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ferring of all degrees, and all other matters which require for their cognizance a range of knowledge which may be styled scholastic.
In conferring these new powers upon the teaching body, it should be done with due restrictions. They should be limited in their action by the fundamental idea of the university; and it is probable that the privilege of voting upon appropriations should be restricted to full professors of not less than five years' standing.
The subject of Professor Winchell's paper was discussed by ViceChancellor Benedict, who took exception to some of the views presented; and by Drs. Mears, Woolworth, Clarke, Flack and Principal Hutton, who generally spoke approvingly of the grounds taken by the writer.
Principal Solomon Sias, A. M., M. D., of Schoharie Union School, read a paper on "Earthquakes." He said, in brief:
In investigating earthquakes, we must consider yearly number, distributions or sections of earth affected, time of occurrence, distinctive and connected phenomena. Earthquakes may be grouped into three great classes-cosmical, eruptive, local. More than half of the recorded earthquakes occur in the three months during which the earth is nearest its perihelion. Earthquakes and volcanoes are not connected phenomena. New England Eastern New York and the Apalachian States are peculiarly subject to frequent shocks. Scores of earthquakes occur every year, most of which are unnoticed. The great cause of earthquakes is exterior to earth; in fact is cosmical in nature.
The Convocation then took a recess until half-past three o'clock.
AFTERNOON SESSION -3.30 O'CLOCK.
Rev. Brother Azarias, of Rock Hill College, Ellicott City, Md., read a paper on "Psychological Aspects of Education," Vice-Chancellor Benedict in the chair.
The object of the paper is to discuss some of the psychological aspects of education, with a view of determining how far special culture ought to be encouraged in a collegiate cause. For this purpose, some of the idosyncrasies of the intellect are taken into account:
1. There are silent and secret influences which color thought and determine the tone and character of actions and expressions; they grow with our growth and strengthen with our strength; they are more cogent than the syllogism; they lurk in the most unsuspected positions; they do not arise from any single source; they are the outcome of various unseen and unnamed causes. The ways and doings of the homecircle, the company one keeps, the air and climate in which one lives, the daily occupations that fill up one's life, the dispositions of one's organic temperament all are so many agencies, secretly working their way into one's mental constitution, and determining the worth of one's ideas; they are the real finishers of a man's education; they make him. vulgar, or provincial, or refined, according to the tone and character they impart to his thought and language. The educator should take them into account, and suppress or encourage them, according to their nature and tendency.
2. All man's faculties have been given him for a purpose. They, all of them, ought to be cultivated. In their harmonious development, consists their efficiency. Brain-waste does not arise from mental discipline,
but from the spasmodic efforts of an intellect that has never had wholesome drill. The soul is one and simple, and each of its faculties is aided by all the others.
3. But whilst all the faculties should be developed, none of them should be overcrowded; there should be no "cramming." Man is not educated to be a mere repeating machine; it is, rather, the aim of education to teach him how to think; for this reason, a good educational system ought to deal with principles, rather than with rules and methods; these latter may be forgotten, but the former remain.
4. As a rule, man learns slowly. It takes him a long time to realize an idea. He may easily enough get it up and repeat it, and even act upon it; but it is only after mature thought that he brings it home to himself. This accounts for the fact that men change their religious opinions, or their political views, or their scientific and philosophic theories, after having built a life of action upon them. It were far better that the student acquire a few ideas, well-digested, than that he leave college-a diploma in his hand, his mind laden down with an overwhelming mass of learned names and scientific symbols, and ill-understood facts; and his soul penetrated with an insurmountable disgust for books, and a horror for instruction, and a strong resolve to forget it all as soon as possible.
5. Every man has a predominant faculty, upon the proper development of which the success of his life-work, in a great measure, depends; in collegiate education, this faculty should be fostered in a special manner; neglecting it, is ruining the student's mind, and rendering his mental development abortive. In the German Gymnasium, and schools of higher education, it is taken into serious account; each student is given, every week, a day to himself, to cultivate the subject he most affects, and whatever extra attention he has given it, is taken into account at the final examinations.
But the great idea to be kept in mind is, that the student's intellect must not be cramped and distorted. The system that stands between him and the right development of his faculties, whether based upon antiquated prejudices, or whether the outcome of some new-fangled theory, be its origin what it may, should perish, for it is of human hands; and the intellect should be fostered, for it is the work of God.
Professor William D. Wilson, D. D., LL. D., L. H. D., of Cornell University, read a paper on "Special and General Culture in our Schools and Colleges.'
He spoke of the evils of a narrow culture and of confining one's self exclusively to any one department of knowledge. He held that professional men and specialists are much better for a broad and generous culture to begin with. He thought they should know Latin and Greek, so much at least as is now required for admission to our colleges, and Mathematics so as to include Analytical Geometry and the Calculus. He mentioned especially Davies' last work on that subject. They ought to have in Metaphysics at least Logic, and th History of Philosophy. Modern Languages and Natural Sciences should of course be included. The author of the paper mentioned, that even if there were some of these branches of knowledge for which some of the pupils had no taste or talent, it was nevertheless good for them to find out that there is something worth knowing that they can't know. They will estimate themselves more justly and others more highly for the experience.
The following papers were also read during this session :
"Moral Culture," by Principal Charles H. Kellogg, of Cary Collegiate Seminary.
"Practical Value of the study of Horace," by Professor Cornelius M. O'Leary, M. D., Ph. D., of Manhattan College.
The object of Dr. O'Leary's paper was to show that in this delightful poet, there is very much more for the student to explore than is contained in the verbal text. One needs to read between the lines, and he will discover in the writings of the bard of Tivoli beauties he could not suspect at first sight. He will unearth treasures he had not dreamt of. Horace, Dr. O'Leary contended, was the foe to excess in every direction, especially a friend to moderation in the use of wine. His philosophy is a sort of rational epicureanism. He was the best of friends, and grappled to his heart with hooks of steel those friends whom long adoption had tried. He was charitable to a fault, and ever ready to throw the mantle of concealment over the faults of those he loved.
Recess to 8 o'clock.
Principal Albert B. Watkins, Ph. D., of Hungerford Collegiate Institute, read a paper on "The State and Secondary Education," Vice-Chancellor Benedict in the chair.
This paper considered first and briefly the educational policy of Germany, Switzerland, France and England; second, the educational policy in Massachusetts, Michigan and New York, treating it historically, and showing that their policy from the beginning has been to aid the cause of secondary education; and third, some objections against State aid to secondary education. 1st. The objection that the State should educate its youth to provide for its own safety, and that elementary or common school education is sufficient for this, was answered by showing that in a government where citizens sit in a jury as judges upon the property and life of their fellows, where citizens fill the highest offices in the government, there is need of far more education than the elementary school can give, up to the age of sixteen, when most pupils leave the common school, and this education and culture must be given by the secondary schools; that the pupils, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, should have the influences of the secondary school to develop and mature their moral, as well as their intellectual, character; that the objection is based upon the idea that the State is a mere social compact; or, with Herbert Spencer, that it is an agent, employed by individuals to secure to them certain advantages; whereas, it should be considered as having its origin in the wants of man's moral nature; that an organic relation exists between the individual and the State; and that the highest ideal of a State, is the perfection of this moral union with perfect liberty of the individual; that in consequence of this organic aud reciprocal relation, the State has a right, and the duty, to use all legitimate means for its own educational and moral improvement.
2d. The objection that it is unjust to tax eight thousand families to give secondary education to the children of four hundred families, was answered, in that the benefit received by the children educated is not a private, but a public benefit.
3d. The objection that secondary education can be entrusted to private enterprise was answered, in that the work is too extensive, and of
too much importance, and does not sufficiently address man's cupidity to be solely entrusted to private enterprise.
The subject of Dr. Watkins' paper was discussed, with much earnestness, by Vice-Chancellor Benedict, Regent Fitch, Secretary Woolworth, Vice-President Russel, of Cornell University; Dr. Spencer, of the College of the City of New York; Dr. B. N. Martin, of the University of the City of New York; Dr. Benedict, of Rochester Free Academy; and Principal Mattice, of Fort Plain Seminary.
The following is the substance of the remarks by Dr. Spencer, in reply to some of the views expressed by Regent Fitch:
I rise, Mr: Chancellor, to say, that if I understood the Hon. Regent correctly, he has done the college, in whose service I am, a great injustice. He says, that if the State undertakes to favor and support higher education, it necessarily brings into play, and in so far supports, theological and sectarian bias in respect to religious matters. This, sir, is not true, as regards the College of the City of New York. That college was founded nearly thirty years ago, and undertakes to give the highest collegiate training, without, in any wise, interfering with or teaching religion. We have, sir, all told, in our five year's course, nearly one thousand students, coming from all classes and religious. Our faculty is composed of accomplished teachers, in their several departments, whose religious faith, or whose lack of any faith, as it had nothing to do with their appointment, so it has nothing to do with the discharge of their duties; and among the objections which have been made against this college by some of our newspapers (the New York Sun especially), never, so far as I know, has there been any insinuation, even, that theological bias, or anything of the kind, influences, or has ever influenced, its faculty or instructors. I consider it, then, sir, very unfair, to say the least, that a charge of this kind should be made against the College of the City of New York. In reply to a question, put by Regent_Fitch, as to how history is taught, especially of the sixteenth century, Dr. Spencer further said: "History forms an important part of our course, and the history of the struggles of the sixteenth century are as fully treated of and discussed as our time will allow. I hold that the truth can be told and taught, in all its substance, without at all pronouncing for or against the points at issue between the Roman Catholics and Protestants. And from what I know of the teaching of our professor of history, Dr. Authon, I am sure that his method is to teach the facts of history, fairly and faithfully presented, without undertaking to draw or form conclusions for the students. This is the fair and just way, and surely no man can rightly complain of it.
Dr. Martin, of New York University, thought the question, at once, the most difficult, and the most important, of all that arise, in respect to education, while, at the same time, it is more and more forced upon us. Originally, we were morally a homogeneous people, and we taught, with general acquiescence, in all our seminaries, whatever elements of culture seemed most effective for the discipline and development of the young; but, in later days, great varieties of doctrine and opinion have arison among us, and these bring us face to face with the question of religion as an element of education.
A previous speaker had said, that in the religious education to which he had been subjected, he did not see where the sectarianism came in ;
but this is just what the sectarian never can see. Others, however, who entertain different sentiments, see, fast enough, the sectarianism, in our views, to which we ourselves are blind.
Not only does the increasing diversity of religious sentiment force the subject upon us, but we meet it more and more as we advance to the higher education. You can teach a child arithmetic and geography, without involving questions of morals or of religion; but when we come to the great topics of history, moral philosophy, and especially the great questions of the being of God, and the immortality of the soul, the difficulty at once confronts us in a most formidable aspect. An education which does not inculcate these truths, and develop the faculties by which we are related to them, is fundamentally and fatally defective; and yet, if we attempt to teach anything on these subjects in a State institution, we come in conflict, at once, not only with the spirit of the age, but with our own accepted principles of religious freedom, and the equality of religious denominations. What, then, are we to do?
We may solve the question by each one teaching his own particular views, as one speaker has just said he did, believing and inculcating the ideas of God and providence; while another, in the same institution, wholly ignored both. But this rests on no principle, and solves no difficulty. The question is, how are we to give a religious value and power to our education, while our State system, regarding all religious beliefs as alike sacred, forbids the inculcation of the tenets of any one of them from which any other may dissent.
The difficulty is insuperable; the State cannot teach religion any more in an academy than in a church. But with regard to religion in the church, we have learned how to deal with the subject. We have separated it, wholly, from the influence of the State. We have committed its inculcation to the zeal and earnestness of our Christian denominations. They, too, have taken it up, as their essential work, and have devoted themselves to the accomplishment of it. With what zeal they have carried it on, and with what success they have labored, the limit of my time would not enable me to say; but they have spread religious institutions not only over our whole State, but over our vast country, and have imbued the mind and heart of our whole people with profound convictions of religious truths.
They stand ready to do the same thing in education. While the State institution cannot inculcate piety, or assert a God, or lift up a soul to a conviction of its immortality, these religious colleges are under no such disability, and no such restriction. They accomplish the great work which, in the hands of the State, must be utterly a failure; and they give to our youth the only ideas which can save society or utilize education, or impart the development which alone makes it a blessing. To them, therefore, this great and essential work belongs; none other can perform it; this highest function of education must be relegated to them.
Otherwise, what can we do? Only what it has just been said the municipal college does-ignore all religious and moral ideas, in teaching history, and assert God and providence, till some one objects to it; then drop these, also, and train up a generation of youth utterly destitute of moral and spiritual culture, and see what will come of that.
Professor Abel G. Hopkins, A. M., of Hamilton College, read a paper on the "Preservation and Destruction of Greek and Latin Texts." Adjourned to 9.30 A. M., to-morrow.