Chap 1F: Education

ARTICLE 2: The Expence of the Educational Institutions for the Youth


130 The educational institutions for the youth may generate a revenue sufficient for defraying their own expence.

  • The fee or honorary which the scholar pays the teacher is naturally a revenue of this kind.


131 Even if the teacher’s reward does not come from this natural revenue, it still is unnecessary that it should be derived from the society’s general revenue.

  • In most countries, the collection and application of the society’s general revenue is done through the executive power.
  • Through most of Europe, the endowment of schools and colleges takes a very small amount, or none at all, from that general revenue.
    • It arises chiefly from:
      • some local or provincial revenue,
      • from the rent of some landed estate, and
      • from the interest of money allotted for this purpose and managed by trustees, sometimes by the sovereign or a private donor.


132 Have those public endowments promoted the education of the youth?

  • Have they encouraged the diligence and the improvement the teachers’ abilities?
  • Have they directed education towards more useful objects than towards objects it would naturally have gone into of its own accord?
  • It is not be very difficult to answer these questions.


133 In every profession, the exertion of those who exercise it is always proportional to the necessity for that exertion.

  • This necessity is greatest in professions where emoluments are:
    • the only source of their fortune or
    • even ordinary revenue and subsistence.
      • To acquire this fortune or subsistence, they must execute a certain quantity of work of a known value.
      • If the competition is free, the competitors try to jostle one another out of employment.
        • It obliges everyone to execute his work with exactness.
  • The greatness of the objects acquired by the success in some professions may animate those of extraordinary spirit and ambition towards exertion.
  • Great objects are unnecessary to cause the greatest exertions.
    • Rivalship and emulation render excellency as an object of ambition, even in mean professions.
    • Rivalship and emulation frequently lead to the greatest exertions.
    • On the contrary, great objects alone, and unsupported by necessity, are seldom sufficient to lead to any considerable exertion.
  • In England, success in the law profession leads to very great objects of ambition.
    • How few men born to easy fortunes have ever here been eminent in law?


134 The endowments of schools and colleges reduced the necessity of exertion in the teachers.

  • Their subsistence is from their salaries.
    • It is derived from a fund independent of their success and reputation.


135 In some universities, the salary makes a small part of the teacher’s emoluments.

  • The greater part comes from the honoraries or fees of his pupils.
  • The necessity of application is still always reduced.
    • But in this case, it is not entirely removed.
  • Reputation is still important to a teacher.
    • He is still dependent on his students’ affection, gratitude, and favourable report.
    • He is likely to gain these only by:
      • his abilities and
      • diligence to his duty.


136 In other universities, the teacher is prohibited from receiving any honorary or fee from his pupils.

  • His salary is his whole revenue.
    • In this case, his interest is opposite his duty.
  • “It is the interest of every man to live as much at his ease as he can;”
  • If his emoluments are the same whether he works hard or not, it would certainly be his interest to:
    • neglect his duty or
    • perform it as carelessly as possible.
  • If he is naturally active and hardworking, his interest is to do activities where he can derive some advantage.
    • He will do this rather than perform his duty, from which he can derive no advantage.


137 If he is under the corporate body’s authority and he and most of the members of his college or university are teachers, they are likely to be all very indulgent to one another.

  • Every member will allow other members to neglect their duty provided he himself is allowed to neglect his own.
  • In Oxford university, most public professors for so many years have given up even the pretence of teaching.


138 The teacher will not likely neglect his duty if his superiors are some other extraneous persons such as:

  • the diocese bishop,
  • the provincial governor,
  • some state minister.

However, such superiors can only force him to:

  • attend to his pupils a certain number of hours, and
  • give a certain number of lectures.
    • Those lectures still depend on the teacher’s diligence.
      • That diligence will likely be proportional to his motives for exerting it.
  • This kind of extraneous jurisdiction is liable to be exercised ignorantly and capriciously.
    • In its nature, it is arbitrary and discretionary.
  • Such persons who exercise authority over the teacher are can seldom exercise it properly because they:
    • do not attend the lectures themselves, and
    • do not understand what he teaches.
  • From the insolence of office, they are frequently indifferent how they exercise it.
    • They are very apt to censure or deprive the teacher of his office wantonly, without any just cause.
      • The teacher is then degraded by it.
      • Instead of being one of the most respectable, he is rendered as one of the meanest and most contemptible persons in society.
      • He can guard himself only by powerful protection.
        • He can most likely gain this protection, not by ability or diligence, but by:
          • submissiveness to his superiors’ will, and
          • being ready to sacrifice the university’s rights, interest, and honour to that will.
  • Whoever attends a French university’s administration for a long time will these effects.
    • These naturally result from this kind of arbitrary and extraneous jurisdiction.


139 Whatever forces students to any college or university independent of the teachers’ merit or reputation reduces the necessity of that merit or reputation.

  • The privileges of graduates in arts, law, physics, and divinity are in some cases obtained only by residing a certain number of years in certain universities.
    • It forces a certain number of students to those universities, independent of the teachers’ merit or reputation.
  • The privileges of graduates are a sort of statutes of apprenticeship.
    • They have contributed to the improvement of education, just as statutes of apprenticeship have contributed to the improvement of arts and manufactures.


140 “The charitable foundations of scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, etc. necessarily attach a certain number of students to certain colleges, independent of the merit of those colleges.”

  • Were the students under such charitable foundations free to choose the college they liked best, there might be some emulation among colleges.
  • On the contrary, a regulation which prohibited them from leaving their college to go to another would very much extinguish that emulation.


141 A regulation which:

  • let each college head appoint the teachers instead of being voluntarily chosen by the student, and
  • did not allow the student to change his teacher in case of the teacher’s neglect, inability, or bad usage would:
    • extinguish all emulation among teachers of the same college, and
    • very much reduce their diligence and attention to their pupils.
  • Such teachers could be very well paid by their students.
    • But they might neglect their students as those who are only paid by a salary.


142 A sensible teacher must find it unpleasant to:

  • lecture nonesense to his students, and
  • find his students deserting his lectures or attending them with neglect, contempt, and derision.

If he is obliged to give a certain number of lectures, these motives alone might urge him strive to give tolerably good ones.

  • Several expedients may be used to effectively reduce diligence.
    • The teacher might read a book about the topic he will teach, instead of explaining it to his pupils.
      • If this book is written in a foreign or dead language, he might:
        • interpret it to them in their own language, and
        • make his students interpret it to him.
      • Now and then he would remark on it.
      • He may flatter himself that he is giving a lecture and give himself less trouble.
    • He can do this with the slightest knowledge, without sounding foolish, absurd, or ridiculous.
  • The college’s discipline may enable him to force his pupils:
    • to regularly attend this sham-lecture, and
    • to maintain the most decent and respectful behaviour during the performance.


143 In general, the discipline of colleges and universities is contrived for the interest or ease of the masters, not for the benefit of the students.

  • In all cases, it aims:
    • to maintain the authority of the master whether he neglects his duty or not
    • to oblige the students to behave as if he performed his duty with the greatest diligence and ability
  • “It seems to presume perfect wisdom and virtue in the one order, and the greatest weakness and folly in the other.”
    • Where the masters really perform their duty, most of the students perform theirs.
    • No discipline is ever needed to force attendance on lectures really worth attending.
  • Force and restraint may be needed to oblige children or very young boys to attend essential early education.
    • But after 12 or 13 years of age, provided the master does his duty, force or restraint is unnecessary in any part of education.
    • Such is the generosity of most young men that they pardon many of their teacher’s errors.
      • They sometimes even conceal his gross negligence from the public, provided he is serious in intending to be useful to them.


144 Generally, the subjects which do not have their own public institutions are the best taught.

  • When a young man goes to a fencing or a dancing school, he does not always learn to fence or to dance very well.
    • He seldom fails to learn to fence or dance.
  • “The good effects of the riding school are not commonly so evident.”
    • The cost of a riding school is so great that in most places it is a public institution.
  • The three most essential parts of literary education are:
    • to read
    • to write
    • to do mathematics
  • They are more commonly acquired in private than public schools.
    • It very seldom happens that anybody fails to acquire them.


145 In England, the public schools are much less corrupted than the universities.

  • In the schools, the youth are taught only Greek and Latin.
  • In the universities, the youth are not taught the sciences.
    • Teaching the sciences is done by those incorporated bodies.
  • In most cases, the schoolmaster’s reward depends principally or entirely on the fees from his scholars.
  • Schools have no exclusive privileges.
  • To obtain graduation honours, one does not need to bring a certificate of his having studied a certain number of years at a public school.
    • “If upon examination he appears to understand what is taught there, no questions are asked about the place where he learnt it.”


146 The subjects commonly taught in universities are perhaps not very well taught.

  • But without those institutions, they would not have been taught at all.
  • The people would have suffered much from the lack of such education.


147Most of the present European universities were originally ecclesiastical corporations.

  • They were instituted for the education of churchmen.
  • They were founded by the pope’s authority and were entirely under his immediate protection.
  • Their members were masters or students.
    • They all had the benefit of clergy.
      • They were exempted from the civil jurisdiction of the countries where those universities were situated.
      • They were amenable only to the ecclesiastical tribunals.
  • The subjects taught in most of those universities were suitable to their institution’s goal:
    • Theology
    • Preparatory Theology


Language Learning

148 When Christianity was first established by law, a corrupted Latin had become the common language of Western Europe.

  • Church services and the Bible translations read in churches were both in that corrupted Latin.
  • After demise of the Roman empire, Latin gradually ceased to be the language of Europe.
    • But the people’s reverence naturally preserves the established forms and ceremonies of religion long after the reasons for their establishment have disappeared.
  • Church services still continued in Latin even though the people no longer understood Latin.
  • Thus, two languages were established in Europe, in the same manner as in ancient Egypt:
    • a sacred, learned language of the priests, and
    • a profane, unlearned language of the people.
  • It was necessary that the priests understood the language they used.
    • The study of the Latin made an essential part of university education from the beginning.


149 It was not so with the Greek or Hebrew languages.

  • The Latin translation of the Bible is commonly called the Latin Vulgate.
    • The infallible church decrees made that version dictated by divine inspiration.
    • It therefore was of equal authority with the Greek and Hebrew originals.
  • The knowledge and study of Greek and Hebrew was not required for churchmen.
    • For a long time, their study was not necessary in common university education.
    • There are some Spanish universities where the study of Greek was never done.
  • The first reformers found the Greek text of the new testament, and the Hebrew text of the old testament, more favourable than the Latin Vulgate translation.
    • The Latin version was gradually accommodated to support the Catholic church’s doctrines.
    • They exposed the many errors of that translation, which the Roman Catholic clergy defended or explained.
      • But this could not be done well without knowledge of those three languages.
      • Their study was therefore gradually introduced into most universities.
    • Some of those universities embraced while some rejected the doctrines of the reformation.
  • The Greek language was connected with classical learning.
    • Classical learning was first principally cultivated by Catholics and Italians.
    • It came into fashion around the same time the doctrines of the reformation began.
  • In most universities, Greek was taught:
    • before philosophy, and
    • as soon as the student had made some progress in Latin.
  • The Hebrew language had no connection with classical learning except in the holy Scriptures.
    • No esteemed book was written in it.
    • Its study only commenced after the study of philosophy when the student entered the study of theology.


150 Originally, the first rudiments of Greek and Latin were taught in universities.

  • In others, the student is expected to have previously learned those languages.
  • The study of both makes a very considerable part of university education everywhere.



151 The ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three great branches:

  • Physics or natural philosophy
  • Ethics or moral philosophy
  • Logic

“This general division seems perfectly agreeable to the nature of things.”


152 The great phenomena of nature necessarily excite wonder:

  • the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, eclipses, comets, thunder, lightning, and extraordinary meteors, and
  • the generation, life, growth, and dissolution of plants and animals.

They naturally call forth mankind’s curiosity to inquire into their causes.

  • Superstition first attempted to satisfy this curiosity by referring them all to the agency of the gods.
  • Philosophy afterwards tried to account for them from more familiar causes.
  • Those great phenomena are the first objects of human curiosity.
  • The science which pretends to explain them must naturally have been the first branch of philosophy.
  • Accordingly, the first recorded philosophers were natural philosophers.


153 In every age and country, men must have attended to one another’s characters, designs, and actions.

  • “Many reputable rules and maxims for the conduct of human life must have been laid down and approved of by common consent.”
  • As soon as writing came into fashion, wise men would naturally endeavour:
    • to multiply those maxims, and
    • to express their own sense of what was proper or improper conduct sometimes in:
      • the more artificial form of apologues, like Aesop’s fables,
      • the more simple form of apophthegms or wise sayings like:
        • The Proverbs of Solomon
        • The verses of Theognis and Phocyllides
        • The works of Hesiod
  • They might continue in this way for a long time merely to multiply those maxims of prudence and morality, without even attempting to:
    • arrange them in any distinct or methodical order, and
    • connect them by general principles from which they were all deducible, like effects from their natural causes
  • There was a beautiful, systemic arrangement of their different observations, connected by a few common principles.
    • This was first seen in the rude ancient essays about the system of natural philosophy.
  • Something of the same kind was afterwards attempted in morals.
    • The maxims of common life were arranged in some methodical order.
    • They were connected together by a few common principles, in the same manner attempted in the arrangement and connection of natural phenomena.
  • “The science which pretends to investigate and explain those connecting principles is what is properly called moral philosophy.”


154 Different authors gave different systems of natural and moral philosophy.

  • But the arguments which supported those systems were frequently very slender probabilities at best.
    • Sometimes those arguments were mere sophisms.
      • Their only foundation was the inaccuracy and ambiguity of common language.
  • Speculative systems have always been adopted for frivolous reasons.
    • Gross sophistry has never influenced mankind’s opinions, except in matters of philosophy and speculation.
      • Gross sophistry was frequently the greatest in philosophy and speculation.
  • The patrons of each system of natural and moral philosophy naturally tried to expose the weakness of the arguments of opposing systems.
    • In examining those arguments, they had to consider the difference between:
      • a probable and a demonstrative argument,
      • a fallacious and a conclusive one.
  • Logic is the science of the general principles of good and bad reasoning.
    • It arose out of the scrutiny of this examination.
    • It was originally posterior to physics and ethics.
    • It was commonly taught in most of the ancient schools of philosophy, previous to physics and ethics.
      • The student was thought to understand the difference between good and bad reasoning before he was led to reason on important subjects.


155 This ancient division of philosophy into three parts was changed into five parts in most European universities.


156 In the ancient philosophy, whatever concerned the nature of the human mind or the Deity was a part of physics.

  • Those beings were parts of the great system of the universe.
    • They produced the most important effects.
  • Whatever human reason could conclude about them made two very important chapters, of the science which pretended to give an account of the origin and revolutions of the great system of the universe.
  • But in European universities, philosophy was taught as subservient to theology.
  • It was natural to dwell longer on these two chapters than any other chapter of the science.
  • They were gradually extended and divided into many inferior chapters such as:
    • the doctrine of spirits, and
      • This is a study where so little can be known.
    • the doctrine of bodies.
      • This is a study where so much can be known.
  • In the end, the doctrine of spirits took up as much room in philosophy as the doctrine of bodies.
    • Those two doctrines made two distinct sciences.
  • Metaphysics or Pneumatics were set in opposition to Physics.
    • Metaphysics were cultivated as the more sublime and useful science than Physics.
  • Experiment and observation requires a careful attention which is capable of making so many useful discoveries.
    • Experiment and observation was almost entirely neglected.
    • Metaphysics was greatly cultivated.
      • It had a few very simple and obvious truths.
        • The most careful attention of these truths can only lead to obscurity and uncertainty.
        • It can only produce subtleties and sophisms.


157 When those two sciences were set in opposition to one another, the comparison between them naturally created a third science called Ontology.

  • Ontology is the science which studied the qualities and attributes common to subjects in Metaphysics and Physics.
  • Subtleties and sophisms composed most of Metaphysics or Pneumatics and the whole of the cobweb of Ontology.
  • Ontology was sometimes also called Metaphysics.


158 The ancient moral philosophy investigated the happiness and perfection of a man considered as an individual and a member of:

  • a family
  • a state
  • the great human society

In moral philosophy, the duties of human life were treated as subservient to the happiness and perfection of human life.

  • But when moral and natural philosophy came to be taught only as subservient to theology, the duties of human life were treated as subservient to the happiness of a life to come.
  • In the ancient philosophy, the perfection of virtue produced the most perfect happiness in this life.
  • In the modern philosophy, the perfection of virtue was frequently inconsistent with happiness in this life.
    • Heaven was to be earned only by:
      • penance and mortification, and
      • the austerities and abasement of a monk.
    • Heaven was not to be earned bythe liberal, generous, and spirited conduct of a man.
  • Casuistry and an ascetic morality made up most of the moral philosophy of the schools.
    • In this manner, the most important branch of philosophy became the most corrupted.


159 The following was the common course of philosophical education in most European universities:

  1. Logic was taught first
  2. Ontology came in second
  3. Pneumatology came in third
    • It was the doctrine on the nature of the human soul and the Deity
  4. A debased system of moral philosophy came in fourth.
    • It was immediately connected with:
      • The doctrines of Pneumatology
      • The immortality of the human soul
      • The rewards and punishments from the Deity to be expected in a life to come
  5. A short and superficial system of Physics usually concluded the course.


160 The changes introduced by European universities into the ancient course of philosophy were all meant to:

  • educate ecclesiastics, and
  • render it as a more proper introduction to the study of theology

But those changes introduced the following into philosophy:

  • additional subtlety,
  • sophistry,
  • casuistry, and
  • ascetic morality.

These certainly did not:

  • render it more proper for education,
  • improve understanding, nor
  • mend the heart.


161 This course of philosophy is still taught diligently in most European universities.

  • In some of the richest and best endowed universities, the tutors teach a few unconnected shreds and parcels of this corrupted course.
  • They commonly teach it very negligently and superficially.


162 Most of the improvements made in several branches of philosophy were not made in universities.

  • Most universities did not even want to adopt those improvements.
    • For a long time, several of those universities chose to remain the sanctuaries for exploded systems and obsolete prejudices after they had been hunted out of other parts of the world.
  • In general, the richest and best endowed universities were the slowest in adopting those improvements.
    • They were most averse to permit any major change in the established plan of education.
  • Those improvements were more easily introduced into the poorer universities.
    • The teachers there depended on their reputation for most of their subsistence.
    • They were obliged to pay more attention to the current world opinions.


163 European public schools and universities were originally intended only for the education of churchmen.

  • Those churchmen were not always very diligent in instructing their pupils.
    • But they gradually drew to themselves the education of almost everyone, particularly those of gentlemen and men of fortune.
      • It was the best way to spend the time between infancy to adulthood for learning the business of the world.
      • However, most of what is taught in schools and universities is not the most proper preparation for that business.


164 In England, it becomes everyday more the custom to send young people to foreign countries immediately after leaving school, without sending them to university.

  • It is said that our young people generally return home much improved by their travels.
  • A young man who goes abroad at 17 or 18 and returns home at 21.
    • At that age, it is very difficult not to improve much in three or four years.
    • He acquires some knowledge of foreign languages from his travels though he is seldom able to speak or write them fluently.
    • He commonly returns home more conceited, unprincipled, dissipated, and more incapable of any serious application to study or business than if he had lived at home.
    • By travelling so very young, he spends the most precious years of his life in the most frivolous dissipation.
      • He is far from the inspection and control of his parents and relations.
      • Every useful habit formed by his early education might be weakened or erased instead of being riveted and confirmed.
  • Only the discredit of the universities could have ever created this very absurd practice of travelling at a young age.
  • By sending his son abroad, a father delivers himself from seeing his own son unemployed, neglected, and going to ruin.


165 Such were the effects of some modern educational institutions.



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