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ble to submit a working plan that the company could afford to follow, the results of the survey would, in the writer's opinion, justify every cent of outlay. The company would possess a perfectly reliable topographic and soil map of its holdings. It would kuow with approximate exactness the amount and quality of the timber on these holdings; and the classification of soils, relief areas, drainage systems, etc., would enable it to estimate with accuracy the value of the cleared land for pasturage, rice culture, fruit lands and so on.
Aside from the immediately practical questions involved, this forestry enterprise has great significance and value for the State at large. It brings us face to face with the new era which is to be marked by a more intensive conservation and development and exploitation of natural resources, and may be expected to stimulate not only other private individuals and companies, but the State itself to adopt a policy looking to the improvement and preservation of forest lands. Finally, the profession of forestry opens a new and attractive field of activity to the youth of the State.
SCIENCE AND THE ELECTIVE SYSTEM.
W. T. MATHER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS.
At the opening of the Exposition at Charleston, Senator Depew commenced his inaugural oration with the words, "This exhibition is the triumph of revolution and evolution.” This phrase, which so strikingly characterized the period which witnessed the passing of once dominant conditions in the South, and the rise and development of new social and economic relations, is worthy of remembrance, not merely because of its appropriateness to the occasion when uttered, but because of its wider application to all the changing phases of life. Constituted as is mankind, evolution and revolution are the necessary correlatives to human progress. Increasing knowledge brings fresh conceptions and the evolution of ideas is the antecedent to an inevitable struggle, the result of which is a readjustment of relations and the construction of new platforms.
True of political and social economics, it is strikingly exemplified in the history of education. During the eighteenth century and the first of the nineteenth the progress of the world at large, while rapid, was nevertheless due in the main to social and economic forces already known and largely recognized. The adjustment, therefore, to new conditions year by year was relatively easy. Equally with other branches of human endeavor education was advancing in a definite direction, impelled therein by the momentum of generations past and without apparent necessity for any change. Suddenly, about 1860, forces thus far of little moment became in the fitness of things of paramount importance. Scientific facts and speculations, hitherto seemingly vague and purposeless, crystallized into definite form, and in thirty years the face of the world was changed. This volcanic awakening to new ideals and purposes of necessity demanded a revision of creeds and formulæ from which education could not be excepted. The student of science, recognizing the value of his new-born theme, not merely from a commercial aspect, but from an ethical one as well, entered upon a campaign of educational reform, the guiding principle of which was the adaptation of mental training to the specific abilities of the individual and the demands of every-day life. Had the course of economic history been less suddenly and vitally changed, this vigorous movement for intellectual freedom would have been unnecessary, for the desired result would have followed in the natural course of events. Coming, as it did, however, it necessarily met with intense opposition. At first it was derided on every side. Then, as the movement gathered strength, each guardian of beloved traditions believing in his ignorance that the penates of his own household were in danger gathered his dependents around him and rushed to the defense of his altars. To the classicist and literateur, science meant nothing but the interesting trivialities which were once offered to him as a sort of intellectual pap to be taken in small doses in lieu of stronger food. Of the tremendous power of the new attainments as a means of culture filled with the breath of a new life he had no conception. In consequence of this misunderstanding, the past thirty years have witnessed a contest in which, in general, the classics and literature have been arrayed against the sciences, mathematics and the modern languages in a
manner quite unnecessary had greater wisdom and broader views prevailed.
But it is not my purpose to enter into any discussion whatever concerning the merits of the question, for its solution is already clear. Equality of studies, freedom of election and singleness of degrees, the fundamental principles involved, are today widely recognized as fully established and, however we may view it, conformability to the conditions thus imposed is an absolute necessity.
This new and broad educational platform must not, however, be misconstrued or its principles misapplied. Equality of studies and freedom of election, as expressions of our recognition of individualism, are powerful concepts, but they require careful delineation. We shall do well, therefore, to consider certain limitations that should be made.
From our new point of view, it is evident that any broad course of training must be planned in large measure conformably to the particular qualifications of the individual since the failure to recognize that every man is cast in a different mold leads to a cultivation of mediocrity and the stagnation of creative thought. On the other hand, the equally broad principle holds good that the value of work in any line is not to be wholly measured by the degree of natural interest that one may have in that particular direction. The constant pursuit of that which is merely agreeable leads to a one-sided development in which there is great danger of a loss of the power of concentration in the analysis of difficult problems. Much is to be gained from the struggle with that which is uncongenial, for the result is a strengthening of fibers and faculties that otherwise might become atrophied or useless. That various branches of knowledge, when rightly set forth, are of equal value as ministering to the needs of diverse minds is true, but it is distinctly false that any heterogeneous mixtures of trivialities can afford the same training as a fully developed subject, the mastery of which requires continued and close application. Nor is it true that every subject which may be of great value in its dependent relations should be allowed in the undergraduate curriculum to assume the importance of those topics which, because of their bearing upon the life of the past, present or future, and because of the discipline they afford, are necessarily the prime factors in any scheme of education. Each has a part to play, but for
many that part is of real worth only when subordinated to others which constitute the leading characters in the drama of education. When this is lost sight of the drama all too frequently degenerates into a comedy, or even a tragedy, of errors.
Again we note that freedom of election does not mean absolute freedom. Allowing that the student may, when properly advised, choose the direction which his studies should take, the various subjects which are offered for his consideration may be classified as principal, accessory, and subordinate. Of these the first, generally one in number, should be studied in their entirety and detail as forming both the foundation and framework of the completed structure; studied until the student is saturated with them in the fullness of their meaning and has acquired a mastery of himself in the control of his intellectual powers. Around these, in turn, should be grouped as accessories such subjects as naturally are co-ordinate with the principal themes, or which are necessary to their full development. Finally, there remains the larger list of topics, each of value but not essential, the number and extent of which the student may attempt being dependent upon conditions peculiar to each case. But, it may be said, the student may desire that mixture of knowledge known to the world in these later days as a general education. This is true in many instances, I regret to note, but were this fallacy not encouraged the number would be relatively few. Specialism in education is the rule of the hournay, always has been,—and this fact should be generally recognized. No more perfect example ever existed than the old-time classical course in which three or four years of Latin and Greek, coupled with ancient history and other co-ordinate topics, constituted a most intensive course of study in a distinctly limited field. The weakness of much of modern education is too little specialism, rather than too much. As we have already noted, the time-honored classical course, developed in accordance with the demands of a limited number of professions, failed to take cognizance of a rapidly increasing number of students who earestly desired higher education but who were psychologically out of tune with the classical chorus. In the attempt to meet their requirements without infringing too greatly upon the assumed prerogatives of classical education, various other arrangements of courses were made in which literature and the sciences predominated, leading to a num