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course of liberal instruction and the other, to reduce the time and attention devoted to them, it would be difficult to say, that as applied to this country, the one is more to be deprecated than the other. Are the languages overtaught now? Will they bear a reduction? The reverse is known to be the fact. Compared with the teaching in the German schools, where the design is to make scholars, compared with the teaching in the schools of England, where the design, in addition to this, is to qualify men for all the higher employments of life, as well as for a life without particular employment, it can scarcely be said that here they are taught at all. Excepting in the profession of divinity, is it too strong to affirm that there is scarcely such a thing as scholarship? And even in that profession, how many are there, in proportion to the whole number engaged in its sacred duties, who would be able to encounter a learned infidel with the weapons of ancient learning ? We have eminent lawyers—we have distinguished physicians—enterprising and intelligent merchants and a fund of general talent capable of the highest elevation in every employment or pursuit of life. Occasionally we meet with one among them, commonly of the old stock, in whom is discerned the elegant influence of classical literature.'
But where are our eminent scholars? Where are the greater lights, ruling with a steady and diffusive splendour, and vindicating their claim to a place among the constellations which shine in the firmament of learning? Nay, how few are there among us, of our best educated men, who, if called upon to bring forth their stores, would be able to say with Queen Elizabeth, that they had “ brushed up their Latin," or would have any Latin to brush up? The truth is that this branch of study is already at the very minimum, if not below it. It will not bear the least reduction. It positively requires to be increased in teaching, and raised in public esteem. Classical learning neither falls in
showers, nor flows in streams. Here and there a solitary drop appears, sparkling and beautiful to be sure, like the last dew on a leaf, but too feeble, without the support of its kindred element, even to preserve itself, and utterly powerless to enrich or fructify the neighbouring soil. To propose a reduction, is therefore equivalent, at least, to an entire exclusion, if it be not worse. Less taught than it now is, or less esteemed, the teaching would be almost a false pretence, and the learning a waste of time. It would be as well at once to blot it from the course, and, as far as in our power lies, to let the Greek and Latin languages sink into oblivion, and be lost in profound darkness, like that from which, by their single power, they have once recovered the world. This would be a parricidal work for civilization and sci
But if it is to be accomplished, the mode, is not what is to characterize it as unnatural. Before we advance to a conclusion of such incalculable importance, let us first consider what it is, and then endeavour to be fully assured that it is right. If it be once decided that the study of the ancient languages can be dispensed with in a collegiate education, and the honours of a college obtained without it, there is no difficulty in perceiving it must also be dropped in the preparatory schools. Why begin it, if it is not to be pursued ? Why take up time in acquiring what is afterwards to be thrown aside as rubbish, and forgotten? For. gotten it inevitably will be, if it be entirely discontinued at the time of entering college. By what motives or arguments will a boy be persuaded to apply himself to learning in a Grammar School, what is not necessary to obtain for him the honours of a college, and what he is distinctly told will be of no use to him in life? It is absurd to think of it. The youngest child has sagacity enough to understand an argument, which coincides with his own inclination, and to apply it to the indulgence of his own natural love of ease.
Tell him that he might as well be unemployed, and, without having ever studied logic, he will be very apt to jump at once to the seductive conclusion of idleness.
These languages, let it be remembered, have hitherto not merely formed a part, they have been the very basis of a liberal education, I might almost say they have been education itself. From the revival of letters to the present time, they have held this station, through a period of five hundred years, not in one country only, but in all the civilized world. They gained it by their own merits, and they have kept it by their unquestionable success. Would it be wise or prudent to cast them off, unless we were fully prepared to supply the large space they have occupied, by something equal, at least, if not superior ? This is no metaphysical question; nor does the answer to it require the peculiar powers of Mr. Locke, mighty as they confessedly were. It is eminently a practical question, which common sense is fully able to decide. It may be stated thus ; education, having a given end, and a certain plan of education having approved itself during some hundreds of years, and still continuing daily to approve itself to be well suited to attain that end, is it wise or rational to require that it shall be vindicated upon original grounds, and be rejected like a novelty, unless it can be justified to our complete satisfaction, by arguments a priori? Of what consequence is the modus operandi if the desired result be attained ? That is a good time-keeper which keeps good time, no matter how constructed. That is good food which is found to nourish the body, whatever peptic precepts may say to the contrary. And that is good exercise, which gives vigour and grace to the limbs, even though a Chinese lady might not be allowed to use it. Against such a fact, once well established, argumentative objection ought to be unavailing, or there is an end to all just reasoning.
“What can we reason, but from what we know ?”
This proof is manifest, in respect to nations, as it is in respect to individuals. It is astonishing, that Mr. Locke could have entertained the suggestion for a moment, that the study of the languages and philosophy was unfriendly to the formation of prudent and strong character, when he looked around upon his countrymen, and perceived, as he must have done, that they are not less distinguished for their attachment to these studies, than for what Mr. Burke has called, " the family of grave and masculine virtues.” Constancy, resolution, unconquerable spirit, a lofty determination never under any circumstances of adversity to admit the betraying counsels of fear, were not more signally exhibited by the old Romans, when Hannibal, triumphant, and seemingly irresistible, from the slaughter at Cannæ, was thundering at the gates of Rome, than they have been by that nation, which Mr. Locke's genius has contributed to illustrate and adorn. This same study has gone
hand in hand with every profession and pursuit, refining, exalting and dignifying them all. Theologians, statesmen, lawyers, physicians, poets, orators, philosophers, the votaries of science and of letters, have been disciplined and nourished by it, and under the influence of its culture have attained the highest excellence. The arts of life have, at the same time, kept on with steady pace, so that the people whom Cesar spoke of as, in his time, “ Britannos toto orbe divisos," now, if not in all respects at the very head of the European family, are certainly not inferior to any of its members. Let those who cavil at a liberal education, and those especially who question the value of the Greek and Latin languages, answer this fact. The tree cannot be bad which produces such fruit. It is unphilosophical to doubt the adequacy of a cause to produce a given effect, when we see that the effect is constantly produced by that cause; and it is unphilosophical to search for another cause, when we have found one that is sufficient. If the study of
the ancient languages has been found, by long experience, to discipline and nourish the intellectual faculties, why should we doubt that it is efficacious for that purpose ? Why should we go about to seek for something else, that if it succeed will but answer the same purpose and if it fail, leaves us entirely destitute? One will flippantly tell us that it is spending too much time about words, which could be better employed about things. The great British lexicographer has unintentionally given some countenance to this notion, in the Preface of his Dictionary. A man, who had accomplished such a labour, might be permitted, at its close, to feel the departure of the spirit which had sustained him in its progress, and in the pathetic melancholy of taking leave, so eloquently expressed as almost to draw tears from the reader, he might be allowed even to depreciate his own work, by admitting that “words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.” But even the authority of Dr. Johnson cannot be permitted thus to degrade the pedigree of words, or diminish their importance. Articulate sound is from heaven. Its origin is divine. The faculty of speech is the immediate gift of Him who made us, and its destitution (which his good Providence sometimes allows to occur) is felt to be a great calamity. Language-words-are the exercise of this faculty, as thought is the exercise of the faculty of thinking. The one is worthy of improvement, as well as the other—nay, we can scarcely conceive of their separate existence, or their separate cultivation-and hence the first step in the instruction of the dumb is to teach them the use of language. Words without thought are idle and vain. Thought, without the power of expressing it, is barren and unproductive. “ Proper words in proper places,” is the point we all strive to attain ; and this is what constitutes the perfection of the power of communicating with each other. It is true, therefore, that “words are things ;" and there is no better proof of it than