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INTRODUCTION

THE

HE circumstances in which the following

little treatise took its rise are truthfully set forth in the first chapter. When I determined to put on paper the thoughts on education which had for years been germinating in my mind, I suddenly realised that I had read little or nothing on the subject. The question thus confronted me: Shall I read, and then write ? or write, and then read? I chose the latter alternative. Regarding my position as that of a witness giving evidence in the trial of the current system of public-school education (which alone I have in view), I felt that the value of my evidence must lie in its sincerity as a record of personal experience and thought, and could only be impaired by collusion with other witnesses.

Accordingly I wrote, without any study of books, the series of papers originally published in the Westminster Gazette, and here collected. I have reprinted them with only the most trilling alterations. They represented a continuous process both of thought and feeling; so that any recasting, however advantageous from other points of view, would, it seemed to me, break up a certain unity of movement which I hope may be found in them. I have, however, added some postscripts and footnotes, either dealing with criticisms, or embodying considerations originally omitted for lack of space.

Moreover, I have now read some of the authorities on education, and realised that to have done so earlier would have been to nip this book in the bud. I should never have dared to say over again so much that better men had said before me. Yet-whatever the reader may feel on the point–I cannot now regret having re-thought and re-worded so many of the thoughts of my predecessors. The very fact that such excellent things had been said by such excellent men, without, apparently, producing one jot or tittle of result, makes me doubly confident of the necessity that they should be said again and yet again, and even dinned into the ears of parents,

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