average exceeded one in five years,
and in one instance a period of more than ten years elapsed without a single exclusion from these classes. This result we attribute greatly to the wholesome influence of the system of joint education. The student feels that his standing and character are of grave consequence to him, and he is predisposed to take a manly attitude in reference to the government and regulations of the school. An admonition in the presence of the students assembled in the chapel has always been more dreaded by an offender than a private dismis. sion. Offenses against propriety, that in a body of young men forming a separate community would seem to be trivial, change their aspect when the female element is added to the community; and that better view adds greatly to the force of wholesome regulations. From the beginning, the use of tobacco has been prohibited to our students. In the presence of ladies the regulation has a force and significance that could not be otherwise secured, and has been maintained with a good degree of success. College tricks lose their wit and attractiveness in a community thus constituted. They are essentially unknown among us. There are no secret societies, and, so far as I know, there has been no tendency toward them. The relations of the classes to each other are comfortable and desirable. With a sufficient degree of class feeling to give unity and collective force, there is an entire absence of the antagonisms which sometimes appear in college life. It
be a mistake to attribute this fact in any degree to the social constitution of the school, but it seems to me to be a natural result. The general force of the society controls and limits the clannish tendency. We have had no difficulty in reference to conduct and manners in the college dininghall. There has been an entire absence of the irregularities and roughnesses so often complained of in college commons.
6. Nor can it be reasonably doubted that the arrangement tends to good order and morality in the town outside of the school. Evils that might be tolerated, in the shape of drinking-saloons and other places of dissipation, if young men only were present, seem intolerable where ladies are gathered with them. The public sentiment requires their suppression. Of course, this influence alone would not be sufficient; but it increases and intensifies the moral forces of the place which withstand their introduction.
7. Another manifest advantage is in the relations of the school to the community—a cordial feeling of good will, and the absence of that antagonism between town and college which in general belongs to the history of universities and colleges. The absence of disorder in the school is the prime condition of this good feeling; but beyond this, the constitution of the school is so similar to that of the community that any conflict is unnatural : the usual occasion seems to be wanting.
8. It can hardly be doubted that young people educated under such conditions are kept in harmony with society at large, and are prepared to appreciate the responsibilities of life, and to enter upon its work. They will not lack sympathy with the popular feeling, or an apprehension of the common interests. They are naturally educated in relation with the work of life, and will not require a readjustment. This seems a matter of grave importance, and we can scarcely be mistaken as to the happy results attained. If we are not utterly deceived by our position, our students naturally and readily find their work in the world, because they have been trained in sympathy with the world.
These are among the advantages of the system which have forced themselves upon our attention. The list might be extended and expanded; but you will wish especially to know whether we have not encountered disadvantages and difficulties which more than counterbalance these advantages, and you will properly require me to speak with all frankness upon those difficulties which are com. monly apprehended.
1. Have young ladies the ability in mental vigor and bodily health to maintain a fair standing in a class with young men? Do they not operate as a check upon the progress of the class, and de. grade the standard of scholarship? and do they not break down in health under a pressure which young men can sustain ?
To this inquiry I answer, where there has been the same preparatory training, we find no difference in ability to maintain themselves in the recitation room. Under the circumstances, I shall be excused for referring to my own individual experience, which has been somewhat varied. The first eight years of my work as a teacher was in the department of the Ancient Languages—Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; the next eleven, in Mathematics, abstract and applied; the last eight, in Philosophical and Ethical studies. In all these studies my classes have included young women as well as young men, and I have never observed any difference between them in performance in the recitation. The strong and the weak scholars are equally distributed between the sexes.
In this statement I do not imply that I see no difference between the normal male and female mind as to taste for particular studies. I have no doubt of the existence of such differences; but they do not appear in the ability as pupils to comprehend and express the truth. A few days since, on a visit to the University of Michigan, I attended a recitation in Thucydides. So far as could be judged from a single exercise, in which there were many excellent performances, the daughter of the Professor of Greek, the only young lady under the wing of the University, led the class. But it did not strike me as an anomaly; I had often seen such things.
Nor is there any manifest inability on the part of young women to endure the required labor. A breaking down in health does not appear to be more frequent than with young men. We have not observed a more frequent interruption of study on this account ; nor do our statistics show a greater draft upon the vital forces in the case of those who have completed the full college course. Out of eighty-four young ladies who have graduated since 1841, seven have died—a proportion of one in twelve. Of three hundred and sixty-eight young men who have graduated since that date, thirtyfour are dead, or a little more than one in eleven. Of these thirtyfour young men, six fell in the war; and leaving those out, the proportion of deaths still remains one to thirteen. Taking the whole number of gentlemen graduates, omitting the Theological Department, we find the proportion of deaths one to nine and a-half; of ladies, one to twelve: and this in spite of the lower average expectation of life for women, as indicated in life insurance tables. The field is, of course, too narrow for perfectly conclusive results; but there is no occasion for special apprehension of failure of health to ladies from study,
2. But it is held by many that ladies need a course of study adapted to their nature and their prospective work, and that it must be undesirable to bring them under the same training with young men. The theory of our school has never been that men and women are alike in mental constitution, or that they naturally and properly occupy the same position in the work of life. The education furnished is general, not professional, designed to fit men and women for any position or work to which they may properly be called. Even in the full college curriculum it does not appear that there is any study that would not be helpful in the discipline and furniture of an educated lady. But only a small proportion of young ladies seeking an education will naturally require the full college course. It is not difficult to frame a suitable course parallel with the college course, made up substantially of studies selected from it, and diversified by the addition of the accomplishments supposed to be peculiarly adapted to female culture. Almost every Western college has a scientific course, involving these substantial elements. The best schools in the land for the education of ladies alone have the same course. We do not find that any peculiar style of teaching is required to adapt these studies to female culture. The womanly nature will appropriate the material to its own necessities under its own laws. Young men and women sit at the same table and partake of the same food, and we have no apprehension that the vital forces will fail to elaborate from the common material the osseous and fibrous and nervous tissues adapted to each frame and constitution. Except under pressure of great external violence, the female nature asserts itself by virtue of its own inherent laws. No education can make alike those whom God has made as unlike as men and women.
3. Yet apprehension is felt and expressed that character will deteriorate on one side or on the other; that young men will become frivolous or effeminate, and young women coarse and masculine. The more prevalent opinion seems to be that, while the arrangement may be desirable in its effect on young men, it will be damaging to young women. That young men should become trifling or effeminate, lose their manly attributes and character, from proper association with cultivated young women, is antecedently improbable, and false in fact. It is the natural atmosphere for the development of the higher qualities of manhood—magnanimity, generosity, true chivalry, earnestness. The animal man is kept subordinate, in the prevalence of these higher qualities. We have found it the surest way to make men of boys, and gentlemen of rowdies. It must be a very poor specimen of masculine human nature that is not helped by the association, and a very poor specimen of a woman that does not prove a helper. In my judgment, as the result of experience, the chances are better even for the poor specimen.
But, on the other hand, are not womanly delicacy and refinement of character endangered? Will not the young woman, pursuing her studies with young men, take on their manners and aspirations and aims, and be turned aside from the true ideal of womanly life and character? The thing is scarcely conceivable. The natural response of woman to the exhibition of manly traits is in the correlative qualities of gentleness, delicacy, and grace. It might better be questioned whether the finer shadings of female character can be developed without this natural stimulus. If you would transform a woman into an Amazon or virago, take her apart from wellconstituted society, and train her in isolation to a disgust for men, and a rough self-reliance. You will probably fail even thus in your endeavor; but it is the only chance of success.
But it is my duty not to reason, but to speak from the limited historical view assigned me. You would know whether the result with us has been a large accession to the numbers of coarse, “strongminded' women, in the offensive sense of the word; and I say, without hesitation, that I do not know of a single instance of such a product as the result of our system of education. It is true that in our Triennial' are found the names of three somewhat distinguished lady lecturers, who are some times referred to as belonging to this class. They pursued their studies at Oberlin from four to five years in each case. But, whatever their present position and character may be, I have personal knowledge of the fact that they