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who neglect mental improvement will have less means of influence. The minds which become the best by culture will be the more likely to be best used, and will take the leadership in any society. The ignorant laborer may claim that he is as good as any one, and more useful than many who are rated above him ; we do not deny this claim, but goodness is one thing and intelligence is another; and he who is not intelligent, must be comparatively uninfluential, however useful he may be in society.
While all are ready to admit that knowledge and mental discipline are requisite for success in other departments, there prevails a vague notion, that farming, least of all, requires much head work; and that a fondness for books and study is actually detrimental to those who would succeed in husbandry. Yet they complain that farmers are not respected as they should be—they drive out from them the more intelligent, and yet demand the influence which intelligence can alone command. If the farmer's boy is bright and quick to learn, it is thought a pity to bury his talents on a farm, he must be educated for one of the learned professions. Thus farmers undervalue their own employments, and then complain that they are not justly appreciated. The impression that farming is a mere mechanical employment, and that success is to be attributed to superior force of thews and sinews, moved in the ruts of old routine, drives intelligent and enterprising boys into other occupations. Farms in Maine are deserted by the families of the old proprietors; the girls are in factories, and the boys are clerks in city stores, teachers, or professional men.
The industrial class do not undervalue education in other departments; and they certainly prize highly the privileges that culture will give to their children. Three-fourths of all the graduates at our colleges are farmers' or mechanics' sons. The difficulty in raising the standard of education in the industrial class is that the sons of workmen are educated out of this class. When these students have obtained a liberal education they do not think of going back to the farm or the shop, for they were not educated for industrial pursuits.' The farmer did not design so large expenditures to make his boy a successful farmer; nor is the boy inclined to the occupation of his father. To change this sentiment, and, while giving a liberal education to those really aspiring for it; and who "covet earnestly the best gifts," yet to retain them in industrial pursuits requires some other training than that received in our ordinary colleges. The time so largely
spent in classical studies, which tend rather to mental discipline than to the attainment of practical knowledge, diverts the attention from utilitarian pursuits. The associations formed, the tastes created, and the aspirations for a life free from what is considered the drudgery of daily toil, prevent the graduates of classical colleges from returning to the shop or the field for a living. And if they do undertake the toil of industrial pursuits they find their learning has not qualified them for success in this department. What avails it that the student can give the name of a horse in different languages, if he cannot harness the animal, or that he can give learned terms to describe the anatomy of his steed, if he . does not know how to feed him? The divorce of the practical from the theoretical in systems of liberal education has occasioned the deep rooted prejudice against book-knowledge and scientific farming which pervades the industrial classes. The costly style with which many amateur farmers conduct their agricultural pursuits, enjoying the luxury of raising their own vegetables and dairy products at double the expense such articles would cost in the market, is a matter of derision to practical men. What mere literary men know about farming will be as sure a guide in agriculture as what mere farmers know about navigation would be to mariners in a storm at sea.
The demand for a practical and available method of liberal education, especially fitted for the active pursuits of life, has occupied the thoughts of our best educators and wisest statesmen. While many chimerical schemes have been suggested, and many abortive efforts have been put forth, some true advance has been made in the right direction. The Congress of the United States has made provision for the endowment of at least one college in every State where the leading object shall be, "without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, in such manner as the Legislature of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.” Our State accepted the legacy, and in connection with the donations of individuals and towns, has furnished the means to commence the grand enterprise. The most of the States have applied this endowment to establish or foster a department of practical, scientific education in some existing literary institution ; but Maine adopted the bolder policy
of establishing a college on an independent basis; which is evidently most in conformity with the design of the original grant. Among the advantages of an independent organization are the absence ‘of all invidious distinctions among students pursuing different courses of study, uniformity in the requirements of manual labor and practical studies, and greater economy on the part of the students. There are not such strong inducements to extravagance as surround pupils in our older literary institutions, where every generation seems to impose new customs, more costly and imperious than those which have come down from previous classes. These are the fashions that lay such a heavy tax upon students, many of whom, from their limited resources are little able to bear the load. There is no need of a costly gymnasium with its apparatus for physical training; no boat club is needed to develop muscular energy, with such a depletion of the purse, and drain upon the morals, as usually attends such sports. On the contrary, there is found a value in such muscular activity, that in its training can be made useful, and thus rendered more capable of ultimate utility. For the more thoroughly the idea of value is attached to power, the more certainly will the expenditure of power have an economic, as well as a disciplinary use. An independent institution is tied down to no servile compliance with antique formulas of education. In the broad domain of knowledge it is free to seize upon that which brings the most ample rewards. It can heed all the lessons of experience, and have the vitality and freshness of youth.
The Maine State College is not a professional school to prepare the students exclusively for any trade or occupation in life. It is not designed alone for those who are to be farmers and mechanics. It does not teach fully the art of farming; or any of the useful arts. A full knowledge of any art, and skill and proficiency in its use, can only be attained by one who gives his exclusive attention to such an avocation, as the business of life. Its design is to lay the broad, deep foundations of a liberal education which is best adapted to industrial pursuits; so that in whatever department of industry it graduates may enter, they will be successful business men, farmers or mechanics; and also intelligent educated men; prepared to guide the thought and intelligence of the whole community where they dwell.
. It is not a high school nor an academy; for its course of study lies beyond the range of the studies taught in these institutions ;
and its requirements are adapted to maturer minds and more advanced intelligence. A thorough knowledge of the common branches taught in our academies is required as a condition of admittance to this college.
The course of study is sufficiently comprehensive to meet the requirements of a thorough, liberal education. No one can be fully educated without a thorough training in the Natural Sciences, the higher Mathematics, Physics, Mental and Moral Science, English Literature and the Modern Languages. It may be conceded that to be “a scholar, a ripe and good one, exceedingly wise, fair-spoken and persuading,” the classical studies are of great advantage. The discipline acquired in the mastery of the learned languages and in the study of the intelligible forms of ancient poets, the fair humanities of old religions,” which deified the forces of nature, and peopled fountains, groves, caves, mountains and seas, with nymphs, muses, sirens and tritons, and which threw such a sculpturesque humanity into their creed, may refine the taste and elevate the culture of the student. Such study is well enough for those whose great object is literary excellence. But for those who are to be business men, mechanics or farmers, it may well be questioned whether the utility of these studies compensates for the labor and time bestowed. The years spent in classical studies, which are usually entirely laid aside after graduation, appear to business men lost time. The information obtained by the study of dead languages is so meagre, and equal or superior mental discipline can be secured by more practical studies; therefore many of our best educators prefer to teach the bright realities of modern science rather than the wild mythology of old poets. The conviction is everywhere prevalent that modern science, which has produced such beneficent results in social life and in elevating the condition of our race, should be sought, not alone for its obvious advantages, but also as the best discipline to educate the mental faculties. The knowledge which, in its practical application, has prolonged life, assuaged pain and provided a remedy for the diseases of the body, may in its attainment, cultivate the perceptive powers by. requiring such careful inspection of minute details. The science, which has spanned continents with means of conveyance unknown to the ancients, which has furnished new implements to the farmer, new machinery to the mechanic, and new securities to the mariner, can also develop mind. The study of its laws must elevate thought. The study
of modern science which writes with the electric flash and sends its messages through the depths of the sobbing ocean to distant lands, which spins, weaves and sews with such wondrous facility with iron fingers, which paints with the solar rays, which analyzes by the spectroscope the light from celestial worlds, and forces it to tell of what material these orbs are made, can adorn the soul with its brilliancy, and fit it for the broadest activities of life. To such studies therefore we look for discipline of the mental powers, as well as for the practical advantages they afford.
The study of modern languages will not only unlock the rich stores of knowledge contained in their literature ; it will better prepare the student to understand and use our owu language, and thus answer one great end of classical studies. The practice of translating from one language to another gives a facility in the use of words. That style is best which comes freighted with the richest thoughts, most clearly and purely expressed. style can only be secured by a thorough study of English literature and rhetorical practice.
The higher mathematics both pure and mixed have such obvious utility in their application to scientific investigation and to the practical arts, while the effort put forth in the attainment of this kind of knowledge is such an excellent discipline of the reasoning powers, that all systems of education give a prominent place to this important branch of study. Mental and moral sciences are demanded as essential to a thorough course of education. We should thoroughly understand the laws of our mental action, and study those faculties on which the great Creator has placed his own imprint.
Military instruction is also an important element of a thorough education. Before the late civil war the study of military tactics was entirely ignored in our institutions of learning, except at the national academy at West Point. The extent of the ignorance which prevailed among our people in the art and science of war was one of the strong inducements that led the conspirators to engage in the great rebellion. This neglect and ignorance cost our nation so much of humiliation, the loss of so many millions of treasure, and so many precious lives, that there is now no doubt of the expediency of the thorough military drill of all our educated young men.
The scheme of study adopted by the Trustees of the Maine State College has made ample provision for all these great depart