Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, October 01, 1876, Image 9

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    Tc VlaMctt tn Amiriiun jUltyur
homctnu -schools; Hint is, tin .almost com.
pleto monopoly ol' the r.urrriculum, with
the exception, pcrhnps, of muthcmulics
Tho. musty authors of Greece and Home,
conhl they revisit the earth toalny and
learn how llioir writings havd been the
chief subject of study since tlicir titno by
tliu most ctvl'izcd nations of the world,
would doubtless think that tho gene
ral welfare of our planet depended greatly
upon their literary effusions.
Tho colonists of our country brought
with them, as we might expect, substan
tially tho same ideas of higher education
as prevailed in the mother laud. Our (list
colleges, therefore, did not differ much
from Oxford and Cambridge. Now much
has been done in lato years toward giving
other branches of study a fair hearing, but
cliiotly by establishing courses ofstudy in
which the classics are wholly absent. As
usually understood, tht! design of college
instruction, when not devoted to special,
ties, is to lay the foundations of a liberal
and general culture. This would imply a
symmetrical curriculum, composed of a
variety of branches, and ench receiving a
proportionate share of attention. Is this
carried out in 'practice, or is a college
meruiy a uoimal school for the training of
classical professors V Let us sec
Upon examining most of our college
curriculuins, we find that nearly every
term has its measure of both Latin and
Greek, accompanied frequently by a math
ematical pill Here and there are sand
wiched in a few terms of literary and
scientific studies, but scarcely enough to
vary the monotonous recurrence of the
classics. Only a scanty knowledge of the
former can be obtaircd in the. limited time
nllorded, while if Commencement find
one not acquainted with ccry nook and
turn of Cicero and Virgil, Plato and Ho-
mer, it is certainly not owing to a want of
The staff of life is justly considered to
be bread and butter, but man craves other
tilings as well, ami unless gratified to some
extcntiwill not thrive on so monotonous a
diet. In like manner classloal education
is calculated to make one proficient in
Latin and Greek, and that only. - Wc
claim that the customary (into repent in the
study of the classics is excessive. . The
lassical writings of Oreceeouid Rome,
are in no respect more muritor'Krtiij than
hundreds of others, both ancient -iifd mud.
cm. We have come to regard them us
wonderful because their admirers for
for oightccn centuries past have combined
to make all their excellencies appear.
We master Latin and Greek, but we neg
lect English. Tho former are necessary
for a proper knowledge of the Utter, but a
less1 quantity than i- now proscribed -will
amply sutllce for all ordinary purpose.
Anglo Saxon, the -round work of our
own tongue, is oi quite ah much impor
tance as cither, ami is now so admitted -yet
it has been greatly neglected. ,,;
The complaint is univorsuly raised by
outsiders that their sons and daughters in
college, icceive but -little that will be oT
use to them in the practical affairs of after
life. To a considerable extent this is true.
We arc well aware of the utilitarian 6piiit
of the age, but wo know, too, that tho'tisual
four years classic. I drill pro'. esdf little
advantage to many p.-rsuts. T-W) 'iJften '
they become mere en! Hired nonenilies.'
Now, if a portion cii-,ius time wrrc devoted """'
to other brunches of Mudv, it would make
the course more ust-t'.il and practical, nnd
do much to make the student a moro
practical person. A desire te attain this
end drives many stirdents nowadays into
purely scientific eru:scs ofstudy, in which"
they are wholly di-piived of tne benefits of
the classics. As there is no middle
ground by which the advantages of both
scientific and clu.s-icul education may at
Uim same time be m aMirably secured,
students are induced to pursue nm- or die
other extreme, for the sake of obtaining u
Iany rich fields of' lii'vVMig-ition are
either ignored , or at best but little more
than touched upon, in an 'ordinary' classi
cal curriculum. To this it may be replied"
' . "'.