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dividual talks or writes for ever, without really enunciating one idea. The labor of acquiring another tongue tears open this curtain of words, and the light which dawns upon the student respecting the real function of language is in exact proportion to the dissimilarity of structure between that other tongue and our own. Knowledge is a state of mind; perception is a mental act; to the thinking subject, things are what they appear in his individual conception of them. They have subjective, but not objective reality. The name belongs to the idea, and not to the object, and an accurate analysis and determination of the idea will follow with certainty only upon an introduction to another set of names, having a very different application. How idle, then, is that distinction between words and things, which is meant to discredit the study of the former, when it is obvious that the idea is what ought to be perfected, and that things, as they exist per se, are less intimately connected than words with the thought.
With this view of the beneficial results of studying the ancient languages, with what reason is the praise of utility, even of the most practical and easily appreciated cast, denied to the labor of acquiring them? In what pursuit are not the faculties required, which are developed and strengthened by this exercise ? To what ends are such means not subservient ? If happiness is the object in view, so far as it is dependent on a well-ordered mind, and the procurement of a train of mental pleasures, inferior to no other in amount or degree, its altainment is secured by such a training. In the biographies of men distinguished in literature and science, in political and professional life, there is no fact more frequently attested, there is no theme on which the individuals ihemselves more delight to dwell, than the enjoyment derived from the revival and prosecution at intervals of the classical studies of their youth. This particular branch of their early education is marked as leading to such a result, because it fills a larger space in the retrospect of life, having originally extended through several years, and the peculiar characteristics of the objects studied have left a deep imprint on the memory. And if general culture conduces in any degree to success in the pursuit of wealth or reputation, the importance of classical learning, even for these purposes, must be equally admitted. Many, indeed, prosper in these pursuits, without the advantages of such discipline in early life; but their success is no
more to be attributed to the want of such preparation, than the eminence of many distinguished statesmen of England is to be imputed to their training at Eton and Oxford. On this subject, reasoning from example is but blind work. Great ability will force its way in spite of neglect in early life, or any other adverse circumstance; and Fox and Pitt might have led the House of Commons, though they had not been distinguished as classical scholars. Wealth is sometimes acquired by those who can neither read nor write ; reputation has been gained by some men, who never went to school in their lives. But we do not, on this account, deny the necessity of some education, nor cease to maintain schools at the public expense. The utility of many things is acknowledged, though it cannot be demonstrated by universal experience.
But the study of Greek and Latin is discouraged because they are dead languages, and the acquisition of French and Italian is recommended in their place. If the object of instruction in the languages were to promote intercourse between different nations, there would be some force in this consideration. But the tuition is not directed with a view to enable pupils to converse or correspond with foreigners, occasions for doing which are necessarily very rare in this country. Not one student in a hundred has any expectation of learning to talk in any foreign tongue, and not one in a thousand really acquires this power, except by visiting Europe. The object of study is to become acquainted with the stores of modern literature; and to this end instruction in the modern languages at Cambridge is exclusively directed. Therefore, for the great majority of students, French and German, Italian and Spanish, are just as much dead languages, as Greek and Latin. With this limitation of the objects of instruction, we do not see, why an acquaintance with Homer and Sophocles, with Cicero and Horace, is not quite as desirable as with Dante, Goethe, or Racine. Quite as much pleasure will be derived from the perusal of the former class of writers, and the mental discipline acquired in the effort will be much more exact and valuable. We are far from undervaluing the elegant pursuits of modern literature, now so fashionable among us ; but we have no wish to see graver and more important studies laid aside to make room for them. Considered merely as an elegant accomplishment, an acquaintance with the language and literature of the ancients, promises as much, as familiarity with the finest productions of modern genius. The language of the Greeks, the most dulcet instrument on which the human voice ever played, the most flexible and copious in expressing all the workings of intellect and the modifications of passion, more cunning in its structure than any other on which the grammarian and the philosopher have ever labored, - this wonderful tongue loses nothing by comparison with the sweetness and simplicity of the Italian, or with the richness, pliancy, and strength of the German. For the Latin, it is enough to say in connexion with this topic, that it forms the shortest and most agreeable introduction to all the languages of southern Europe, a thorough knowledge of which cannot be gained without some acquaintance with the source whence they were all derived.
And the productions of the ancients, - how few have been surpassed, or even equalled by the efforts of modern times! Their morality, it is true, was superseded by the birth of our religion ; and the state of society and manners, half described, half satirized, by Horace and Juvenal, exists no longer. . But their systems of logic and philosophy are even now recovering from a temporary neglect, and furnishing fresh materials for the speculations of our own day. And their oratory lives. It lives in the burning words of modern patriots and statesmen, who have spoken under the inspiration derived from the study of ancient models. It lives in all the triumphs obtained by men who have formed their taste and manner on the old exemplars, so that the eloquence of all modern times has been but one continuous and far-resounding echo of the voices which spoke originally from the Athenian Pnyx and the Roman Forum.
And their poets, too, their works dead? or is not rather their spirit to be found in the poetical literature of every nation, that rose from the wreck of the Roman empire? The words which were sung by a blind old rhapsodist, as he wandered about the isles and colonies of Greece, after giving form, expression, — ay, birth,
to the whole literature, character, and national institutions of the people to whom he belonged, have come down to us through a period of three thousand years, during which time they have served as a theme for scholars, a model for poets, a study for all who could appreciate what was grand and beautiful in the efforts of human genius. In vindicating a place for classical studies in the scheme of - No. 114.
a liberal education, we are not actuated by a blind and exclusive admiration of such pursuits, nor do we advocate such excessive and injudicious devotion to them, as in some European institutions has brought discredit on the whole cause of ancient learning. The pride of scholarship has too often degenerated into pedantry; and, even now, that attention is too frequently wasted on the niceties of philology, which might more profitably be given to the meaning and criticism of particular writers, and to acquiring general views of the literature, considered as a whole. It is equally unwise, to allow such pursuits to monopolize the whole province of education, sacrificing to them all knowledge of the physical sciences, and all study of our own language and literature.
But Harvard College has at no period exposed itself to this reproach, and, least of all, of late years. A mere glance at the scheme of studies, shows conclusively, that something else is studied at Cambridge besides Greek and Latin. Five modern languages, a complete course of physical science, ancient and modern history, English rhetoric and composition, philosophy, natural theology, ethics, political economy, and constitutional law, besides occasional lectures and recitations in natural history, anatomy, and the useful arts, are some of the exercises that hold a place by the side of mathematics and the ancient languages, and, as we conceive, leave little to be desired in point of copiousness and variety. Some may even think, that there is more danger of excess than scantiness, especially when they are told, that these studies are all comprised within the space of four years, and are pursued by students nearly all of whom are much under age. But we had no fears on this score, so long as the three great branches, which have always been considered as the groundwork of a liberal education, were allowed to retain their place, and occupy a fair share of the student's attention. But, if these are now to be pushed out, if the substantial acquirements of classical and mathematical learning are to be buried under this heap of miscellaneous pursuits, we think the wit of man could hardly devise a plan more injurious to the formation of a sound and healthy intellect, and a well-ordered character. The pupil's attention will be distracted, and his mind frittered away by a swift succession of books and subjects, resting on no one of them sufficient time to form habits of patient analysis and careful thought ; to gain solid nutriment for the intellect, or to master effectually the subject of inquiry. At no other period of his life, either before entering college or after graduating, is he annoyed with such a preposterous variety of studies, without having his attention fixed, and the power of concentrated and unremitting application developed, upon one or two points of interest and importance. He will leave college with a smattering of all possible sciences, without being fully or accurately acquainted with any one, and, what is still worse, with desultory habits and an ill-trained mind. It is a matter of evil omen for the coming generation, if the substantial and manly exercises of mind, by which our fathers were trained, are to give way to this passion of knowing every thing, to a superficial information on a great variety of subjects, which ought hardly to be dignified with the name of learning.
A desire of converting the College into a University on the European plan, which is very apparent in two of the pamphlets now before us, seems to have brought about this introduction of the voluntary system and the great enlargement of the academical plan of studies, by which it was preceded. A name is of no great importance, and, if it were, why not assume it at once, since both terms are indiscriminately applied in this country to institutions that hardly rank with respectable high schools ? But, if an attempt be made to copy a foreign model in any other respect than the appellation, we hope it will be definitely ascertained what this model is, and what changes are necessary in the constitution of a college in order to transform it into a university. So far as we know, there is little unisormity in the European practice. At Oxford and Cambridge, many colleges form a university, just as many families constitute a community. . Certain professors are attached to the university at large, but their offices are mostly sinecures, and degrees are conferred by a board that represents the collected colleges. The London University corresponds very nearly to this plan, there being a central board of examination for the purpose of conserring degrees, to which students are presented by various privileged institutions in the metropolis, such as the University College, King's College, and others. The English scheme, therefore, seems to be, that colleges give the instruction, while the university confers the degrees. In Scotland, the two functions are combined, though there, as in England,