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"If we wish to understand modern theories of education, we must recognise the imperfections of the old on the wreckage of which they have been built; and it is the understanding of such imperfections which can alone save us from a foolish reaction."
James Colville, M.A., D.Sc. (Edin.)
Principal, Newton Place Girls' School, Glasgow ;
Editor of Spalding's "English Literature," "Coriolanus for Schools,"
University of Glasgow
Edinburgh and London
In the following pages I have endeavoured to bring to bear on the elucidation of an ever-present and everpressing subject the fruits of a long experience alike in historical research and in the practical work of teaching. In attempting such a combination instead of fishing in the troubled waters of educational policy, I am happy to shelter myself behind the example of an educational writer so able and so well known as Mr R. H. Quick. In the preface to his Educational Reformers he says: "My plan has been to select a few people who seemed specially worth knowing about, and to tell about them in some detail just what seemed specially worth knowing. If we ignore the Past, we cannot understand the Present or forecast the Future." I had almost completed my self-imposed task before I met with these essays of Mr Quick, published so long ago as 1868, but still as wise and valuable as ever. Except for a casual illustration, I have made no use of any modern writer, my object being to take a very few entirely fresh names 1 and make them tell their own story. Of these, most has been written about Brinsley, but I have confined myself
1 Of course, Bacon's is very far from being an entirely fresh name; but, as far as I know, the present attempt is the first to evolve from his writings (from the point of view, not of the philosopher, but of the schoolmaster) a system of what he conceived to be intellectual culture.