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falling into the error of their opponents, by talking of works they had never read,) still, it no more follows from his mistakes in phy. sical science, that the moral writings of Aristotle are deserving of neglect, than it follows that the poetry, oratory, and history of Greece are worthless, because her natural philosophy was empirical; no more, than that the wisest of the moderns was empirical as a natural philosopher, because as a courtier he was " the meanest of mankind.” · Nor can there be a more unfounded accusation than that which is ever and anon brought forward in every shape of assertion, assumption, and implication; to wit, that Aristotle opposed inductive reasoning. The well-known fact, that the philosopher employed him. self in registering observations respecting the animals sent him from Asia by Alexander, is a practical answer to the calumny. Does he not speak again and again of induction being the foundation of all syllogistic reasoning? Is he not most careful to derive all his knowlege from realities? Can any philosopher keep more clear of the gion and ourian, the species, and essentiæ in the metaphysical mean. ings of those words? He may indeed be said xat'Egoxoy to derive his observations from facts and realities-EEETAČELY, in the true sense and derivation of that word. It is this which has given to his writings a superiority over every other school of moral speculation. In spite of bad translations and worse comments, false and injudicious friends, and able and bitter enemies, the works of the Stagyrite, as containing almost all the knowlege on moral subjects of a most intellectual people, sifted and refined by a mind of unequalled comprehensiveness and subtlety, and written in a style of admirable precision and force,' will continue to hold the very first place as a means of intellectual discipline in the opinions of those who have sufficient scholarship to study these writings in the original. Even those who have not this means of judging for themselves, may yet have a well-founded suspicion, that the man who was chosen by the wisest king, in the wisest times, among the most intellectual people in the world, from the wisest of their philosophers, to direct the education of a prince who afterwards subdued the world, must have had no ordinary powers. If this argument has almost the pertness of an epigram, the fault is in those who compel us to employ it.
But paulo minora canamuslet us return to our reviewer, whom we left censuring the present worn-out engines of educa.
The very error of occasional logomachies, whilst it attaches rather to the times than to the philosopher, supplies very desirable trials of acuteness, precision, and diligence. Are not many of the realities of law and policy, and some of the distinctions which are attempted to be set up in religion, equally laborious trifiogs?
tion. Now, allowing the historians and philosophers of Greece and Rome to be as deserving of being studied as we believe them to be, the reviewer may yet take the ground, that the attaining to the matter of what they have written is rendered unnecessarily laborious by its being conveyed to us in a foreign language. We will allow the weight of this argument, when we are convinced on the one hand, that hard intellectual labor is not a beneficial discipline, especially to those who in after life will lie but too softly in the lap of ease; and on the other, that a sufficient portion of time may not be spared, from early childhood, to the period when it is expedient to enter on the business of life, for acquiring the wisdom of Greece and Rome, without neglecting any pursuits which are likely to benefit the mind. Neither in truth are we much moved by the objection that many volumes of our mother tongue might be read in a less period than is occupied in mastering a few crabbed authors of Greece and Rome. When we remember that human nature, at least to a very great extent, is the same in a Greek, a Roman, and an Englishman, we cannot be persuaded, that to make ourselves acquainted with the desires and interests of man in one nation is not, in a great measure, to make ourselves acquainted with his desires and interests in another. We cannot be persuaded, that a more hasty perusal of many histories, treatises, &c. is of the same intellectual value as a leisurely and diligent perusal of a few, when those few are acknowleged to be facile principes. Indeed, were we required to give a single rule to a young man entering on a course of study, we would bid him confine himself to a few great writers, but to meditate on them long and deeply.—Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna. In the words of the author of the Pursuits of Literature, we would exhort him to “dare to be ignorant;” convinced, that to get together a number of names by which we may support our own opinions and invalidate those of others is to reduce the investigation of truth to a question rather of personal authority, than of accurate observation and sound argument. But granting our machinery, Greek and Latin, arithmetic, algebra and mathematics,--to be, as the reviewer asserts, worn out, what fundamental engine does he propose to substitute in its place On this point he leaves us rather in the dark, well knowing that it is more easy to point out diseases than to discover remedies. The change he would propose is however indicated by such sentences as the following:—“The age of Alfred was thus far an enlightened one—the soldier was trained in the exercises appropriate to his business; the churchman was taught Latin, because Latin was the language of his trade: the business of society demands under George the Fourth what it demanded under Alfred; but its demands have not been obeyed.” P. 151. - * And would this radical reformer of education lead us back into the land of Egypt, into the house of bondage, where, as we are told by Herodotus, the sons of cooks were always made cooks, and the sons of heralds brought up as heraldso Would he have one set of boys taught only the business of fighting, to bless us with a corps of Mamelukes and a Praetorian guard 2 another, only the business of pleading, to perpetuate the felicities of Chancery suits, and the minor happiness of being liable to a six-and-eightpenny interference on each action, and at every moment of our lives : Is this the uncompromising enemy of monopolies, the sworn foe to every thing exclusive 2 Truly we are not so in love with the business of the army or of the law, or indeed with any other business directed only to one object in life, as to wish this wisdom of our forefathers to be revived. The subject has been so ably handled by the reviewer of Mr. Edgeworth's Essays on Professional Education, in the twelfth number of the Quarterly, that, unless the Westminster reformer has yet more to say than he has thought it necessary to produce, we must acquiesce in the present system of education in default of a better, although it entail on our posterity such “perilous shots from elder guns,” as Shakspeare somewhere calls the sharp and harmless poppings of arguments as pert and weak as the following: “If our institutions educate lawyers and merchants, and physicians and statesmen, they teach them what they teach to churchmen, Ovid and Catullus, Homer and drinking, driving curricles or stage-coaches, and rowing boats.” P. 152. To be a well-favored man, says another learned Theban, is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature. ‘We had imagined coaching and boating, &c. avywkswaffa, to yews, howy, to be generic qualities, and to need no teaching !—Again, “When we shall become as wise as Sparta, our universal youth will not be employed seventeen years in learning the languages of Greece and Rome.” P. 154. Happy days I when our universal youth shall read Jeremy Bentham, that Catholic writer, abovo usque ad mala.-Again: “Were it not for mothers' and nurses, it is tolera
: ' It is not more true in physics than in morals, that action and re-action are equal. . The exagoeration of one party has always a tendency to produce extenuation in another. That we may not in the present instance fall into an error so adverse to sound reasoning and right practice, let us candidly own, that it would be a great improvement in the system of our school discipline if a little more English reading were required. If boys, according
bly certain that we should possess as little language as an ourangoutang.” Page 159. What wonderful women must the mothers and nurses of Mr. Pitt and Mr. Canning have been and how extraordinary that those great orators did not forget their mother's tongue amongst the barbarisms of Eton |
Ah, happy hills! . Ah, pleasing shades! e Ah, fields beloved in vain
as an ourang-outang most kakophoniously expressesit Again : “We hope the Dean of Westminster will please to tell us how much he teaches or knows of Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Celtic, French, Italian, Danish, Low-Dutch, besides Bengalee, German, and Ashantee, and that he will inform us how many English words come straightway to us from Greek or Latin.” Page 161. Doubtless the Dean of Westminster could inform the reviewer respecting the derivation of such words and phrases as these, impertinent absurdity—ephemeral trophies—evanescent reputation, &c. &c. Again: “Doubtless it (classical learning) will instruct him how to christen Hunt's blacking and Rowland's Macassar oil in heathen.” Page 160. It would certainly supply him with a denomination for the wit of the Westminster Review; something probably about Bomolochy, the derivation of which word we recommend to the reviewer's serious attention. But allowing such jests to be as witty as they are intended to be, let us in “utilitarian sadness,” as the reviewer rather Benthamically expresses it, return to the argument, and see what further “engine” he would use in aid of his Egyptian machinery. “A language,” says the reviewer, “that can be read is, nevertheless, worth something: but a language that can be spoken as well as read, has at least one value more. If a language which we want every day as a means of intercourse is a desirable acquisition, a language which includes a thousand authors ought also to be more valuable than the one which contains a hundred.” Surely the reviewer is forgetting the possibility of the hundred authors being all Dutchmen, great boets, and each of their boems, as Smollett words it, as big as dic-cheese; whilst the thousand might not be more voluminous than the poetry of Gray or Goldsmith. He ought to have provided for so puzzling a case, and settled his table of weights as well as of numbers. Quinctilian is clearly of our opinion; for though he speaks in praise of the numerosa oratio, i.e. the writing a great number of orations, he by no means neglects the gravitas orationis, or taking care that each oration be of considerable size. That this must be his meaning, will be evident to whoever bears in mind that ceteris paribus, the size of an oration will be, physice, as its weight. But let us return to the argument. “Does the man exist, who, if he were freed from the mystery, the cant, and the fallacy of the system, would not prefer a mastery of the German to the Greek, or the French to the Latin * Page 164. Now, if it had not been for a second Canon of criticism, which estimates the value of a language by the ratio of its present utility as an instrument of war, love, and commerce, (for we are making love to half the females of the globe, war with half the males, and bargains with the whole,) this question of superiority might yet have remained undecided, so far as the Latin and French languages are concerned. Certainly, a very considerable body of Fathers, Schoolmen, and Chroniclers, not to mention lawyers and physicians, could have been marched to the aid of the Latin. And if weight might be allowed to enter into the account (and to have excluded it would have been not only gross partiality, but a sad neglect of many time-honored metaphors), there cannot be a doubt that the Gallic chivalry would have given way before the staunch and heavy-armed legion. But as the second Canon can hardly be evaded, even by urging the quantity of good Latin spoken in Edinburgh and Poland, it is useless to contend longer in defence of the language of Rome. In behalf of the language of Homer, it may indeed be urged, that as the latter Canon is clearly incapable of being brought to bear against it, since “war, love, and trade,” have not yet ceased to be carried on in that language with considerable vivacity; and as there is a fair chance of the
to their age, were obliged we will not say to read, for that they might do raßevöorres 8a Biov, but to be examined every day in a certain portion of Sir Walter Scott's delightful little volumes on Scottish History, Mrs. Markham's Conversations on English History, Hill's Essays on Greece, Watts's Scripture History, or Paley's Evidences of Natural Religion— we should not even object to Mrs. Marcett's Chemistry or Mr. Mitchell's Natural Philosophy, we think that a habit of thinking and expressing themselves in their own language, with a taste for reading and acquiring information, might be cultivated even in those whom inferior abilities prevent from succeeding in more difficult studies. When we consider how many young men, from a distaste to morally intellectual habits (if I may be allowed the expression), sink into mere sensualists, and, afterwards having the command of large fortunes, become centres, each in his own little system, of extravagance, vice, and misery, we shall be inclined to judge the importance of this part of discipline hardly capable of being over-estimated. If it could be shown that such an employment, of at least half an hour in each day, is incompatible with the acquisition of two languages and of a fair portion of mathematical knowlege, I should not hesitate for a moment to conclude it expedient to sacrifice one language for the attainment of an object so important. But I am convinced that this sacrifice is not necessary, at least if we will keep Cicero's great rule of avoiding the res obscuras atque difficiles easdemgue non necessarias steadiin view.. I mean, if we will be careful to avoid making grammar more ifficult and discouraging than is necessary, nor spend too much time in proving that the axiom, Poeta mascitur non fit, has some foundation.
VOL. XXIX. Pam. NO. LVII. Q