« AnteriorContinuar »
strive to make the acquaintance of the great and good and heroic, without having a throng of men, women, and children, who really have nothing to say, buzzing in our ears until we are well-nigh maddened. Alaric and his hordes, moving southward, lured by the spoils of Rome, until we see him laid in his strange grave, and then follow his Goths to their new kingdom. We sail away with Norman William to the conquest of England, and watch the strife of conqueror and conquered, until from the blending of the two there comes a new language, a nobler civilization. We don coat of mail, and go with Richard of the Lion Heart to fight the Saracen, and follow him back, lingering at his German prison, to his English throne. We march with Cortez or Pizarro to the conquest of rich lands, or with Ponce de Leon to seek the fabled fountain of immortal youth; or wander with the chivalrous De Soto through our Southland till he finds rest beneath the waters of the Mississippi.
Have these things, and such as these, no interest for us ? And yet they are but little more than the husks of history.
Our list of topics, somewhat limited at first, may be increased year by year, and to these magnets will be attracted bits of historic knowledge from the most varied sources. Conversation, the newspaper
magazine, the sermon and lecture, as well as biographer and historian, all will contribute something. Ourselves in some substantial sense masters of the subject, with the enthusiasm always awakened by familiarity with what is good and noble, and with the confidence inspired by knowledge, the work of guiding others is half accomplished. The teacher should be the sage mentor, to plan wisely the voyage, and carefully select
THE PLACE OF HISTORY IN EDUCATION.
the craft. He should be at once the captain on the quarter deck and the pilot at the helm, and on his knowledge, enthusiasm, and fidelity success' mainly depends. If he be ignorant, confused, or indifferent, the little band that set out so joyously will reach the end of the subject or the end of the term, disgusted and disheartened, or a false success will be achieved, which is but failure in disguise. There are many roads that lead to Rome, but one is preferable to all others. There may be many methods of teaching history with good results, differing with varying circumstances; what we want is that general method which, on the whole, is best. This I have sought earnestly, patiently, through years, and can only say that for myself, in this field at least, I have done with experiments. For the future I shall strive as faithfully as I may to follow out the method which is by no means either new or novel, an imperfect outline of which I have presented to you.
What's in a name ? Not much. But in a nickname often a great deal. The infant christening isn't one's own fault or favor, but the soubriquet of boyhood, or the honorable designation of ripening manhood, generally means something. At least, in this country, if a man has a title, he is supposed to have earned it. No one here is born marquis or lord, viscount or esquire, but many may aspire to appellations more creditable if not more dignified. We make now no argument or plea either for or against the employment of titles. They are used, and will be used in spite of what any score of us may say or write contrariwise; they are often convenient from their very brevity; we simply ask that they be used, that we teachers teach those under our instruction to use them reverently and truthfully, and in thorough loyalty to the spirit of American institutions, and to the English tongue.
Some Americans who have been abroad,—and a great many who have not, – appear enamored of foreign designations. The silly Frenchy fashion of spelling Christian names with the termination ie instead of y is in point. Nellie, Katie, Willie, Allie, are hardly better English than the Chinaman's muchee, touchee. We are glad to note that school boards and college officers are insisting on the use of idiomatic English forms of names for their catalogues and registers. The tendency to multiply titles is still more odious. This really savors not so much of foreign usage as of barbaric ignorance and vain assumption. For, the queen of England is content with the simple prefix Queen or Your Majesty, Frederic William of Prussia is addressed as Sire; while Charles the Fifth is said to have filled the first page of his letters with a list of his titles (we cease to wonder that he retired to a convent); and the king of Ava styles himself “the king of kings whom all others should obey, the cause of the preservation of all animals, the regulator of the seasons, the absolute master of the ebb and flow of the sea, brother to the sun, and king of the four and twenty umbrellas,"—the last title having reference to the umbrella carried before him as a mark of his dignity. It is, to be sure, a little less ludicrous, yet not more in good taste, that a graduate of an American college, who, perhaps, has afterwards continued his education at an English university, and a German professional school, should invariably append to his name the degree conferred by each. One prefixed and one suffixed title are enough for any ordinary mortal. The use of more than these is suggestive of the Scotch woman's characterization of the gaily-dressed circus clown, “A gude mony tags for little to hang em to.”
But, chiefly, let us use titles, whether of courtesy, or of official station, truthfully, - applying them only whom they belong. A lie is to be loathed whether itbe carved in marble, printed on paper, or uttered in oral discourse,—whether it be a false statement, a false
badge, or a gilded epithet. No historic association is sufficient reason for the perpetuation of a misnomer, no mistaken courtesy should allow its use. The title most abused among us is that of Professor. While properly designating only the incumbents of permanent chairs in colleges or professional schools, it is, in fact, applied to principals and other teachers, in all sorts of secondary schools, academies, high schools, union schools, graded schools, private schools, — and is assumed by traveling elocutionists, acrobats, and barbers. This indiscriminate employment, - or, rather, wholesale stealing,—of the term deprives it of all honor and dignity, except when it is further explained by a designation of place or work; and the term, when so employed in the sessions of an association like this, becomes a sort of libel, both of individuals and of the Institute as a body of intelligent educators.
In the use of courtesy-titles, while there is a lack of uniformity, with the general tendency to bestow them where they are no more deserved than is the appellation of King of the Cannibal Islands, yet, by law and custom a few things are settled. In the State of Massachusetts, and some others, the governor is entitled by law to be addressed as "His Excellency," and the lieutenant-governor as
“His Honor.” The president of the United States is addressed simply as President. Judges on the bench are commonly styled “Your Honor;" so also mayors of cities, and sometimes the aldermen. Judges, members of Congress, and ministers abroad, the members of the Senates of the State legislatures, and the speaker of the lower branch, are styled “honorable;" but this designation does not belong to the members of - the lower branch of our State legislatures, nor to the numberless other petty officials to whom it is frequently