advance of the general standard of grammar-school attainment that, in a large number of instances, he found scholars of the first or highest grade, instead of pursuing this "first grade with the necessary modifications, pursuing the second grade, and, in a few instances, the third grade with modifications -i.e., the third grade reduced.

Such is the course of instruction given in the “common schools” of New York. And New York affords, as would naturally be supposed, a superior instance of American school organization. The Cincinnati course includes drawing and a little elementary science (“ Object Lessons "), and is more advanced in grammar studies, but is inferior in arithmetic. Boston, like Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, is exceptionally superior in its educational organization. But its chief distinction lies in its school education being more thorough than is common elsewhere and including more often some provision for teaching Latin. Nothing in the way of technical instruction is given anywhere. Science in New York, as we have seen, only appears in a faint trace in the most advanced course -a course, it might be said, for young men or young women. In the City of Cincinnati its rudiments appear to be taught in much the same manner and degree as in the best English elementary schools.

During the last few years education does not appear to have advanced materially, if at all, in the schools of the Union. Indeed, owing to the great improvement in trade, between 1877 and 1883 the school attendance would seem to have fallen off in most parts of the Union. The last Report of the Commissioner of Education (1881) contains repeated complaints on this head. The scholars have left school earlier and attended with less regularity. The complaints relate to most of the leading States, including New York and Pennsylvania.

I must return, however, to Mr. Mather's “ general view" of American public schools. How defective it is I have already shown. How absolutely untrustworthy it is, in respect of its particular and positive statements, remains to be shown. “ Both sexes,” he says, “are in all cases taught together, but the playgrounds are separate." This is much as if a foreign Commissioner, having seen some large inixed schools in East Lancashire, were to inform his Government and his country that " in England both sexes are in all cases taught together.” Such an assertion would be equally true with that of this Report. Has Mr. Mather concluded his work without entering a New York Girls' School ? The fact is, that in America the controversy as to “co-education” is exceedingly keen, and the ablest opponents of the system are found in New England where such co-education has been more completely carried out than elsewhere. If E. B. Duffey, a Pennsylvanian educationist, pleads for co-education in his book

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entitled “No Sex in Education,” Dr. Clark, of Boston, in his work on “ Sex in Education,” very strongly maintains the opposite view. And in New York, as I have intimated, and as is indeed notorious, the vast majority of the public schools are organized on the strictly separate system. “The playgrounds are separate.” Usually, no doubt, they are, when there are playgrounds. But the implication that playgrounds for schools in the States are a matter of course is an entire mistake. There are scarcely any playgrounds, for example, in New York. Land there is much too costly; and, indeed, throughout the Union playgrounds are rather the exception than the rule.

But perhaps Mr. Mather's most extraordinary statement is that relating to compulsory education. “ There is no compulsory law,” he says, “ in operation in the United States, excepting in the case of children in the district schools among the rural population. This is limited to enforcing attendance for twenty weeks in the year. A half-time system is recognized in the country districts in order to allow the children to assist in the farms."

Now, to begin with, there is, in our English sense of the word, no compulsory law in operation anywhere in the States under any circumstances. The last Report of the Commissioner of Education enumerates seven out of the forty-seven States or Territories as having laws of compulsory education. But English readers will be surprised to learn what is meant by these compulsory laws. In the foremost and enlightened State of Connecticut the law is given as follows in the Commissioner's Report :—"All children, from 8 to 14, unless physically or mentally disabled, must attend some school at least three months in the year, of which six weeks must be consecutive, or else be taught the common school branches at home for an equal length of time, and such children may not be employed in any business unless they have been taught for at least sixty days during the year preceding.For English people to be told that there is a law of educational compulsion in this State, conveys an idea completely misleading. We in this country should call such a law one of educational laxity and indulgence, carried to an unheard-of extreme. It does not so much compel education as permit and sanction the neglect of it. The law in New Hampshire, another New England State, is the same, except that for sixty days it substitutes three months."

three months.” In the world-famous State of Maine, the State of the saintly Payson, and now of the distinguished Mr. Blaine, the law is that children “between 9 and 15 must attend school at least twelve weeks, “unless instructed elsewhere." In Nevada the law requires four months' attendance for children between 8 and 14 not taught elsewhere. But, oddly enough, the schools in Nevada, in order to obtain State pay, are only required to be taught for three months in the year by teachers " duly examined and certified." Massachusetts is, of course, by far the most advanced State in the

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Union, as respects education, and in this State the law forbids the employment of children under 14 years of age, who cannot read and write," unless they have attended school at least twenty weeks of the preceding school year." California has on the Statute Book a law which orders children to be sent to school at least two-thirds of the time during which the schools are open.

But the law is one which there is no machinery to enforce and for the breach of which there is no penalty provided. Doubtless it is a dead letter. *

Then what is meant by saying that “there is a compulsory law, in the case of district schools among the rural population, which is limited to enforcing attendance for twenty weeks in the year ?”

? It seems evident that, from the special and solitary case of the comparatively small and every way exceptional State of Massachusetts, he has drawn a general inference as wide as the whole rural population of the States, and all the rural district-schools.

But again, what are we to understand by the “half-time system in the country-districts,” of which Mr. Mather speaks? He refers, there is no doubt, to the almost universal custom (which he afterwards incidentally describes) outside the larger towns of the Union, and especially in all farming regions—which of course means throughout by far the greatest part of the territory of the Unionof baving only winter schools for the boys, while there are summer schools for the girls. These winter schools are held for periods varying from three to six months—very seldom, however, longer than five months. Such an arrangement is rendered absolutely necessary by the climate and conditions of the country ; but to speak of it as "a half-time system” is something fresh. These schools, open only during the winter, are usually taught by men-seldom for more than two winter terms by the same man—the summer schools are taught by women. The engagement is at so many dollars the month, and the teachers, as a rule, are untrained. The winter teacher not seldom, however, pursues his studies during the summer at some college.

Now, the facts being as I have stated, what becomes of Mr. Mather's assertion that the results of public school instruction are to be found in the industries of America ? Let us hear how he tries to make this out by instances. “ The effect,” he says, “ of the schools is largely felt in the selection of men for the higher positions. The well-known and able manager of the Edgar-Thompson Steel Works was a public-school boy, but left at the primary stage, about thirteen years old, to work in a machine shop.” That is to say, he

* In Rhode Island there is a quasi-compulsory law, of an indirect and retrospective character, which enacts a penalty for the employment of children between twelve and fifteen who have not attended school at least three months during the year preceding.


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left school without having learnt any grammar or mastered more than the four simple rules of arithmetic ; and this fact is given to prove that his public school education fitted him for a high position !

However, determined to trace back the industrial success of America to the common schools, Mr. Mather makes a further attempt at inference in the next paragraph :

“The facility to read, write, and reckon rapidly and intelligently has for many years been universal among the native-born working population of America. Upon this foundation much of the present skill and success in the engineering industries has been built. . . . . The school age' extends over a period from five to eighteen years old, including the high school course. The children of the working-classes generally remain up to the completion of the grammar school course in their fifteenth year. . . In very prosperous times boys have left school at fourteen years and under, tempted by the high wages prevailing, but there is a growing tendency to prolong the school life up to seventeen years

of I have already stated that a large proportion of the scholars in the grammar schools leave for business or work before they are fourteen. For the detailed evidence in proof of this assertion I can only refer to the article in the Quarterly Reriew for April 1875. I have there given the statistics and the calculations which prove the point. As to the statement in the last sentence it is enough to say, as I have already indeed intimated, that the explicit and repeated statements of the highest educational authority in the States—the Commissioner of Education—directly contradicts it, so far as recent experience is concerned. But leaving these points, let me show how Mr. Mather contradicts himself. On the page of his Report immediately preceding that from which I have taken the last extract, I find the following passage :

“ The effect of the public schools, colleges, and universities, supported by taxation of the people, is more marked in general education in the literary branches, than in any special acquaintance with natural science, and in this direction their influence is not altogether a benefit. Too large a class of young people in America of both sexes are seeking pursuits not requiring manual labour. Their education, as given at present in the high schools and colleges, tends rather to unfit them for the active industries of life, in a country where the vast resources of Nature are waiting for willing and trained hands to utilize them. The native-born American hates drudgery, and all the mechanical arts, when pursued without some knowledge of science to employ and interest the mind, while the hands are active, are more or less drudgery. The American boy with his inborn ambition and natural ingenuity would cease to regard manual labour as drudgery if his hand and mind together were industrially trained through the school period. He would then be led into industrial employments by choice, as the readiest means to climb to a higher position in life.

“ It cannot be denied, however, that a widespread aptitude to learn and understand has been implanted by the public schools of America. A high degree of self-respect marks the work men who have passed through the schools, and to those who have it in them,' the education even of the grammar school, closing at fourteen to fifteen years old, enables self-improvement to be continued by boys of talent and energy without great difficulty, even through private study."

It is evident that what I have now quoted is not easy to reconcile with the last preceding extract from the Report. True, indeed, to his original error as to the common schools generally, Mr. Mather here would throw the blame of unfitting the rising youth of the country for industrial pursuits on the high schools and colleges, as distinguished from the grammar schools. But, in the first place, the number of boys who go forward to such schools and colleges is altogether insignificant. In the next place, it is in these alone—that is,

n a few of the best of them—that anything worthy to be called technical or scientific instruction is given, as indeed Mr. Mather himself notes elsewhere. The attempt, therefore, to lay the blame of unfitting the American youth for industrial occupation on the high schools and colleges is singularly weak and vain. What remains s the fact thus borne witness to by Mr. Mather himself, that the results of the common school instruction of the United States are not to be found in the industrial aptitudes or pre-eminence of the people. Mr. Mather's evidence goes to prove that the tendency of the common schools has told in a contrary direction. Without more words, therefore, I leave the two extracts I have given to confront each other, merely noting once again the persevering zeal with which, in the closing paragraph of the second extract, the Reporter still tries to save something from the wreck of his foregone conclusions in regard to the effect of the common school system in promoting the improvement and development of American industries.

The same resolute purpose is amusingly shown in the following passage :

All Americans have more or less the mechanical faculty. It is the characteristic of the race. In early times, almost all men and all women were engaged in manual work, and in exercising their wits to avail themselves of the forces of Nature. To this natural bias the public-school education


the means for higher development. The demand for mechanical contrivances to save labour held out the promise of great reward, and the production of cheap patents gave confidence and security. Thus the workingmen of America have been educated and brought up under conditions different from those prevailing in Europe."

If, now, we leave out the sentence which I have printed in italics, this passage reads like pertinent and consecutive common sense. But that sentence is a manifest intrusion and incongruity. It is a sort of desperate effort to force the ruling prejudice, the dominant fallacy, into connexion with facts which resist such connexion.

Mr. Mather, it is evident, from some of the passages already quoted—the last in particular—and from several other passages in his report, especially the one I am about to quote, has had clear glimpses of the real secret of the mechanical genius of America, glimpses clear enough to show him, if he would but have candidly opened his eyes, that no special feature of the common school system, no superior quality or peculiar merit of that system, as distinguished from English or Conti

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