The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
III—Results Of Education: What They Should be
III—Results Of Education: What They Should be.
The difference to be found in the manners and abilities of men, is owing more to their education than to anything else.—Locke.
Philosophy of Results.
For a philosophy of grave importance there is probably none so little understood—amongst us generally as a people—as the philosophy of results. Gamblers call it luck—pietists providential interposition—the oi polloi, fortune and misfortune. But it is the wise man only—whether he be gambler, (pietist, or otherwise-who attributes every result (which word, by the way, has now almost lost its primary meaning of "leaping or bounding back")—be it so-called luck, providential interposition, or fortune—to a natural cause; that is, to accrue (with only (most extreme exceptions, if even such there be) from certain fixed unalterable natural laws, whose workings may be unknown, but whose course and whose mandates nevertheless are as inexorable as the once unknown, and still apparently (although only apparently) uncertain doctrine of average, For although Fortuna may be mythically represented as blindfolded, inconstant, and winged, yet the sage know that this is indeed myth, and that she is to be wooed, won, and retained with a certainty far in excess of any material goddess of flesh and blood.
Thus Fielding—whom Byron terms the Homer of human nature—in his "Amelia" says: "To speak a bold truth, I am, after much mature deliberation, inclined to suspect that the public voice hath, in all ages, done much injustice to Fortune, and hath convicted her of many faults, in which she had not the least concern. I question much whether we may not, by rational means, account for the success of knaves, the calamities of fools, with all the miseries in which men of sense sometimes involve themselves by quitting the direction of Prudence, and following the blind guidance of a predominant passion; in short, for all the ordinary phenomena which are imputed to Fortune." And Josh Billings—who employs the guise of quaint folly to attract attention to concentrated essence of wisdom, in the most novel and forcible of garbs—also says, "Thare is no Bitch thing as an aksident: things hav often happened different from what we expekted, but they are part ov a plan we kno nothing about," and "it iz very seldom, if ever, you hear a bizzy man complain ov bad luck."
So with education. Given as premises a person of competent age, and the amount of education that he possesses, and the wise man, whose judgment has been trained to weigh correctly propositions and probabilities (and the more he studies and analyses causes the more correct will he be in foreseeing consequences), can, with as great a certainty as pertains to fallible reason, logically predicate what these premises will result in—that is what fruit such education will bear. And hence what the future of the man will be.
And we are compelled to admit that—in this utilitarian age—results, obtained per fas out per nefas, are what are worshipped: however ignorant we may be of the precise processes by which such results are obtained.
Which affords another illustration of Hume's remark that "Ignorance is the mother of devotion," and of Fielding's, in probably one at least if not the most instructive novel in our language (Tom Jones), where he says, "'Men are strongly inclined to worship what they do not understand."
Results of Education.
For the wise man knows that Education
|(a)||Physically—from "Weakness and Disease, except in the comparatively page 14 rare instances of hereditary disease and unavoidable accident (if, indeed, such latter contingency exist.)|
|(b)||Mentally—from Error (errare, to wander), and therefore from indiscretion.|
|(c)||Morally—from Selfishness, that root of all unhappiness. "For there is no other sin but selfishness; it is the great root of Sin, from which all others branch out." And "the road to happiness is self-denial."|
(2.) To the Parent—ought to ensure freedom from Grief (and therefore from all correresponding unhappiness), for what might otherwise be physical, mental, or moral failures on the part of his offspring, and thus freedom from remorse for any laches on his part which would otherwise accrue from having neglected them.
(3) To Tub State—cannot fail to tend to an avoidance of National Humiliation in time of war or civil commotion; and of Poverty, Disease, and Competitive Inferiority, with other States always; and also of Legislative and Administrative errors, and of that Social and Commercial Licentiousness which are the precursors of decadence. Thus should accrue to
"A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year."
The Parent—satisfaction—(satis—enough —factum — being done, thereby indicating a sense of having done euough.)
The State—prosperity—(pro spero—a condition in accordance with hope.)
Which is, of course, all either the educated person, the parent, or the State can by any possibility desire or expect to obtain in this i fe under any known conditions.
Its National Consequences.
And which should at least have the following practical visible results to us as a State (or society.)
(1.) That our National Physical Form and Condition would be improved; and thereby —not only our mental and moral powers markedly developed and strengthened, but —our labouring, martial, and competitive ability increased; and our procreative virility matured. For "national physique depends upon national health, and health is as necessary to the happiness and prosperity of a nation as it is to an individual —Salus populi est suprema lex."
And this matter of physical vigour, as have already pointed out, should not only always be the pre-eminent aim of education, but should be in our city and its environs, especially so; where, the enervation caused by our warmly-humid, and therefore relaxing atmosphere, is such as tends to sap all energy, aud, therefore, all strength of body and mind.
For languor induces feebleness in all respects, and we must all admit the force of the saying of the Roman philosopher, Lucretius, viz, "We feel that the mental powers increase with those of the body, and in like manner, grow feeble with it."
Nor can—with languor-labour hope to successfully utilise the two other main factors in state prosperity-natural agents (that is the agents in the mineral and vegetable worlds which nature affords), and capital—without that vim which physical vigour alone affords.
And, moreover, the national average age and therefore the powers of wealthy—production should thereby be added to, [unclear: inas-much] as some scientists consider that it is man's own indiscretions alone which prevent his living now-a-days to at least the age of 120 years. (Vide an interesting article on "The Health and Physique of our City Population" in the Nineteenth Century for July, written by Lord Brabazon, for the special object of inducing the London School Board authorities to devote greater attention to the question of improving and promoting the physique of the children assigned to their care.)page 15
(2.) That the Popular Intelligence would be disciplined and supplied with, and inclined to increasingly obtain and enjoy, valuable knowledge (for "mind unemployed is mind unenjoyed"), and be thus fortified and clarified, and therefore enabled to act persistently on sound principles—uninfluenced by superficial clap-trap arguments and false issues; and to weigh errors and trifles at their proper value, the crucial test of a well-balanced mind: which would render legislative and administrative mistakes ultimately impossible. And I hope equally rectify amongst others the amusingly erratic views which Mr. Matthew Arnold humorously comments on in his essay on Culture and Anarchy in the following terms (and which views I fancy are not uncommon amongst us): "Why, I have heard people fresh from reading certain articles of the Times on the Registrar-General's returns of marriages and births in this country who would talk of large families in quite a solemn strain, as if they had something beautiful, elevating, and meritorious in them; as if the British Philistine would have only to present himself before the Great Judge with his 12 children, in order to be received among the sheep as a matter of right."
(3) That State Morale, which has invariably, from time immemorial, proved the pulse of national prosperity or decay would be elevated in tone (although see "The Education Craze" hereinafter quoted) which would cause fraud and dishonourable dealing to be—if not impossible—at least impracticable, because unprofitable. And which would practically refute the saying of Fielding, "1 look upon the two words—Virtue and Religion—to serve only as cloaks, under which hypocrisy may be the better enabled to cheat the world." And prevent any risk from Professor Blackie's pithy foreboding, that "the more knowledge a man possesses without moral culture, the more accomplished a devil he is."
So Rabelais remarks, "Even as arms are weak abroad, if there be not counsel at home; so is that study vain, and counsel unprofitable, which in a due and convenient time, is not by virtue executed and put into effect."
its depreciation of martial diplomatic and commercial prestige abroad, (for those who believe in our martial power, let them read two articles, the one on our army in the Nineteenth Century of April, 1881, entitled "The Military Impotence of England," by Captain Kirchhammer, General Staff, Austrian Army, and the other on our navy, in the same review for May, 1881, entitled "The Silver Streak," by Admiral Lord Dunsany), and its trade distress mainly caused by shoddy manufactures at home—coincide with some of those incidents which have always—long before Goldsmith wrote "The Deserted Village1'—been admitted as amongst the immediate preludes to national decay and ruin. For such phases have indeed lessons fraught with instructions for us, especially when we reflect how few we have amongst us, in our hurry-scurry colonial life, who, like Sir George Grey, quietly retire to seclusion and there in solitude—which is the only safe nursery for wise reflection—unswayed by popular superficiality and feeling, deliberately—as from a pinnacle—mentally view the situation from a broad, unbiassed, and liberal standpoint, and contrast the status quo with other similar situations in ancient and modern history. For, I venture to think, it is only such men — who have not only had large practical experience in life, but have leisure quietly to watch, study, think out, and compare—that are fitted to legislate. Thus, Plato says "Those commonwealths are happy whose rulers philosophise, and whose philosophers rule."
('Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand Between a splen did and a happy land.)
And no illustration can be more striking of this than the fact which so constantly occurs in our New Zealand legislature, where instead of legislating in accordance with broad and sound principles, the national redress and law-creating court only legislates for the occasion—& course which I cannot but believe is wholly unsound, and therefore can only result in troubles and errors,
Probable State Results Detailed.
But revenons à nos moutons.
Under such educational auspices
(a) Representative Men for public posts would be selected with a due regard for the qualifications needed for such posts, and especially our legislators would, as I indicate above,
(1.) Not only have had large practical experience in life, but be thinkers acquainted with the laws of political economy, i.e., with those principles which the wisdom of ages has shown render a nation prosperous or unhappy—and who have the time to apply those principles to the status quo (for as a French moralist has most wisely written, "Pouvoir sanssavoir est fort dangereux")
(2.) Who are moreover not financially needy (and therefore not hungry for office, or emolument, thereby minimising in New Zealand politics the applicability of Walpole's maxim that "Every man has his price"), and
(3.) Who also have not failed to manage their own affairs successfully; for society's interests, be it remembered, are only an aggregate of individual interests.
(b) Gaols, Hospitals, Lunatic Asylums, and Orphan and Industrial Homes would be, comparatively speaking, denuded of inmates. (See Lord Brougham's published address to the House of Lords on the Education of the people, and Mr. Bowen's speech on introducing the present Education Act in the New Zealand House of Representatives, although contra, read a very quaint and smartly written book containing some very startling facts and figures, entitled "The Education Craze," by D.C.L., published in 1878 by Harrison and Sons, wherein the author inter alia says:—"It may, on the contrary, be asserted with truth, that any system of universal and compulsory education must, of necessity, be based upon erroneous assumptions, if it be founded on the belief that crime is inseparable from ignorance," and he quotes "Fact against Fiction," by the Hon. Grantley Berkeley, published in 1874, with facts, figures, and other assertions in support of his view.) For not only would crime be wonderfully reduced in quantity and enormity, but public health would be maintained by a due regard to its primary supports-good food and clothing, fresh air, pure water, exercise, and light, and thereby advances be made towards Dr. B. W. Richardson's Utopia city.
(c) Poverty—which I conceive to be almostsolely the result of indiscretion—would not only be directly minimised but indirectly discouraged by our realising the cruelty and impolicy of persistently collecting for or subscribing to all sorts of case3 of pecuniary distress instead of acting on sound principle) by educating, as I propose; and also by instituting the further precautionary measure of a system of national insurance, such as the Rev. Mr. Blackley's, which to my mind is the soundest proposition in recent times, brought forward for the purposes of national benevolence.
I have no space to enlarge on the subject, which is indeed a wide one, but for those ladies, and other benevolent persons amongst us, who are under the hallucination they are doing good by persistently collecting subscriptions or subscribing for all sorts of cases of pecuniary distress, I would suggest, in passing, to them to read the Rev. Mr. Blackley's treatise, and also an article in Good Words, for March 1882, by the Rev. Brook Lambert, M.A., entitled, "Some Sins of Almsgiving"; and also the Hon. Mr. Atkinson's speech on 10th July, 1882, on introducing his scheme of national insurance to the General Assembly.
And before leaving the subject I cannot refrain from further mentioning for their consideration, a curious circumstance, of which I am assured by shopkeepers, door keepers, and others in a position to know that the persistent buyers in this city of the petty luxuries of life, such as the first fruits and vegetables of the season, and the patronisers of the drama and of entertainments, and the indulgers in spirituous liquors and tobacco are in by far the largest proportion relatively—the artisan and hand labouring classes. And this is which might be quoted, which convinces me, in respect of poverty, that "there is but little bad luck in the world, but there is a heap of bad management."page 17
(d) Bankruptcies and Compositions with editors—which are really only the product of want of commercial tone—would be reduced to the extremely rare cases of undoubted misfortune —if indeed such a word has any meaning at all—so long as the word indiscretion remains in our language.
And, although being foreign to my subject, it is impracticable for me to now pursue it I cannot refrain—in passing—from suggesting to those interested in it, to read thoughtfully Lord Sherborne's (the late Mr. Robert Lowe's) able article on "What shall we do with our Bankrupts," in the Nineteenth Century for August, 1881—wherein he advocates the abolition of all bankruptcy laws—and I also venture to mention to those interested, that possibly some aspects new to them may be found in an article I wrote for the Observer of the 29th January, 1881, entitled, "Bankruptcy; Considered as one of the Fine Arts."
(e) Social Intercourse would not then hear the reproach of Punch where, in writing on civilisation, it is said, "The philosophy of this age is peculiarly the philosophy of out-sides." Because shams would receive a fatal blow at the hands of realities; and
(f) Art, Science, and Literature would, with increased enlightenment, be increasingly encouraged and promoted, and would in their turn exercise a mellowing tendency; yielding that refinement, subtlety, and ecstacy of pleasure which are only known to their intense votaries (Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes emotlit mores, nec sinit esse feros).
"Il faut se faire valoir,"
"That goodness is no name,
And happiness no dream."
R. Laishley, junr.
Note.—I have not had space to discuss, in my three articles, many questions relating to the subject of great interest and importance, especially as to whether the State is justified, at the public expense, in establishing and supporting technical schools, to teach the arts and industries, the science, and the practical works and duties of life, or what would be the result to the State, if it did so. But, for those interested in the subject, I would refer them, amongst other authorities, to J. G. Thorold Roger's Essays on National and Technical Education; to Professor Laurie's work published this year on the training of teachers; to Professor Huxley's public addresses; to an interesting article in Demorest's Magazine for last February on "The Relation of the Teacher to the future of Education;" and to "The Education Craze," above quoted.
Nor can I refrain from especially referring those concerned in infant and adult education to (in addition to works already quoted) Dr. Temple's Essay (the first one of the celebrated Essays and Reviews), the celebrated German philosopher, J. P. F. Richter's "Levana;" to the equally celebrated English philosopher J. S. Mill's remarks on the same subject in his work on Political Economy; and to Professor O. S. Fowler's "Science of Life."