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toward professional life in general has for since 1885 the percentage has been
As has been said, these percentages rep1855–59, 10.5 per cent. ; in 1860–64, 15.2 resent the men who have made the minisper cent. ; in 1865–69, 19.7 per cent. ; in try their life-work. The decrease would 1870–74, 19.8 per cent. ; in 1875–79, 22.5 be even more marked if we took all those per cent. ; in 1880–84, 16.4 per cent.; in who entered the ministry, for, as is well 1885–89, 14.4 per cent.; in 1890–94, 19 known, there were, fifty years ago, many per cent.
men who entered the ministry, but engaged Medicine has not been a popular pro- eventually in the more profitable, congefession with scholarly graduates. The per- nial, or more needed work of education. centages range from 6 to 4 from 1840 to One out of every seven Phi Beta Kappa 1885, and are 7.5 and 7 for 1885-89 and men graduating from 1840 to 1850 who 1890–94.
entered the ministry became, in the end, The cause of the gain made by medi- a teacher, while up to the present time cine from 1885 to 1895 is, one is tempted only one out of seventeen of those graduto think, the advance of medicine to the ating from 1880 to 1890 has done so. dignity of a science and the introduction The steadiness of the ministry's loss in into college courses of electives in science. attractiveness shows that its cause has not The former makes the career more attrac- been due to any great and sudden crisis tive to the thinker, and the latter gives of crises, but to some factor which has scientific capacities and interests a chance worked throughout the period. This factor, to become aware of themselves.
whatever it is, has extended its influence Teaching has been changing from the widely. For in every one of the colleges casual work of young men forced some- taken, sectarian and non-sectarian, Eastern how to earn money for professional studies, and Western, large and small, the same or the destiny of clergymen who found general change has occurred. If we pick that their learning was worth more to the out from the colleges those which have world than their piety or sermons, to a dis- been most prominent in sending out future tinct profession with secure remuneration, clergymen, we find that they apparently great social advantages, and a chance to did not feel the influence which began cultivate one's intellectual interests. This elsewhere about 1850 until ten or fifteen familiar change appears emphatically in years later. But from then on the influmy records. During 1885–95 25.5 per ence worked even more powerfully on cent. of Phi Beta Kappa men became them than on the rest. I also find that the teachers, as against 9.4 per cent. from change in the attitude of scholarly men is 1840 to 1844. The figures by five-year not simply a part of an identical change periods show a rapid increase in the popu- in college graduates in general. College larity of the teaching profession with our graduates have entered the ministry less class of men from 1840 to 1865, a decline and less in the last fifty years, but the during the next five years, and an increase change has not been so marked or folfrom 1870 on. There is some evidence lowed the same course as it has with the that the tendency has spent itself by now, scholarly section.
If we turn from history to present de- Law and teaching thus get a lion's scription and prophecy, we cannot, of share of the scholarship of the country course, make more than probable state- to-day. Medicine seems from our figures, ments. The only way to tell the future is as indeed it must seem to wise observers by the past, but the past is rarely a com- of individual cases, to get a smaller proplete guide. And what I have to say about portion of scholarly men than its needs the careers of scholarly men to-day and demand or its opportunities invite. That during the next twenty-five years will be the chance for specialization, research, at best only a fairly likely inference. and consultation work will sometime raise
If we had no records beyond 1894, we this percentage seems sure. It is certainly should say: Nothing save a revolution will to be hoped that medical practice will pass prevent the ministry from losing all its more and more out of the hands of ambihold upon the class represented by Phi tious drug-clerks and undisciplined youth Beta Kappa. The medical profession seems into the hands of careful and broadnot likely to change very rapidly in at- minded thinkers. tractiveness either way. Teaching has If scholarly men more and more reject reached at least something near a maxi- the church as the means by which they mum. The law is regaining what it lost from will influence opinion and conduct, and 1880 to 1890, and may continue to gain. replace it by educational, editorial, and The future will probably witness a steady administrative agencies, the next cengain in medicine, a slight gain in teaching, tury may be altogether guided in its intela rapid but unstable gain in the law, and lectual decisions and in those of its actions a continued decline in the ministry. which depend on intellectual judgments
Now we may ask what light the records by forces outside the church. Our grandof the men graduating from 1895 to 1900 fathers looked to the minister for advice cast upon these suppositions. The per- not only upon religious beliefs and moral centages computed from the catalogue practice, but also upon most matters outare: law, 15; medicine, 2; teaching, 24; side their own direct acquaintance. The ministry, 5; but the statements of the cata- minister prescribed for the education of logue concerning recent graduates are not • sons, solved social problems, and acted as at all accurate accounts of what their life- the source and judge of truth in matters careers will be. Financial necessities or of general knowledge. Our sons seem post-graduate study may delay a man's likely to regard the ministry as a body of entrance upon his final career. My own men fitted to deal with men's religious welestimate, based upon facts which cannot fare, but less fitted to be general mentors fitly be presented here, would be 25 per than others. The direction of the people
. cent. in the law, 8 per cent. in medicine, in other than purely religious activities 26.5 per cent. in teaching, and 10.5 per may pass wholly out of the hands of the cent. in the ministry.
Minister," in THE CENTURY for July, 1885.
TOPICS OF THE TIME
OUR INHERITANCE IN EMERSON low thoughts and sullen moods of help
lessness and impiety." NE hundred years ago Ralph Waldo And Arnold, after his negations, it will
Emerson was born-on the 25th of be remembered, spoke thus: “We have May, 1803. He died on the 27th of April, not in Emerson a great poet, a great writer, 1882. The reaction which seems to be a a great philosophy-maker. His relation to necessary incident in the
us is not that of one of those personages; tablishment of an author's fame may be yet it is a relation of, I think, even superior said to have reached its culmination in the importance. His relation to us is more like case of Emerson some years ago. John that of the Roman Emperor Marcus AuMorley's estimate of him and that put relius. Marcus Aurelius is not a great forth by Matthew Arnold in his American writer, a great philosophy-maker; he is the lecture were read, at the time of their publi- friend and aider of those who would live cation, by those whose intellectual lives in the spirit. Emerson is the same. He is were partly fashioned by the literature of the friend and aider of those who would the man of Concord, with both protest live in the spirit. All the points in thinking and sinking of the heart. Those estimates which are necessary for this purpose he were kindly and regretful dethronements of takes; but he does not combine them into the god; their very kindliness, and the fact a system, or present them as a regular that they were written by sympathizers and philosophy. Combined in a system by a admirers, by writers who owed much to man with the requisite talent for this kind Emerson, and who desired to deal as gently of thing, they would be less useful than as with the somewhat outworn divinity as Emerson gives them to us; and the man possible, - the evident conviction and un- with the talent so to systematize them impeachable honesty of the verdicts, - would be less impressive than Emerson. these things made the Emerson enthusiast . . . As Wordsworth's poetry is, in my all the more anxious, in the midst of his judgment, the most important work done rebellion.
in verse, in our language, during the presThe unflinching admirer, at the time, ent century, so Emerson's ‘Essays' are, I was so grieved at the destructive parts of think, the most important work done in these criticisms that he, perhaps, failed to prose." And Arnold closed his lecture appreciate the constructive praises. He with this memorable passage: "You canwas so pained to witness the removal of not prize him too much, nor heed him too his divinity from his exalted pedestal that diligently. He has lessons for both he was little comforted by the fact that branches of our race. I figure him to my the new shrine, while somewhat different, mind as visible upon earth still, as still was scarcely less highly placed than the standing here by Boston Bay, or at his old. And yet this is the language in which own Concord, in his habit as he lived, but Morley concluded his study: “When all of heightened stature and shining feature, these deductions have been made and with one hand stretched out toward the amply allowed for, Emerson remains East, to our laden and laboring England; among the most persuasive and inspiring the other toward the ever-growing West, of those who by word and example rebuke to his own dearly loved America,-'great, our despondency, purify our sight, awaken intelligent, sensual, avaricious America.' us from the deadening slumbers of con- To us he shows for guidance his lucid freevention and conformity, exorcise the pes- dom, his cheerfulness and hope; to you his tering imps of vanity, and lift men up from dignity, delicacy, serenity, elevation.”
But the lover of Emerson cannot forget far up, now and again, to equal height in that, following the same lines, both Mor- the same lofty atmosphere. ley and Arnold deny, with qualification The lack of constructive continuity in and exception, the greatness often pro- Emerson's writing is compensated for by claimed for Emerson as a poet, a prose the cosmic character of the separate secwriter, and a philosopher, though still tions. He himself spoke of his “paraaccording him a very high place among graphs incompressible, each sentence an the inspirers of humanity. With regard to infinitely repellent particle.” A lecturer the his verse, they point out its lack of certain other night, in daring hyperbole, described qualities inherent in the world's greatest molecules as little solar systems, showpoetry; with regard to his prose, they dwell ing that science had abolished all idea of especially upon its lack of continuity and insignificant smallness. So one might speak flow; with regard to his philosophy, they of Emerson's prose sentences. As to his easily show that he created no formal sys- verse, the occasional roughness is a probtem-that in this department he was ably unintentional enhancement of the
— hardly a “constructor.
clear, melodious cadences that so often The faults, little and big, of Emerson's recur, charming the mind and ear with an prose style are by this time well under- unearthly music. Good verse is thought stood. His poems, too, have not, indeed, packed tight for a long journey; but only the flow of Spenser or Keats -not, as here and there in all literature is there such Arnold indicates, even of Longfellow. He tight packing as in the verse of Emerson, built up no formal philosophy.
and no limit can be safely named to the But those who have gone beyond their length of its journey down the tide of time. periods of first enthusiasm and reactionary Emerson's highest artistic quality has in doubt concerning Emerson are no longer it always a suggestion of miracle. One troubled by any either unfriendly or “cannot see how it was done,” and imifriendly definition of his artistic, intellec- tation is disaster. The sentence, the phrase, tual, or temperamental limitations. They creates in the mind a sense of luminousare fully aware of these; but they are as ness, so keen is the vibration. This may be fully aware of a power of intuition and a said of all works of high artistic genius, but mastery of expression-indeed, an actual in the case of Emerson the miraculously artistic accomplishment-by him, both in luminous effect is peculiarly felt. On a verse and in prose, that make his works a building at the Pan-American Exposition possession of such transcendent value that at Buffalo, the visitor who read the followthey cannot imagine the literature of the ing words, even if he could not remember world ever becoming so rich as to be able having read them before, might not long to dispense with them or to deny them a doubt as to their origin : “O rich and varihigh and exceptional place. They say to ous Man! thou palace of sight and sound, themselves: if it be true, as Arnold de- carrying in thy senses the morning and the clared, that Emerson was not a “born man night and the unfathomable galaxy; in thy of letters,” that he was not a "legitimate brain, the geometry of the City of God; poet,” then the wonder is accomplished of in thy heart, the bower of love and the such a writer adding to the world's litera- realms of right and wrong." ture, to the world's poetry, some of its best And as to that slender and precious treasures of artistic expression; they find volume of Emerson's poems: open anythat in the third decade after his death where, and everywhere the miracle. We, his literary influence, and the influence of at the moment, came, by accident, upon his thought, is affecting new writers in other “Two Rivers.” Consider it for subtlety and tongues and arousing renewed appreciation for sweep of imagination, or for the liquid and adulation among the thoughtful. They beauty of the line, the crisp of its consomay not care to insist upon ranking him nants and the rich pour of its vowels; how arbitrarily above this or that contemporary often in any language has it been equaled ? writer, or author of the past; in their minds his literature may not suggest the immense
Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain; mountain-ranges or high table-lands of the
But sweeter rivers pulsing Alit Shaksperes and Platos, but the peaks of Through thee, as thou through Concord his exquisite genius seem to them to thrust Plain.
Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
our corrupt period, -far as we may go on The stream I love unbounded goes
the line of our nobler national accomplishThrough food and sea and firmament; ments (and amidst all our discouragements Through light, through life, it forward
we must not forget these nobler accomflows.
plishments!), far as we may travel up the I see the inundation sweet,
pathway of our true ideals— still before us, I hear the spending of the stream
and ever higher on that pathway, will be Through years, through men, through nature seen the beckoning figure, will be heard fleet,
the urging and inspiring voice, of EmThrough love and thought, through power erson. and dream.
Listen to the words of Emerson the
American, of Emerson the patriot:“AmerMusketaquit, a goblin strong, Of shard and Aint makes jewels gay;
ica should affirm and establish that in no They lose their grief who hear his song,
instance shall the guns go in advance of And where he winds is the day of day.
the present right. We shall not make coups
d'état and afterward explain and pay, but So forth and brighter fares my stream,
shall proceed like William Penn, or whatWho drink it shall not thirst again;
ever other Christian or humane person who No darkness stains its equal gleam,
treats with the Indian or the foreigner, on And ages drop in it like rain.
principles of honest trade and mutual ad
vantage. We can see that the Constitution The midmost stanza of the five happens and the law in America must be written to be a part of the "familiar quotation on ethical principles, so that the entire of our day; it gleams here like a lucent power of the spiritual world shall hold the jewel on a golden ring, a jewel wide as citizen loyal, and repel the enemy as by nature and deep as time.
force of nature. It should be mankind's The beauty of Emerson's prose at its bill of rights, or Royal Proclamation of best cannot be analyzed, nor of his verse. the Intellect ascending the throne, anHis phrase, in prose or verse, is in a nouncing its good pleasure that now, once very intense sense the natural product of for all, the world shall be governed by an individual, and that individual a soul common sense and law of morals.” “It apart. Our inheritance in Emerson is not is not a question whether we shall be a only an inheritance of a literature, but of multitude of people. No, that has been a life, of a nature well-nigh unique among conspicuously decided already; but wheworld-authors. Surely few lives have ever ther we shall be the new nation, the guide been lived on such moral and intellectual and lawgiver of all nations, as having heights. Somewhat as Washington stands clearly chosen and firmly held the simamong the world's statesmen,--a public plest and best rule of political society." and private life one in purity and sentiment, The above from "The Fortune of the --so stands Emerson among the greatest Republic,” spoken in the Old South of those who have expressed themselves Church, Boston, in 1878; and this last in language: no pettiness to deplore, no quotation from “The Young American,” derelictions to explain or forget. Others uttered in 1844, and still new, fresh, and have been good; others have been pure; sublimely monitory, like the recorded words but in him there is a crystalline intensity from the lips anointed of some Hebrew of purity, a never abandoned altitude. prophet-poet: “Here stars, here woods, Life, thought, expression are one, and here hills, here animals, here men abound, ,
, all are altogether noble.
and the vast tendencies concur of a new In Emerson as an American, as a pa- order. If only the men are employed in triot, we of the New World have an in- conspiring with the designs of the Spirit heritance peculiarly our own, which will who led us hither, and is leading us still, grow richer with the spending-for the we shall quickly enough advance out of spending of such an inheritance means all hearing of others' censures, out of all that we ourselves be spent for the Repub- regrets of our own, into a new and more lic. Far as we may go beyond our present excellent social state than history has failures, - beyond what Morley calls this recorded."
1 See also editorial in The CENTURY for July, 1882.