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events, of the easy classes, is only making the mischief more conspicuous, which has existed for a very long time. We now have almost daily, palpable proofs of the little chance that mediocrity has of learning anything in a large school, but we must not throw the whole blame of this on competitive examinations, but fairly point out another cause to which it may be assigned. It has often been asked, Why not educate different individuals according to their different bent?' • After the necessary elements of grammar have been acquired, why not endeavour to ascertain what minds will admit of more ready development by language, what by number and figure, and what by history or science? And why not make such a classification the basis of the subdivision of each form, and proceed accordingly?' One objection to this plan is not worth a moment's consideration, we mean that which is founded on the necessity that would arise of creating a much larger staff of masters. For one of the greatest evils of the present system is this disproportion between the teachers and the taught. We are beginning to open our eyes to this evil in England; while in France, the attendance of fifty in one place of study, and under one supervisor, at a time seems scarcely to have excited any disapprobation, except among the few Frenchmen who passionately detest the whole system of State education in their country.

Another objection against bifurcation will be sought by some from the country which first gave us the word and set the example of the thing. It will be said that the great object of the recent French educational reform was to abolish this very experiment, because it had confessedly failed. But this is altogether a misconception. There can be no doubt that if the present Minister can outlive or overbear his obstructors,* the division of study which he has twice bidden to go up higher, from the fourth to the third, and from the third to the second, will disappear altogether. It is also very likely that the two baccalauréats will become one, and that every member of this branch of the lycées will be expected to pass the double examination, in letters and science, for the single grade. But we must not forget that alongside of this, which we should call the professional education, there will be the enseignement professionnel in the French sense, which will take four years, as above described, to prepare its pupils for the less refined and intellectual callings. So that if a man has two sons, the one of sufficient ability for professional life, and the other a dullard, and only fit for farming or trade, he can send them both to the same lycée, and have them both taught that which they are really capable of learning. We do not quote this system as one in the least degree applicable to aristocratic England. Even in would-be-democratic France, we do not believe that the enseignement professionnel will ever be looked upon in any other light than as an inferior thing for inferior people; but we quote it as a proof that the system, so far from being abandoned in France, is being tried upon a still larger scale. If, however, the easy and the educated classes do not avail themselves of it, and prefer the more respectable part of the lycée to the more suitable, the same state of things will continue in France, as we witness among ourselves; the few clever boys will learn a great deal, and the many middling ones will learn nothing at all. It is a common theory that this is the result of idleness; and, that if the examinations were sufficiently stringent, the idle must work. But, not to dwell upon the extreme probability of so general an idleness having its origin in bewilderment caused by insufficient teaching, we would fain ask how examinations are to be made more stringent? It is a great mistake to suppose that examiners have merely to set up a standard, and abide by it. To a far greater extent than is commonly thought, the candidates bring their own standard with them. At first—that is, before the ideal standard of the examiner, and the average standard of the candidate, have arrived at an adjustment—there will be some heavy casualties. But as this carnage cannot in the nature of things continue, either the requirements will become avowedly less, or the applications of them will be less severe; and thus the examination itself, as a test of fitness for further scientific or literary study, is not of the slightest value.

* His plan of popular education in the provinces is very stringent, and is meeting with serious opposition. ,

Before we endeavour to give some notion of the standard of the French grade, we will briefly sketch the mode of procedure. There are three examinations in the scholastic year; the third being for those who, in the language of the authorities, ont éprouvé antérieurement un ou plusieurs ajournements, but who would simply describe themselves as 'flambés.' The candidates have first to write a translation into French, of a piece of Latin dictated by one of the examiners, and for this two hours are allowed. Secondly, they have a Latin essay to compose on a subject given by the Dean of the Faculty, for which they are allowed four hours. This completes the paper work; and, if this part is passed, they are examined on another day viva voce in a Greek, Latin, and French author, drawn by lot from the rest. The examination in these takes place wheresoever the book happens to open. Then ensues a viva voce examination in the remaining subjects. These subjects, and the degree of excellence required in each,



may be ascertained by consulting a dense volume, of about the size and weight of a brick, bearing the title . Manuel des Aspirants au Baccalauréat-ès-Lettres, consisting of four parts, of which the first gives an account of the Greek, Latin, and French authors required of the candidate, with an analysis of the works prescribed, and the outlines of logic, rhetoric, and philosophy. The second part contains ancient history and the history of the Middle Ages. The third, modern history and geography. The fourth, arithmetic, geometry, and physics. Until lately there was what is called a questionnaire, which contained a series of twenty selected questions on logic, &c., twenty on history, and ten on mathematics, &c. These were published many months beforehand, so that the candidate confined himself to them. On the day of their viva voce examination the candidates drew from an urn certain numbers corresponding to the questions, and in these they were examined for the space of an hour. A new regulation has abolished this practice, and they are now examined by one of the jury, i.e. examiners, in whatever way he thinks fit. We will not weary the reader with the highly characteristic and tediously minute formalities with which this examination is beset, but it is curious to observe that many of them seem to be directed against personation. Whether there has ever been a case where A, not feeling himself up to the mark, has got B to represent him, we know not, but the variety of signatures and countersignatures must make such a vicarious trial very difficult. The list of the Greek and Latin authors from whom the subjects to be prepared are taken, is thus given in the official programme:


Auteurs Grecs. '1. Démosthène : Les "Olynthiennes," les "Philippiques," le “Dis

cours pour la Couronne.” 2. Plutarque : “Vies des Hommes Illustres.” 63. Choix de discours des Pères Grecs. 4. Homère. 5. Sophocle.

Auteurs Latins. '1. Cicéron : “ Discours contre Catilina et contre Verrès ;" « Traités

de l'Amitié et de la Vieillesse;" “ Songe de Scipion." 2. César : “ Commentaires."

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* It must not be supposed that the candidate is liable to be examined in any one of all the books here enumerated, but the special list for each year is taken from this general list, and published a twelvemonth beforehand. Thus it will contain one speech of Demosthenes, one play of Sophocles, two books of Homer, and so forth. Vol. 117.-No. 234.

.3. Salluste.

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3. Salluste.
* 4. Tacite : “ Annales."
65. Virgile.
6. Horace.'

There are ten suffrages to represent the various subjects, and as each suffrage may be either good, middling, or bad, it is represented by a ball which is either white, red, or black. In the written part, if one of the two balls be black it is fatal, unless the other is white; or if there be more than two black balls out of the ten which represent the whole examination, the adjournment or plucking is inevitable. The reader who happens to be acquainted with the system pursued at the London University will see some resemblance between the two examinations; but he will not fail to notice two points in which they materially differ. The first is, that while in France the proficient obtains an academic degree, in London he merely becomes entitled to the matriculation which leads eventually to it. The second point is, that while the London plan contains a narrower range of history, and defers lagic and its adjuncts to a maturer age, it is far more inquisitive as to grammar than a crammed student at all likes.

As for the bill of fare of authors to be construed, it is quite as inconclusive as to real progress as the matters of historical fact, or the philosophical reflections upon them. All this is simply crammed; for we have it upon the authority of experienced examiners that in nine cases out of ten a candidate will show that he has deliberately preferred cramming to thinking ; that he would sooner learn a hundred facts than take the trouble of applying one rule; and that the quantity of Greek and Latin which he can learn to translate by a inere effort of memory, with very few slips (while in the very next page he will betray an utter ignorance both of inflexions and syntax), is something incredible to those who have not witnessed it. It would be unfair to make any reflection on the presence of the Greek fathers in the list given above. We cannot believe but that there must be many in the council who have heard enough about the difference between good Greek and bad to know that these personages ought not to be put on a level with Demosthenes. But there is a strong clerical element in that body, which would be quite capable of such a barbarism, and quite formidable enough to require propitiation. But how can we expect that that fine tact for the language in which scholarship consists should ever be conspicuous in a people where the immature intellect is bidden to feed without distinction upon the dead, artificial Greek of the Fathers and of Plutarch, and upon the living Greek of the old Masters ?


Our belief is that unless the future reforms shall meet the four principal evils that we have specified, the undue length of the time of study, the unsuitableness of the Maître d'études, the temptations offered to the Professor to neglect the heavy majority in favour of the lively few, the want of a less democratic bifurcation than that of the Enseignement Professionnel, private establishments will become more and more in vogue, and diverge more and more from the Government model. The Collège Chaptal, which at present amounts to 600 boarders and 400 dayscholars, and which is the property of the Ville de Paris, has made a move in the right direction, with regard to the last complaint. It offers an education which is intellectual, but at the same time useful for those who have no vocation for special learning; while for the abridgment of the hours we expect great things from the example of the International College which is soon to be established in France ; for we observe that in the

programme of studies, which M. Barbier has drawn up in his able Prize Essay, a very refreshing gap is left for play and gymnastics. It does not come within the scope of this article to discuss the advantages offered by the plan which he advocates ; but we cannot forbear uttering a hope that there will be a generous and hearty encouragement given to the experiment, as such, on both sides of the Channel, so that we may be able to ascertain by a fair trial whether this plan will yield us those two most desirable results at which it aims, the fostering of an international spirit, and the effectual teaching of modern languages. But whether destined to be reformed or not, such is the discipline and such are the methods of teaching under which the present generation of Frenchmen have grown up to be what they are. For how many of their defects the system is answerable, or how many of their merits it can claim as of its own making, is a curious and somewhat delicate problem. It is, for instance, very difficult to say whether that consideration and good-breeding which they show when unexcited is due in any degree to the want of that buoyant intercourse of play at school, which certainly does sometimes lead to roughness and unkindness of manner; or is the politeness itself insisted on from the very earliest childhood, so as to become ingrained like a religion, because parents believe it to be an indispensable precaution against those rougher contacts by which the national character is ignited in an instant.

On another topic we can speak more positively. The formation of habits of truth, honesty, and manly frankness, are surely first and foremost among all the objects of education. Now, it will be conceded by the French themselves that these qualities may be evoked and strengthened by judicious confidence, and

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