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Mankind in the Making by H. G. Wells

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In both countries now the old home traditions have been and are being
adjusted to and modified by the new classes, with new relationships and
new necessities, that the revolution in industrial organization and
domestic conveniences has created.

The interplay of old tradition and new necessities becomes at times
very curious. Consider, for example, the home influences of the child
of a shopman in a large store, or those of the child of a skilled
operative--an engineer of some sort let us say--in England. Both these
are new types in the English social body; the former derives from the
old middle class, the class that was shopkeeping in the towns and
farming in the country, the class of the Puritans, the Quakers, the
first manufacturers, the class whose mentally active members become the
dissenters, the old Liberals, and the original New Englanders. The
growth of large businesses has raised a portion of this class to the
position of Sir John Blundell Maple, Sir Thomas Lipton, the intimate
friend of our King, and our brewer peers; it has raised a rather more
numerous section to the red plush glories of Wagon-Lit trains and their
social and domestic equivalents, and it has reduced the bulk of the
class to the status of employees for life. But the tradition that our
English shopman is in the same class as his master, that he has been
apprentice and improver, and is now assistant, with a view to presently
being a master himself, still throws its glamour over his life and his
home, and his child's upbringing. They belong to the middle class, the
black coat and silk-hat class, and the silk hat crowns the adolescence
of their boys as inevitably as the toga made men in ancient Rome. Their
house is built, not for convenience primarily, but to realize whatever
convenience is possible after the rigid traditional requirements have
been met; it is the extreme and final reduction of the plan of a better
class house, and the very type of its owner. As one sees it in the
London suburbs devoted to clerks and shopmen, it stands back a yard or
so from the road, with a gate and a railing, and a patch, perhaps two
feet wide, of gravel between its front and the pavement. This is the
last pathetic vestige of the preliminary privacies of its original
type, the gates, the drive-up, the front lawn, the shady trees, that
gave a great impressive margin to the door. The door has a knocker
(with an appeal to realities, "ring also") and it opens into a narrow
passage, perhaps four feet wide, which still retains the title of
"hall." Oak staining on the woodwork and marbled paper accentuate the
lordly memory. People of this class would rather die than live in a
house with a front door, even had it a draught-stopping inner door,
that gave upon the street. Instead of an ample kitchen in which meals
can be taken and one other room in which the rest of life goes on,
these two covering the house site, the social distinction from the
servant invades the house space first by necessitating a passage to a
side-door, and secondly by cutting up the interior into a "dining-room"
and a "drawing-room." Economy of fuel throughout the winter and economy
of the best furniture always, keeps the family in the dining-room
pretty constantly, but there you have the drawing-room as a concrete
fact. Though the drawing-room is inevitable, the family will manage
without a bath-room well enough. They may, or they may not,
occasionally wash all over. There are probably not fifty books in the
house, but a daily paper comes and _Tit Bits_ or _Pearson's
Weekly,_ or, perhaps, _M.A.P.,_ _Modern Society,_ or some
such illuminant of the upper circles, and a cheap fashion paper, appear
at irregular intervals to supplement this literature.

The wife lives to realize the ideal of the "ladylike"--lady she resigns
to the patrician--and she insists upon a servant, however small. This
poor wretch of a servant, often a mere child of fourteen or fifteen,
lives by herself in a minute kitchen, and sleeps in a fireless attic.
To escape vulgar associates, the children of the house avoid the
elementary schools--the schools called in America public schools--where
there are trained, efficient teachers, good apparatus, and an
atmosphere of industry, and go to one of those wretched dens of
disorderly imposture, a middle-class school, where an absolute failure
to train or educate is seasoned with religious cant, lessons in piano-
playing, lessons in French "made in England," mortarboard caps for the
boys, and a high social tone. And to emphasize the fact of its social
position, this bookless, bathless family tips! The plumber touches his
hat for a tip, the man who moves the furniture, the butcher-boy at
Christmas, the dustman; these things also, the respect and the tip, at
their minimum dimensions. Everything is at its minimum dimensions, it
is the last chipped, dwarfed, enfeebled state of a tradition that has,
in its time, played a fine part in the world. This much of honour still
clings to it, it will endure no tip, no charity, no upper-class control
of its privacy. This is the sort of home in which the minds of
thousands of young Englishmen and Englishwomen receive their first
indelible impressions. Can one expect them to escape the contagion of
its cramped pretentiousness, its dingy narrowness, its shy privacy of
social degradation, its essential sordidness and inefficiency?

Our skilled operative, on the other hand, will pocket his tip. He is on
the other side of the boundary. He presents a rising element coming
from the servile mass. Probably his net income equals or exceeds the
shopman's, but there is no servant, no black coat and silk hat, no
middle-class school in his scheme of things. He calls the shopman
"Sir," and makes no struggle against his native accent. In his heart he
despises the middle class, the mean tip-givers, and he is inclined to
overrate the gentry or big tippers. He is much more sociable, much
noisier, relatively shameless, more intelligent, more capable, less
restrained. He is rising against his tradition, and almost against his
will. The serf still bulks large in him. The whole trend of
circumstance is to substitute science for mere rote skill in him, to
demand initiative and an intelligent self-adaptation to new discoveries
and new methods, to make him a professional man and a job and
pieceworker after the fashion of the great majority of professional
men. Against all these things the serf element in him fights. He
resists education and clings to apprenticeship, he fights for time-
work, he obstructs new inventions, he clings to the ideal of short
hours, high pay, shirk and let the master worry. His wife is a far more
actual creature than the clerk's; she does the house herself in a
rough, effectual fashion, his children get far more food for mind and
body, and far less restraint. You can tell the age of the skilled
operative within a decade by the quantity of books in his home; the
younger he is the more numerous these are likely to be. And the younger
he is the more likely he is to be alive to certain general views about
his rights and his place in the social scale, the less readily will his
finger go to his cap at the sight of broad-cloth, or his hand to the
proffered half-crown. He will have listened to Trade Union organizers
and Socialist speakers; he will have read the special papers of his
class. The whole of this home is, in comparison with the shopman's,
wide open to new influences. The children go to a Board School, and
very probably afterwards to evening classes--or music-halls. Here again
is a new type of home, in which the English of 1920 are being made in
thousands, and which is forced a little way up the intellectual and
moral scale every year, a little further from its original conception
of labour, dependence, irresponsibility, and servility.

Compare, again, the home conditions of the child of a well-connected
British shareholder inheriting, let us say, seven or eight hundred a
year, with the home of exactly the same sort of person deriving from
the middle class. On the one hand, one will find the old aristocratic
British tradition in an instructively distorted state. All the
assumptions of an essential lordliness remain--and none of the duties.
All the pride is there still, but it is cramped, querulous, and
undignified. That lordliness is so ample that for even a small family
the income I have named will be no more than biting poverty, there will
be a pervading quality of struggle in this home to avoid work, to frame
arrangements, to discover cheap, loyal servants of the old type, to
discover six per cent. investments without risk, to interest
influential connections in the prospects of the children. The tradition
of the ruling class, which sees in the public service a pension scheme
for poor relations, will glow with all the colours of hope. Great
sacrifices will be made to get the boys to public schools, where they
can revive and expand the family connections. They will look forward as
a matter of course to positions and appointments, for the want of which
men of gifts and capacity from other social strata will break their
hearts, and they will fill these coveted places with a languid,
discontented incapacity. Great difficulty will be experienced in
finding schools for the girls from which the offspring of tradesmen are
excluded. Vulgarity has to be jealously anticipated. In a period when
Smartness (as distinguished from Vulgarity) is becoming an ideal, this
demands at times extremely subtle discrimination. The art of credit
will be developed to a high level.

Now in the other family economically indistinguishable from this, a
family with seven or eight hundred a year from investments, which
derives from the middle class, the tradition is one that, in spite of
the essential irresponsibility of the economic position, will urge this
family towards exertion as a duty. As a rule the resultant lies in the
direction of pleasant, not too arduous exertion, the arts are attacked
with great earnestness of intention, literature, "movements" of many
sorts are ingredients in these homes. Many things that are imperative
to the aristocratic home are regarded as needless, and in their place
appear other things that the aristocrat would despise, books,
instruction, travel in incorrect parts of the world, _games_, that
most seductive development of modern life, played to the pitch of
distinction. Into both these homes comes literature, comes the Press,
comes the talk of alien minds, comes the observation of things without,
sometimes reinforcing the tradition, sometimes insidiously glossing
upon it or undermining it, sometimes "letting daylight through it"; but
much more into the latter type than into the former. And slowly the two
fundamentally identical things tend to assimilate their superficial
difference, to homologize their traditions, each generation sees a
relaxation of the aristocratic prohibitions, a "gentleman" may tout for
wines nowadays--among gentlemen--he may be a journalist, a fashionable
artist, a schoolmaster, his sisters may "act," while, on the other
hand, each generation of the ex-commercial shareholder reaches out more
earnestly towards refinement, towards tone and quality, towards
etiquette, and away from what is "common" in life.

So in these typical cases one follows the strands of tradition into the
new conditions, the new homes of our modern state. In America one finds
exactly the same new elements shaped by quite parallel economic
developments, shopmen in a large store, skilled operatives, and
independent shareholders developing homes not out of a triple strand of
tradition, but out of the predominant home tradition of an emancipated
middle class, and in a widely different atmosphere of thought and
suggestion. As a consequence, one finds, I am told, a skilled operative
already with no eye (or only an angry eye) for tips, sociable shopmen,
and shareholding families, frankly common, frankly intelligent, frankly
hedonistic, or only with the most naïve and superficial imitation of
the haughty incapacity, the mean pride, the parasitic lordliness of the
just-independent, well-connected English.

These rough indications of four social types will illustrate the
quality of our proposition, that home influence in the making of men
resolves itself into an interplay of one substantial and two modifying
elements, namely:--

(1) Tradition.

(2) Economic conditions.

(3) New ideas, suggestions, interpretations, changes in the general
atmosphere of thought in which a man lives and which he mentally

The net sum of which three factors becomes the tradition for the next

Both the modifying elements admit of control. How the economic
conditions of homes may be controlled to accomplish New Republican ends
has already been discussed with a view to a hygienic minimum, and
obviously the same, or similar, methods may be employed to secure less
materialistic benefits. You can make a people dirty by denying them
water, you can make a people cleaner by cheapening and enforcing bath-
rooms. Man is indeed so spiritual a being that he will turn every
materialistic development you force upon him into spiritual growth. You
can aerate his house, not only with air, but with ideas. Build,
cheapen, render alluring a simpler, more spacious type of house for the
clerk, fill it with labour-saving conveniences, and leave no excuse and
no spare corners for the "slavey," and the slavey--and all that she
means in mental and moral consequence--will vanish out of being. You
will beat tradition. Make it easy for Trade Unions to press for shorter
hours of work, but make it difficult for them to obstruct the arrival
of labour-saving appliances, put the means of education easily within
the reach of every workman, make promotion from the ranks, in the Army,
in the Navy, in all business concerns, practicable and natural, and the
lingering discolouration of the serf taint will vanish from the
workman's mind. The days of mystic individualism have passed, few
people nowadays will agree to that strange creed that we must deal with
economic conditions as though they were inflexible laws. Economic
conditions are made and compact of the human will, and by tariffs, by
trade regulation and organization, fresh strands of will may be woven
into the complex. The thing may be extraordinarily intricate and
difficult, abounding in unknown possibilities and unsuspected dangers,
but that is a plea for science and not for despair.

Controllable, too, is the influx of modifying suggestions into our
homes, however vast and subtle the enterprise may seem. But here we
touch for the first time a question that we shall now continue to touch
upon at other points, until at last we shall clear it and display it as
the necessarily central question of the whole matter of man-making so
far as the human will is concerned, and that is the preservation and
expansion of the body of human thought and imagination, of which all
conscious human will and act is but the imperfect expression and
realization, of which all human institutions and contrivances, from the
steam-engine to the ploughed field, and from the blue pill to the
printing press, are no more than the imperfect symbols, the rude
mnemonics and memoranda.

But this analysis of the modifying factors in the home influence, this
formulation of its controllable elements, has now gone as far as the
purpose of this paper requires. It has worked out to this, that the
home, so far as it is not traditional organization, is really only on
the one hand an aspect of the general economic condition of the state,
and on the other of that still more fundamental thing, its general
atmosphere of thought. Our analysis refers back the man-maker to these
two questions. The home, one gathers, is not to be dealt with
separately or simply. Nor, on the other hand, are these questions to be
dealt with merely in relation to their home application. As the citizen
grows up, he presently emerges from his home influences to a more
direct and general contact with these two things, with the Fact of the
modern state and with the Thought of the modern state, and we must
consider each of these in relation to his development as a whole.

The next group of elements in the man-making complex that occurs to one
after the home, is the school. Let me repeat a distinction already
drawn between the home element in boarding-schools and the school
proper. While the child is out of the school-room, playing--except when
it is drilling or playing under direction--when it is talking with its
playmates, walking, sleeping, eating, it is under those influences that
it has been convenient for me to speak of as the home influence. The
schoolmaster who takes boarders is, I hold, merely a substitute for the
parent, the household of boarders merely a substitute for the family.
What is meant by school here, is that which is possessed in common by
day school and boarding-school--the schoolroom and the recess
playground part. It is something which the savage and the barbarian
distinctively do not possess as a phase in their making, and scarcely
even its rudimentary suggestion. It is a new element correlated with
the establishment of a wider political order and with the use of
written speech.

Now I think it will be generally conceded that whatever systematic
intellectual training the developing citizen gets, as distinguished
from his natural, accidental, and incidental development, is got in
school or in its subsequent development of college, and with that I
will put aside the question of intellectual development altogether for
a later, fuller discussion. My point here is simply to note the school
as a factor in the making of almost every citizen in the modern state,
and to point out, what is sometimes disregarded, that it is only one of
many factors in that making. The tendency of the present time is
enormously to exaggerate the importance of school in development, to
ascribe to it powers quite beyond its utmost possibilities, and to
blame it for evils in which it has no share. And in the most
preposterous invasions of the duties of parent, clergyman, statesman,
author, journalist, of duties which are in truth scarcely more within
the province of a schoolmaster than they are within the province of a
butcher, the real and necessary work of the school is too often marred,
crippled, and lost sight of altogether. We treat the complex, difficult
and honourable task of intellectual development as if it were within
the capacity of any earnest but muddle-headed young lady, or any half-
educated gentleman in orders; we take that for granted, and we demand
in addition from them the "formation of character," moral and ethical
training and supervision, aesthetic guidance, the implanting of a taste
for the Best in literature, for the Best in art, for the finest
conduct; we demand the clue to success in commerce and the seeds of a
fine passionate patriotism from these necessarily very ordinary

One might think schoolmasters and schoolmistresses were inaccessible to
general observation in the face of these stupendous demands. If we
exacted such things from our butcher over and above good service in his
trade, if we insisted that his meat should not only build up honest
nerve and muscle, but that it should compensate for all that was
slovenly in our homes, dishonest in our economic conditions, and slack
and vulgar in our public life, he would very probably say that it took
him all his time to supply sound meat, that it was a difficult and
honourable thing to supply sound meat, that the slackness of business-
men and statesmen in the country, the condition of the arts and
sciences, wasn't his business, that however lamentable the disorders of
the state, there was no reasonable prospect of improving it by
upsetting the distribution of meat, and, in short, that he was a
butcher and not a Cosmos-healing quack. "You must have meat," he would
say, "anyhow." But the average schoolmaster and schoolmistress does not
do things in that way.

What a school may do for the developing citizen, the original and the
developed function of the school, and how its true work may best be
accomplished, we shall discuss later. But it may be well to expand a
little more fully here the account of what the school has no business
to attempt, and what the scholastic profession is, as a whole, quite
incapable of doing, and to point to the really responsible agencies in
each case.

Now, firstly, with regard to all that the schoolmaster and
schoolmistress means by the "formation of character." A large
proportion of the scholastic profession will profess, and a still
larger proportion of the public believes, that it is possible by talk
and specially designed instruction, to give a boy or girl a definite
bias towards "truth," towards acts called "healthy" (a word it would
puzzle the ordinary schoolmaster or schoolmistress extremely to define,
glib as they are with it), towards honour, towards generosity,
enterprise, self-reliance, and the like. The masters in our public
schools are far from blameless in this respect, and you may gauge the
quality of many of these gentlemen pretty precisely by their
disposition towards the "school pulpit" line of business. Half an
hour's "straight talk to the boys," impromptu vague sentimentality
about Earnestness, Thoroughness, True Patriotism, and so forth, seems
to assuage the conscience as nothing else could do, for weeks of ill-
prepared, ill-planned teaching, and years of preoccupation with rowing-
boats and cricket. The more extreme examples of this type will say in a
tone of manly apology, "It does the boys good to tell them plainly what
I think about serious things"--when the simple fact of the case is too
often that he does all he can not to think about any things of any sort
whatever, except cricket and promotion. Schoolmistresses, again, will
sometimes come near boasting to the inquiring parent of our "ethical
hour," and if you probe the facts you will find that means no more and
no less than an hour of floundering egotism, in which a poor illogical
soul, with a sort of naive indecency, talks nonsense about "Ideals,"
about the Higher and the Better, about Purity, and about many secret
and sacred things, things upon which wise men are often profoundly
uncertain, to incredulous or imitative children. All that is needed to
do this sort of thing abundantly and freely is a certain degree of
aggressive egotism, a certain gift of stupidity, good intentions, and a
defective sense of educational possibilities and limitations.

In addition to moral discussions, that at the best are very second-rate
eloquence, and at the worst are respect destroying, mind destroying
gabble, there are various forms of "ethical" teaching, advocated and
practised in America and in the elementary schools of this country. For
example, a story of an edifying sort is told to the children, and
comments are elicited upon the behaviour of the characters. "Would you
have done that?" "Oh, _no_, teacher!" "Why not?" "Because it would
be mean." The teacher goes into particulars, whittling away at the
verdict, and at last the fine point of the lesson stands out. Now it
may be indisputable that such lessons can be conducted effectively and
successfully by exceptionally brilliant teachers, that children may be
given an excellent code of good intentions, and a wonderful skill in
the research for good or bad motives for any given course of action
they may or may not want to take, but that they can be systematically
trained by the average teacher at our disposal in this desirable
"subject" is quite another question. It is one of the things that the
educational reformer must guard against most earnestly, the persuasion
that what an exceptional man can do ever and again for display purposes
can be done successfully day by day in schools. This applies to many
other things besides the teaching of ethics. Professor Armstrong can
give delightfully instructive lessons in chemistry according to the
heuristic method, but in the hands of the average teacher by whom
teaching _must_ be done for the next few years the heuristic
system will result in nothing but a pointless fumble. Mr. Mackinder
teaches geography--inimitably--just to show how to do it. Mr. David
Devant--the brilliant Egyptian Hall conjuror--will show any assembly of
parents how to amuse children quite easily, but for some reason he does
not present his legerdemain as a new discovery in educational method.

To our argument that this sort of teaching is not within the capacity
of such teachers as we have, or are likely to have, we can, fortunately
enough, add that whatever is attempted can be done far better through
other agencies. More or less unknown to teachers there exists a
considerable amount of well-written literature, true stories and
fiction, in which, without any clumsy insistence upon moral points,
fine actions are displayed in their elementary fineness, and baseness
is seen to be base. There are also a few theatres, and there might be
more, in which fine action is finely displayed. Now one nobly conceived
and nobly rendered play will give a stronger moral impression than the
best schoolmaster conceivable, talking ethics for a year on end. One
great and stirring book may give an impression less powerful, perhaps,
but even more permanent. Practically these things are as good as
example--they are example. Surround your growing boy or girl with a
generous supply of good books, and leave writer and growing soul to do
their business together without any scholastic control of their
intercourse. Make your state healthy, your economic life healthy and
honest, be honest and truthful in the pulpit, behind the counter, in
the office, and your children will need no specific ethical teaching;
they will inhale right. And without these things all the ethical
teaching in the world will only sour to cant at the first wind of the
breath of the world.

Quite without ethical pretension at all the school is of course bound
to influence the moral development of the child. That most important
matter, the habit and disposition towards industry, should be acquired
there, the sense of thoroughness in execution, the profound belief that
difficulty is bound to yield to a resolute attack--all these things are
the necessary by-products of a good school. A teacher who is punctual,
persistent, just, who tells the truth, and insists upon the truth, who
is truthful, not merely technically but in a constant search for exact
expression, whose own share of the school work is faultlessly done, who
is tolerant to effort and a tireless helper, who is obviously more
interested in serious work than in puerile games, will beget essential
manliness in every boy he teaches. He need not lecture on his virtues.
A slack, emotional, unpunctual, inexact, and illogical teacher, a
fawning loyalist, an incredible pietist, an energetic snob, a teacher
as eager for games, as sensitive to social status, as easy, kindly, and
sentimental, and as shy really of hard toil as--as some teachers--is
none the better for ethical flatulence. There is a good deal of cant in
certain educational circles, there is a certain type of educational
writing in which "love" is altogether too strongly present; a
reasonably extensive observation of school-children and school-teachers
makes one doubt whether there is ever anything more than a very
temperate affection and a still more temperate admiration on either
side. Children see through their teachers amazingly, and what they do
not understand now they will understand later. For a teacher to lay
hands on all the virtues, to associate them with his or her
personality, to smear characteristic phrases and expressions over them,
is as likely as not to give the virtues unpleasant associations. Better
far, save through practice, to leave them alone altogether.

And what is here said of this tainting of moral instruction with the
personality of the teacher applies still more forcibly to religious
instruction. Here, however, I enter upon a field where I am anxious to
avoid dispute. To my mind those ideas and emotions that centre about
the idea of God appear at once too great and remote, and too intimate
and subtle for objective treatment. But there are a great number of
people, unfortunately, who regard religion as no more than geography,
who believe that it can be got into daily lessons of one hour, and
adequately done by any poor soul who has been frightened into
conformity by the fear of dismissal. And having this knobby, portable
creed, and believing sincerely that lip conformity is alone necessary
to salvation, they want to force every teacher they can to acquire and
impart its indestructible, inflexible recipes, and they are prepared to
enforce this at the price of inefficiency in every other school
function. We must all agree--whatever we believe or disbelieve--that
religion is the crown of the edifice we build. But it will simply ruin
a vital part of the edifice and misuse our religion very greatly if we
hand it over to the excavators and bricklayers of the mind, to use as a
cheap substitute for the proper intellectual and ethical foundations;
for the ethical foundation which is schooling and the ethical
foundation which is habit. I must confess that there is only one sort
of man whose insistence upon religious teaching in schools by ordinary
school teachers I can understand, and that is the downright Atheist,
the man who believes sensual pleasure is all that there is of pleasure,
and virtue no more than a hood to check the impetuosity of youth until
discretion is acquired, the man who believes there is nothing else in
the world but hard material fact, and who has as much respect for truth
and religion as he has for stable manure. Such a man finds it
convenient to profess a lax version of the popular religion, and he
usually does so, and invariably he wants his children "taught"
religion, because he so utterly disbelieves in God, goodness, and
spirituality that he cannot imagine young people doing even enough
right to keep healthy and prosperous, unless they are humbugged into

Equally unnecessary is the scholastic attempt to take over the
relations of the child to "nature," art, and literature. To read the
educational journals, to hear the scholastic enthusiast, one would
think that no human being would ever discover there was any such thing
as "nature" were it not for the schoolmaster--and quotation from
Wordsworth. And this nature, as they present it, is really not nature
at all, but a factitious admiration for certain isolated aspects of the
universe conventionally regarded as "natural." Few schoolmasters have
discovered that for every individual there are certain aspects of the
universe that especially appeal, and that that appeal is part of the
individuality--different from every human being, and quite outside
their range. Certain things that have been rather well treated by poets
and artists (for the most part dead and of Academic standing) they
regard as Nature, and all the rest of the world, most of the world in
which we live, as being in some way an intrusion upon this classic.
They propound a wanton and illogical canon. Trees, rivers, flowers,
birds, stars--are, and have been for many centuries Nature--so are
ploughed fields--really the most artificial of all things--and all the
apparatus of the agriculturist, cattle, vermin, weeds, weed-fires, and
all the rest of it. A grassy old embankment to protect low-lying fields
is Nature, and so is all the mass of apparatus about a water-mill; a
new embankment to store an urban water supply, though it may be one
mass of splendid weeds, is artificial, and ugly. A wooden windmill is
Nature and beautiful, a sky-sign atrocious. Mountains have become
Nature and beautiful within the last hundred years--volcanoes even.
Vesuvius, for example, is grand and beautiful, its smell of underground
railway most impressive, its night effect stupendous, but the glowing
cinder heaps of Burslem, the wonders of the Black Country sunset, the
wonderful fire-shot nightfall of the Five Towns, these things are
horrid and offensive and vulgar beyond the powers of scholastic
language. Such a mass of clotted inconsistencies, such a wild confusion
of vicious mental practices as this, is the stuff the schoolmaster has
in mind when he talks of children acquiring a love of Nature. They are
to be trained, against all their mental bias, to observe and quote
about the canonical natural objects and not to observe, but instead to
shun and contemn everything outside the canon, and so to hand on the
orthodox Love of Nature to another generation. One may present the
triumph of scholastic nature-teaching, by the figure of a little child
hurrying to school along the ways of a busy modern town. She carries a
faded cut-flower, got at considerable cost from a botanical garden, and
as she goes she counts its petals, its stamens, its bracteoles. Her
love of Nature, her "powers of observation," are being trained. About
her, all unheeded, is a wonderful life that she would be intent upon
but for this precious training of her mind; great electric trains loom
wonderfully round corners, go droning by, spitting fire from their
overhead wires; great shop windows display a multitudinous variety of
objects; men and women come and go about a thousand businesses; a
street-organ splashes a spray of notes at her as she passes, a hoarding
splashes a spray of colour.

The shape and direction of one's private observation is no more the
schoolmaster's business than the shape and direction of one's nose. It
is, indeed, possible to certain gifted and exceptional persons that
they should not only see acutely, but abstract and express again what
they have seen. Such people are artists--a different kind of people
from schoolmasters altogether. Into all sorts of places, where people
have failed to see, comes the artist like a light. The artist cannot
create nor can he determine the observation of other men, but he can,
at any rate, help and inspire it. But he and the pedagogue are
temperamentally different and apart. They are at opposite poles of
human quality. The pedagogue with his canon comes between the child and
Nature only to limit and obscure. His business is to leave the whole
thing alone.

If the interpretation of nature is a rare and peculiar gift, the
interpretation of art and literature is surely an even rarer thing.
Hundreds of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses who could not write one
tolerable line of criticism, will stand up in front of classes by the
hour together and issue judgments on books, pictures, and all that is
comprised under the name of art. Think of it! Here is your great
artist, your great exceptional mind groping in the darknesses beneath
the surface of life, half apprehending strange elusive things in those
profundities, and striving--striving sometimes to the utmost verge of
human endeavour--to give that strange unsuspected mystery expression,
to shape it, to shadow it in form and wonder of colour, in beautiful
rhythms, in phantasies of narrative, in gracious and glowing words. So
much in its essential and precious degree is art. Think of what the
world must be in the wider vision of the great artist. Think, for
example, of the dark splendours amidst which the mind of Leonardo
clambered; the mirror of tender lights that reflected into our world
the iridescent graciousness of Botticelli! Then to the faint and faded
intimations these great men have left us of the things beyond our
scope, comes the scholastic intelligence, gesticulating instructively,
and in too many cases obscuring for ever the naive vision of the child.
The scholastic intelligence, succulently appreciative, blind,
hopelessly blind to the fact that every great work of art is a
strenuous, an almost despairing effort to express and convey, treats
the whole thing as some foolish riddle--"explains it to the children."
As if every picture was a rebus and every poem a charade! "Little
children," he says, "this teaches you"--and out comes the platitude!

Of late years, in Great Britain more particularly, the School has been
called upon to conquer still other fields. It has become apparent that
in this monarchy of ours, in which honour is heaped high upon money-
making, even if it is money-making that adds nothing to the collective
wealth or efficiency, and denied to the most splendid public services
unless they are also remunerative; where public applause is the meed of
cricketers, hostile guerillas, clamorous authors, yacht-racing grocers,
and hopelessly incapable generals, and where suspicion and ridicule are
the lot of every man working hard and living hard for any end beyond a
cabman's understanding; in this world-wide Empire whose Government is
entrusted as a matter of course to peers and denied as a matter of
course to any man of humble origin; where social pressure of the most
urgent kind compels every capable business manager to sell out to a
company and become a "gentleman" at the very earliest opportunity, the
national energy is falling away. That driving zeal, that practical
vigour that once distinguished the English is continually less
apparent. Our workmen take no pride in their work any longer, they
shirk toil and gamble. And what is worse, the master takes no pride in
the works; he, too, shirks toil and gambles. Our middle-class young
men, instead of flinging themselves into study, into research, into
literature, into widely conceived business enterprises, into so much of
the public service as is not preserved for the sons of the well
connected, play games, display an almost oriental slackness in the
presence of work and duty, and seem to consider it rather good form to
do so. And seeking for some reason and some remedy for this remarkable
phenomenon, a number of patriotic gentlemen have discovered that the
Schools, the Schools are to blame. Something in the nature of Reform
has to be waved over our schools.

It would be a wicked deed to write anything that might seem to imply
that our Schools were not in need of very extensive reforms, or that
their efficiency is not a necessary preliminary condition to general
public efficiency, but, indeed, the Schools are only one factor in a
great interplay of causes, and the remedy is a much ampler problem than
any Education Act will cure. Take a typical young Englishman, for
example, one who has recently emerged from one of our public schools,
one of the sort of young Englishmen for whom all commissions in the
Army are practically reserved, who will own some great business,
perhaps, or direct companies, and worm your way through the tough hide
of style and restraint he has acquired, get him to talk about women,
about his prospects, his intimate self, and see for yourself how much
of him, and how little of him, his school has made. Test him on
politics, on the national future, on social relationships, and lead him
if you can to an utterance or so upon art and literature. You will be
astonished how little you can either blame or praise the teaching of
his school for him. He is ignorant, profoundly ignorant, and much of
his style and reserve is draped over that; he does not clearly
understand what he reads, and he can scarcely write a letter; he draws,
calculates and thinks no better than an errand boy, and he has no habit
of work; for that much perhaps the school must answer. And the school,
too, must answer for the fact that although--unless he is one of the
small specialized set who "swat" at games--he plays cricket and
football quite without distinction, he regards these games as much more
important than military training and things of that sort, spends days
watching his school matches, and thumbs and muddles over the records of
county cricket to an amazing extent. But these things are indeed only
symptons, and not essential factors in general inefficiency. There are
much wider things for which his school is only mediately or not at all
to blame. For example, he is not only ignorant and inefficient and
secretly aware of his ignorance and inefficiency, but, what is far more
serious, he does not feel any strong desire to alter the fact; he is
not only without the habit of regular work, but he does not feel the
defect because he has no desire whatever to do anything that requires
work in the doing. And you will find that this is so because there is
woven into the tissue of his being a profound belief that work and
knowledge "do not pay," that they are rather ugly and vulgar
characteristics, and that they make neither for happiness nor success.

He did not learn that at school, nor at school was it possible he
should unlearn it. He acquired that belief from his home, from the
conversation of his equals, from the behaviour of his inferiors; he
found it in the books and newspapers he has read, he breathed it in
with his native air. He regards it as manifest Fact in the life about
him. And he is perfectly right. He lives in a country where stupidity
is, so to speak, crowned and throned, and where honour is a means of
exchange; and he draws his simple, straight conclusions. The much-
castigated gentleman with the ferule is largely innocent in this

If, too, you ransack your young Englishman for religion, you will be
amazed to find scarcely a trace of School. In spite of a ceremonial
adhesion to the religion of his fathers, you will find nothing but a
profound agnosticism. He has not even the faith to disbelieve. It is
not so much that he has not developed religion as that the place has
been seared. In his time his boyish heart has had its stirrings, he has
responded with the others to "Onward, Christian Soldiers," the earnest
moments of the school pulpit, and all those first vague things. But
limited as his reading is, it has not been so limited that he does not
know that very grave things have happened in matters of faith, that the
doctrinal schemes of the conventional faith are riddled targets, that
creed and Bible do not mean what they appear to mean, but something
quite different and indefinable, that the bishops, socially so much in
evidence, are intellectually in hiding.

Here again is something the school did not cause, the school cannot

And in matters sexual, in matters political, in matters social, and
matters financial you will find that the flabby, narrow-chested, under-
trained mind that hides in the excellent-looking body of the typical
young Englishman is encumbered with an elaborate duplicity. Under the
cloak of a fine tradition of good form and fair appearances you will
find some intricate disbeliefs, some odd practices. You will trace his
moral code chiefly to his school-fellows, and the intimates of his
early manhood, and could you trace it back you would follow an unbroken
tradition from the days of the Restoration. So soon as he pierces into
the realities of the life about him, he finds enforcement, ample and
complete, for the secret code. The schoolmaster has not touched it; the
school pulpit has boomed over its development in vain. Nor has the
schoolmaster done anything for or against the young man's political
views, his ideas of social exclusiveness, the peculiar code of honour
that makes it disgraceful to bilk a cabman and permissible to obtain
goods on credit from a tradesman without the means to pay. All this
much of the artificial element in our young English gentleman was made
outside the school, and is to be remedied only by extra-scholastic

School is only one necessary strand in an enormous body of formative
influence. At first that mass of formative influence takes the outline
of the home, but it broadens out as the citizen grows until it reaches
the limits of his world. And his world, just like his home, resolves
itself into three main elements. First, there is the traditional
element, the creation of the past; secondly, there is the contemporary
interplay of economic and material forces; and thirdly, there is
literature, using that word for the current thought about the world,
which is perpetually tending on the one hand to realize itself and to
become in that manner a material force, and on the other to impose
fresh interpretations upon things and so become a factor in tradition.
Now the first of these elements is a thing established. And it is the
possibility of intervening through the remaining two that it is now our
business to discuss.



We left the child whose development threads through this discussion
ripe to begin a little schooling at the age of five. We have cleared
the ground since then of a great number of things that have got
themselves mixed up in an illegitimate way with the idea of school, and
we can now take him on again through his "schooling" phases. Let us
begin by asking what we require and then look to existing conditions to
see how far we may hope to get our requirements. We will assume the
foundation described in the fourth paper has been well and truly laid,
that we have a number of other similarly prepared children available to
form a school, and that we have also teachers of fair average
intelligence, conscience, and aptitude. We will ask what can be done
with such children and teachers, and then we may ask why it is not
universally done.

Even after our clarifying discussion, in which we have shown that
schooling is only a part, and by no means the major part, of the
educational process, and in which we have distinguished and separated
the home element in the boarding-school from the schooling proper,
there still remains something more than a simple theme in schooling.
After all these eliminations we remain with a mixed function and mixed
traditions, and it is necessary now to look a little into the nature of
this mixture.

The modern school is not a thing that has evolved from a simple germ,
by a mere process of expansion. It is the coalescence of several
things. In different countries and periods you will find schools taking
over this function and throwing out that, and changing not only methods
but professions and aims in the most remarkable manner. What has either
been teachable or has seemed teachable in human development has played
a part in some curriculum or other. Beyond the fact that there is class
instruction and an initial stage in which the pupil learns to read and
write, there is barely anything in common. But that initial stage is to
be noted; it is the thing the Hebrew schoolboy, the Tamil schoolboy,
the Chinese schoolboy, and the American schoolboy have in common. So
much, at any rate, of the school appears wherever there is a written
language, and its presence marks a stage in the civilizing process. As
I have already pointed out in my book "Anticipations," the presence of
a reading and writing class of society and the existence of an
organized nation (as distinguished from a tribe) appear together. When
tribes coalesce into nations, schools appear. This first and most
universal function of the school is to initiate a smaller or greater
proportion of the population into the ampler world, the more efficient
methods, of the reading and writing man. And with the disappearance of
the slave and the mere labourer from the modern conception of what is
necessary in the state, there has now come about an extension of this
initiation to the whole of our English-speaking population. And in
addition to reading and writing the vernacular, there is also almost
universally in schools instruction in counting, and wherever there is a
coinage, in the values and simpler computation of coins.

In addition to the vernacular teaching, one finds in the schools--at
any rate the schools for males--over a large part of the world, a
second element, which is always the language of what either is or has
been a higher and usually a dominant civilization. Typically, there is
a low or imitative vernacular literature or no literature at all, and
this second language is the key to all that literature involves--
general views, general ideas, science, poetic suggestion and
association. Through this language the vernacular citizen escapes from
his parochial and national limitations to a wide commonweal of thought.
Such was Greek at one time to the Roman, such was Latin to the
Bohemian, the German, the Englishman or the Spaniard of the middle
ages, and such it is to-day to the Roman Catholic priest; such is
Arabic to the Malay, written Chinese to the Cantonese or the Corean,
and English to the Zulu or the Hindoo. In Germany and France, to a
lesser degree in Great Britain, and to a still lesser degree in the
United States, we find, however, an anomalous condition of things. In
each of these countries civilization has long since passed into an
unprecedented phase, and each of these countries has long since
developed a great living mass of literature in which its new problems
are, at any rate, approached. There is scarcely a work left in Latin or
Greek that has not been translated into and assimilated and more or
less completely superseded by English, French, and German works; but
the schoolmaster, heedless of these things, still arrests the pupil at
the old portal, fumbles with the keys, and partially opens the door
into a ransacked treasure-chamber. The language of literature and of
civilized ideas is, for the English-speaking world to-day, English--not
the weak, spoken dialect of each class and locality, but the rich and
splendid language in which and with which our literature and philosophy
grow. That, however, is by the way. Our point at present is that the
exhaustive teaching of a language so that it may serve as a key to
culture is a second function in the school.

We find in a broad survey of schools in general that there has also
been a disposition to develop a special training in thought and
expression either in the mother tongue (as in the Roman schools of
Latin oratory), or in the culture tongue (as in Roman schools of Greek
oratory), and we find the same element in the mediaeval trivium.
Quintilian's conception of education, the reader will remember, was
oratory. This aspect of school work was the traditional and logical
development of the culture language-teaching. But as in Europe the
culture language has ceased to be really a culture language but merely
a reasonless survival, and its teaching has degenerated more and more
into elaborate formalities supposed to have in some mystical way "high
educational value," and for the most part conducted by men unable
either to write or speak the culture language with any freedom or
vigour, this crown of cultivated expression has become more and more
inaccessible. It is too manifestly stupid--even for our public
schoolmasters--to think of carrying the "classical grind" to that
pitch, and, in fact, they carry no part of the education to that pitch.
There is no deliberate and professed training at all in logical
thought--except for the use of Euclid's Elements to that end--nor in
expression in any language at all, in the great mass of modern schools.
This is a very notable point about the schools of the present period.

But, on the other hand, the schools of the modern period have developed
masses of instruction that were not to be found in the schools of the
past. The school has reached downward and taken over, systematized, and
on the whole, I think, improved that preliminary training of the senses
and the observation that was once left to the spontaneous activity of
the child among its playmates and at home. The kindergarten department
of a school is a thing added to the old conception of schooling, a
conversion of the all too ample school hours to complete and rectify
the work of the home, to make sure of the foundation of sense
impressions and elementary capabilities upon which the edifice of
schooling is to rise. In America it has grown, as a wild flower
transferred to the unaccustomed richness of garden soil will sometimes
do, rankly and in relation to the more essential schooling,
aggressively, and become a highly vigorous and picturesque weed. One
must bear in mind that Froebel's original thought was rather of the
mother than of the schoolmistress, a fact the kindergarten invaders of
the school find it convenient to forget. I believe we shall be carrying
out his intentions as well as the manifest dictates of common sense if
we do all in our power by means of simply and clearly written books for
nurses and mothers to shift very much of the kindergarten back to home
and playroom and out of the school altogether. Correlated with this
development, there has been a very great growth in our schools of what
is called manual training and of the teaching of drawing. Neither of
these subjects entered into the school idea of any former period, so
far as my not very extensive knowledge of educational history goes.

Modern, too, is the development of efficient mathematical teaching; so
modern that for too many schools it is still a thing of tomorrow. The
arithmetic (without Arabic numerals, be it remembered) and the geometry
of the mediaeval quadrivium were astonishingly clumsy and ineffectual
instruments in comparison with the apparatus of modern mathematical
method. And while the mathematical subjects of the quadrivium were
taught as science and for their own sakes, the new mathematics is a
sort of supplement to language, affording a means of thought about form
and quantity and a means of expression, more exact, compact, and ready
than ordinary language. The great body of physical science, a great
deal of the essential fact of financial science, and endless social and
political problems are only accessible and only thinkable to those who
have had a sound training in mathematical analysis, and the time may
not be very remote when it will be understood that for complete
initiation as an efficient citizen of one of the new great complex
world-wide states that are now developing, it is as necessary to be
able to compute, to think in averages and maxima and minima, as it is
now to be able to read and write. This development of mathematical
teaching is only another aspect of the necessity that is bringing the
teaching of drawing into schools, the necessity that is so widely, if
not always very intelligently perceived, of clearheadedness about
quantity, relative quantity, and form, that our highly mechanical,
widely extended, and still rapidly extending environments involve.

Arithmetic and geometry were taught in the mediaeval school as
sciences, in addition the quadrivium involved the science of astronomy,
and now that the necessary fertilizing inundation of our general
education by the classical languages and their literatures subsides,
science of a new sort reappears in our schools. I must confess that a
lot of the science teaching that appears in schools nowadays impresses
me as being a very undesirable encumbrance of the curriculum. The
schoolman's science came after the training in language and expression,
late in the educational scheme, and it aimed, it pretended--whatever
its final effect was--to strengthen and enlarge the mind by a noble and
spacious sort of knowledge. But the science of the modern school
pretends merely to be a teaching of useful knowledge; the vistas, the
tremendous implications of modern science are conscientiously
disregarded, and it is in effect too often no more than a diversion of
school energies to the acquisition of imperfectly analyzed
misstatements about entrails, elements, and electricity, with a view--a
quite unjustifiable view--to immediate profitable hygienic and
commercial application. Whether there is any educational value in the
school-teaching of science we may discuss later. For the present we may
note it simply as a revived and developing element.

On the other hand, while these things expand in the modern school,
there are declining elements, once in older schemes of scholastic work
much more evident. In the culture of the mediaeval knight, for example,
and of the eighteenth-century young lady, elegant accomplishments,
taught disconnected from the general educational scheme and for
themselves, played a large part. The eighteenth-century young lady was
taught dancing, deportment, several instruments of music, how to
pretend to sketch, how to pretend to know Italian, and so on. The
dancing still survives--a comical mitigation of high school
austerities--and there is also a considerable interruption of school
work achieved by the music-master. If there is one thing that I would
say with certainty has no business whatever in schools, it is piano-
teaching. The elementary justification of the school is its
organization for class-teaching and work in unison, and there is
probably no subject of instruction that requires individual tuition
quite so imperatively as piano-playing; there is no subject so
disadvantageously introduced where children are gathered together. But
to every preparatory and girls' school in England--I do not know if the
same thing happens in America--the music-master comes once or twice a
week, and with a fine disregard of the elementary necessities of
teaching, children are called one by one, out of whatever class they
happen to be attending, to have their music-lesson. Either the whole of
the rest of the class must mark time at some unnecessary exercise until
the missing member returns, or one child must miss some stage, some
explanation that will involve a weakness, a lameness for the rest of
the course of instruction. Not only is the actual music-lesson a
nuisance in this way, but all day the school air is loaded with the
oppressive tinkling of racked and rackety pianos. Nothing, I think,
could be more indicative of the real value the English school-
proprietor sets on school-teaching than this easy admission of the
music-master to hack and riddle the curriculum into rags. [Footnote 1:
Piano playing as an accomplishment is a nuisance and encumbrance to the
school course and a specialization that surely lies within the private
Home province. To learn to play the piano properly demands such an
amount of time and toil that I do not see how we can possibly include
it in the educational scheme of the honourable citizens of the coming
world state. To half learn it, to half learn anything, is a training in
failure. But it is probable that a different sort of music teaching
altogether--a teaching that would aim, not at instrumentalization, but
at intelligent appreciation--might find a place in a complete
educational scheme. The general ignorance that pervades, and in part
inspires these papers, does, in the matter of music, become special,
profound, and distinguished. It seems to me, however, that what the
cultivated man or woman requires is the ability to read a score
intelligently rather than to play it--to distinguish the threads, the
values, of a musical composition, to have a quickened ear rather than a
disciplined hand. I owe to my friend, Mr. Graham Wallas, the suggestion
that the piano is altogether too exacting an instrument to use as the
practical vehicle for such instruction, and that something simpler and
cheaper--after the fashion of the old spinet--is required. Possibly
some day a teacher of genius will devise and embody in a book a course
of class lessons, sustained by simple practice and written work, that
would attain this end. But, indeed, after all is said and done, music
is the most detached and the purest of arts, the most accessory of
attainments.] Apart from the piano work, the special teaching of
elegant accomplishments seems just at present on the wane. And on the
whole I think what one might call useful or catchpenny accomplishments
are also passing their zenith--shorthand lessons, book-keeping lessons,
and such-like impostures upon parental credulity.

There is, however, a thing that was once done in schools as a
convenient accomplishment, and which has--with that increase in
communication which is the salient material fact of the nineteenth
century--developed in Western Europe to the dimensions of a political
necessity, and that is the teaching of one or more modern foreign
languages. The language-teaching of all previous periods has been done
with a view to culture, artistic, as in the case of Elizabethan
Italian, or intellectual as with English Latin. But the language-
teaching of to-day is deliberately, almost conscientiously, not for
culture. It would, I am sure, be a very painful and shocking thought
indeed to an English parent to think that French was taught in school
with a view to reading French books. It is taught as a vulgar necessity
for purposes of vulgar communication. The stirring together of the
populations that is going on, the fashion and facilities for travel,
the production of the radii from the trading foci, are rapidly making a
commonplace knowledge of French, German, and Italian a necessity to the
merchant and tradesman, and the ever more extensive travelling class.
So that so far as Europe goes, one may very well regard this modern
modern-language teaching as--with the modern mathematics--an extension
of the _trivium_, of the apparatus, that is, of thought and
expression. [Footnote: In the United States there is less sense of
urgency about modern languages, but sooner or later the American may
wake up to the need of Spanish in his educational schemes.] It is an
extension and a very doubtful improvement. It is a modern necessity, a
rather irksome necessity, of little or no essential educational value,
an unavoidable duty the school will have to perform. [Footnote: In one
way the foreign language may be made educationally very useful, and
that is as an exercise in writing translations into good English.]

There are two subjects in the modern English school that stand by
themselves and in contrast with anything one finds in the records of
ancient and oriental schools, as a very integral part of what is
regarded as our elementary general education. They are of very doubtful
value in training the mind, and most of the matter taught is totally
forgotten in adult life. These are history and geography. These two
subjects constitute, with English grammar and arithmetic, the four
obligatory subjects for the very lowest grade of the London College of
Preceptors' examinations, for example. The examination papers of this
body reveal the history as an affair of dated events, a record of
certain wars and battles, and legislative and social matters quite
beyond the scope of a child's experience and imagination. Scholastic
history ends at 1700 or 1800, always long before it throws the faintest
light upon modern political or social conditions. The geography is, for
the most part, topography, with a smattering of quantitative facts,
heights of mountains, for example, populations of countries, and lists
of obsolete manufactures and obsolete trade conditions. Any one who
will take the trouble to run through the text-books of these subjects
gathered together in the library of the London Teachers' Guild, will
find that the history is generally taught without maps, pictures,
descriptive passages, or anything to raise it above the level of an
arid misuse of memory; and the highest levels to which ordinary school
geography has attained are to be found in the little books of the late
Professor Meiklejohn. These two subjects are essentially "information"
subjects. They differ in prestige rather than in educational quality
from school chemistry and natural history, and their development marks
the beginning of that great accumulation of mere knowledge which is so
distinctive of this present civilization.

There are, no doubt, many minor subjects, but this revision will at
least serve to indicate the scope and chief varieties of school work.
Out of some such miscellany it is that in most cases the student passes
to specialization, to a different and narrower process which aims at a
specific end, to the course of the College. In some cases this
specialized course may be correlated with a real and present practice,
as in the case of the musical, medical, and legal faculties of our
universities; it may be correlated with obsolete needs and practices
and regardless of modern requirements, as in the case of the student of
divinity who takes his orders and comes into a world full of the
ironical silences that follow great controversies, nakedly ignorant of
geology, biology, psychology, and modern biblical criticism; or it may
have no definite relation to special needs, and it may profess to be an
upward prolongation of schooling towards a sort of general wisdom and
culture, as in the case of the British "Arts" degrees. The ordinary
Oxford, Cambridge, or London B.A. has a useless smattering of Greek, he
cannot read Latin with any comfort, much less write or speak that
tongue; he knows a few unedifying facts round and about the classical
literature, he cannot speak or read French with any comfort; he has an
imperfect knowledge of the English language, insufficient to write it
clearly, and none of German, he has a queer, old-fashioned, and quite
useless knowledge of certain rudimentary sections of mathematics, and
an odd little bite out of history. He knows practically nothing of the
world of thought embodied in English literature, and absolutely nothing
of contemporary thought; he is totally ignorant of modern political or
social science, and if he knows anything at all about evolutionary
science and heredity it is probably matter picked up in a casual way
from the magazines. Art is a sealed book to him. Still, the
inapplicability of his higher education to any professional or
practical need in the world is sufficiently obvious, it seems, to
justify the claim that it has put him on a footing of thought and
culture above the level of a shopman. It is either that or nothing. And
without deciding between these alternatives, we may note here for our
present purpose, that the conception of a general upward prolongation
of schooling beyond adolescence, as distinguished from a specific
upward prolongation into professional training, is necessary to the
complete presentation of the school and college scheme in the modern

There has always been a tendency to utilize the gathering together of
children in schools for purposes irrelevant to schooling proper, but of
some real or fancied benefit. Wherever there is a priestly religion,
the lower type of religious fanatic will always look to the schools as
a means of doctrinal dissemination; will always be seeking to replace
efficiency by orthodoxy upon staff and management; and, with an
unconquerable, uncompromising persistency, will seek perpetually either
to misconduct or undermine; and the struggle to get him out and keep
him out of the school, and to hold the school against him, will be one
of the most necessary and thankless of New Republican duties. I have,
however, already adduced reasons that I think should appeal to every
religious mind, for the exclusion of religious teaching from school
work. The school gathering also affords opportunity for training in
simple unifying political conceptions; the salutation of the flag, for
example, or of the idealized effigies of King and Queen. The quality of
these conceptions we shall discuss later. The school also gives scope
for physical training and athletic exercises that are, under the
crowded conditions of a modern town, almost impossible except by its
intervention. And it would be the cheapest and easiest way of raising
the military efficiency of a country, and an excellent thing for the
moral tone and public order of a people, to impose upon the school
gathering half an hour a day of vigorous military drill. The school,
too, might very easily be linked more closely than it is at present
with the public library, and made a means of book distribution; and its
corridors may easily be utilized as a loan picture gallery, in which
good reproductions of fine pictures might bring the silent influence of
the artist mind to bear. But all these things are secondary
applications of the school gathering; at their best they are not
conducted by the school-teacher at all, and I remark upon them here
merely to avoid any confusion their omission might occasion.

Now if we dip into this miscellany of things that figure and have
figured in schools, if we turn them over and look at them, and seek to
generalize about them, we shall begin to see that the most persistently
present, and the living reality of it all, is this: to expand, to add
to and organize and supplement that apparatus of understanding and
expression the savage possesses in colloquial speech. The pressing
business of the school is _to widen the range of intercourse_.
[Footnote: This way of putting it may jar a little upon the more or
less explicit preconceptions of many readers, who are in reality in
harmony with the tone of thought of this paper. They will have decided
that the school work is to "train the mind," to "teach the pupil to
think," or upon some similar phrase. But I venture to think that most
of these phrases are at once too wide and too narrow. They are too wide
because they ignore the spontaneous activity of the child and the
extra-scholastic forces of mind-training, and they are too narrow
because they ignore the fact that we do not progress far with our
thoughts unless we throw them out into objective existence by means of
words, diagrams, models, trial essays. Even if we do not talk to others
we must, silently or vocally or visibly, talk to ourselves at least to
get on. To acquire the means of intercourse is to learn to think, so
far as learning goes in the matter.] It is only secondarily--so far as
schooling goes--or, at any rate, subsequently, that the idea of
shaping, or, at least, helping to shape, the expanded natural man into
a citizen, comes in. It is only as a subordinate necessity that the
school is a vehicle for the inculcation of facts. The facts come into
the school not for their own sake, but in relation to intercourse. It
is only upon a common foundation of general knowledge that the
initiated citizens of an educated community will be able to communicate
freely together. With the net of this phrase, "widening the range of
intercourse," I think it is possible to gather together all that is
essential in the deliberate purpose of schooling. Nothing that remains
outside is of sufficient magnitude to be of any importance in the
small-scale sketch of human development we are now making:--

If we take this and hold to it as a guide, and explore a scheme of
school work, in the direction it takes us, we shall find it shaping
itself (for an English-speaking citizen) something after this fashion:

_A_. Direct means of understanding and expression.
1. Reading.
2. Writing.
3. Pronouncing English correctly.

Which studies will expand into--

4. A thorough study of English as a culture language, its origin,
development, and vocabulary, and
5. A sound training in English prose composition and
And in addition--

6. Just as much of mathematics as one can get in.

7. Drawing and painting, not as "art," but to train and develop
the appreciation of form and colour, and as a collateral
means of expression.

8. Music [perhaps] to the same end.

_B._ To speak the ordinary speech, read with fair intelligence,
and write in a passably intelligible manner the foreign language
or languages, the social, political, and intellectual necessities
of the time require.

And _C._ A division arising out of A and expanding in the later
stages of the school course to continue and replace A: the
acquisition of the knowledge (and of the art of acquiring
further knowledge from books and facts) necessary to participate
in contemporary thought and life.

Now this project is at once more modest in form and more ambitious in
substance than almost any school scheme or prospectus the reader is
likely to encounter. Let us (on the assumption of our opening
paragraph) inquire what is needed to carry it into execution. So far as
1 and 2 in this table go, we have to recognize that since the
development of elementary schools in England introduced a spirit of
endeavour into teaching, there has been a steady progress in the art of
education. Reading and writing are taught somehow or other to most
people nowadays, they are frequently taught quickly and well,
especially well, I think, in view of the raw material, in many urban
Board Schools in England, and there is nothing to do here but to
inquire if anything can be done to make this teaching, which is so
exceptional in attaining its goal, still quicker and easier, and in
bringing the average up to the level of the present best. We have
already suggested as the work of an imaginary English Language Society,
how much might be done in providing everywhere, cheaply and
unavoidably, the best possible reading-books, and it is manifest that
the standard of copy-books for writing might also be pressed upward by
similar methods. In addition, we have to consider--what is to me a most
uncongenial subject--the possible rationalization of English spelling.
I will frankly confess I know English as much by sight as by sound, and
that any extensive or striking alteration, indeed that almost any
alteration, in the printed appearance of English, worries me extremely.
Even such little things as Mr. Bernard Shaw's weakness for printing
"I've" as "Ive," and the American "favor," "thro," and "catalog" catch
at my attention as it travels along the lane of meaning, like trailing
briars. But I have to admit this habit of the old spelling, which I am
sure most people over four-and-twenty share with me, will trouble
neither me nor any one else who reads books now, in the year 1990. I
have to admit that the thing is an accident of my circumstances. I have
learnt to read and write in a certain way, and I am concerned with the
thing said and not with the vehicle, and so it is that it distresses me
when the medium behaves in an unusual way and distracts my attention
from the thing it conveys. But if it is true--and I think it must be
true--that the extremely arbitrary spelling of English--and more
especially of the more familiar English words--greatly increases the
trouble of learning to read and write, I do not think the mental
comfort of one or two generations of grown-up people must be allowed to
stand in the way of a permanent economy in the educational process. I
believe even that such a reader as I might come to be very easy in the
new way. But whatever is done must be done widely, simultaneously, all
over the English-speaking community, and after the fullest
consideration. The local "spelling reform" of a few half-educated
faddists here and there, helps not at all, is a mere nuisance. This is
a thing to be worked out in a scientific way by the students of
phonetics; they must have a complete alphabet settled for good, a
dictionary ready, reading-books well tested, the whole system polished
and near perfection before the thing passes out of the specialists'
hands. The really practical spelling-reformer will devote his guineas
to endowing chairs of phonetics and supporting publication in phonetic
science, and his time to study and open-minded discussion. Such
organisations as the _Association Phonétique Internationale_, may
be instanced. Systems concocted in a hurry, in a half-commercial or
wholly commercial and in a wholly presumptuous manner, pushed like
religious panaceas and advertised like soap--Pitman's System, Barnum's
System, Quackbosh the Gifted Postman's System, and all that sort of
thing--do nothing but vulgarize, discredit, and retard this work.

Before a system of phonetic spelling can be established, it is
advisable that a standard pronunciation of English should exist. With
that question also these papers have already dealt. But for the sake of
emphasis I would repeat here the astonishment that has grown upon me as
I have given my mind to these things, that, save for local exceptions,
there should be no pressure even upon those who desire to become
teachers in our schools or preachers in our pulpits, to attain a
qualifying minimum of correct pronunciation.

Now directly we pass beyond these first three elementary matters,
reading, writing, and pronunciation, and come to the fourth and fifth
items of our scheme, to the complete mastery of English that is, we
come upon a difficulty that is all too completely disregarded in
educational discussions--always by those who have had no real
scholastic experience, and often by those who ought to know better. It
is extremely easy for a political speaker or a city magnate or a
military reformer or an irresponsible writer, to proclaim that the
schoolmaster must mend his ways forthwith, give up this pointless Latin
of his, and teach his pupils the English language "_thoroughly_"--
with much emphasis on the "thoroughly," but it is quite another thing
for the schoolmaster to obey our magnificent directions. For the plain,
simple, insurmountable fact is this, that no one knows how to teach
English as in our vague way we critics imagine it taught; that no
working schoolmaster alive can possibly give the thing the concentrated
attention, the experimental years necessary for its development, that
it is worth nobody's while, and that (except in a vein of exalted self-
sacrifice) it will probably not be worth any one's while to do so for
many years unless some New Republicans conspire to make it so. The
teaching of English requires its Sturm, its energetic modern renascence
schoolmasters, its set of school books, its branches and grades, before
it can become a discipline, even to compare with the only subject
taught with any shadow of orderly progressive thoroughness in secondary
schools, namely, Latin. At present our method in English is a foolish
caricature of the Latin method; we spend a certain amount of time
teaching children classificatory bosh about the eight sorts of
Nominative Case, a certain amount of time teaching them the
"derivation" of words they do not understand, glance shyly at Anglo-
Saxon and at Grimm's Law, indulge in a specific reminiscence of the
Latin method called parsing, supplement with a more modern development
called the analysis of sentences, give a course of exercises in
paraphrasing (for the most part the conversion of good English into
bad), and wind up with lessons in "Composition" that must be seen to be
believed. Essays are produced, and the teacher noses blindly through
the product for false concords, prepositions at the end of sentences,
and, if a person of peculiarly fine literary quality, for the word
"reliable" and the split infinitive. These various exercises are so
little parts of an articulate whole that they may be taken in almost
any order and any relative quantity. And in the result, if some pupil
should, by a happy knack of apprehension, win through this confusion to
a sense of literary quality, to the enterprise of even trying to write,
the thing is so rare and wonderful that almost inevitably he or she, in
a fine outburst of discovered genius, takes to the literary life. For
the rest, they will understand nothing but the flattest prose; they
will be deaf to everything but the crudest meanings; they will be the
easy victims of the boom, and terribly shy of a pen. They will revere
the dead Great and respect the new Academic, read the living quack,
miss and neglect the living promise, and become just a fresh volume of
that atmosphere of _azote_, in which our literature stifles.

Now the schoolmaster is not to blame for this any more than he is to
blame for sticking to Latin. It is no more possible for schoolmasters
and schoolmistresses, whose lives are encumbered with a voluminous mass
of low-grade mental toil and worries and reasonable and unreasonable
responsibilities, to find the energy and mental freedom necessary to
make any vital changes in the methods that text-books, traditions, and
examinations force upon them, than it is for a general medical
practitioner to invent and make out of the native ore the steel
implements some operation of frequent occurrence in his practice may
demand. If they are made, and accessible by purchase and not too
expensive, he will get them; if they are not he will have to fumble
along with the next best thing; and if nothing that is any good can be
got, then there is nothing for it, though he be the noblest character,
the finest intelligence that ever lived behind a brass plate, but
either to shirk that operation altogether or to run the chance of
making a disastrous mess of it.

Scolding the schoolmaster, gibing at the schoolmaster, guying,
afflicting and exasperating the schoolmaster in every conceivable way,
is an amusement so entirely congenial to my temperament that I do not
for one moment propose to abandon it. It is a devil I have, and I admit
it. He insults schoolmasters and bishops in particular, and I do not
cast him out, but at the same time I would most earnestly insist that
all that sort of thing does nothing whatever to advance education, that
it is a mere outbreak of personal grace-notes so far as this discussion
goes. The real practical needs in the matter are a properly worked-out
method, a proper set of school books, and then a progressive alteration
of examinations in English, to render that method and that set of
school books imperative. These are needs the schoolmaster and
schoolmistress can do amazingly little to satisfy. Of course, when
these things are ready and the pressure to enforce them begins to tell
on the schools, schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, having that almost
instinctive dread of any sort of change that all hard-worked and rather
worried people acquire, will obstruct and have to be reckoned with, but
that is a detail in the struggle and not a question of general
objective. And to satisfy those real practical needs, what is wanted is
in the first place an organizer, a reasonable sum of money, say ten
thousand pounds for ten years, and access for experimental purposes to
a variety of schools. This organizer would set himself to secure the
whole time and energy and interest of a dozen or so of good men; they
would include several expert teachers, a clear-headed pedagogic expert
or so, a keen psychologist perhaps with a penetrating mind--for
example, one might try and kidnap Professor William James in his next
Sabbatical year--one or two industrious young students, a literary
critic perhaps, a philologist, a grammarian, and set them all,
according to their several gifts and faculties, towards this end. At
the end of the first year this organizer would print and publish for
the derision of the world in general and the bitter attacks of the men
he had omitted from the enterprise in particular, for review in the
newspapers and for trial in enterprising schools, a "course" in the
English language and composition. His team of collaborators, revised
perhaps, probably weeded by a quarrel or so and supplemented by the
ablest of the hostile critics, would then, working with all their time
and energy, revise the course for the second year. And you would repeat
the process for ten years. In the end at the cost of £100,000--really a
quite trivial sum for the object in view--there would exist the scheme,
the method, the primers and text-books, the School Dictionary, the
examination syllabus, and all that is now needed for the proper
teaching of English. You would have, moreover, in the copyrights of the
course an asset that might go far to recoup those who financed the

It is precisely this difficulty about text-books and a general scheme
that is the real obstacle to any material improvement in our
mathematical teaching. Professor Perry, in his opening address to the
Engineering Section of the British Association at Belfast, expressed an
opinion that the average boy of fifteen might be got to the
infinitesimal calculus. As a matter of fact the average English boy of
fifteen has only just looked at elementary algebra. But every one who
knows anything of educational science knows, that by the simple
expedient of throwing overboard all that non-educational, mind-
sickening and complex rubbish about money and weights and measures,
practice, interest, "rule of three," and all the rest of the solemn
clap-trap invented by the masters of the old Academy for Young
Gentlemen to fool the foolish predecessors of those who clamour for
commercial education to-day, and by setting aside the pretence in
teaching geometry, that algebraic formulae and the decimal notation are
not yet invented, little boys of nine may be got to apply quadratic
equations to problems, plot endless problems upon squared paper, and
master and apply the geometry covered by the earlier books of Euclid
with the utmost ease. But to do this with a class of boys at present
demands so much special thought, so much private planning, so much
sheer toil on the part of the teacher, that it becomes practically
impossible. The teacher must arrange the whole course himself, invent
his examples, or hunt them laboriously through a dozen books; he must
be not only teacher, but text-book. I know of no School Arithmetic
which does not groan under a weight of sham practical work, and that
does not, with an absurd priggishness, exclude the use of algebraic
symbols. Except for one little volume, I know of no sane book which
deals with arithmetic and elementary algebra under one cover or gives
any helpful exercises or examples in squared paper calculations. Such
books, I am told, exist in the seclusion of publishers' stock-rooms,
but if I, enjoying as I do much more leisure and opportunity of inquiry
than the average mathematical master, cannot get at them, how can we
expect him to do so? And the thing to do now is obviously to discover
or create these books, and force them kindly but firmly into the
teachers' hands.

The problem is much simpler in the case of mathematical teaching than
in the case of English, because the educational theory and method have
been more thoroughly discussed. There is no need for the ten years of
experiment and trial I have suggested for the organization of English
teaching. The mathematical reformer may begin now at a point the
English language reformer will not reach for some years. Suppose now a
suitably authenticated committee were to work out--on the basis of
Professor Perry's syllabus perhaps--a syllabus of school mathematics,
and then make a thorough review of all the mathematical textbooks on
sale throughout the English-speaking world, admitting some perhaps as
of real permanent value for teaching of the new type, provisionally
recognizing others as endurable, but with clear recommendations for
their revision and improvement, and condemning the others specifically
_by name_. Let them make it clear that this syllabus and report
will be respected by all public examining bodies; let them spend a
hundred pounds or so in the intelligent distribution of their report,
and the scholastic profession will not be long before it is equipped
with the recommended books. Meanwhile, the English and American
scholastic publishers will become extremely active, the warned books
will be revised, and new books will be written in competition for the
enormous prize of the committee's final approval, an activity that a
second review, after an interval of five or six years, will recognize
and reward.

Such measures as these will be worth reams of essays in educational
papers and Parents' Reviews, worth thousands of inspiring and
suggestive lectures at pedagogic conferences. If, indeed, such essays
and such lectures do any good at all. The more one looks into
scholastic affairs the more one is struck not only by the futility but
the positive mischievousness of much of what passes for educational
liberalism. The schoolmaster is criticised vehemently for teaching the
one or two poor useless subjects he can in a sort of way teach, and
practically nothing is done to help or equip him to teach anything
else. By reason of this uproar, the world is full now of anxious
muddled parents, their poor brains buzzing with echoes of Froebel,
Tolstoy, Herbert Spencer, Ruskin, Herbart, Colonel Parker, Mr. Harris,
Matthew Arnold, and the _Morning Post_, trying to find something
better. They know nothing of what is right, they only know very, very
clearly that the ordinary school is extremely wrong. They are quite
clear they don't want "cram" (though they haven't the remotest idea
what cram is), and they have a pretty general persuasion that failure
at examination is a good test of a sound education. And in response to
their bleating demand there grows a fine crop of Quack Schools; schools
organized on lines of fantastic extravagance, in which bee-keeping
takes the place of Latin, and gardening supersedes mathematics, in
which boys play tennis naked to be cured of False Shame, and the
numerical exercises called bookkeeping and commercial correspondence
are taught to the sons of parents (who can pay a hundred guineas a
year), as Commercial Science. The subjects of study in these schools
come and go like the ravings of a disordered mind; "Greek History" (in
an hour or so a week for a term) is followed by "Italian Literature,"
and this gives place to the production of a Shakesperian play that
ultimately overpowers and disorganizes the whole curriculum. Ethical
lessons and the school pulpit flourish, of course. A triennial walk to
a chalk-pit is Field Geology, and vague half-holiday wanderings are
Botany Rambles. "Art" of the copper punching variety replaces any
decent attempt to draw, and an extreme expressiveness in music
compensates for an almost deliberate slovenliness of technique. Even
the ladies' seminaries of the Georgian days could scarcely have
produced a parallel to the miscellaneous incapacity of the victim of
these "modern" schools, and it becomes daily more necessary for those
who have the interests of education at heart to disavow with the most
unmistakable emphasis these catch-parent impostures.

With the other subjects under the headings of _A_ and _B_, it
is not necessary to deal at any length here. Drawing begins at home,
and a child should have begun to sketch freely before the formal
schooling commences. It is the business of the school to teach drawing
and not to teach "art," which, indeed, is always an individual and
spontaneous thing, and it need only concern itself directly with those
aspects of drawing that require direction. Of course, an hour set aside
from the school time in which boys or girls may do whatever they please
with paper, ink, pens, pencils, compasses, and water-colour would be a
most excellent and profitable thing, but that scarcely counts (except
in the Quack Schools) as teaching. As a matter of fact, teaching
absolutely spoils all that sort of thing. A course in model drawing and
in perspective, however, is really a training in seeing things, it
demands rigorous instruction and it must be the backbone of school
drawing, and, in addition, studies may be made from flowers that would
not be made without direction: topography (and much else) may be learnt
by copying good explicit maps; chronology (to supplement the child's
private reading of history) by the construction of time charts; and
much history also by drawing and colouring historical maps. With
geometrical drawing one passes insensibly into mathematics. And so much
has been done not only to revolutionize the teaching of modern
languages, but also to popularize the results, that I may content
myself with a mere mention of the names of Rippmann, S. Alge, Hölzel,
and Gouin as typical of the new ways.

There remains the question of _C_, the amount of Information that
is to take a place in schooling. Now there is one "subject" that it
would be convenient to include, were it only for the sake of the mass
of exercise and illustration it supplies to the mathematical course,
and that is the science of Physics. In addition, the science of
physics, since it culminates in a clear understanding and use of the
terminology of the aspects of energy and a clear sense of adequate
causation, is fundamentally necessary to modern thought. Practical work
is, no doubt, required for the proper understanding of physical
science, and so far it must enter into schooling, but it may be pointed
out here that in many cases the educational faddist is overdoing the
manual side of science study to a ridiculous extent. Things have
altered very much at the Royal College of Science, no doubt, since my
student days, but fifteen years ago the courses in elementary physics
and in elementary geology were quite childishly silly in this respect.
Both these courses seemed to have been inspired by that eminent
educationist, Mr. Squeers, and the sequel to spelling "window" was
always to "go and clean one." The science in each course in those days
could have been acquired just as well in a fortnight as in half a year.
One muddled away three or four days etching a millimetre scale with
hydrofluoric acid on glass--to no earthly end that I could discover--
and a week or so in making a needless barometer. In the course in
geology, days and days were spent in drawing ideal crystalline forms
and colouring them in water-colours, apparently in order to get a
totally false idea of a crystal, and weeks in the patient copying of
microscopic rock sections in water-colours. Effectual measures of
police were taken to prevent the flight of the intelligent student from
these tiresome duties. The mischief done in this way is very great. It
deadens the average students and exasperates and maddens the eager
ones. I am inclined to think that a very considerable proportion of
what passes as "practical" science work, for which costly laboratories
are built and expensive benches fitted, consists of very similar
solemnities, and it cannot be too strongly urged that "practical" work
that does not illuminate is mere waste of the student's time.

This physics course would cover an experimental quantitative treatment
of the electric current, it would glance in an explanatory way at many
of the phenomena of physical geography, and it would be correlated with
a study of the general principles of chemistry. A detailed knowledge of
chemical compounds is not a part of general education, it keeps better
in reference books than in the non-specialized head, and it is only the
broad conceptions of analysis and combination, and of the relation of
energy to chemical changes, that have to be attained. Beyond this, and
the application of map drawing to give accurate ideas and to awaken
interest in geography and history, it is open to discussion whether any
Fact subject need be taught as schooling at all. Ensure the full
development of a man's mental capacity, and he will get his Fact as he
needs it. And if his mind is undeveloped he can make no use of any fact
he has. The subject called "Human Physiology" may be at once dismissed
as absurdly unsuitable for school use. One is always meeting worthy
people who "don't see why children should not know something about
their own bodies," and who are not apparently aware that the medical
profession after some generations of fairly systematic inquiry knows
remarkably little. Save for some general anatomy, it is impossible to
teach school-children anything true about the human body, because the
explanation of almost any physiological process demands a knowledge of
physical and chemical laws much sounder and subtler than the average
child can possibly attain. And as for botany, geology, history, and
geography (beyond the range already specified), these are far better
relegated to the school library and the initiative of each child. Every
child has its specific range of interest, and its specific way of
regarding things. In geology, for example, one boy may be fascinated by
the fossil hunting, another will find his interest in the effects of
structure in scenery, and a third, with more imagination, will give his
whole mind to the reconstruction of the past, and will pore over maps
of Pleistocene Europe and pictures of Silurian landscape with the
keenest appreciation. Each will be bored, or at least not greatly
interested, by what attracts the others. Let the children have an
easily accessible library--that is the crying need of nine hundred and
ninety-nine out of a thousand schools to-day, a need every school-
seeking parent may do something to remedy--and in that library let
there be one or two good densely illustrated histories, illustrated
travels, bound volumes of such a publication as Newnes' _Wide World
Magazine_ (I name these publications haphazard--there are probably
others as good or better), Hutchinson and Co.'s _Living Animals of
the World_, the Rev. H. N. Hutchinson's _Extinct Monsters_, the
Badminton volumes on big game shooting, mountaineering, and yachting,
Kerner's "Botany," collections of "The Hundred Best Pictures" sort,
collections of views of towns and of scenery in different parts of the
world, and the like. Then let the schoolmaster set aside five hours a
week as the minimum for reading, and let the pupils read during that
time just whatever they like, provided only that they keep silence and
read. If the schoolmaster or schoolmistress comes in at all here, it
should be to stimulate systematic reading occasionally by setting a
group of five or six pupils to "get up" some particular subject--a
report on "animals that might still be domesticated," for example--and
by showing them conversationally how to read with a slip of paper at
hand, gathering facts. This sort of thing it is impossible to reduce to
method and system, and, consequently, it is the proper field for the
teacher's initiative. It is largely in order to leave time and energy
for this that I am anxious to reduce the more rigorous elements in
schooling to standard and text-book.

Now all this schooling need not take more than twenty hours a week for
its backbone or hard-work portion, its English, mathematics, science,
and exact drawing, and twelve hours a week for its easier, more
individual employments of sketching, painting, and reading, and this
leaves a large margin of time for military drill and for physical
exercises. If we are to get the best result from the child's
individuality, we must leave a large portion of that margin at the
child's own disposal, it must be free to go for walks, to "muck about,"
as schoolboys say, to play games, and (within limits) to consort with
companions of its own choosing--to follow its interests in short. It is
in this direction that British middle-class education fails most
signally at the present time. The English schoolboy and schoolgirl are
positively hunted through their days. They do not play--using the word
to indicate a spontaneous employment into which imagination enters--at
all. They have games, but they are so regulated that the imagination is
eliminated; they have exercises of various stereotyped sorts. They are
taken to and fro to these things in the care of persons one would call
ushers unhesitatingly were it not that they also pretended to teach.
The rest of their waking time is preparation or supervised reading or
walking under supervision. Their friendships are watched. They are
never, never left alone. The avowed ideal of many boarding
schoolmasters is to "send them to bed tired out." Largely this is due
to a natural dread of accidents and scrapes, that will make trouble for
the school, but there is also another cause. If I may speak frankly and
entirely as an unauthoritative observer, I would say it is a
regrettable thing that so large a proportion of British secondary
schoolmasters and mistresses are unmarried. The normal condition of a
healthy adult is marriage, and for all those who are not defective upon
this side (and that means an incapacity to understand many things)
celibacy is a state of unstable equilibrium and too often a quite
unwholesome condition. Wherever there are celibate teachers I am
inclined to suspect a fussiness, an unreasonable watchfulness, a
disposition to pry, an exaggeration of what are called "Dangers," a
painful idealization of "Purity." It is a part of the normal
development of the human being to observe with some particularity
certain phenomena, to entertain certain curiosities, to talk of them to
trusted equals--_never_, be it noted, except by perversion to
parents or teachers--and there is not the slightest harm in these quite
natural things, unless they are forced back into an abashed solitude or
associated by suggestion with conceptions of shame and disgust. That is
what happens in too many of our girls' schools and preparatory schools
to-day, and it is to that end mainly that youthful intimacies are
discouraged, youthful freedom is restricted, and imagination and
individuality warped and crippled. It is astonishing how much of their
adolescence grown-up people will contrive to forget.

So much for schooling and what may be done to better it in this New
Republican scheme of things. The upward continuation of it into a
general College course is an integral part of a larger question that we
shall discuss at a later stage, the larger question of the general
progressive thought of the community as a whole.



There can be few people alive who have not remarked on occasion that
men are the creatures of circumstances. But it is one thing to state a
belief of this sort in some incidental application, and quite another
to realize it completely. Towards such a completer realization we have
been working in these papers, in disentangling the share of inheritance
and of deliberate schooling and training, in the production of the
civilized man. The rest we have to ascribe to his world in general, of
which his home is simply the first and most intimate aspect. In every
developing citizen we have asserted there is a great mass of fluid and
indeterminate possibility, and this sets and is shaped by the world
about him as wax is shaped by a mould. It is rarely, of course, an
absolutely exact and submissive cast that ensues; few men and women are
without some capacity for question and criticism, but it is only very
rare and obdurate material--only, as one says, a very original
personality--that does not finally take its general form and direction
in this way. And it is proposed in this paper to keep this statement
persistently in focus, instead of dismissing it as a platitude and
thinking no more about it at all after the usual fashion, while we
examine certain broad social and political facts and conventions which
constitute the general framework of the world in which the developing
citizen is placed. I would submit that at the present time with regard
to such things as church and kingdom, constitution and nationality, we
are altogether too much enslaved by the idea of "policy," and
altogether too blind to the remoter, deeper, and more lasting
consequences of our public acts and institutions in moulding the next
generation. It will not, I think, be amiss to pass beyond policy for a
space, and to insist--even with heaviness--that however convenient an
institution may be, however much it may, in the twaddle of the time, be
a "natural growth," and however much the "product of a long evolution,"
yet, if it does not mould men into fine and vigorous forms, it has to
be destroyed. We "save the state" for the sake of our children, that,
at least, is the New Republican view of the matter, and if in our
intentness to save the state we injure or sacrifice our children, we
destroy our ultimate for our proximate aim.

Already it has been pointed out, with certain concrete instances, how
the thing that is, asserts itself over the thing that is to be; already
a general indication has been made of the trend of the argument we are
now about to develop and define. That argument, briefly, is this, that
to attain the ends of the New Republic, that is to say the best results
from our birth possibilities, we must continually make political forms,
social, political and religious formulæ, and all the rules and
regulations of _life the clearest, simplest, and sincerest expression
possible of what we believe about life and hope about life;_ that
whatever momentary advantage a generation may gain by accepting what is
known to be a sham and a convention, by keeping in use the detected
imposture and the flawed apparatus, is probably much more than made up
for by the reaction of this acquiescence upon the future. As the
typical instance of a convenient convention that I am inclined to think
is now reacting very badly upon our future, the Crown of the British
Empire, considered as the symbolical figurehead of a system of
hereditary privilege and rule, serves extremely well. One may deal with
this typical instance with no special application to the easy, kindly,
amiable personality this crown adorns at the present time. It is a
question that may be dealt with in general terms. What, we would ask,
are the natural, inseparable concomitants of a system of hereditary
rulers in a state, looking at the thing entirely with an eye to the
making of a greater mankind in the world? How does it compare with the
American conception of democratic equality, and how do both stand with
regard to the essential truth and purpose in things? . . .

To state these questions is like opening the door of a room that has
long been locked and deserted. One has a lonely feeling. There are
quite remarkably no other voices here, and the rusty hinges echo down
empty passages that were quite threateningly full of men seventy or
eighty years ago. But I am only one very insignificant member of a
class of inquirers in England who started upon the question "why are we
becoming inefficient?" a year or two ago, and from that starting point
it is I came to this. . . . I do not believe therefore that upon this
dusty threshold I shall stand long alone. We take most calmly the most
miraculous of things, and it is only quite recently that I have come to
see as amazing this fact, that while the greater mass of our English-
speaking people is living under the profession of democratic
Republicanism, there is no party, no sect, no periodical, no teacher
either in Great Britain or America or the Colonies, to hint at a
proposal to abolish the aristocratic and monarchical elements in the
British system. There is no revolutionary spirit over here, and very
little missionary spirit over there. The great mass of the present
generation on both sides of the Atlantic takes hardly any interest in
this issue at all. It is as if the question was an impossible one,
outside the range of thinkable things. Or, as if the last word in this
controversy was said before our grandfathers died.

But is that really so? It is permissible to suggest that for a time the
last word had been said, and still to reopen the discussion now. All
these papers, the very conception of New Republicanism, rests on the
assumption--presumptuous and offensive though it must needs seem to
many--that new matter for thought altogether, new apparatus and methods
of inquiry, and new ends, have come into view since the early
seventies, when the last Republican voices in England died away. We are
enormously more aware of the Future. That, we have already defined as
the essential difference of our new outlook. Our fathers thought of the
Kingdom as it was to them, they contrasted with that the immediate
alternative, and within these limits they were, no doubt, right in
rejecting the latter. So, to them at any rate, the thing seemed judged.
But nowadays when we have said the Kingdom is so and so, and when we
have decided that we do not wish to convert it into a Republic upon the
American or any other existing pattern before Christmas, 1904, we
consider we have only begun to look at the thing. We have then to ask
what is the future of the Kingdom; is it to be a permanent thing, or is
it to develop into and give place to some other condition? We have to
ask precisely the same question about the American democracy and the
American constitution. Is that latter arrangement going to last for
ever? We cannot help being contributory to these developments, and if
we have any pretensions to wisdom at all, we must have some theory of
what we intend with regard to these things; political action can surely
be nothing but folly, unless it has a clear purpose in the future. If
these things are not sempiternal, then are we merely to patch the
fabric as it gives way, or are we going to set about rebuilding--
piecemeal, of course, and without closing the premises or stopping the
business, but, nevertheless, on some clear and comprehensive plan? If
so, what is the plan to be? Does it permit us to retain in a more or
less modified form, or does it urge us to get rid of, the British
Crown? Does it permit us to retain or does it urge us to modify the
American constitution? That is the form, it seems to me, in which the
question of Republicanism as an alternative to existing institutions,
must presently return into the field of public discussion in Great
Britain; not as a question of political stability nor of individual
rights this time, but as an aspect of our general scheme, our scheme to
make the world more free and more stimulating and strengthening for our
children and our children's children; for the children both of our
bodies and of our thoughts.

It is interesting to recall the assumptions under which the last
vestiges of militant Republicanism died out in Great Britain. As late
as the middle years of the reign of Queen Victoria, there were many in
England who were, and who openly professed themselves to be,
Republicans, and there was a widely felt persuasion that the country
was drifting slowly towards the constitution of a democratic republic.
In those days it was that there came into being a theory, strengthened
by the withdrawal of the Monarch from affairs, which one still hears
repeated, that Great Britain was a "crowned republic," that the crown
was no more than a symbol retained by the "innate good sense" of the
British people, and that in some automatic way not clearly explained,
such old-time vestiges of privilege as the House of Lords would
presently disappear. One finds this confident belief in Progress
towards political equality--Progress that required no human effort, but
was inherent in the scheme of things--very strong in Dickens, for
example, who spoke for the average Englishman as no later writer can be
said to have done. This belief fell in very happily with that
disposition to funk a crisis, that vulgar dread of vulgar action which
one must regretfully admit was all too often a characteristic of the
nineteenth century English. There was an idea among Englishmen that to
do anything whatever of a positive sort to bring about a Republic was
not only totally unnecessary but inevitably mischievous, since it
evidently meant street fighting and provisional government by bold,
bad, blood-stained, vulgar men, in shirt sleeves as the essential
features of the process. And under the enervating influence of this
great automatic theory--this theory that no one need bother because the
thing was bound to come, was indeed already arriving for all who had
eyes to see--Republicanism did not so much die as fall asleep. It was
all right, Liberalism told us--the Crown was a legal fiction, the House
of Lords was an interesting anachronism, and in that faith it was, no
doubt, that the last of the Republicans, Mr. Bright and Mr. Joseph
Chamberlain, "kissed hands." Then, presently, the frantic politics of
Mr. Gladstone effected what probably no other human agency could have
contrived, and restored the prestige of the House of Lords.

Practically the Crown has now gone unchallenged by press, pulpit, or
platform speaker for thirty years, and as a natural consequence there
is just now a smaller proportion of men under forty who call themselves
Republicans even in private than there ever was since Plutarch entered
the circle of English reading. To-day the Aristocratic Monarchy is an
almost universally accepted fact in the British Empire, and it has so
complete an air of unshakable permanence to contrast with its condition
in the early nineteenth century that even the fact that it is the only
really concrete obstacle to a political reunion of the English-speaking
peoples at the present time, seems merely a fact to avoid.

There are certain consequences that must follow from the unchallenged
acceptation of an aristocratic monarchy, consequences that do not seem
to be sufficiently recognized in this connection, and it is to these
that the reader's attention is now particularly drawn. There are a
great number of British people who are more or less sincerely seeking
the secret of national efficiency at present, and I cannot help
thinking that sooner or later, in spite of their evident aversion, they
will be forced to look into this dusty chamber of thought for the clue
to the thing they need. The corner they will have to turn is the
admission that no state and no people can be at its maximum efficiency
until every public function is discharged by the man best able to
perform it, and that no Commonweal can be near efficiency until it is
endeavouring very earnestly to bring that ideal condition of affairs
about. And when they have got round that corner they will have to face
the fact that an Hereditary Monarchy is a state in which this principle
is repudiated at a cardinal point, a state in which one position, which
no amount of sophistication will prevent common men and women regarding
as the most honourable, powerful, and responsible one of all, which is
indeed by that very fact alone a great and responsible one, is filled
on purely genealogical grounds. In a state that has also an
aristocratic constitution this repudiation of special personal
qualities is carried very much further. Reluctantly but certainly the
seeker after national efficiency will come to the point that the
aristocracy and their friends and connections _must_ necessarily
form a caste about the King, that their gradations _must_ set the
tone of the whole social body, and that their political position must
enable them to demand and obtain a predominating share in any
administration that may be formed. So long, therefore, as your
constitution remains aristocratic you must expect to see men of quite
ordinary ability, quite ordinary energy, and no exceptional force of
character, men frequently less clever and influential than their wives
and lady friends, controlling the public services, a Duke of Norfolk
managing so vital a business as the Post Office and succeeded by a
Marquis of Londonderry, and a Marquis of Lansdowne organizing military
affairs, and nothing short of a change in your political constitution
can prevent this sort of thing. No one believes these excellent
gentlemen hold these positions by merit or capacity, and no one
believes that from them we are getting anything like the best
imaginable services in these positions. These positions are held by the
mere accident of birth, and it is by the mere accident of birth the
great mass of Englishmen are shut out from the remotest hope of serving
their country in such positions.

And this evil of reserved places is not restricted by any means to
public control. You cannot both have a system and not have a system,
and the British have a system of hereditary aristocracy that infects
the whole atmosphere of English thought with the persuasion that what a
man may attempt is determined by his caste. It is here, and nowhere
else, that the clue to so much inefficiency as one finds it in
contemporary British activity lies. The officers of the British Army
instead of being sedulously picked from the whole population are drawn
from a really quite small group of families, and, except for those who
are called "gentleman rankers," to enlist is the very last way in the
world to become a British officer. As a very natural corollary only
broken men and unambitious men of the lowest class will consent to
become ordinary private soldiers, except during periods of extreme
patriotic excitement. The men who enter the Civil Service also, know
perfectly well that though they may possess the most brilliant
administrative powers and develop and use themselves with relentless
energy, they will never win for themselves or their wives one tithe of
the public honour that comes by right to the heir to a dukedom. A
dockyard hand who uses his brains and makes a suggestion that may save
the country thousands of pounds will get--a gratuity.

Throughout all English affairs the suggestion of this political system
has spread. The employer is of a different caste from his workmen, the
captain is of a different caste from his crew, even the Teachers'
Register is specially classified to prevent "young gentlemen" being
taught by the only men who, as a class, know how to teach in England,
namely, the elementary teachers; everywhere the same thing is to be
found. And while it is, it is absurd to expect a few platitudes about
Freedom, and snobbishness, and a few pious hopes about efficiency, to
counteract the system's universal, incessant teaching, its lesson of
limited effort within defined possibilities. Only under one condition
may such a system rise towards anything that may be called national
vigour, and that is when there exists a vigorous Court which sets the
fashion of hard work. A keen King, indifferent to feminine influence,
may, for a time, make a keen nation, but that is an exceptional state
of affairs, and the whole shape of the fabric gravitates towards
relapse. Even under such an influence the social stratification will
still, in the majority of cases, prevent powers and posts falling to
the best possible man. In the majority of cases the best that can be
hoped for, even then, will be to see the best man in the class
privileged in relation to any particular service, discharging that
service. The most efficient nation in the world to-day is believed to
be Germany, which is--roughly speaking--an aristocratic monarchy, it is
dominated by a man of most unkingly force of character, and by a noble
tradition of educational thoroughness that arose out of the shames of
utter defeat, and, as a consequence, a great number of people contrive
to forget that the most dazzling display of national efficiency the
world has ever seen followed the sloughing of hereditary institutions
by France. One credits Napoleon too often with the vigour of his
opportunity, with the force and strength it was his privilege to
misdirect and destroy. And one forgets that this present German
efficiency was paralleled in the eighteenth century by Prussia, whose
aristocratic system first winded Republicans at Valmy, and showed at
Jena fourteen years after how much it had learnt from that encounter.

Now our main argument lies in this: that the great mass of a generation
of children born into a country, all those children who have no more
than average intelligence and average moral qualities, will accept the
ostensible institutions of that country at their face value, and will
be almost entirely shaped and determined by that acceptance. Only a
sustained undertone of revolutionary protest can prevent that
happening. They will believe that precedences represent real
superiority, and they will honour what they see honoured, and ignore
what they see treated as of no account. Pious sentiment about Equality
and Freedom will enter into the reality of their minds as little as a
drop of water into a greasy plate. They will act as little in general
intercourse upon the proposition that "the man's the gowd for a' that,"
as they will upon the proposition that "man is a spirit" when it comes
to the alternative of jumping over a cliff or going down by a ladder.

If, however, your children are not average children, if you are so
happy as to have begotten children of exceptional intelligence, it does
not follow that this fact will save them from conclusions quite
parallel to those of the common child. Suppose they do penetrate the
pretence that there is no intrinsic difference between the Royal Family
and the members of the peerage on the one hand, and the average person
in any other class on the other; suppose they discover that the whole
scale of precedence and honour in their land is a stupendous sham;--
what then? Suppose they see quite clearly that all these pretensions of
an inviolate superiority of birth and breeding vanish at the touch of a
Whitaker Wright, soften to a glowing cordiality before the sunny
promises of a Hooley. Suppose they perceive that neither King nor lords
really believe in their own lordliness, and that at any point in the
system one may find men with hands for any man's tip, provided it is
only sufficiently large! Even then!--How is that going to react upon
our children's social conduct?

In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they will accept the system
still, they will accept it with mental reservations. They will see that
to repudiate the system by more than a chance word or deed is to become
isolated, to become a discontented alien, to lose even the qualified
permission to do something in the world. In most cases they will take
the oaths that come in their way and kiss the hands--just as the
British elementary teachers bow unbelieving heads to receive the
episcopal pat, and just as the British sceptic in orders will achieve
triumphs of ambiguity to secure the episcopal see. And their reason for
submission will not be absolutely despicable; they will know there is
no employment worth speaking of without it. After all, one has only one
life, and it is not pleasant to pass through it in a state of futile
abstinence from the general scheme. Life, unfortunately, does not end
with heroic moments of repudiation; there comes a morrow to the
Everlasting Nay. One may begin with heroic renunciations and end in
undignified envy and dyspeptic comments outside the door one has
slammed on one's self. In such reflections your children of the
exceptional sort, it may be after a youthful fling or two, a "ransom"
speech or so, will find excellent reasons for making their peace with
things as they are, just as if they were utterly commonplace. They know
that if they can boast a knighthood or a baronetcy or a Privy
Councillorship, they will taste day by day and every day that respect,
that confidence from all about them that no one but a trained recluse
despises. And life will abound in opportunities. "Oh, well!" they will
say. Such things give them influence, consideration, power to do

The beginning of concessions is so entirely reasonable and easy! But
the concessions go on. Each step upward in the British system finds
that system more persistently about them. When one has started out
under a King one may find amiable but whom one may not respect,
admitted a system one does not believe in, when one has rubbed the
first bloom off one's honour, it is infinitely easier to begin peeling
the skin. Many a man whose youth was a dream of noble things, who was
all for splendid achievements and the service of mankind, peers to-day,
by virtue of such acquiescences, from between preposterous lawn sleeves
or under a tilted coronet, sucked as dry of his essential honour as a
spider sucks a fly.

But this is going too far, the reader will object! There must be
concessions, there must be conformities, just as there must be some
impurity in the water we drink and flaws in the beauty we give our
hearts to, and that, no doubt, is true. It is no reason why we should
drink sewage and kneel to grossness and base stupidity. To endure the
worst because we cannot have the best is surely the last word of folly.
Our business as New Republicans is not to waste our lives in the
pursuit of an unattainable chemical purity, but to clear the air as
much as possible. Practical ethics is, after all, a quantitative
science. In the reality of life there are few absolute cases, and it is
foolish to forego a great end for a small concession. But to suffer so
much Royalty and Privilege as an Englishman has to do before he may
make any effectual figure in public life is not a small concession. By
the time you have purchased power you may find you have given up
everything that made power worth having. It would be a small
concession, I admit, a mere personal self-sacrifice, to pretend
loyalty, kneel and kiss hands, assist at Coronation mummeries, and all
the rest of it, in order, let us say, to accomplish some great
improvement in the schools of the country, were it not for the fact
that all these things must be done in the sight of the young, that you
cannot kneel to the King without presenting a kneeling example to the
people, without becoming as good a teacher of servility as though you
were servile to the marrow. There lies the trouble. By virtue of this
reaction it is that the shams and ceremonies we may fancy mere curious
survivals, mere kinks and tortuosities, cloaks and accessories to-day,
will, if we are silent and acquiescent, be halfway to reality again in
the course of a generation. To our children they are not evidently
shams; they are powerful working suggestions. Human institutions are
things of life, and whatever weed of falsity lies still rooted in the
ground has the promise and potency of growth. It will tend perpetually,
according to its nature, to recover its old influence over the
imagination, the thoughts, and acts of our children.

Even when the whole trend of economic and social development sets
against the real survival of such a social and political system as the
British, its pretensions, its shape and implications may survive,
survive all the more disastrously because they are increasingly
insincere. Indeed, in a sense, the British system, the pyramid of King,
land-owning and land-ruling aristocracy, yeomen and trading middle-
class and labourers, is dead--it died in the nineteenth century under
the wheels of mechanism [Footnote: I have discussed this fully in
_Anticipations_, Chapter III., Developing Social Elements.]--and
the crude beginnings of a new system are clothed in its raiment, and
greatly encumbered by that clothing. Our greatest peers are
shareholders, are equipped by marriage with the wealth of Jews and
Americans, are exploiters of colonial resources and urban building
enterprises; their territorial titles are a mask and a lie. They hamper
the development of the new order, but they cannot altogether prevent
the emergence of new men. The new men come up to power one by one, from
different enterprises, with various traditions, and one by one, before
they can develop a sense of class distinction and collective
responsibility, the old system with its organized "Society" captures
them. If it finds the man obdurate, it takes his wife and daughters,
and it waylays his sons. [Footnote: It is not only British subjects
that are assimilated in this way, the infection of the British system,
the annexation of certain social strata in the Republic by the British
crown, is a question for every thoughtful American. America is less and
less separate from Europe, and the social development of the United
States cannot be a distinct process--it is inevitably bound up in the
general social development of the English-speaking community. The taint
has touched the American Navy, for example, and there are those who
discourage promotion from the ranks--the essential virtue of the
democratic state--because men so promoted would be at a disadvantage
when they met the officers of foreign navies, who were by birth and
training "gentlemen." When they met them socially no doubt was meant;

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