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enough in the world of letters, to gather together a class most deeply interested in educational progress, draws from the great chieftains their continued adhesion, each to his peculiar view.
Whatever may be the leading idea at the basis of a scheme of professional or general education, it cannot ignore the great, living current of actual life, and must recognize at more than one point of contact its form and pressure ; the material which it manipulates comes up from, and, in due course, returns to that current, and whether a youth is to be prepared for a professional career, or is to be fitted to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all offices, public and private, the scheme of education that professes to effect this should display, to the eye of an expert in the business of instruction, evidence of practical design in the groundwork, intelligent arrangement in the distribution of its parts, and desert, ability, and wisdom in the successive stages that mark the carriage of the whole.
The concourse of a multitude, their discipline, the collision of mind with mind, the general high attainments of professors, the virtues, correctness, and decent propriety of attendants, can be presented in schemes of education under every possible variety of condition and circumstance. It is, however, a special, exclusive, entire adaptation to the present need and actual requirements of the community, the age, the ideas, and the institutions, of which it is so advanced a part, and which it often moulds and shapes, that makes it eminently effective, rather than a capacity to impart knowledge, relatively of importance, and good in its way as is all knowledge, but which might have been almost equally valuable a century since as it is now. As members of a political community, of which self-government is the cherished principle, it is obvious that a discipline, into which sentiments of true honor, self-reliance, intelligent subordination and self-control largely enter, is better adapted to the early training of those who are to illustrate its advantages, than one which is not unfrequently carried out, in insolent disregard of the existence of any such sentiments in the breasts of youth, by some hot-headed, overbearing attendant, who makes up for the lack of administrative capacity and ability to cultivate a moral influence, by considering the voluntary relations formed by students with
an institution, as formed by force, and the conduct of which he has, for the nonce, the arbitrary and irresponsible direction; moreover, when youth are the exclusive beneficiaries of a provision made by natural affection and solicitude, whose proper distribution is committed to those who temporarily occupy the place of parents, on grounds of personal attraction, favor, or desert, there needs the application of discriminating wisdom, by the latter, in the selection of attendants, to preclude a perversion that would make youth instead, the recipients of an eleemosynary gratuity, doled out at the hands of those, who, not comprehending their own position, do not readily enter into the feelings, sympathize with the wants, or bear with the idiosyncrasies that constantly manifest themselves, and have to be dealt with when the mutual relations of instructor and pupil are formed.
Admitting that the zeal and good feeling of all interested in the actual establishment of public instruction, yielded a hearty acquiescence to the impromptu and provisional mode that marked its first essays, and that the pressure exercised by the same motives obtained results, on the whole, of a gratifying nature, he must have slumbered indeed, who cannot perceive that circumstances are widely different in our day from what they were in that of our fathers, and that what was true of the beginning of the century, is by no means so after it is more than half elapsed. That our fathers found a work to do, and did it with all their strength, will not help us, if with folded arms we make no appreciable progress, when all is progress around
The very temerity and hardihood, the self-sacrifice and personal risk which it cost to demonstrate the absolute feasibility of a public instruction peculiarly Catholic, will be our condemnation, if deaf to the promptings of industrious effort and the counsels of good sense we fail to secure it on a firm basis.
The sympathy that was elicited from the breasts of a young and generous nation in behalf of the victims of a social catastrophe, spent its force when it enabled them to volunteer instruction, for which they sought no recompense but the consciousness of having discharged a function of their sacred calling, and for the practical value of which they were accountable no further than for the blamelessness
of the medium through which it flowed. It can no more be drawn into a precedent, than was the brilliant result of their labors a warrant for their perpetuity.
Claims addressed to the understanding for its approval of an arrangement on the ground of superiority, provoke inquiry and challenge comparison. If the efficiency of an institution consists in the charter which authorizes it to confer degrees, and a respectable number of professors; then indeed the Catholic community may indulge in a pardonable exaltation at the flourishing condition of their educational establishments; but if the number and character of the students determine the rank of the college, an examination of the condition of any one of them, as far as it is displayed, fails to disclose any appreciable improvement in the irregular partisan mode of instruction adopted in the outset of their career. There appear a number of students, between which and the number of graduates it is impossible to institute a proportion, and yet preserve the idea of a collegiate course ; a discipline, the copy of no prototype and the example of no imitation ; an ever-present spirit of emulation, kept alive by an artificial scheme of rewards, that, culminating in the solemn trifling of exhibition-day, prematurely develop mental vigor, and the student, at the close of a protracted course, receives his degree under the delusion that he has reached the ne plus ultra of education. The claims of religious guidance and teaching are made paramount to those of collegiate instruction, and in the latter manifest defects are obnoxious to no public censure, and undeniable excellence elicits no general praise ; the principle of permanence, so much contended for in the relation of professors with the institution, is eliminated, and, finally, a flourishing condition of the institution itself is no assurance of its perpetuity. The halls of old St. Mary's are closed alike on the returning steps of alumni, whose diplomas have borne fruits worthy the fame of its learned faculty, and on the aspirations of youth who seek to draw from the bosom of Alma Mater literary refinement and classical culture.
We have touched but lightly on a few of the defects in our own present system of public instruction. The wants of the Church were, undoubtedly, the first to be provided for, and it was perfectly natural that in the beginning our
schools should have principally in view the supplying subjects for the priesthood, though it must be admitted that even in that respect they have not fulfilled the hopes of their founders. But the time has come when the wants of secular education are beginning to be widely and deeply felt, and when it seems to us that our Catholic community is in a condition to make a respectable provision for meeting them. The necessity of a numerous and well-educated clergy no Catholic doubts or can doubt, but the clergy cannot, in a country like ours, meet all the wants of secular society. We need also a class, and a large class of educated seculars, who can be auxiliaries of the clergy, and give tone and respectability, a position and moral weight, to our body in this non-Catholic world. For this we need colleges devoted primarily to secular studies, to the rearing and training of a generation of scholars that can more than match, in all the branches of a liberal education, the best scholars educated in the country. That our colleges now fail in this, few, we apprehend, are prepared to deny, and we have contended that one great reason of this failure is owing to the continuation, in the same institution, under nearly the saine regimen and discipline, of the college, the preparatory school, and the theological seminary. paratory schools, many of our colleges are admirable, and leave little or nothing to be desired, and some of them are equally admirable as seminaries; but none of them come up to the proper conception of a college, and give that liberal training, that manly development, and that profound and various learning which the wants of our Catholic community require.
What changes we would propose, what results we would obtain, and what means, at the disposal of Catholics, we would suggest for obtaining them, will form the subject of a future article. Meantime, we entreat our friends to direct their attention to the subject, and examine it with reverence indeed, but thoughtfully and dispassionately, for it is of vital importance to the future of Catholicity in the United States.
ART. V.-Des Appels comme d'Abus et des Articles
Organiques du Concordat. Par le COMTE DE MONTA-
In criticising M. Montalembert's essay on The Political Future of England, in this Review for April, 1856, we suffered ourselves to be betrayed into some remarks which were understood in a sense unfavorable to M. Montalembert and his friends, and favorable to the Emperor and the present Imperial government of France. Several of the Imperialist journals, among which we notice the Revue Contemporain and Le Constitutionnel, seized with avidity upon our remarks and used them with some effect against the author of the Essay and the friends of constitutional government. We owe it to ourselves and to our friends in France to say that our remarks were never intended to have the application, or rather, misapplication that has been made of them. We wrote with the impression that our distrust of the Emperor of the French, and our devotion to free institutions, had been so often expressed and were so well known, that we were in no danger of having our meaning or our purpose misapprehended. But in view of the misapplication and perversion which has been made of our remarks by the Imperialists, we assure M. Montalembert and his friends, whose organ is the Correspondant, that we regret that they were not differently wonded or at least more guarded, for nothing was farther from our intention than to embarrass the defenders of constitutional freedom or to please the Imperialists. Accustomed in our own country to a free press, free
, discussion, and full publicity, it did not, when we were writing, occur to us that publicity is restricted in France, that the French press enjoys only a one-sided freedom, a freedom of the Jansenistic sort, and therefore that our friends would not be at liberty to correct publicly any errors of fact or opinion into which we might fall to their prejudice, or any misapplication or perversion of our remarks that might be made by the Imperialist press. Our forgetfulness on this point was not unnatural indeed, but it was hardly excusable, and we sincerely and deeply regret it. We wrote, moreover, with a partial misapprehension of the