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Title: Education: How Old The New
Author: Walsh, James J. (James Joseph), 1865-1942
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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JAMES J. WALSH, M.D., Ph.D., Litt. D.

Dean and Professor of the History of Medicine and of Nervous Diseases
at Fordham University School of Medicine; Professor of Physiological
Psychology at the Cathedral College, New York.







Published October 20th, 1910

Second Impression March 20th, 1911



_Xavier Alumni Sodality_

Most of the thoughts contained in this volume were originally
expressed at our breakfasts. It seems only fitting, then, that on
presentation to a larger audience they should be dedicated to you.

J. J. W.
_Our Lady's Day._ August 15, 1910



The reason for publishing this volume of lectures and addresses is the
persuasion that present-day educators are viewing the history of
education with short-sighted vision. An impression prevails that only
the last few generations have done work of serious significance in
education. The history of old-time education is neglected, or is
treated as of at most antiquarian interest and there is a failure to
understand its true value. The connecting link between the lectures
and addresses is the effort to express in terms of the present what
educators were doing in the past. Once upon a time, when I proclaimed
the happiness of the English workmen of the Middle Ages, the very
positive objection was raised, "How could they be happy since their
wages were only a few cents a day?" For response it was only necessary
to point out that for his eight cents, the minimum wage by act of
Parliament, the workman could buy a pair of handmade shoes, that being
the maximum price established by law, and other necessaries at similar
prices. If old-time education is studied with this same care to
translate its meaning into modern values, then the very oldest
education of which we have any record takes on significance even for
our time.


While it is generally supposed that there are many new features in
modern education, it requires but slight familiarity with educational
history to know that there is very little that is novel. Such
supposedly new phases as nature-study and technical training and
science, physical as well as ethical, are all old stories, though they
have had negative phases during which it would be hard to to trace
them. The more we know about the history of education the greater is
our respect for educators at all times. Nearly always they had a
perfectly clear idea of what they were trying to do, they faced the
problems of education in quite the same spirit that we do and often
solved them very well. Indeed the results of many periods of old-time
education are much better than our own, even when judged by our

Unfortunately there exists a very common persuasion that evolution
plays a large role in education and that we, "the heirs of all the
ages in the foremost files of time," are necessarily in the forefront
of educational advance. There has been much progress in education in
the last century, but it would, indeed, be a hopeless world if there
had not been progress out of the depths in which education was plunged
in the eighteenth century. There were a number of reformers in
education at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the
nineteenth century. It was rather easy to be an educational reformer
at that time. The lowest period in the history of {vii} education was
about the middle of the eighteenth century. It has been assumed that
since we are far ahead of that generation we must be still farther
ahead of the people who preceded them. That is the mistake. There are
periods of education of very great significance centuries long before
that time.

In educational lectures and addresses for the past five years, I have
been trying to translate into modern terms the meaning of these old
periods of education. A great many teachers have thought the ideas
valuable and suggestive and so I am tempted to publish them in book
form. There is an additional reason, that of wishing to create a bond
of sympathy between the two systems of education that have grown up in
this country. For some three generations now Catholic educators have
been independently building up a system of education from the
elementary schools to the university. The American world of education
is coming to recognize how much they have accomplished. There has even
been some curiosity expressed as to how it was all done in spite of
apparently insuperable obstacles. One phase of Catholic education, its
thorough-going conservatism and definite effort to value the past
properly and take advantage of its precious lessons, is here

My own educational interests have been taken up much more of late
years with medicine than with other phases of this subject. Hence the
{viii} volume contains certain addresses relating to the history of
medical education. They are more intimately linked with the general
subject of education than might perhaps be thought. We have had finely
organized medical education at a number of times in the past, and,
indeed, at the present moment can find inspiration and incentive in
studying the legal regulation of medicine and of medical education in
what might seem to be so-unpromising a time as the thirteenth century.
For true educational progress there has always been need of close
sympathy between the non-professional and the professional department
of universities. Only when the professional schools are real graduate
departments, requiring under-graduate training for admission, is the
university doing its work properly. This was the rule in the
past--hence the precious lessons for the present in the story of
these old-time universities.

These lectures and addresses were actually delivered, not merely read.
They were written with that purpose. Certain repetitions that would
have been avoided if the articles had been prepared directly for
reading and not for an audience, may be noted. Some of the subjects
overlap and certain phases had to be treated usually in variant form
in different lectures. For these faults the reader's indulgence is


CHAPTER                                               PAGE

I.    EDUCATION, HOW OLD THE NEW                         8

II.   THE FIRST MODERN UNIVERSITY                       63


IV.   IDEAL POPULAR EDUCATION                          155



VII.  ORIGINS IN AMERICAN EDUCATION                    299


IX.   UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOLS                       377

X.    THE COLLEGE MAN IN LIFE                          403

XI.   NEW ENGLANDISM                                   433


  "Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say:
  Behold this is new: For it hath already gone before in the ages that
  were before us."
  --_Ecclesiastes i:10_.

  "Nullum est jam dictum, quod non dictum sit prius."
  --Terence, _Eun. Prol.,_ 41.
  [Nothing is now said which was not said before.]

  St. Jerome relates that his preceptor Donatus, commenting on this
  passage of Terence, used to say: "Pereant qui ante nos nostra
  [May they perish who said our good things before us.]



  [Footnote 1: Material for this lecture was gathered for one of a
  course of lectures on Phases of Education delivered at St Mary's
  College, South Bend, Ind., at the Sacred Heart Academy, Kenwood,
  Albany, N. Y., and at St. Mary's College, Monroe, Mich, 1909. In
  somewhat developed form it was delivered to the public school
  teachers of New Orleans at the beginning of 1910. In very nearly its
  present form it was the opening lecture at the course of the
  Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, on "How Old the New Is,"
  delivered in the spring of 1910.]

Popular lectures are usually on some very up-to-date subject. Indeed,
as a rule they are on subjects that are developing at the moment, and
the main aim of the lecturer is to forecast the future. It is before a
thing has happened that we want to know about it now, and though, as
not infrequently occurs, the lecturer's forecast does not in the event
prove him a prophet nor the son of a prophet, for nature usually
accomplishes her purposes more simply than the closet philosopher
anticipates, at least we have the satisfaction for the moment of
thinking that not only are we up to date but a little ahead of it.
Unfortunately I have to claim your indulgence this evening in this
matter, for taking just the opposite course. I am to talk about the
oldest book in the world, its old-fashioned yet novel contents, its
up-to-date applications, and its significance for the history of the
race and, above all, the history of education. The {4} one interesting
feature, as I hope, of what I have to say, is that old-time methods in
education as suggested by this little volume are strangely familiar
and its contents are as significant now as they were in the old time
from which it comes. The book was written almost as long before
Solomon as Solomon is before us, yet there is a depth of practical
wisdom about it that eminently recalls the expression "there is
nothing new under the sun."

So much attention has been given to education in recent years, we have
made such a prominent feature of it in life, have spent so much money
on it, have devoted so much time and thought to its development and
organization, that we feel very sure that what we are doing now in
every line of educational effort represents--indeed must represent--a
great advance over anything and everything that was ever accomplished
in the past. To say anything else would seem to most people pure
pessimism. It would mean that in spite of all the efforts of men we
were not making advances. As a matter of fact, all of us know that it
is quite possible to make heroic efforts so sadly misdirected that
they accomplish nothing and get us nowhere. Progress depends not on
effort but on the proper direction of the effort. We are supposed,
however, to represent one phase and that at the front rank of an
inevitable advance in things human, pushed forward, as it were, by the
wheel of evolution in its ceaseless progress, and bound {5} therefore
to make advancement. It is with this idea, so commonly accepted, that
I would take issue by showing how much was accomplished in the past
that anticipates much of what we are occupied with at the present
time, and that serves to show what men can accomplish at any time when
they set themselves to doing things with high ideals, well-considered
purpose and strenuous effort.

There are those who insist that unless men have the encouraging
feeling that they are making progress, their efforts are likely to be
less strenuous than would otherwise be the case. There are those who
think apparently that compliments make the best incentive for
successful effort. Some of us who know that the world's best work, or
at least the work of many of the world's great men, has been done in
the midst of opposition, in the very teeth of criticism, in spite of
discouragement, may not agree with that opinion. The history of
successful accomplishment seems to show, indeed, that incentive is all
the stronger as the result of the opposition which arouses to renewed
efforts and the criticism which strips whatever is new of errors that
inevitably cling to it at the beginning. On the other hand, if there
is anything that the lessons of history make clear it is that
self-complacency is the very worst thing, above all for intellectual
effort of any kind, and that criticism, when judicious, is always

Above all, comparisons are likely to be {6} chastening in their
effects to make us realize that what we are doing at any particular
time does not mean so much more than what many others have done and
may indeed even mean less. It is rather interesting, then, to set our
complacent assurance that we are doing such wonderful work in
education and represent such magnificent progress over against some of
the educational work of the past. After all we are not nearly so
self-congratulatory about our education, its ways and methods and,
above all, its success as we were a dozen years ago. There are many
jarring notes of discordant criticism of methods heard, there are many
deprecatory remarks passed with regard to our supposed success, and
there have been some educators unkind enough,--and, unfortunately,
they are often of the inner circle of our educational life,--to say
that we are lacking in scholarship to a great degree, and that much of
our so-called educational progress has been a tendency toward an
accumulation of superficial information rather than a training of the
intellect for power. The absolute need of the distinction between
education for information and for power has been coming home to us.
Above all, we have felt that we were not a little deceived by
appearances in education and so are more ready to listen to
suggestions of various kinds.

Under these circumstances it has seemed to me, that a calling of
attention to what was accomplished at certain long-past periods for
{7} education, would not only be of interest as information for
teachers, but might possibly be helpful or at least suggestive, in the
midst of the somewhat disordered state of mind that has resulted from
recent criticisms of our educational methods and success, by men whose
interest in education cannot be doubted and whose opportunities for
knowing are the best. For we are in a time when nearly every important
educator, president of a university, dean of a department, old-time
teacher or old, thoughtful pupil with the interest of _Alma Mater_ at
heart, who has had something to say with regard to education has said
it in rather derogatory fashion. Perhaps, then, it will do us good to
study the periods of the past and see what they did, how their methods
differed or still more often were like our own, what their success was
like and what we may learn from them. The surprising thing is the
number of repetitions of present-day experiences in education that we
shall find in the past. This is true, however, in every mode of
thinking quite as well as in education, once careful investigation of
conditions is made.

If we begin at the beginning and take what is sometimes called the
oldest book in the world, we shall see how early definite educational
ideas took form. It is a set of moral lessons or instructions given,
or supposed to be given, by a father to his son. The father's name was
Ptah Hotep. He was a vizier of King Itosi of the Fifth Dynasty in
Egypt, some time about 3500 B.C. {8} The Egyptologists used to date
him earlier than that, but in recent years they have been clipping
centuries off Egyptian dates until perhaps King Itosi must be
considered as having lived probably not earlier than 3350 B.C. That
makes very little difference for our purpose, however. The oldest
manuscript copy of the book was written apparently not later than 2900
b.c. It exists as the famous Prisse Papyrus in the Bibliothèque
Nationale in Paris. There is another copy in the British Museum. There
is a pretty thorough agreement as to these dates, so that we can be
sure that this little book which has come to be known as the
Instruction of Ptah Hotep, or the Proverbs of Ptah Hotpu--another form
of his name with a variation in the title--represents the wisdom of
the generations who lived in Egypt about 5000 years ago. It was
written, as I have said, almost as long before Solomon as Solomon is
before us, so that the character of the moral instructions which it
contains is extremely interesting.

There must have been a number of copies of it made. This and books
like it were used as schoolbooks in Egypt. They were employed somewhat
as we employ copybooks. The writing of the manuscript is the old
hieratic, cursive writing of the Egyptians, not their hieroglyphics,
and the children used portions of this book as copies, listened to
dictation from it and learned to write the language by imitating it.
Of books similar to it we have a number of manuscript copies. Some {9}
of these copies preserved from before 2000 B.C. are full of errors
such as school children would make in taking down dictation. This was
their method of teaching spelling, and after the children had spelled
the words the teacher went over them and corrected the mistakes. These
corrections were made in a different colored ink from that used by the
pupils! The whole system of teaching, as it thus comes before us,
resembles our own elementary school teaching much more than we might
think possible. Spelling, writing, composition are all taught in this
way yet, or at least they were when I was at school, and while I have
heard that some of the old-fashioned methods were going out, I have
also received some hints of the reaction by which they are coming in
again, so that the Egyptian methods take on a new interest.

Perhaps there is no more interesting feature of the education of that
olden time than the fact that these books which were used as copybooks
in the school contain moral lessons. We have been neglecting these in
our schools and have come to recognize the danger of such neglect.
Definite efforts at the organization of moral teaching in some form
are being made by many teachers, and their necessity is recognized by
all educators. All of these old Egyptian books, then, will have a
special claim on our interest at the present time. Above all, the
oldest of them, though it is literally the oldest book in the world,
merits {10} our attention, because its moral teaching is very
clear-cut and its emphasis on ethical precepts very pronounced.

We would be very prone to think that what an old father has to say to
his boy over fifty centuries ago would have, at most, only an
antiquarian interest for us. It is not easy even to imagine that the
old gentleman could have known human nature so well and written from
so close to the heart of humanity because of his love for his boy,
that his words would always have a practical application in life.
Such, however, is actually the case. Any father of the modern time
would be proud to be able to give to his boy the eminently practical
maxims that this old father has written down. If there is any advice
that will be helpful for youth, for the young usually demand that they
shall have their own experience and not take it at second hand, this
is the advice that is of value. Only fools, it is said, learn by their
own experience, but then there is good Scripture warrant for believing
that they were not all wise men in the olden time, and we are pretty
well agreed that all the fools are not dead yet. If advice can be of
service, however, from one generation to another, then here is the
wisdom of age for the inexperience of youth. At least it will serve
after the event to show youth that it was properly warned and that it
is entirely its own fault if it has been making a fool of itself--as
other generations have done before.


It might be expected that at least in form these old-time maxims would
be rude and crude, expressed with an old man's loquaciousness and with
many personal foibles. Fortunately for us, while to his son Ptah Hotep
was very probably an old man, he was not what most of us would call
old. In Egypt they married comparatively young. This boy was probably
the oldest son. It is usually for the oldest that such advice is
treasured up and written out. The father then, giving his advice just
as his son was leaving the paternal household when he had married a
wife and was about to set up a home of his own, was probably not more
than forty. To seventeen or eighteen, forty is quite ancient. To most
of the rest of us it is entirely too young to be trusted absolutely in
serious matters. Aristotle declared that a man's body reaches physical
perfection at thirty-five and his mind reaches intellectual maturity
at forty-nine. His students were inclined to think that this age was
entirely too old, his philosophic contemporaries of his own generation
and the members of national academies and learned societies of most of
the generations since, have been quite sure that the term set was
entirely too young.

Ptah Hotep's son, then, very probably looked on his father as most
sons under twenty are prone to do, as a dear old-fashioned gentleman
(he does not like to use the word old fogy for his father, reserving
it for the fathers of others), who would {12} be quite tolerable if he
only had a little more sympathy with the wonderful advance that is in
the world in this new generation. The real young man of the time,
however, was the father who wrote his maxims, the condensed wisdom of
his experience of life, with a directness, an absolute clarity, an
occasional appeal to figures of speech and a variety of expression so
striking as to make his work literature. As such it has come down to
us. It is eminently human in every way, and while there is here and
there an unfortunate tendency to repeat words of similar sound and
different meaning, after the fashion of what we call punning, this is
pardonable enough since so many of our friends indulge in it and give
us practice in pardoning, while, on the whole, the old man wrote as
wisely as Polonius, and in a style not quite as artificial as that
which Shakespeare has invented as suitable to the old Danish Prime
Minister, whom the ancient vizier of Egypt recalls so vividly in many

No idea is probably more ingrained in modern thinking, no opinion is
more generally accepted, no conclusion is surer to most people, than
that we are in the midst of marvellous progress in this little world
of ours, and that our generation is somewhere at the apex of the
Pyramid of Progress, elevated thereto by the attainments of the
generations that have preceded us. As the Poet Laureate put it at the
close of the nineteenth century, "we are the heirs of all the ages in
the {13} foremost files of time"; and because we have the advantage of
our predecessors' progress in their time, we are, of course, in all
that makes for human happiness and fulness of life, very far ahead of
those gone before us. The farther back we go in history, then, the
lower down men are supposed to be found in all that stands for
intellectuality and in all that represents the possibilities of human
achievement at its best. It is now well understood that the
generations of the past are not so much to be blamed for their
backwardness as to be pitied for the misfortune that, having come
earlier in the world's history, they could not have the advantages
that we enjoy, and therefore could only attain much lower stages in
human progress than ours.

Apparently, there are very few people who do not share in the opinions
thus expressed. The nineteenth century has been proclaimed the century
of evolution; and the idea of evolution has become so much a part of
the thought of our time that man also is assumed to be in the midst of
it, and history is presumed to show distinctly the wonderful advance
that humanity has made. As a matter of fact, it is extremely difficult
to point out definitely where progress in humanity may be observed.
Ambassador Bryce was asked, two years ago, to deliver an address
before Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard, and took for his subject "What is
Progress?" Phi Beta Kappa is the fraternity that admits into its
classes only the best {14} students,--men who have proved their
ability by success. Mr. Bryce, speaking to the most intelligent
university graduates, might be expected to make much of our wonderful
recent progress. The address subsequently appeared in the _Atlantic
Monthly_ for August, 1907. Far from any glorification of progress, the
historian of the American Commonwealth, who has demonstrated his
breadth of view and his notable lack of British insularity by the
large way he has written about us, so that we have adopted his work as
a text-book of information about ourselves, is very dubious as to
whether there is any progress in the world. There is certainly no
progress in man's highest expressions of his intelligence. As Mr.
Bryce says: "The poetry of the early Hebrews and of the early Greeks
has never been surpassed and hardly ever equalled. Neither has the
philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, nor the speeches of Demosthenes and
Cicero." No one pretends that there is any progress in art. The
masterpieces of architecture, sculpture, and painting date as a rule
from long before our time, some of them nearly twenty-five hundred
years back.

As has been very well said, the man who talks much about progress in
our time usually knows only the history of human thought in his own
generation, and not very much about that. In nearly every important
phase of human achievement, we are, in present accomplishment, far
behind the great predecessors. In our generation, {15} we are
confessedly imitators in every phase of aesthetic expression. In
painting, sculpture, art and literature, our models are all in the
past, and we are quite frank in confessing that we are doing no work
at all so good as the work of our forefathers of many generations and
sometimes many centuries ago. Whence, then, comes the idea of
progress? It has obtained most of its vogue from the theory of
evolution; and the lack of evidence for evolution in general, in spite
of the persuasion on the part of many educated people that there are
proofs for it, can be very well judged from the corresponding lack of
evidence with regard to progress in humanity. There is complete
absence of proof for this latter, when the situation with regard to
human achievement in the really great things of human life is
examined. Indeed, it would be amusing were it not amazing to think how
readily we have come to accept notions for which there is so little
substantiation. To many this will doubtless seem a surprising
declaration to make, after all that has been written, and universally
accepted as most people think, with regard to evolution by the great
minds of the nineteenth century. What evolution means, however, is
summed up in the theory of descent, that is that living things as we
know them now, have all come from simpler forms and perhaps all from a
single form. The only other phase of interest in evolution is what
concerns the theory of natural selection, which is supposed by many
people to {16} have been demonstrated in the nineteenth century. It
may be well for those who think thus to have recalled to them what a
recent writer on the subject, himself a distinguished investigator in
biology, a professor at Leland Stanford University, where under the
influence of President Jordan biology is thoroughly yet conservatively
cultivated, has to say with regard to these theories and the objective
evidence for them. Professor Vernon L. Kellogg in his "Darwinism
To-day," [Footnote 2] p. 18, though himself an evolutionist and a
Darwinian, says: "What may for the moment detain us, however, is a
reference to the curiously almost completely subjective character of
the evidence for both the theory of descent and natural selection.
Biology has been until now a science of observation; it is beginning
to be one of observation plus experiment. The evidence for its
principal theories might be expected to be thoroughly objective in
character; to be of the nature of positive, observed and perhaps
experimentally proved, facts. How is it actually? Speaking by and
large, we only tell the general truth when we declare that _no
indubitable cases of species forming or transforming, that is of
descent, have been observed; and that no recognized case of natural
selection really selecting has been observed._ I hasten to repeat the
names of the Ancon sheep, the Paraguay cattle, the Porto Santo rabbit,
the Artemias of Schmankewitch and the de Vriesian {17} evening
primroses to show that I know my list of classic possible exceptions
to this denial of observed species forming, and to refer to Weldon's
broad-and-narrow fronted crabs as a case of what may be an observation
of selection at work. _But such a list, even if it could be extended
to a score, or to a hundred, of cases, is ludicrous as objective proof
of that descent and selection, under whose domination the forming of
millions of species is supposed to have occurred."_ (Italics mine.)

  [Footnote 2: Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1907.]

Mr. Kellogg, as might be expected from this, objects very much to the
application that has been so heedlessly made of certain supposed
principles of evolution to pedagogy. In practically every science to
which Darwinian principles have been applied it is the weakest of the
principles that have been appealed to as the foundation for presumedly
new developments in the particular science. With regard to the
so-called science of education Professor Kellogg says:

  "In Pedagogy it is also the theory of descent rather than the
  selection theory which has been drawn on for some rather remarkable
  developments in child study and instruction. Unfortunately it is on
  that weakest of the three foundation pillars of descent, namely the
  science of embryology with its Müllerian-Haeckelian capitulation
  theory or biogenetic law, that the child-study pedagogues have
  builded. The species recapitulates in the ontogeny (development) of
  each of its individuals the course or history of its {18} phylogeny
  (descent or evolution). Hence the child corresponds in different
  periods of its development to the phyletic stages in the descent of
  man. As the child is fortunately well by its fish, dog and monkey
  stages before it comes into the care of the pedagogue, he has to
  concern himself only with safe progress through the various stages
  of prehistoric and barbarous man. Detect the precise phyletic stage
  cave-man, stone-age man, hunter and roamer, pastoral man,
  agriculturalist, and treat with the little barbarian accordingly!
  What simplicity! Only one trouble here for the pedagogue: _the
  recapitulation theory is mostly wrong and what is right in it is
  mostly so covered up by the wrong part, that few biologists longer
  have any confidence in discovering the right._ What, then, of our
  generalizing friends, the pedagogues?"

It is in educational matters, above all, then, that we must be careful
about assumptions with regard to evolution and supposed inevitable
progress because we must, forsooth, be taking advantage of the
accumulated experience of previous generations. There is no
inevitability about progress in any line. The attainment of any
generation depends absolutely on what that generation tries to do, the
ideals that it has and the fidelity with which it sets itself to work.
We can make just as egregious mistakes, and we have made them, as any
generation of the past. We can foster delusions with regard to our
all-knowingness just as {19} many another foolish people before us
have done, and our one hope of real accomplishment for ourselves and
our generation is to choose our purposes carefully and then set about
their accomplishment with strenuous effort. The lessons of the past in
history are extremely precious not only because they show us where
others made mistakes but also because they show us the successes of
the past. The better we know these, the deeper our admiration for
them, the better the outlook for ourselves and our accomplishment.
This is the ideal that I would like to emphasize in this series of
lectures and addresses and in this, far from there being any
pessimism, there is, as it seems to me, the highest optimism. Any
generation that wants to can do well, but it must want to do

Any one who thinks that education, in the sense of training of
character or advice with regard to practical, every-day life, has
evoluted in the course of time, should read this little book that I
bring to you this evening. Indeed, it is as the first chapter in the
history of education that it finds its most valuable place in
literature. This teacher of the old-time, who had his boy's best
interest at heart, not only knew what to say but how to say it so as
to attract a young man's attention. Of course it is probable that,
even with all this good advice, the young man went his way in his own
fashion; for that is ever the mode of the young. But, so far as the
experience of another {20} could supply for that personal experience
which every human being craves, and will have, no matter what the
cost, surely this oldest book in the world supplies the best possible
material. As literature, it has a finish that is quite surprising. Art
is said to be the elimination of the superfluous. Surely, then, this
is artful, in the best sense of that word, to a supreme degree. It is
surprising how few repetitions there are, how few tergiversations, how
few unnecessary words; and yet the style is not so austere as to be
dry and lacking in human interest.

Probably the most interesting feature of the book is the fact that in
it God is always spoken of in the singular. It is not the "gods" who
help men, who punish them, who command and must be obeyed, whose
providence is so wonderful, but it is always "God." The latest
editor,[Footnote 3] Mr. Battiscombe G. Gunn, in his version always
inserts the definite article before the word God because, he says, in
different places there were different local gods, and the idea of the
writer was to emphasize the fact that the god of any particular
locality would act as he declared in his instructions. There are many
distinguished Egyptologists, however, who insist that the expression
"the God," which occurs not only in this but in many other very early
Egyptian writings, is a {21} monotheistic deity whose name is above
all names, and transcends all the power of humanity to name him, and
hence is spoken of always without a name but with the definite

  [Footnote 3: "The Instructions of Ptah Hotep." Translated from the
  Egyptian, with an Introduction and an Appendix, by Battiscombe G.
  Gunn. E. P. Dutton & Co. Wisdom of the East Series, 1909.]

It is curious indeed to find that the very first bit of instruction
given to his son by this wise father is, not to be conceited about
what he knows. How striking the expression of his first sentence of
this oldest book: "Be not proud because thou art learned." And the
second is like unto the first: "But discourse with the ignorant man as
with the sage." And then at the end of this very first paragraph comes
the first figure of speech in human literature that has been presented
for us. It is as beautiful in its simplicity and illuminating quality
as any of the subsequent time. "Fair speech" (by which is meant
evidently kindly speech toward those who know less than we do) "is
more rare than the emerald that is found by slave maidens on the
pebbles." Then there comes a series of directions as to how the young
man should treat his superiors, his equals and his inferiors. If in
argument he is worsted by some one who knows more than himself, he is
cautioned. "Be not angry." If some one talks nonsense. "Correct him."
If an ignorant man insists on arguing, "Be not scornful with him, but
let him alone; then shall he confound himself"; for "it is shameful to
confuse a mean mind."

The advice may be summed up. Do not argue with your superiors, it does
no good; nor with {22} your equals, state your case and let it go; but
above all, not with your inferiors; let them talk and they will make
fools of themselves.

Kindness is always insisted on as the quality most indispensable to a
man. "Live therefore," says the father, "in the house of kindliness,
and men shall come and give gifts of themselves." There are lessons in
politeness as well as in kindliness. For instance: "If thou be among
the guests of a great man, pierce him not with many glances. It is
abhorred of the soul to stare at him. Speak not till he address thee.
Speak when he questioneth thee; so shalt thou be good in his opinion."
Again, he wants his son not to eat the bread of idleness: "Fill not
thy mouth at thy neighbor's table." He insists much on the lesson that
God helps those who help themselves. "Behold," he says, "riches come
not of themselves. It is their rule to come to him that actively
desires. If he bestir him and collect them himself, God shall make him
prosperous; but He shall punish him if he be slothful." On the other
hand, the gaining of riches for riches' sake is not worth the while.
"When riches are gained, follow the heart; for riches are of no avail
if one be weary." As much as to say, after having gained a competency,
do not spend further time in amassing wealth, but enjoy in a
reasonable way that which has been obtained.

There are certain things, however, that a man should not follow; they
are unworthy of his {23} nature as a man. "As to the man whose heart
obeyeth his belly, he causeth disgust in place of love. His heart is
wretched, his body is gross. He is insolent toward those endowed by
God. He that obeyeth his belly hath an enemy." While the old man warns
his son against gluttony and against sloth, he has much to say with
regard to covetousness: "If thou desire that thine actions may be
good, save thyself from all malice, and beware of the quality of
covetousness, which is a grievous inner malady." This expression is
rendered still more striking by what is added to it; for the father
insists that it is particularly relatives-in-law who quarrel over
money. "Covetousness setteth at variance fathers-in-law and the
kinsmen of the daughter-in-law. It sundereth the wife and the husband;
it gathereth unto itself all evils. It is the girdle of all
wickedness." It needed only the next sentence to make these
expressions supremely modern: "Be not covetous as touching shares, in
seizing that which is not thine own property."

The God of this earliest book that we have from the hand of man has
nearly all the interesting and important qualities that we refer to
the Deity. He is looked up to as the giver of all good things. He
loves his creation, and above all loves man, and observes men's
actions very carefully, and rewards or punishes them according to
their deserts. He desires men to be fruitful, and to multiply upon the
earth for their own good and {24} for his glory. Nothing unworthy of
the Deity, as he is known by the most educated people, is attributed
to this God, who transcends a personal name. There is an utter
disregard of all trivial mythology and of all mysterious riddles,
though these trimmings of truth are to be found constantly in other
Egyptian works of later date. Indeed, the picture of God is as
striking a presentation of the fatherliness and the providence of the
Almighty and of most of the lovable characteristics of the Deity as
there is to be found anywhere in literature until the coming of the

One might think that after having warned his son about most of the
Seven Deadly Sins as we know them--pride, covetousness, gluttony,
envy, sloth and anger,--at least we should not find lust touched on in
the modern way. There is, however, in this matter an extremely chaste
bit of advice that sums up the whole situation as well as a father can
tell his son. The writer says: "No place prospereth wherein lust is
allowed to work its way. A thousand men have been ruined for the
pleasure of a little time short as a dream. Even death is reached
thereby. It is a wretched thing. As for the lustful liver, every one
leaveth him for what he doeth; he is avoided. If his desires be not
gratified, he regardeth no laws."

The father tells his son, straightforwardly and emphatically, that
indulgence in this vice inevitably leads to loss of friends, of
health, of {25} everything that the world holds good; and that once a
man has started down this path he has no regard for law or order or
decency or self-respect. This eighteenth paragraph on a thorny subject
is probably one of the most wonderful passages in this advice of a
father to his son. Fathers of the modern time ask what shall they say
to their boys. Here is something to tell them that does not excite
pruriency, that does set the full state of the case before them and
represents probably all that can be said with assurance and safety.

In recent years we have heard much of moral and social prophylaxis and
the necessity for giving precious information with regard to this
subject that may prove helpful to young people. Most people are sure
to think that this is the first time in the history of the race that
there has been an awakening to the necessity for this. Of course there
is no doubt that owing to delayed marriages and unfortunate social
conditions in our large cities we have more need of it than past
generations, yet here in this old schoolbook from Egypt we have very
definite and very wise teaching in the matter. A physician is prone to
wonder what did the old man mean by "a thousand men have been ruined
for the pleasure of a little time short as a dream. Even death is
reached thereby." Is it possible that he knew something of the
physical, or let us rather say, the pathological dangers of the vice?
In the discussion of the pictures of old-time surgery in {26} _The
Journal of the American Medical Association_ I suggested that these
generations seem to have known more about this phase of pathology than
we are inclined to admit.

On the other hand, the father emphatically warns his son that his
happiness will depend on loving his wife and caring for her to the
best of his ability; though some of the details of that advice are so
naively modern in their expression that it seems almost impossible to
believe that they should have been spoken nearly six thousand years
ago. He says: "If thou would be wise, provide for thine house, and
love thy wife. Give her what she wants to eat, get her what she wants
to wear [literally, fill her stomach, clothe her back]. Gladden her
heart during thy lifetime, for she is an estate profitable unto its
lord. Be not harsh, for gentleness mastereth her more than strength."

There is a variant translation of this passage quoted in Maspero's
"The Dawn of Civilization," which brings out even more clearly the
ideas that seem most modern, and which makes it very sure that it is
not the translator who has found in vague old expressions thoughts
that, when put into modern words, have modernized old ideas. Maspero
reads: "If thou art wise, thou wilt go up into thine house and love
thy wife at home; thou wilt give her abundance of food; thou wilt
clothe her back with garments; all that covers her limbs, her
perfumes, are the joy of her life. As {27} long as thou lookest to
this, she is as a profitable field to her lord [master]."

The old gentleman's idea evidently was that, looked at merely from a
material standpoint, it was worth a man's while to spend as much time
caring for his wife as for his estate. She meant just as much for his
happiness in the end and might mean probably more for his unhappiness.
It is a very practical way of looking at the subject and perhaps the
romancists might think it sordid. It must not be forgotten, however,
that this is only the secondary motive suggested. At the beginning he
commands him to love his wife for her own sake, and then, after
suggesting the material benefit that comes from caring for her, he
says that "gentleness mastereth her more than strength."

Immediately after this valuable advice with regard to the care of the
principal member of his household the old man turns to the question of
the care of his servants. We are surely prone to think that the
servant problem at least is a new development in this little world of
ours. Many literary works serve to foster the impression that in the
old days servants were easy to obtain, that they were always
respectful, that they could readily be managed and life with them was,
if not one sweet song, at least a very smooth course. Men, however,
have always been men, and women and even servants have always had
minds of their own, and strange as it may seem to us there has always
{28} been a servant problem and there was one in Egypt 5,500 years

Ptah Hotep said: "Satisfy thine hired servants out of such things as
thou hast; it is the duty of one that hath been favored of God. In
sooth, it is hard to satisfy hired servants. For one saith, 'he is a
lavish person; one knoweth not that which may come from him.' But on
the morrow he thinketh, 'he is a person of exactitude (parsimony),
content therein.' _And when favors have been shown unto servants, they
say 'we go.'_ (Italics mine.) Peace dwelleth not in that town wherein
dwell servants that are wretched."

A difficult problem; presents will not solve it but only complicate
it, exact justice is necessary, but the peace that follows is worth
the trouble it entails. The principle would be valuable in many a
squabble of corporate employer and hosts of servants in the modern

For domestic happiness, it needed only the advice given a little later
in this instruction: "Let thy face be bright what time thou livest.
Bread is to be shared. He that is grasping in entertainment himself
shall have an empty belly. He that causeth strife cometh himself to
sorrow. Take not such a one for thy companion. It is a man's kindly
acts that are remembered of him in the years after his life."

There is one phase of life in which Ptah Hotep differs entirely from
the present generation,--at least if we are to judge the present
generation {29} from its results in this matter. Of course there are
many of us who consider that, in spite of six thousand years of
distance in time, the old Egyptian prime minister is far ahead of our
contemporaries in this important subject. He thought that obedience
was the most important thing in life. For him independence of spirit,
in a young person particularly, was an abomination. In spite of the
tendency to loquacity and to repeat itself, often said to be so
characteristic of old age, the father, who in all his instructions has
never sinned against this literary canon, almost seems to do so when
it comes to the question of obedience. Over and over again he insists
that obedience is the one quality that must characterize a man if he
is to get on in life, and if he is to secure happiness, and have a
happy generation of his own group around him. The sentences read more
like à Kempis or some mediaeval writer on spirituality, and seem meant
for monks under obedience rather than for a young man of the world,
the son of a prime minister, just about to enter on his life work in
business and politics. Two of the paragraphs are well worth quoting

  "A splendid thing is the obedience of an obedient son; he cometh in
  and listeneth obediently. Excellent in hearing, excellent in
  speaking, is every man that obeyeth what is noble. The obedience of
  an obeyer is a noble thing. Obedience is better than all things that
  are; it maketh good will. How good it is that a son should take {30}
  that from his father by which he hath reached old age [obedience]!
  That which is desired by the God is obedience; disobedience is
  abhorred of the God. Verily, it is the heart that maketh its master
  to obey or to disobey; for the safe-and-sound life of a man is his
  heart. It is the obedient man that obeyeth what is said; he that
  loveth to obey, the same shall carry out commands. He that obeyeth
  becometh one obeyed. It is good indeed when a son obeyeth his
  father; and he (his father) that hath spoken hath great joy of it.
  Such a son shall be mild as a master, and he that heareth him shall
  obey him that hath spoken. He shall be comely in body and honored by
  his father. His memory shall be in the mouths of the living, those
  upon earth, as long as they exist.

  "As for the fool, devoid of obedience, he doeth nothing. Knowledge
  he regardeth as ignorance, profitable things as hurtful things. He
  doeth all kind of errors, so that he is rebuked therefor every day.
  He liveth in death therewith. It is his food. At chattering speech
  he marvelleth, as at the wisdom of princes, living in death every
  day. He is shunned because of his misfortunes, by reason of the
  multitude of afflictions that cometh upon him every day."

Of one thing the old prime minister was especially sure. It was that
employment at no single occupation, no matter what it was or how
interesting soever it might be, could satisfy a man or even keep him
in good health. He felt, {31} probably by experience, the necessity
for diversity of mind and of occupation, if there was to be any
happiness or any real success in life. He has a quiet way of putting
it, but he says, as confidently as the most modern of pedagogues, that
all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and all play and no work
makes it impossible for Jack to get on. But a proper mixture of both
makes life livable; and if a man has only the work that he cares for,
and can get some of his pleasure in life out of his work, then is all
well. "One that reckoneth accounts all the day passeth not an happy
moment. One that gladdeneth his heart all the day provideth not for
his house. The bowman hitteth the mark, as the steersman reacheth
land, by diversity of aim. He that obeyeth his heart shall command."

There are some conclusions in the philosophy of life that we are very
much inclined to think are the products of modern practical wisdom,
and it is rather surprising to find them stated plainly in this
old-time advice of the father to his boy. If there is one idea more
than another that we are confident is modern, and are almost sure to
attribute to the social development of our own generation, it is that
riches do not belong to the man who makes them to be used for his own
purpose alone, but their possession is justified only if he uses them
for the benefit of the community. This is so up-to-date an idea indeed
that it is startling to find it expressed in all its {32} completeness
in this oldest of books. Ptah Hotep said: "If thou be great after
being of no account, and hast gotten riches after poverty, being
foremost in these in the city, and hast knowledge concerning useful
matters so that promotion is come unto thee, then swathe not thine
heart in thine hoard, for thou art become the steward of the
endowments [of God]. Thou art not the last; another shall be thine
equal, and to him shall come the like [fortune and station]."

After all this it may be necessary to trace the pedigree of the book,
since it might seem to be possible that it was a modern invention. The
original of it is the so-called "Prisse Papyrus," which is well known
by name to all students of archaeology and especially of Egyptology,
and the contents of which are familiar to all who are acquainted with
Egyptian history and literature. It appears to have been found at
Thebes, but the exact place is not known. M. Prisse d'Avennes, the
well-known French archaeologist after whom it is named, is said to
have bought it from one of the Egyptian native workmen, or _fellahin,_
whom he had hired to make excavations in the tombs of Thebes.
Egyptologists generally have accepted the idea that it was actually
taken by this workman from the tomb of one of the Kings Entef, who
were of the Eleventh Dynasty and reigned about 3000 B.C. This is not
certain, however. After publishing a translation in 1847, M. Prisse
presented the precious papyrus to the {33} Bibliothèque Royale (now
Nationale). There it may still be seen. Spread out flat, it measures
about twenty-four feet in length and six inches in width. There are
about eighteen pages of clear red and black writing in the Hieratic

The first part of this manuscript is a portion of another book, the
so-called "Instructions of Ke'gemni." [Footnote 4] This is, however,
only a short fragment, though probably of even older date than the
"Instructions of Ptah Hotep." This work we have in its entirety.
Doubtless its preservation was due to the fact that many copies of it
had been made, though only two have come down to us.

  [Footnote 4: These Egyptian names are spelled differently by
  different modern scholars, according to their idea of the value of
  certain sounds of the older language as they should be expressed in
  the modern tongue to which they are most familiar. Many English
  scholars spell this as I have done, Ke'gemni. Maspero, however, and
  most of the French scholars, spell it Qaqimni. Maspero prefers the
  form Phtah-Hotpû to that of Ptah Hotep, which has been adopted by
  English scholars.]

There is a second manuscript of the "Instructions of Ptah Hotep,"--or
the "Proverbs of Phtahhotpû," as the book is called by Maspero. This
was discovered not long ago in the British Museum, by Mr. Griffith;
and, while it is not so complete as the French copy, there is such an
agreement between the two manuscripts that there is no doubt about the
authenticity of the book and of the fact that it represents the oldest
book in the world.

Its date would be about 3650 B.C. if we were {34} to follow,--as does
the translator of the most easily procurable English edition, Mr.
Gunn,--the chronology of Flinders Petrie. Recent advances in our
knowledge of Egyptology, however, have brought the dates nearer to us
than they were placed before. Such men as Breasted of Chicago, and
Maspero, would probably take from three hundred to five hundred years
from this date. There is a definite tendency in all the histories to
bring dates much nearer to the present than before. For a time, the
older one could place a date the more scholarly seemed to be the
appeal of such an opinion. Now the tendency is all the other way. Even
the latest date that can be given for Ptah Hotep, or Phtahhotpû, would
still make his little book the oldest book in the world, however.

Fortunately for us the manuscripts of the instructions of Ptah Hotep
that have come down to us are in much better condition than those of
most of the other instructions of similar kinds formerly used in the
schools that have been preserved. In some of these there are a great
many errors of writing, spelling and grammar with the corrections of
the master above in a different-colored ink. Verily, education has not
changed much in spite of six millenniums, or very nearly so, of
supposed progress since these were written, for the whole process is
as familiar as it can be. As Mr. Battiscombe Gunn says in his
Introduction to his edition "a schoolboy's scrawl over 3,000 years
{35} old is no easy thing to translate." We would seem, however, to
have been blessed in the preservation of this oldest book in the
world, either of the original copies set by the masters or of such
copies as were made by advanced students. The series of lucky chances
that have combined to bring to us, in the comparatively perfect form
in which it exists, this oldest book in the world is interesting to
contemplate. Without them we would have no idea of how closely the
first people of whom we have any definite records in history resembled
us in every essential quality of humanity, even to the ways and modes
by which they tried to lift humanity out of the barbaric selfishness
inherent in it to what is higher and nobler in its nature.

With this surprising resurrection of our school-teaching methods from
the past it is interesting to study other phases of the education of
these early times, and at the same time to note the accomplishments of
the men, of the period, their tastes, the state of their culture as
regards the arts and crafts and personal adornment and the decoration
of their houses and buildings of various kinds. Flinders Petrie, the
distinguished English Egyptologist, in an article on "The Romance of
Early Civilization," printed recently in _The Independent_ (New York),

  "We have now before us a view of the powers of man at the earliest
  point to which we can trace written history, and what strikes us
  most is how very little his nature or abilities have changed in {36}
  seven thousand years; what he admired we admire; what were his
  limits in fine handiwork are also ours. We may have a wider outlook,
  a greater understanding of things, our interests may have extended
  in this interval; but as far as human nature and tastes go, man is
  essentially unchanged in this interval."

We have enough of the products of the arts and crafts of these early
Egyptian generations to show us that there must have been no
inconsiderable training of the men of this time in the making of
beautiful art objects. For instance, the interior decoration of their
tombs shows us men skilled as designers, clever in the use of colors,
with a rather extensive knowledge of pigments and with a definite
tendency not to repeat designs but to create new ones. Most of the
diapered designs of modern interior decorations were original with the
Egyptians, and some of those found in the tombs uncovered in recent
years have been adopted and adapted by modern designers. It is in the
matter of jewelry particularly that the ability and the training of
the old Egyptian workmen are most evident. It would be quite
incredible to think that these workmen developed their artistic
craftsmanship without training, and therefore there was at least the
germ of a technical school or set of schools in oldest Egypt. It would
be quite impossible to believe this only that we know so much more
about other features of Egyptian education as anticipations of our
own. {37} A special word about their jewelry then, because it
illustrates a definite training quite different from that of our time,
will not be out of place.

Their jewelry, it may be said at once, is in striking contrast with
what we call jewelry in our time. It is true that we are in the midst
of one of the worst periods of jewelry-making, but then we are so
prone to think of anything very modern as representing the highest
evolution, that the contrast is chastening and illuminating. Mr.
Petrie has insisted on the beautiful jewelry, carved precious stones
and gold ornaments of the very early period in Egypt. In our time we
have no jewelry that deserves the name. I doubt whether we even know
the real definition of jewelry, so I venture to repeat it. Jewels are
precious stones themselves of value, usually of a high degree of
hardness so that they do not deteriorate with time or wear, to which a
greatly enhanced value is added by the handiwork of man. Jewels are
made by artistic carving and cutting so that besides their precious
quality as beautiful colored stones, they have an added charm and
interest from human workmanship. We wear no such jewelry in our
generation. What we have are merely precious stones. These by an
artificial rigging of the market and a combination of the great
commercial agencies that control the sale of diamonds and other
precious stones, remain very expensive in spite of their comparative
abundance. They are worn only because they are a display of the {38}
amount of money that a person can afford to spend for mere ornaments.

There is nothing in these precious stones themselves that carries an
appeal to the educated mind. It is true that they are pretty, but only
with the prettiness of the play of rainbow colors that delights a
childish or uncultured eye. It requires no taste to like them, no
culture to appreciate them, and their cost alone gives them value.
This is so true that those who possess a magnificent _parure_ of
diamonds often also have an imitation of them in cheaper stones that
may be worn on most occasions. The danger of loss or the risk of
robbery is so great that it has seemed worth while to have this
imitation made in many cases. No one except an expert will recognize
the difference, and if you are known to possess the real stones it
will of course be supposed that you are wearing them. What gives them
value as an adornment in the eye of the possessor, and presumably also
of the onlookers, is the fact that they must have cost such a large
sum of money. They are a vulgar display of wealth. They are typically
barbaric and, worn in the profusion now so common, carry us back to
the uncultured peoples who like to wear gaudy things. The taste is
perhaps a little better, but the essential quality of mind that
dictates the wearing of heavy brass rings and strings of beads and
that which impels to the display of many diamonds, is hard to

Artistic objects produce a sense of pleasure in {39} the beholder, an
appreciation of the beautiful handiwork of man. Precious stones worn
as is now the custom produce only a sense of envy. Of course envy
comes only to baser minds, but it is perfectly clear that most of
those who are supposed to be affected by the sight of diamonds worn in
profusion have this particular quality rather well developed. This
distinction is often forgotten. Personal adornment as well as the
adornment of one's house should be in order to give pleasure to
others, and not merely a display of wealth for wealth's sake in such a
way as is likely to produce envy. The old Egyptians made their jewelry
with the true artistic sense. Flinders Petrie has told how beautifully
they carved hard gems of various kinds and how the remains of these
show us a people of good taste, even though their technique in the
manufacture of such objects may have left something to be desired. In
connection with this oldest of books it is important to recall this,
for it shows that not alone in the applied wisdom of life and the
knowledge gained from personal experience were these Egyptians of over
5,000 years ago brothers and sisters beyond whose wise saws we have
not advanced, but also in the realm of art their work takes its place
beside what is best in the modern time.

Some may be inclined to say that while the Egyptians may, as indeed we
must admit they did, know many things about art and literature and
practical wisdom, yet they did not have exact {40} knowledge. Their
knowledge, though large and liberal, had not become scientific. This
will scarcely be maintained, however, by any one who realizes how much
of applied science there was in the building of the old temples and
pyramids and how much they must have developed mechanics, applied and
theoretic, in order to accomplish the tasks they thus set themselves.
Cantor, the German historian of mathematics, acknowledged this and
paid a worthy tribute to the old Egyptians' development of
mathematics, pure and applied, in discussing the expression that had
been used by Democritus, the early Greek geometer, who once declared
that "In the construction of plane figures with demonstrations no one
has yet surpassed me, not even the rope fasteners (harpedonaptai) of
Egypt." For a long time this word harpedonaptai was a mystery, but
Professor Cantor cleared it up, and explaining for us the exact
meaning of the compound which means literally either rope fasteners or
rope stretchers, he says, "There is no doubt that the Egyptians were
very careful about the exact orientations of their temples and other
public buildings. Old inscriptions seem to show that only the North
and South lines were drawn by actual observation of the stars. The
East and West lines were drawn at right angles to the others. Now it
appears from the practice of Heron of Alexandria and of the ancient
Indian and probably also the Chinese geometers, that a common method
of {41} securing a right angle between two very long lines was to
stretch round three pegs a rope measured in three portions which were
to one another in the ratio 3:4:5. The triangle thus formed is
right-angled. Further the operation of rope stretching is mentioned in
Egypt, without explanation, at an extremely early time (Amenemhat I).
If this be the correct explanation of it, then the Egyptians were
acquainted 2,000 years B.C., with a particular case of the proposition
now known as the Pythagorean theorem."

This may not seem to mean very much. Yet what it illustrates is just
this. These men wanted a certain development of mathematics. They
needed it for the work that they were engaged at. They set themselves
to the solution of certain problems and in doing so evolved a theorem
in pure mathematics and an application of it which greatly simplified
construction and gave an impetus to mechanics. In so doing they
anticipated the work of a long after time. This is what I would insist
is always true with regard to man. When he needs some intellectual
development he makes it. When he requires an application of it he
succeeds in working it out. Later ages may go farther, but had he
needed further developments he evidently had the power to make them
and probably would have made them.

The old Greeks had a much better opportunity to study Egyptian remains
than we have, and especially was this true after the foundation of
{42} Alexandria. There must have been a lively interest in things
Egyptian aroused in the Greek minds by this Greek settlement in old
Egypt. It is not surprising, then, to find some magnificent
compliments to the old Egyptians in the mouths of some of the writers
about the time of the foundation of Alexandria. Eudemus, for instance,
the pupil of Aristotle, wrote the history of Geometry in which he
traces its invention to the Egyptians, and states that the reason for
its invention was its necessity in the remeasurement of land demanded
after the removal of landmarks by the annual rise of the Nile. Always
does one find this, that when there is a serious demand for an
invention in theory or practice men make it. It is not a change or
development in man that brings about inventions, but a change in his
environment which causes new necessities to arise, and then he
proceeds with an ability always the same to respond properly to those

Eudemus says: "Geometry is said by many to have been invented among
the Egyptians, its origin being due to the measurement of plots of
land. This was necessary there because of the rising of the Nile,
which obliterated the boundaries appertaining to separate owners. Nor
is it marvellous that the discovery of this and other sciences should
have arisen from such an occasion, since everything which moves in
development will advance from the imperfect to the {43} perfect. From
mere sense-perception to calculation, and from this to reasoning, is a
natural transition."

The old Egyptians made some fine developments of arithmetic. These
were afterwards lost and were reinvented probably several times. I
have already quoted from Cantor the opinion that the Egyptians were
familiar with the properties of the right triangle whose sides were in
the ratio 3:4:5 over 4,000 years ago. In the _Papyrus_ of Ahmes, whose
contents probably come from before 2400 B.C., there are the solutions
of many problems which show how far the Egyptians had gone in
arithmetical calculations. For instance, there are methods of
calculating the solid contents of barns. The solutions are not
absolute but are very closely approximate. Ahmes has problems that
were solved in connection with the pyramids, which make it very clear
that the old Egyptians had more than a little knowledge of the
principles of proportion, of certain geometrical figures and probably
were familiar also with the simpler phases at least of trigonometry.
The area of a circle is found in Ahmes by deducting from the diameter
one-ninth and squaring the remainder, which gives a value for the
ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle much more
nearly correct than that used by most writers until comparatively
recent times.

As a teacher of the history of medicine with certain administrative
functions in a medical {44} school, I have been very much interested
in the old-time medicine and above all the details of medical
education that we find among the Egyptians. Ordinarily it would be
assumed that there was so little of anything like medical education
that it could be scarcely worth while talking about it. On the
contrary, we find so much that is being constantly added to by
discoverers, that it is a never-ending source of surprise. There is a
well-grounded tradition founded on inscriptions that Athothis, the son
of Menes, one of the early kings, wrote a work on anatomy. This king
is said to have died about 4150 B.C. There are traces of the existence
of hospitals at that time in which diseases were studied and medical
attendants trained. Even earlier than this there was a great
physician, the first physician of whom we have record in history,
whose name was I-Em-Hetep, which means "the Bringer of Peace." He had
two other titles, one of which was "the Master of Secrets," partly
because he possessed the secrets of health and disease, very probably
also because so many things had to be confided to him as a physician.
Another of his titles was that of "The Scribe of Numbers," in
reference, doubtless, to the fact that he had to use numbers so
carefully in making out his prescriptions.

His first title, that of the bringer of peace, shows that very early
in the history of medicine it was recognized that the physician's
first duty was to bring peace of mind to his patients. A {45}
distinguished French physician (Director) of the department of
physiology of the University of Paris, Professor Richet, said not long
since, that physicians can seldom cure, they can often relieve, but
they can always console, and evidently this oldest physician took his
duty of consolation seriously and successfully. He lived in the reign
of King Tehser, a monarch of the Third Dynasty in Egypt, who reigned
about 4500 B.C. or a little later. How much this first physician was
thought of will be best appreciated from the fact that the well-known
step pyramid at Sakkara, the old cemetery near Memphis, is called by
his name. So great indeed was the honor paid to him that after his
death he was worshipped as a god, and so we have statues of him seated
with a scroll on his knees, with an air of benignant knowledge, a
placid-looking man with a certain divine expression of sympathy well
suited to his name, the bringer of peace. While they raised him to
their altars he does not wear a beard as did all their gods and their
kings when they were raised to the godly dignity, but evidently they
felt that his humanity was of supreme interest to them.

There is another monument at Sakkara that is of special interest to us
in its consideration of old-time medicine. I discussed it and its
inscriptions in the _Journal of the American Medical Association_
(Nov. 8, 1907). It is the tomb of a surgeon, decorated within with
pictures of surgical operations. The grandeur of the tomb and its {46}
location show us that the surgeon must have held a very prominent
place in the community of that time. The date of this tomb is not
later than 2500 B.C. Certain of the surgical operations resembled
those done at the present time. There is the opening of a carbuncle at
the back of the neck which shows how old are men's diseases and the
modes of their treatment. After this the oldest monument in the
history of medicine is documentary, the Ebers Papyrus, the writing of
which is probably not much later than 1700 B.C. This consists,
moreover, of a collection of older texts and suggestions in medicine,
and some of the idioms are said to belong to several distant periods.
It is probable that certain portions of this papyrus were composed not
much later than the oldest book in the world, and that they date from
nearly 3000 B.C. This papyrus is as interesting and as startling in
its anticipation of some of our modern medical wisdom as is the
Instruction of Ptah Hotep in the practical wisdom of life. This seems
a good deal to say, but there is ample evidence for it.

According to Dr. Carl von Klein, who discussed the "Medical Features
of the Ebers Papyrus" in some detail in the _Journal of the American
Medical Association_ about five years ago, over 700 different
substances are mentioned as of remedial value in this old-time medical
work. There is scarcely a disease of any important organ with which we
are familiar in the modern {47} time that is not mentioned here. While
the significance of diseases of such organs as the spleen, the
ductless glands, and the appendix was of course missed, nearly every
other pathological condition was either expressly named or at least
hinted at. The papyrus insists very much on the value of
history-taking in medicine, and hints that the reason why physicians
fail to cure is often because they have not studied their cases
sufficiently. While the treatment was mainly symptomatic, it was not
more so than is a great deal of therapeutics at the present time, even
in the regular school of medicine. The number and variety of their
remedies and of their modes of administering them is so marvellous,
that I prefer to quote Dr. von Klein's enumeration of them for you:

  "In this papyrus are mentioned over 700 different substances from
  the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms which act as stimulants,
  sedatives, motor excitants, motor depressants, narcotics, hypnotics,
  analgesics, anodynes, antispasmodics, mydriatics, myotics,
  expectorants, tonics, dentifrices, sialogogues, antisialics,
  refrigerants, emetics, antiemetics, carminatives, cathartics,
  purgatives, astringents, cholagogues, anthelmintics, restoratives,
  haematics, alteratives, antipyretics, antiphlogistics,
  antiperiodics, diuretics, diluents, diaphoretics, sudorifics,
  anhydrotics, emmenagogues, oxytocics, ecbolics, galactagogues,
  irritants, escharotics, caustics, styptics, haemostatics,
  emollients, demulcents, protectives, antizymotics, {48}
  disinfectants, deodorants, parasiticides, antidotes and

Scarcely less interesting than the variety of remedies were their
methods of administration:

"Medicines are directed to be administered internally in the form of
decoctions, infusions, injections, pills, tablets, troches, capsules,
powders, potions and inhalations; and externally, as lotions,
ointments, plasters, etc. They are to be eaten, drunk, masticated or
swallowed, to be taken often once only--often for many days--and the
time is occasionally designated--to be taken mornings, evenings or at
bedtime. Formulas to disguise bad tasting medicaments are also given."
We have no advantages over the early Egyptians even in elegant

The traditions with regard to Egyptian medicine which came to the
Greeks seemed so incredible as we found them in the older historians
that they used to be joked about. Herodotus came in for a good deal of
this scoffing. He was said to be entirely too credulous and prone to
exaggerate in order to add interest to his history, but every advance
in our knowledge in modern time has confirmed what Herodotus has to
say. In the eighteenth century Voltaire said of him, "The Father of
history, nay, rather the Father of lies." That was Voltaire's way.
Anything that was above him he scoffed at. Homer was a wandering
minstrel such as you might find in the streets of Paris, Dante was a
mediaeval barbarian, {49} our own Shakespeare was a dramatic butcher,
producing his effects by bloodshed and cruelty upon the stage. The
nineteenth century has reversed Voltaire in every point of this,
though some still listen to him in other matters. Above all, Herodotus
has been amply justified by modern investigations. Herodotus tells us
of the tradition of the number of different kinds of medical
specialists in existence among the Egyptians. We are very prone to
think that specialism is a development of modern medicine. What we
know of Egypt shows us how old it is and makes it very clear that
there must have been specialized modes of medical education for these
many doctors who treated only very limited portions of the body and no

Herodotus tells us, to quote for you the quaint English of one of the
old translations:

  "Physicke is so studied and practised with the Egyptians that every
  disease hath his several physician, who striveth to excell in
  healing that one disease and not to be expert in curing many.
  Whereof it cometh that every corner of that country is full of
  physicians. Some for the eyes, others for the head, many for the
  teeth, not a few for the stomach and the inwards."

The Ebers Papyrus shows us that the specialties were by no means
scantily developed. We have traditions of operations upon the nose, of
remedies for the eyes there are many and the diagnosis and treatment
of eye diseases are rather well {50} developed. The filling of teeth
seems even to have been practised, [Footnote 5] and while the
traditions in this matter are a little dubious, the evidence has been
accepted by some good authorities. This specialism in Egyptian
medicine probably existed long before Herodotus, for he seems to speak
of it as a very old-time institution in his time, and indeed Egypt had
degenerated so much that it would be hard to believe that there was
any such development there in his time. In the old temples they seem
to have used many modes of treatment that we are likely to think of as
very modern. Music for instance was used to soothe the worried,
amusements of various kinds were employed to influence the disturbed
mind favorably. In many ways some of the old temples resembled our
modern health resorts. To them many patients flocked and were treated
and talked about their ailments and went back each year for "the cure"
once more, all the while being more benefited, as is true also in our
own time, by the regularity of life, the regulation of diet and the
mental influence of the place, than by any of the drugs or even the
curative waters.

  [Footnote 5: Burdett: "History of Hospitals."]

In a word, our study of old Egypt and Egyptian education shows us men
doing things just about the way that our generation does them and
succeeding just about as well as we succeed. They taught writing,
spelling and composition as we do and the moral content of their
teaching is admirable. They had training schools for the arts {51} and
crafts, their taste is better than ours in many things, above all,
they trained workmen very well, and the remains of their achievements
are still the subject of our admiration. They solved mechanical
problems in the building of the pyramids quite as well as we do. They
made enough experiments that we would call chemical, to find enduring
pigments for decorative purposes and they succeeded in making tools
that enabled them to carve stonework beautifully. Even their
professional education was not very different from our own and its
results, particularly in the line of specialism, are startling
anticipations of the most modern phase of medicine. They anticipated
our interests in psychotherapy and some of them were mental healers,
and more of them used the influence of the mind on the body than our
physicians have been accustomed to until very recent years. Their
physicians and surgeons were held in the highest veneration, and what
we know of them shows that the judgment of the old Egyptians in this
matter was very good and better than the average appreciation of
physicians at the present time.

After all is said no one with any pretence to knowledge of the past
would claim for a moment that we were doing better work in anything
than men have done at many times in the history of culture. Our idea
of progress is just one of these vague bits of self-sufficiency that
each generation has had in its own time and that has made it feel {52}
that somehow what it is accomplishing means much in the world's
history. It is rather amusing to compare the estimate that any
generation has of itself with the appreciation of it by succeeding
generations. Especially is this true for generations separated by 100
years or more. Generations are only made up of men and women, and what
man or woman is there who has not thought many times during life that
though his or her work might not be estimated very highly by those
close to it, this was due but to a sad lack of proper appreciation,
since it represented certain qualities that well deserved admiration?
We are all gifted with this precious self-conceit, which is not so bad
a thing, after all, since it makes us work better than if we had a
proper but much less exalted appreciation of our real worth. It is
much easier to encourage people to do things than to scold or
criticise them into doing them. We shall not quarrel with our
generation, then, for being self-conceited,--it is made up of human
beings,--but we shall try and not let a due appreciation of our
accomplishment be smothered entirely, by this self-conceit.

After all, did not our favorite English poet of the late nineteenth
century declare us to be "the heirs of all the ages in the foremost
files of time," and how could it be otherwise than that we should be
far ahead of the past, not only because the evolution of man made him
more capable of handling difficult problems, but also because we {53}
had the advantage of the accumulated wisdom such as it was of the
past, of the observations and the conclusions of our forefathers and,
of course, we were far ahead of them. This idea, however, so widely
diffused that it might almost be spoken of as universal, has received
many jolts in recent times, since we have come to try to develop the
taste and the intellect of our people and not merely our material
comforts and our satisfaction with ourselves. It has been pointed out,
over and over again, in recent years that, of course, there is no such
thing as progress in literature, that in art we are far behind many
generations of the past, that in architecture there is not a new idea
in the world since the sixteenth century, that in all these modes of
human expression we are mere imitators and not originators. Our drama
is literally and literarily a farce, and no drama that any one expects
to live has been written for more than a century. Our buildings are
replicas of old-time structures, no matter what their purpose, whether
it be ecclesiastical, or educational, or municipal, or beneficiary.

Of course from the scientific standpoint this is, after all, what we
might expect. In all the years of history of which we have any record
there has been no change in the nature of man and no modification of
his being that would lead us to expect from him anything different
from what had been accomplished by man in the past. There is no change
in man's structure, in the size of his {54} body in any way, in his
anatomy or his physiology, in his customs, or ways of life, or in his
health. The healthy still have about the same expectation of life, to
use the life insurance term, and though we have increased the general
average duration of life this has been at the expense of other
precious qualities of the race. The healthy live longer, but the
unhealthy also live longer. The weaklings in mind and body whom nature
used to eliminate early are now a burden that must be cared for. In
general it may be said, and Virchow, the great German pathologist, who
was one of the world's great living anthropologists of his time--and
that but a few years ago--used to insist, that man's skeleton and,
above all, his skull as we can study them in the mummy of the olden
time, were exactly the same as those that the race has now. Man cannot
by thinking add a cubit to his stature, nor an inch to the
circumference of his skull. The seventh generation of an academic
family each member of which has been at the university in his time, is
not any more likely to have special faculties for the intellectual
life, indeed it is sometimes hinted that he has less of a chance than
if his parents had been peasants for as long as the history of the
family can be traced. Of course this has no proper bearing on
evolution from the biological standpoint, for the length of time that
we have in human history may be conceded to be entirely inadequate to
produce any noticeable changes on man's body or mind, {55} granting
that such were in progress. At the most we have 7,000 years of history
and the evolutionists would tell us that this is as nothing in the
unnumbered aeons of evolution. In the popular estimation, however,
evolution can almost be seen at work just as if one could see blades
of grass growing by watching them closely enough. This impression of
man's progress supposed to be supported by the theory of evolution is
entirely unfounded. Just as his body is the same and his brain the
same size, and the relative proportion of brain weight to body weight
or at least to skull capacity the same now as they were 6,000 years
ago; and this is true for both sexes, so that because women have
smaller bodies by one-eighth they also have smaller skulls, and this,
too, occurs among the mummies in Egypt quite as in our own time; so in
what he is able to do with body and mind man is unchanged. Something
of dexterity, of facility, of self-confidence and assurance of results
is gained from time to time in history, but lost as often, because a
few generations fail to be interested in what interested their
immediate predecessors immensely.

It is not surprising, then, that history should show us at all times
men doing work about like that which they did at any other
time--provided they were deeply interested enough. The wisdom of the
oldest book in the world, a father's advice to his son, is as
practical in most ways as Gorgon Graham's letters to his boy--and ever
so much {56} more ethical and true to life. The decorations of the old
Egyptian tombs, the architecture of their temples, their ways and
habits of life so far as we know them, all proclaim them men and women
just like ourselves, certainly not separated from us by any gulf or
even streamlet of evolution. What are more interesting than any
supposed progress in mankind, are the curious ups and downs of
interest in particular subjects which follow one another with almost
definite regularity in history as we know it. Men become occupied with
some phase of the expression of life, literature, architecture,
government, sometimes in two or three of these at the same time, and
then there comes a wonderful period of development. Just when this
epoch reaches an acme of power of expression there come a
self-consciousness and a refinement, welcomed at first as new
progress, but that seem to hamper originality. Then follows a period
of distinct decadence, but with a development of criticism of what was
done in the past, with the formulation of certain principles of
criticism. Just when by this conscious reflection it might be expected
that man would surely advance rapidly, further decay takes place and
there is a negative phase of power of expression, out of which man is
lifted by a new generation usually neglectful of the immediate past,
sometimes indeed deprecating it bitterly, though this new phase may
have been awakened by a further past, which gets back to nature and to
expression for itself.


The most interesting feature of history is how men have done things,
wonderful things that subsequent generations are sure to admire and
continue to admire whenever they have sense and training enough, yet
forget about them. This is true not only for artistic productions but
also for practical applications in science, for inventions, useful
discoveries and the like. In surgery, for instance, though we have a
continuous history of medicine, all of our instruments have been
re-invented at least three or four times. After the reinvention we
have been surprised to discover that previous generations had used
these instruments long before us. Even the Suez Canal was undoubtedly
open at least once before our time. Personally I feel sure that
America was discovered at least twice before Columbus' time and that
during several centuries there was considerable intercourse between
Europe and America. It is extremely important for us then to realize
these cycles in human progress and not to deceive ourselves with the
idea that because we are doing something that immediately preceding
generations knew nothing of, therefore we are doing something that
never was done in the world before. This is particularly important for
us now, for in my estimation the eighteenth was one of the lowest of
centuries in human accomplishment, and therefore we may easily deceive
ourselves as to our place in human history in this century.


Reflections of this kind are, it seems to me, particularly important
for educators, especially in the midst of our tendency to accept
evolution unthinkingly in this generation. Man's skull has not
changed, his body has not been modified, his soft tissues are the same
as they used to be. His brain is no different. Why, then, should he
not have done things in the olden time just about as he does them now?
We do not think that acquired characters are inherited. Oliver Wendell
Holmes talks of Emerson as the seventh generation of an academic
family, but there are none of us who think that this made it any
easier for Emerson to acquire an education, or gave him a better
development of mind. Those of us who have experience in education know
that the descendant of a family of peasants for centuries or of
farmers for many generations, easily outstrips some of the scions of
academic families in intellect. It is the man that counts and not his

Just this is true of generations as well as of individuals. Whenever
men have set themselves to doing things they have accomplished about
as good results at any time in history as at any other. We apparently
do not benefit by the accumulation of the experience of our
predecessors. At least we can find no trace of that in history. For a
certain number of enterprising generations there is manifest upward
progress. Then something always happens to disturb the succession of
ideas, sometimes it is nothing more than {59} an over-refinement that
leads to bad taste, and decadence takes the place of progress. The
accomplishment of any particular generation, then, depends not on its
place in any real or fancied scheme of evolution, but on its own
ideals and its determined efforts to achieve them.

There are people who insist that this doctrine is pessimistic and
discouraging and that, if we do not keep before men the consoling
feeling that they are advancing beyond their forebears, there is not
the same incentive to work as there would be under other
circumstances. On the contrary, as it seems to me, this other idea
that everything depends on ourselves and not on our predecessors,
constitutes the highest form of incentive. We at the present time are
far below many preceding generations in art, literature, architecture,
arts and crafts and many developments of taste. Here is no evolution,
but the story of how each generation sets itself to work. Why, then,
should we think that in education, one of the highest of the arts, the
moulding of the human mind into beautiful shapes instead of the
moulding of more plastic material, we should be far ahead of the past
and, therefore, in a position to find no precious lessons in it? The
history of education not alone of the last three centuries of
education, but of at least 6,000 years of education, is worth while
knowing and it magnificently exemplifies how old is the new in





  "What is it that hath been? The same thing that shall be. What is it
  that hath been done? The same that shall be done."
  --_Ecclesiastes i:10._

  "To one small people . . . it was given to create the principle of
  Progress. That people was the Greek. Except the blind forces of
  nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its



  [Footnote 6: The material for this address was gathered for lectures
  on the History of Education at St. Mary's Seminary, Scranton, Pa.,
  and St. Joseph's College, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. It was
  largely added to for the introductory lecture in a course to the
  teachers of the parochial schools of Philadelphia, March, 1910. Very
  nearly in its present form it was delivered before the Brooklyn
  Institute of Arts and Sciences as the second lecture in the course
  on "How Old The New Is," April, 1910.]

We are very prone to think that our universities represent new
developments in the history of humanity. We are aware that there were
great educational institutions in the world at many times before the
present, and that some of them profoundly affected the intellectual
life of their time; we are likely to think, however, that these
institutions were very different from our modern universities. They
were not so well organized, they lacked endowments, their departments
were not co-ordinated, they did not have the libraries and, of course,
not the laboratory facilities that our modern universities have, and
then, above all, they did not devote themselves to that one department
of knowledge, physical science, in which absolute truth can be
reached, and in which each advance in knowledge as made can be
chronicled and set down as a sure basis for future work and workers in
the same line for all time. {64} The older institutions of learning
were given up to speculation, to idealism, to metaphysics, and, of
course, therefore, their work, as many educated people are now prone
to look at it, was too shadowy to last, too cloudy to serve as a
foundation for any enduring scientific knowledge. I do not think that
I exaggerate when I make this as the statement of the thought of a
good many people of our time who are at least supposed to be educated
and who consider that they are reasonably familiar with the
educational institutions of the past.

It has seemed to me, then, that it would be interesting and opportune
to trace the origin, the development and the accomplishments of the
first institution of learning that is very similar to our own; and to
retrace some of the achievements of its professors, the circumstances
in which they were done and the conditions surrounding an ancient
school which I think our study will make clear as well deserving of
the title of the first modern university. This was not the collection
of schools at Athens, though there is no doubt at all that great
intellectual and educational work was accomplished there, but not in
our modern university sense. The schools were independent, and while
the rivalry engendered by this undoubtedly did good so long as genius
ruled in the schools, it brought about a degeneration into sophistry,
from here comes the word, and argumentativeness, once the great master
had been {65} displaced by disciples who were sure that they knew
their master's mind, and probably thought, as disciples always do,
that they were going beyond their master, but who really occupied
themselves with curious and trifling tergiversations of mind within
the narrow circle of ideas laid down by the master,--as has nearly
always been the case.

The first modern university was that of Alexandria. It was quite as
much under Greek influence as the schools of Athens. There have been
commentators on the story of Cleopatra, who have suggested that her
African cast of countenance did not prove a deterrent to her success
as a conqueror of hearts, and who argue from this to the fact that it
is not physical charm but personality that counts in woman's power
over men, quite forgetting, if they ever knew, that Cleopatra was a
Greek of the Greeks, a daughter of the line of the Ptolemys, probably
a direct descendant though with the bar sinister of Philip of Macedon,
born of a house so watchful over its Greek blood and so resentful of
any possible admixture of anything less noble with itself, that for
generations it had been the custom for brother to marry sister, in
order that the race of the Ptolemys might be perpetuated in absolute
purity. Alexandria, while a cosmopolitan city in the inhabitants who
dwelt in it and in the wide diffusion of commercial interests that
centred there as a mart for East and West, was absolutely ruled by
Greeks and represents for many centuries after {66} the decline of
Athens had come, the brightest focus of Greek intellectual life, Greek
culture and art, Greek letters and education and every phase of that
Greek influence in aesthetics which has always meant so much in the
world's history.

The interesting fact about Alexandria in the history of education, is
that it was the home of a modern university in every sense of that
term, having particularly the features that many people are prone to
think of as representing modern evolution in education. The buildings
of the university were erected practically by a legacy left by the
great Conqueror himself, Alexander. The central point of interest in
the university was a great library, the nucleus of which was the
library of Aristotle, tutor of Alexander, which had been collected
with the help of that great Conqueror and was the finest collection of
books in the world of that time. The main subject of interest in the
university was physical science and its sister subject mathematics,
which raises mere nature-study into the realm of science, and this
scientific physical education was conducted in connection with the
great museum or collection of objects of interest to scientists that
had also been made partly by Aristotle himself and partly for his
loved tutor by the gratitude of Alexander during his conquering
expeditions in the far East. Finally professors were attracted to
Alexandria by the offer of a better salary than had ever been paid at
educational institutions before this, and {67} by the additional offer
of a palace to live in, supplied by the ruler of the country. It is no
wonder, then, that in attendance also, as well as in the prestige of
its professors, Alexandria resembled a modern university.

It was its devotion to science, however, that especially characterized
this first great institution of learning of which we have definite
records. This devotion to science went so far that even literature was
studied from the scientific standpoint. Such details as we have of the
instruction at Alexandria and the books that have come down to us, all
show men interested in philology, in comparative literature, in
grammar and comparative grammar, rather than in the idealistic modes
of knowledge. We have commentaries on the great authors, but no great
original works of genius in literature from the professors of
Alexandria. The translation of the Septuagint version of the Old
Testament is a typical example of the sort of work that was being done
at Alexandria. They collected the documents of the nations and
translated them for purposes of comparative study. It was an education
for information rather than for power. The main idea of the time and
place was to know as much as possible about literature, rather than to
know what it represented in terms of life, and the real meaning of
both literature and life was obscured in the study about and about
them. People studied books about books rather than the books {68}
themselves. There was much writing of books about books, and it was
nearly always comparatively trivial things in the great authors that
attracted most attention from the many scholiasts, critics, editors,
commentators, lecturers of the time.

Personally I could well understand such an incident happening at
Alexandria as is said to have happened at a well-known English (of
course not American!) university not long ago. The class was
construing Shakespeare and one of the students asked the professor
what the meaning of a particular figure used by the great dramatist
was. The professor replied that they were there to construe
Shakespeare's language and not bother about his meaning--yet it was a
class in literature. Literature in recent years as studied at the
universities has come to be quite as scientific in its modes and
methods as it was at the University of Alexandria. May I also add that
it has become quite as sterile of results of any importance. There is
very little real study of literature, practically no encouragement of
the attempt to draw inspiration from the great authors, but all
devotion to the grammar, to the philology, to comparative literature
as exemplified in the old writers.

Books were the great essentials at Alexandria. This is not surprising
seeing that the university was founded around a great library, and
that this library continued to be the greatest in the world in its
time. Every student who came to Alexandria bringing a book with him of
which there was {69} no copy in the library, was required by a decree
of the authorities to leave a copy behind him. In all the university
towns of the times--and there were many founded in the rising eastern
cities of Alexander's empire, as it gradually crumbled into smaller
pieces providing new capitals with less power but with quite as much
national feeling as the capital cities of larger states, libraries
became the fashion and a city's main claim to prestige in education
and the intellectual life was the number of its books. Antioch,
Tarsus, Cos, Cnidos and Pergamos are examples of this state of
affairs. Pergamos was so jealous of the prestige of the Alexandrian
Library that it forbade the exportation of parchment, an invention of
Pergamos which received its name from that city. Petty jealousies were
quite as much the rule among educational institutions then as they
have been at any time since.

To many people it will seem quite absurd to talk of Alexandria as
having done serious scientific work because the methods of science and
scientific investigation are supposed to have been, as they think,
discovered by Lord Bacon in the seventeenth century. It is curious how
many educated people, or at least supposedly educated people, have
this as their basic notion of the history of science. Men wandered in
the mazes of inductive reasoning utterly unable to bring observations
together in such a way as to discover laws, utterly incompetent to
note phenomena and {70} bring them into relations to one another so as
to show their scientific bearing, until Queen Elizabeth's Lord
Chancellor came to show the way out of the labyrinth and leave the
precious cord through its corridors, by which others may easily thread
their way into the free air of scientific truth. I know nothing that
is more absurd than this. It is a commonplace among educators,
however; it is frequently referred to in educational addresses as if
it were a universally accepted proposition, and to dispute it would
seem the rankest kind of scientific heresy to these narrow minds.
Fortunately there are two writers, Macaulay and Huxley, to whom even
these people are likely to listen, who have expressed themselves with
regard to this precious historic superstition that Lord Bacon invented
the inductive method of reasoning with what my long-worded friend
would call appropriate opprobrium.

Macaulay says: "The inductive method has been practised ever since the
beginning of the world by every human being. It is constantly
practised by the most ignorant clown, by the most thoughtless
schoolboy, by the very child at the breast. That method leads the
clown to the conclusion that if he sows barley he shall not reap
wheat. By that method the schoolboy learns that a cloudy day is the
best for catching trout. The very infant, we imagine, is led by
induction to expect milk from his mother or nurse, and none from his
father. Not only is it not true that {71} Bacon invented the inductive
method; but it is not true that he was the first person who correctly
analyzed that method and explained its uses. Aristotle had long before
pointed out the absurdity of supposing that syllogistic reasoning
could ever conduct men to the discovery of any new principle, had
shown that such discoveries must be made by induction, and by
induction alone, and had given the history of the inductive process,
concisely indeed, but with great perspicuity and precision."

And Huxley quite as emphatically points out: "The method of scientific
investigation is nothing but the expression of the necessary mode of
working of the human mind. It is simply the mode by which all
phenomena are reasoned about--rendered precise and exact."

While the whole trend of education, even that of literature, was
scientific at Alexandria, the principal feature of the teaching was,
as we have said, concerned with the physical sciences and mathematics.
It is in mathematics that the greatest triumphs were secured. Euclid's
"Geometry," as we use it at the present time in our colleges and
universities, was put into form by Euclid teaching at the University
of Alexandria in the early days of the institution. Euclid's setting
forth of geometry was so perfect that it has remained for over 2,000
years the model on which all text-books of geometry of all the later
times have been written. There seems no doubt that {72} writers on the
history of mathematics are quite justified in proclaiming Euclid's
"Geometry" as one of the greatest intellectual works that ever came
from the hand of man. The first Ptolemy was fortunate in having
secured this man as the founder of the mathematical department of his
university. His example, the wonderful incentive of his work, the
absolute perfection of his conclusions, must have proved marvellous
emulative factors for the students who flocked to Alexandria.

Commonly mathematicians are said to be impractical geniuses so
occupied with mathematical ideas that their influence in other ways
counts for little in university life. If we are to believe the stories
that come to us with regard to Euclid, however, and there is every
reason to believe them, for some of them come from men who are almost
contemporaries, or from men who had their information from
contemporaries, Euclid's influence in the university must have been
for all that is best in education. Proclus tells the story of King
Ptolemy once having asked Euclid, if there was any shorter way to
obtain a knowledge of geometry than through the rather difficult
avenue of Euclid's own text-book, and the great mathematician replied
that there was "no royal road to geometry." Stobaeus relates the story
of a student who, having learned the first theorem, asked "but what
shall I make by learning these things?" The question is so modern that
Euclid's {73} answer deserves to be in the memory of all those who are
interested in education. Euclid called his slave and said, "Give him
twopence, since he must make something out of everything that he does,
even the improvement of his mind."

Probably even more significant than the tradition that Euclid did his
work at this first modern university, and that besides being a
mathematician he was a man of very practical ideas in education, is
the fact that he was appreciated by the men of his time and that his
work was looked up to with highest reverence by his contemporaries and
immediate successors as representing great achievement. It is not ever
thus. Far from resenting in any way the magnificent synthesis that he
had made of many rather vague notions in mathematics before his time,
his contemporaries united in doing him honor. They realized that his
teaching created a proper scientific habit of mind. Pappus says of
Apollonius that he spent a long time as a pupil of Euclid at
Alexandria and it was thus that he acquired a thorough scientific
habit of mind. After Euclid's time the value of his discoveries as a
means of training the mind was thoroughly appreciated. The Greek
philosophers are said to have posted on the doors of their schools
"Let no one enter here who does not know his Euclid." In the midst of
the crumbling of old-fashioned methods of education in the
introduction of the elective system, in the modern time, many of our
best educators have insisted {74} that at least this portion of
mathematics, Euclid's contribution to the science, should be a
required study, and most educators feel, even when there is question
of law or medical study, that one of the best preparations is to be
found in a thorough knowledge of Euclid.

Almost as wonderful as the work of Euclid was that of the second great
mathematician of the Alexandrian school, Archimedes, who not only
developed pure mathematics but applied mathematical principles to
mechanics and proved besides to have wonderful mechanical ability and
inventive genius. It was Archimedes of whom Cicero spoke so feelingly
in his "Tusculan Disputations," when about a century and a quarter
after Archimedes' death, he succeeded in finding, his tomb in the old
cemetery at Syracuse during his quaestorship there. How curious it is
to think that after so short a time as 127 years from the date of his
death Archimedes was absolutely forgotten by his fellow-Syracusans,
who resolutely denied that any trace of Archimedes' tomb existed. This
stranger from Rome knew much more of Archimedes than his
fellow-citizens a scant four generations after his time. Not how men
advance, but how they forget even great advance that has been made,
lose sight of it entirely at times and only too often have to
rediscover it, is the most interesting phase of history. Cicero says,
"Thus one of the noblest cities of Greece and one which at one time
had been very {75} celebrated for learning, knew nothing of the
monument of its greatest genius until it was rediscovered for them by
a native of Arpinum"--Cicero's modest designation for himself.

We have known much more about Archimedes' inventions than about his
mathematical works. The Archimedian screw, a spiral tube for pumping
water, invented by him, is still used in Egypt. The old story with
regard to his having succeeded in making burning mirrors by which he
was enabled to set the Roman vessels on fire during the siege of
Syracuse, used to be doubted very seriously and, indeed, by many
considered a quite incredible feat, clearly an historical
exaggeration, until Cuvier and others in the early part of the
nineteenth century succeeded in making a mirror by which in an
experiment in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris wood was set on fire at
a distance of 140 feet. As the Roman vessels were very small,
propelled only by oars or at least with very small sail capacity, and
as their means of offence was most crude and they had to approach
surely within 100 feet of the wall to be effective, the old story
therefore is probably entirely true. The other phase of history
according to which Archimedes succeeded in constructing instruments by
which the Roman vessels were lifted bodily out of the water, is
probably also true, and certainly comes with great credibility of the
man of whom it is told that, after having studied the lever, he
declared that if he only had {76} some place to rest his lever, he
could move the world.

The well-known story of his discovery in hydrostatics, by which he was
enabled to tell the King whether the royal goldsmiths had made his
crown of solid gold or not, is very well authenticated. Archimedes
realized the application of the principle of specific gravity in the
solution of such problems while he was taking a bath. Quite forgetful
of his state of nudity he ran through the streets, crying "Eureka!
Eureka! I have found it! I have found it!" There are many other
significant developments of hydrostatics and mechanics, besides
specific gravity and the lever, the germs of which are at least
attributed to Archimedes. He seems to have been one of the world's
great eminent practical geniuses. That he should have been a product
of Alexandria and should even have been a professor there would be a
great surprise if we did not know Alexandria as a great scientific
university. As it is, it is quite easy to understand how naturally he
finds his place in the history of that university and how proud any
modern university would be to have on the rolls of its students and
professors a man who not only developed pure science but who made a
series of practical applications that are of great value to mankind.
Such men our modern universities appropriately claim the right to
vaunt proudly as the products of their training.

When we analyze something of the work in {77} pure mathematics that
was accomplished by Archimedes our estimation of him is greatly
enhanced. His work "On the Quadrature," that is the finding of the
area of a segment of the parabola, is probably his most significant
contribution to mathematical knowledge. His proof of the principal
theorem in this is obtained by the "method of exhaustion," which had
been invented by Eudoxus but was greatly developed by Archimedes. This
method contains in itself the germ of that most powerful instrument of
mathematical analysis in the modern time, the calculus.

Another very important work was "The Sphere and the Cylinder." This
was more appreciated in his own time, and as a consequence, after his
death the figure of a sphere inscribed in a cylinder was cut on his
tomb in commemoration of his favorite theorem, that the volume of the
sphere is two-thirds that of the cylinder and its surface is four
times that of the base of the cylinder. It was by searching for this
symbol, famous in antiquity, that Cicero was enabled to find his tomb
according to the story that I have already related.

Within the last few years the reputation of Archimedes in pure
mathematics has been greatly enhanced by the discovery by Professor
Heiberg of a lost work of the great Alexandrian professor in
Constantinople. Archimedes himself stated in a dedication of the work
to Eratosthenes the method employed in this. He says: "I have thought
it well to analyze and lay down for you {78} in this same book a
peculiar method by means of which it will be possible for you to
derive instruction as to how certain mathematical questions may be
investigated by means of mechanics. And I am convinced that this is
equally profitable in demonstrating a proposition itself, for much
that was made evident to me through the medium of mechanics was later
proved by means of geometry, because the treatment by the former
method had not yet been established by way of a demonstration. For of
course it is easier to establish a proof, if one has in this way
previously obtained a conception of the questions, than for him to
seek it without such a preliminary notion. . . . Indeed, I assume that
some one among the investigators of to-day or in the future, will
discover by the method here set forth still other propositions which
have not yet occurred to me." On this Professor Smith comments:
"Perhaps in all the history of mathematics no such prophetic truth was
ever put into words. It would almost seem as if Archimedes must have
seen as in a vision the methods of Galileo, Cavalieri, Pascal, Newton,
and many other great makers of the mathematics of the Renaissance and
the present time."

Many other distinguished professors of mathematics have, since this
declaration of Archimedes came under their notice, declared that he
must have had almost a prophetic vision of certain developments of
mathematics and especially applied {79} mathematics and mechanics and
their relation to one another, that were only to come in much later
and indeed comparatively modern times. Undoubtedly Archimedes' works
proved the germ of magnificent development not only immediately after
his own time but in the long-after time of the Renaissance, when their
translation awakened minds to mathematical problems and their
solutions that would not otherwise have come.

We know much less of the life of the third of the great trio of
teachers and students of Alexandria, Apollonius of Perga. Perhaps it
should be enough for us to know that his contemporaries spoke of him
as "the great geometer," though they were familiar with Euclid's book
and with Archimedes' mighty work. Apollonius was surely a student of
Alexandria for many years and he was probably also a professor of
mathematics there. He developed especially what we know now as conic
sections. His book on the subject contains practically all of the
theorems to be found in our text-books of analytical geometry or conic
sections of the present time. It was developed with rigorous
mathematical logic and Euclidean conclusiveness. These three men show
us beyond all doubt how finely the mathematical side of the university

After Archimedes the greatest mechanical genius of the University of
Alexandria was Heron. To him we owe a series of inventions and
discoveries in hydrostatics and the {80} construction of various
mechanical toys that have been used in the laboratories since. There
is even a little engine run by steam--the aeolipile--invented by him,
which shows how close the old Greeks were to the underlying principles
of discoveries that were destined to come only after the development
of industries created a demand for them in the after time. Heron's
engine is a globe of copper mounted on pivots, containing water, which
on being heated produces steam that finds its way out through tubes
bent so as to open in opposite directions on each side of the globe.
The impact of the escaping steam on the air sets the globe revolving,
and the principle of the turbine engine at work is clear. We have used
steam for nearly 200 years always with a reciprocating type of
movement, so that to apply energy in one direction the engine has had
to move its parts backwards and forwards, but here was a direct-motion
turbine engine in the long ago. Our great steamboats, the _Lusitania_
and the _Mauretania,_ now cross the ocean by the use of this principle
and not by the reciprocating engine, and it is evident that it is
along these lines the future developments of the application of steam
are to take place.

Another extremely interesting invention made by Heron is the famous
fountain called by his name, and which still is used to illustrate
principles in pneumatics in our classrooms and laboratories. By means
of condensed air water is made {81} to spring from a jet in a
continuous stream and seems paradoxically to rise higher than its
source. Probably his best work in the domain of physics is that on
pneumatics in which are given not only a series of discussions, but of
experiments and demonstrations on the elasticity of air and of steam.
These experiments could only have been conducted in what we now call a
physical laboratory. Indeed these inventions of his are still used in
laboratories for demonstration purposes. While we may think, then,
that the foundation of laboratories was reserved to our day, there is
abundant evidence for their existence at the University of Alexandria.
We shall return to this subject a little later, when the evidence from
other departments has been presented, and then it will be clear, I
think, that the laboratory methods were favorite modes of teaching at
the University of Alexandria and were in use in nearly all departments
of science both for research and for demonstration purposes.

The work of the other great teacher at Alexandria which was to
influence mankind next to that of Euclid, was not destined to
withstand the critical study of succeeding generations, though it
served for some 1,500 years as the basis of their thinking in
astronomy. This was the work of Ptolemy, the great professor of
astronomy at Alexandria of the first century after Christ. It is easy
for us now to see the absurdity of Ptolemy's system. It is even hard
for us to {82} understand how men could have accepted it. It must not
be forgotten, however, that it solved all the astronomical problems of
fifteen centuries and that it even enabled men, by its application, to
foretell events in the heavens, and scientific prophecy is sometimes
claimed to be the highest test of the truth of a system of scientific
thought. Even so late as 1620 Francis Bacon refused to accept
Copernicanism, already before the world for more than a century,
because it did not, as it seemed to him, solve all the difficulties,
while Ptolemy's system did. As great an astronomer as Tycho Brahe
living in the century after Copernicus still clung to Ptolemy's
teaching. It must not be forgotten that when Galileo restated
Copernicanism, the reason for the rejection of his teaching by all the
astronomers of Europe almost without exception, was that his reasons
were not conclusive. They preferred to hold on to the old which had
been so satisfying than to accept the new which seemed dubious. Their
wisdom in this will be best appreciated from the fact that none of
Galileo's reasons maintained themselves.

Though his system has been rejected, still Ptolemy must be looked up
to as one of the great teachers of mankind and his work the "Almagest"
as one of the great contributions to human knowledge. The fact that he
represented a climax of astronomical development at Alexandria some
four centuries after the foundation of {83} that university, serves to
show how much that first modern university occupied itself for all the
centuries of its highest prestige, with physical science as well as
with mathematics. Astronomy, physics, especially hydrostatics and
mechanics, were all wonderfully developed. Generations of professors
had given themselves to research and to the publication of important
works quite as in the modern time, and Alexandria may well claim the
right to be placed beside any university for what it accomplished in
physical science, and rank high if not highest in the list of great
research institutions adding new knowledge to old, leading men across
the borderland of the unknown in science and furnishing that precious
incentive to growing youth to occupy itself with the scientific
problems of the world around it.

The most important part of the scientific work of the University of
Alexandria to my mind remains to be spoken of, and that is the medical
department. It is a well-known law in the history of medicine that,
whenever medical schools are attached to universities in such a way
that students who come to the medical department have been thoroughly
trained by preliminary studies and have such standards of scholarship
as obtain in genuine university work, then great progress in medicine
and in medical education is accomplished. This was eminently the case
at Alexandria. The departments of the arts, of linguistics and of
philosophy were gathered {84} around the great building known in Greek
as the Mouseion, a word that has come to us through the Latin under
the guise of Museum. This temple of the Muses contained collections of
various kinds and near it was situated the great library. Not far away
was the Serapeum, or Temple of Serapis, the Goddess of Life, around
which were centred the biological sciences, and close by was the
medical school. As teachers for this medical school some of the
greatest physicians of the time were secured by the first Ptolemy and
a great period in medical history began.

The practical wisdom guiding the Ptolemys in the organization of this
medical school will be best appreciated from the fact that they took
the first step by inviting two distinguished physicians, the products
of the two greatest medical schools of the time, to lay the
foundations at Alexandria. They were probably the best investigators
of their time and they had behind them fine traditions of research,
thorough observation and conservative reasoning and theorizing on
scientific subjects. Erasistratos was a disciple of Metrodoros, the
son-in-law of Aristotle. He had studied for a time under another great
teacher, Chrysippos of Cnidos. We are likely to know much more of Cos
than of Cnidos because of the reputation in the after time of
Hippocrates, whose name is so closely connected with Cos that the two
are almost invariably associated, but Cnidos was one of the great
university towns of the later Greek {85} civilization. Eudoxus the
astronomer, Ctesias the writer on Persian history, and Sostratos the
builder of the great lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the
world, the Pharos at Alexandria, were products of this university. Its
medical school was famous when Cos had somewhat declined, and
Chrysippos was one of the leading physicians of the world and one of
the acknowledged great teachers of medicine when Erasistratos studied
under him at Cnidos, and obtained that scientific training and
incentive to original research which was to prove so valuable to

His colleague, Herophilos, was quite as distinguished as Erasistratos
and owed his training to the rival school of Cos. Whether it was
intentional or not to secure these two products of rival schools for
the healthy spirit of competition that would come from it, and because
they wanted to have at Alexandria the emulation that would naturally
be aroused by such a condition, is not known, but there can be no
doubt of the wisdom of the choice and of the foresight which dictated
it. Herophilos had studied medicine under Praxagoras, one of the
best-known successors of Hippocrates. While distinguished as a surgeon
he had more influence on medicine than almost any man of his time,
except possibly Erasistratos. He was, however, a great anatomist and,
above all, a zoologist who, according to tradition, had obtained his
knowledge of animals from the most {86} careful zootomy of literally
thousands of specimens. His fair fame is blackened by the other
tradition that he practised vivisection on human beings--criminals
being turned over to him for that purpose by the Ptolemys, who were
deeply interested in his researches. The traditions in this matter,
however, serve to confirm the idea of his zeal as an investigator and
his ardent labors in medical science. Tertullian declares that he
dissected at least 600 living persons. We know that he did much
dissection of human cadavers and there is question whether
Tertullian's statement was not gross exaggeration due to confusion
between dissection and vivisection.

Both of these men did some magnificent work upon the brain. This being
the first period in the history of humanity when human beings could be
dissected freely, it is not surprising that they should take up brain
anatomy with ardent devotion, in the hope to solve some of the many
human problems that seemed to centre in this complex organ. Before
this anatomy had been learned mainly from animals, and as human beings
differ most widely from animals by their brain, naturally, as soon as
the opportunity presented itself, anatomists gave themselves to
thorough work on this structure where so many discoveries were waiting
to be made. After the brain and nervous system the heart was studied,
and Erasistratos' description of its valves, of its general structure
and even of its physiology, show how much he {87} knew. To know
something of the work of these two anatomists is to see at once what
is accomplished in a university medical school where medical science,
and not the mere practice of medicine alone, is the object of teachers
and students. I have told the story of this in my address before the
graduates of the St. Louis Medical University Medical School, and here
I shall simply refer you to that. [Footnote 7]

  [Footnote 7: The details of what was accomplished in the Medical
  Department at Alexandria were given to some extent at least in the
  lecture in Brooklyn, but are omitted here in order to avoid
  repetitions in the printed copy.]

Of course all these studies at the university could not be conducted
without laboratory equipment. Of itself the dissecting room is a
laboratory and until very recent years it was the only laboratory that
most of the medical schools had. The numerous experiments in
vivisection, if they really took place, required special arrangements
and could only be conducted in what we now call a laboratory of
physiology. This is not idle talk but represents the realities of the
situation. Other laboratories there must have been. It would be quite
impossible to conceive of a man like Archimedes carrying on his work,
especially of the application of mathematical principles to mechanics,
of the demonstration of mechanical principles themselves and of the
invention of the many interesting machines which he made, without what
we call laboratory facilities. The Ptolemys were {88} interested in
his work, they supplied him with a place to do it, many of his
advanced students at least must have been interested in this work so
that, as I see it, there was what we would now call a physical
laboratory in connection with his teaching at the University of

What we know about the development of zoology under Erasistratos and
Herophilos would seem to indicate that there must have been such
special facilities for the investigation of zoological problems as we
would call a laboratory of physiology. A magnificent collection of
plants was made for the university and these were studied and
classified, and while we hear nothing of their dissection, there were
at least botanical rooms for methodical study, if not botanical
laboratories. Ptolemy's work represented the culmination of
astronomical information which had been gathered for several
centuries. This could only be brought together in what we would now
call an observatory and this represents another laboratory of physical
science. Our laboratory work, therefore, must have been anticipated to
a great extent. We must not forget that our university laboratories
are only a couple of generations old altogether and that they
represent a very recent development of educational work. It is
extremely interesting, therefore, to find them anticipated in germ at
least, if not in actuality, at the first modern university of which we
have sufficiently complete records to enable us to {89} appreciate
just the sort of work that was being done and the ways and modes of
its education.

I think that even this comparatively meagre description of the first
university of which we have knowledge makes it very clear that
Alexandria deserves the name of the First Modern University. It
resembled our own in so many ways that I, for one, find it impossible
to discover any essential difference between them. At Alexandria they
anticipated every phase of modern university education. Their
literature was studied from a scientific standpoint. They devoted
themselves to an overwhelming extent to the study of the physical
sciences and mathematics, their professors were inventors, developers
of practical applications of science, experts to whom appeal was made
when important scientific questions had to be settled, and their
teaching was done with demonstrations and a laboratory system very
like our own. Nothing that I know illustrates better the tendency of
human achievement not to represent advance but to occur in cycles than
the story of this first modern university. That is why I have tried to
tell it to you as an exquisite illustration of How Old the New Is in





  "Qui ad pauca respiciunt faciliter pronuntiant."

  [Those who know little readily pronounce judgment.]



  [Footnote 8: The material for this address was originally gathered
  for a lecture in a course on the History of Education delivered to
  the Sisters of Charity of Mount St. Vincent's, some 500 in number;
  teachers in the Catholic public schools of New York City, and for
  corresponding lectures to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Kenwood.
  The address was delivered substantially in its present form at the
  Catholic Club of Cornell University, under the title "The Relations
  of the Church to Science."]

Probably nothing is more surprising to any one who knows the history
of science and of scientific education than the attitude of mind of
the present generations, educated as they are mainly along scientific
lines, toward the supposed lack of interest of preceding generations
in science. Our scholars and professors seem to be almost universally
of the opinion that the last few generations are the first who ever
devoted themselves seriously to the study of science, or who, indeed,
were free enough from superstitions and persuasions and beliefs of
many kinds to give themselves up freely to scientific investigation.
In the light of what we know or, perhaps I should say, what we are
coming to know now with regard to the educational interests of the men
of the various times, this would be an amusing, if it were not an
amazing, presumption on our part. Over and over again in the world's
history men have been {94} interested in science, both in pure science
and in applied science, in the culture sciences and in the practical

Apparently men forget that philosophy is science and ethics is science
and metaphysics is scientific and logic is science and there is a
science of language. Of course the protest that will be heard at once
is that what we now mean by science is physical science. Even taking
the word science in this narrower sense, however, how can people
forget that our mathematics comes to us from the old Greeks, that old
Greek contributions to medicine and, above all, to the scientific side
of it still remain valuable, that physical science, pure and applied,
developed wonderfully at the University of Alexandria, that there was
a beginning of chemistry and the great foundations of astronomy laid
in the long ago, and that men evidently were quite as much interested
in the problems of nature around them as they have been at any time:
Archimedes insisting that if he only had some place to rest his lever
he could move the world, inventing the screw pump, fashioning his
great burning-mirrors, and a little later Heron inventing the first
germ of the turbine engine, while all the time their colleagues and
contemporaries were developing the mathematics in connection with
them, are studying both pure and applied science. It is simply failure
to state in terms of the present what was accomplished in the past,
that has permitted people to retain {95} curious notions of the
absence of science in antiquity.

Probably most people would be quite ready to concede, and especially
after even a brief calling to their attention of some educational
facts, that the old Greeks did enjoy a scientific educational
development; it would probably even be admitted that the traditions of
science of various kinds from Egypt, from Chaldea, from Babylonia
point to previous eras of scientific development. They would probably
still insist, however, that there had been a long interval of utter
neglect of science lasting nearly 2,000 years and that our interest is
properly a resurrection of science-study after a long burial. They do
not even hesitate to blame the educational authorities of the interval
for their failure to occupy themselves with scientific ideas and are
prone to find reasons of various kinds to account for this failure. As
the Church was dominant in education during the Middle Ages this makes
a ready scapegoat, and so we have heard much of the repression of
scientific study by the ecclesiastical authorities, and the determined
effort made to keep men from inquiring about the problems of nature
around them, because this would lead them to think for themselves and
have doubts with regard to faith. Indeed this attitude of mind in the
history of science is so usual that it is a commonplace, and men who
are supposed to be scholars talk off-handedly of direct Church
opposition to science.


There is no doubt at all that the Church was the commanding influence
in education during the Middle Ages. Whatever was studied was taken up
because the Church authorities were interested in it. Whatever was not
studied was absent from the curriculum because of their lack of
interest. While study was magnificently encouraged there were many
subjects, though not near so many as is often thought, that were
repressed. The Church must certainly be held responsible in every way
for the teaching of the Middle Ages, both as regards its extent and
its limitations. The charters of the universities were granted by the
Popes. The universities themselves usually were cathedral schools
which had developed, and to which had become attached various graduate
departments. The ecclesiastical authorities were in control of them.
The rector of the university was usually the archdeacon of the
cathedral or the chancellor of the diocese. The professors at the
universities were practically all of them in clerical orders, and the
great body of the students were clerics, in the sense that they had
assumed at least minor orders and were supposed to be in preparation
for a clerical life. This was, indeed, the one sure way to secure
exemption from the military duties of the time and to prevent
interference of various kinds by the civil power with the leisure
necessary for study. No man had any essential rights in the Middle
Ages except such as were conferred on him by some organization {97} to
which he belonged, and the clerical order was particularly powerful.

Now the interesting phase of the education afforded by these
universities under ecclesiastical control with clerical students and
professors constituting the large majority of members, with the
influence of the religious orders paramount for centuries, is that it
was entirely scientific in character and largely occupied with the
physical sciences, though the culture sciences formed the basis of it.
Huxley, though he is surely the last man of recent times who would be
suspected for a moment of exaggerating the scientific significance of
mediaeval education, recognized this fact very well and stated it very
emphatically. In his Inaugural Address on Universities Actual and
Ideal, delivered as Rector of Aberdeen University after discussing the
subject with evident careful preparation, he said:

  "The scholars of the mediaeval universities seem to have studied
  grammar, logic and rhetoric; arithmetic and geometry; astronomy,
  theology and music. Thus, their work, however imperfect and faulty,
  judged by modern lights, it may have been, brought them face to face
  with all the leading aspects of the many-sided mind of man. For
  these studies did really contain, at any rate in embryo, sometimes
  it may be in caricature, what we now call philosophy, mathematical
  and physical science and art. {98} _And I doubt if the curriculum of
  any modern university shows so clear and generous a comprehension of
  what is meant by culture, as this old Trivium and Quadrivium does."_
  (Italics mine.)

Of course Huxley says, "sometimes it may be in caricature." We must
not forget, however, that first even Huxley hesitates to say that it
is caricature, for he knows how easy it is to be mistaken in our
estimation of the true significance of an old-time mode of thought,
and then, too, he knew comparatively how little we were sure of the
real thoughts and conclusions of these men of the olden time because
of defective sympathy and even defective knowledge of their work. Our
knowledge in this matter has greatly increased since his time. As a
matter of fact, the more we know about these old masters and the
mediaeval universities the less are we likely to think of their work
as lacking in seriousness in any sense. The quarter of a century that
has elapsed since Huxley so cogently urged this at Aberdeen has
brought many facts unknown to us before and has shown us what good
work, even in the physical sciences, was accomplished in these
old-time universities.

For instance, nothing is more common in the mouths of certain kinds of
scholars than the expressions of wonder as to why men did not study
nature more assiduously before our time. Here is a magnificent open
book full of the most alluring lessons which any one may study for
himself, and that somehow it is presumed men neglected {99} down to
our time. We are the age of nature students, and preceding times are
looked at askance for having neglected the opportunities that lay so
invitingly open to them in this subject. It has always been a wonder
to me how people dare to talk this way. Our old literatures are full
of observations on nature. In my book on "The Popes and Science" I
take Dante as a typical product of the universities of the thirteenth
century, and show without any difficulty as it seems to me, that there
is no poet of the modern time who can draw figures from nature which
demand even a detailed knowledge of nature with so much confidence as
Dante. He knows the most intimate details about the birds, about many
animals, about the ways of flowers, about children, describes some
experiments in science, has a wide knowledge of astronomy and in
general is familiar with nature quite as much if not more than any
modern writer not _ex professo_ a naturalist. He describes the
metamorphosis of insects, how the ants communicate with one another,
knows the secrets of the bees and exhibits wide knowledge of the
secrets of bird life.

The presumption that people did not study nature in the olden time is
quite unjustified. They did not write long books about trivial
subjects of nature-study. They did not conclude that because they were
seeing something for the first time, that that was the first time in
the world's history it had ever been seen. They were gentle, {100}
kindly scholars who assumed that others had eyes and saw too, and as
fortunately there was no printing press there was not that hurried
rushing into print, with superficial observations and still more
superficial conclusions, which has characterized so much of our recent
literature of nature-study and that has been so well dubbed "nature
faking." Of course we have had faking of the same kind in nearly
everything else: we have history faking in our supposed historical
romances, science faking in our pseudo-science, science-history faking
in our ready presumption that the men of the olden time could not have
had our interests, and, above all--may I now say it?--in our cheap
conclusion that there must have been some reason for their lack of
interest in science, and then the assumption without anything further,
that it must have been because of the Church.

Just as soon as there is question of there having been any serious
scientific study during the Middle Ages, in the sense of observations
in physical science, investigation of the physical phenomena of nature
and the drawing of conclusions from them and the evolving of laws,
there are a large number of people who consider themselves very well
informed, who will at once object that this must be quite absurd,
since at this time Lord Chancellor Bacon had not as yet laid down the
great foundations of the physical sciences in his discussion of
inductive reasoning. I have already {101} ventured to suggest, in the
address on "The First Modern University," how utterly ridiculous any
such notion is. I have quoted Lord Macaulay and Huxley as ridiculing
those who entertained such an idea. Here I may be permitted to recur
to the subject by quotations from the same authorities. I have often
found that anything I myself said in this matter was at once
considered as quite incredible, since my feelings were entirely too
favorable toward the Middle Ages and then my religious affiliations
are somehow supposed to unfit me for scientific thinking. Fortunately
Macaulay and Huxley have expressed themselves in this matter even more
vigorously than I would be likely to, and so I may simply quote them.

As Lord Macaulay wrote in his well-known essay:

  "The vulgar notion about Bacon we take to be this, that he invented
  a new method of arriving at truth, which method is called induction,
  and that he detected some fallacy in the syllogistic reasoning which
  had been in vogue before his time. This notion is as well founded as
  that of the people who, in the Middle Ages, imagined that Virgil was
  a great conjurer. Many who are far too well informed to talk such
  extravagant nonsense entertain what we think incorrect notions as to
  what Bacon really effected in this matter."

Still more apposite is what Professor Huxley has to say. Discoursing
on the phenomena of {102} organic nature, after warning his auditors
not to suppose that scientific investigation is "some kind of modern
black art," he adds: "I say that you might easily gather this
impression from the manner in which many persons speak of scientific
inquiry, or talk about inductive and deductive philosophy, or the
principles of the 'Baconian philosophy.' To hear people talk about the
great Chancellor--and a very great man he certainly was--you would
think that it was he who had invented science, and that there was no
such thing as sound reasoning before the time of Queen Elizabeth.

  "There are many men who, though knowing absolutely nothing of the
  subject with which they may be dealing, wish nevertheless to damage
  the author of some view with which they think fit to disagree. What
  they do is not to go and learn something about the subject; . . .
  but they abuse the originator of the view they question, in a
  general manner, and wind up by saying that, 'After all, you know,
  the principles and method of this author are totally opposed to the
  canons of the Baconian philosophy.' Then everybody applauds, as a
  matter of course, and agrees that it must be so."

Lord Bacon himself so little understood true science that he condemned
Copernicanism because it failed to solve the problems of the universe,
and condemned Dr. Gilbert, the great founder in Magnetism, whose work
was the best {103} exemplification of inductive science of that time.
Of course Bacon did not invent science nor its methods. He was only a
publicist popularizing them. They had existed in the minds of all
logical thinkers from the beginning. His great namesake, Friar Bacon,
much better deserves to be thought a pioneer in modern physical
science than the chancellor,--and he was a mediaeval university man.

We are prone to think of the old-time universities as classical or
literary schools with certain limited post-graduate features, more or
less distantly smacking of science. The reason for this is easy to
understand. It is because out of such classical and literary colleges
our present universities, with their devotion to science, were
developed or transformed during the last generation or two. It is to
be utterly ignorant of mediaeval education, however, to think that the
classical and literary schools are types of university work in the
Middle Ages. The original universities of the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries paid no attention to language at all except
inasmuch as Latin, the universal language, was studied in order that
there might be a common ground of understanding. Latin was not studied
at all, however, from its literary side; to style as such the
professors in the old mediaeval universities and the writers of the
books of the time paid no attention. Indeed it was because of this
neglect of style in literature and of the niceties of classical Latin
that the university men of recent centuries before our own, {104} so
bitterly condemned the old, mediaeval teachers and were so utterly
unsympathetic with their teaching and methods. We, however, have come
once more into a time when style means little, indeed, entirely too
little, and when the matter is supposed to be everything, and we
should have more sympathy with our older forefathers in education who
were in the same boat. We have inherited traditions of
misunderstanding in this matter, but we should know the reasons for
them and then they will disappear.

As a matter of fact, exactly the same thing happened in our modern
change of university interests during the latter half of the
nineteenth century as happened in the latter half of the fifteenth
century in Italy, and in the next century throughout Europe. With the
fall of Constantinople the Greeks were sent packing by the Turks and
they carried with them into Italy manuscripts of the old Greek
authors, examples of old Greek art and the classic spirit of devotion
to literature as such. A new educational movement termed the study of
the humanities had been making some way in Italy during the preceding
half-century before the fall of Constantinople, but now interest in it
came with a rush. The clergymen, the nobility, even the women of the
time became interested in the New Learning, as it was called. Private
schools of various kinds were opened for the study of it, and
everybody considered that it was the one thing that people who {105}
wanted to keep up to date, smart people, for they have always been
with us, should not fail to be familiar with. The humanities became
the fashion, just as science became the fashion in the nineteenth
century. Fashion has a wonderfully pervasive power and it runs in
cycles in intellectual matters as well as in clothes.

The devotees of the New Learning demanded a place for it in the
universities. University faculties perfectly confident, as university
faculties always are, that what they had in the curriculum was quite
good enough, and conservative enough to think that what had been good
enough for their forefathers was surely good enough also for this
generation, refused to admit the new studies. For a considerable
period, therefore, the humanities had to be pursued in institutions
apart from the universities. Indeed it was not until the Jesuits
showed how valuable classical studies might be made for developmental
purposes and true education that they were admitted into the

Note the similarity with certain events in our own time in all this.
Two generations ago the universities refused to admit science. They
were training men in their undergraduate departments by means of
classical literature. They argued exactly as did the old mediaeval
universities with regard to the new learning, that they had no place
for science. Science had to be learned, then, in separate institutions
for a time. The scientific {106} educational movement made its way,
however, until finally it was admitted into the university curricula.
Now we are in the midst of an educational period when the classics are
losing in favor so rapidly that it seems as though it would not be
long before they would be entirely replaced by the sciences, except,
in so far as those are concerned who are looking for education in
literature and the classic languages for special purposes.

It will be interesting, then, to trace the story of the old mediaeval
universities as far as the science in their curriculum was concerned,
because it represents much more closely than we might have imagined,
or than is ordinarily thought, the preceding phase of education to the
classical period which we have seen go out of fashion to so great an
extent in the last two generations. We shall readily find that at
least as much time was devoted in the mediaeval universities to the
physical sciences as in our own, and that the culture sciences filled
up the rest of the curriculum. Philosophy, which occupied so prominent
a place in older university life, was not only a culture science, but
physical science as well, as indeed the name natural philosophy, which
remained almost down to our day, attests.

Physical science was not the sole object of these mediaeval
institutions of learning, but they were thoroughly scientific. The
main object of the universities in the olden time was to secure such
{107} discussion of the problems of man's relation to the universe, to
his Creator, to his fellow-creatures and to the material world as
would enable him to appreciate his rights and duties and to use his
powers. Huxley declared that the trivium and quadrivium, the seven
liberal arts studied in the mediaeval universities, probably
demonstrate a clearer and more generous comprehension of what is meant
by culture than the curriculum of any modern university. Language was
learned through grammar, the science of language. Reasoning was
learned through logic, the science of reasoning; the art of expression
through rhetoric, a combination of art and science with applications
to practical life. Mathematics was studied with a zeal and a success
that only those who know the history of mediaeval mathematics can at
all appreciate. Cantor, the German historian of mathematics, in
hundreds of pages of a large volume, has told the story of the
development of mathematics during the centuries before the
Renaissance, that is from the thirteenth to the fifteenth, in a way
that makes it very clear that the teaching at the universities in this
subject was not dry and sterile, but eminently productive, successful
in research, and with constant additions to knowledge such as live
universities ought to make.

Then there was astronomy, metaphysics, theology, music and law and
medicine. The science of law was developed and, above all, great {108}
collections of laws made for purposes of scientific study. Of
astronomy every one was expected to know much, of medicine we shall
have considerable to say hereafter, but in the meantime it is well to
recall that these mediaeval centuries maintained a high standard of
medical education and brought some wonderful developments in the
sciences allied to medicine and above all in their applications to
therapeutics. Surgery never reached so high a plane of achievement
down to our own time, as during the period when it was studied so
faithfully and developed so marvellously at the mediaeval
universities. It was inasmuch as a knowledge of physics was needed for
the development of metaphysics that the mediaeval schoolmen devoted
themselves to the study of nature. They turned with as much ardor and
devotion as did Herbert Spencer in the nineteenth century, to the
accumulation of such information with regard to nature as would enable
them to draw conclusions, establish general principles and lay firm
foundations for reasonings with regard to the creature and the
Creator. It is, above all, this phase of mediaeval teaching work, of
the schoolmen's ardent interest that is misunderstood, often ignored
and only too frequently misrepresented in the modern time.

For instance, in the discussion of the status of matter in the
universe the scholastics and notably Thomas Aquinas had come to the
conclusion that matter was absolutely indestructible. He {109} even
went so far as to say that man could not destroy it, and God would not
annihilate it. _Nihil omnino in nihilum redigetur_--nothing at all
will ever be reduced to nothingness, was his dictum as the conclusion
of a course of lectures on this subject. He saw the changes in matter
all round him that were supposed to be destructive, the burnings, the
vaporizations, the solutions, the putrefactions and all the rest, but
he knew that these only brought changes in matter and not destruction
of the underlying substance. For him, as for all the scholastic
philosophers, matter was composed of two principles, as they were
called. One of these was prime matter and the other form. To prime
matter, one of these, matter or substance owed all its negative
qualities, inertia and the like. To form, the dynamic element or
principle, it owed all its individuating qualities. Prime matter was
the same in all things. Form was the energy or bundle of energies, the
dynamic principle, as we have said, which entering into prime matter,
made the different kinds of matter that we speak of.

It is extremely interesting to compare this old scholastic teaching
with the modern ideas of the composition of matter and especially the
notions which have come to us from researches in physical chemistry in
recent years. Our scientists no longer believe that we have some
eighty different elements, essentially different kinds of matter, that
cannot by any chance or process be changed one {110} into another. We
have seen one form of elementary matter changing into another, helium
emanations becoming radium, have heard of Professor Ramsay's
transmutation of various elements, and have about come to the
conclusion that in the radio-active substances we have a wonderful
transmuting power. A prominent American professor of chemistry
declared not long since that he would like to treat a large quantity
of lead ore in order to extract from it all the silver which so
constantly occurs in connection with it in the natural state, and then
having put the lead ore aside for a score of years, would like to
examine it again, confident that he would find traces of silver in it
once more, which had developed as a consequence of the radio-activity
present in the substance and which is constantly changing lead into
silver in small quantities. Newton's declaration, when he saw crystals
of gold in connection with copper, that gold had been developed from
the copper, seemed very foolish a century ago, but no one would
consider it so at the present moment.

We are prone to think that these old mediaeval philosophers accepting
to some extent at least the philosopher's stone with its supposed
capacity for changing baser metals into precious, and with their
acceptance of the transmutation of substances, cannot have had any
real scientific bent of mind. We are coming to the realization,
however, that in many ways by pure reasoning, in {111} conjunction
with such observation as they had at hand, they anticipated our most
recent conclusions in very marvellous ways. We know now that radium,
or at least radio-active substances, represent the philosopher's stone
of the olden time. We are not surprised at the transmutation of metals
and of substances, on the contrary, we are looking for it.

I remember once stating the old theory of matter and form to a
distinguished professor in chemistry in this country, and he was
struck by the similarity of it to what are the present accepted ideas
of the composition of matter. He asked why this teaching was not more
generally known. I had to tell him that in every Catholic school of
philosophy, it was taught as a basic doctrine, and that far from being
concealed it was the very touchstone of Catholic philosophic teaching,
and had often been the subject of deprecation and contemptuous remarks
on the part of those who thought that it represented somewhat foolish
old-fashioned teaching handed down to us from the backwardness and
abysm of time.

We have demonstrated the indestructibility of matter in modern times
by experimental methods. The mediaeval schoolmen reached similar
conclusions, however, by strict reasoning from the premises of
observation that they had in the olden times. We may be apt to think
that they knew very little about nature and the details of physical
science, but that will be only because we do not {112} know their
great books. Albertus Magnus is a typical example of a renowned
teacher of the thirteenth century who was, however, at the same time a
highly respected member of his order, holding important official
positions in it and thoroughly honored and respected by his
ecclesiastical superiors so that he was made a bishop, yet writing
volumes of observation with regard to nearly every phase of physical
science. A list of his books reads like a section of a catalogue of a
library of physical science. I have told the story of his career in
the second series of "Catholic Churchmen in Science," but the names of
his volumes are sufficient to show what sort of work he was doing. He
has volumes on chemistry, botany, on physics, on cosmography, on
animal locomotion, on respiration, on generation and corruption, on
age and death and life, on phases of psychology, the soul, sense and
sensation, memory, sleep, the intellect and many another subject.
Those who think that there was no attention paid to science in the
Middle Ages must know nothing at all of Albertus Magnus' work.

Above all, those who talk thus are entirely ignorant of all that Roger
Bacon did. Roger Bacon himself was a student of the University of
Paris. He was a professor there. He corresponded with the scientists
of Europe quite as frequently or at least as significantly as
professors of the modern time do with each other. Students submitted
their discoveries to him. We {113} have Peregrinus' letter to him with
regard to magnetism and electricity and know of others. We have his
own books, in which he treats not only the scientific problems, but
inventions and applied science of all kinds. At the present time his
interest in aeronautics has a special appeal to us. He was sure that
men would sometime make a successful airship. He even thought that he
could make one himself, but his experiments proved unsuccessful. His
theory of it was very interesting. In his work "De Secretis Artis et
Naturae Operibus" he writes that a machine could be constructed in
which a man sitting in the centre might move wings by means of a crank
and thus, quite after the fashion of birds, fly through the air. It
was he who wrote that the time would come when carriages would move
along the roads without men or horses to pull them. At the moment he
was experimenting with gunpowder. He realized, therefore, that
sometime men would harness explosives and use them for motor purposes.
That is, of course, just what we are doing with gasolene.

He suggested that boats would run over the water without oars and
without sails. He was anticipating our motor boat. He taught that
light moves with a definite rate of velocity, though that fact was not
demonstrated for several centuries after his time. He worked out most
of the theory of lenses as we have it at the present time. He was sure
that experiment and {114} observation constituted the only way by
which knowledge of nature could be obtained. In this he was but
following his great teacher Albertus Magnus, who insisted that in
natural philosophy experiment alone brought sure knowledge;
_"Experimentum solum certificat in talibus."_ are his own words. Roger
Bacon's devotion to mathematics shows how thoroughly scientific was
the trend of his mind. Without mathematics he was sure that one could
not reach scientific knowledge, or that what one did get was without
certainty. Some of his expressions in this matter are strikingly
modern. It is no wonder that his writings and teachings were so great
a surprise to his generation that the Pope ordered him to write out
his knowledge in books. Without this order we would not have had Roger
Bacon's great works, for his vow of poverty voluntarily taken forbade
him to be possessed of sufficient money to enable him to purchase
writing materials, which were then very expensive.

Indeed the mathematics of the mediaeval universities is the best proof
of the seriousness of their devotion to science and, may it also be
said, of their success. Cantor, in his "History of Mathematics," and
he is the great authority in the matter, devotes nearly 100 pages of
his second volume to the mathematicians of the thirteenth century
alone, two of whom, Leonard of Pisa and Jordanus Nemorarius, did so
much in arithmetic, in the theory of numbers, and in geometry, {115}
as to work a revolution in mathematics. They had great disciples like
John of Holywood (probably a town near Dublin), Johannes Campanus and
others. No wonder that at the end of the century Roger Bacon said,
"For without mathematics nothing worth knowing in philosophy can be
obtained," and again, "for he who knows not mathematics cannot know
any other science; what is more, he cannot discover his own ignorance
or find its proper remedy." The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw
even more important work done. Cantor has half a dozen men in the
fifteenth century to whom he devotes more than twenty-five pages each.
How the place of this in mediaeval teaching can have escaped the
notice of those who insist so much on the neglect of science during
the Middle Ages, is hard to understand. This alone would convict them
of ignorance of what they are talking about.

The educational genius of the great university century, the
thirteenth, the man who influenced his contemporaries and succeeding
generations more than any other, was Thomas Aquinas, to whom the
Church, for his knowledge and goodness, gave the title of saint. If
any further proof that these centuries were interested in science were
needed, or that the universities in which he was the leading light as
scholar and professor in the thirteenth century, and as the great
master to whom all looked reverentially after, were developing
scientific studies, it would be found in {116} his works. Philosophy
is developed scientifically in his "Contra Gentes" and theology,
scientifically in his great "Summa." It is the very austerity of the
scientific qualities of these books that have made them forbidding for
many modern readers, who, therefore, have failed to understand the
scientific spirit of the time. St. Thomas Aquinas, however, was, as I
suggested at the beginning of this, deeply interested in every form of
information with regard to what we now call physical science. He
evidently drank in with avidity all that had been observed with regard
to living creatures and, when we come to analyze his works with care
and read his books with the devotion of his own students, we find many
anticipations of what is most modern in our science.

The indestructibility of matter, matter and form, that is the doctrine
of the unity of the basis of matter, the conservation of energy in the
sense that the forms of matter change but do not disappear, all these
were commonplaces in his thought and teaching. I have recently had
occasion to point out how close he came to that thought in modern
biology which is probably considered to be one of our most modern
contributions to the theory of evolution. It is expressed by the
formula of Herbert Spencer, "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny."
According to this the completed human being repeats in the course of
its development the history of the race, that is to say, the varying
phases of foetal development {117} in the human embryo, from the
single cell in which it originates up to the perfect being as it is
born into the world, retrace the history by which from the single-cell
being man has gradually developed. The whole theory of evolution is
supposed by many people to be modern, but of course it is not. This
particular phase of it, however, is thought surely to be modern. It is
sometimes spoken of as the fundamental law of biogeny. In recent years
serious doubts have been thrown on it, but with that we have nothing
to do here.

It is very curious to find, however, that St. Thomas, in his teaching
with regard to the origin and development of the human being, says,
almost exactly, what the most ardent supporters of this so-called
fundamental biogenetic law proclaimed in recent years. He says that
"the higher a form is in the scale of being and the farther it is
removed from mere material form, the more intermediate forms must be
passed through before the finally perfect form is reached. Therefore,
in the generation of animal and man--these having the most perfect
forms--there occur many intermediate forms in generations and
consequently destruction, because the generation of one being is the
destruction of another." St. Thomas does not hesitate to draw his
conclusions from this doctrine without hesitation. He proclaims that
the human material is first animated by a vegetative soul or principle
of life, and then by an animal soul and only ultimately, when the
matter has {118} been properly prepared for it, by a rational soul. He

  "The vegetative soul, therefore, which is first in the embryo, while
  it lives the life of a plant, is destroyed, and there succeeds a
  more perfect soul, which is at once nutrient and sentient, and for
  that time the embryo lives the life of an animal: upon the
  destruction of this there succeeds the rational soul, infused from

His discussion of the position of the Church and of faith to science
is extremely interesting, because here once more he faces a modern
problem. Aquinas was very sensitive with regard to the imposition upon
Christians of things which supposedly they had to believe on the score
of faith, though they were really not of faith at all. Some of his
expressions in this matter are very strong and he was especially fond
of quoting St. Augustine, who was very emphatic on this point. One of
these typical passages deserves to find a place here because, while
the word philosophy is used, it is evidently science in our modern
sense of the word that is intended. Augustine talks of what the
philosophers have said of the heavens or the stars and the motion of
the sun and moon, meaning of course the astronomers, who were in the
old days classed as natural philosophers. This passage, then, which
contains the opinions of the two greatest teachers of the Church in
the West may well serve as a guide for those who are interested in
science, and a warning for those who would {119} obtrude faith too far
into scientific questions, and thus limit investigation and hamper
that freedom of intellect which is so important for the development of
science. St. Thomas said in his introduction to the reply to Master
John of Vercelli:

  "I have endeavored to reply but with this protest at the outset,
  that many of these articles do not pertain to the teachings of
  faith, but rather to the dogmas of the philosophers. But it works a
  great injury either to assert or deny as belonging to sacred
  doctrine such things as do not bear upon the doctrine of piety. For
  Augustine says, 'When I hear certain Christians ignorant of those
  things (namely, what philosophers have said of the heavens, or the
  stars, or the motion of the sun and moon) or misunderstanding them,
  I look with patience upon such men: nor do I see any reason to
  hinder them, when of thee, Lord Creator of all things, they do not
  believe unworthy things, if perhaps they be ignorant of the
  structure, and condition of corporal creatures. But they are a
  hindrance if they think these things belong to the very doctrine of
  piety; and more, pertinaciously, dare to affirm that of which they
  are ignorant.' But that they may be the cause of injury Augustine
  shows. 'It is very disgraceful,' he says, 'and pernicious and
  especially to be avoided, that a Christian speaking of these things
  as though according to Christian teaching should so rave that any
  infidel may hear; so that, as it is said, seeing him altogether in
  the wrong, he may {120} scarcely contain his mirth. And it is not so
  hurtful that one man should be seen to err, as that our writers are
  believed by those who are without [the Church] to have such
  opinions, and to the ruin of those whose salvation is our care they
  are scorned and contemned as unlearned.' Whence it seems safer to me
  that those things which philosophers have commonly held, and are not
  repugnant to our faith, should neither be asserted as dogmas of
  faith, although at times they may be introduced under the names of
  the philosophers, nor so denied as contrary to the faith, as to give
  occasion to the wise of this world of contemning the teaching of the

Is it any wonder that Professor Saintsbury of the University of
Edinburgh, whose training in the old Scotch universities has given him
a breadth of sympathy not common in our time, and whose wide knowledge
of the literature of that period as well as its philosophy and
education, and whose training in the discussion of the criticism of
all time in his "History of Criticism" has made his opinion of special
value, should have sympathetically turned to these old teachers and
deprecated a little bitterly the modern attitude towards them? He

  "Yet there has always in generous souls who have some tincture of
  philosophy, subsisted a curious kind of sympathy and yearning over
  the work of these generations of mainly disinterested scholars, who,
  whatever they were, were {121} thorough, and whatever they could not
  do, could think. And there have even, in these latter days, been
  some graceless ones who have asked whether the science of the
  nineteenth century, after an equal interval, will be of any more
  positive value--whether it will not have even less comparative
  interest than that which appertains to the scholasticism of the

I have always considered, however, that the easiest way to show the
modern student of science how supremely scientific in his temper was
St. Thomas, is to quote for him the passage from that great teacher
with regard to the Resurrection. In every way, that is typically
modern. St. Thomas faces the question that after death men's bodies
decay, the material of them is taken up and used in many other living
beings, so that how can we dare to believe that we shall rise again on
the last day with the same bodies that we now have? St. Thomas
discusses this knotty problem straightforwardly and solves it more
satisfactorily, even for all the knowledge that we have of it now,
than has ever been done.

  "What does not bar numerical unity in a man while he lives on
  uninterruptedly clearly can be no bar to the identity of the arisen
  man with the man that was. In a man's body while he lives there are
  not only the same parts in respect of matter, but also in respect of
  species. In respect of matter there is a flux and reflux of parts.
  Still that fact does not bar the man's numerical unity {122} from
  the beginning to the end of his life. The form and species of the
  several parts continue throughout life, but the matter of the parts
  is dissolved by the natural heat, and new matter accrues through
  nourishment. Yet the man is not numerically different by the
  difference of his component parts at different ages, although it is
  true that the material composition of the man at one stage of his
  life is not his material composition at another. Addition is made
  from without to the stature of a boy without prejudice to his
  identity, for the boy and the adult are numerically the same man."

The most important feature of the scientific teachings of the
mediaeval universities has been left till the last because it is the
clinching confirmation of a claim that these were essentially
scientific universities. It is to be found in the position of the
medical schools and the state of medical teaching during the Middle
Ages. So curiously has the history of education been written, and,
above all, of medical education, that to most people this would seem
to be surely the department of education which would prove just the
opposite. We have heard so much about Church opposition to anatomy and
Church opposition to surgery, of its repression of the development of
medical science and even medical art, because the Church wanted to
make people believe in the value of masses, relics and prayers--and
pay for them--that most people are quite sure that there {123} was no
medical education of any significance in the Middle Ages. Nothing
shows more clearly how viciously the history of education has been
written than the existence of such false impressions. Not only are
they utterly unfounded, but they are based on supreme ignorance of one
of the greatest periods in the history of medicine that we have in all
the world's history. Not only were the schools excellent and the
teaching progressive, but there was a fine development of medical
science and, above all, of surgery. Surgery is supposed to be
particularly the department of medicine that did not develop. We have
learned better in recent years, and now we know that there was no
greater period in the history of surgery than that from 1200 to 1400
when, alas! following so-called history, we used to think there was no

The first question that any one who knows anything about the subject
asks with regard to the progress in medicine of a particular time or
country is, what was the standard of its medical education? What was
the standard of admission to the medical schools, how many years of
medical studies were required? To this question the Middle Ages have a
wonderful answer that has not been realized until recent years. We now
have Frederick II's famous law for the regulation of the practice of
medicine and the maintaining of standards in medical schools. This law
was promulgated in the Two Sicilies, the southern part of {124} Italy
and Sicily proper. According to it no one was allowed to practise
medicine who had not studied for four years in a recognized university
and then practised for one year with a physician before receiving his
license to practise by himself. If he wanted to practise surgery he
had to spend an additional special year in the study of anatomy. The
university medical schools were graduate schools and did not admit a
student unless he had completed the undergraduate course.

Of course it may be thought that this was due entirely to the great
Emperor Frederick, who was far ahead of his time and who, therefore,
anticipated the progress of medical teaching by many centuries. We
have, however, many other documents which illustrate the state of
medical education at this time. The charters of the medical schools
were granted by the Popes and were very explicit in what they required
of the new faculties in order that standards might be maintained. Pope
John XXII, for instance, at the beginning of the fourteenth century,
issued charters for medical schools at Perugia and Cahors. He required
that there should be four years of medical study and three years of
preliminary work. He went into details to secure the maintenance of
standards. The original faculties of these schools would all have to
be doctors in medicine from either Paris or Bologna, and it must be
their duty to establish in the new schools the standards of their
{125} Almae Matres. Examinations were to be conducted under oath, men
were not to be granted degrees unless they deserved them, the votes of
professors rejecting candidates or graduating them were to be under
oath-bound secrecy, so as to have them absolutely free from personal
influence, and every precaution was taken to secure the highest
possible standards.

It was as a consequence of their direct attachment to these old
mediaeval medical schools that the medical schools founded here in
America in the sixteenth century at once began with high standards.
Three years of preliminary work was required and four years of
medicine. In the United States no preliminary requirements were
demanded; and for a full century only two years of medical study,
which really consisted of but two terms of four months each, was the
requirement. The old mediaeval medical schools were originally
attached to the universities, and it is a well-known rule in the
history of education that whenever the medical schools are independent
then standards are sure to be low. Whenever the university controls
the medical school and it is a real graduate department, then
standards of admission and of graduation are properly maintained. It
is surprising to think that the old mediaeval universities should be
able to give us lessons in this matter and should put us to shame for
our slip-shod nineteenth-century medical education in the United
States, but this is a simple fact. Contrast {126} the South American
countries where the mediaeval traditions with which they were founded
constrained them to give four, five and even six years to medicine
before granting a degree. Go a step further and see how devoted to
science were the Universities of Lima (Peru) and Mexico, centuries
before we did any serious scientific work in the United States, and
all because they were direct descendants of the old mediaeval

The feeling of certain modern educators would be that it did not
matter how much time these mediaeval universities gave to medicine
since, after all, they had nothing of any value to teach in medicine.
Even educated people have been led to believe that there was nothing
in medicine and, above all, in the surgery of those times to be of any
value. Probably no opinion is more foolishly ignorant or more
ridiculously absurd than this, though it is a commonplace among people
who are sure they know something about history, and, above all, among
those who consider themselves authorities in the history of education,
and of the development of science. In surgery a magnificent
development was made at this time of which I shall have something to
say later. In medicine there was much less anticipation of our modern
progress, but even here there was much that demands our respect. One
of the university men, Simon of Genoa, worked out the dosage of opium
and indicated its uses. Anodyne drugs were {127} employed much more
generally and successfully than we are apt to think; various methods
of anaesthesia, one of them by inhalation, of which I shall say more
when talking of surgery, were invented and a large number of drugs and
simples were experimented with. Down at Montpellier Bernard Gordon
suggested red light for smallpox.

This is not much of a record, perhaps, but we must not forget what
Professor Richet, the Director of the Physiological Laboratory of the
University of Paris, said not long since in an article on "Physicians
and Medicine" in _La Revue de Deux Mondes._ It is startling but
chasteningly true. "The therapeutics of any generation has always been
quite absurd to the second succeeding generation." Indeed it is one of
the almost disheartening things in the history of medicine to see how
treatments come in, are widely accepted and hailed as great advances
in therapeutics and then gradually disappear. They bled a great deal
and they purged not a little, in accordance with the teaching in the
medical schools of the universities of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, but then they bled a great deal and purged a great deal
more, according to the teaching of the medical schools of the
beginning of the nineteenth century. There have been many periods in
the interval when purging and bleeding were, and very properly, not
nearly so popular.

It was in preventive medicine particularly that {128} these
progressive medical men of the early university days secured their
triumphs. They made separate hospitals for the lepers all over Europe,
and by segregation succeeded in wiping out that disease, though it was
as widely spread as tuberculosis in our day and presented just as
serious a problem. Indeed the most encouraging incentive for our
present tuberculosis campaign is drawn by many authorities from the
experience with leprosy, which was eventually obliterated as an
endemic popular disease, by strict segregation methods. These same
generations created special hospitals for erysipelas and thus
prevented the spread of this disease in the ordinary hospitals, where
it used to be so serious a factor for morbidity if not for mortality.
Men forgot this later and the disease became a serious problem once
more in all the hospitals of even a generation ago. The hospital
organization worked out by these university men is the finest jewel in
the crown of their accomplishment as applied scientists. Pope Innocent
III, himself a University of Paris man, founded the Santo Spirito
Hospital in Rome, summoning for that purpose the best authority on
hospitals in Europe, Guy of Montpellier, and then required the bishops
of the world to erect similar hospitals in their dioceses. This was
done, and it is Virchow, whose sympathies were anything but favorable
to the Popes, who has been most loud in his praise of the wonderful
hospital organization of these centuries. Every town in {129} Europe
of 5,000 inhabitants or more had a hospital, and there were hospitals
in many of the smaller towns.

It would be easy to think that these hospitals were rudely built, were
badly ventilated, were ill-arranged and, above all, were likely to be
houses for the perpetuation of disease rather than for the regaining
of health. We are prone to think that we are the first generation to
solve the problem of hospital construction. We know what
poorly-constructed, badly-planned institutions were the hospitals of
three generations ago. What, then, must have been the hospital
buildings of centuries ago? This argument has no place in history; the
worst hospitals in the world and in history were erected at the end of
the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Some of
the best hospitals ever constructed date from the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This was a time when great
architects were successfully solving the construction problems for
cathedrals, municipal buildings, colleges and the like, and they
solved them quite as successfully for hospitals. Some of these
hospitals were models in their way. One of them, built toward the end
of the thirteenth century, by the sister of St. Louis, Marguerite of
Bourgogne, with its large windows high in the walls, in single-story
buildings, with arrangements for the segregation of patients, with the
kitchens in a separate building, with beautiful {130} frescoes on the
walls so that patients' minds might be occupied and not left to their
own often disturbing devices as with our bare wall, with a stream of
running water divided so as to pass on both sides of the hospital, is
a model of construction for all time.

It was in surgery rather than medicine, however, that these great
mediaeval university medical schools left their impress upon the
history of medicine. During the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries we have a series of wonderful teachers of surgery, whose
achievements we know not by tradition nor by fragments of their
writings, but by the text-books which they wrote and which constituted
the teaching for generations and sometimes for centuries after their
time. Gurlt, the great German historian of surgery, devotes some 300
pages of the first volume of his "History of Surgery" to the surgical
accomplishments of the Middle Ages. He even protests that space
compels him to abbreviate the story of what these old-time masters of
surgery did to lay the foundation of modern surgical practices. It is
a commonplace in the American writing of history that there was no
surgery at this time. President White says that, "for over a thousand
years surgery was considered dishonorable until the German Emperor
Wenceslas, in 1403, ordered that it should be held in honor again."
The two centuries immediately preceding this date represent the {131}
greatest period in the history of surgery down to our own time, and
because of its originality probably greater in real achievement than
even our vaunted age.

It is sometimes the custom to say that this surgery was derived from
the Arabs. This is supposed to rob the mediaeval universities of any
prestige that may come to them for this marvellous progress. Gurlt,
however, in his "History of Surgery," in his sketch of Roger
(Ruggiero), who was the first of the great surgeons of the thirteenth
century, who taught at the Italian universities, says: "Though Arabian
writings on surgery had been brought over to Italy by Constantine
Africanus 100 years before Roger's time, these exercised no influence
over Italian surgery in the next century, and there is not a trace of
the influence of the Arabs to be found in Roger's work." When Gurlt
says this it is because he has deliberately studied the question, and
we can be absolutely sure, therefore, that whatever we find in surgery
at this time comes to us from these great mediaeval universities
themselves, and is not imported from abroad.

After Roger, who was at Bologna for a time after having been in Paris,
and who then became a Papal physician, there are a series of great
names that deserve to be mentioned. Four names are connected together
by association as master and pupil for what may be termed four
generations of surgical progress. From the birth {132} of the first to
the death of the last represents about 100 years. That 100 years is a
gloriously fruitful century in the history of surgery. The first of
the group is William of Salicet, of whom Professor Clifford Allbutt,
the Regius Professor of Physic at the University of Cambridge, in his
address on the "Historical Relations of Medicine and Surgery to the
End of the Sixteenth Century," delivered by special invitation at the
Congress of Arts and Sciences at the World's Fair in St. Louis in
1904, has the highest praise. Allbutt says: "Like Lanfranc and the
other great surgeons of the Italian tradition, and unlike Franco and
Paré, William had the advantage of the liberal university education of
Italy; but like Paré and Wurtz, he had a large practical experience in
hospitals and on the battlefield and fully recognized that surgery
cannot be learned from books only." Allbutt praises him and rightly
for his careful notes of cases and then tells us something of his
accomplishments in surgery. He says: "William discovered that dropsy
may be due to a _durities renum_ six centuries before Bright; he
substituted the knife for the Arabist abuse of the cautery; _he
investigated the causes of the failure of healing by first intention_
(Italics ours), he described the danger of wounds of the neck; he
sutured divided nerves; he forwarded the diagnosis of suppurative
diseases of the hip; and he referred chancre and phagedaena to their
proper causes."


His pupil Lanfranc equalled his master in devotion to practical
surgery and surpassed him in his development of the great science of
medicine. Pagel, the well-known German historian of medicine, says
that, in his text-book Lanfranc has excellent chapters on the
affections of the eyes, the ears and mouth, the nose, even the teeth,
and treats of hernia in a very practical common-sense way. He warns
against the radical operation and says, in words that come home to us
with strange familiarity at the present time, that many surgeons
decide on operations too easily, not for the sake of the patient but
for the sake of the money that is in them. Lanfranc's discussion of
cystotomy, Pagel characterizes as prudent but rational, for he
considers that the operations should not be feared too much but not
delayed too long. In patients suffering from the inconvenience which
comes from large quantities of fluid in the abdomen he advises
_paracentesis abdominis_, but warns against putting the patient in
danger from such an operation without due consideration. Pagel says
that Lanfranc must be considered as one of the greatest surgeons of
the Middle Ages and the real establisher of the prestige of the French
school of surgery which maintained its prominence down to the
nineteenth century.

Lanfranc had been invited to Paris to take the chair of surgery,
because the authorities of the university wanted to add prestige to
the medical school, which was not as well known as the school {134} of
philosophy. The fame of William of Salicet had spread throughout
academic Europe, and so Lanfranc was offered the chair at the
University of Paris in order to carry his master's message there. The
next in the succession of great teachers at Paris was Mondeville, who
found less to do in an original way than his master Lanfranc and his
protomaster William, but who accomplished much for surgery. All that
he did was thrown into the shade by what was accomplished for
succeeding generations by the next in the series, Guy de Chauliac, who
studied for a time in Paris under Mondeville, though his early medical
education was obtained at Montpellier, but had also had the advantage
of spending a year in Italy at the various medical schools which were
famous at that time. These two incidents, Lanfranc's invitation to
Paris to be a teacher there from Italy more than a thousand miles
away, and Guy de Chauliac's studies in all the important universities
of Europe of the time before he took up his own work, illustrate
better than any words of ours can the ardent enthusiasm for study, the
thoroughgoing anticipation of our most modern methods in education.
Mondeville, like Chauliac, had made very nearly the same round of the
universities. It is a custom, not a chance incident, that we have to
deal with here.

Guy de Chauliac has been given the name of the father of modern
surgery. Any one who wants to see why should read the text-book on
surgery that {135} Chauliac wrote and which for two centuries after
his time (he died about the middle of the fourteenth century)
continued to be the most used text-book of surgery in the medical
schools of Europe. Chauliac, for instance, describes the treatment of
conditions within all three of the important cavities of the body, the
skull, the thorax and the abdomen. Pagel has three closely-printed
pages in small type of titles alone of subjects in surgery which
Chauliac treated with distinction. His description of instruments and
methods of operation is especially full and suggestive. He describes
the passage of a catheter, for instance, with the accuracy and
complete technique of a man who knew the difficulties of it in
complicated cases from practical experience. He even recognizes the
dangers for the patient from the presence of anatomical anomalies of
various kinds and describes certain of the more important of them. He
has very exact indications for trephining. For empyema he advises
opening of the chest and indicates where and how. He says very frankly
that in wounds of the abdomen the patient will die if the intestines
have been perforated and left untreated, and he describes a method of
suturing wounds of the intestines in order to save the patient's life.

His treatment of bone surgery and of fractures and dislocations is
especially interesting and shows how far these very practical men had
reached conclusions resembling those of our time. {136} It was in
hernia particularly that Chauliac's surgical genius manifested itself.
He operated for hernia and its radical cure, placing the patient in an
exaggerated Trendelenberg position, head down, feet fastened to a
slanting board. For such work anatomy had to be known very well, and
Chauliac had made special studies at Bologna under Bertruccio, the
successor of Mondino. Chauliac once declared that the surgeon ignorant
of anatomy carves the human body as a blind man would carve wood. Of
ulcers of all kinds Chauliac writes from a knowledge evidently derived
from experience. Of ulcers due to cancer he has much to say. He
considers them hopeless unless they can be excised at a very early
stage and the incision followed by caustics. For carcinomatous ulcers
there is not much that we can do beyond this, even in our day. It is
no wonder that the great historians of medicine have been unanimous in
praise of this wonderful scientific genius. For my lecture on
"Old-Time Medical Education," before the Johns Hopkins Historical
Club, last year, I quoted some of those opinions. Portal, for
instance, says of him, "It may be averred that Guy de Chauliac said
nearly everything that modern surgeons say and that his work is of
infinite price, but unfortunately too little pondered." Malgaigne
declares Chauliac's "Chirurgia Magna," "A masterpiece of learned and
luminous writing." Pagel says, "Chauliac represents the summit of
attainment in mediaeval {137} surgery, and he laid the foundation of
that primacy in surgery which the French maintained down to the
nineteenth century." Professor Clifford Allbutt says of Chauliac's
treatise, "This great work I have studied carefully and not without
prejudice; yet I cannot wonder that Fallopius compared the author with
Hippocrates or that John Freind calls him the prince of surgeons. The
book is rich, aphoristic, orderly and precise." In a word it has all
the qualities that are usually said to be lacking in the work of
mediaeval scientists, and it is a standing reproach to those who
ignorantly have made so little of the work of these wonderful men of
the olden time, who anticipated so many of the features of our modern
medicine and surgery that we are prone to think of as representing
climaxes in human progress, indications of a wonderful human

Two other names of great professors of surgery deserve to be mentioned
because they make it very clear that this wonderful development of
surgery was not confined to France and Italy, but made itself felt all
over Europe. One of these is John Ypermann, a surgeon of the early
fourteenth century, of whom almost nothing was known until about
twenty-five years ago, when the Belgian historian, Broeck, brought to
light his works and gathered some details of his life. He was a pupil
of Lanfranc, and at the end of the thirteenth century studied at Paris
on a scholarship voted by his native town of Ypres, {138} which
provided maintenance and tuition fees for him at the great French
university expressly in order that he might become expert in surgery.
We are likely to think of Ypres as an unimportant town, but it was one
of the great industrial centres of Europe and one of the most
populous, busy towns of Flanders in the Middle Ages, noted for its
manufacture of linens and fine laces. The famous Cloth Hall, erected
in the thirteenth century, one of the most beautiful architectural
monuments in Europe, and one of the finest buildings of its kind in
the world, was the result of the same spirit that sent Ypermann to

After his return Ypermann settled down in his native town and obtained
great renown not only at home, so that in that part of the country an
expert surgeon is still spoken of as an Ypermann, but he became famous
throughout all the Teutonic countries. He is the author of two books
in Flemish. One of these is on medicine. Pagel calls it an unimportant
compilation. The terms that occur in it, however, are enough to show
us how much more than we are likely to think, these old masters in
medicine discussed problems that are still puzzling us. He treats of
dropsy, rheumatism, under which occur the terms coryza and catarrh,
icterus, phthisis (he calls the tuberculous tysiken), apoplexy,
epilepsy, frenzy, lethargy, fallen palate, cough, shortness of breath,
lung abscess, hemorrhage, blood-spitting, liver abscess, hardening of
the spleen, affections of the kidney, {139} bloody urine, diabetes,
incontinence of urine, dysuria, strangury, gonorrhea and involuntary
seminal emissions--all these terms are quoted directly from Pagel.

His work in medicine, however, is as nothing compared to his writings
on surgery. A special feature of his book is the presence of seventy
illustrations of instruments of the most various kinds, together with
a plate showing the anatomical features of the stitching of a wound in
the head. Even Pagel's brief account of its contents will be a source
of never-ending surprise for those who think that surgery has
developed entirely in our time. Even in this work on surgery, however,
there are many things that we now treat under medicine. As this gives
us an opportunity to show how much more of medicine was known at this
time than is usually thought, I venture to quote some of Pagel's brief
resume of the contents of a single chapter. This is a chapter devoted
to intoxications, which includes the effect of cantharides as well as
alcohol, and treats of the bites of snakes, scorpions and of the fatal
effects of wounds due to the bite of mad dogs.

The other great surgeon and surgical writer of the time, for there
must have been many distinguished surgeons and only a few writers, if
we can trust to common experience in that matter, was John Ardern, an
English surgeon. He was educated in Montpellier, practised for a time
in France, then settled for some years in the {140} small town of
Newark in Nottinghamshire, and then for nearly thirty years in London.
His "Practice of Surgery," as yet existing only in manuscript, is
another one of these wonderful contributions to the applied sciences
of anatomy and medicine at a time when such applications are often
supposed to have been absent. He was an expert operator and had a wide
reputation for his success in the treatment of diseases of the rectum.
He was the inventor of a new clyster apparatus. Daremberg, the medical
historian, who saw a copy of Ardern's manuscript in St. John's
College, Oxford, says that it contained numerous illustrations of
instruments and operations. We fortunately possess an excellent
manuscript copy in the Surgeon General's Library at Washington, and
sometime it is hoped this will be edited and published.

The most interesting feature of the work of all of these men is their
dependence on personal observation and not on authority. Guy de
Chauliac's position in this matter can be very well appreciated from
his criticism of John of Gaddesden's book in which he bewails the
blind following of those who had gone before. His bitterest reproach
for many of his predecessors was that, "They followed one another like
cranes, whether for fear or love he would not say." Pagel praises
Ypermann for the well-marked striving which he has noted in him to
free himself from the bondage of authority, and because most of his
therapeutic {141} descriptions rest upon his own experience. William
of Salicet, at the beginning of this great period of surgery, had
insisted that notes of cases were the most valuable sources of wisdom
in medicine and surgery. The last of them, Ardern, gave statistics of
his cases and was quite as proud as any modern surgeon of the large
number that he had operated on. He gives these carefully and

I have dwelt on the medical side of these universities mainly, of
course, because this is more familiar to me as a historian of medicine
than their work in other scientific departments, but also to a great
extent because the medical schools gathered unto themselves nearly all
the scientific knowledge of the time. Botany, mineralogy, climatology,
meteorology were all studied for the sake of what could be learned
from them for the benefit of medicine. Even astronomy which was then
the old astrology, was cultivated seriously, because of the supposed
effect of the stars on human constitutions. For this we surely cannot
blame these mediaeval students of science since four centuries later
Galileo and even Kepler were still making horoscopes for their patrons
and laying down laws from astronomy that were supposed to be
applicable to medicine. Even Copernicus studied astronomy and medicine
side by side and this combination of studies was not at all

The medical schools, then, are the real index of {142} the serious
interest of the mediaeval universities in science. Our scientific
departments in modern universities have developed other interests,
because of various applications that these have to life and its
concerns. Always in scientific universities applied science is sure to
encroach upon the domain of pure science, and no one knows that better
than we do, for we have been bewailing the presence of machine shops
and boiler factories on the university grounds. The old universities
did not teach applied mechanics or engineering, but that does not mean
that these subjects were not taught. There were special technical
schools conducted by the gilds by means of apprenticeship and the
journeyman training, which enabled them to teach those who cared to
have it all the knowledge necessary for construction work of various
kinds. The wonderful architectural engineering exhibited in the
cathedrals, university buildings, town halls and castles of this time,
and the magnificent bridges, some of which are still in existence,
show us that the technical subjects were by no means neglected.
[Footnote 9] Our mediaeval forefathers in education had the wisdom not
to let the technical subjects interfere with pure science too much, as
they inevitably do whenever the two are brought too closely together.
Culture is always overshadowed by the practical, but not to the
ultimate benefit of the race.

  [Footnote 9: See Address on "Ideal Education of the Masses."]

The proof for us here in America, close at {143} hand, that these
universities of the Middle Ages were thoroughly scientific in spirit
and not only capable of, but actually active and successful in
scientific investigation, is to be found in our earliest American
universities. We are prone to think, because of the curiously
defective way in which our histories of education have been written,
that the only things worth while talking about in the origins of
education here in America are to be found in English America. Recent
investigations have shown how utterly deceived we were by foolish
self-conceit in this matter. Long before the English-American
universities were founded, and still longer before they began to do
any serious work in education, there were important universities
having literally thousands of students in attendance in the
Spanish-American countries. The University of Mexico and the
University of Lima in Peru were both founded about the middle of the
sixteenth century. Harvard came nearly a century later, Yale a full
century and a half, Princeton more than two centuries. The contrast
between our English-American institutions of learning, however, and
their Spanish-American rivals in accomplishment and numbers in
attendance is still more striking than the mere dates of foundation.

Of course there were chairs of many sciences, strange as that may seem
to us with our ridiculous traditions with regard to the history of
education. These Spanish-American universities were {144} the direct
descendants of the old mediaeval universities. They were in close
relationship with Salamanca, Valladolid and Alcala. They were the
progeny of scientific universities and they were, of course, occupied
mainly with science. In spite of the fact that already the influence
of the Renaissance, with its classical studies as the basis of
education, had begun to make itself felt, these Spanish-American
universities retained, to a great extent, the scientific curriculum.
Nor must it be thought that they were shilly-shally institutions of
learning, doing nothing in reality, but making a great pretence of
studying many things. To know the very opposite we turn to Bourne,
himself at the time a professor at Yale, and writing one of the
volumes of a series edited by Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, who
holds the chair of history at Harvard, to be told in very definite
emphatic terms how successfully investigations in science and
scientific education were carried on in Mexico. Professor Bourne says:

  "Not all the institutions of learning founded in Mexico in the
  sixteenth century can be enumerated here, but it is not too much to
  say that in number, range of studies and standard of attainments by
  the officers they surpassed anything existing in English America
  until the nineteenth century. _Mexican scholars made distinguished
  achievements in some branches of science, particularly medicine and
  surgery, but pre-eminently linguistics, history and anthropology._
  {145} Dictionaries and grammars of the native languages and
  histories of the Mexican institutions are an imposing proof of their
  scholarly devotion and intellectual activity. Conspicuous are
  Toribio de Motolinia's 'Historia de las Indias de Nueva España,'
  Duran's 'Historia de las Indias de Nueva España,' but most important
  of all Sahagun's great work on Mexican life and religion."

The scientific products of these universities in America are
interesting because almost as a rule we know absolutely nothing about
them in English America, and, therefore, conclude there must have been
none. The first book written on a medical topic in America was the
"Secretos de Chirurgia," written by Dr. Pedrarias de Benavides, which
was published at Valladolid in Spain in 1567. The first book on
medicine actually published in this country was "Opera Medicinalia,"
by Francisco Bravo. [Footnote 10] On Columbus' second expedition,
however, a Dr. Chança who had been physician-in-ordinary to the King
and Queen of Spain, was sent with the expedition as what we would now
call a scientific attaché. On his return he wrote a volume of
scientific observations that he had made in America. Some of these
were doubtless written while he was over here, though the book was
published in Spain. Dr. Ybarra of New York recently published a résumé
of this in the Smithsonian Publications and an article on it in the
_Journal of the American Medical Association_. {146} It shows very
well how wide were the scientific interests of the physicians of the
time and how ardent their investigation of science, for there is
scarcely a phase of modern science that would be touched on by the
corps of scientists now attached to such an expedition which does not
receive some serious treatment in Dr. Chança's book. Thus early did
the Spanish-Americans take up scientific investigation seriously.

  [Footnote 10: Published in Mexico, 1570.]

Professor Bourne of Yale, in his chapter on the "Transmission of the
European Culture," in the third volume of the American Nation Series,
[Footnote 11] says (p. 17): "Early in the eighteenth century the Lima
University [Lima, Peru] counted nearly 2,000 students and numbered
about one hundred and eighty doctors [in its faculty] in theology,
civil and canon law, medicine and the arts. Ulloa reports that 'the
university makes a stately appearance from without, and its inside is
decorated with suitable ornaments.' _There were chairs of all the
sciences_, and 'some of the professors have, notwithstanding the vast
distance, gained the applause of the literati of Europe.' The coming
of the Jesuits contributed much to the real educational work in
America. They established colleges, one of which, the little Jesuit
College at Juli, on Lake Titicaca, became a seat of genuine learning."

  [Footnote 11: Harpers, New York, 1908.]

A distinguished professor of medicine in this country to whose
attention this state of medical {147} education in the
Spanish-American countries, so different from what is thought, was
called, said: "What a surprise it is to find that while we have been
accustomed to think that the _primum mobile_ [the active initiative]
in education in this country came from the Anglo-Saxons, we now find
that they were long anticipated in every department of education by
the Spaniards, though we have been rather accustomed to despise them
for their backwardness." With regard to the establishment of the first
American medical school, it is no longer a surprise to find that it
was established in Mexico, just as soon as we realize that the Mexican
University was closely in touch with the traditions of the mediaeval
universities generally and these all established medical schools as
university departments. The standards of these mediaeval medical
schools were transported to America and maintained. Our medical
schools in the United States got away from the universities, became
mere preparatory institutions, granted degrees for just as little
study as possible, two terms of four months each in most cases,
sometimes given in the same calendar year and requiring no preliminary
training. We are reforming this now for a generation, but just
inasmuch as we are, far from advancing, we are going straight back to
the mediaeval universities and their standards and methods.

With all this evidence before us it seems perfectly clear that these
old mediaeval universities {148} must be considered to have been
scientific universities in our fullest modern sense of the term. They
devoted all their time to the study of phenomena around them and the
attempt to find the principles underlying them. They went at it
somewhat differently in many departments of science than those which
are now employed, but in all their practical work at least, they
anticipated our methods as well as many of our results. The great
professors wrote text-books and students who were ardent in the
pursuit of knowledge copied out those text-books by hand. They had no
way of easily multiplying them almost indefinitely, as we have at the
present time. Probably nothing shows so well the enthusiastic zeal of
these times in the pursuit of scientific knowledge as the fact that so
many copies of these textbooks still remain for us. Much has been lost
by war and fire, and still more by wanton destruction by people who
could not understand, for there were many intervening generations that
sold these old manuscripts by the ton for the use of grocers to wrap
up butter and any other commodity. If we only had the wealth of
manuscript that was originally created it would be easy to fill in the
gaps in our knowledge, and show the wonderful scientific scholarship
of these mediaeval universities.

As it is, there cannot be the slightest doubt that these were great
scientific universities. How, then, has the opposite tradition of
science only {149} coming to cultivation in our time obtained a
foothold; above all, how has it happened that men have insisted that
there was no science in these old days because the Church was opposed
to science and would not permit its study or allow of scientific
investigation? If we were to believe many writers who have been taken
very seriously, anatomy was conducted only under the pain of death,
chemistry made one liable to all sorts of penalties and other forms of
science were absolutely banned. There is no reason at all for any such
declarations from what we know of the history of science. The place
where such groundless assertions are found is in the so-called history
of religion. The _odium theologicum_ was very bitter, and ignorant men
said things without knowing, and then their statements were copied by
others who knew even less.

Probably there is no more serious blot on the history of education
and, above all, the history of science, than the fact that men
supposed to be scholarly have been so ready to accept absolutely
ignorant statements with regard to the state of science during the
Middle Ages. It would be amusing, if it were not so amazing, to recall
the utter lack of scholarship that characterized the men who wrote
such things, but above all the generations that accepted such history
as solemn truth and even conferred academic dignities and degrees on
such men. Take a book like Dr. Draper's "Conflict of Science and
Religion." It {150} is founded on the uttermost lack of knowledge of
the subjects of which he speaks. It is true that he has consulted
historical writers. They were all secondary authorities. He had never
gone back to look up a single original document of any kind. He was a
physician; supposedly at least, then, he should know the history of
medicine. He knows nothing at all about the great medical schools of
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; of the great period of
surgery that occurred at this time he has no inkling. Had he cared
really to know anything about the period he could have seen some of
the text-books written by these men. Instead we have an exhibition, in
his book, of the most consummate assumption of knowledge associated
with sublime ignorance and bitter condemnation for old institutions,
educational and ecclesiastical, in matters of which he knows nothing,
though if he did know, his opinion would surely be just the opposite
to that he has expressed.

To a great degree this is true of President White's "A History of the
Warfare of Science with Theology." Secondary authorities constantly
figure in it, and they are quoted from, as a rule, with the definite
idea of proving a particular thesis--that theology is opposed to
science. Of course it is very different to that of Draper, there is
much more of true scholarship in it, but it is sad to think that the
prestige of a president of a great university who had been a professor
of {151} history should have been lent to statements so egregiously
misleading as those which are constantly to be found in his work. Even
sadder it is to think that this has been accepted by many people as a
scholarly work and as representing the last word on the subject.

The "Cambridge Modern History" in its preface said, that history has
been a long conspiracy against the truth and that we must now go back
once more to the original documents. "It has become impossible," the
editors declare, "for the historical writers of the present age to
trust without reserve even to the most respected secondary
authorities. The honest student continually finds himself deserted,
retarded, misled, by the classics of historical literature, and has to
hew his own way through multitudinous transactions, periodicals and
official publications in order to reach the truth." In no department
of history is this expression more true than in that of education, and
especially of science and the relation of educational institutions to
scientific development. No man should now dare venture to say anything
about the state of science at any time in the world's history who has
not seen some of the books written at that time. Above all, no one
should venture to make little of the past on the strength of what
religiously prejudiced writers have said about it.

This story of the mediaeval universities is most illuminating from
that standpoint. They were {152} scientific universities closely
resembling our own. It has become the custom to talk of them as if
they were institutions of learning that accomplished nothing, and
wasted their time over trifles. We often hear of how much time was
wasted in dialectics in the Middle-Age universities, but surely it was
not more than is wasted over technics in our modern university.
Hundreds of books were written about the quips and quiddities of
logic, but thousands of volumes are full of technics and most of our
scientific journals are crowded with it. Let us, then, if for no other
reason than our fraternity with them, begin to do justice to these old
universities. Their scholars were ardent and zealous, their professors
were enthusiastic and laborious. The tomes they issued were larger and
their writings more voluminous than those of our own professors. They
are hard reading, but no one must dare to criticise them unless he has
read them, and, above all, no one must make little of them without
knowing something about them at first hand. This is scholarship; the
secondary information that has been popular is sciolism. Let us get
back to scholarship. That is what we need just now in America.




  "According to my view he who would be good at anything must practise
  that thing from his youth upwards, both in sport and earnest, in the
  particular way which the work requires: for example, he who is to be
  a good builder, should play at building children's houses; and he
  who is to be a good husbandman at tilling the ground; those who have
  the care of their education should provide them when young with
  mimic tools. And they should learn beforehand the knowledge which
  they will afterwards require for their art. For example, the future
  carpenter should learn to measure or apply the line in play; and the
  future warrior should learn riding or some other exercise for
  amusement, and the teacher should endeavor to direct the children's
  inclinations and pleasures by the help of amusements to their final
  aim in life. The sum of education is right training in the nursery.
  The soul of the child in his play should be trained to that sort of
  excellence in which, when he grows up to manhood, he will have to be
  perfected. Do you agree with me thus far?"--Plato, _Laws_ (Jowett),
  Vol. IV, p. 173. Scribner, 1908.

  "There will be gymnasia and schools in the midst of the city, and
  outside the city circuses (playgrounds) and open spaces for riding
  places and archery. In all of these there should be instructors of
  the young."--Plato, _Laws_ (Jowett), Vol. IV, p. 82. Scribner, 1902.



  [Footnote 12: The material for this lecture was collected for a
  course on the History of Education delivered to the Sisters of
  Charity of Mount St. Vincent's, at St Stephen's Hall, New York City,
  in January and February, 1909. The material was subsequently
  developed for a similar set of lectures for the religious teachers
  in the parochial schools of Philadelphia in the spring of 1910.]

We have come to realize in recent years that in many ways our
education of the masses is a failure. Teaching people to read and
write and occupying them with books till they are fifteen years of
age, when all that they will use their power to read for is to devote
themselves to three or four editions of the daily paper and the huge,
overgrown Sunday papers on their only day of leisure, with perhaps
occasional recourse to a cheap magazine or a cheaper novel, in order
to kill time, as they frankly declare, is scarcely worth while. Indeed
we have even come to realize that such education gives opportunity
rather for the development of discontent than of happiness. The
learning to write which enables a man to be a clerk, or a bookkeeper,
the occupations that are, as a rule, the least lucrative, that are so
full that there is no question of organizing them, that confine men
for long hours in dark rooms very often and furnish the least possible
opportunity to rise, is of itself not ideal. With some rather {156}
disconnected information this is practically all that our ordinary
education teaches people, and yet we spend eight years and large sums
of money on it. We are just beginning to realize that other forms of
education and not these superficial introductions to supposed
scholarship, which can mean so little, constitute realities in

We have come to realize that Germany, where it is said that more than
sixty per cent. of the population has its opportunity for some
technical training, so that men are taught the rudiments of a trade or
a handicraft or some occupation other than that which shall make them
mere routine servants of some one else, does far better than this. By
contrast it is remarked that less than one per cent. of our children
have the opportunity for such training. We are very prone to think,
however, that the technical school is a modern idea. We assume that it
owes its origin to the development of mankind in the process of
evolution to a point where the recognition of the value of handiwork
and craftsmanship has at length arisen. Nothing could well be less
true than this. It is true that the eighteenth century saw practically
no education of this kind and it was only at the end of the nineteenth
century that any modern nation even began to wake up to the necessity
for it. In the older times, however, and, above all, in the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries, there was a magnificent training afforded
the masses of the people in all sorts of arts and {157} crafts and
trades and occupations, such as can now be obtained only in technical
schools. They did not call these teaching institutions technical
schools, but they had all the benefits that we would now derive from
such schools.

This training the people of these times owed to the gilds. These were,
of course, of many forms, the Arts Gilds, the Crafts Gilds, the
Merchants Gilds, and then the various Trades Gilds. Boys were
apprenticed to men following such an occupation as the youth had
expressed a liking for, or that he seemed to be adapted to, or that
his parents chose for him, and then began his training. It was
conducted for five or six years usually in the house of the master or
tradesman to whom he was apprenticed. The master provided him with
board and clothes, at least, after the first year, and he gradually
trained him in the trade or craft or industry, whatever it might be.
After his apprenticeship was over the young man of eighteen or so
became a journeyman workman and usually wandered from his native town
to other places, sometimes going even over seas in order to learn the
foreign secrets of his craft or art or trade, and after three years of
this, when ready to settle down, presented evidence as to his
accomplishments, and if this was accepted he became a master in his
gild. If he were a craftsman or an artisan he made a lock or a bolt or
some more artistic piece of work in the metals base or precious, and
if this sample was {158} considered worthy of them by his
fellow-gildsmen he was admitted as a master in the gild. This was the
highest rank of workman, and the men who held it were supposed to be
able to do anything that had been done by fellow-workmen up to that
time. The piece that he presented was then called a masterpiece, and
it is from this that our good old English word masterpiece was

This might seem a very inadequate training, and perhaps appeal to many
as not deserving of the name of technical training or schooling. The
only way to decide as to that, however, is to appreciate the products
turned out by these workmen. It was these graduates of the
apprentice-journeyman system of technical training who produced the
great series of marvellous art objects which adorn the English
cathedrals, the English municipal buildings, the castles and the
palaces and the monasteries of the thirteenth century. It was the
graduates of these schools, or at least of this method of schooling,
who produced the wonderful stained glass, the beautiful bells, the
finished ironwork, the surpassing woodwork, the sculpture, the
decoration,--in a word, all the artistic details of the architecture
of the wonderful Gothic periods of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries,--which we have learned to value so highly in recent years.
If we wanted to produce such work in our large cities now, we would
have to import the workmen. These wonderful {159} products were made
in cities so small that we would be apt to think them scarcely more
than insignificant towns in our time. No town in England during the
thirteenth century, with the possible exception of London, had more
than 25,000, and most of the cathedral towns were under 15,000 in
population and many of them had less than 10,000.

The extent to which this teaching went and how much it partook of the
nature of real technical training can be very well appreciated from
recent studies of these early times. There has probably never been
more beautiful handicraftsmanship nor better products of what we now
call the arts and crafts than during the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, when this system of educating the masses became thoroughly
organized. Any one who knows the details of the decoration of the
great Gothic cathedrals or of the monasteries and castles and
municipal buildings of these centuries will be well acquainted with
these marvels of accomplishment, scattered everywhere throughout
England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in this period. Something of
the story of it all I tried to tell, as far as the cathedrals are
concerned, in my book, "The Thirteenth the Greatest of Centuries."
Those who care to see another side of it will find it in Mr. A. Ralph
Adams Cram's "The Ruined Abbeys of Great Britain." [Footnote 13] Mr.
Cram, himself a {160} successful modern architect, does not hesitate
to declare some of this work as among the most beautiful that ever was
made, even including the ancient Greek and Roman productions. In his
searches into the ruins of these old abbeys he has found mutilated
fragments so consummate in their faultless art that they deserve a
place with the masterpieces of sculpture of every age.

  [Footnote 13: New York, The Churchman Company, 1905.]

It was not alone, however, in the arts of sculpture and decoration,
that is in those finer accomplishments that would occupy only a few of
the workmen, but in every detail of adornment that these artistic
craftsmen excelled. The locks and bolts, the latches and hinges, the
grilles, even the very fences and gates made in wrought iron, are
beautiful in every line and in the artistic efficiency of their
designs. The carved woodwork is in many places a marvel. When a gate
has to be moved, or a hinge is no longer used, or a lock or even a key
from these early times goes out of commission, we would consider it
almost a sacrilege to throw it away; it is transported to the
museum--not alone because of its value as an antique but, as a rule,
also because of its charm as a work of art. When a bench-end is no
longer needed it, too, finds its way into the museum. As Rev. Augustus
Jessopp has shown very clearly in his studies of the old English
parishes, these marvels of iron and woodwork were made, in most cases,
respectively by the village blacksmith and the village carpenter. In
the archives of {161} some of the parishes of the Middle Ages the
accounts are found showing that these men were paid for them. When the
village blacksmith and the village carpenter becomes the artist
artisan capable of producing such good work, then indeed is there an
ideal education at work and a technical training that may be boasted

The most important feature of this education remains to be spoken of,
however. It consisted of the fine development and occupation of the
mind that came from this system. Men found happiness in their work. In
a population of less than 3,000,000 of people many thousands of
workmen, engaged in building these magnificent monuments of that old
time, reaped a blessed pleasure in the doing of beautiful things.
They, too, had a share in the great monument of which their town was
worthily proud and the opportunity to make something worth while for
it. Instead of idly envying others they devoted themselves to making
whatever their contribution might be as beautiful as possible. It
might be only the hinges for the doors or the latch for the gates, it
might be only the stonework for the bases of pillars, though it might
be the beautiful decoration of their capitals; but everything was
being done beautifully and an artist hand was required everywhere. Men
must have tried over and over again to make such fine things. They
were not done at haphazard nor at one trial. There must have been many
a spoiled piece {162} rejected, not so much by the foreman as by the
critical, educated taste of the workmen themselves who were able to
make such beautiful things. Men who could make such artistic products
must have labored much and begun over and over again. This must have
made the finest occupation of mind that a great mass of people has
ever had in all the world's history.

American millionaires model the gates of their parks and the grille
doors of their palaces under the wise direction of modern architects
who fortunately know enough to follow the designs created by these
village workmen of the olden time. Modern palatial residences are glad
to have samples of the wood-carving of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries as models for their decoration, and as attractive pieces
around which present-day work may be done. We have to import our
workmen, even our large cities cannot supply all that we want of them,
and yet little towns of a few thousand inhabitants had them in
sufficient abundance in the olden time to enable them to make every
portion of their great monumental buildings, cathedrals, abbeys,
universities, castles and town halls beautiful in every way. This
represents the triumph of a technical training afforded by the gilds
of workmen of the olden time. We have to insist on this because our
present generation has been so sure that ours was the first generation
that gave any serious attention to the education of the masses, that
it is important to show by {163} contrast how much of a mistake we
have made and how well an older generation accomplished its purpose.

The chapter of the "Lost Arts" might well be told with regard to this
old time. They had secrets in glass-making which were the tradition of
the teaching of particular gilds that we have been unable to find
again in the modern time. There is a jewel-like lustre to their colors
that is sometimes simply marvellous in its depth and purity. At
Lincoln the contrast between old and new glass can be seen very well.
The old windows of the thirteenth century time were stoned out by the
Parliamentarians when they captured the town, because forsooth they
could have no such idolatry as that in their presence. The old sexton,
who as man and boy for over sixty years had lived his life under the
beautiful tints of the old glass, now saw it scattered upon the floor
in fragments. He could not part with it thus and so he gathered it up
into bags, broken to pieces though it was, and hid it away in the
crypt. In the nineteenth century when they were restoring the
cathedral they found these fragments of the old windows. They pieced
them together and they proved to be so beautiful that, though they
could not fit them as they were in the olden time, at least they
succeeded in making a beautiful patchwork of colored glass.

Over on the other side of Lincoln Cathedral they then placed some new
windows of the {164} modern time. These were made in France, I
believe. They were made about the middle of the nineteenth century,
when stained-glass making was almost at its lowest ebb. They were
considered to be very beautiful, however, and something like £20,000
sterling was paid for them. The contrast between the two sets of
windows is very striking. The old windows are so beautiful, the new
ones are so commonplace. The visitor, even though he knows nothing
about art, notices the contrast and, if he has an eye for color, views
with something of a shock this attempt of the nineteenth century to do
something that had been so well done by the gild-trained workmen of
the technical schools of the Middle Ages. Though they are represented
here only by patched fragments of their work he can scarcely repress a
smile at the effect of their work in cheapening the modern. Everywhere
it is the same way. Mr. F. Rolfe, writing from Venice, where he has
been studying thirteenth-century glass, and talking of its wonderful
beauty as compared to anything modern, says: "There are also fragments
of two windows, pieced together and the missing parts filled in with
the best which modern Murano can do. These show the celebrated
Beroviero Ruby Glass (secret lost) of marvellous depth and brilliancy
in comparison with which the modern work is merely watery. (The
ancient is just like a decanter of port wine.)"

This is the story, no matter where one goes, {165} throughout Europe.
At York they would not surrender the town to the Parliamentary army
until a guarantee had been given them that their cathedral would not
be devastated as had been the case elsewhere. Besides General Ireton
was a friend of the Yorkists and he was ready to agree to the
stipulation. The agreement was not fully carried out, fanatic soldiers
could not be entirely restrained, but some of the old glass remains.
There is probably nothing more beautiful in all the realm of artistic
glass-making than the famous Five Sisters window at York. In France
the Revolution repeated what the Puritans accomplished of ruin in
England. Notre Dame has no trace of its old glass. In some of the
cathedrals, however, there has fortunately been preserved for us
enough of it to know how wonderfully the makers of it must have been
trained, and to let us realize how much of experiment, of
investigation, of study that we would now call applied chemistry must
have gone to the making of this wonderful old glass. These technical
schools were not merely passing on arts and crafts traditions, but
each generation was adding to the secrets of the gilds by original
research of its own. We are prone to think that such work of original
investigation was reserved for our time, but that is only because of
the foolish self-complacency which blinds us to what other generations

The stained glass of the cathedrals of Bourges {166} and of Chartres
shows the marvellous success of these old workers in glass and their
power to make enduring products. It is a mystery to see how their
blues have lasted while the sun has shone through them all these years
and caused no deterioration or only such as softens and adds to beauty
but not really causes to fade. Blue had to be used in great profusion
on the windows because the symbolism of color was well determined and
blue stood for the virtue of purity and was the Blessed Virgin's
color. It had to come in, therefore, on nearly all occasions. Usually
by irradiation blue causes surrounding colors to lose something of
their tint, and by contrast often spoils what would ordinarily be
expected to prove beautiful color effects. These old workmen had found
the secret of using it in such a way as not thus to spoil surrounding
colors, not to permit it to be too assertive, yet we have wonderful
enduring blues that have come down to us practically unchanged through
all these centuries. Where the workmen of the old time set themselves
producing pure color effects, their windows look like jewels and
coruscate in the light of the setting sun--for their most charming
effects were particularly obtained in the west windows--with a
glorious beauty that has appealed to every generation since.

It was not alone in the building trades, however, that these fine
things were accomplished. Bookmaking reached a degree of perfection
that {167} has never been excelled. Humphreys, the authority on
illuminated books, declares that the manuscript volumes of the
thirteenth century, illuminated as they are by the patient labor and
the finely developed taste of this time, are the most beautiful ever
made. We have one example of the thirteenth-century illuminated book
in the Lenox Library in New York for which, I believe, the museum
authorities were quite willing to pay some $18,000, and it is worth
much more than that now, for it is a wondrously beautiful example of
the illuminations of the time. Like the glassmakers, these bookmakers
had secrets that have been lost, and that we with all our knowledge of
science and of art in the modern time, or at least our fondly
complacent notion of our knowledge of art and science, are unable to
find the formulas for. They used blues in their illuminating work that
have never faded, though blues are so prone to fade on parchment. They
managed their blues in wonderful way and they still are as fresh and
as undisturbing of the harmony of other colors as in the long ago.
They could burnish gold and it stays as bright as when it was first
applied to the leaves, even after seven centuries. We have lost the
art of burnishing gold in such applied work and ours becomes dull
after a time.

Nor was this teaching of technics confined only to the men. From this
period we have the most beautiful needlework in the world. The famous
{168} Cope of Ascoli has recently attracted wide attention. Mr.
Pierpont Morgan purchased it and was willing to pay $60,000 for it,
though the jewels that had been on it originally had been removed. His
experts assured him that it was the most beautiful piece of needlework
in the world. Afterwards it was found to have been stolen, and so he
restored it to the Italian Government, who did not return it to the
little convent of Ascoli in North Central Italy, from which it had
been stolen and where it was made at the end of the thirteenth century
(1284), Elsewhere in Europe they were doing just as charming work with
the needle. In fact England, not Italy, was the acknowledged home of
it. The English Cope of Cyon is another notable example of needlework
from this time. Thirteenth-century work with the needle is famous in
the history of the art. It was the product of just the same forces
that gave us the wonderful stained glass. They, too, used colors and
applied great art principles to this unpromising mode of expression
and accomplished great results. I have had the privilege of seeing the
copy of the Cope of Ascoli that was made while in Mr. Morgan's
possession, and, like the stained glass of York or Bourges or
Chartres, it is one of the things not likely ever to be forgotten, so
beautiful a realization is it of what is best in taste and art.

The supremely interesting feature of this popular education was its
effect upon the lives, and {169} minds, and happiness of the workmen.
Men got up to their work in the morning not as to a routine occupation
in which they did the same things over and over again, until they were
so tired that they could scarcely do them any more, and then came home
to rest from fatigue in weariness of mind and of body. But they awoke
from sound sleep with the memory that ideas had been coming to them
the day before, and especially towards evening that, now with fresh
bodies, they might be able to execute better, and that it would surely
be a pleasure to work out. They came to their work with an artist's
spirit, hopeful that they would be able to express in the material
what they saw so clearly with their mind's eye. It was tiresome
working but the hours were not long, and always there was the thought
of accomplishment worthy of the cathedral or the abbey or the town
hall, worthy to be placed beside the masterpieces in the best sense of
that dear old word, that their fellow-workmen of the other gilds were
accomplishing around them. They went to bed healthily tired but not
weary, sometimes to dream of their work, not as a nightmare, but as
something that represented possibilities of accomplishment. When
technical schools can lift men up to this plane then, indeed, there is
a chance for happiness even for the workmen.

Compare with this for a moment the lot of the modern workman. He goes
out in the morning to work that seldom is interesting, that he {170}
practically never cares to do only that he must get money enough to
support himself and his family, and that requires the frequent
repetition of routine movements until he is weary, body and soul. He
must work or starve. He has very little interest in it as a rule,
often none at all, and sometimes he is thoroughly disgusted with it.
He must earn money enough to get bread to live to-day so that he shall
be able to go and work again tomorrow. And so the humdrum round from
day to day with nothing to relieve the prospect until the darkness
comes when no man can work. As to dreams of accomplishment or pleasure
in his work, as the artist has, there is practically none. He needs
must go on, and that is all about it. Is it any wonder that this
breeds discontent?

Happy is the man who has found his work. There is only one happiness
in this little life of ours and that consists in having work to do
that one cares to do, and the chance to do it in such order and with
such rewards as make life reasonably pleasant, satisfying from the
material side. There are no pleasures in life equal to the joy of the
worker in his work when he cares for it. Pleasures are at most but
passing incidents. The work is what counts. These workmen of the
Middle Ages taught in the technical schools of that olden time had
chances for happiness, chances that were well taken, such as perhaps
no other generation of workmen could have.

Of course it may be said that, after all, there {171} were only
opportunities for a few to work at the great architectural monuments
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In a sense this is true,
but it must not be forgotten that without modern mechanical means and
with the slow, patient laborious effort required to raise these huge
edifices, much time and many men were required. Besides the cathedrals
and the abbeys there were many private castles and town halls, and
then in many places the homes of the gilds themselves, some of which,
as, for instance, the famous hall of the clothmakers at Ypres, are
among the most beautiful monuments of the architecture of that period.
In everything, however, the workmen had a chance to do beautiful work.
In the textile industries this is the time when some of the most
beautiful cloth ever made was invented and brought to perfection.
Linen was woven with wonderful skill, satin was invented and brought
to perfection, silk brocades of marvellous designs of many kinds were
made, threads of gold and silver were introduced into the textures,
wonderfully fine effects were studied out and applied in the
industries, and just as in the decorative arts so in the arts of
cloth-weaving and of many other forms of human endeavor, there was an
artistic craftsmanship such as we have lost sight of to a great extent
in our age of machinery.

The Irish poet, Yeats, in bidding a group of American friends good-bye
some five years ago, said that we had many opportunities for culture
{172} in life here in America, but we must be careful to take them
fully and not deceive ourselves with counterfeits, or we would surely
miss something of the precious privilege and development that might be
ours. Among other things he said, that we must not forget "that until
the very utensils in the kitchen are useful as well as beautiful no
nation can think of itself as really cultured." If men and women can
bear without constraint to handle things that are merely useful
without beauty in them, there is something seriously lacking in their
culture. Whatever is merely useful is hideous. Nature never made
anything that was merely useful in all the world's history. The things
of nature around us are all wonderful utilities and yet charmingly
beautiful. The pretty flowers are seed envelopes meant to attract
birds and insects, so that the seeds may be scattered. The beautiful
fruits are other seed envelopes meant to attract man and the animals,
so that the seeds may be carried far and wide. The leaves of trees are
eminently useful as lungs and stomach and yet are beautiful and have a
wondrous variety and a charm all their own.

This precious lesson of nature they seem to have understood well in
the Middle Ages and applied it with marvellous perfection. It has
often been called to attention that portions of Gothic edifices in
dark corners, out of the sight of the ordinary visitor, are just as
beautifully decorated in their own way as those which are {173}
especially on exhibition. The gravestones in their churches, though
meant to be trodden under foot and often covered by the dirt from the
shoes of passersby, yet had bronze ornaments that are so beautiful
that in the modern time artists take rubbings of them so as to carry
the designs away with them. While every portion of the church is
beautiful, the same thing was true in the castles and to a great
extent in their own homes. The furniture of that time, even in the
houses of smaller tradesmen, was beautiful in its simplicity, its
solidity, its charm of line, and then, above all, its absolute
rejection of all pretence of seeming to be anything other than it was.
Their drinking cups were beautiful, their domestic utensils of various
kinds had charming lines and, though they did not have as many as we
have in the modern time, what they had were so beautiful that now we
find them on exhibition in museums, and we are beginning to imitate
them in order that the wealthy may have as bric-à-brac ornaments in
their houses, the utensils which were in ordinary use in the homes of
the middle classes of the thirteenth century.

There was a satisfaction for the workman in making all these beauteous
things. He knew, as a rule, for whom they were to be made. He knew
where they were to be placed. He often saw his handiwork afterwards.
His reputation depended on it. There was a happiness then in doing it
well, and in taking his time to it, that surpasses {174} any idle
pleasure away from his work, as happiness always surpasses pleasure.
There was the joy of the doing, and joys we are coming to appreciate
mean ever so much more than pleasures. What we want at the present
time are more joys and less pleasures. How many men and women were
blessed in that time because they had found their work. That is the
only real happiness in life. How profusely it was scattered over the
mediaeval world.

Almost nothing that was made was of a character that could be done by
mere routine. A man had to occupy both mind and body in the making of
the textiles, of the kitchen utensils, of the furniture, of the
various metal utensils required for houses, and so for nearly
everything else. It is the workman who has mere routine work that has
opportunity to think about other things and brood over his lot and
grow more and more dissatisfied. It is the man who does not have to
give his mind to what he is doing, but who while his body grows more
and more tired accomplishing a limited set of constantly repeated
movements, may allow his mind to ponder gloomily over his condition,
compare it with that of others and grow envious, who has the worst
possible seeds of discontent in his occupation.

Men who did this sort of work that required active mental attention,
learned to think for themselves. When they had moments of leisure, not
having newspapers and superficial shallow books {175} to waste their
time on, they did some thinking. Any one who has had a little intimate
contact with the old-fashioned artisans, the shoemakers, the
harnessmakers, the cabinetmakers who work at benches, the woodcarvers,
men who have real trades, knows how often one finds among them a deep,
serious thinker with regard to the problems of life around. They do
not drink in other people's opinions and then think that they are
thinking, because they are able to repeat some formulas of words. Such
men are not easily led. They make good jurymen, they have logic; above
all, they are thoughtful. There must have been much of this in the old
time among the handicraftsmen of the Middle Ages. It is doubtless to
this that we owe the fact that these men were gradually organized in
many wonderful ways into the basic democracy on which the liberties of
the English-speaking people of the world are founded. We shall have
much more to say of this in treating of the wonderful fraternal
organizations, with solutions for nearly every problem of social need,
which these men succeeded in working out for themselves in times
considered to have been benighted.

There was another phase of the education of these members of the gilds
that is even more interesting because it trenches particularly on the
intellectual side of life, the provision of entertainment and solves
an important social problem. This was the organization of dramatic
{176} performances for the people in which the members of the gilds
took part. The stories of the Old Testament and of the New, and of the
lives of the Saints, and of various incidents connected with Church
history, were worked up into plays and were presented in the various
cities. We have the remains of many cycles of these plays. They
represent the beginnings of our modern dramatic literature. They were
simple and very naive, but they were interesting and they concerned
some of the deepest and most beautiful thoughts with which man has
ever been concerned. The members of the gilds and their families took
part in them. The principal sets of plays were given in the springtime
at the various festivals of the Church, so frequent then. Most of the
spare time from Christmas on, especially the long hours of the winter
evenings, were occupied in preparations of various kinds for these
spring dramatic performances. It is impossible to conceive of anything
more likely to give people innocent and joyful yet absorbing
occupations of mind than these preparations.

Some of the young men and women were chosen as the actors and had to
learn their parts and be rehearsing them. Choruses had to be trained,
costumes had to be made, some scenery had to be arranged, everything
was done by the members of the particular gild for each special
portion of the cycle of the play assigned to them. Garments had
actually to be manufactured out of the wool, {177} the dyeing of them
had to be managed, spangles had to be made for them, there must have
been busy occupation of the most interesting kind for many hands. Of
course it is easy to say that these naive productions could not have
meant very much for the people. Any one who thinks so, however, has
had no experience with private theatricals, and above all has never
had the opportunity to see how much they mean for the occupation of
young folks' minds and the keeping of them out of mischief during the
winter months when they are much indoors. When the Jesuits founded
their great schools in Europe they laid it down as one of the rules of
the institute to be observed in all their schools, that plays in
certain number should be given every year, partly for the sake of the
educational effect of such occupation with dramatic literature, but
mainly because of the interest aroused by them and the occupation of
mind for young folks which they involve.

As to how much they may mean, perhaps the best way for those of our
day to realize it is to take the example of Oberammergau with its
great Passion Play still given. Here we have a typical instance of a
Passion play of the olden time maintaining itself. The preparations
for it occupy the villagers in their mountain home not for months
only, but for years before it is given. It represents the centre of
the village life, is the main portion of its activities. The place of
a {178} family with regard to the play constitutes its position in the
village aristocracy. Something of this must have been true in the
gilds of the Middle Ages in these dramatic performances. Just as at
Oberammergau nearly every one of the villagers has something to do or
is in some way connected with the preparation of the play, so most of
the members of the particular gilds and probably their families had
some connection with their plays. The children had their interest and
curiosity aroused and were allowed to help in their measure, and then
when the glorious day of the performance came, there must have been
joy in the hearts of all and rejoicing over its success. This is the
sort of occupation of mind that we would like to be able to provide
for our people in the cities and towns, but circumstances are such
that we cannot.

Those who would think that these old Passion and mystery plays meant
very little for the people who did not take part in them and, above
all, very little for the spectators, in an educational way, forget
entirely that this side of the work of the old plays can also be
studied at Oberammergau. This little town of 1,400 inhabitants
occupies itself for years to such good effect that, when the
performances are given crowds flock from all over the world to witness
them. When I was there in 1900 I think that I saw the most
cosmopolitan gathering that I had ever been in, though I have been to
several International {179} Medical Congresses. There were Russians
and Poles, and Scandinavians and Americans and Australians, and there
stayed in the house with us a little party from Buenos Ayres, and our
seat companions in the train were English, who had been born in India,
and they pointed out to us some South Africans who had come to see the
Passion Play. This village of 1,400 inhabitants succeeds in producing
actors who are capable of arousing thus the interest of the world, and
they have artistic taste enough to mount it well, and they manage
their performances in thoroughly dignified fashion, and yet in many
ways they have the simplicity and, above all, the dear old simple
faith of the mediaeval people from whom they come. This is the best
possible evidence that we could have of the place of the old plays in
the life of the people.

We have another form of evidence that is extremely interesting. Out of
these old mystery plays, dramas of the Nativity and of the Passion
with the introductions and interludes to these central facts of
creation, there developed first the morality plays and then the drama
of the modern time. Twice in the history of the world, each time quite
independent of the other, the drama has originated anew out of
religious ceremonials. In old Greece this is the origin of the drama;
in the Middle Ages exactly the same thing happened. Nor was this
origin unworthy in any way of the great development that came. Some of
the old {180} mystery plays were written with wonderful dramatic
insight and with a capacity to bring out dramatic moments that is very
admirable. As for the morality plays we have had one of them repeated
to us in recent years, "Everyman," and well it has served to show how
able was the genius of these old dramatic writers. People of the
modern sordid time listened for two hours enraptured and then went
away, paying the tribute of silence to this wonderful arrangement of
the ideas connected with such a familiar theme as the four last things
to be remembered--death, judgment, heaven and hell. Fine as is
"Everyman," there are some critics who think the "Castle of
Perseverance," written about the same time, the latter part of the
fifteenth century, an even greater play.

The most important feature of this work in dramatics of the old gilds
was not the entertainment, though with what we know of how low
entertainment can sink and how much it can mean for degradation,
surely that would be sufficient, but the fact that all of the workmen
and their families in the towns were occupied with the high thoughts
and the beautiful phrases and the uplifting motives and the deep
significance of the Bible stories. These are so simple that no one
could fail to understand. They are written so close to the heart of
human nature that even the simplest child can appreciate their
meaning. They are full of the most precious lessons, yet without {181}
any of that moralizing that is often so sterile and so characteristic
of what we call mere preaching. All the townspeople were occupied for
months beforehand with these stories. They got ever closer and closer
to the heart of the mystery in them. They got closer thus to the heart
of the mystery of life. They were made to feel the presence of the
Creator and of Providence while occupying themselves with thoughts
that are the essence of deepest poetry. What would one not give to be
able to occupy a great number of people, for many hours every winter,
with such thoughts, not alone for their moral effect but their real
educational value. They did not add useless information to useless
information, but they did bring development of mind and, above all,
heart. In my book "The Thirteenth the Greatest of Centuries,"
[Footnote 14] I tell the story of how the various trades gilds in the
towns divided these phases of the mystery plays among themselves.
Every one had an opportunity to do something. They were the tanners
and the plasterers, the cardmakers and the fullers, the coopers, the
armorers, the gaunters and glovers, the shipwrights, the pessners,
fishmongers and mariners, the parchment-makers and bookbinders, the
hosiers, the spicers, the pewterers and founders, the tylers and
smiths, the chandlers, the orfevers, the goldsmiths, the goldbeaters,
the money-makers, and then many other trades whose names sound curious
to us of {182} the modern time. The bowyers or makers of bows; the
fletchers or arrow featherers; the hay-resters or workers in
horsehair, the bowlers or bowlmakers, the feystours, makers of
saddle-trees; the verrours, glaciers; the dubbers, refurbishers of
clothes; the lumniners or illuminators, the scriveners or public
writers; the drapers, the mercers; the lorymers or bridle-makers; the
spurriers, makers of spurs; the cordwaners; the bladesmiths; the
curriers; the scalers, and many others, all had their chances to take
part in these old plays.

  [Footnote 14: Catholic Summer School Press, New York, 1907.]

They were not being entertained, but were themselves active agents in
the doing of things for themselves and for others. This is what brings
real contentment with it. Superficial entertainment that occupies the
surface of the mind for the moment means very little for real
recreation of mind. What men need is to have something that makes them
think along lines different to those in which they are engaged in
their daily work. This gives real rest. The blood gets away from parts
of the brain where it has been all day, flows to new parts, and
recreation is the result. Such entertainment, however, must occupy the
very centre of interest for the moment and not be something seen in
passing and then forgotten. The modern psychotherapeutist would say,
that no better amusement than this could possibly be obtained since it
brought real diversion of mind. Above all, we of the modern time who
know how vicious, how immoral in its tendencies, how {183} suggestive
of all that is evil, how familiarizing with what is worst in men until
familiarity begets contempt, commercial entertainment in the shape of
dramatics, so-called at least, may be, cannot help but admire and envy
and would emulate, if we could, this fine solution of a very pressing
social problem that the gilds found in an educational feature that is
of surpassing value.

There are three post-graduate courses in modern life that are quite
beyond the control of our educational authorities, though we talk much
of our interest and our accomplishments in education. These three have
more influence over the people than all of our popular education. They
are the newspaper, the library and the theatre. Some of us who know
what the library is doing are not at all satisfied with it. We are
spending an immense amount of money mainly to furnish the cheapest
kind of mere superficial amusement to the people of our cities. In so
doing we are probably hurting their power of concentration of mind
instead of helping it, and it is this concentration of mind that is
the best fruit of education. This is, however, another story. Of the
newspaper, as we now have it, the less said the better. It is bringing
our young people particularly into intimate contact with many of the
vicious and brutalizing things of life, the sex crimes, brutal murders
and prize-fights, so that uplift and refinement almost become
impossible. As for the theatre, no one now thinks of it as {184}
educationally valuable. Our plays are such superficial presentations
of the life around us that once they have had their run no one thinks
of reviving them. This is the better side of the theatre. The worst
side is absolutely in the hands of the powers of evil and is
confessedly growing worse all the time.

Besides these indirect educational features the gilds encouraged
certain formal educational institutions that are of great interest,
and that have been misunderstood for several centuries until recent
years. In many places they maintained grammar schools and these
grammar schools were eminently successful in helping to make scholars
of such of the sons of the members of the gilds as wanted to lift
themselves above their trades into the intellectual life. We know more
about the grammar school at Stratford-on-Avon than of any of the
others. The reason for this is that we have been interested in the
antiquities of Shakespeare's town and the conditions which obtained in
it, before as well as during his lifetime. The Gild of the Holy Cross
of Stratford maintained a grammar school in which many pupils were
educated. That this was not a singular feature of gild work is evident
from what we know of many other gilds. These gild schools were
suppressed in the reformation time and then later had to be replaced
by the so-called Edward VI grammar schools, in one of which it is
usually said that Shakespeare was educated. As the English {185}
historian Gairdner declared not long since in his "History of the
Pre-Reformation Times in England," Edward has obtained a reputation
for foundations in charity and in education that he by no means
deserved. The schools founded by him particularly were nothing more
than re-establishments of popular schools of the olden time whose
endowment had been confiscated. The new foundations were makeshifts to
appease popular clamor.

The old gilds did not believe in devoting all the early years of
children to mere book-learning. Some few with special aptitudes for
this were provided with opportunities. The rest were educated in
various ways at home until their apprenticeship to a trade began, and
then their real education commenced. Our own experience with education
in the early years from six to eight or nine is not particularly
favorable. Children who enter school a little later than the legal age
graduate sooner and with even higher marks than those who begin at the
age of six. This has been shown by statistics in England in many
cities. What is learned with so much fuss and worry and bother for the
children and the teachers from six to eight, is rapidly picked up in a
few months at the age of eight or nine, and then is better
assimilated. The grammar schools of the gilds took the children about
the age of nine or ten and then gave them education in letters. That
education, by the way, began at six in the morning and, {186} with two
hours of intervals, continued until four in the afternoon. They
believed in the eight-hour day for children, but they began it good
and early so that artificial light might not constitute a problem.

The best schooling, however, afforded by the gilds, after that in
self-help of course, was that in mutual aid. We are establishing
schools of philanthropy in the modern time and we talk much about the
organization of charity and other phases of mutual aid. In this as in
everything else we map out, as George Eliot once said, our ignorance
of things, or at least our gropings after solutions of problems, in
long Greek names, which often serve to produce the idea that we know
ever so much more about these subjects than we really do. The training
in brotherly love and helpfulness in the old gilds was a fine school.
Those who think that it is only now that ideas of mutuality in sharing
responsibilities, of co-operation and co-ordination of effort for the
benefit of all, of community interests, are new, should study Toulmin
Smith's work on the gilds, or read Brentano on the foreign gilds.
There is not a phase of our organization of charity in the modern time
that was not well anticipated by the members of the gilds, and that,
too, in ways such as we cannot even hope to rival unless we change the
basis on which our helpfulness is founded. Theirs was not a stooping
down of supposed better, or so-called upper classes, to help the
lower, {187} but organization among the people to help themselves so
that there was in no sense a pauperization.

Every phase of human need was looked to. We are just beginning to
realize our obligations to care for the old, and the last twenty years
has seen various efforts on the part of governments to provide old-age
pensions. In the Middle Ages according to the laws of the gilds the
man who had paid his dues for seven years would then draw a weekly
pension equal to something more than five dollars now, for all the
rest of his life if he were disabled by injury, or had become
incapacitated from old age or illness. Then there were gilds to
provide insurance against loss by fire, loss by robbery on land and
also on sea, loss by shipwreck, loss even by imprisonment and all
other phases of human needs. If the workman were injured his family
nursed him during the day but a brother member of the gild, as we have
said, was sent to care for him at night, and a good portion of his
wages went on, paid to him out of the gild chest. If he died his widow
and orphans were cared for by a special pension. The widow did not
have to break up the family and send the children to orphan asylums.
There were practically no orphan asylums. The gilds cared for the
children of dead members. As the boys grew up special attention was
given them so as to provide a trade for them, and they were given
earlier opportunities than others to get on in life. {188} The orphans
were the favorite children of the gilds, and instead of a child being
handicapped by the loss of his parents when he was young, it sometimes
happened that he got better opportunities than if his parents lived.

These gilds provided opportunities for social entertainment and
friendly intercourse and for such acquaintanceship as would afford
mutual pleasure and give opportunities for the meeting of the young
folks,--sons and daughters of the members of the gild. They had their
yearly benefit at which the wives of the members and their sweethearts
were supposed by rule to come, and then they had other meetings and
social gatherings--picnics in the country in the summer, dances in the
winter time and all in a circle where every one knew every one else,
and all went well. These are some social features of these gilds
educational in the highest sense that we can well envy in the modern
time, when we find it so difficult to secure innocent, happy pleasures
for young people that will not leave a bad taste in the mouth
afterwards. When a member of the gild died his brother members
attended the Mass which was said for him and gave a certain amount in
charity that was meant to be applied for his benefit. The whole
outlook on life was eminently brotherly. There has never been such a
teaching of true fraternity, of the brotherhood of man, of the
necessity for mutual aid and then of such practice of it as makes it
easy, as among these old gilds.


The finest result of this teaching is to be seen in the democratic
spirit that gradually arose as a consequence of these gilds and their
teaching of self-government in all local affairs to the people. The
gilds were arranged and organized in the various parishes. These
parishes were independent communities for local affairs who had charge
of the police system, the health, the road-making, the path-keeping,
the boundary-guarding and, in general, the comfort and convenience of
the community. The gildsmen, more than any others, were the factors in
these parishes. They accumulated money for the various purposes and
had great influence in the development of the community life and the
solution of local government problems.

It would be very easy to think that the gilds could not have fulfilled
all these duties and subserved all these needs. If we recall, however,
that there were 80,000 gilds in England at the end of the fifteenth
century, when there were not more than 4,000,000 of people in the
whole country, then we can see how much could be accomplished. Alas,
at the beginning of the next century all their moneys were
confiscated, and because they were Church societies, every one of them
requiring attendance at Church duties and at Mass, as well as at the
Masses for the dead, but, above all, for the crime of having money in
their treasuries at a time when the King needed money and his appetite
had been whetted by the spoil of the {190} monasteries and the
churches, the gilds were obliterated. Only a few of them in London
that had powerful protectors and that escaped on the plea that they
were commercial organizations and not religious societies, were able
to preserve something of their old-time integrity. These are now so
rich that they are the wonder of those who know them. They give us a
good idea, however, of the deep foundations that had been established
out of the common chest in the purchase of property for these gilds.

In solving the problems of industrial insurance, of providing for the
widows and the orphans, of securing annuities when they would be
needed, these gilds set us an example that it would be well for us to
follow. The insurance money was not accumulated in such huge sums that
it would be a constant temptation for exploitation on the part of
officials. It was distributed in comparatively small sums in many
thousands of treasuries, and was under the surveillance of those most
interested in it. The old-age pensions were not governmental, issued
in large numbers and open to inevitable abuses, but were given by
those who knew, to those whose necessities were well known.

No wonder that we find democratic government developing co-ordinately
with these gilds. At the beginning of the thirteenth century Magna
Charta was signed. About the middle of it the first English Parliament
met, before the end of it the proper representation of the cities and
{191} towns which were mainly controlled by the gilds was secured and
during the last quarter of it the English Common Law came into effect
so as to secure the rights of all. Bracton's great "Digest of the
English Common Law" was written about 1280, and it is still the great
sourcebook of the principles of law in English-speaking countries. In
many of the States of our Union the Supreme Courts still make their
decisions on the basis of the English Common Law, and until a decade
or two ago all of them did. The people's rights were secured by the
education of the people and the property laws and those for the
guardianship of the person and for the prevention of autocratic
interference with liberty were all of them put into effect as a
consequence of this education in democracy.

This, then, was surely an ideal teaching of the masses, a teaching of
the arts and crafts, a teaching of mutual aid, a teaching of true
fraternity, a teaching of book-learning whenever that was considered
necessary or advisable, a teaching of the rights of man and a
wonderful development of laws as a consequence, and all of this
accomplished not by the upper classes, stooping to lift the lower
classes, but out of the conscious development of the lower classes
themselves, so that there came a true evolution and not merely a
superficial influence from without. If we want to know how to teach
the masses and to help them to contentment, happiness, occupation of
mind, {192} uplifting entertainment, cheerful amusement and, above
all, to conscious democratic government, here is the model of it as it
can be found nowhere else. I commend it to those who are teaching and
who, realizing the failure of our modern education in many ways, are
looking about for the remedies that will help to make our popular
education more efficient.

The soul of this ideal education of the masses was the training of
character. They had no illusions that the mere imparting of
information would make people better nor that the knowing of many
things would make them more desirable citizens. Probably they did not
consciously reason much about these subjects, but their instincts led
them straight. Mr. Edward O. Sisson, writing in the _Atlantic Monthly_
for July, 1910, says that the final question regarding education is
whether it avails to produce the type of character required by the
republic (nation) and the race. To accomplish this we need to fit our
practice to Herbart's great formula that, "the chief business of
education is the ethical revelation of the universe." Take any part of
this system of education that I have called the ideal education of the
masses and try it by that standard and see how high its mark will be.
Their handiwork is mainly an act of devotion to the God of the
universe and its products are the most beautiful gifts that ever were
offered to him. Cathedral stonework, glass-work, ironwork, beautiful
sacred vessels, handsomest {193} vestments ever made, needlework,
lacework, the beautiful setting of the cathedral; what an act of
worship it all was! When it was finished, it belonged to no class but
to the whole people. It was theirs to be proud of and to worship in.

Their very amusements were often acts of worship. Their plays
concerned the revelations of God to man, for they were all founded on
the Bible, and even for those who may not accept those revelations as
divine the fact that the men and women, the masses, the handworkmen
and the little traders, were for many months in each year engaged with
the high ethical thoughts that constitute the greatest contribution to
the ethical revelation of the universe that we have in literature,
must of itself be an eminently satisfying feature of this old-time
education. As regards the Creator, these people were constantly made
familiar with Him, His works and ways. Their holidays were holy-days.
They were anniversaries in the life of the God-Man or His chosen
servants. The men and women whom they celebrated on those days were
chosen characters who had devoted themselves unselfishly to others, so
that the after-time hailed them as saints because of their
forgetfulness of self. We know what this constantly recurring reminder
of the lives of great men and women may be, and then we must not
forget that on these days in their great cathedral they heard the
story of the life of the saint of the day, and often a discourse on
the qualities that {194} stamped him or her as worthy of admiration.
Let us remember, above all, that there were as many women saints as
men, and that these were held up for the admiration and emulation of
growing youth. This was ethical training at every turn in life.

Above all, there was constant training in that thoughtfulness for
others that means so much in any true system of education. When
members of the gilds fell ill, their families nursed them during the
day, but members of the gilds chosen for that purpose nursed them at
night. It was felt that the family did quite enough not to exhaust
itself by night watching. When brother members of the gild died their
fellows attended their funeral in a body, and, above all, took part in
the Mass for their souls. People who do not understand the Catholic
idea of Mass for the dead will not appreciate this in the way that
Catholics do, but at least they will understand the brotherliness of
the act and the beautiful purpose that prompted so many to gather, in
order that even after death they might do whatever they could for this
departed brother. Besides the death of a brother gildsman was the
signal for the giving of alms because the merit of these alms, it was
felt, could be transferred to his account, and so the bond of
fraternity continued even in the life beyond. The ethical effect of
all this on the minds of people who sincerely believed can scarcely be
exaggerated. Here is a training of the will and {195} of character,
and a teaching of the relationship of man to man and of man to the
Creator carried out into all the smallest details of life.

Above all, these generations had a training in personal service for
one another. Every one exercised charity. It was not a few of the very
wealthy who practised philanthropy. They had safeguards which, as far
as is possible, prevented abuse of this charity. The alms, for
instance, that was given on the occasion of a brother's funeral was
not distributed hit or miss and all at one time, but members of the
gild bought from the treasurer tokens which might be redeemed in bread
and meat or in cast-off clothing or in some other way. These were
distributed to the poor as they seemed to need them. If you met a poor
man who seemed really in want you could give him one or more of these
tokens and then be sure that while he would get whatever was necessary
to supply his absolute needs, he would not be able to abuse charity.
In our time we constantly have stories of large accumulations on the
part of street beggars who own valuable property and have accounts in
savings banks and the like. There was no possibility of this under the
mediaeval system and yet charity was widely exercised, every one took
some part in it, and there was that training, not only in effective
pity for affliction, but also in helpfulness for others, which means
so much more than the exercise of occasional charity, because, for the
moment, one is touched by the {196} sight of suffering or has remorse
because one feels that one has been indulging one's self and wants the
precious satisfaction that will come from a little making up for
luxurious extravagance.

In our time, when we have gradually excluded moral teaching and
training almost entirely from our schools and our methods of
education, this phase of the ideal education of the masses is
particularly interesting. Milton declared that "the main skill and
groundwork of education will be to temper the pupils with such
lectures and explanations as will draw them into willing obedience,
inflamed with the study of learning and the admiration of virtue,
stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men and worthy
patriots." Their great stone-books, the cathedrals, where all who came
could read the life of the Lord, the frequent reminders of the lives
of the saints, doers among men who forgot themselves and thought of
others, the fraternal obligations of the gilds and their intercourse
with each other, all these constituted the essence of an education as
nearly like that demanded by Milton as can well be imagined. It seems
far-fetched to go back five, six, even seven centuries to find such
ideals in practice, but the educator who is serious and candid with
himself will find it easy to discover the elements of a wonderful
intellectual and, above all, moral training of the people, that is the
whole people from the lowest to the highest, in these early days.




  "And if I am right nothing can be more foolish than our modern
  fashion of training men and women differently, whereby one-half of
  the power of the city is lost. For reflect--if women are not to have
  the education of men some other must be found for them, and what
  other can we propose?"
  --Plato, _Laws_ (Jowett), p. 82. Scribner, 1902.



  [Footnote 15: The material for this was gathered for a lecture on
  the History of Education delivered for the Academy of the Sacred
  Heart, Kenwood, Albany, N. Y., and St. Joseph's College, Chestnut
  Hill, Philadelphia, Pa. Very nearly in its present form the address
  was delivered before the League for the Civic Education of Women, at
  the Colony Club, New York City, in the winter of 1910.]

Nothing is commoner than to suppose that what we are doing at the
present day is an improvement over whatever they were doing at any
time in the past in the same line. We were rather proud during the
nineteenth century to talk of that century as the century of
evolution. Evolutionary terms of all kinds found their way even into
everyday speech and a very general impression was produced that we are
in the midst of progress so rapid and unerring, that even from decade
to decade it is possible to trace the wonderful advance that man is
making. We look back on the early nineteenth century as quite
hopelessly backward. They had no railroads, no street-car lines, no
public street lighting, no modes of heating buildings that gave any
comfort in the cold weather, no elevators, and when we compare our
present comfortable condition with the discomforts of that not so
distant period, we feel how much evolution has done for us, and
inevitably {200} conclude that just as much progress as has been made
in transportation and in comfort, has also been made in the things of
the mind, and, above all, in education, so that, while the millennium
is not yet here, it cannot surely be far off; and men are attaining at
last, with giant strides, the great purpose that runs through the

Probably in nothing is the assumption that we are doing something far
beyond what was ever accomplished before, more emphatically expressed
than in the ordinary opinions as to what is being done by and for
women in our generation. We have come to think that at last in the
course of evolution woman is beginning to come into something of her
rights, she is at last getting her opportunity for the higher
education and for professional education so far as she wants it, and
as a consequence is securing that influence which, as the equal of
man, she should have in the world. Now there is just one thing with
regard to this very general impression which deserves to be called
particularly to attention. This is not the first time in the world's
history, nor the first by many times, that woman has had the
opportunity for the higher education and has taken it very well.
Neither is it the first time that she has insisted on having an
influence in public affairs, but on the contrary, we can readily find
a very curious series of cycles of feminine education and of the
exercise of public influence by women, with intervals of almost
negative phases in these matters that {201} are rather difficult to
explain. Let us before trying to understand what the feministic
movement means in our own time and, above all, before trying to sum up
its ultimate significance for the race, study some of the
corresponding movements in former times.

The most interesting phase of the woman movement in history is that
which occurred at the time of the Renaissance. Because it is typical
of the phases of the feministic movement at all times, and then, too,
because it is closer to us and the records of it are more complete, it
will be extremely interesting to follow out some of the details of it.
It may be necessary for that to make a little excursion into the
history of the period. During the early fifteenth century the Turks
were bothering Constantinople so much, that Greek scholars, rendered
uncomfortable at home, began making their way over into Italy rather
frequently, bringing with them precious manuscripts and remains of old
Greek art. Besides commerce aroused by the Crusades was making the
intercourse between East and West much more intimate than it had been
and, as a result, a taste for Greek letters and art was beginning to
be felt in certain portions of Italy. When Constantinople fell, about
the middle of the fifteenth century, the prestige of the old capital
of the Greek empire was lost, and scholars abandoned it for Italy in
large numbers. This is the time of the Renaissance. The rebirth that
the word {202} signifies, is not a rebirth of art and architecture and
literature into the modern world, as if there had been nothing before,
for Gothic art and architecture and literature is quite as wonderful,
if not more so, than anything that came after, and there are good
authorities who insist that the Renaissance hurt, rather than helped,
Europe. The Renaissance was a rebirth of Greek ideas and ideals in
aesthetics into the European world, and while we may not agree with
Sir Henry Maine that whatever lives and moves in the intellectual
world is Greek in origin, there is no doubt that Greek can be the
source of most wonderful incentive and such it proved to be during the
fifteenth century.

Men and women began to study Greek and they paid much more attention
as a consequence to the Latin classics modelled on the Greek, and so
the New Learning, the so-called humanities, became the centre of
intellectual interest. They were studied first in private schools, but
before long a place for these new studies was demanded in the
curriculum of the universities. The universities, however, were
occupied with the so-called seven liberal arts, which were really
scientific studies. There was geometry, astronomy, music, grammar,
rhetoric, logic and metaphysics, with considerable ethics and
political science, so that they resembled in many ways our modern
universities as they have been transformed since the re-introduction
of scientific studies into them. {203} The university faculties were
content and conservative after the fashion of universities ever, and
they quite naturally refused to entertain the notion of such a radical
change as the introduction of classical studies into the curriculum.
This is just exactly what the classical universities of the early
nineteenth century did when they were asked by scientific enthusiasts
to re-introduce scientific studies into the curriculum, which in the
course of 800 years had come to be made up almost exclusively of
classical studies. In this curious way does history repeat itself.

Unable to obtain a place for the studies in humanism in the
universities, ruling princes and wealthy members of the nobility
proceeded to found special schools for these subjects. In these
schools without the traditions of the past, the women asked and
obtained the privilege of studying. There had come a noteworthy change
in intellectual interest, a novelty was introduced into education.
Whenever that happens woman always asks and always obtains the
privilege of the higher education. During the Renaissance period she
proceeded to show her intellectual power. Many of the women of the
Renaissance became distinguished for scholarship. Perhaps one thing
should be noted with regard to that. Their reputation for scholarship
was largely confined to their younger years. They were more
precocious, or applied themselves better to their studies, and
accordingly knew more of the classics {204} at twenty than their male
relatives who had the same opportunities. Indeed we hear of them as
brilliant scholars at sixteen and seventeen and eighteen. They took
part in Latin plays that were brilliantly performed before the
nobility, higher ecclesiastics, cardinals and even the Popes. They
were brilliant in music, in the languages and in their taste for art.
Later on in life we do not hear so much of them. They evidently were
ready to leave the serious work of scholarship to the men and content
themselves with being enlightened patrons of literature, beneficent
advocates of the arts, liberal customers of the artistic geniuses of
the time. Above all, we find no great original works from them. They
are charming appreciators but not good inventors--at this time, of

While they do not occupy themselves with dry-as-dust scholarship,
there is no doubt at all that much of the glory of the Renaissance,
with its great revivals in art and letters, is due to the women of the
time. It was they who insisted on the building of the town houses,
finely decorated and with charming objects of art in them. It was for
them that the artists of the time made many beautiful things. They
were very often the patrons who enabled churches to obtain from
artists the wonderful paintings of the time. The sculptors made for
them many charming pieces of bric-a-brac. The artists laid out
beautiful gardens that we are only just beginning to {205} appreciate
again now that our taste for outdoor life is being properly
cultivated. They bought the books that were issued by the Manutiuses
at Venice. Isabella D'Este had a standing order that all the books
issued from this great Venetian press should be sent to her. Books
were costly treasures in these times. A single volume of one of these
incunabula of printing so beautifully issued from Manutius's printing
establishment was worth nearly one hundred dollars in our money.

The women designed their own dresses. They encouraged the miniature
painting of the time and the illumination of books and occasionally
took up these arts themselves. They fostered the development of
textile industries, lacemaking and the various kinds of figured cloth,
so that we have some of the most beautiful inventions in this kind at
this time. Tapestry-making took on a new vigor and beauty because of
their patronage. They wanted beautiful glass, and new periods of
marvellous development of glass-tinting and making were ushered in. As
can be readily understood these are the sort of things that men are
not interested in, and whenever in the history of the race we find a
period of development of this kind we can be sure that educated women
are responsible for it. These women of the Renaissance decorated their
homes beautifully, had them built substantially, with wonderful taste
and, above all, had them set charmingly in the Italian {206}
Renaissance gardens that are so deservedly admired.

While they were thus occupied with the beautiful things of life some
of them wrote poetry that has lived (Lucrezia Tornabuoni dei Medici,
Vittoria Colonna), some of them indulged in fiction (Marguerite of
Navarre) that is still read, and a great epoch of fiction-writing
responded to their interest as readers; some of them mixed in politics
and proved their power, at times some of them acted as regents for
their sons (Forli, D'Este), and succeeded magnificently, so that we
have every phase of development of woman's power. There can be no
doubt that at this period woman was afforded every opportunity for the
development of her intellectual life, and that she took her
opportunities with great success.

We have from this time probably the names of more distinguished women
than from any other corresponding period in the world's history. There
was a wonderful group of women at the Court of Giovanna of Naples in
the first half of the fifteenth century, because Naples got her
Renaissance impulses first, being closer by sea to Constantinople and
having many Greek traditions from the old days when Southern Italy was
Magna Graecia. Then there are a series of finely educated women
connected with the Medici household at Florence. The mother of the
great Lorenzo is the best known of them, and her poems show real
literary power. The D'Este family is {207} better known generally, and
then there were the Gonzagas, some of the women of the house of Forli,
Vittoria Colonna, whose influence over art and artists shows her
genius quite as well as does her writing, and many others. Everywhere
women are on a footing with men as regards the intellectual life.
Everywhere they direct conversations seriously with regard to literary
and artistic subjects, and, indeed, it is they who, in what we would
now call salons, serve to make intellectual subjects fashionable, and
so concentrate attention on them and secure the patronage so necessary
for artists and writers if they are to subsist while doing their work.

It would be a great mistake, however, to think for a moment that it
was in Italy alone that such opportunities for higher education and
intellectual influence were allowed to women. Just as the Renaissance
movement itself spread throughout Europe affecting the education, the
literature, the art, the architecture, the arts and crafts of the time
and the nations, so did the feministic movement spread, and everywhere
we find striking expressions of it. In France, for instance, the
Renaissance can be traced very easily in letters and architecture, and
was not much behind Italy in feminine education. Queen Anne of
Bretagne organized the Court School of the time, and interest in
literature became the fashion of the hour. Marguerite of Navarre is a
woman of the Renaissance, and so is Renée of Anjou, while the name
{208} of Louise La Cordière shows, for _la cordière_ means the
cord-wainer's daughter, that higher education for women was not
confined to the nobility. Mary Queen of Scots, educated in France,
whose letters and whose poetry with occasional excursions into Latin,
show us how thoroughly educated she was,--it must not be forgotten
that she was put into prison at twenty-four and never again got
out,--is a typical woman of the French Renaissance. Sichel has told
the story of these women of France very well, and those who want to
know the details of the feministic movement of the time should turn to

In Spain, too, the Renaissance movement made itself felt in every
department. Most of Spain's cathedrals were finished during the
Renaissance time, and some of the work is the admiration of the world.
Spain's literary Renaissance came a little later, but when it did it
contributed at least two great names to the world
literature--Cervantes and Calderon. The women of the nation were also
affected, and Queen Isabella was a deeply intellectual woman of many
interests. Spain contributed to the feministic movement probably the
greatest name in the history of feminine intellectuality in St.
Teresa. How much of sympathy there was with this great expression of
feminine intelligence will be best appreciated from the fact that
Spanish ecclesiastics talk of Teresa as their Spanish Doctor of the
Church, and that in Rome there is amongst the statues {209} of the
Doctors and the Fathers in the Church one woman figure, that of St.
Teresa, with the title _mater spiritualium_--mother of spiritual
things. Her books, profoundly admired by the Spaniards, Were the
favorite reading for such extremely different minds as Fénelon and
Bossuet, and have been the storehouse ever since for German mystics.
They were beautifully translated by Crashaw into English, and have
been the subject of great interest during the present feministic
movement, especially since George Eliot's reference to her in the
preface of "Middlemarch."

In England the Renaissance did not affect art much, nor architecture,
though it did profoundly stir the men of letters, and the great
Elizabethan period of English literature is really an expression of
the Renaissance in England. Here almost more than anywhere else in
Europe the women shared in the uplift and devotion to things
intellectual that developed. Queen Mary was a well-educated woman,
Queen Elizabeth read Greek as well as Latin easily, Lady Jane Grey
preferred her lessons in Greek, under Roger Ascham, to going to balls
and routs and hunting parties, and was a blue-stocking in the veriest
sense of the term. It has been hinted that it was perhaps this that
disturbed her feminine common sense and allowed her to be led so
easily into the foolish conspiracy in which she lost her life. The
losing of one's head in things deeply intellectual may sometimes mean
the losing of it {210} more literally when crowns are at stake. There
are many other names of noble women of this time that might be
mentioned and that are well known for their intellectual development.
That the movement did not confine itself to the higher nobility we can
be sure, for when the better classes do ill they are imitated, but so
also are they imitated when they do well. Besides, the story that we
have of Margaret More and her friends shows that the middle classes
were also stirred to interest in things intellectual.

The usual objection, when this story of the Renaissance and the
feministic movement connected with it is told, if the narrator would
urge that here was an earlier period of feminine education than ours,
is that, after all, the education of this period was confined to only
a few of the nobility. This is not true, and there are many reasons
why it is not true. First, the upper classes are always imitated by
the others, and if there was a fashion for education we can be sure
that it spread. We have not the records of many educated women, but
those that we have all make it clear that education was not confined
to a few, and that those of the middle classes who wanted it could
readily secure it. There were probably as many women to the population
of Europe at that time enjoying the higher education as there are
proportionately in America at the present time. Europe had but a small
population altogether in the fifteenth century. There {211} were
probably less than 4,000,000 of people in England at the end, even, of
the sixteenth century. In Elizabeth's time when the census was taken,
because of the Spanish Armada, these were the figures. There were not
many more people in all Europe then than there are now in England. If
out of these few, comparatively, we can pick out the group of
distinguished women whom I have just spoken of, then there must have
been a great many sharing in the privileges of the higher education.
[Footnote 16]

  [Footnote 16: What an interesting reflection on the notion of
  supposed progress is the fact pointed out by Ambassador Bryce in his
  address on Progress (_Atlantic_ July, 1907), that while out of
  40,000,000 of people there were so many genius men and women
  accomplishing work that the world will never willingly let die, we
  with a population ten times as great cannot show anything like as
  many. Most of the great names that are most familiar to the modern
  mind come in a single century,--the sixteenth. At the present time
  the western civilization then represented by 40,000,000 has near to
  500,000,000 of people. We make no pretension at all, however, to the
  claim that we have more great men than they had. We should have ten
  times as many, but on the contrary we are quite willing to concede
  that we have very few compared to their number and almost none, if
  indeed there are any, who measure up to the high standards of
  achievement of that time more than four centuries ago. It is
  thoughts of this kind that show one how much we must correct the
  ordinarily accepted notions with regard to progress and inevitable
  development, and each generation improving on its predecessors and
  the like, that are so commonly diffused but that represent no
  reality in history at all.]

It is true that it was, as a rule, only the daughters of the nobility
who received the opportunity for the higher education, or at least
obtained it with facility. It must not be forgotten, however, just
what the nobility of Italy, and, {212} indeed, of other countries
also, represented. The conditions there are most typical and it is
worth while studying them out. The Medici, for instance, of Florence,
whose women folk were so well educated, were members of the gilds of
the apothecaries, as their name indicates, who made a fortune on drugs
and precious stones and beautiful stuffs from the East, and then
became the bankers of Europe. Noblemen were created because of success
in war, success in politics, success in diplomacy, but also because of
success in commerce, and occasionally success in the arts. Not many
educators and artists were among them any more than in our time,
because they were not, as a rule, possessed of the fortune properly to
keep up the dignity of a patent of nobility. The daughters of the
nobility of Italy, however, were not very different, certainly their
origin was very similar to that of the daughters of the wealthy men of
America, who are, after all, the only ones who can take advantage of
the higher education in our time. We must not forget that, compared to
the whole population, the number of women securing the higher
education is very limited.

To think that the Renaissance with this provision of ample
opportunities for feminine education was the first epoch of this kind
in the world's history would be to miss sadly a host of historical
facts and their significance. Unfortunately history has been so
written from the standpoint of {213} man and his interests, that this
phase of history is not well known and probably less understood.
History has been too much a mere accumulation of facts with regard to
war, diplomacy and politics. While we have known much of heroes and
battles, we have known little of education, of art, of artistic
achievement of all kinds. We have known even less of popular
movements. We have known almost nothing of the great uplift of the
masses which created the magnificent arts and crafts of the Middle
Ages, that we are just beginning to admire so much once more, and our
admiration of them is the best measure of our own serious artistic
development. Kings and warriors and kings' mistresses and ugly
diplomacy and rotten politics, have occupied the centre of the stage
in history. Surely we are coming to a time when other matters, the
human things and not the animal instincts, will be the main subject of
history; when fighting and sex and acquisitiveness and selfishness
shall give place in history to mutual aid, uplift, unselfishness and
thoughtfulness for others.

As soon as history is studied from the standpoint of the larger human
interests and not that of political history, it is easy to find not
only traces but detailed stories of feminine education at many times.
Before the Renaissance the great phase of education had been that of
the universities. The first of the universities was founded down at
Salerno around a medical school, the {214} second that of Bologna
around a law school and the third that of Paris with a school of
philosophy and theology as a nucleus. This seems to be about the way
that man's interests manifest themselves in an era of development.
First, he is occupied mainly with his body and its needs; then his
property and its rights, and finally, as he lifts himself up to higher
things, his relations to his fellow-man and to his Creator come to be
profound vital interests. Such, at least, is the story of the origin
of the universities in the thirteenth century.

The surprise for us who are considering the story of feminine
education and influence is what happened at Salerno. Here some twenty
miles back from Naples, in a salubrious climate, not far from the
Mediterranean, where old Greek traditions had maintained themselves,
for Southern Italy was called Magna Graecia, where the intercourse
with the Arabs and with the northern shores of Africa and with the
Near East, brought the medical secrets of many climes to a focus, the
first modern medical school came into existence. In the department of
women's diseases women professors taught, wrote text-books and
evidently were considered, in every sense of the word, co-ordinate
professors in the university. We have the text-book of one of them,
Trotula, who is hailed as the founder of the Salernitan School of
Women Physicians, the word school being used in the same sense as when
we talk of a school of {215} painting, and not at all in the sense of
our modern women's medical schools. Trotula was the wife of the
professor of medicine at the university, Plataerius I, and the mother
of another professor at the university, Plataerius II, herself a
professor like them.

There are many other names of women professors at the University of
Salerno in this department. Women, however, were not alone allowed to
practise this single phase of medicine, but we have licenses granted
to women in Naples, of which at this time Salerno was the university,
to practise both medicine and surgery. It seems to have been quite
common, I should say, at least as common as in our own time for women
to study and practise medicine, and their place in the university and
the estimation in which their books were held, show us that all the
difficulties in the way of professional education for women had been
removed and that they were accepted by their masculine colleagues on a
footing of absolute equality.

Probably the most interesting feature of this surprising and
unexpected development of professional education for women is to be
found in the conditions out of which Salerno developed. The school was
originally a monastic school under the influence of the Benedictine
monks from Monte Cassino not far away. The great Archbishop Alphanus
I, who was the most prominent patron and who had been a professor
there, was himself {216} a Benedictine monk. How intimately the
relations of the monks to the school were maintained can be realized
from the fact that when the greatest medical teacher and writer of
Salerno, Constantine Africanus, wanted to have leisure to write his
great works in medicine, he retired from his professorship to the
monastery of Monte Cassino. His great friend Desiderius was the abbot
there, and his influence was still very strong at Salerno. Desiderius
afterwards became Pope, and continued his beneficent patronage of this
Southern Italian university. In a word, it was in the midst of the
most intimate ecclesiastical and monastic influence that this handing
over of the department of women's diseases to women in a great
teaching institution occurred. The wise old monks were thoroughly
practical, and though eminently conservative, knew the needs of
mankind very well, and worked out this solution of one series of

When the next great university, that of Bologna, was founded, it
developed, as I have suggested, around a law school. Irnerius revived
the study of the old Roman law, and his teaching of it attracted so
much attention that students from all over Europe flocked to Bologna.
Law is different from medicine in many respects. The right of women to
study medicine will readily be granted, their place in a system of
medical education is manifest. With regard to law, however, there can
scarcely be grave question as to the {217} advisability of woman
studying it unless economic conditions force her to it. This was
particularly true at a time when woman could own no property and had
no rights until she married. In spite of the many inherent
improbabilities of this development, the law school was scarcely
opened at Bologna before women became students in it. Probably
Irnerius' daughter and some of her friends were the first students,
but after a time others came and the facilities seem to have been
quite open to them. As out of the law school the university gradually
developed, opportunities for study in the other higher branches were
accorded to women at Bologna. We have the story of their success in
mathematics, in philosophy, in music and in astronomy.

According to a well-known and apparently well authenticated tradition,
one distinguished woman student of Bologna, Maria Di Novella, achieved
such success in mathematics about the middle of the thirteenth century
that she was appointed professor of mathematics. Apparently the
faculty of Bologna had no qualms of educational conscience nor betook
themselves to such halfway measures as one of our modern faculties,
which accords a certificate to a woman that she has passed better in
the mathematical tripos than the Senior Wrangler, though they do not
accord her the Senior Wranglership. The story goes on to say that
Signorina Di Novella, knowing that she was pretty, and fearing that
her {218} beauty would disturb the minds, at least, of her male
students, arranged to lecture from behind a curtain. This would seem
to indicate that the blue-stockings of the olden time could be as
surpassingly modest as they were intelligent. I remember once telling
this story before a convent audience. The dear old Mother Superior,
who had known me for many years, ventured to ask me afterwards, "Did
you say that she was young?" and I said yes, according to the
tradition; "and handsome?" and I nodded the affirmative, "Well, then,"
she said, "I do not believe the rest of the story." But then, after
all, what do dear old Mothers Superior know about the world or its
ways, or about handsome young women or their ways, or about the
significance of traditions which serve to show us that even pretty,
intelligent women can be as modestly retiring and as ready to conceal
their charms as they are to be charmingly courteous and careful of the
feelings of others?

It was not alone in law and mathematics, however, that women were
given opportunities for the higher education and even for professional
work at the University of Bologna. In medicine, as well as in law,
women reached distinction. The first great professor of anatomy of
modern times is Mondino, whose text-book on dissection, published at
the beginning of the fourteenth century, continued to be used in the
medical schools for two centuries. One of his assistants was {219}
Alessandra Giliani, one of the two university prosectors in anatomy.
At the Surgeon General's Library in Washington, in one of the early
printed editions of Mondino's work, the frontispiece shows a young
woman making the dissection before him preparatory to his lecture. To
her, according to an old Italian chronicle, we owe the invention of
methods of varnishing and painting the tissues of cadavers so that
they would resemble more their appearance in the living state, that
they might be preserved for further use, thus avoiding to some extent
the necessity for constant repetition of the deterrent work of
dissection, even more deterrent at that time.

It is curiously interesting to find that another great improvement in
the teaching of anatomy, invented in Italy nearly four centuries
later, came also from a woman teaching at an Italian university,
Madame Manzolini. The tradition connecting these two women is
unbroken. There is not a century from the thirteenth to the eighteenth
in which there were not distinguished women professors at the
universities of Italy, and, therefore, also students in large numbers.

Just how many women students there were we do not know. It might seem
to be a comparatively easy problem to find out just how many there
were at any given time by looking up the registers of the
universities. Once in Bologna itself I got hold of the old university
registers, confident that now I would learn just what was {220} the
proportion of women students at the university. I was utterly
disappointed, however, Italian mothers had, so far as the settlement
of this question is concerned, the unfortunate habit occasionally of
giving boys' names to girls, and girls' names to boys. They called
their children after favorite saints. A girl might well be called
Antonio, for the feminine form was not in common use in earlier times.
Many boys had for first name Maria. It used to be the custom in Venice
for every child, no matter what its sex, to receive from the Church
the two names Maria Giovanni, and then the parents might add what
other names they pleased. The names of royalty, with their frequent
use of mingled masculine and feminine names, show how much confusion
can be worked to any scheme for the determination of the sex of
students at the old universities by this, for us, unfortunate habit.

Curiously enough, it was during the thirteenth century when the
development of feminine education in the early university period was
at its height, that certain changes in the domestic economy of the
Bolognese are worthy of notice. Two kinds of prepared food became
popular, if they were not, indeed, both invented at this time. One of
them, bearing the classic name Bologna, is still with us, has spread
throughout the world, and is likely to continue to be an important
article of food for many centuries more. Another form of prepared food
was a sort of dessert called Bologna {221} pudding, prepared from
cereals, and which can still be purchased in Bologna, though
foreigners, as a rule, do not care much for it. These two articles of
food modified materially the preparation of food for meals at this
time. It was possible to buy both of these, as now, ready made, and so
the housewife was spared the bother and trouble and expenditure of
time required for this work. We have here one phase of the origin of
the delicatessen stores. This sort of change in domestic economy has
always been noted whenever women have gone out of the home for other
occupations and have become something less--or more--than the
housewives and mothers they were before. Such changes in the dietary,
however, in the direction of ready-made food are never popular with
men. One German historical writer has been unkind enough to say that
this is one of the reasons why the higher education gradually became
much less popular, or at least attracted less attention than before.
"Women want things for themselves, and if they are opposed insist on
getting them," is the way this cynic Teuton puts it. "If, after a
time, however, having got what they want, they find that the men do
not like them to have it, they gradually abandon it." According to him
Bologna and Bologna pudding saved the stooping over the kitchen range,
or whatever took its place in those days, and gave all classes of
women more opportunity for intellectual development or at least {222}
for occupation with things different from household duties, but after
a time the more or less resentful attitude of the men brought about a
change. However that may be is hard to say.

Another interesting feature of the history of these times connected in
some way with feminine education or, at least, with feminine
occupation with other things besides their households, was a great
devotion to a particular breed of pet dogs of which one hears much in
the accounts of the life at Bologna at this time. Here, once more, the
German cynic has had his say. He has suggested that, whenever women
became occupied with things outside their home, with a consequent
diminution in the number of children, they are almost sure to find an
outlet for their affections in devotion to dogs and other pets.
Apparently he would suggest that they literally go to the dogs. It is
very curious that just during this thirteenth century, when feminine
education at Bologna is at its height, one hears so much of these
pets. At other times in the world's history, when women have taken to
intellectual interests and especially when there has been a fall in
the birth-rate, this same attention to pet animals is worthy of study.

After the thirteenth century there seems to have been a reaction
against these pets. It is to be hoped that there is no connection
between this and the prepared foods spoken of, but the decline in the
popularity of pets and of woman's {223} occupation with intellectual
interests went hand in hand. For all of this I am indebted to German
authorities whose attitude towards feminine education may somewhat
prejudice them and, indeed, probably does so, but these things are
only mentioned as showing certain views that are held. The interesting
thing for us is that after a period of somewhat more than a century of
rather intense interest on the part of the women in nearly every phase
of the intellectual life, there is then a diminution of interest, so
that by the end of the fourteenth century women, even where feminine
intellectual life was vigorous, are occupied almost without exception
as they were before the university period, mainly with domestic

While feminine education was so common in the ecclesiastically ruled
universities of Italy, the custom did not spread in Western Europe.
The reason is not far to seek. All of the western universities owe
their origins to Paris. Oxford was due to a withdrawal of English
students from Paris, Cambridge to a similar withdrawal from Oxford.
Many of the Scotch universities are grandchildren of Paris. All of the
French universities are direct descendants, except Montpellier. The
Spanish universities have a similar relation. The experience with
feminine education at Paris had been unfortunate. The Héloïse and
Abélard incident came in a formative stage of the university. It
settled unfavorably the {224} whole question of feminine attendance at
universities for the west. It seems a small thing to have such a wide
and far-reaching influence, but it is very often on little things that
the success or failure of great social movements of any kind depends.
We have practically no record of any relaxation of university
regulations in this matter in the west. Perhaps the Teutonic character
was opposed to it, perhaps the Teutonic women were less anxious for
it, being more occupied with Church and children and their home, but
there was none, and its absence is responsible for the feeling so
common among us, that now for the first time in the world women are
enjoying the opportunity for the higher education.

Even the university epoch, however, is not the first phase of
opportunities for the education of woman in modern history. Far from
it, indeed, we can find much more than traces of a feminist movement
in other centuries before this, and, indeed, in many of them. When
Charlemagne established schools for his people and invited Alcuin, the
English monk, to develop educational institutions for his people, the
first and most important school was that of the imperial palace where
Alcuin himself taught. In this the women of Paris were given
opportunities quite as well as the men; indeed, they seem to have
taken a more vivid interest and their example seems to have been the
highest incentive for many of the men to take up a work so foreign to
their natures, {225} for as yet they had all the barbarous instincts
of their Gothic ancestors, only slightly tamed and modified by two or
three centuries of gradual uplift and religious training of character.
There are letters from the women of the palace, and especially
Charlemagne's daughter, to Alcuin, discussing phases of his teaching
and suggesting problems and questions with regard to the matters which
he had been making the subject of his instruction.

It would be easy to think that this incident of the Palace School did
not mean very much and that its passing influence did not make itself
felt widely nor for long. The state of education at this time must not
be forgotten. Only the clergy, as a rule, had leisure for it. All the
rest of the world were engaged either in the frequent wars or in a
tireless struggle for subsistence as farmers, merchants and craftsmen.
The nobility neglected education just as much as the upper classes
always do, though there were certain fashions which gained a foothold
and that seem to show that they had some interest. Many a nobleman of
the mediaeval centuries, however, boasted that he could not sign his
own name. He was rather proud of the fact that he had not lowered
himself to mere book knowledge. There were large numbers of the clergy
and the monks, however, and these were the scholars of the period.

There were also at this time large numbers of religious women, and
these in their leisure hours {226} spent much time at educational
matters and some of them accomplished lasting results. The mother of
the family, the court dame, the wife of the nobleman, whose castle was
much more the home of work than it has ever been at any time since,
had but little leisure for the intellectual life. The nuns devoted
themselves to beautiful handiwork, to the composition as well as the
transcription of books and to the cultural interests generally.

It has always been true, as a rule, that the woman who accomplished
anything in the intellectual life must be either a celibate, or at
most, the mother of but a child or two. The mother of a large family,
unless she is extremely exceptional, cannot be expected to be
productive in the intellectual life. She has not the time for original
work, and still less for the filing process necessary for appropriate
expression. There are rare exceptions, but they only prove the rule.
One of the two forms of production apparently women must give up to
devote themselves to the other. The nuns in the Middle Ages, in the
retirement of their convents, gave themselves much more than we are
likely to think possible, to literary and scientific production.
Within the past year I have published sketches of two distinguished
women of the tenth and twelfth centuries whose books show us the
intellectual interests of the women of this time. Only that women were
having opportunities for mental development {227} these would not have
been written, and as they were written for women, it is evident that
those interests were quite widely diffused. One of these two authors
comes in what is sometimes called the darkest of the Dark Ages, the
tenth century; the other was born in the eleventh. They serve to show
how much more intense than we are likely to think was the interest of
the time in things intellectual. Without printing and without any
proper means of publication, somehow these women succeeded in making
literary monuments that have outlasted the wreck and ruin of time, and
that have been of sufficient interest to mankind to be preserved among
vicissitudes which seemed surely destined to destroy them.

One of the two ladies was Roswitha, or Hrotswitha, a nun of
Gandersheim, in what is now Hanover, who in the tenth century wrote a
series of comedies in imitation of Terence, probably not meant to be
played but to be read. She says in the preface that the reason for
writing them was that so many religious were reading the indecent
literature of classical Rome, with the excuse that it was necessary
for the cultivation of style or for the completion of their education,
that she wanted and had striven to write something moral and Christian
to replace the older writings. That preface of itself ought to be
enough to show us that in the nunneries along the Rhine, of which we
know that there were many, there must have been a much more {228}
widespread and ardent interest in literature, and, above all, in
classic literature, than we have had any idea of until recently.
Hrotswitha, to give her her Saxon name, was only a young woman of
twenty-five when she wrote the series of stories and plays thus
prefaced, and while her style, of course, does not compare with the
classics, worse Latin has often been written by people who were sure
that they knew more about Latinity than any nun of the obscure tenth
century could possibly have known.

The other woman writer of about this time was Hildegarde, the abbess
of a monastery along the Rhine, born at the end of the eleventh
century, who wrote a text-book of medicine, which was the most
important document in the history of medicine in this century. The
nuns were the nurses and the hospital attendants and in the country
places, to a great extent, the physicians of this time. In the cities
there were regular practitioners of medicine, but the infirmarian of a
monastery cared for the ailing monks and the people on the monastery
estates when ill, and often they were many in number, and the
infirmarian of a convent did the same thing for the sisters and for at
least the women folk among the people of the neighborhood. It was in
order to gather together and preserve the medical traditions of the
monasteries and convents that Hildegarde, who afterwards came to be
known as St. Hildegarde, wrote her volume on medicine. It has been
recently {229} issued in the collection of old writings called
"Migne's Patrologia," and has drawn many praises from historical
critics for the amount of information which it contains. These two,
Hroswitha and Hildegarde, furnish abundant evidence of the
intellectual life of the convents of this old time and more than hint
at how much has been lost that might have helped us to a larger
knowledge of them.

With this in mind it will be easier to understand a preceding phase of
the history of feminine education in Europe. The first nation that was
converted to Christianity in a body, so that Christian ideas and
ideals had a chance for assertion and application in the life of the
people, was Ireland. Christianity when introduced into Rome met with
the determined opposition of old paganism. After the migration of
nations and the coming down of the barbarians upon the Roman Empire,
there was little opportunity for Christianity to assert itself until
after these Teutonic peoples had been lifted out of their barbarism to
a higher plane of civilization. In Ireland, however, not only did
conversion to Christianity convert the whole people, but it came to a
people who possessed already a high degree of civilization and
culture, a literature that we have been learning to think more and
more of in recent years, many arts, and the development of science, in
the form of medicine at least, to a high degree. The law and music,
the language and the literature of {230} the early Irish all show us a
highly cultivated people. When Christianity came to them, then,
education became its watchword. Schools were opened everywhere on the
island. Ireland became The Island of Saints and of Scholars, and
literally thousands of students flocked from England and the mainland
to these Irish schools. The first and the greatest of these was that
founded by St. Patrick himself at Armagh. During the century after his
death there were probably at one time as many as 5,000 students at
Armagh. Only next in importance to this great school of the Irish
apostle was that of his great feminine co-worker, St. Brigid, who did
for the women of Ireland what St. Patrick had been doing for the men.
It is probable that there were 8,000 students at Kildare, Brigid's
great school, at one time. It is curious to think that there should
have been something like co-education 1,500 years ago, and, above all,
in Ireland, but Kildare seems to have had a system not unlike that in
vogue at many of our universities in the modern time. The male and
female students were thoroughly segregated,--may I say this is not the
last time in the world's history that segregation was the
distinguishing trait of co-education,--but the teachers of the men at
Kildare seem also to have lectured to the women. The men occupied an
entirely subsidiary position, however; even the bishops of Kildare in
Brigid's time were appointed on her recommendation. For centuries
{231} afterwards the Abbess of Kildare, Brigid's successor, had the
privilege of a commanding voice in the selection of the bishop. The
school at Kildare was conducted mainly by and for women, though there
were men in the neighboring monastery who taught both classes of

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the education of Kildare is
that it was not concerned exclusively, nor even for the major part
apparently, with book-learning. The book-learning of the Irish schools
was celebrated. Down at Kildare, however, certain of the arts and
crafts were cultivated with special success. Lace-making and the
illumination of books were two of the favorite occupations of these
students at Kildare in which marvellous success was achieved. The
tradition of Irish lace-making which has maintained itself during all
the centuries began, or at least, secured its first great prestige, in
Brigid's time. Gerald the Welshman, sometimes spoken of as Giraldus
Cambrensis, told of having seen during a journey in Ireland centuries
after Brigid's time, but nearly a thousand years ago, a copy of the
Scriptures that was wonderfully illuminated. He thought it the most
beautiful book in the world. His description tallies very closely with
that of the Book of Kells. Some have even ventured to suggest that he
actually saw the Book of Kells at Kildare. This is extremely
improbable, however, and the Book of Kells almost surely originated
elsewhere. There {232} seems, however, to have been at Kildare some
book nearly as beautiful as the Book of Kells, made there, and
establishing peradventure the thoroughness of the artistic education
given at Kildare at this time.

So much for feminine influence and education under Christianity. Most
people are likely to know much more of the place of women in Greece
and Rome than during Christian times. We are prone, however, to
exaggerate the dependence of woman among both Latins and Greeks and to
think that she had very few opportunities for intellectual development
and almost none for expression of her personality and the exertion of
her influence. Here, once more, as in many other phases of this
subject we are, through ignorance, assuming conditions in the past
that are quite unlike those which actually existed. Recently in the
_Atlantic Monthly,_ Mrs. Emily James Putnam, sometime the Dean of
Barnard, in an article on "The Roman Lady," [Footnote 17] has
completely undermined usual notions with regard to the position of the
Roman woman. The Roman matrons had rights all their own, and succeeded
in asserting themselves in many ways. There was never any seclusion of
the women in Rome and the Roman _matrona_ at all times enjoyed
personal freedom, entertained her husband's guests, had a voice in his
affairs, managed his house and came and went as she pleased. Mrs.
Putnam suggests that "in {233} early days she shared the labors and
the dangers of the insecure life of a weak people among hostile
neighbors. It may not be fanciful to say that the liberty of the Roman
woman of classical times was the inherited reward of the prowess of a
pioneer ancestress, in the same way as the social freedom of the
American woman to-day comes to her from the brave Colonial
housemother, able to work and, when need was, to fight."

  [Footnote 17: _Atlantic Monthly,_ June, 1910.]

Indeed the more one studies social life in Rome the more clear does it
become that conditions were very similar for women to what they are in
this latest of the republics here in America. This will not be
surprising if we but learn to realize that the circumstances of the
development of Rome itself, the environment in which the women were
placed resembled ours of the later time much more closely than we have
had any idea of until recent years. The Italian historian, Ferrero,
has read new lessons into Roman history for us by showing us the past
in terms of the present.

The conditions that developed at Rome, as I have said, were very
similar to those which developed in the modern American republic.
Riches came, luxury arose. Eastern slaves came to do all the work in
the household that could formerly be accomplished by the women, Greek
hand-maidens particularly took every solicitude out of her hands, and
then the Roman matron looked around for something to occupy herself
with, and {234} it was not long before we have expressions from the
men that would remind us of many things that have been said in the
last generation or so. There is a well-known speech of Cato delivered
in opposition to the repeal of the Oppian Law which forbade women to
hold property, that is reported by Livy and sounds strangely modern.
Mrs. Putnam talks of it very aptly, "as an expression of the ever
recurrent uneasiness of the male in the presence of the insurgent

"'If, Romans,' said he, 'every individual among us had made it a rule
to maintain the prerogative and authority of a husband with respect to
his own wife, we should have less trouble with the whole sex. It was
not without painful emotions of shame that I just now made my way into
the forum through a crowd of women. Had I not been restrained by
respect for the modesty and dignity of some individuals among them, I
should have said to them, "What sort of practice is this, of running
out into public, besetting the streets, and addressing other women's
husbands? Could not each have made the same request to her husband at
home? Are your blandishments more seductive in public than in private,
and with other women's husbands than your own?"

"'Our ancestors thought it not proper that women should transact any,
even private business, without a director. We, it seems, suffer them
now to interfere in the management of state {235} affairs. Will you
give the reins to their untractable nature and their uncontrolled
passions? This is the smallest of the injunctions laid on them by
usage or the laws, all of which women bear with impatience; they long
for liberty, or rather for license. What will they not attempt if they
win this victory? The moment they have arrived at an equality with
men, they will become your superiors.'"

The social conditions which developed at Rome are indeed so strangely
like those with which we are now familiar as to be quite startling. As
a mere man I should hesitate to suggest this, since it refers
particularly to feminine affairs and domestic concerns, but since it
has been betrayed by one of the sex perhaps I may venture to quote it.
Once more I turn to Mrs. Putnam for an apt expression of the
conditions. She says:

  "The Greeks, who, to be sure, had nothing in their dwellings that
  was not beautiful, had still supposed the great works of art were
  for public places. With the Romans began the private collection of
  chefs-d'oeuvre in its most snobbish aspect. The parts played by the
  sexes in this enterprise sometimes showed the same division of labor
  that prevails very largely in a certain great nation of our own day
  that shall be nameless: the husband paid for the best art that money
  could buy, and the wife learned to talk about it and to entertain
  the artist. It is true that the Roman lady began also to improve her
  mind. She {236} studied Greek, and hired Greek masters to teach her
  history and philosophy. Ladies flocked to hear lectures on all sorts
  of subjects, originating the odd connection between scholarship and
  fashion which still persists."

This subject may be pursued with ever-increasing recognition of
similarity between that time and our own. For instance, Mrs. Putnam
says: "A woman of fashion, we are told, reckoned it among her
ornaments if it were said of her that she was well read and a thinker,
and that she wrote lyrics almost worthy of Sappho. She, too, must have
her hired escort of teachers, and listen to them now and then, at
table or while she was having her hair dressed,--at other times she
was too busy. And often while the philosopher was discussing high
ethical themes her maid would come in with a love-letter, and the
argument must wait till it was answered.

"Nothing very important in the way of production resulted from all the
lady's literary activity. The verses, if Sulpicia's they be, are the
sole surviving evidence of creative effort among her kind; and,
respectable as they are, they need not disturb Sappho's repose. It was
indirectly that the Roman lady affected literature, since kinds began
to be produced to her special taste; for it is hardly an accident that
the _vers de société_ should expand, and the novel originate, in
periods when for the first time women were a large element in the
reading public."


In our time it has been said, that one of the reasons why the young
man does not marry is often that he is fearful of the superiority of
the college-bred young woman. He knows that he himself has no more
intelligence than is absolutely necessary for the proper conduct of
life, and he fears that his "breaks" in grammar, in literature, in
taste for art, in social things, may make him the laughing-stock of
the educated woman. We would be reasonably sure, most of us, that at
least this is the first time in the world's history that anything like
this has happened. It is rather interesting, however, to read some of
the reflections of the Roman satiric poets on the state of affairs
that developed in Rome as a consequence of study and lectures and at
least supposed scholarship becoming the fashion. "I hate the woman,"
says Juvenal, "who is always turning back to the grammatical rules of
Palaemon and consulting them; the feminine antiquary who recalls
verses unknown to me, and corrects the words of an unpolished friend
which even a man would not observe. Let a husband be allowed to make a
solecism in peace." I recommend the reading of Juvenal to the college
young woman of the modern time, not only for its classic but for its
social value.

Among the Greeks the position of women was quite different from what
is usually supposed. It is only too often the custom to think that the
Greek women, confined to a great degree to their {238} houses, sharing
little in the public discussions, coming very slightly into public in
any way, were more or less despised by the men and tolerated, but
surely not much respected. The place of women in life at any time can
be best judged from the position assigned them by the dramatic poets
of any period. The larger the mind of the dramatic poet, the more of a
genius he is, the more surely does his estimate expressed in
literature represent life as he saw it. Ruskin pointed out that
Shakespeare has no heroes and many heroines; that, while he has no men
that stand in unmarred perfection of character, "there is scarcely a
play that has not a perfect woman in it, steadfast in grave hope and
errorless purpose; conceived in the highest heroic type of humanity."
What is thus true of Shakespeare is just as true of the great dramatic
poets of the Greeks. In practically all the extant plays of AEschylus,
Sophocles and Euripides, women are the heroines. They are represented
as nobler, braver, more capable of suffering, with a better
appreciation of their ethical surroundings and the realities of life,
than the men around them. As much as Antigone is superior to her
quarrelsome brothers, as Alcestis rises above her selfish husband, as
Tecmessa is superior to and would have saved Ajax if only he had
permitted her, so everywhere do we find women occupying not a place of
equality but a position of superiority.

These plays were written by men. Just as in {239} the case of
Shakespeare they were written by men mainly to be witnessed by men,
for while three-fourths of our audiences at theatres now are women, at
least three-fourths of the audience in Shakespeare's time were men,
and in the old Greek theatre the men largely exceeded the women in
attendance. These were masculine pictures of the place of woman,
painted not in empty compliment but with profoundest respect and
deepest understanding. We honor these writers as the greatest in the
history of literature because they saw life so clearly and so truly.
Literature is only great when it mirrors life to the nail. What the
Greek dramatists had done, Homer had done before them. His picture of
the older Greek women shows us that they were on an absolute equality
in their households with the men, that not only were they thoroughly
respected and loved for themselves, but, to repeat Ruskin, they were
looked up to as infallibly wise counsellors, as the best possible
advisers to whom a man could go, provided they themselves were of high
character and their hearts, as well as their intellects, were
interested in the problems involved.

There are, of course, in all of the dramatists some wicked women. In
the whole round of Shakespeare's characters there are only three
wicked women who have degraded their womanhood among the principal
figures. These are Lady Macbeth, Regan and Goneril. We have
corresponding characters in the Greek dramatists. {240} Clytemnestra
is the Lady Macbeth of Greek Tragedy. Euripides, the feminist as he
has been called, has shown us, as feminists ever, more of the worst
side of women than his greater predecessors AEschylus and Sophocles.
He has exhibited the extent to which religious over-enthusiasm can
carry women in the "Bacchae," and was the first to introduce the sex
problem. In general it may be said, as Ruskin says of Shakespeare,
that when a Greek dramatist pictures wicked women "they are at once
felt to be frightful exceptions to the ordinary laws of life; fatal in
their influence also in proportion to the power for good which they
had abandoned." Indeed tragedy, as we see it in the great tragic
poets, might be defined as the failure on the part of a good woman to
save the men who are nearest and dearest to her from the faults into
which their characters impel them. All the great dramatists, ancient
and modern, represent women once more in Ruskin's words as "infallibly
faithful and wise counsellors--incorruptibly just and pure
examples--strong always to sanctify, even when they cannot save."

How little there is in any question of evolution having brought new
influence or higher place to woman may be very well realized from this
position of women among the old Greeks. Gladstone has called attention
to it very forcibly in his "Essay on the Place of Ancient Greece in
the Providential Order," when he says, "Outside {241} the pale of
Christianity, it would be difficult to find a parallel in point of
elevation to the Greek women of the heroic age." He has taken the
place of woman as representing the criterion by which the civilization
and the culture of a people at any time may be judged, though he does
not at all think that one finds a constant upward tendency in history
in this regard. He says:

  "For when we are seeking to ascertain the measure of that conception
  which any given race has formed of our nature, there is, perhaps, no
  single test so effective, as the position which it assigns to woman.
  For as the law of force is the law of brute creation, so in
  proportion as he is under the yoke of that law does man approximate
  to the brute. And in proportion, on the other hand, as he has
  escaped from its dominion, is he ascending into the higher sphere of
  being and claiming relationship with Deity. But the emancipation and
  due ascendency of woman are not a mere fact, they are the emphatic
  assertion of a principle, and that principle is the dethronement of
  the law of force and the enthronement of other and higher laws in
  its place and its despite."

Of course, of the formal education of the women of Greece we know very
little. We do know that they would not have been respected as they
were, looked up to by their sons and their husbands, honored as the
poets have shown them to be, put upon the stage as the heroines of the
race, only that they had been intellectually as well as {242} morally
the equals--nay, the superiors--of the men around them. We do not know
much about the teaching of women before and during the classical
period, but we can understand very well from what we know of them that
they must have had good opportunities for education. Plato, of course,
insists that women should be educated in every way exactly as the men.
He mentions specifically gymnastics and horseback riding, and says
that women should be trained in these as well as things intellectual,
for they should have their bodies developed as well as their minds.
His reason for demanding equal education is very interesting, because
it is an anticipation of what is being said rather emphatically at the
present time. He says: "If I am right nothing can be more foolish than
our modern fashion of training men and women differently, whereby
one-half of the power of the city is lost. For reflect if women are
not to have the education of men some other must be found for them,
and what other can we propose?" His idea evidently was that only
one-half those who ought to be citizens were properly trained for
civic duties if the education of women were neglected.

It is extremely interesting in the light of this to read some of
Aristophanes' plays. Three of them, "Lysistrata," the
"Thesmophoriazusae," which has a simpler name "The Women's Festival,"
for it referred to the great feast of Thesmophoria in honor of Ceres
and Proserpine, and {243} the "Ecclesiazusae." This last title may be
rendered a little freely "The Female Parliament," for in it women
secure, by a little fraud, the right to vote and vote themselves into
office as the main portion of the plot of the play. All three of these
plays refer particularly to the question of women's rights, and though
"The Women's Festival" was written as a satire on Euripides it is
evident that only this subject was about as prominently before the
people of Athens as the question of votes for women is in our time,
Aristophanes would not have written these satiric comedies. The
subjects of his plays are always the very latest actuality in Athens.
Socrates was satirized in "The Clouds" within a few months of his
death. "The War" was written while Athens was actually engaged in it,
and "The Peace" was written within a few months after the signing of
the treaty.

Votes for women must actually have been on the very centre of the
carpet when Aristophanes wrote his "Ecclesiazusae" or "Feminine
Parliament." Lest it should be thought that I intrude myself in any
way in trying to boil down for you the old satiric comedy, or that I
am modernizing Aristophanes in order to adapt the ideas of this play
more fully to conditions that are around us at the present time, I
shall read to you the excellent condensation of it made by the Rev. W.
Lucas Collins, M.A., in his "Aristophanes," in the series of "Ancient
Classics for English {244} Readers," that scholarly introduction to
the classic authors of which Mr. Collins is the editor. He says:

  "The women have determined, under the leadership of a clever lady
  named Praxagora, to reform the constitution of Athens. For this
  purpose they will dress like men--beards included--and occupy the
  seats in the Pnyx, so as to be able to command a majority of votes
  in the next public assembly, the parliament of Athens. Praxagora is
  strongly of opinion with the modern Mrs. Poyser, that on the point
  of speaking, at all events, the women have great natural advantages
  over the men; that 'when they have anything to say they can mostly
  find words to say it in.' They hold a midnight meeting for the
  purpose of rehearsing their intended speeches and getting accustomed
  to their new clothes. Two or three of the most ambitious orators
  unfortunately break down at the very outset, much to their leader's
  disgust, by addressing the assembly as 'ladies' and swearing female
  oaths and using many other unparliamentary expressions quite
  unbefitting their masculine attire. Praxagora herself, however,
  makes a speech which is very generally admired. She complains of the
  mismanagement hitherto of public affairs, and asserts that the only
  hope of salvation for the state is to put the government into the
  hands of the women; arguing, like Lysistrata in the comedy of that
  name, that those who have so long managed the domestic establishment
  {245} successfully are best fitted to undertake the same duties on a
  larger scale. The women, too, are shown by their advocate to be
  highly conservative, and, therefore, safe guardians of the public

    "They roast and boil after the good old fashion,
     They keep the holidays that were kept of old.
     They make their cheesecakes by the old receipts.
     They keep a private bottle like their mothers.
     They plague their husbands--as they always did."

Even in the management of a campaign, they will be found more prudent
and more competent than the men:

  "Being mothers, they'll be chary of the blood
  Of their own sons, our soldiers; being mothers,
  They will take care their children do not starve
  When they're on service; and, for ways and means,
  Trust us, there's nothing cleverer than a woman:
  And as for diplomacy, they'll be hard indeed
  To cheat--they know too many tricks themselves."

Her speech is unanimously applauded; she is elected lady-president on
the spot, by public acclamation, and the chorus of ladies march off
towards the Pnyx to secure their places like the old gentlemen in 'The
Wasps' ready for the daybreak.

  "In the next scene, two of the husbands enter in great perplexity,
  one wrapped in his wife's dressing gown, and the other with only his
  under-garment {246} on and without his shoes. They both want to go
  to the assembly but cannot find their clothes. While they are
  wondering what in the world their wives can have done with them, and
  what is become of the ladies themselves, a third neighbor, Chremes,
  comes in. He has been to the assembly; but even he was too late to
  get the threepence which was allowed out of the public treasury to
  all who took their seat in good time, and which all Athenian
  citizens, if we may trust their satirist, were so ludicrously eager
  to secure. The place was quite full already, and of strange faces,
  too. And a handsome fair-faced youth (Praxagora in disguise, we are
  to understand) had got up, and amid the loud cheers of those unknown
  voters had proposed and carried a resolution, that the government of
  the state should be placed in the hands of a committee of
  ladies,--an experiment which had found favor also with others,
  chiefly because it was 'the only change which had not as yet been
  tried at Athens.' His two neighbors are somewhat confounded at his
  news, but congratulate themselves on the fact that the wives will
  now, at all events, have to see to the maintenance of the children,
  and that 'the gods sometimes bring good out of evil.'

  "The women return, and get home as quickly as they can to change
  their costume so that the trick by which the passing of this new
  decree has been secured may not be detected. Praxagora succeeds in
  persuading her husband that she had {247} been sent for in a hurry
  to attend a sick neighbor, and only borrowed his coat to put on
  'because the night was so cold' and his strong shoes and staff, in
  order that any evil-disposed person might take her for a man as she
  tramped along, and so not interfere with her. She at first affects
  not to have heard of the reform which has been just carried, but
  when her husband explains it, declares it will make Athens a
  paradise. Then she confesses to him that she has herself been
  chosen, in full assembly, 'Generalissima of the state.' She puts the
  question, however, just as we have all seen it put by a modern
  actress,--'will this house agree to it?' And if Praxagora was at all
  attractively got up, we may be sure it was carried by acclamation in
  the affirmative. _Then, in the first place, there shall be no more
  poverty; there shall be community of goods, and so there shall be no
  law suits, and no gambling and no informers._ (They promised more
  even than our suffragettes--if possible.) Moreover, there shall be
  community of wives,--and all the ugly wives shall have the first
  choice of husbands. So she goes off to her public duties, to see
  that these resolutions are carried out forthwith; the good citizen
  begging leave to follow close at her side, so that all who see him
  may say, 'What a fine fellow is our Generalissima's husband!'

  "The scene changes to another street in Athens, where the citizens
  are bringing out all their property, to be carried into the
  market-place {248} and inventoried for the common stock. Citizen 'A'
  dances with delight as he marshals his dilapidated chattels into a
  mock procession--from the meal sieve, which he kisses, it looks so
  pretty with its powdered hair, to the iron pot which looks as black
  'as if Lysimachus' (some well-known fop of the day, possibly present
  among the audience) 'had been boiling his hair dye in it.' This
  patriot, at least, has not much to lose, and hopes he may have
  something to gain, under these female communists.

  "But his neighbor, who is better off, is in no such hurry. The
  Athenians, as he remarks, are always making new laws and abrogating
  them; what has been passed to-day very likely will be repealed
  to-morrow. Besides it is a good old national habit to take, not to
  give. He will wait a while before he gives in an inventory of his
  possessions. (One might think of an income tax law in the United
  States in the twentieth century.)

  "But at this point comes the city-beadle (an appointment now held,
  of course, by a lady) with a summons to a banquet provided for all
  citizens out of the public funds: and amongst the items in the bill
  of fare is one dish whose name is composed of seventy-seven
  syllables--which Aristophanes gives us, but which the reader shall
  be spared. (It has been boiled down by the American schoolboy to
  just 'hash.') Citizen 'B' at once delivers it as his opinion that
  'every {249} man of proper feeling should support the constitution
  to the utmost of his ability,' and hurries to take his place at the
  feast. There are some difficulties caused, very naturally by the new
  communistic regulations as to providing for the old and ugly women,
  but with these we need not deal. The piece ends with an invitation,
  issued by direction of Praxagora through her lady-chamberlain, to
  the public generally, spectators included, to join the national
  banquet which is to inaugurate the new order of things."

In a previous comedy Aristophanes had told of another interference of
women in the political life of Athens that contains so many reminders
of the modern time, and shows so definitely how old the new is, that
it deserves a place here. Above all, the desertions from the cause of
the women when they find that their political duties interfere with
their home duties, and that they have to sacrifice many of the joys of
life even though they are duties that may at times seem irksome
enough,--children, household work, etc.,--for these newer obligations
with which they have so little sympathy, is especially interesting.
Once more I prefer to take the Rev. Mr. Collins' summary of the play
in order that it may be clear that Aristophanes' meaning is not being
stretched for the purpose of making points with regard to present-day
conditions. After all, Mr. Collins' little book was written very
nearly thirty years ago, when very little of the present feministic
{250} movement, at least in the form in which we are now familiar with
it, had asserted itself.

  "They determine, under the leading of the clever Lysistrata, wife to
  one of the magistrates, to take the question (of the ending of the
  war) into their own hands. They resolve upon a voluntary separation
  from their husbands--a practical divorce _a mensa et thoro_--until
  peace with Sparta shall be proclaimed. It is resolved that a body of
  the elder matrons shall seize the Acropolis and make themselves
  masters of the public treasury. These form one of the two choruses
  in the play, the other being composed of the old men of Athens. The
  latter proceed (with a good deal of comic difficulty, owing to the
  steepness of the ascent and their shortness of breath) to attack the
  Acropolis, armed with torches and fagots and pans of charcoal, with
  which they hope to smoke out the occupants. But the women have
  provided themselves with buckets of water, which they empty on the
  heads of their assailants, who soon retire discomfited to call the
  police. But the police are, in their turn, repulsed by these
  resolute insurgents, whom they do not exactly know how to deal with.
  At last a member of the public committee comes forward to parley,
  and a dialogue takes place between him and Lysistrata. 'Why,' he
  asks, 'have they thus taken possession of the citadel?' 'They have
  resolved henceforth to manage the public revenues themselves,' is
  the {251} reply, 'and not allow them to be applied to carrying on
  this ruinous war.' 'That is no business for women,' argues the
  magistrate. 'Why not?' says Lysistrata; 'the wives have long had the
  management of the private purses of the husbands, to the great
  advantage of both.' In short, the women have made up their minds to
  have their voice no longer ignored, as hitherto, in questions of
  peace and war. Their remonstrances have always been met with the
  taunt that 'war is the business of men;' and to any question they
  have ventured to ask their husbands on such points, the answer has
  always been the old cry--old as the days of Homer--'Go spin, you
  jade, go spin!' But they will put up with it no longer. As they have
  always had wit enough to clear the tangled threads in their work, so
  they have no doubt of settling all these difficulties and
  complications in international disputes, if it is left to them. But
  what concern, her opponent asks, can women have with war, who
  contribute nothing to its dangers and hardships? 'Contribute,
  indeed!' says the lady; 'we contribute the sons who carry it on.'
  And she throws down to her adversary her hood, her basket and her
  spindle, and bids him 'go home and card wool,'--it is all such old
  men are fit for; henceforth the proverb (of the men's making) shall
  be reversed,--'War shall be the care of the women.' The magistrate
  retires not having got the best of it, very naturally, in an
  encounter of words; and the chorus of elders raise the cry--{252}
  well known as a popular partisan cry at Athens, and sure to call
  forth a hearty laugh in such juxtaposition--that the women are
  designing to 'set up a tyranny!'

  "But poor Lysistrata soon has her troubles. Her unworthy recruits
  are fast deserting her. They are going off to their husbands in the
  most sneaky manner--creeping out through the little hole under the
  citadel which led to the celebrated cave of Pan, and letting
  themselves down from the walls by ropes at the risk of breaking
  their necks. Those who are caught all have excellent excuses. One
  has some fleeces of fine Milesian wool at home which must be seen
  to,--she is sure the moths are eating them. Another has urgent
  occasion for the doctor; a third cannot sleep alone for fear of the
  owls--of which, as every one knows, there were really a great many
  at Athens. The husbands, too, are getting uncomfortable without
  their housekeepers; there is no one to cook their victuals; and one
  poor soul comes and humbly entreats his wife at least to come home
  and wash and dress the baby.

  "It is becoming plain that either the war or the wives' resolution
  will soon give way, when there arrives an embassy from Sparta. They
  cannot stand this general strike of the wives. They are agreed
  already with their enemies, the Athenians, on one point--as to the
  women--that the old Greek comedian's proverb, which we have borrowed
  and translated freely, is true,--

    "There is no living with 'em--or without 'em."


  "They are come to offer terms of peace. When two parties are already
  of one mind, as Lysistrata observes, they are not long in coming to
  an understanding. A treaty is made on the spot, with remarkably few

Whenever we have sufficient remains to illustrate the life of any
period of history with reasonable completeness, we find women
occupying a much more important place than is usually conceded to
them. The trouble is that we assume that we know something about the
past, because we have somewhere obtained a vague notion of it and then
we fill in details in accordance with that preconceived notion. The
general rule, unfortunately, is to make as little of the past as
possible and to consider that, of course, they must have been very
different from us, and surely far behind us in everything. The more
one really knows of history, however, the less does one think this. We
must not let our complacent self-satisfaction with our own generation
disturb our proper appreciation of past generations, however. An
English writer said not very long ago, and now that we have reviewed
various periods in the history of feminine influence and of education,
I think that you will recognize the justice of what he said, "It is
too much the easy custom of the present self-admiring day--not a bit
more self-satisfied, after all, than each day has been in its {254}
turn--to hold the women of the past as something little better than
dolls for their attainments, a little dearer than slaves for their
position and despicably content therein." Nothing could well be less
true than this.

What is apt to strike us, however, after a review of the phases of
feminine education and influence such as I have sketched, is that
there are undoubtedly times during which very little is heard of
feminine influence and almost nothing at all of feminine education.
There are periods on the other hand when these subjects are the very
centre of human interest. This interest waxes to a certain climax and
then apparently wanes. What is the reason for these waxings and
wanings? Is there anything that we know about them that will help us
to account for them? If women have once achieved a certain position
and have once secured certain privileges in the matter of education,
it might reasonably be expected that, barring some great cataclysm or
political upheaval, that completely disrupted society, they would not
abandon these hard-won rights and precious privileges, and so we
should not have to be going through the storm and stress of another
period of discussion, controversy, opposition with regard to woman's
rights. How is it that rights once attained--and never unless after a
struggle, for no matter how civilized a period or how cultured a
people, they do not grant rights to any class unless forced to do so--
that these rights have afterwards been lost, or at least greatly
diminished and partly forgotten?


In this we come upon one of the mysteries of history and of the life
of man. How is it that men secure certain knowledge and then forget
it--literally forget all about it--how is it that men make
discoveries and then lose sight of them so that they have to be made
over again; how is it that men even make useful inventions of all
kinds and these are lost sight of and the invention has to be made
over again in succeeding generations? How is it that the Suez Canal
was opened at least once before our time and then allowed to fill up
with sand, and we had to do the work all over again two generations
ago? How is it that America was discovered at least twice, probably
oftener, before Columbus' time, and yet his was a real discovery? We
actually have Papal documents addressed to bishops in Greenland from
Popes in the thirteenth century, mentioning missions on the mainland
of America. There are traditions that seem to point beyond all doubt
to the fact that the Irish monks were here in America in the eighth
and ninth centuries. Those traditions come from three or four
different sources. There was a reverence for the cross among the
Indians in certain parts of the country. A tradition of white-robed
priests who came from over the sea. The Norse name for America was
Irland it Mikla, Ireland the Great, {256} that is, the island of the
Irish, much larger than Ireland itself and lying beyond it in the

How is it, indeed, that there are many discoveries and rediscoveries
of the same principle in science? Heron's engine at Alexandria was an
anticipation of the turbine principle in the application of steam.
When we dug up surgical instruments at Pompeii we were surprised to
find that they had the form of many instruments that we thought we had
invented in our time. In glass-making, in iron-working, in all the
arts and crafts precious secrets are discovered, then lost, then
rediscovered, and this may even happen several times. We find no sign
of a continuous progress, but recurring phases that represent ups and
downs in man's interest in certain things and his achievements
corresponding to the intensity of his interest. Such a thing as a
regular progressive advance one finds nowhere in history. Nations do
not maintain their power after they have achieved it. Just as soon as
the struggle to maintain themselves is over, internal troubles of
various kinds set disintegrating factors at work and it is not long
before decadence can be noted and then the disappearance of the people
or at least of its national prominence becomes inevitable. We shall
not be surprised to find ups and downs in the history of feminine
influence and education, for this is the rule of history. We have only
been laboring under the false notion that definite progress was the
rule because of {257} over-absorption in the evolution theory--but it
is not.

There seems to be in this matter a certain check upon the occupation
of woman with interests external to her household that would tempt her
to occupy herself much with duties extraneous to the family life.
After all, one thing is perfectly clear. Only women can be mothers. We
have not succeeded even in getting the slightest possible hint of any
method of continuing the race except by the ordinary process of
maternity. Whatever of direct evolution the advocates of the theory of
evolution have suggested as coming in humanity so that it may be the
subject of observation, has been due in their minds to the lengthening
of the period during which the young of the race are cared for. As we
go up in the scale of life from the lowest to the highest, infancy--
meaning by that the period during which the offspring is cared for by
the parents--lengthens. In the very small beings there is none. As we
ascend in the scale we find traces of parental care. Then comes
occupation of the parents with their offspring from a few hours up to
a day or two, and then finally months and years, until in the human
race infancy has been gradually prolonged to twenty years. This is
Herbert Spencer's observation and it is interesting and suggestive. A
mother then especially, though also a father, must care for children,
not alone for months before and after birth, but for a score of years.


Occupation with other things, though necessary, detracts from this
care of children, and if exaggerated leads to the celibate condition
or that approaching it, the limitation of families within narrow
bounds. The mother of but two or three children may occupy herself
with other things and, indeed, has to find other occupation of mind.
At certain periods in the world's history a certain number of these
women accumulate and the tendency to celibacy or to very limited
maternity makes itself felt, and then this class of people usually
fails to propagate enough of the species like themselves to take their
places in the world. It is a matter of common comment at the present
moment that if the women's colleges were to depend on the progeny of
their graduates to fill the classes in succeeding years, the numbers
at the schools not only would not increase but would constantly tend
to decrease. Of course this same thing is true of the descendants of
the male graduates of many of our Eastern universities, and I believe
that attention has been particularly called to it with regard to our
three oldest universities. Such are the risks of life and the
fatalities incident to disease, even with our present improved
hygienic conditions, that anything less than five or six children in a
family will not prove sufficient eventually to replace the parents in
their activities. When to small families is added the number of
celibates consequent upon absorption in self-improvement, then the
failure of the {259} cultured classes even to replace themselves
becomes very manifest, and hence our dwindling native populations, if
we take that word to mean the families that have been in the country
for more than two generations.

Nature does not confide conditions in humanity entirely to man,
however. This would be to leave mankind subject to certain whims and
fashions and the caprices of times and people. There are many
biological checks which maintain mankind in a certain equilibrium. A
typical example of it is the regulation of the number of each sex
born. In general the proportion of the sexes to one another maintains
a ratio very near that of equality under ordinary natural conditions.
This obtains in spite of the fact that man is so much more subject to
accidents than woman, so much more likely to catch and succumb to
disease and so much more likely to wear himself out prematurely as the
result of his labors. The death-rate among women at all ages is lower
than that of men, yet a constant, definite equilibrium of the sexes is
maintained with accurate nicety. There is evidently some check
existing in nature itself that prevents any disturbance of this fixed

Not only is nature able to maintain this, but in cases where, because
of some serious disturbance of natural conditions, a decided
inequality of the ratio occurs by accident, nature is able to restore
conditions to the previous normal, without our being quite able to
understand just how this is {260} accomplished. We do not know how sex
is determined. There have been many explanations offered, but all of
them have proved inadequate and most of them quite nugatory. In spite
of our lack of knowledge there have been times in history when a
striking manifestation of nature's power has occurred. For instance,
after the Thirty Years' War in Germany the ratio between the sexes had
been so much disturbed that, according to some historians, there were
probably nearly twice as many women as men in existence in the
Germanic countries. The men had been cut off by the war itself, by
famines consequent upon it, by extreme and unusual efforts to support
their families and by epidemic diseases in camps and campaigns. The
disproportion was so great that a relaxation of the marriage laws was
permitted for a time in certain of the countries and men were allowed
to have two wives.

Under these conditions nature at once began to reassert herself, the
number of male births was greatly increased and the disproportion
between the sexes immediately began to lessen. At the end of scarcely
more than three generations the normal equilibrium of the sexes was
restored and there was about an equal number of men and women again.
Here we have the effect of one of these curiously interesting
biological checks upon man's foolish quarrelsomeness which might
result in a too great disproportion of the sexes.

We shall not be surprised, then, if we find other {261} such
biological checks and compensations exerting themselves. In recent
years Sir Francis Galton, the cousin of Darwin, who is recognized as
the best living authority in statistical biology, and Professor Karl
Pearson, who has done more than any one else to bring out many curious
and interesting but very important biological laws by the study of
statistics, have insisted in their studies of the effect of the law of
primogeniture, that when there are small families, the children are
more likely to be nervous, oftener have an inclination to mental
disease and have less resistive vitality against disease in general
than the average child of the larger families. There is a small but
significant advantage in vitality that accrues to later children of a
family. This is so contrary to the frequently expressed opinion that
only the children of small families can be brought up properly to
resist disease and have such advantages in their education and
nutrition as to be of better health, that I should hesitate to quote
it, only that it has behind it the authority of such distinguished
scientists as Galton and Pearson. They are both conservative
Englishmen, they have no theory of their own that they are supporting,
they have no axe to grind in things social and political for the
launching of the new theory, they are only making observations on the
facts presented and the data that have been collected.

Here is another striking example of a check on certain tendencies in
humanity that apparently {262} nature does not approve of, or to avoid
personifying a process, we had better say are not according to
nature's laws. The small family does not perpetuate itself. It has
certain natural disadvantages that work against it. It gradually
disappears and the races of larger families maintain themselves. We
need not have had recourse to Galton's and Pearson's principle in this
matter, for we see the results of the small family in present-day
history. France is decreasing in population. Our own Puritan families
are dying out. American families generally of more than three
generations are not perpetuating themselves. The teeming fertility of
the poor immigrants who come to us is, with immigration itself,
supplying our increase in population. Our nation is, as a result,
gradually becoming something very different from what our forefathers

What has apparently happened, then, in the history of feminine
education and influence is that, whenever women became occupied with
such modes of education, or the cultivation of phases of feminine
influence that took them out of their houses, away from family life
and far from the hearthstone, the particular classes of women who thus
became interested did not propagate themselves, or propagated
themselves to such a limited degree that, after a time, their kind
disappeared to a great extent. The domestic woman with tendencies to
care much more for her maternal duties than for any extra-domiciliary
successes {263} propagated herself, raised her children with her
ideals, cultivated domesticity and consciously or unconsciously
fostered the mother idea as the main feature of woman's life and her
principal source not only of occupation, but of joy in the living, of
consolation and of genuine accomplishment. The tendency, as can
readily be seen in our own time, of the other class of woman is
largely to foster, often unconsciously, but of course often
consciously also, the opposite notions. She talks of the slavery of
child-raising, the limitations of the home woman, the drudgery of
domestic life, forgetting that life is work and that the only
happiness in life is to have work that you want to do, whatever it may
be, but all this talk has its inevitable effect upon all but the born
mother woman, and the result is the fad for public occupation instead
of domestic life.

It is easy to see what the result of the opposite opinion is. Every
tendency of the intellectual woman so-called is to repress such
natural instincts as lead to the propagation of the race and the
continuance of her kind. Of course it will be said that intellectual
women are quite willing to have one or two children. First, this is
not true for a great many of them. Secondly, for those who have one or
two children losses by death and failure to marry in the second
generation, because of conscious or unconscious discouragements and
the exaggeration of ideas with regard to the danger of maternity, lead
often to a complete {264} suppression of the family in the second or
third generation.

Apparently the rule of history is that there are four or five
generations of women interested in intellectual things particularly,
who follow one another in these periods of special feminine education
and exertion of influence outside of the home. Then there comes a
distinct decadence of the feminist movement, because of the gradual
diminution in number of women who are interested in such things, and
then, while there are always certain women who develop great
intellectual abilities which require a larger stage than the home for
their display, and while there are always some who find an
intellectual career or rather make it, very little is heard of
feminism and women's claims. They are satisfied to rule their
husbands, to raise their children, to be saints to their sons and
elder sisters to their daughters, and the feminine world has its
simple joys and not much fuss about rights.

It may seem far-fetched thus to appeal to a biological check or a
great underlying natural law in a matter of this kind, but in recent
years biology has so often been appealed to to justify unsocial
conditions that its true application needs to be pointed out. We have
heard, for instance, much of the struggle for life and the competition
that is supposed to be inevitable in nature, while all the time it has
apparently been forgotten that there is no struggle for life within
the species {265} except when there is some disturbance of the
ordinary order of nature, as in times of famine, or when a mother is
foraging for her children. On the contrary, mutual aid is the rule
within the species and there is no animal small or large, from the ant
to the elephant, that does not help its kind and has not certain
wonderful instincts for helpfulness, the origin of which we do not
know, but which are founded in nature itself. Man justifies inhumanity
to man by the supposed struggle for life, while all the time nature
teaches us the opposite law.

Nature's way is that of elimination. Her interest is the race. She
cares very little for the individual and guards only her great purpose
of securing the propagation of the race. Apparently such intense
preoccupation with the intellectual life as provides opportunity for
serious education, for literary work and for the exertion of diffuse
influence in a community, does not make for the propagation of the
race or its proper preservation. We can see this easily in the world
around us, in the limited progeny of those who live the intellectual
or selfish life to the exclusion of racial interests. This is opposed
to nature's purpose and she proceeds to eliminate those who stand in
her way. This is not done by any cataclysmic process but by a law of
nature. Those involved in the influence disturbing to her purpose
eliminate themselves. This is as true for indulgence in toxic
substances that produce certain personal {266} momentary good
feelings, as for the more deliberate avoidance of certain of nature's
burdens which brings about a certain negative pleasure at least by
lessening the amount of pain that has to be borne and trouble to be
endured. To these pains and troubles nature has attached some of the
best of the compensations of life. The domestic joys are properly
man's highest source of unalloyed pleasure without remorse.

Our review of the phases of feminine education and influence would
seem to show that there has occurred a series of cycles about three
centuries apart in the history of the race, during which women become
very much occupied with things external to their household. Such
cycles are represented by our own period, that of the Renaissance in
the sixteenth century, that of the university period in the thirteenth
century, and then that at Charlemagne's court earlier, though the
barbaric conditions following the migration of nations probably did
not allow a natural expression of the tendencies at this time. Earlier
in history, in the first century before Christ and just after and in
the fourth century before Christ in Greece, there had been, as we have
pointed out, such cycles. During the intervening centuries there is a
negative phase in the movement, so that feminism, under which is
understood woman's expression of herself outside of her home and the
exertion of her influence apart from her family and immediate friends,
is very little in {267} evidence. During these times the domestic
woman reasserts herself. During the positive phases of the movement
she continues to have her children, the feminists do not, or at least
not to the same extent. They and their kind are gradually eliminated,
at least to a great degree, and so the negative phase comes on.

This is not an argument and is not meant as such. It is meant to be a
scientific reading of the meaning of certain phases of the history of
the race as they can be studied. I would be the last in the world to
think that I could influence present-day activities by any such
indications of a great law in the history of the race that takes three
centuries from phase to phase. After all, who cares for a law that
does not affect our generation, but at most the third and fourth
succeeding generations, and the manifestation of whose phenomena can
only be recognized in three-century periods?

What I have tried to do is to point out just what are the cycles of
feminine influence and education in the world's history, and then to
work out the reasons why, quite contrary to what might be expected,
these phases have not continued, but are interrupted by periods of
utter decadence of feminine influence or interest in public life and
education. Perhaps in our time we are going to change all that. That
is the feeling that we are prone to have. Others may have made
progress and forgotten about it, or {268} may have made mistakes and
been eliminated for them, but we are so consciously active in our
affairs that we cannot think of ourselves as likely to suffer the fate
of our predecessors. There is much of that feeling abroad in the
present day, there has always been much of that feeling abroad in
every other day, for each succeeding generation in its turn is
perfectly sure that what it is doing means more than ever before,
though it can see very clearly the mistakes made by its predecessors.
It is somewhat like our feeling towards other persons and their
accomplishments in life as compared to our own. Most of us are quite
sure that whatever we are doing is quite significant, though we can
see plainly that what most of our friends are doing, or are trying to
do, is altogether trivial and insignificant.

In recent years we have come to realize more and more how much history
needs to be studied in the light of biology. The decadence of Greece
was probably due, to a great extent, to the bringing back by
Alexander's conquering soldiers of malaria from the Orient, and thus
the vanquished proved the ruin of their conquerors. The great plagues
of the olden time which sometimes carried away nearly one-half the
human race in a single visitation, were due to insect pests of various
kinds, which all unknown to men conveyed the disease and diffused it
widely. It will not be easy always to read the lessons of biology in
history aright. Whether I have done so for you {269} or not, in this
matter of the history of feminism, I cannot tell. The story, however,
has been interesting to work out, and I do not think that its
conclusions have ever been presented to the public in quite this form
before. They are now presented not with the idea that they should be
accepted as absolute, but for the criticism and consideration of those
who are most vitally interested and who want to know all that can be
known about the conditions surrounding woman's influence in the world
and her place for good in the history of the race.





  "It is your duty to see that your daughter loves study and work,
  securing this by the promise of rewards or some other means of
  emulation. Above all you must take care not to give her disgust for
  study for fear that this may continue as she grows older. Let her
  not learn in her childhood what she should unlearn later in life."
  --_Letter of St. Jerome to Leta, the wife of Toxolus, the son of St.

  "The sum of education is right training in the nursery. The soul of
  the child in his play should be trained to that sort of excellence
  in which, when he grows up to manhood, he will have to be
  --Plato, _Laws_ (Jowett), Vol. IV, p. 174. Scribner, 1902.

  "The minds of children are most of all influenced by the training
  they receive at home."
  --Pope Leo XIII.



  [Footnote 18: The material for this address was gathered originally
  for the normal courses on the History of Education for many of the
  teaching sisterhoods in this country. In its present form it was the
  address to the graduates of St. Elizabeth's College, Convent
  Station, N. J., on the occasion of the celebration of the jubilee of
  the foundation of its teaching work.]

Lady Bachelors: I have had frequent occasions to address all sorts of
bachelors on their graduation, of science and arts and letters and
pedagogy, but this is my first opportunity to address ladies crowned,
at least symbolically, with the laurel berries of the bachelorhood in
art. We are apt to think of young ladies rather as masters of arts
innumerable, and as needing no degree to attest their abilities. While
I am glad, indeed, to address you as lady bachelors I do so with the
fondest hope that you will all proceed to further degrees either
academic or domestic and not remain in that nondescript class of

I should like to be able to tell you how much pleasure it gives me to
have the privilege of addressing you on this Fiftieth Anniversary of
the Foundation of St. Elizabeth's. There is an apt illustration of the
Communion of Saints in your title as a college. Founded in honor of
that noble, saintly American woman, Elizabeth Seton, {274} and yet
called particularly after that Saint Elizabeth whom the Mother of the
Lord set out to visit as the first act of her Motherhood of the
Church, there always rises in my mind besides, the thought of that
other Saint Elizabeth whom the Germans delight to call the dear Saint
Elizabeth, who, though she died when she was scarcely twenty-four, has
left a name undying in the annals of helpfulness for others.

This St. Elizabeth, whose name I recall with special willingness now
that I see you ready to go out to do your world's work, lived in the
midst of what has been until quite recent years the despised Middle
Ages, out of which as little good might be expected as out of Nazareth
in the olden time, yet she so stamped her personality on the world of
her day that now the after-time, neglectful, as a rule, of the
individual, so careless even of the world's (supposed) great ones,
will not willingly let her name die. She is still with us as a great
living force. They read a sketch of her life, I have heard, at the
meeting of the Neighborhood House in New York within the last few
months, as an incentive to that devotion to the needy that
characterized her. She was a woman who thought not at all of herself,
but all of others. As a consequence, mankind in its better moods has
never ceased to turn to her. Evidently the formula for being
remembered is to forget yourself. I am sure, however, that that has
been brought home to you so well during your {275} years at St.
Elizabeth's that it would, indeed, be bringing coals to Newcastle for
me to say anything about it in the few minutes I have to talk to you.

What I have chosen to say to you refers to that higher Catholic
education for women of which you are now going out as the
representatives. I do it all the more readily because, through the
kindness of your beloved teachers, I have had the privilege of
co-operating a little in that education, for I appreciate that
privilege very much.

Apparently a good many people cherish the idea that the Catholic
Church is opposed to feminine education, or at least to the higher
education of women as we know it now, and that in the past her
influence has been constantly and consistently exerted against any
development of this phase of human accomplishment. In the liturgy of
the Church women are usually spoken of as the devout female sex, and
it is supposed that the one effort of the Church itself, the unerring
purpose of ecclesiastical authorities, was to prevent women from
becoming learned lest they should lose something of their devoutness.
Apparently it is forgotten that some of the greatest devotees in the
Church, the saintly women who were held up to the admiration and
emulation of their sisters in the after-time, women like St. Catherine
of Sienna, St. Angela Merici, St. Jane Frances De Chantal and, above
all, St. Teresa, {276} were eminently intellectual women as well as
models of devotion.

This same idea as to the Church deliberately fostering ignorance has
been quite common in the writings of certain types of historians with
regard to other departments of education, and those of us who are
interested in the history of medicine have been rather surprised to be
told that, because the Church wanted to keep people in readiness to
look to Masses and prayers and relics and shrines for the cure of
their ailments,--and, of course, pay for the privilege of taking
advantage of these,--the development of medicine was discouraged, the
people were kept in ignorance and all progress in scientific knowledge
was hampered. It is, indeed, amusing to hear this when one knows that
for seven centuries the greatest contributors to medical science have
been the Papal physicians, deliberately called to Rome, many of them,
because they were the great medical scientists of their day, and the
Popes would have no others near. For centuries the Papal Medical
School was the finest in the world for the original research done
there, and Bologna at the height of its fame was in the Papal States.

With so many other presumptions with regard to the position of the
Church towards education, it is not surprising that there should be a
complete misunderstanding of her attitude toward feminine education,
an absolute ignoring of the realities of the history of education,
which show {277} exactly the opposite of anything like opposition to
be true. I have had a good deal to do in laboring at least to correct
many false ideas with regard to the history of education, and, above
all, with what concerns supposed Church opposition to various phases
of educational advance. I know no presumption of opposition on the
part of the Church to education that is so groundless, however, as
that which would insist that it is only now with what people are
pleased to call the breaking up of Church influence generally, so that
even the Catholic Church has to bow, though unwillingly, to the spirit
of the times and to modern progress, that feminine education is
receiving its due share of attention. Most people seem to be quite
sure that the first serious development of opportunities for the
higher education of women came in our time. They presume that never
before has there been anything worth while talking about in this
matter. Just inasmuch as they do they are completely perverting the
realities of the history of education, which are in this matter
particularly interesting and by no means lacking in detail.

Whenever there is any question of Church influence in education, or of
the spirit of the Church with regard to education, those who wish to
talk knowingly of the subject should turn to the period in which the
Church was a predominant factor in human affairs throughout Europe.
This is, as is well known, the thirteenth century. The {278} Pope who
was on the throne at the beginning of this century, Innocent III, is
famous in history for having set down kings from their thrones,
dictated many modifications of political policy to the countries of
Europe whenever secular governments were violating certain great
principles of justice, and in general, was looked up to as the most
powerful of rulers in temporal as well as in spiritual affairs. A
typical example of the place occupied by the Church is to be seen when
Philip Augustus of France repudiated his lawful wife to marry another.
Pope Innocent set himself sternly against the injustice, and the proud
French King, at the time one of the most powerful sovereigns of
Europe, had to take back the neglected wife from the Scandinavian
countries, the distance and weakness of whose relatives would seem to
make it so easy for a determined monarch to put her aside. When King
John in England violated the rights of his people, Innocent put the
country under an Interdict, released John's subjects from their
allegiance and promptly brought the shifty Plantagenet to terms. The
Pope at the end of the century, the great Boniface VIII, was scarcely
less assertive of the rights of the Church and of the Papacy than the
first of the thirteenth-century Pontiffs. While he was not so
successful as his great predecessor in maintaining his rights, the
policy of the Church evidently had not changed. Most of the Popes of
the interval wielded an immense influence for good {279} that was felt
in every sphere of life in Europe in their time.

Now it is with regard to this period that it is fair to ask the
question, What was the attitude of the Church toward education? Owing
to her acknowledged supremacy in spiritual matters and the extension
of the spiritual authority even over the temporal authorities whenever
the essential principles of ethics or any question of morals was
concerned, the Church could absolutely dictate the educational policy
of Europe. Now, this is the century when the universities arose and
received their most magnificent development. The great Lateran
Council, held at the beginning of the century, required every bishop
to establish professorships equivalent to what we now call a college
in connection with his cathedral. The metropolitan archbishops were
expected to develop university courses in connection with their
colleges. Everywhere, then, in Europe universities arose, and there
was the liveliest appreciation and the most ardent enthusiasm for
education, so that not only were ample opportunities provided, but
these were taken gloriously and the culture of modern Europe awoke and
bloomed wonderfully.

Some idea of the extension of university opportunities can be judged
from the fact that, according to the best and most conservative
statistics available, there were more students at the universities of
Oxford and Cambridge to the population of the England of that day,
than there are {280} to the population of even such an educationally
well provided city as Greater New York in the present year of grace
1910. This seems astounding to our modern ideas, but it is absolutely
true if there is any truth in history. The statistics are provided by
men who are not at all favorable to Catholic education or the Church's
influence for education. At this same time there were probably more
than 15,000 students at the University of Bologna, and almost beyond a
doubt 20,000 at the University of Paris. We have not reached such
figures for university attendance again, even down to the present.
Students came from all over the world to these universities, but more
than twenty other universities were founded throughout Europe in this
century. The population was very scanty compared to what it is at the
present time; there were probably not more than 25,000,000 of people
on the whole continent. England had less than 3,000,000 of people and,
as we know very well by the census made before the coming of the
Armada, had only slightly more than 4,000,000 even in Elizabeth's
time, some two centuries later.

Here is abundant evidence of the attitude of the Church towards
education. Now comes the question for us. What about feminine
education at the time of this great new awakening of educational
purpose throughout Europe? If we can find no trace of it, then are we
justified in saying that if the Church did not oppose, at least she
did not {281} favor the higher education for women. Let us see what we
find. The first university in our modern sense of the word came into
existence down at Salerno around the great medical school which had
existed there for several centuries. Probably the most interesting
feature of the teaching at Salerno is the fact that the department of
the diseases of women in the great medical school was in charge of
women professors for several centuries, and we have the books they
wrote on this subject, and know much of the position they occupied.
The most distinguished of them, Trotula, left us a text-book on her
subject which contained many interesting details of the medicine of
the period, and we know of her that she was the wife of one professor
of medicine at Salerno and the mother of another. She was the
foundress of what was called the school of Salernitan women
physicians, using the word school in the same sense in which it is
employed when we talk of a school of painters.

This is all the more interesting because the University of Salerno was
mainly under monastic influence. Originally the schools in connection
with the school of medicine were founded from the great Benedictine
monastery of Monte Cassino not far away. The first great teacher of
medicine at Salerno, Constantine Africanus, whose influence was
dominant in his own time and continued afterwards through his
writings, became a Benedictine monk in his early middle age. The {282}
preparatory schools for the medical courses at Salerno were largely in
the hands of the Benedictines. The university itself was under the
influence of the Archbishop of Salerno more than any other, and the
one who did most for it, the great Alphanus, had been a Benedictine
monk. Ordinarily this would be presumed to preclude any possibility of
the development of a great phase of education for women, and
especially professional education for women at the University of
Salerno. Just the contrary happened. The wise monks, who knew human
life and appreciated its difficulties, recognized the necessity, or at
least the advisability, for women as medical attendants on women and
children, and so the first great modern school of medicine, mainly
under monastic influence, had the department of women's diseases in
the hands of women themselves.

In Naples women were allowed to practise medicine, and we have some of
the licenses which show the formal permission granted by the
government in this matter. An almost exactly similar state of affairs
to that thus seen at Salerno developed at Bologna, only there the
university was founded round the law school, and the first women
students were in that school. When Irnerius established his great
lectureship of Roman Law at Bologna, to which students were attracted
from all over Europe, he seems to have seen no objection to allow
women to attend his courses, and we have the names of his daughter
{283} and several other women who reached distinction in the law
school. As the other departments of the University of Bologna
developed we find women as students and teachers in these. One of the
assistants to the first great professor of anatomy at Bologna,
Mondino, whose text-book of anatomy was used in the schools for two
centuries after this time, was a young woman, Alessandra Giliani. It
is to her that we owe an early method for the injection of bodies in
such a way as to preserve them, and she also varnished and colored
them so that the deterrent work of dissection would not have to be
carried on to such an extent as before, yet the actual human tissues
might be used for demonstrating purposes.

As the result of the traditions in feminine education thus established
women continued to enjoy abundant opportunities at the universities of
Italy, and there is not a single century since the thirteenth when
there have not been some distinguished women professors at the Italian
universities. Nearly five centuries after the youthful assistant in
anatomy of whom we have spoken, whose invention meant so much for
making the study of medicine less deterrent and dangerous, came Madame
Manzolini, who invented the method of making wax models of human
tissues so that these might be studied for anatomical purposes. Made
in the natural colors, these were eminently helpful. In the meantime
many women professors of many subjects had come and gone at {284} the
Italian universities. In the thirteenth century there was a great
teacher of mathematics who was so young and handsome that, in order
not to disturb the minds of her students, she lectured from behind a
curtain. It is evident that the educated women of the Middle Ages
could be as modest as they were intelligent and thoughtful of others,
quite as much as if they had devoted their lives to gentle charity and
not to the higher education. Women physicians, educators,
mathematicians, professors of literature, astronomers, all these are
to be found at the universities of Italy while the Church and the
ecclesiastics were the dominating influences in these universities.

Unfortunately the spread of this feminine educational movement from
Italy to the west of Europe was disturbed by the Héloïse and Abélard
incident at the University of Paris, and as all the western
universities owe their origin to Paris, they took the tradition
created there after Abélard's time, that women should not be allowed
to enter the university. When, however, three centuries later, the
Renaissance brought in the new learning, the schools of humanism
independent of the universities admitted women on absolute terms of
equality with men, and some of the women became the distinguished
scholars of the time. The Church's influence is plainly to be seen in
this, and the women took part in plays given in Greek and classic
Latin before the cardinals and prominent ecclesiastics, and everywhere
the {285} feeling developed that, if women wanted to have the higher
education of the humanities or, as it was then called, the New
Learning, they should have it. This feminine educational movement
spread all over Europe. Anne of Bretagne organized a school at the
French Court for the women of the court, and such women as Mary Queen
of Scots, Margaret of Navarre, Renée of Anjou, Louise La Cordiére are
a few of the French women of the Renaissance who attained distinction
for broad culture and education at this time.

Spain, too, had its women of the Renaissance. One of the first of them
was Isabella of Castile, whose assistance to Columbus was no mere
accident, nor due so much to personal influence exerted on her, as to
her own broad interest in the things of the mind in her time. Her
daughter Catherine, who became Queen of England, was deeply educated,
while her daughter, Queen Mary of England, knew the classics and
especially Latin very well. During her time in England many of the
nobility of the higher classes were distinguished for education. Lady
Jane Grey preferred to study Greek to going to balls and routs, and
sacrificed hunting parties for her lessons under Roger Ascham, in the
great Greek authors. Queen Elizabeth knew Greek and Latin very well.
The famous Countess of Arundell at this time was a distinguished
scholar. Margaret More is a bright example of opportunities for the
higher education given and taken in the lower classes of {286} the
nobility of the England of her time. One thing we can be sure of in
the England of that time, if the Queen and the highest nobility were
interested in education and devoted their time to it so sedulously and
successfully, then without doubt those beneath them in rank did so
likewise. The upper classes are not alone imitated in things unworthy,
but also in what is best if they only provide the good example.

To anyone who knows the history of the Church, however, these
incidents in feminine education will not be surprising. Every time, as
a rule, that there has been a great new awakening in education, women,
too, have demanded the right to have their share in it, and the
Church, far from discouraging, has always helped to provide
educational opportunities. When in the ninth century Charlemagne
reorganized the education of Europe, or, at least, reinstituted it for
his people, the women of the Palace had their opportunities to attend
the Palace school as well as the men. That Palace school was a very
wonderful travelling university, wandering wherever the Court went. It
was at Aix, it was probably at Paris for a time; when Charlemagne went
down to Italy it went with him and seems to have held some sessions
even while he was in Rome; there is a tradition of its existence while
he stayed one winter in Verona. Though the teachers in it were monks,
for Charlemagne and Alfred, the great, broad-minded rulers, who did so
much for {287} their people, had no illusions about the high place
that the monks held in life in their time, women were taught at the
schools as well as men. Charlemagne and Alfred were in the best
possible position to know who were the best teachers in their time,
and they turned with confidence to the monks. People generally, and,
above all, their great rulers, knew nothing of the condemnation of the
monks in the Dark Ages which came a thousand years after their time;
from people who knew nothing about them and who had even less sympathy
with them. They both knew them and sympathized with all they were
doing, therefore their cordial encouragement of them. Their attitude
was eminently justified by the fact that the monks were broad enough,
in spite of their monastic habits and their supposed lack of
appreciation for women, to take up to a great extent even the teaching
of women. There are letters from the women of the court of Charlemagne
written to Alcuin and to other teachers of the time, which show how
interested were the women in the school work.

This is not surprising if we recall that, when Benedict founded the
monks of the west, who were to provide the homes where culture was to
be maintained and the classics preserved for us and education
gradually diffused, his sister St. Scholastica did the same thing for
the women as her brother was doing for the men. Anyone who knows the
story of the Benedictine convents for {288} women and the books there
produced, plays, stories, even works on medicine and other sciences,
will realize how much was accomplished for the higher education of
women in these institutions in unpromising times. The women who wanted
to follow the intellectual life were given the opportunity and many of
them did excellent work. Within the last year I have written and
published sketches of the lives of St. Hildegarde, who wrote books on
medicine in the twelfth century, and of Hroswitha, the nun of
Gandersheim, who wrote Latin comedies in imitation of Terence in the
tenth century. These serious literary and scientific writings by women
in what is usually presumed to be the darkest period of the so-called
Dark Ages, and preserved for us out of the wreck and ruin that came
down on nearly everything produced in those times, shows us very
clearly how much more than we have been accustomed to think these
women of the Middle Ages were interested in the intellectual life.
Books are written only when there are readers and appreciation for
them, and the interest of contemporaries and the hope of future
interest as an incentive.

Of course, even before the foundation of the Benedictines we have a
great living example of the encouragement of the Church for the higher
education of women. It came at a time and under circumstances that
furnish abundant evidence of how much the Church appreciates and is
ready to encourage education and how precious she realizes {289} it is
for her children. When the first nation was converted as a whole to
Christianity, when the Irish people came over under the Apostolic
Patrick's wonderful missionary zeal, the first thing that was done in
this first Christian nation was to found schools. Ireland became the
Island of Saints and of Scholars. While the barbarians had overrun
Europe and destroyed the schools there, Ireland became the home of the
best teachers in the world and men flocked to her from all over

These schools, however, were not reserved for the men, but abundant
opportunities were also afforded women for scholarship and for culture
of every kind. Only second in importance to St. Patrick's great school
at Armagh during the first century in the history of Ireland as a
Christian nation was St. Brigid's school at Kildare. We know from
Giraldus Cambrensis, now better known as Gerald the Welshman, that, in
his travels in Ireland centuries afterwards, but before the
destruction of Kildare, he saw many wonderful evidences of the
intellectual life of that institution. Above all, he saw a famous copy
of the Holy Scripture so beautifully illuminated that he thought it
the finest book in the world. His description would show us that if
this copy of the Scriptures which Gerald saw was not the book of Kells
as some have ventured to suggest, it was at least a copy not unlike
that famous illuminated volume which is, perhaps, the most {290}
beautiful book that ever came from the hand of man. The arts and the
crafts evidently were studied and practised as well as book-learning
at Kildare, and Brigid's influence brought to her at her college of
Kildare, literally thousands of the daughters of the nobility of
Ireland, of England and of portions of the Continent, attracted by her
sanctity and her scholarship and the wonderful intellectual and
artistic work that was being accomplished there.

With these facts in mind it is easy to see that the Church, far from
opposing in any way the higher education for women, has not only
encouraged but actually patronized it whenever there is a demand for
it on the part of any generation in history. Feminine education comes
and goes, so though in less markedly cyclical fashion does masculine
education. Just what the law behind these cycles is we do not know as
yet. One thing is sure, now that another cycle of interest has come to
feminine education in the world, the Church is not only willing but
anxious to give her children the benefit of it, and the growth of the
higher education among Catholics for Catholic young women in America
in the last decade is the best evidence of this. Our teaching
Sisterhoods in this country have nobly lifted themselves up to the
occasion demanded, and we may well be proud of our Catholic colleges
for women. Personally I know what is being done at some half a dozen
of them, and I have no hesitation {291} in saying that they are giving
a better, solider, though perhaps, a less showy education than their
secular rivals. Of your work at St. Elizabeth's I have had such
personal information as makes me realize how thorough are the efforts
to provide every possible opportunity for higher feminine education
and how successful they are.

Only less absurd than the notion that the Church is in any way opposed
to feminine education is the thought that seems to be in many people's
minds in our day, that the Church would prefer to keep woman in the
background and does not want her to do great influential things when
those are demanded of her. The feeling seems to be that only modern
evolution has brought such opportunities for women to exert the
precious humanitarian influence that is sometimes possible for her.
How much those who talk thus forget the history of the Church if they
ever knew it, but also of feminine influence in the world, is very
clear from even a short resume of feminine achievements in Christian
times. Whenever there has been a great movement in the Church that
meant much for the men and women of a time, beside the man who
initiated it, if she was not, indeed, the initiator herself, stood a
great woman only a little less significant in influence, as a rule,
and sometimes even greater than he. In the conversion of the first
people to Christianity, beside St. Patrick stood St. Brigid. In the
foundation of the monks of the west that {292} great institution that
meant so much for the Church and for Europe, beside St. Benedict stood
St. Scholastica, his sister, doing and organizing for the women of her
time and succeeding generations, what her brother did for the men.
When, in the newer dispensation of the foundation of the Mendicant
Religious Orders, St. Francis came to bring a great new message to the
world, beside him and only a little less influential than he in his
lifetime, and saving his work for its genuine mission after his death,
came St. Clare. When the tide of the religious revolt spreading down
from Germany, was pushed back in Spain, beside St. Teresa, for here
the greater protagonist of the movement was a woman, stood St. John of
God. When St. Francis De Sales came to do his great work for education
and for the uplift of the better classes, beside him and scarcely less
influential than he in every way, was St. Jane Frances De Chantal. In
the great new organization of modern charity under St. Vincent De Paul
beside that wonderful friend of the poor whose work is the underlying
impulse of all modern organized charity in the best sense of that much
abused term, stood the modest and humble but strongly beautiful woman,
the foundress of the Sisters of Charity, Madame Le Gras. Even in the
nineteenth century with the newer organizations of education demanded
by changed conditions, when such foundations as those of the Sacred
Heart and of the Sisters of Notre Dame {293} came into existence, men
and women co-operated in these works and only now are we realizing to
the full the sanctity of such women as Blessed Madame Barat or the
Venerable Julie Billiart and their adviser and friend, Father Varin,
the Jesuit.

Nor was it only in connection with work accomplished by men or
initiated by them that we find women doing great work. It must not be
forgotten that many of the religious orders which are accomplishing
fine work in every line of helpful endeavor, often hundreds of years
after their foundations, in conditions very different from those in
which they were established, originated in the minds of women and had
their constitutions worked out practically without any help from men,
and often, indeed, against the judgment of men. The world of our day
is not prone to appreciate at its proper worth these great works of
women who took for an aim in life unselfish purpose, rather than any
more personal ambition. It must not be forgotten, then, that the first
settlement worker of modern times, the dear St. Elizabeth of Hungary,
is one of the great influences that will never die. The cathedral
erected in her honor within a few years after her death is the most
beautiful monument to woman anywhere in the world. What St. Elizabeth
was to the thirteenth century, St. Catherine of Sienna was to the
fourteenth. Without her influence and her place in it, it would be
impossible to {294} understand the history of that century, though
sometimes history has been written without a mention of her. In the
fifteenth century came Joan of Arc, in the sixteenth and seventeenth
some of the brave women who founded great humanitarian works in
connection with the early missionaries in this country. Everywhere in
history you find Catholic women accomplishing great things.

After all, this is only what is to be anticipated from what is
symbolized and prefigured in the story of the foundation of the
Church. When the Son of God came as the Redeemer of Mankind, beside
Him in His life and mission, the highest of mortals in the influence
that she was to have over all succeeding generations, stood the Woman,
whose seed was to crush the serpent's head, the Mother from whom He
had chosen to take His human flesh. The Mother of the Messiah became
the Mother of the infant Church and the Mother of all Christians ever
since. Surely this was given for a sign not to be contradicted in the
after-time. As the Mother beside the Son, so was woman ever to stand
as the most precious influence in the work of Christianity. As the
great scheme of redemption was dependent on her consent, so ever was
woman to be God's greatest auxiliary in the accomplishment of good for

You can understand, then, that when I say to you graduates of St.
Elizabeth's, go out and fulfill your missions, whatever they may be, I
mean {295} that you shall be ready to take up any work for which your
education and your training fit you, and God grant it may bring you
such opportunities for good as have been exemplified in the lives of
so many Catholic women all down the ages. There is nothing more than
this that I could say to you. Our mother Church, far from wanting to
keep women in the background, has always accorded them full and equal
rights in their own domains and, above all, has given them absolute
independence in the religious organizations as far as that is
compatible with effective co-operation in good work. You may be sure,
then, that any work that you find to do worthy of you, and that you
take up whole-heartedly, will have not only her blessing but you shall
find every encouragement. The glorious examples of the Catholic women
of the past, educated, intellectual women, some of whom like St.
Teresa, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Jane Frances De Chantal and St.
Brigid are high among the greatest intellectual women that ever lived,
will be your guiding stars, and if you keep them in mind you shall not
go wrong. Remember that we expect much and we have a right to expect
much of the women graduates of our Catholic Women's Colleges--you have
a great mission, you have put your hand to the plow, do not look
back,--onward and upward. God's in his world and all's well. Only our
co-operation is needed.





  "Libenter homines id quod volunt credunt."
  --Caesar, _Bell. Gall., iii:8._

  [Men believe readily what they want to.]

  "Great additions have of late been made to our knowledge of the
  past; the long conspiracy against the revelation of truth has
  gradually given away .... It has become impossible for the
  historical writer of the present age to trust without reserve even
  to the most respected secondary authorities. The honest student
  finds himself continually deserted, retarded, misled by the classics
  of historical literature."
  --_Preface of "Cambridge Modern History."_



  [Footnote 19: The material for this address was collected for a
  lecture on the History of Education for the Sisters of Charity of
  Mount St. Vincent's, New York, and the Sacred Heart Academy,
  Kenwood, Albany, N. Y. Subsequently it was developed for an address
  to the parochial school teachers of New Orleans and for the summer
  normal courses of St. Mary's College, South Bend, Ind., and St.
  Mary's College, Monroe, Mich. Very nearly in its present form the
  address was delivered in a course at Boston College in the spring of

Here in the United States we have been somewhat amazingly ignorant of
our brother Americans of Mexico and of South America. Our ignorance
has been so complete as to have the usual result of quite intolerant
bigotry with regard to the significance of what was being done in
these Spanish-American countries. A distinguished ex-president of one
of our American universities said in his autobiography, that a
favorite maxim of his for his own guidance was, "The man I don't like
is the man I don't know." If we only know enough about people, we
always find out quite enough about them that is admirable to make us
like them. Whenever we are tempted to conclude that somebody is
hopelessly insignificant then what we need to correct is our judgment
by better knowledge of them. For most Americans, for we have arrogated
to ourselves the title of Americans to the exclusion of any possible
share {300} in it of our South American brethren, Spanish America has
been so hopelessly backward, so out of all comparison with ourselves,
as to be quite undeserving of our notice unless it be for profound

Fortunately for us in recent years our knowledge of Spanish America
has become larger and deeper and more genuine, and as a consequence
there has been less assumption of knowledge founded on ignorance.
Every gain in knowledge of Spanish America has raised Spanish America
and her peoples in our estimation. Not long since at a public dinner
the president of a great American university said, "We have only just
discovered Spanish America." This is literally true. We have thought
that we knew much about it, and that that much showed us how little
deserving of our attention was Spanish America, while all the while a
precious mine of information with regard to the beginnings of the
history of education, of literature, of culture, nay, even of physical
science on this continent, remained to be studied in these countries
and not our own. Our scholars are now engaged in bringing together the
materials out of which a real history of Spanish America can be
constructed for their fellow-Americans of the North, and their
surprise when it is placed before them is likely to be supreme. In the
meantime there are some phases of this information that, I think, it
will be interesting to bring together for you.


Josh Billings, writing as "Uncle Esek" in the _Century Magazine_ some
twenty-five years ago, made use of an expression which deserves to be
frequently recalled. He said: "It is not so much the ignorance of
mankind that makes them ridiculous as the knowin' so many things that
ain't so." We have a very typical illustration of the wisdom of this
fine old saw in the history of education here in America as it is
being developed by scholarly historical research at the present time.
The consultation of original documents and of first-hand authorities
in the history of Spanish-American education has fairly worked a
revolution in the ideas formerly held on this subject. The new
developments bring out very forcibly how supremely necessary it is to
know something definite about a subject before writing about it, and
yet how many intelligent and supposedly educated men continue to talk
about things with an assumption of knowledge when they know nothing at
all about them.

Catholics are supposed by the generality of Americans to have come
late into the field of education in this country. Whatever there is of
education on this continent is ordinarily supposed to be due entirely
to the efforts of what has been called the Anglo-Saxon element here.
At last, however, knowledge is growing of what the Catholic Spaniards
did for education in America and as a consequence the face of the
history of education is being completely changed. Every {302} advance
in history in recent years has made for the advantage of the Catholic
Church. Modern historical methods insist on the consultation of
original documents and give very little weight to the quotation of
second-hand authorities. We are getting at enduring history as far as
that is possible, and the real position of the Church is coming to
light. In no portion of human accomplishment is the modification of
history more striking than with regard to education. There was much
more education in the past centuries than we have thought and the
Catholic Church was always an important factor in it. Nowhere is this
truth more striking than with regard to education here in America in
the Spanish-American countries.

Professor Edward Gaylord Bourne, professor of history at Yale
University, wrote the volume on Spain in America which constitutes the
third volume of "The American Nation," a history of this country in
twenty-seven volumes edited by Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, who
holds the chair of history at Harvard University. Professor Bourne has
no illusions with regard to the relative value of Anglo-Saxon and
Spanish education in this country. In his chapter on "The Transmission
of European Culture" he says: "Early in the eighteenth century the
Lima University (Lima, Peru) counted nearly two thousand students and
numbered about one hundred and eighty doctors (in its faculty) in
theology, civil and canon law, medicine and the arts." Ulloa {303}
reports that "the university makes a stately appearance from without
and its inside is decorated with suitable ornaments." There were
chairs of all the sciences and "some of the professors have,
notwithstanding the vast distance, gained the applause of the literati
of Europe." "The coming of the Jesuits contributed much to the real
educational work in America. They established colleges, one of which,
the little Jesuit college at Juli, on Lake Titicaca, became a seat of
genuine learning." (Bourne.)

He does not hesitate to emphasize the contrast between Spanish America
and English America with regard to education and culture, and the most
interesting feature of his comparison is that Spanish America
surpassed the North completely and anticipated by nearly two centuries
some of the progress that we are so proud of in the nineteenth
century. What a startling paragraph, for instance, is the following
for those who have been accustomed to make little of the Church's
interest in education and to attribute the backwardness of South
America, as they presumed they knew it, to the presence of the Church
and her influence there.

  "Not all the institutions of learning founded in Mexico in the
  sixteenth century can be enumerated here, but it is not too much to
  say that in number, range of studies and standard of attainments by
  the officers they surpassed anything existing in English America
  until the nineteenth {304} century. Mexican scholars made
  distinguished achievements in some branches of science, particularly
  medicine and surgery, but pre-eminently linguistics, history and
  anthropology. Dictionaries and grammars of the native languages and
  histories of the Mexican institutions are an imposing proof of their
  scholarly devotion and intellectual activity. Conspicuous are
  Toribio de Motolinia's 'Historia de las Indias de Nueva España,'
  Duran's 'Historia de las Indias de Nueva España,' but most important
  of all Sahagun's great work on Mexican life and religion."

Indeed, it is with regard to science in various forms that one finds
the most surprising contributions from these old-time scholars. While
the English in America were paying practically no attention to
science, the Spaniards were deeply interested in it. Dr. Chança, a
physician who had been for several years physician-in-ordinary to the
King and Queen and was looked upon as one of the leaders of his
profession in Spain, joined Columbus' second expedition in order to
make scientific notes. The little volume that he issued as the report
of this scientific excursion is a valuable contribution to the science
of the time and furnishes precious information with regard to Indian
medicine, Indian customs, their knowledge of botany and of metals,
certain phases of zoology, and the like, that show how wide was the
interest in science of this Spanish physician of over four hundred
years ago.


After reading paragraphs such as Professor Bourne has written with
regard to education in Spanish America, how amusing it is to reflect
that one of the principal arguments against the Catholic Church has
been that she keeps nations backward and unprogressive and
uneducated--and the South American countries have been held up
derisively and conclusively as horrible examples of this. Even we
Catholics have been prone to take on an apologetic mood with regard to
them. The teaching of history in English-speaking countries has been
so untrue to the realities that we have accepted the impression that
the Spanish-American countries were far behind in all the ways that
were claimed. Now we find that instead of presenting grounds for
apology they are triumphant examples of how soon and how energetically
the Church gets to work at the great problems of education wherever
she gains a position of authority or even a foothold of influence.
Instead of needing to be ashamed of them, as we have perhaps
ignorantly been, there is a reason to be deservedly proud of them.
Their education far outstripped our own in all the centuries down to
the nineteenth, and the culture of the Spanish-Americans, quite a
different thing from education, is deeper than ours even at the
present time. It is hard for North America to permit herself to be
persuaded of this, but there is no doubt of its absolute truth.

It is only since the days of steam that the {306} English-speaking
races in America have come to possess a certain material progress
above that of the Spanish-American countries. Bourne says:

  "If we compare Spanish America with the United States a hundred
  years ago we must recognize that while in the North there was a
  sounder body politic, a purer social life and a more general
  dissemination of elementary education, yet in Spanish America there
  were both vastly greater wealth and greater poverty, more imposing
  monuments of civilization, such as public buildings, institutions of
  learning and hospitals, more populous and richer cities, a higher
  attainment in certain branches of science. No one can read
  Humboldt's account of the City of Mexico and its establishments for
  the promotion of science and the fine arts without realizing that
  whatever may be the superiorities of the United States over Mexico
  in these respects, they have been mostly the gains of the age of

While we are prone to think that a republican form of government is
the great foster-mother of progress and that whatever development may
have come in South American countries has been the result of the
foundation of the South American republics, Professor Bourne is not of
that opinion and is inclined to think that if the Spanish Colonial
Government could have been maintained at its best until the coming of
the age of steam or well on into the nineteenth century, then the
South American republics would have been serious {307} rivals of the
United States and have been kept from being so hampered as they were
by their internal political dissensions. His paragraph on this matter
is so contradictory of ordinary impressions, here in the United States
particularly, that it seems worth while calling attention to it
because it contains that most precious of suggestions, a thought that
is entirely different from any that most people have had before. He

  "During the first half-century after the application of steam to
  transportation Mexico weltered in domestic turmoils arising out of
  the crash of the old régime. If the rule of Spain could have lasted
  half a century longer, being progressively as it was during the
  reign of Charles III; if a succession of such viceroys as Revilla
  Gigedo, in Mexico, and De Croix and De Taboaday Lemos, in Peru,
  could have borne sway in America until railroads could have been
  built, intercolonial intercourse ramified and a distinctly
  Spanish-American spirit developed, a great Spanish-American federal
  state might possibly have been created, capable of self-defense
  against Europe, and inviting co-operation rather than aggression
  from the neighbor in the North."

Lima was the great centre for education in South America, and Mexico,
in Spanish North America, was not far at all behind. The tracing of
the steps of the development of education in Mexico emphasizes
especially the difference between the Spaniards and the Englishmen in
their {308} relation to the Indian. Bishop Zumaraga wanted a college
for Indians in his bishopric, and it was because of this beneficent
purpose that the first institution for higher education in the New
World was founded as early as 1535. At that time the need for
education for the whites was not felt so much, since only adults as a
rule were in the colony, the number of children and growing youths
being as yet very small. Accordingly, the College of Santa Cruz, in
Tlaltelolco, one of the quarters of the City of Mexico reserved for
the Indians, was founded under the bishop's patronage. Among the
faculty were graduates of the University of Paris and of Salamanca,
two of the greatest universities of Europe of this time, and they had
not only the ambition to teach, but also to follow out that other
purpose of a university--to investigate and write. Among them were
such eminent scholars as Bernardino de Sahagun, the founder of
American anthropology, and Juan de Torquemada, who is himself a
product of Mexican education, whose "Monarquia Indiana" is a great
storehouse of facts concerning Mexico before the coming of the whites,
and precious details with regard to Mexican antiquities.

Knowing this, it is not surprising that the curriculum was broad and
liberal. Besides the elementary branches and grammar and rhetoric,
instruction was provided in Latin, philosophy, Mexican medicine,
music, botany (especially with {309} reference to native plants), the
zoology of Mexico, some principles of agriculture, and the native
languages. It is not surprising to be told that many of the graduates
of this college became Alcaldes and Governors in the Indian towns, and
that they did much to spread civilization and culture among their
compatriots. The English-speaking Americans furnished nothing of this
kind, and our colleges for Indians came only in the nineteenth
century. It is true that Harvard, according to its charter, was "for
the education of the Indian youth of this country in knowledge and
godliness," but the Indians were entirely neglected and no serious
effort was ever made to give them any education. It was a son of the
Puritans who said that his forefathers first fell on their knees and
then on the aborigines, and the difference in the treatment of the
Indians by the English and the Spaniards is a marked note in all their

During the next few years schools were established also for the
education of mestizo children, that is, of the mixed race who are now
called Creoles. In fact, in 1536 a fund from the Royal Exchequer was
given for the teaching of these children. Strange as it may seem, for
we are apt to think that the teaching of girls is a modern idea,
schools were also established for Indian girls. All of these schools
continued to flourish, and gradually spread beyond the City of Mexico
itself into the villages of the Indians. As a {310} matter of fact,
wherever a mission was established a school was also founded. Every
town, Indian as well as Spanish, was by law required to have its
church, hospital and school for teaching Indian children Spanish and
the elements of religion. The teaching and parish work in the Indian
villages was in charge of two or more friars, as a rule, and was well
done. The remains of the monasteries with their magnificent
Spanish-American architecture, are still to be seen in many portions
of Mexico and of the Spanish territories that have been incorporated
with the United States, in places where they might be least expected,
and they show the influence for culture and education that gradually
extended all over the Mexican country.

In the course of time the necessity for advanced teaching for the
constantly growing number of native whites began to be felt, and so
during the fifth decade of the sixteenth century a number of schools
for them came into existence in the City of Mexico. The need was felt
for some central institution. Accordingly, the Spanish Crown was
petitioned to establish authoritatively a university. Such a step
would have been utterly out of the question in English America,
because the Crown was so little interested in colonial affairs. In the
Spanish country, however, the Crown was deeply interested in making
the colonists feel that though they were at a distance from the centre
of government, their rulers were interested in {311} securing for
them, as far as possible, all the opportunities of life at home in
Spain. This is so different from what is ordinarily presumed to have
been the attitude of Spain towards its colonies as to be quite a
surprise for those who have depended on old-fashioned history, but
there can be no doubt of its truth. Accordingly, the University of
Mexico received its royal charter the same year as the University of
Lima (1551). Mexico was not formally organized as a university until
1553. In the light of these dates, it is rather amusing to have the
Century Dictionary, under the word Harvard University, speak of that
institution as the oldest and largest institution of learning in
America. It had been preceded by almost a century, not only in South
America, but also in North America. The importance of Harvard was as
nothing compared to the universities of Lima and Mexico, and indeed
for a century after its foundation Harvard was scarcely more than a
small theological school, with a hundred or so of pupils, sometimes
having no graduating class, practically never graduating more than
eight or ten pupils, while the two Spanish-American universities
counted their students by the thousand and their annual graduates by
the hundred.

The reason for the success of these South American universities above
that of Harvard is to be found in the fact that Harvard's sphere of
usefulness was extremely limited because of {312} religious
differences and shades of differences. This had hampered all education
in Protestant countries very seriously. Professor Paulsen, who holds
the chair of philosophy at the University of Berlin, calls attention
to the fact that the Reformation had anything but the effect of
favoring education that has often been said. The picture that he draws
of conditions in Germany a century before the foundation of Harvard
would serve very well as a lively prototype of the factors at work in
preventing Harvard from becoming such an educational institution as
the universities of Lima and Mexico so naturally became. He says, in
"German Universities and University Studies": "During this period
[after Luther's revolt] a more determined effort was made to control
instruction than at any period before or since. The fear of heresy,
the extraordinary anxiety to keep instruction well within orthodox
lines, was not less intense at the Lutheran than at the Catholic
institutions; perhaps it was even more so, because here doctrine was
not so well established, apostasy was possible in either of two
directions, toward Catholicism or Calvinism. Even the philosophic
faculty felt the pressure of this demand for correctness of doctrines.
Thus came about these restrictions within the petty states and their
narrow-minded established churches which well-nigh stifled the
intellectual life of the German people."

Because of this and the fact that the attendance {313} at the college
did not justify it, the school of medicine at Harvard was not opened
until after the Revolution (1783). The law school was not opened until

This is sometimes spoken of as the earliest law school connected with
a university on this continent, but, of course, only by those who know
nothing at all about the history of the Spanish-American
universities. In the Spanish countries the chairs in law were
established very early; indeed, before those of medicine. Canon law
was always an important subject in Spanish universities, and civil law
was so closely connected with it that it was never neglected.

When the charter of the University of Lima was granted by the Emperor
Charles V, in 1551, the town was scarcely more than fifteen years old.
It had been founded in 1535. Curiously enough, just about the same
interval had elapsed between the foundation of the Massachusetts
colony by the Pilgrims and the legal establishment of the college
afterward known as Harvard by the General Court of the colony. It is
evident that in both cases it was the needs of the rising generation
who had come to be from twelve to sixteen years of age that led to the
establishment of these institutions of higher education. The actual
foundation of Harvard did not come for two years later, and the
intention of the founders was not nearly so broad as that of the
founders of the University of Lima. Already at Lima schools had been
{314} established by the religious orders, and it was with the idea of
organizing the education as it was being given that the charter from
the Crown was obtained. With regard to both Lima and Mexico, within a
few years a bull of approval and confirmation was asked and obtained
from the Pope. The University of Lima continued to develop with
wonderful success. In the middle of the seventeenth century it had
more than a thousand students, at the beginning of the eighteenth it
had two thousand students, and there is no doubt at all of its
successful accomplishment of all that a university is supposed to do.

Juan Antonio Ribeyro, who was the rector of the University of Lima
forty years ago, said in the introduction to "The University Annals
for 1869" that, "It cannot be denied that the University of Peru
during its early history filled a large role of direct intervention
for the formation of laws, for the amelioration of customs and in
directing all the principal acts of civil and private society, forming
the religious beliefs, rendering them free from superstitions and
errors and influencing all the institutions of the country to the
common good." Certainly this is all that would be demanded of a
university as an influence for uplift, and the fact that such an ideal
should have been cherished shows how well the purpose of an
educational institution had been realized.

The scholarly work done by some of these professors at
Spanish-American universities still {315} remains a model of true
university work. It is the duty of the university to add to knowledge
as well as to disseminate it. That ideal of university existence is
supposed to be a creation of the nineteenth century, and indeed is
often said to have been brought into the history of education by the
example of the German universities. We find, however, that the
professors of the Spanish-American universities accomplished much in
this matter and that their works remain as precious storehouses of
information for after generations. Professor Bourne has given but a
short list of them in addition to those that have already been
mentioned, but even this furnishes an excellent idea of how much the
university professors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in
Spanish America were taking to heart the duty of gathering, arranging
and classifying knowledge for after generations. They did more in the
sciences than in anything else. It is often thought that our knowledge
of the ethnology and anthropology of the Indians is entirely the
creation of recent investigators, but that is true only if one leaves
out of account the work of these old Spanish-American scholars.
Professor Bourne says:

  "The most famous of the earlier Peruvian writers were Acosta, the
  historian, the author of the 'Natural and Civil History of the
  Indies'; the mestizo Garciasso de la Vega, who was educated in Spain
  and wrote of the Inca Empire and De Soto's expedition; Sandoval, the
  author of the {316} first work on Africa and the negro written in
  America; Antonio Leon Pinelo, the first American bibliographer, and
  one of the greatest as well of the indefatigable codifiers of the
  old legislation of the Indies. Pinelo was born in Peru and educated
  at the Jesuit College in Lima, but spent his literary life in

Of the University of Mexico more details are available than of Peru,
and the fact that it was situated here in North America and that the
culture which it influenced has had its effect on certain portions of
the United States, has made it seem worth while to devote considerable
space to it. The University was called the Royal and Pontifical
University of Mexico, because, while it was founded under the charter
of the King of Spain, this had been confirmed by a bull from the Pope,
who took the new university directly under the patronage of the Holy
See. The reason for the foundation of the university, as the men at
that time saw it, is contained in the opening chapter of St. John's
Gospel, which is quoted as the preamble of the constitutions of the
university: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him
and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him was Life, and
the Life was the light of men." This they considered ample reason for
the erection of a university and the spread of knowledge with God's
own sanction.


The patron saints of the university, as so declared by the first
article of the constitutions, were St. Paul the Apostle, and St.
Catherine the Martyr. Among the patrons, however, were also mentioned
in special manner two other saints--St. John Nepomucen, who died
rather than reveal the secrets of the confessional, and St. Aloysius
Gonzaga, the special patron of students. It is evident that these two
patrons had been chosen with a particular idea that devotion to them
would encourage the practice of such virtues and devotion to duty as
would be especially useful to the students, clerical and secular, of
the university. On all four of the feast days of these patrons the
university had a holiday. This would seem to be adding notably to the
number of free days in a modern university, but must have meant very
little at the University of Mexico, they had so many other free days.
The most striking difference between the calendar of the University of
Mexico and that of a modern university would be the number of days in
the year in which no lectures were given. There were some forty of
these altogether. Besides the four patron saint days, the feast day of
every Apostle was a holiday. Besides these, all the Fathers and
Doctors of the Church gave reasons for holidays. Then there was St.
Sebastian's Day, in order that young men might be brave, St. Joseph's
Day, the Annunciation, the Expectation, the Assumption and the
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, the {318} Invention of the Holy Cross,
the Three Rogation Days and the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows.
Besides, there were St. Magdalen's, St. Ann's, St. Ignatius' and St.
Lawrence's Day. These were not all, but this will give an idea how
closely connected with the Church were the lectures at the university,
or, rather, the intermission from the lectures. It might be said that
this was a serious waste of precious time, and that our universities
in the modern time would not think of imitating them, but such a
remark could come but from some one who did not realize the real
condition that obtained in the old-time universities. At the present
time our universities finish their scholastic year about the middle of
May and do not begin again until October--nearly twenty weeks. At
these old universities their annual intermission between scholastic
years lasted only the six weeks from the Feast of the Nativity of the
Blessed Virgin, September 8, to St Luke's Day, October 18. They had
five weeks at Easter time and two weeks at Christmas time. They spread
their year out over a longer period and compensated for shorter
vacations by granting holidays during the year. Their year's labor was
less intense and spread out over more ground than ours.

The development of the University of Mexico into a real university in
the full sense of the old _studium generale_, in which all forms of
human knowledge might be pursued, is very interesting {319} and shows
the thoroughgoing determination of the Spanish Americans to make for
themselves and their children an institute of learning worthy of
themselves and their magnificent new country.

Chartered in 1551, it was not formally opened until 1553. Chairs were
established in this year in theology, Sacred Scripture, canon law and
decretals, laws, art, rhetoric and grammar. Both Spanish and Latin
were taught in the classes of grammar and rhetoric. To these was added
very shortly a chair in Mexican Indian languages, in accordance with
the special provisions of the imperial charter. The university
continued to develop and added further chairs and departments as time
went on. It had a chair of jurisprudence at the beginning, but its law
department was completed in 1569 by the addition of two other chairs,
one in the institutes of law, the other in codes of law. In the
meantime the university had begun to make itself felt as a corporate
body for general uplift by publications of various kinds. Its
professor of rhetoric, Dr. Cervantes Salazer, published in 1555 three
interesting Latin dialogues in imitation of Erasmus' dialogues. At the
moment Erasmus' "Colloquia" was the most admired academic work in the
university world of the time. The first of these dialogues described
the University of Mexico, and the other two, taking up Mexico City and
its environments, gave an excellent idea of {320} what the
Spanish-American capital of Mexico was three centuries and a half ago.

  "The early promoters of education and missions did not rely upon the
  distant European presses for the publication of their manuals. The
  printing press was introduced into the New World probably as early
  as 1536, and it seems likely that the first book, an elementary
  Christian doctrine called 'La Escala Espiritual' (the ladder of the
  spirit), was issued in 1537. No copy of it, however, is known to
  exist. Seven different printers plied their craft in New Spain in
  the sixteenth century. Among the notable issues of these presses,
  besides the religious works and church service works, were
  dictionaries and grammars of the Mexican languages, Puga's
  'Cedulario' in 1563, a compilation of royal ordinances, Farfan's
  'Tractado de Medicina.' In 1605 appeared the first text-book
  published in America for instruction in Latin, a manual of poetics
  with illustrative examples from heathen and Christian poets."

With the light thrown on the early history of printing on this
continent by a paragraph like this, how amusing it is to be told that
the tradition among the printers and the publishers and even the
bibliophiles of the United States is that the first book printed in
America was the Massachusetts Bay Psalm Book printed, I believe, in
1637. There were no less than seven printing presses at work in Mexico
during the sixteenth {321} century, fully fifty years before the
Massachusetts Bay Psalm Book was issued. How interesting it is for
those who still like to insist that the Catholic Church is opposed to
the distribution of the Scriptures to the people or its printing in
the vernacular, to find how many editions of it were printed in Mexico
and in South America during the sixteenth century. This story of the
printing press in Spanish America in the early days would of itself
make a most interesting chapter in a volume on American origins, which
could probably be extended into a very valuable little manual of
bibliography and bibliophilic information that would arouse new
interest in the accumulation of early American books.

The university had been founded just twenty-five years when provision
was made for the establishment of the medical department. According to
most of the chronicles the first chair in medicine was founded June
21, 1578, although there are some authorities who state that this
establishment came only in 1580. I am a graduate of the University of
Pennsylvania Medical School myself, and I yield to none of her sons in
veneration for my Alma Mater, but I cannot pass over this statement of
the foundation of the medical school in Mexico without recalling that
we have been rather proud at the University of Pennsylvania to be
known as the First American Medical School. This is, of course, only
due to our fond United States way of assuming {322} ourselves to be
all America and utterly neglecting any knowledge of Spanish America. I
believe that there are tablets erected at the University of
Pennsylvania chronicling our priority. One of them is to the first
graduating class, the other to the first faculty of the medical
school. I believe that between the erection of the two tablets there
had come to be some suspicion of the possibility that South America
was ahead of us in this respect and so the second tablet specifically
mentions North America. When I talked some time ago before the College
of Physicians of Philadelphia on this subject one of my friends, who
was a teacher at the university, asked me what they should do with
their tablets. I suggested that, by all means, they should be allowed
to remain, and that as soon as possible an opportunity should be
secured to erect the third tablet containing a statement of the real
facts with regard to the place of the University of Pennsylvania as
the protagonist in medicine in the United States. The tablets will
then serve to show the gradual evolution of our knowledge of the true
history of medical education in this country. It is all the more
important that this should be the arrangement because the University
of Pennsylvania has been a leader in "the discovery" of South America
that has been made by us in the last few years.

Between the date of the foundation of the first chair in medicine at
the beginning of the {323} last quarter of the sixteenth century and
the foundation of the city, Mexico had not been without provision of
physicians. In the very first year of the existence of the University
of Mexico, though there was no formal faculty of medicine, two doctors
received their degrees in medicine from the university. They had been
students in Spain and were able to satisfy the faculty of their
ability. This shows that the institution was considered to have the
power to confer these degrees upon those who brought evidence of
having completed the necessary studies, though it was not in a
position to provide facilities for these studies. It is evident that
this custom continued in subsequent years until the necessity for
medical studies at home became evident. The intimate connection
between the universities of old Spain and of New Spain is a very
interesting subject in the educational history of the time. Even
before the foundation of the university, however, definite efforts
were made by the authorities to secure proper medical service for the
colonists and to prevent their exploitation by quacks and charlatans.

Strict medical regulations were established by the Municipal Council
of the City of Mexico in 1527 so as to prevent quacks from Europe, who
might think to exploit the ills of the settlers in the new colony,
from practising medicine. Licenses to practise were issued only to
those who showed the possession of a university degree. {324} This
strict regulation of medical practice was extended also to the
apothecaries in 1529. Even before this, arrangements had been made for
the regular teaching of barber-surgeons, so that injuries and wounds
of various kinds might be treated properly, and so that emergencies
might be promptly met, even in the absence of a physician, by these
barber-surgeons. Dr. Bandelier, in his article on Francisco Bravo in
the second volume of the Catholic Encyclopedia, calls attention to
some important details with regard to medicine in Mexico in the early
part of the sixteenth century, and especially to this distinguished
physician who published the first book on medicine in that city in

Three years before that time Dr. Pedrarius de Benavides had published
his "Secretos de Chirurgia" at Valladolid, in Spain, a work which had
been written in America and contained an immense amount of knowledge
that is invaluable with regard to Indian medicinal practice. Dr.
Bravo's work, however, has the distinction of being the first medical
treatise printed in America.

The issuance of these books shows the intense interest in medicine in
the sixteenth century, but there are other details which serve to show
how thorough and practical were the efforts of the authorities in
securing the best possible medical practice. In 1524 there was founded
in the City of Mexico a hospital, which still stands and which was a
model in its way. That way was {325} much better than the mode of the
construction of hospitals in the eighteenth century, for instance,
when hospitals and care for the ailing reached the lowest ebb in
modern times. Other hospitals besides this foundation by Cortez soon
arose, and the wards of these hospitals were used for purposes of
clinical teaching. Clinical or bedside teaching in medicine is
supposed to be a comparatively recent feature of medical education.
There are traces of it, however, at all times in history and while at
times when theory ruled the practical application of observation
waned, it was constantly coming back whenever men took medical
education seriously. Its employment in Mexico seems to have been an
obvious development of their very practical methods, which began with
the teaching of first aid to the injured and developed through special
studies of the particular diseases of the country and of the methods
of curing them by native drugs.

A chair of botany existed already in connection with the university,
and this, with the lectures on medicine, constituted the medical
training until 1599, when a second medical lectureship was added.
During the course of the next twenty years altogether seven chairs in
medicine were founded, so that besides the two lectureships in
medicine there was a chair of anatomy and surgery, a special chair of
dissection, a chair of therapeutics, the special duty of which was to
lecture on Galen _"De Methodo Medendi,"_ a {326} chair of mathematics
and astrology, for the stars were supposed to influence human
constitutions by all the learned men of this time and even Kepler and
Galileo and Tycho-Brahe were within this decade making horoscopes for
important people in Europe, and, finally, a chair of prognostics. Most
of the teaching was founded on Hippocrates and Galen, and lest this
should seem sufficient to condemn it as hopelessly backward in the
minds of many, it may be recalled that during the century following
this time Sydenham, in England, and Boerhaave, in Holland, the most
distinguished medical men of their time and looked on with great
reverence by the teachers of ours, were both of them pleading for a
return to Hippocrates and Galen. As a matter of fact, the medical
school of the University of Mexico was furnishing quite as good a
medical training as the average medical school in Europe at that time,
at least so far as the subjects lectured on are concerned. Indeed, it
was modelled closely after the Spanish universities, which were
considered well up to the standard of the time.

In the meantime additional chairs in university subjects continued to
be founded. Another chair in arts was established in 1586, and further
chairs in law and grammar were added at the beginning of the sixteenth
century. The Spanish Crown was very much interested in Mexican
education, and King Philip II of Spain, who is usually mentioned in
English history for quite {327} other qualities than his interest in
culture and education, was especially liberal in his provision from
the Crown revenues of funds for the university. At the beginning of
the seventeenth century, according to Flores in his "History of
Medicine in Mexico from the Indian Times Down to the Present," the
total amount of income from the Crown allowed the University of Mexico
was nearly $10,000. This was about Shakespeare's time, and so we have
readily available calculations as to the buying power of money at that
time compared to our own. It is usually said that the money of
Elizabeth's time had eight to ten times the trading value of ours.
This would mean that the University of Mexico had nearly an income of
$100,000 apart from fees and other sources of revenue. This would not
be considered contemptible even in our own day for a university having
less than twenty professorships.

The number of students at the University of Mexico is not absolutely
known, but, as we have seen, Professor Bourne calculates that the
University of Lima had at the beginning of the eighteenth century more
than 2,000 students. The University of Mexico at the same time
probably had more than 1,000 students, and both of these universities
were larger in number than any institution of learning within the
boundaries of the present United States until after the middle of the
nineteenth century. After all, we began to have universities in the
real sense of {328} that word--that is, educational institutions
giving opportunities in undergraduate work and the graduate
departments of law, medicine and theology--not until nearly the end of
the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Our medical and law
schools did not, as a rule, become attached to our universities until
the second half of the nineteenth century, and even late in that. This
was to the serious detriment of post-graduate work, and especially
detrimental to the preliminary training required for it, and
consequently to the products of these schools.

Before a student could enter one of the post-graduate departments at
the University of Mexico in law or medicine, he was required to have
made at least three years of studies in the undergraduate departments.
When we contrast this regulation with the custom in the United States,
the result is a little startling. Until the last quarter of the
nineteenth century students might enter our medical schools straight
from the plow or the smithy or the mechanic's bench, and without any
preliminary education, after two terms of medical lectures consisting
of four months each, be given a degree which was a license to practise
medicine. The abuses of such a system are manifest, and actually came
into existence. They were not permitted in Mexico even in the
seventeenth century.

It might perhaps be thought that these magnificent opportunities in
education were provided {329} only for the higher classes, or
concerned only book learning and the liberal and professional studies.
Far from any such exclusiveness as this, their schools were thoroughly
rounded and gave instruction in the arts and crafts and recognized the
value of manual training. We have only come to appreciate in the last
few decades how much we have lost in education in America by
neglecting these features of education for the masses. While Germany
has manual training for over fifty per cent. of the children who go to
her schools, here in the United States we provide it for something
less than one per cent, of our children. They made no such mistake as
this in the Spanish-American countries. Indeed, Professor Bourne's
paragraph on this subject is perhaps the most interesting feature of
what he has to say with regard to education in Spanish America. The
objective methods of education, as he depicts them, the thoroughly
practical content of education, and the fact that the Church was one
of the main factors in bringing about this well-rounded education, is
of itself a startling commentary on the curiously perverted notions
that have been held in the past with regard to the comparative value
of education in Spanish and in English America and the attitude of the
Church toward these educational questions:

  "Both the Crown and the Church were solicitous for education in the
  colonies, and provisions were made for its promotion on a far
  greater {330} scale than was possible or even attempted in the
  English colonies. The early Franciscan missionaries built a school
  beside each church, and in their teaching abundant use was made of
  signs, drawings and paintings. The native languages were reduced to
  writing, and in a few years Indians were learning to read and write.
  Pedro de Gante, a Flemish lay brother and a relative of Charles V,
  founded and conducted in the Indian quarter in Mexico a great
  school, attended by over a thousand Indian boys, which combined
  instruction in elementary and higher branches, the mechanical and
  fine arts. In its workshops the boys were taught to be tailors,
  carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers and painters."

If there was all this of progress in education in Spanish-American
countries in advance of what we had in the United States, people will
be prone to ask where, then, are the products of the Spanish-American
education? This is only a fair question, and if the products cannot be
shown, their education, however pretentious, must have been merely
superficial or hollow, and must have meant nothing for the culture of
their people. We are sure that most people would consider the question
itself quite sufficient for argument, for it would be supposed to be

Such has been the state of mind created by history as it is written
for English-speaking people, that we are not at all prepared to think
that there {331} can possibly be in existence certain great products
of Spanish-American education that show very clearly how much better
educational systems were developed in Spanish than in English America.
The fact that we do not know them, however, is only another evidence
of the one-sidedness of American education in the North, even at the
present time. Our whole attitude toward the South American people, our
complacent self-sufficiency from which we look down on them, our
thoroughgoing condescension for their ignorance and backwardness, is
all founded on our lack of real knowledge with regard to them.

The most striking product of South American education was the
architectural structures which the Spanish-American people erected as
ornaments of their towns, memorials of their culture and evidences of
their education. The cathedrals in the Spanish towns of South America
and Mexico are structures, as a rule, fairly comparable with the
ecclesiastical buildings erected by towns of the same size in Europe.
As a rule, they were planned at least in the sixteenth century, and
most of them were finished in the seventeenth century. Their
cathedrals are handsome architectural structures worthy of their faith
and enduring evidence of their taste and love of beauty. The
ecclesiastical buildings, the houses of their bishops and archbishops
and their monasteries were worthy of their cathedrals and churches.
Most of them are beautiful, all of them are dignified, all of them had
{332} a permanent character that has made them endure down to our day
and has made them an unfailing ornament of the towns in which they
are. Their municipal buildings partook of this same type. Some of them
are very handsome structures. Of their universities we have already
heard that they were imposing buildings from without, handsomely
decorated within.

It must not be forgotten that the Spanish Americans practically
invented the new style of architecture. How effective that style is,
we had abundant opportunity to see when it was employed for the
building of the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. That style is
essentially American. It is the only new thing that America has
contributed to construction since its settlement. How thoroughly
suitable it was for the climate for which it was invented, those who
have had experience of it in the new hotels erected in Florida, in the
last decade or so, can judge very well. Many of its effects are an
adaptation of classical formulae to buildings for the warm, yet
uncertain climate of many parts of South America. Some of the old
monasteries constructed after this style are beautiful examples of
architecture in every sense of the word. If the Spanish-American monks
had done nothing else but leave us this handsome new model in
architecture they would not have lived in vain, nor would their
influence in American life have been without its enduring effects.
This is a typical {333} product of the higher culture of the South
Spanish-American people.

With regard to the churches, it may be said that the spirit of the
Puritans was entirely opposed to anything like the ornamentation of
their churches, and that, indeed, these were not churches in the usual
sense of the word, but were merely meeting houses. Hence there was not
the same impulse to make them beautiful as lifted the Spanish
Americans into their magnificent expressions of architectural beauty.
On the other hand, there are other buildings in regard to which, if
there had been any real culture in the minds of the English Americans,
we have a right to expect some beauty as well as usefulness. If we
contrast for a moment the hospitals of English and Spanish America the
difference is so striking as to show the lack of some important
quality in the minds of the builders at the north. Spanish-American
hospitals are among the beautiful structures with which they began to
adorn their towns early, and some of them remain at the present day as
examples of the architectural taste of their builders. They were
usually low, often of but one story in height, with a courtyard and
with ample porticos for convalescents, and thick walls to defend them
from the heat of the climate. In many features they surpass many
hospitals that have been built in America until very recent years.
They were modelled on the old mediaeval hospitals, some of which are
very beautiful {334} examples of how to build places for the care of
the ailing.

Contrast for a moment with this the state of affairs that has existed
with regard to our church buildings and our public structures of all
kinds in North America, down to the latter half of the nineteenth
century. We have no buildings dating from before the nineteenth
century that have any pretension to architectural beauty. They were
built merely for utility. Some of them still have an interest for us
because of historical associations, but they are a standing evidence
of the lack of taste of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. The English poet,
Yeats, said at a little dinner given to him just before he left this
country ten years ago, that no nation can pretend to being cultured
until the very utensils in the kitchen are beautiful as well as
useful. What is to be said, then, of a nation that erects public
buildings that are to be merely useful? As a matter of fact, most of
them were barracks. The American people woke up somewhat in the
nineteenth century, but the awakening was very slow. A few handsome
structures were erected, but it is not until the last decade or two
that we have been able to awaken public taste to the necessity for
having all our public buildings beautiful as well as useful.

The effect of this taste for structural beauty on the appearance of
the streets of their towns was an important element in making them
very different from our cramped and narrow pathways. {335} The late
Mr. Ernest Crosby once expressed this very emphatically in an
after-dinner speech, by detailing his experience with regard to
Havana. He had visited the Cuban capital some twenty years ago, and
found it very picturesque in its old Spanish ways. It is true the
streets were dirty and the death-rate was somewhat high, but the vista
that you saw when you came around the corner of a street, was not the
same that you had seen around every other corner for twenty miles; it
was different. It was largely a city of homes, with some thought of
life being made happy, rather than merely being laborious. It was a
place to live in and enjoy life while it lasted, and not merely a
place to exist in and make money. He came north by land. The first
town that he struck on the mainland, he said, reminded him of Hoboken.
Every other town that he struck in the North reminded him more and
more of Hoboken, until he came to the immortal Hoboken itself. The
American end of the Anglo-Saxon idea seemed to him to make all the
towns like Hoboken as far as possible. There is only one town in this
country that is not like Hoboken, and that is Washington; and whenever
we let the politicians work their wills on that--witness the Pension
Building--it has a tendency to grow more and more like Hoboken.
Perhaps we shall be able to save it. As for Havana, he said he
understood that the death-rate had been cut in two, and that yellow
fever was no longer {336} epidemic there, but he understood also that
the town was growing more and more like Hoboken, so that he scarcely
dared go back to see it.

The parable has a lesson that is well worth driving home for our
people, for it emphasizes a notable lack of culture among the American
people, which did not exist among the Spanish Americans, a lack which
we did not realize until the last decade or two, though it is an
important index of true culture. The hideous buildings that we have
allowed ourselves to live in in America, and, above all, that we have
erected as representing the dignity of city, and only too often even
of state, together with the awful evidence of graft, whenever an
attempt has been made to correct this false taste and erect something
worthy of us, the graft usually spoiling to a very great extent our
best purposes, proclaim an absence of culture in American life that
amounts to a conviction of failure of our education to be liberal in
the true sense of the word.

There were other products of Spanish-American education quite as
striking as the architectural beauties with which Mexicans and South
Americans adorned their towns. Quite as interesting, indeed, as their
architecture is their literature. Ordinarily we are apt to assume that
because we have heard almost nothing of Spanish-American literature,
there must be very little of it, and what little there is must have
very little significance. This is only another one of these examples
{337} of how ridiculous it is to know something "that ain't so."
Spanish-American literature is very rich. It begins very early in the
history of the Spanish settlement. It is especially noteworthy for its
serious products, and when the world's account of the enduring
literature of the past four centuries will be made up much more of
what was written in South America will live than what has been
produced in North America. This seems quite unpatriotic, but it is
only an expression of proper estimation of values, without any of that
amusing self-complacency which so commonly characterizes North
American estimation of anything that is done by our people.

South American literature, in the best sense of that much abused term,
begins shortly after the middle of the sixteenth century, with the
writing of the Spanish poet, Ercilla's, epic, "Araucana," which was
composed in South America during the decade from 1550 to 1560. This is
a literary work of genuine merit, that has attracted the attention of
critics and scholars of all kinds and has given its author a
significant place even in the limited field of epic poetry among the
few great names that the world cares to recall in this literary mode.
Voltaire considered this epic poem a great contribution to literature,
and in the prefatorial essay to his own epic, the "Henriade," he
praises it very highly. The poem takes its name from the Araucanos
Indians, who had risen in revolt against the Spaniards in Chile, and
{338} against whom the poet served for nearly ten years. He did not
learn to despise them, and while the literature which does justice to
the lofty sentiments which sometimes flowed from mouths of great
Indian chiefs, is supposed to be much more recent, Ercilla's most
enthusiastically extolled passage is the noble speech which he has
given to the aged chief, Colocolo, in the "Araucana."

The expedition against the Araucanos inspired two other fine
poems--that of Pedro de Ona, "Arauco Domado," written near the end of
the century, and "Araucana," written by Diego de Santisteban, whose
poem also saw the light before the seventeenth century opened. A
fourth poet, Juan de Castellanos, better than either of these, wrote
"Elegias de Varones Ilustres de Indias." He was a priest who had
served in America, and who remembered some of the magnificent traits
of the Indians that he had observed during his life among them, and
made them the subject of his poetry. This was only the beginning of a
serious Spanish-American literature, that has continued ever since.
Father Charles Warren Currier, in a series of lectures at the Catholic
Summer School three years ago, did not hesitate to say that the body
of Spanish-American literature was much larger and much more
important, and much more of it was destined to endure than of our
English-American literature. In the light of what these Spaniards had
done for education in their universities, and for the beauty of life
in {339} their cities by their architecture, this is not so surprising
a saying as it might otherwise be. All of these things stand together
and are confirmations one of the other.

The most interesting product of Spanish-American education,
however,--the one which shows that it really stood for a higher
civilization than ours,--remains to be spoken of. It consists of their
treatment of the Indians. From the very beginning, as we have just
shown, their literature in Spanish America did justice to the Indians.
They saw his better traits. It is true they had a better class of
Indians, as a rule, to deal with, but there is no doubt also that they
did much to keep him on a higher level, while everything in North
America that was done by the settlers was prone to reduce the native
in the scale of civilization. He was taught the vices and not the
virtues of civilization, and little was attempted to uplift him. Just
as the literary men were interested in the better side of his
character, so the Spanish-American scientists were interested in his
folklore, in his medicine, in his arts and crafts, in his ethnology
and anthropology--in a word, in all that North Americans have only
come to be interested in during the nineteenth century. Books on all
these subjects were published, and now constitute a precious fund of
knowledge with regard to the aborigines that would have been lost only
for the devotion of Spanish-American scholars.

It is not surprising, then, that the Indian {340} himself, with all
this interest in him, did not disappear, as in North America, but has
remained to constitute the basis of South American peoples. If the
South American peoples are behind our own in anything, it is because
large elements in them have been raised from a state of semi-barbarism
into civilization, while our people have all come from nations that
were long civilized and we have none at all of the natives left.
Wherever the English went always the aborigines disappeared before
them. The story is the same in New Zealand and Australia as it is in
North America, and it would be the same in India, only for the teeming
millions that live in that peninsula, for whom Anglo-Saxon
civilization has never meant an uplift in any sense of the word, but
rather the contrary. The white man's burden has been to carry the
Indian, instilling into him all the vices, until no longer he could
cling to his shifty master and was shaken off to destruction.

This story of the contrast of the treatment of the Indian at the North
and the South is probably the best evidence for the real depth of
culture that the magnificent education of the Spaniards, so early and
so thoroughly organized in their colonies, accomplished for this
continent. Alone it would stand as the highest possible evidence of
the interest of the Spanish Government and the Spanish Church in the
organization not only of education, but of government in such a way as
to bring happiness and uplift for {341} both natives and colonists in
the Spanish-American countries. Abuses there were, as there always
will be where men are concerned and where a superior race comes in
contact with an inferior. These abuses, however, were exceptions and
not the rule. The policy instituted by the Spaniards and maintained in
spite of the tendencies of men to degenerate into tyranny and misuse
of the natives is well worthy of admiration. English-speaking history
has known very little of it until comparatively recent years. Mr.
Sidney Lee, the editor of the English Biographical Dictionary and the
author of a series of works on Shakespeare which has gained for him
recognition as probably the best living authority on the history of
the Elizabethan times, wrote a series of articles which appeared in
Scribner's last year on "The Call of the West." This was meant to undo
much of the prejudice which exists in regard to Spanish colonization
in this country and to mitigate the undue reverence in which the
English explorers and colonists have been held by comparison. There
seems every reason to think, then, that this newer, truer view of
history is gradually going to find its way into circulation. In the
meantime it is amusing to look back and realize how much prejudice has
been allowed to warp English history in this matter, and how, as a
consequence of the determined, deliberate efforts to blacken the
Spanish name, we have had to accept as history exactly the opposite
view to the {342} reality in this matter. Lest we should be thought to
be exaggerating, we venture to quote one of the opening paragraphs of
Mr. Sidney Lee's article as it appeared in Scribner's for May, 1907:
"Especially has theological bias justified neglect or facilitated
misconception of Spain's role in the sixteenth century drama of
American history. Spain's initial adventures in the New World are
often consciously or unconsciously overlooked or underrated in order
that she may figure on the stage of history as the benighted champion
of a false and obsolete faith, which was vanquished under divine
protecting Providence by English defenders of the true religion. Many
are the hostile critics who have painted sixteenth century Spain as
the avaricious accumulator of American gold and silver, to which she
had no right, as the monopolist of American trade, of which she robbed
others, and as the oppressor and exterminator of the weak and innocent
aborigines of the new continent who deplored her presence among them.
Cruelty in all its hideous forms is, indeed, commonly set forth as
Spain's only instrument of rule in her sixteenth century empire. On
the other hand, the English adventurer has been credited by the same
pens with a touching humanity, with the purest religious aspirations,
with a romantic courage which was always at the disposal of the
oppressed native.

  "No such picture is recognized when we apply the touchstone of the
  oral traditions, printed {343} books, maps and manuscripts
  concerning America which circulated in Shakespeare's England. There
  a predilection for romantic adventure is found to sway the Spaniards
  in even greater degree than it swayed the Elizabethan. Religious
  zeal is seen to inspirit the Spaniards more constantly and
  conspicuously than it stimulated his English contemporary. The
  motives of each nation are barely distinguishable one from another.
  Neither deserves to be credited with any monopoly of virtue or vice.
  Above all, the study of contemporary authorities brings into a
  dazzling light which illumes every corner of the picture the
  commanding facts of the Spaniard's priority as explorer, as
  scientific navigator, as conqueror, as settler."

Here is magnificent praise from one who cannot be suspected of
national or creed affinities to bias his judgment. He has studied the
facts and not the prejudiced statements of his countrymen. The more
carefully the work of the Spaniards in America during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries is studied, the more praise is bestowed upon
them. The more a writer knows of actual conditions the more does he
feel poignantly the injustice that has been done by the Protestant
tradition which abused the good that was accomplished by the Catholic
Spanish and which neglected, distorted and calumniated his deeds and
motives. This bit of Protestant tradition is, after all, only
suffering the fate that every other {344} Protestant position has
undergone during the course of the development of scientific
historical criticism. Every step toward the newer, truer history has
added striking details to the picture of the beneficent influences of
the Church upon her people in every way. It has shown up pitilessly
the subterfuges, the misstatements and the positive ignorance which
have enabled Protestantism to maintain the opposite impression in
people's minds in order to show how impossible was agreement with the
Catholic Church, since it stood for backwardness and ignorance and
utter lack of sympathy with intellectual development. Now we find
everywhere that just the opposite was true. Whenever the Reformation
had the opportunity to exert itself to the full, education and culture
suffered. Erasmus said in his time, "Wherever Lutheranism reigns there
is an end of literature." Churches and cathedrals that used to be
marvellous expressions of the artistic and poetic feeling of the
people became the ugliest kind of mere meeting houses. Rev. Augustus
Jessop, himself an Anglican clergyman, tells how "art died out in
rural England" after the Reformation, which he calls The Great
Pillage, and "King Whitewash and Queen Ugliness ruled supreme for
centuries." The same thing happened in Germany, and education was
affected quite as much as art. German national development was
delayed, and she has come to take her place in world influence only in
the nineteenth {345} century, after most of the influence of the
religious revolt led by Luther in the sixteenth century has passed
away. These are but a few of the striking differences in recent
history that are so well typified by the contrast between what was
accomplished for art and culture and architecture and education by the
Catholic Spaniard and the English Protestant here in America during
the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Truth is coming
to her own at last, and it is in the history of education particularly
that advances are being made which change the whole aspect of the
significance of history during the past 350 years.





  "Tu recte vivis si curas esse quod audis;
  Neve putes alium sapiente bonoque beatum."
  --Horace, _Ep_., 1, 16.

  [You are living right if you take care to be what people say you
  are. Do not imagine that any one who is really happy is other than
  wise and good.]

  "Quod ipse sis, non quod habearis, interest."
  --Publius Syrus.

  [The question is what you are, not what you are thought to be.]

  "May you so raise your character, that you may help to make the next
  age a better thing, and leave posterity in your debt for the
  advantage it shall receive by your example."
  --Lord Halifax.



  [Footnote 20: This was the address to the graduates at the First
  Commencement of the Fordham University School of Medicine, June 9,

I have felt that the first graduation of the youngest of the medical
schools might very well be occupied with the consideration of the
place of the medical profession in history. We are rather apt in the
modern time to neglect the lessons of history and, above all, of the
history of science, first because it is not always easy to get
definite information with regard to it, and secondly and mainly
because we are likely to imagine that scientific and medical history
can mean very little for us. In America particularly we have neglected
the history of medicine and it has been one of the definite efforts at
Fordham University School of Medicine to renew interest in this
subject. It is entirely too important to be neglected and it has
valuable lessons for all generations, but especially for a generation
so occupied with itself, that it does not properly consider the claims
of the past to recognition for fine work accomplished, and for the
exhibition of some of the best qualities of the human intellect in the
pursuit of scientific and practical medical knowledge in previous


At the earliest dawn of history we find institutions called temples in
which men were being treated for their ailments. Those who treated
them we have been accustomed to speak of as priests. And such they
were, since their functions included the direction of religious
services. These religious services, however, were not the exercises of
religion as we know them now, but were special services meant to
propitiate certain gods who were supposed to rule over health and
disease. There were other kinds of temples besides these. We still
talk of temples of justice meaning our law courts, and our phrase
comes from an older time when people went to have their differences of
opinion adjudicated by men who conducted the services of praise and
prayer for particular deities who were supposed to mete out justice to
men, but the temple attendants were at the same time expert in
deciding causes, knowing right and wrong, wise in declaring how
justice should be done. These early temples, then, in which the ailing
were treated and over which experts in disease and its treatment
presided, were not temples in our modern sense, but were much like
hospitals as we know them now. They would remind us of the hospitals
conducted by religious orders, trained to care for the illnesses of
mankind and yet deeply interested in the worship of God.

Human institutions are never so different from one another, even in
spite of long distance of time {351} or place, as they are usually
presumed to be. Men and women have not changed in all the period of
human history that we know, and their modes and ways of life often
have a startling similarity if we but find the key for the
significance of customs that seem to be very different. These temples
of the gods of health and of disease, then, were places where patients
congregated and men studied diseases for generations, and passed on
their knowledge from one to another, and accumulated information, and
elaborated theories, and came to conclusions, often on insufficient
premises, and did many other things that we are doing at the present
time. The medical profession is directly descended from these
institutions. They are among the oldest that we know of in human
history. These special temples are only a little less ancient than
other forms of temples if, indeed, they were not the first to be
founded, for man's first most clamorous reason for appeal to the gods
has ever been himself and his own health.

With the reception of your diplomas this evening you now belong to
what is therefore probably the oldest profession in the world. In
welcoming you into it let me call your attention particularly to the
fact that the history of our profession can be traced back to the very
beginning of the course of time, for as long as we have any account of
men's actions in an organized social order.


We are very prone in the modern time to think that what we are doing
in each successive generation is of so much greater significance than
what was accomplished before our time that it is really scarcely worth
while to give much attention to the past. This self-sufficient
complacency with regard to the present would be quite unbearable only
that each successive generation in its turn has had the same tendency
and has expiated its fault by being thought little of by subsequent
generations. We shall have our turn with those we affect to despise.

It is supposed to be particularly true in every department of science
and, above all, in medicine that there is such a wide chasm between
what we are doing now and what was accomplished by our forebears, no
matter how intelligent they were in the long ago, that to occupy
ourselves seriously with the history of medicine may be a pleasant
occupation for an elderly physician who has nothing better to do, but
can mean very little for the young man entering upon practice or for
the physician busy with his patients. Medical history may be good
enough for some book-worm interested in dry-as-dust details for their
own sake and perhaps because he rejoices in the fact that other people
do not know them, but can have very little significance for the
up-to-date physician. This is an impression that is dying hard just
now, but it is dying. We are learning that there is very little that
we are {353} doing even now that has not been done before us and that,
above all, the great physicians, no matter how long ago they wrote,
always have precious lessons for us that we cannot afford to neglect,
even though they be 300 or 600 or 1,800 or even 2,500 years ago. At
all of these dates in the past there were physicians whose works will
never die.

In every department of human history the impression that we are the
only ones whose work is significant has been receiving a sad jolt in
recent years, and perhaps in no branch of science is this so true as
in medicine. We are coming to realize how much the physicians and
surgeons of long distant times accomplished, and, above all, we are
learning to appreciate that they approached problems in medicine at
many periods of medical history in the best scientific temper of the
modern time. Of course there were abuses, but, then, the Lord knows,
there are abuses now. Of course their therapeutics had many
absurdities in it, but, then, let us not forget that Professor Charles
Richet, the director of the department of physiology at the University
of Paris, declared not long ago in an article in the best known of
French magazines, the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, that the therapeutics
of any generation of the world's history always contained many
absurdities--for the second succeeding generation. The curious thing
about it is that some of these supposed absurdities afterward come
{354} back into vogue and prove to be precious germs of discovery, or
remedies of value that occasionally even develop into excellent
systems of treatment.

Of course there were superstitions in the old days, but, then, there
have been superstitions in medicine at all times. Any one who thinks
that we are without superstitions in medicine at the present time,
superstitions that are confidently accepted by many regular practising
physicians, must, indeed, be innocent. A superstition is in its
etymology a survival. It comes from the Latin _superstes_, a survivor.
It is the acceptance of some doctrine the reasons for which have
disappeared in the progress of knowledge or the development of
science, though the doctrine itself still maintains a hold on the
minds of man. Superstition has nothing necessarily to do with
religion, though it is with regard to religion that doctrines are
particularly apt to be accepted after the reasons for them have
disappeared. In medicine, however, superstitions are almost as common
as in religion. I shall never forget a discussion with two of the most
prominent physicians of this country on this subject.

One of them was our greatest pathologist, the other a great teacher of
clinical medicine, who came into medicine through chemistry and
therefore had a right to opinions with regard to the chemical side of
medicine. We had been discussing the question of how much serious
medical {355} education there was in the Middle Ages and how, in spite
of the magnificent work done, so many superstitions in medicine
continued to maintain themselves. I remarked that it seemed impossible
to teach truths to large bodies of men without having them accept
certain doctrines which they thought truths but which were only
theories and which they insisted on holding after the reasons for them
had passed away. I even ventured to say that I thought that there were
as many superstitions now, and such as there were, were of as great
significance as those that maintained themselves in the Middle Ages.
My chemical clinician brother on the right side said, "Let us not
forget in this regard the hold the uric acid diathesis has on the
English-speaking medical profession." And the brother pathologist on
the left side: "Well, and what shall we say of intestinal

Perhaps you will not realize all the force of these expressions at the
present time, but after you have been five years in the practice of
medicine and have been flooded by the literature of the advertising
manufacturing pharmacist and by the samples of the detail man and his
advice and suggestion of principles of practice, if you will listen to
them, perhaps you will appreciate how much such frank expressions mean
as portraying the medical superstitions of our time.

Surely we who have for years been much occupied with the superstition,
for such it now {356} turns out to be, of heredity in medicine, will
not be supercilious toward older generations and their superstitions.
Until a few years ago we were perfectly sure that a number of diseases
were inherited directly. Tuberculosis, rheumatism, gout, various
nutritional disturbances all were supposed to pass from father to son
and from mother to daughter, or sometimes to cross the sex line. For a
time cancer was deemed to be surely hereditary to some degree at
least. Now most of us know that probably no disease is directly
inherited, that acquired characters are almost surely not transmitted,
and that while defects may be the subject of heredity, disease never
is. Not only this, biological investigations have served to show that
what is the subject of inheritance is just the opposite,--resistance
to disease. A person whose father and mother had suffered from
tuberculosis used to think it almost inevitable that he too should
suffer from it. If they had died that he too would die. Our experts in
tuberculosis declare now, that if tuberculosis has existed in the
preceding generation there is a much better chance of the patient
recovering from it, or at least resisting it for a long time, than if
there had been no tuberculosis in the family. We had been harboring
the superstition of heredity, the surviver opinion from a preceding
generation, until we learned better by observation.

Let us turn from such discussion to the {357} beginnings of the story
of our medical profession as it has been revealed to us in recent

The first picture that we have of a physician in history is, indeed,
one to make us proud of our profession. The first physician was
I-em-Hetep, whose name means "the bringer of peace." He had two other
titles according to tradition, one of which was "the master of
secrets," evidently in reference to the fact that more or less
necessarily many secrets must be entrusted to the physician, but also,
doubtless, in connection with the knowledge of the secrets of
therapeutics which he was supposed to possess. Another of his titles
was that of "the scribe of numbers," by which, perhaps, reference is
made to his prescriptions, which may have been lengthy, for there are
many "calendar" prescriptions in the early days, but may only refer to
the necessity of his knowing weights and measures and numbers very
exactly for professional purposes. I-em-Hetep lived in the reign of
King Tchser, a monarch of the third dynasty in Egypt, the date of
which is somewhat uncertain, but is about 4500 B.C. How distinguished
this first physician was in his time may be gathered from the fact
that the well-known step pyramid at Sakkara, the old cemetery near
Memphis, is attributed to him. So great was the honor paid to him
that, after his death he was worshipped as a god, and so we have
statues of him as a placid-looking man with a certain divine
expression, seated with a {358} scroll on his knees and an air of
benignant knowledge well suited to his profession.

I called attention in 1907 [Footnote 21] to the fact that the earliest
pictures of surgical operations extant had recently been uncovered in
the cemetery of Sakkara near Memphis in Egypt. These pictures show
that surgery was probably an organized branch of medicine thus early,
and the fact that they are found in a very important tomb shows how
prominent a place in the community the surgeon held at that time. The
oldest document after that which we have with regard to medicine is
the "Ebers Papyrus," the writing of which was done probably about 1600
B.C. This, however, is only a copy of an older manuscript or series of
manuscripts, and there seems to be no doubt that the text, which
contains idioms of a much older period, or, indeed, several periods,
probably represents accumulations of information made during 2,000 or
even 3,000 years before the date of our manuscript. Indeed, it is not
improbable that the oldest portions of the "Ebers Papyrus" owe their
origin to men of the first Egyptian dynasties, nearly 5,000 years B.C.
To be members of a profession that can thus trace its earliest written
documents to a time nearly some 7,000 years ago, is an honor that may
be readily appreciated and that may allow of some complacency.

  [Footnote 21: _Journal of the American Medical Association_,
  November 8, 1907.]

There is a well-grounded tradition which shows {359} us that an
Egyptian monarch with whose name even we are familiar, though we may
not be able to pronounce it very well--he was Athothis, the son of
Menes--wrote a work on anatomy. The exact date of this monarch's death
is sometimes said to be 4157 b.c. We have traces of hospitals in
existence at this time and something of the nature of a medical
school. Indeed, one may fairly infer that medical education, which had
been developing for some time, probably for some centuries, took a
definite form at this time in connection with the temples of Saturn.
Priests and physicians were the same, or at least physicians formed
one of the orders of the clergy and the teachers of medicine
particularly were clergymen. This tradition of close affiliation
between religion and medicine continued down to the fifteenth century.
How few of us there are who realize that until the fourteenth century
the professors of medicine at the great universities were not married
men, because members of the faculty, as is true at the present time of
many members of the faculty in the English universities, were not
allowed to marry. The old clerical tradition was still maintaining
itself even with regard to the medical teachers.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this early history of
medicine in Egypt is that, with the very earliest dawn of medical
history, we have traces of highly developed specialism in medicine.
There were thirty-six departments of medicine, or {360} at least there
were thirty-six medical divinities who presided over the particular
parts of the human body. In the larger temples, at least, there was a
special corps of priest physicians for each one of these departments.
Herodotus, the Father of History, is particularly full in his details
of Egyptian history, and though he wrote about 400 B.C., nearly 2,300
years ago, his attention was attracted by this highly developed
specialism among the Egyptians. He tells us in quaint fashion,
"Physicke is so studied and practised with the Egyptians that every
disease hath his several physician, who striveth to excell in healing
that one disease and not to be expert in curing many. Whereof it
cometh that every corner of that country is full of physicians. Some
for the eyes, others for the head, many for the teeth, not a few for
the stomach and the inwards."

It is interesting to realize that the same state of affairs upon which
you young graduates will come now that you are going out to find an
opportunity to practise for yourselves at the end of the first decade
of the twentieth century, is not very different from that which the
great Father of History chronicles as the state of affairs among the
Egyptians between 600 and 1,000 before Christ,--let us say about 3,000
years ago. You, too, will find that every corner is full of
physicians, some for the eyes, others for the head, many for the
teeth, not a few for the stomach and everything else under the sun
quite as in {361} ancient Egypt. After a time you will probably find
that some little corner has been left for you, and you will work hard
enough to get into it first, and then to fill it afterward. The story
of how young physicians have got on in their first few years has
probably been interesting at all times in the world's history. I think
that I know about it at five different periods, and in every one of
these there seemed to be no possible room, and yet somehow room was
eventually found, though only after there had been a struggle, in the
midst of which a certain number of the young physicians found another
sphere of activity besides medicine.

Of course it is easy to think that these specialties did not amount to
much, but any such thought is the merest assumption. A single instance
will show you how completely at fault this assumption is. Dentistry is
presumed to be a very modern profession. As a matter of fact mummies
were found in the cemetery of Thebes whose bodies probably come from
before 3000 B.C., who have in their teeth the remains of gold fillings
that were well put in, and show good workmanship, nearly 5,000 years
ago. [Footnote 22] After dentistry, the specialty that we would be
sure could not have had any significant existence so long ago would be
that of ophthalmology. As a matter of fact, it is with regard to the
knowledge of eye diseases displayed by these early teachers of {362}
medicine that the "Ebers Papyrus" is most startling. It is especially
full in diagnosis and contained many valuable hints for treatment. As
for laryngology and rhinology, one of the earliest medical records
that we have, is the rewarding by one of the kings of Egypt of an
early dynasty (nearly 4000 B.C.), of a physician who had cured him of
a trouble of the nose of long standing, that seems to have interfered
with his breathing.

  [Footnote 22: Burdett: "History of Hospitals."]

It is easy to think in spite of all this, that the Egyptians did not
know much medicine; but only one who knows nothing about it thinks so.
According to Dr. Carl von Klein, who discussed the "Medical Features
of the Ebers Papyrus" in the _Journal of the American Medical
Association_ about five years ago, over 700 different substances are
mentioned as of remedial value in this old-time medical work. There is
scarcely a disease of any important organ with which we are familiar
in the modern time that is not mentioned here. While the significance
of diseases of such organs as the spleen, the ductless glands, and the
appendix was, of course, missed, nearly every other pathological
condition was either expressly named or at least hinted at. The
papyrus insists very much on the value of history-taking in medicine,
and hints that the reason why physicians fail to cure is often because
they have not studied their cases sufficiently. While the treatment
was mainly symptomatic, it was not more so than is a great deal of
therapeutics {363} at the present time, even in the regular school of
medicine. The number and variety of their remedies and of their modes
of administering them is so marvellous, that I prefer to quote Dr. von
Klein's enumeration of them for you:

"In this papyrus are mentioned over 700 different substances from the
animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms which act as stimulants,
sedatives, motor excitants, motor depressants, narcotics, hypnotics,
analgesics, anodynes, antispasmodics, mydriatics, myotics,
expectorants, tonics, dentifrices, sialogogues, antisialics,
refrigerants, emetics, antiemetics, carminatives, cathartics,
purgatives, astringents, cholagogues, anthelmintics, restoratives,
haematics, alteratives, antipyretics, antiphlogistics, antiperiodics,
diuretics, diluents, diaphoretics, sudorifics, anhydrotics,
emmenagogues, oxytocics, caustics, ecbolics, galactagogues, irritants,
escharotics, caustics, styptics, haemostatics, emollients, demulcents,
protectives, antizymotics, disinfectants, deodorants, parasiticides,
antidotes and antagonists."

Scarcely less interesting than the variety of remedies were their
methods of administration:

"Medicines are directed to be administered internally in the form of
decoctions, infusions, injections, pills, tablets, troches, capsules,
powders, potions and inhalations; and externally, as lotions,
ointments, plasters, etc. They are to be eaten, drunk, masticated or
swallowed, to be taken often once only--often for many days--and the
time {364} is occasionally designated--to be taken mornings, evenings
or at bedtime. Formulas to disguise bad tasting medicaments are also
given." We have no advantage over the early Egyptians even in elegant

With all this activity in Egypt, it is easy to understand that the
other great nations of antiquity also have important chapters in the
history of medicine. The earliest accounts would seem to indicate that
the Chaldeans, the Assyrians and the Babylonians all made significant
advances in medicine. It seems clear that a work on anatomy was
written in China about the year 2000 B.C. Some of the other Eastern
nations made great progress. The Hindoos in particular have in recent
years been shown to have accomplished very good work in medicine
itself. Charaka, a Hindu surgeon, who lived not later than 300 B.C.,
made some fine contributions to the medical literature in Hindostani.
There were hospitals in all these countries, and these provided
opportunities for the practice of surgery. Laparotomy was very
commonly done by Hindu surgeons, and one of the rules enjoined by
Hindu students was the constant habit of visiting the sick and seeing
them treated by experienced physicians. Clinical teaching is often
spoken of as a modern invention, but it is as old as hospital systems,
and they go back to the dawn of history.

It is among the Greeks, however, that the most {365} important
advances in medicine, so far as we are concerned, were made. This is,
however, not so much because of what they did as from the fact that
they were more given to writing, and then their writings have been
better preserved for us than those of other nations. The first great
physician among the Greeks was AEsculapius, of whom, however, we have
only traditions. He is fabled to have been the son of Apollo, the god
of music and the arts, and therefore to have been a near relative of
the Muses. The connection is rather interesting, because sometimes
people try to remove medicine from among the arts that minister to the
happiness of man, and place it among the sciences whose application is
for his profit. Medicine still remains an art, however. The temples of
AEsculapius were the first hospitals, though the priests were not the
only ones who practised medicine, for there were laymen who, after
having served for some time in the hospitals, wandered through the
country under the name of Asclepiads, treating people who were not
able to go to the hospitals or shrines. These evidently, then, were
the first medical schools in Greece as well as the first hospitals.

Six hundred years after AEsculapius came Hippocrates, of Cos, the
Father of Medicine. He undoubtedly had the advantage of many Egyptian
medical traditions and other Oriental medical sources, as well as the
observations made in the hospitals and shrines of AEsculapius. He
{366} wrote some great works in medicine that have never grown old,
Young men do not read them, old men who are over-persuaded of how much
progress is being made by their own generation in medicine neglect
them. The busy practitioner has no time for them. The great teachers
of medicine whom all the professors look up to and who think for us in
each generation turn fondly back to Hippocrates, and marvel at his
acumen of observation and his wonderful knowledge of men and disease.
Sydenham thought that no one had ever written like him, and in our
turn we honor Sydenham by calling him the English Hippocrates.
Boerhaave, Van Swieten, Liancisi, the great fathers of modern clinical
medicine, turned with as much reverence to Hippocrates as does Osler,
the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, in our twentieth century.
Hippocrates wrote 2,500 years ago, but his writing is eternal in
interest and value.

The famous oath of Hippocrates, which used to be read to all the
graduates of medicine, well deserved that honor, for it represents the
highest expression of professional dignity and obligation. There is a
lofty sense of professional honor expressed in it that cannot be
excelled at any period in the world's history. Among other things that
Hippocrates required his adepts in medicine, his medical students when
they graduated into physicians, to swear to was the following: "I will
follow the system of regimen which {367} according to my ability and
judgment I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from
whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly
medicine to man, woman, or child born or unborn. With purity and with
holiness I will pass my life and practise my art, Whatever in
connection with my professional practice, or not in connection with
it, I see or hear in the life of men which ought not to be spoken of
abroad, I shall not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept
secret. While I continue to keep this oath inviolate may it be granted
to me to enjoy life and the practice of my art respected by all men in
all times; but should I trespass and violate this oath may the reverse
be my lot."

It is sometimes thought that after the Roman medicine, which was an
imitation of the Greek (though Galen well deserves a place by himself,
and Galen is usually thought of as a Roman though he wrote in Greek
and had obtained his education at Pergamos in Asia Minor), there was
an interregnum in medicine until our own time. This is, however, quite
as much of an assumption as to suppose that the Egyptians had no
medicine--as we used to until we knew more about them--or that
old-time medicine is quite negligible because we were ignorant of its
value, The Middle Ages had much more of medicine than we are likely to
think, and just as soon as the great universities arose at the end of
the {368} twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries,
medicine gained a new impetus and flourished marvellously. These
university medical schools of the later Middle Ages are models in
their way, and put us to shame in many things. According to a law of
the Emperor Frederick II issued for the Two Sicilies in 1241,
[Footnote 23] three years of preliminary study were required at the
university before a student might take up the medical course, and then
he had to spend four years at medicine, and practise for a year under
the supervision of a physician of experience before he was allowed to
practise for himself. The story of the medicine of this time is all
the more wonderful because subsequent generations forgot about it
until recent years, and supposed that all of this period was shrouded
in darkness. It was probably one of the most brilliant periods in
medical history. Some of the men who worked and taught in medicine at
this time will never be forgotten.

  [Footnote 23: For the complete text of this law, the first
  regulating the practice of medicine in modern times, also the first
  pure drug law, see Walsh's _The Popes and Science_, New York,
  Fordham University Press, 1908.]

Probably the greatest of them was Guy de Chauliac, a Papal
chamberlain, whom succeeding generations have honored with the title
of Father of Surgery. His great text-book, the "Chirurgia Magna," was
in common use for several centuries after his death, and is full of
surgical teaching that we are prone to think much {369} more modern.
He trephined the skull, opened the thorax, operated within the
abdomen, declared that patients suffering from wounds of the
intestines would die unless these were sewed up, operated often for
hernia in an exaggerated Trendelenberg position, with the patient's
head down on a board, but said that many more patients were operated
upon for hernia "for the benefit of the surgeon's purse than for the
good of the patient." His directions for the treatment of fractures
and for taxis in hernia were followed for full four centuries after
his time. No wonder that Pagel, the great German historian, declared
that "Chauliac laid the foundation of that primacy in surgery which
the French maintained down to the nineteenth century." Portal, in his
"History of Surgery," declares that "Guy de Chauliac said nearly
everything which modern surgeons say, and his work is of infinite
price, but unfortunately too little read, too little pondered."
Malgaigne declared "the 'Chirurgia Magna' a masterpiece of learned and
luminous writing."

Chauliac's [Footnote 24] personal character, however, is even more
admirable than his surgical knowledge. He was at Avignon when the
black death occurred and carried away one-half the population. He was
one of the few physicians who had the {370} courage to stay. He tells
us very simply that he did stay not because he had no fear, for he was
dreadfully afraid, but he thought it his duty to stay. Toward the end
of the epidemic, he caught the fever but survived it and has written a
fine description of it. He was looked upon as the leader of surgery in
his time, and this is his advice as to what the surgeon should be as
given in the introductory chapter of his "Chirurgia Magna": "The
surgeon should be learned, skilled, ingenious and of good morals; be
bold in things that are sure, cautious in dangers; avoid evil cures
and practices; be gracious to the sick, obliging to his colleagues,
wise in his predictions; be chaste, sober, pitiful and merciful; not
covetous nor extortionate of money; but let the recompense be
moderate, according to the work, the means of the sick, the character
of the issue or event and its dignity." No wonder that Malgaigne says
of him: "Never since Hippocrates has medicine heard such language
filled with so much nobility and so full of matter in so few words."

  [Footnote 24: For sketch of Chauliac see _Johns Hopkins Hospital
  Bulletin_, 1909, or _Catholic Churchmen in Science_, second series.
  Dolphin Press, Philadelphia, 1909.]

The old-time medical traditions of education which in the mediaeval
universities produced such men as William of Salicet and Lanfranc and
Mondeville and Guy de Chauliac, persisted during the next two
centuries in the southern countries of Europe, and then were
transferred to America through Spain. The first American medical
school was not, as has so often been said, at my own Alma Mater, the
University of {371} Pennsylvania, which had its first lectures in
1767, while the Physicians and Surgeons of New York did not come for
some ten years later and Harvard only in the following decade, but in
the medical school of the University of Mexico, where the first
lectures were held in 1578, and where a full medical school was
organized before the end of the sixteenth century. In this medical
school, which during the seventeenth century came to have several
hundred students, the university tradition of the olden time was well
preserved. Three years of preliminary study at the university were
required before a student could take up the course in medicine, and
four years of medical study were required before graduation. We have
some of the text-books, and know much about the curriculum of this old
medical school, and in every way it is worthy of the old university

Unfortunately our universities in what is now the United States
developed very slowly. King's College (Columbia) did not become a
university in the sense of having law and medical schools as well as
an undergraduate department until the nineteenth century had almost
begun. Harvard did not have a law school affiliated with it until the
first quarter of the nineteenth century had almost run its course. The
affiliations between the medical schools and the universities in these
cases was only very slight, and the medical schools were entirely in
the hands of the {372} medical faculty, whose main purpose during a
great part of the nineteenth century was to make medical studies as
short as possible and as inexpensive as they could possibly be made
for the faculty, because that left so much more of the fees to be
absorbed by the historic septennate of professors who ruled and
managed the university. The consequence was that during most of the
nineteenth century two terms of four months each were all that was
required for the diploma in medicine in most American medical schools.
Three schools maintained a very high standard by requiring twenty
weeks in each of two calendar years. The medical school that was
considered one of the best in the country, and whose graduates
obtained the highest marks in the army and navy examinations, that of
the University of Virginia, required but two terms of four and
one-half months each which might be taken in the same calendar year,
and then gave the doctor's degree.

It may be as well to say that the doctor's degree or diploma was a
license to practise. There were no State regulations for the practice
of medicine, and no matter how obtained, a diploma allowed practise.
As some one has well said the diploma, then, was a license to
practise, not medicine, the Lord knows! but to practise on one's
patients until one had learned some medicine. It is out of this slough
of despond in medical education that we have climbed in the last
thirty-five years. We are getting back to the {373} old-time
university traditions. Let us hope that we shall not allow ourselves
to get away from them again. There are ups and downs in medical
practice and medical fashions and medical education, and all depends
on the men who compose the profession at any one time and not on any
mythical progress that holds them up and compels them to do better
than those who went before them. The highest compliment that can be
paid to American medicine and medical men is that, in spite of this
handicap of education they did not utterly degenerate, but, on the
contrary, somehow managed to maintain the dignity of the profession
and do much good work.

It is to you to-day, entering on this profession, that we look to do
your share in keeping up the dignity of the medical profession and in
maintaining standards in medical education. We have a glorious
tradition of 6,000 years behind us with the great men of the
profession worshipped as gods at the beginning, because men thought so
much of them, and remembered fondly as great masters when they came in
the after-time. From I-em-Hetep through AEsculapius and Hippocrates
and Galen and Guy de Chauliac and Sydenham and Boerhaave down to our
own time, the men whom we delight to honor are the ones who did not
work with an eye single to their own success, but who tried, above
all, to do things for humanity and for the profession to which they
belonged. The man who is successful as a {374} money-maker in his
profession is only doing half his duty. He must make medicine as well
as money, that is, he must by his observations help others to
recognize and treat disease better than they did before; he must labor
for the benefit of humanity, and, above all, he must see that there
are no decadence of professional spirit and no deterioration of
medical education as far as his influence can go. It is men of this
kind that we hope to send forth from Fordham, and you stand in the van
of them all, and I wish you God-speed.




  "Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers."
  --Tennyson, _Locksley Hall_.

  "The foundation stones of the whole modern structure of human wisdom
  have all been laid by the architects of yesterday. Thrice wise is he
  who knows the quarries and builders of by-gone ages and is able to
  differentiate the stones which have been rejected from those which
  have been utilized."

  "Ideo Medico id in primis curandum, ut ab aegro circumstantias omnes
  accurate intelligat, intellectas consideret, ut inter curandum media
  illa adhibeat, quae tollendo morbo apta sunt, ne ex medicina
  nocumentum proveniat."
  --Basil Valentine, _Triumphal Chariot of Antimony_.

  [The physician must therefore especially take care that he
  understand all the circumstances of his patient very clearly, and
  after understanding them weigh them well, so that during his
  treatment he may use those means which are especially suited to
  control the disease, lest any harm should come from his medicine.]



  [Footnote 25: Address to the graduates of St. Louis University
  Medical and Dental Schools, May 31, 1910, at the Odeon, St. Louis.]

It affords me great pleasure to accept the invitation of your Faculty
to address the graduates of a university medical school here in the
Middle West. I wondered, of course, what I should talk to you about,
and have come to the conclusion that as an historian of medicine any
message I may have for you is likely to come from my own subject. It
so happens that we are just beginning to realize that the history of
medicine may have much greater significance for us than we have
usually been accustomed to think, and, above all, that it may mean
much in furnishing incentive for the maintaining and raising of
standards in medical education. In recent years there has come a very
decided improvement in medical education in the United States. It is
not hard to understand that the foreigner lifts his eyebrows in
surprise when he is told that most of our medical schools a generation
ago required but two terms of four months each, and that there was
then just beginning to be a demand for a little more complete course
and better facilities. There was a large number of medical schools,
turning out graduates every year with the degree {378} of doctor of
medicine, which was a license to practise in every state in the Union,
for there were no state or federal laws regulating the practice of
medicine. As for preliminary requirements the less said the better. If
a man could write his name and, indeed, he did not have to write it
very plainly, he found it easy to matriculate in a medical school and
to be graduated at the end of two scant terms of four months each. He
might come from the mines, or from the farm, or from before the mast,
or from the smithy, or the carpenter shop; he need know nothing of
chemistry, nor physics, nor of botany, nor of English and, above all,
of English grammar, and he was at once admitted to what was called a
professional school and graduated when he had served his time.
Practically no one was plucked. The desire of the faculty for numbers
of students forbade that in most cases. The two terms in medicine were
not even successive courses. The second-year student listened, as a
rule, to the same lectures that he might have heard the preceding

We all know the reason now for this extremely low standard of medical
education. Proprietary medical schools made it their one business in
life to make just as much out of medical education as possible and the
historic septennate of professors, or sometimes the Dean, pocketed the
fees (I came near saying spoils) every year, and robbed medical
American education of {379} whatever possibilities it might have for
the real training of young men in the science and art and practice of
medicine. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this maintenance of
extremely low standards in medical education, however, is the fact
that in spite of it, men, or at least some of them, succeeded in
obtaining a good foundation in medicine and then by personal work
afterwards came to be excellent practitioners of medicine. Professor
Welch said not long since: "One can decry the system of those days,
the inadequate preliminary requirements, the short courses, the
dominance of the didactic lecture, the meagre appliances for
demonstrative and practical instruction, but the results were better
than the system. Our teachers were men of fine character devoted to
their duties; they inspired us with enthusiasm, interest in our
studies and hard work, and they imparted to us sound traditions of our

Nothing that I know is a better compliment to American enterprise and
power of overcoming the difficulties of the situation than the life
stories of some of the men who came from these completely inadequate
schools. If with the maimed training and incomplete education given a
generation ago American medicine not only succeeded in maintaining the
dignity of the profession to a noteworthy degree, but also developed
many men who made distinct contributions to world medicine, what will
we not do now that {380} our medical education is gradually being
lifted up out of the slough of despond in which it was and the
preliminary education for medical studies set at a standard where real
work of thoroughly scientific character can be looked for, from the
very beginning of the medical course?

Is it any wonder, then, that those of us who have the best interests
of American medicine at heart are watching with careful solicitude the
movement that is now reforming medical education in this country? The
one hope of medical education is, and always has been, organic
connection with a university. Real University Medical Schools, that is
medical schools as the genuine Post-Graduate Departments of
Universities with the fine training that they give, have opened our
eyes to what is needed in medical education in this country. Some of
the old-time medical schools here in the United States had been
connected by name with universities but this was more apparent than
real, and the medical faculty ruled absolutely in its own department
and throttled medical education and divided the income of the college
among themselves, devoting as little as possible to equipment, to
laboratories, to all that was needed for medical education.

Now has come the epoch of university medical schools in this country.
I came near saying America, but we must not forget that the
Spanish-American countries, having adopted their educational systems
from the mother Latin country, {381} have always maintained the
organic connection of the medical school with their universities, and
as a consequence a good preliminary education, the equivalent of three
years of college work with us, is required and has always been, and
then some four years in the medical school and, indeed, in most of the
countries five or six years and in one at least seven years of medical
study required. I have thought, however, that this story of medical
education in connection with universities and real university work
will be especially interesting to the graduates of this thorough
Western university, whose work in medicine is acknowledged as up to
some of the best standards of professional attainment and whose
organic connection with a great university assures not only the
continuance, but the future development of medical education here
along lines that shall place this among the serious progressive
medical schools of the world.

The first university medical school that well deserves that name is
the one that came into existence in connection with the University of
Alexandria. I have been at some pains, because it is so delightfully
amusing, to point out how closely the University of Alexandria
resembles our modern universities in most particulars. It was founded
by a great conqueror, who had gone forth to conquer the world, and
having attained almost universal dominion sighed for more worlds to
conquer. Then he set about the foundation of {382} a great city that
was to be the capital of his empire, and endowed a great institution
of learning in that capital that was to attract students from all over
the world. When he died prematurely the Ptolemys, who inherited the
African portion of his vast dominions, carried out his wishes. Money
was no object at Alexandria: they put up magnificent buildings,
founded a great library, bought a lot of first editions of books in
the shape of author's original manuscripts, stole the archives at
Athens, used Alexander's collection (made for Aristotle) as the
foundation of what we would call a museum, paid professors better
salaries than they received at that time anywhere else and housed them
in palaces. What a strangely familiar sound all this has! Then
Alexandria proceeded to do scientific work.

Euclid wrote his geometry, and, unchanged, it has come down to us and
we still use it as a text-book in our colleges. Archimedes, following
up Euclid's work, laid the foundation, of mechanics in his study of
the lever and the screw, and of hydrostatics and of optics in his
studies of specific gravity and burning mirrors and lenses. He made a
series of marvellous inventions showing that he was a practical as
well as a theoretic genius, who would be gladly welcomed, nay, eagerly
sought for, as a member of the faculty even of a university of the
highest rank or largest income in our modern times. Ptolemy elaborated
the system of astronomy that had been so ably {383} developed by
teachers at Alexandria before his time, and Heron invented his
engines, which we have had as toys in our laboratories for centuries.
We realized the true significance of one of them only when the turbine
engine was invented and we found that the principle of it was in the
toy engine of this old natural philosopher of Alexandria. They even
did their literature scientifically at the University of Alexandria.
We have no great original works from them in literature, but they
invented comparative literature; for this making the Septuagint
translation of the Holy Scriptures and doing the same for many other
religious documents of the surrounding nations for comparative study.

It is rather easy to understand, then, that a medical school arose in
connection with this scientific university, and that it did excellent
work. The collections of Aristotle contained many illustrations which
served as the basis for zoology, botany, comparative anatomy and
probably even comparative physiology. The Ptolemys were very liberal
and allowed dissection of the human body, so that human anatomy
developed from a definite scientific standpoint better then ever
before. The number of strangers in the town and the rather unhealthy
climate of Egypt left many unclaimed bodies. It has always been the
difficulty of obtaining bodies much more than prejudice against the
violation of the human body on any general principle, that has been
the reason {384} for the absence of human dissection in many periods
of the world's history. We object to having the bodies of friends cut
up, but we do not mind much if the bodies of those who are unknown to
us are treated in that way. So long as men did not travel much there
were few unclaimed bodies. With the advent of travel came abundant
material for dissection and the Ptolemys allowed the medical school to
use it.

Two great anatomists built up the structure of scientific human
anatomy on the rather good foundation that had been laid on animal
anatomy in the foretime. After all, the anatomy of the animal
resembles that of man so much that very precious knowledge had been
gained from zootomies in the previous ages. These two anatomists were
Erasistratos and Herophilos. Both of them studied the brain
especially, as might have been expected. For just as soon as the
opportunity for dissecting man was provided, this, his most complex
structure, attracted instant attention. Herophilos has named after him
the _torcular herophili_, and the name he gave the curious appearance
in the floor of the fourth ventricle--the _calamus scriptorius_--is
still retained. He describes the membranes of the brain, the various
sinuses, the choroid plexuses, the cerbral ventricles and traced the
origin of the nerves from the brain and the spinal cord, recognizing,
according to well-grounded tradition, the distinction between nerves
of sensation and motion. {385} He described the eye and especially the
vitreous body, the choroid and the retina. He did not neglect other
portions of anatomy, however, and his power of exact observation, as
well as his detailed study, may be judged from his remark that the
left spermatic vein in certain cases joins the renal.

Erasistratos, his colleague, was perhaps even a more successful
investigator than Herophilos. He represented the best tradition of
Greek medicine of the time. He had two distinguished teachers, one of
them Metrodoros, the son-in-law of Aristotle. It was probably through
this influence that Erasistratos received his invitation from the
first Ptolemy to come to Alexandria. The scientific work of Alexandria
was founded on Aristotle's collections, on his books, for his library
was brought to Alexandria as the foundation of the great University
Library, and then best of all on the direct tradition of his
scientific teaching through this pupil of his son-in-law.
Erasistratos' other great teacher was the well-known Chrysippos of
Cnidos. Cnidos was the great rival medical school to that of Cos.
Owing to the reputation of Hippocrates we know of Cos, but we must not
ignore Cnidos.

Erasistratos' discoveries were more in connection with the heart than
anything else. He came very near discovering the circulation. His
description of the valves and of their function is very clear. He
looked for large-sized {386} anastomoses between veins and arteries
and, of course, did not discover the minute capillaries which required
Malpighi's microscope to reveal them nearly 2,000 years after. Like
Herophilos, Erasistratos also studied the brain very faithfully.

One story that we have of Erasistratos deserves to be in the minds of
young graduates in medicine, because it illustrates the practical
character of the man and also how much more important at times it may
be in the practice of medicine to know men well rather than to know
medical science alone. Erasistratos was summoned on a consultation to
Antioch to see the son of King Seleucus. Seleucus was one of the four
of Alexander's generals who, like Ptolemy, had divided the world among
them after the young conqueror's death. His portion of the Eastern
world, with its capital at Antioch, was probably the richest region of
that time. There had been no happiness, however, in the royal
household for months because the scion of the Seleucidae, the heir to
the throne, was ill and no physician had been able to tell what was
the matter with him, and, above all, no one had been able to do
anything to awaken him from a lethargy that was stealing over him,
making him quite incapable of the ordinary occupations of men, or to
dispel an apathy which was causing him to lose all interest in affairs
around him. He was losing in weight, he looked miserable, he seemed
really to have been stricken by one of {387} the serious diseases as
yet undifferentiated at that time which were expressed by the word
phthisis, which referred to any wasting disease.

As a last hope then almost, Erasistratos was summoned from distant
Alexandria as a consultant in the case of young Seleucus. The
proceeding, after all, is very similar to what happens in our own
time. The head of an important department in medicine at a university
is asked to go a long distance to see the son of a reigning monarch,
or of a millionaire prince in industry, or perhaps a coal baron, or a
railroad king, and a special train is supplied for him and every
convenience consulted. A caravan was sent to bring Erasistratos over
the desert to Antioch. It is such consultations that count in a
physician's life. I hope sincerely that you shall have many of them
and that you shall conduct them as successfully as Erasistratos this

The young prince's case proved as puzzling to Erasistratos for a time
as it had to so many other physicians before him. Like the experienced
practitioner he was, he did not make his diagnosis at once, however.
Will you remember that when you, too, have a puzzling case? It is when
we do not take time to make our diagnosis that it often proves
erroneous. Not ignorance, but failure to investigate properly, is
responsible for most of our errors. He asked to see the patient a
number of times, and saw him under varying conditions. Finally, one
day, while he was {388} examining the young man's pulse--and I may
tell you that Erasistratos made a special study of the pulse and knew
many things about it that it is unfortunate that the moderns
neglect--his patient's pulse gave a sudden leap and then continued to
go much faster than it had gone before. At the same time there came a
rising color to the young man's cheek. Erasistratos looked up to see
what was the cause of this striking change, and found that the young
wife of the King Seleucus, the prince's stepmother, had just come into
the room. Seleucus, as an old man, had married a very handsome young
woman, and it was evident that the young man's heart was touched in
her regard, and that here was the cause of the trouble. Erasistratos
did not proclaim his discovery at once. He did announce that now he
knew the cause of the trouble, that it was an affection of the heart
that would be cured by travel, and he proposed to take young Seleucus
back with him to Alexandria. In private, very probably, he told his
young patient that he had discovered his secret, and then persuaded
him that absence would be the thing for him. Very probably the young
man considered that cure was impossible, and with many misgivings he
consented to go to Alexandria, and as has happened many times before
and since, in spite of the patient's assurance to the contrary, the
travel cure proved effective even for the heart affection.


I hope sincerely that you shall have as much tact, as much knowledge
of men and women and as much success as this great teacher at the
first of our modern university medical schools, when the great
consultations do come your way, for it is easy to understand that when
the young man recovered under the kindly ministrations of Erasistratos
and the good effect of absence from the disturbing heart factor,
Erasistratos was loaded with the wealth of the East and acquired a
reputation that made him known throughout all the world of that time.
There is a curious commentary on this story that I think you should
also know. It is Galen who has preserved the incident for us. He does
so in the book on the pulse, mainly in order to show, as he thinks,
the fatuity of such observations. After giving the details he says,
"Of course, there is no special pulse of love." Poor Galen, how his
wits must have been wool-gathering, or how forgetful he must have been
of his own youth writing in the serenity of age, or how lacking in
ordinary human experience if that is his serious meaning. The older
man was by far the better observer, and I hope that you shall not
forget in the time to come that there are many things that affect men
and women besides bacteria and auto-intoxications of various kinds and
metabolic disturbances and nutritional changes. Erasistratos seems to
have known very well how much the mind, or as they called it in the
older terminology, and we {390} still cling to the phrase, the heart,
meant for many a phenomenon of existence supposed to be physically
pathologic and yet really only representing psychologic influences
apart from the physical side of the being. I may say to you that the
more you know about these old teachers of medicine the more you will
appreciate and value their largeness of view, their breadth of
knowledge of humanity and their practical ways.

It is no wonder that students from all over the world were attracted
to Alexandria for the next three centuries because of the
opportunities, for the study of medicine afforded them there. After
the first century of its existence not as much was accomplished as at
the beginning, because what always happens in the history of medicine
after a period of successful investigation, happened also there. Men
concluded that nearly everything that could be, had been discovered
and began to theorize. They were sure that their theories explained
things. Men have persisted in spinning theories in medicine. Theories
have almost never helped us and they always have wasted our time.
_Observation! Observation_ is the one thing that counts, Alexandria
continued to have her reputation, however, and in the first century of
the Christian era was the centre of medical interest. It was probably
here that St. Luke was educated, and as we know now from the careful
examination of the {391} Third Gospel and of the Acts, he knew his
Greek medical terms very well. Harnack has shown us recently once more
how thoroughly Luke converted the ordinary popular terms of the other
Evangelists into the Greek medical terms of his time. Luke must have
known medicine very well. His testimony to the miracles of Christ is
therefore all the more valuable, and so the Alexandrian medical school
has its special place in the order of Providence.

We are prone to think because of the curious way in which not only the
histories of medical education, but of all education, have been
written, that while there were some medical schools in the interval
from the days of Alexandria and Rome down to the modern time, these
were so hampered by unfortunate conditions that men practically did
nothing in education and, above all, scientific and medical education
until comparatively recent times. Nothing could well be more absurd
than such an opinion. The great universities founded during the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries attracted more students to the
population of the countries of the time than go to our universities to
the number of our population in the present time. These universities
are the model of our universities of the present time and, indeed, the
history of many of the old European universities is continuous for
seven centuries. They had an undergraduate department in which
students were trained in grammar, rhetoric, logic, {392} arithmetic,
astronomy, music and gymnastics, and graduate departments of law,
theology and medicine. Professor Huxley, reviewing mediaeval
education, once said that the undergraduate education of the mediaeval
universities was better than our own. He doubted "that the curriculum
of any modern university shows so clear and generous a comprehension
of what is meant by culture as this old trivium and quadrivium did."

Their post-graduate work was just as fine as their undergraduate work.
They made the law of the world in the thirteenth century, and laid the
foundations on which the philosophy and theology of the after-time
have been built up. Strange as it may seem to many accustomed to give
credence to far different traditions, they did the same thing in
medicine. Take as a single example what they did for the regulation of
medical education and practice. A law of the Emperor Frederick II,
issued in 1241 for the Two Sicilies (Southern Italy and Sicily
proper), required three years of preliminary training in the ordinary
undergraduate course at the university before a man was allowed to
take up medicine, and four years at medicine before he got his degree.
But even this was not all; after graduation, a year of practice with a
physician was required before he was allowed to practise for himself.
If he were going to practise surgery an extra year of the study of
anatomy was required. But it may {393} be said by those who cannot
persuade themselves that the Middle Ages so far anticipated us: since
they knew almost nothing of medicine and surgery, what did they spend
their time at during these four years? The more we know about the
details of that early teaching, the more we respect them and the more
we admire the magnificent work of the old-time professors and their

Probably the most surprising feature of their teaching was surgery. We
are rather likely to think that the development of surgery was
reserved for our day. Nothing could be more untrue. The greatest
period in the history of surgery, with the possible exception of our
own time, is the century and a half from 1250 to 1400. What they
taught in surgery we know not from tradition, but from the text-books
of the great teachers which have been preserved for us, and which have
been recently republished. Three men stand out pre-eminent: William of
Salicet; Lanfranc, who taught at Paris, having been invited there from
Italy, where he had been a pupil of William of Salicet, and Guy de
Chauliac, to whom has been given by universal accord the title of
Father of Modern Surgery.

There is practically nothing in modern surgery that these men did not
touch in their text-books. Perhaps the most surprising thing is to
find that William of Salicet, in discussing his {394} cases, suggested
that sometimes he succeeded in obtaining union by first intention by
keeping his wounds clean. Alas for the surgery of succeeding
centuries, Guy de Chauliac, a greater mechanical genius than William,
insisted that union by first intention was an illusion and that it
could only come through pus formation. Laudable pus became the
shibboleth of surgery for centuries, imposed upon it by the genius of
a great man. Most men think that they think, they really follow
leaders, and so we followed blindly after Guy until Lister came and
showed us our mistake.

Guy was the professor of surgery down at Montpellier, and also the
physician to the Popes, who for the time were at Avignon. His
text-book of surgery is full of expressions that reveal the man and
the teacher. He said the surgeon who cuts the human body without a
knowledge of anatomy is like a blind carpenter carving wood. He
insisted that men should make observations for themselves and not
blindly follow others. He discussed operations on the head, the thorax
and the abdomen. He said that wounds of the intestines would surely be
fatal unless sewed up, and he described the technique of suture for
them. His specialty was operation for hernia. There are pictures still
extant of operations for hernia done about this time in an exaggerated
Trendelenberg position. The patient is fastened to a board by the
legs, head down, the board at an angle of {395} forty-five degrees
against the wall. The intestines dropped back from the site of
operation and allowed the surgeon to proceed without danger. Guy said
that more patients were operated on for the sake of the doctor's
pocket in hernia cases than for their own benefit. His instructions to
his students, his high standard of professional advice, all show us
one of the great physicians of all time and historians of medicine are
unanimous in their praise of him.

The next great development in medicine came at the time of the
Renaissance with the reorganization of the universities. In the
sixteenth century Italy particularly did magnificent work in the
universities, stimulated by close touch with old Greek medicine. At
Padua, at Bologna, above all, at Rome, the great foundations of the
modern medical sciences were laid. I need only mention the names of
Vesalius, Varolius, Eustachius, Fallopius, Columbus (who discovered
the circulation of the blood in the lungs), Caesalpinus, to whom and
rightly the Italians attribute the discovery of the systemic
circulation nearly half a century before Harvey. These men all of them
did fine work, everywhere in Italy. They were doing original
investigation of the greatest value. Whenever anybody anywhere in
Europe at this time wanted to do good work in science of any
kind,--astronomy, mathematics, physics and, above all, in any of the
medical sciences,--he went down to Italy; Italy was and continued for
five {396} centuries after the thirteenth to be what France was for a
scant half a century in the nineteenth, and Germany for a
corresponding period just before our own time. How curiously the
history of science and of medicine was written when it seems to
contradict this.

Above all, what ridiculous nonsense has been talked about Papal
opposition to science. The great universities of Italy in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had charters from the Popes. They
were immediately under ecclesiastical influence, yet they did fine
work in anatomy and surgery. The Father of Modern Surgery was a Papal
physician. The Papal physicians for seven centuries have been the
greatest contributors to medicine. The Popes deliberately selected as
their physicians the greatest investigators of the time. Besides Guy
de Chauliac such men as Eustachius, Varolius, Columbus, Caesalpinus,
Lancisi, Malpighi were Papal physicians. We have even a more striking
testimony to the Papal patronage and encouragement of medicine and to
the Church's fostering care of medical education, here in America. The
first university medical school in America was not, as has so often
been said, the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania
founded in 1767, but the medical school of the University of Mexico,
where medical lectures were first delivered in 1578. Our medical
schools in this country have only become genuine university medical
schools in the sense {397} of being organic portions of the university
in the last twenty-five years. Before that their courses were brief
and unworthy and no preliminary education was required.

The universities of Spanish America from the very beginning required
three years of preliminary training in the university before medicine
could be taken up, and then four years of medical studies. These four
years became five and six years in certain countries, and at no time
during the nineteenth century did the medical education of Spanish
America sink to the low level unfortunately reached in the United
States. The lesson of it is clear. When medical education is seriously
undertaken as a university department, all is well. When it is not,
the results are disastrous.

In our day and country another great awakening of university life has
come and with it a drawing together in intimate union of universities
and their graduate departments. Above all, the medical schools have
profited by this closer connection with university work, and the
prospects for medical education in the United States and a new period
of wonderful progress in it are very bright. You have my hearty
congratulations, then, on your graduation from a great university
medical school here in the West, and I hope sincerely that you shall
prove worthy of Alma Mater. You have had the privileges of university
education and these involve duties. {398} This is ever true, though
unfortunately it is somewhat seldom realized. _Noblesse oblige_. We
hear much in these days of the stewardship of wealth, and do not let
us forget that there is a stewardship of talent and education. Much
more will be demanded of you because of your opportunities, and we
look for an accomplishment on your part far above the ordinary in
medical work and maintenance and uplift of professional dignity, that
shall mean much for your fellows.

Remember that you are doing only half your duty if you but make your
living or even make money. You are bound besides to make medicine. For
all that the forefathers have done for us we in this generation must
make return by a broadening of their medical views for the benefit of
posterity. If you were graduates of some fourth-rate proprietary
medical school, perhaps it would be sufficient if you succeeded in
making your living out of your profession. Perhaps even your teachers
would then be quite satisfied with you. No such meagre accomplishment
can possibly satisfy those who are sending you out to-day. Above all,
you must remember that your education is not for yourself, but for the
benefit of others as well. If, somehow, its influence becomes narrowed
so as only to affect yourself and your intimate friends then it is
essentially a failure. You must not only live your lives for
yourselves, but so that at the end of them the community shall have
been benefited and medicine {399} and its beneficent mission to
mankind shall be broader and more significant because you have lived.
With this message, then, I welcome you as brother physicians and bid
you God-speed in your professional work.





  "Non scholae sed vitae discimus."
  --Seneca, _Epist._, 106.

  [We learn for life not for school.]

  "Nec si non obstatur, propterea etiam permittitur."
  --Cicero, _Philip_., xiii, 6.

  [And because a thing is not forbidden that does not make
  it permissible.]

 "Ubicunque homo est ibi beneficio locus est."
  --Seneca, _De Vita Beata_, 24.

  [Wherever man is there is room to do good.]

  "Then let us not leave the meaning of education ambiguous or
  ill-defined. At present, when we speak in terms of praise or blame
  about the bringing up of each person, we call one man educated and
  another uneducated, although the uneducated man may sometimes be
  very well educated for the calling of a retail trader, or of a
  captain of a ship, and the like. For we are not speaking of
  education in this sense of the word, but of that other education in
  virtue from youth upwards, which makes a man eagerly pursue the
  ideal perfection of citizenship and teaches him how rightly to rule
  and how to obey. This is the only training, which upon our view
  would be characterized as education; that other sort of training,
  which aims at the acquisition of wealth or bodily strength, or mere
  cleverness apart from intelligence and justice, is mean and
  illiberal, and is not worthy to be called education at all. But let
  us not quarrel with one another about the name, provided that the
  proposition which has just been granted hold good: to wit, that
  those who are rightly educated generally become good men. Neither
  must we cast a slight upon education, which is the first and fairest
  thing that the best of men can ever have, and which, though liable
  to take a wrong direction, is capable of reformation. And this work
  of reformation is the great business of every man while he
  --Plato, _Laws_ (Jowett), Vol. IV, p. 174. Scribner, 1902.



  [Footnote 26: This was the address to the graduates at
  Boston College, June 29, 1910]

Gentlemen of the Graduating Class: The custom is, I fear, for the
orator who addresses the graduating class to talk over the heads of
those who have received their degree to the larger audience who are
assembled for the academic function. Now, that I do not propose to do.
What I have to say is to you. My message is meant entirely for you.
Since your friends are present I have to raise my voice so that they
shall hear what I have to say, but I consider that they are here only
on sufferance and that I am here to say whatever I can that may mean
something for you in the careers that are opening up to you. Now, I am
not of those who think that the main purpose of the eld is to give
advice to the young. Man is so fashioned that he wants to get his own
experience for himself. It is true that "only fools learn by their own
experience," wise men learn by that of others. But then we have divine
warrant for saying that there used to be a goodly proportion of fools
in the world and human experience agrees in our own time that not all
the fools are dead yet. Our advice may not be taken in all its
literalness; that would be too much to {404} expect, but it has become
an academic custom to give it, in the hope that it will be a landmark,
perhaps an incentive, it may be a warning, surely some time a precious
memory in the time to come. Few men who ever lived were less likely to
think that their advice might mean very much than dear old Bobbie
Burns, to whom one of your number referred, and yet some time I hope
that in some serious mood you'll read and think well on the poetic
epistle of advice to his youthful friend. There are some lines at the
beginning of it that have haunted me at times these many years when I
have been asked to address studious youth at the commencement, as our
term for the occasion so well declares, of their real education in the
post-graduate courses of that University of Hard Knocks which
valedictorians at this season of the year are so prone to call the
cold, cold world. The Scottish ploughman bard said in the choice
English he could so well assume on occasion:

  "I long hae tho't, my youthful friend,
     A something to hae sent you.
   Though it may serve no ither end
     Than as a kind memento;
   But how the subject theme may gang.
     Let time and chance determine;
   Perhaps it may turn out a sang
     Perhaps turn out a sermon."

One thing is sure, whatever I shall say to you shall not be a song,
though, alas! addresses {405} of advice are prone to sound like
sermons. Yet the sermon, after all, in the old Latin word _sermo_ is
only a discourse, and I am going to make mine as brief as possible. It
shall, I hope, serve to round out some of the things that you
yourselves have been saying with regard to Catholics and social works
and, above all. Catholic college men in social works.

We are rightly getting to estimate the value of a man in our time in
terms of what he accomplishes for others much more than for himself.
Almost any one who devotes himself with sufficient exclusiveness to
the business of helping himself will make a success of it, though some
may doubt of the value of that success. What is difficult above all in
our time, when the spirit of individualism is so rampant, is to make a
success of helpfulness for others while making life flow on with
reasonable smoothness for one's self. I do not hope to be able to
impart to you the precious secret of how surely to do this, but
something that I may say may be helpful to you in leading a larger
than a mere selfish life, so that when the end shall come, as come it
must, though one would never suspect it from the ways of men, the
world will be a little better at least because you have lived.

Education has become the fetish of the day and the shibboleth by which
the Philistine is recognized from the chosen people of culture and
refinement. Popular education has become the {406} watchword of the
time, and all things are fondly hoped for and confidently promised in
its name. We are somewhat in doubt as to the mode of education that
will be surely effective for all good and we are not quite certain as
to how the results are exactly to be obtained, but education is to
make the world better; to get rid gradually, yet inevitably, of the
evil that is in it; to lift men up to the higher plane of knowledge
where selfishness is at least not supposed to exist, or surely to be
greatly minimized, where crime, of course, shall disappear, and where
even the minor evils so hide their diminished heads that the
millennium can not be far distant. It is true that some of these
glorious promises seem long in fulfilment to those who are a little
sceptical of the influence of particular forms of education that are
now popular, but, of course, the response to that is, that so far we
have not had the time to have the full benefit of education exert

At the end of the eighteenth century the Encyclopedists in France, in
their great campaign for the diffusion of information among the people
and the spread of what they were pleased to call education, though
some of us are prone to think that they hopelessly confused the
distinction between education for power and education for information,
confidently promised that when men knew enough, poverty, of course,
would disappear and in its train would go all the attendant evils,
{407} vice and crime and immorality, and with them, of course,
unhappiness would disappear from the world. That is considerably over
a century now, but we have not found it advisable as yet to do away
with courts of law, nor jails, nor policemen, nor any of the mechanism
of the law for the suppression of crime and immorality. Indeed, there
are those who are unkind enough to say, that we now have to make use
of more means than ever in proportion to the population for the
suppression of vice and crime, and that they are more emphatically
demanded even than at the time of the Encyclopedists. As for
unhappiness and poverty, recent investigations in our large cities
show so large a proportion of people willing yet unable to obtain a
decent living wage, that it is quite startling. Our insane asylums are
growing much more rapidly than the population, and not a few of the
inmates are there because of immorality. Suicide is on the increase
faster than the population and unfortunately the greatest increase is
noted in the younger years. It is between fifteen and twenty-five that
suicides are multiplying.

Of course the answer to this is, that education is not as yet carried
to that extent among the great mass of people which would enable it to
have its full beneficial effects. Our common school education is not
enough to bring people under the beneficent influence of this great
civilizing factor for the development of mankind. {408} Educators
would urge that it is the higher education which serves to obliterate
the ills that human flesh is heir to, moral as well as physical, as
far, of course, as that is possible in so imperfect a world as this.
If we could but extend the advantages of the higher education, of
college and university training to the majority of the people, then
say the advocates of education as a panacea for human ills, we would
surely have that approach to the millennium which intellectual
development by the diffusion of information can and must give.

It is worth while analyzing that proposition a little and applying it
to present-day conditions as we know them. After all we have been
turning out a large number of those who have had the benefit of the
higher education from our colleges and universities during the last
generation or so. They have gone out by the thousand to influence
their fellows and presumably to be shining lights for profound
improvement of life, striking examples that surely will prove an
incentive and a source of emulation to others to do the right, avoid
the wrong, be helpful instead of selfish and, in general, show the
world how much education means for the happiness of all. There is a
slang expression familiar in New York just now that you in New England
may not know, for I understand that even the owls near Boston do not
say "to-whit-to-whoo" but "to-whit-to-whoom," that may be quoted here:
"Some men are born good, {409} some make good and some are caught with
the goods on them." Not all of the graduates of colleges and
universities were born good, of course. I wonder what we shall find
with regard to the other two phases of existence. There are not a few
who are critically perverse enough to say that, while many have made
good, too many have been caught with the goods on them.

Let us take the subject that is so strikingly brought before us in our
everyday life in recent years, the question of political corruption.
Of course it is to be presumed that it is the non-college men who are
both corruptors and corrupted. It is, of course, just as confidently
to be presumed, on the other hand, that it is the college men who are
the forerunners in all the exposures of recent years. Alas! for human
nature, it is just the contrary. The leaders in big corruption, the
mainstays of what has come to be called "big political business," have
nearly all been college men. This has been true in California, in
Missouri, in Pennsylvania, in New York, in Illinois. It would be easy
to add other states, but I am only mentioning those where
investigations are not yet forgotten, though we American people have
cultivated a really marvellous power of forgetting. The states are
sufficiently far apart from one another to make it very clear that the
condition is not limited to a particular locality but is practically
universal. In recent years we have been getting closer to the {410}
man higher up. In a great many of the cases, I should say in a
majority of them, he has proved to be a university man, and if not,
then university men have been his right hands in the accomplishment of
evil. The boards of directors of corporations, life insurance, fire
insurance, railroads, great industries and manufactures, even banks,
who have known that laws were being violated and who have not cared
because it was money in their pockets, have in many cases, perhaps
even in the majority of cases, been college men. Certainly college
graduates have not proved to be the little leaven that would leaven
the whole mass for righteousness.

In the even more dangerous evils of our time that have risked the very
existence of democratic government, in the imposition on the people by
the privileged classes of indirect taxes and tariffs that make life
hard for the poor, but add largely to the wealth of the rich, college
men have only too often been the active agents. Without their active
co-operation certainly these crying injustices to the poor would never
have been accomplished. They have often been adding useless millions
to useless millions simply for the game; not caring how much the poor
had to suffer. They have been accumulating at the expense of the
working classes what Governor Hughes of New York so well called, not
long since, a corruption fund for their children. They have been the
prime factors in many agencies {411} for evil and they have not been
the guardians of the rights of others, the weaker ones, that we have a
right to expect of them. In the awful evils that have been exposed as
a consequence of the fellow-servant doctrine and the contributory
negligence principle at law, which have been the root of so much
suffering in the world, college men have not helped to point out evils
and organized for the solution of them, though they have been closely
in contact with all the problems of them as judges, lawyers, directors
of railroad companies, and industrial concerns. In general, while they
have been in a position to know and alleviate some of the worst ills
of our social system, they have done very little. They helped to bind
fetters. It is men of much lower social station and education who have
awakened us.

The investigations of recent years as to the condition of wage-earners
have shown us many unfortunate evils. It was known that one in four of
the population in London was living in dire poverty and this was
thought to be due to the special circumstances in London. An
investigation of York in England showed, however, that smaller towns,
even cathedral towns, that were supposed to be almost without poverty,
were hot-beds of it and were nearly as bad as London. Then, we took
the flattering unction to our souls that these were altogether foreign
conditions. Such investigations as we could make in New York, however,
showed that we were little if any {412} better than the reports from
England and Germany revealed abroad. Then it was said that the large
city, that brood-oven of vice and misery, was responsible. Pittsburg,
for instance, set up the claim that while great fortunes were made
there the workmen were paid better wages than any place else in the
world. Alas for the fallibility of human judgment in social affairs!
The Pittsburg Survey was made and it was found that while a few of the
better-class workmen were paid very well, the great mass of the
workmen were awfully underpaid, and it was impossible for the majority
of them to live decently on what they received. Further investigations
into industrial conditions have only emphasized the conclusions
obtained from the Survey.

Human life has become very cheap in this country. A prominent
clergyman said not very long ago that it was safer to be a murderer in
the United States than a brakeman. The expression is true if the
proportion of brakemen who lose their lives to murderers who lose
theirs in this country is taken. We are careless of the lives of the
honest workman, and sentimentally over-careful of the lives and
comfort of the criminal. Every now and then there are inevitable
reactions against this laxity of the law, and as a consequence, while
Canada has no lynchings and there are none in England, while peoples
of our stock have no need to appeal to force, we lynch many more than
we execute in this {413} country. The leaders of many of the mobs, as
the directors of the industrial companies who knowingly allow the
waste of life to go on, have had the benefit of our American
education, such as it is. Educated people are responsible for things
that are and unless they meet their responsibilities there will be no

Some of these abuses have risen to a climax. Not long ago a story was
told that illustrates, as it seems to me, some present-day feelings
very well. A great steel company having a contract for a bridge in the
Far East, was rushing the last steel beams for the completion of the
contract. America is noted for its marvellous power to do work rapidly
that other countries take time for. There was a heavy penalty attached
if they did not complete the contract on time. A fast steamer was
waiting in New York harbor all ready to take this last consignment out
with it. A special train was standing in the yards of the steel plant,
to be rushed to New York just as soon as the beams were completed. In
the midst of all the hurry and bustle a workman got his foot caught in
the huge crane which transports the immense beams from one portion of
the plant to the other. An examination of the manner in which he was
caught showed clearly that he could not be released without taking the
crane apart. That would mean that thirty-six hours would have to be
spent in the mechanical handling of that crane. If that were done it
would be {414} quite impossible to make the shipment on time, so
closely was the period of completion calculated. Not only was there a
heavy money penalty, but there would be a decided loss of American

The workman who was caught was only a foreigner. He was only getting
$1.25 a day. Just one thing was to be done evidently, because that
steamer had to sail on time and that freight train had to get out the
next morning. The other foreign workmen were put out of the shops,
only the confidential men were left, an ambulance was summoned; as it
appeared in sight the crane was run over the portion of the foot that
was caught, the man was removed to the care of the surgeon, his wound
was dressed at the hospital, the contract was completed on time and
American enterprise and power to do things faster than all the world
was vindicated.

We are making money. In the meantime the directors of companies under
whom such things are done are mainly college men. Whether they feel it
or not they are personally responsible for everything that happens in
their business, for it is their business by which human life is
sacrificed or human suffering increased, or human morality
deteriorated. Probably the majority of the stockholders in the
companies are college men. Some of them are college women. They are
deriving incomes from forms of injustice, from conditions that cause
human suffering that {415} might be avoided. They are, whether they
know it or not, committing one of the crimes that calls to heaven for
vengeance--defrauding laborers of their wages; because to pay a man
less than a decent living wage is to defraud that laborer of his
wages. No man has a right to go into the labor market and buy labor as
cheaply as he can. Men must live, they must support their families,
and to compel them to take less than a decent living wage is to hold
them in slavery. Every man who derives an income from such sources
must know whether there is injustice at work or not in whatever he
benefits by. It is easy to plead ignorance, but the ignorance is no
justification. When we take money from something we must know that
that money has no taint of injustice about it. There is a startling
passage in the Scriptures that I have often thought should be repeated
more frequently in our time. It is, "From the sins we know not of, O
Lord deliver us."

There are many things that are done for the educated rich in our time,
things that are full of injustice, yet from which the rich derive
great benefits for which they will be held responsible. I cannot see
it else. We hear much in our time of the stewardship of wealth, of the
fact that if a man has much more money than others he is bound thereby
to do more good with it, just inasmuch as he has superfluous means
must he accomplish not only actually more but {416} proportionately
more than those who are less wealthy around him. What is true thus of
material wealth is even truer of intellectual wealth. The man who has
more education than his neighbors is bound thereby to be helpful to
his neighbors, to uplift them--how much one hesitates to use that
much-abused word,--to help solve their problems, to make life happier
for them; he is bound to use his faculties, God-given as they are and
developed by intellectual opportunities, not for himself alone, but
for all those around him.

Unfortunately recent generations of college men have not taken this
responsibility seriously, or have not seen the duty that lay before
them and the burden imposed on them by the very necessity of
conditions. As a consequence they have often been leaders in evil.
They have almost invariably been protagonists of selfishness and of
individualism. So long as they have gotten much out of life they have
not cared whether others have had the paths for even reasonable
happiness and some opportunities in life made smooth. Only too often
they have been a stumbling block in the road for others less educated
than they. They have been the men higher up, the bribers who are ever
so much worse than the bribed, the company directors who have turned
aside and seen evil and injustice and pretended in smug propriety that
it was no affair of theirs, or perhaps have said in
self-justification--and such self-justification!--that if they did not
do it {417} others would; the wealthy men who have used every means to
get around the law to oppress the poor, to add useless wealth to
useless wealth at the cost of others, even at the risk of subverting
liberty, overturning government and ruining this latest experiment in
democracy. I am not a muckraker, but we cannot hide from ourselves and
we must not miss the real meaning of the events in the life around us
as it really is.

When I think of the situation I am prone to compare with it other
generations of college men and what they accomplished. History is not
worth while if it tells us only of the past. It is of no more value
than any other story, real or fictitious. History is significant only
when the lessons of the past are valuable to the present. We are prone
to think of education as influencing deeply only recent generations.
Let me try and tell you briefly the story of some generations of
college men who accomplished things that it will be worth while for us
to consider to-day.

When the universities came into existence in the early thirteenth
century social conditions were about as bad as can well be imagined.
The incursions of the Goths had rubbed out all the old Roman law and
the customs of the various nations had been obliterated in the
disorder of the migration of the nations, when might absolutely made
right. Gradually out of the inevitable lawlessness of the Dark Ages
the Church, by her beneficent influence, brought the beginnings of
{418} law and order so far as barbarous peoples could be lifted up. In
the sixth century there was nearly everywhere in Europe social chaos.
During the next centuries came the gradual uplift. Christianity in
Ireland did much even in the preceding century, and then helped in the
regeneration of Europe in the succeeding centuries. Charlemagne helped
greatly, as his name chronicles, and Alfred, well deserving of the
name the Great, carried on his work. In the tenth century everywhere
the dawn of better things was to be seen. In the eleventh century
organization of civil rights begins to make itself felt; in the
twelfth century the universities were coming into existence; and then
with the thirteenth century there was a great rejuvenescence of
humanity in every department, but, above all, in the social order.
Under feudalism men had no rights of themselves except such as were
conferred on them by some external agency. In the thirteenth century
the essential rights of man begin to make themselves felt and find
confident assertion.

It is not hard to trace the steps of the development. Magna Charta was
signed in 1215. The First English Parliament met in 1257. The
representative nature of that parliament became complete in the next
twenty years. The English Common Law was put into form about the
beginning of the last quarter of the century and in 1282 Bracton
published his great digest of it. The principle there shall be no
taxation without {419} representation, our own basis for the
Declaration of Independence five centuries later, was proclaimed as
early as 1260 and was emphasized by the great Pope Boniface VIII at
the end of the century. Early in the century, the great Lateran
Council decreed that every diocese in the world should have a college
and that the Metropolitan Sees at least should have such opportunities
for post-graduate study as we now call universities. The first great
Pope of the century, Innocent III, laid the foundation of a great City
Hospital in Rome and required that every bishop throughout the world
should have one in his See and that the model of it should be that of
the Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome. Leprosy was an epidemic disease
among the people, somewhat as tuberculosis is now; measures were taken
for the segregation of lepers, leper hospitals were built for them
outside of the town, and these great generations solved a problem in
hygiene as difficult as is ours with regard to tuberculosis.

Above all, the rights of the people were assured to them. At the
beginning of the century probably the most striking thing among the
population of the various towns, if a modern had a chance to visit
them, would be the number of the maimed and the halt and the blind. We
would be apt to wonder where were the industrial and manufacturing
plants responsible for all this maiming of the people, and look in
vain for the belching chimneys of factories or trains. It was {420}
another form of selfishness that produced cripples in the twelfth
century. Punishment was by maiming. For offences against property a
man lost an eye, or a hand, or a leg. Very often the offences were of
a kind that we would resent punishment for in the modern time. If a
man were caught poaching on a nobleman's preserves of game, and
sometimes it was the hunger of his children that drove him to it, he
lost a hand. For a second offence, he lost an eye. For failures to pay
various taxes, if the offence were repeated, maiming was likely to be
the consequence. All this was in as perfect accordance with law as our
fellow-servant or contributory-negligence doctrines. So that the
sight of the maimed person might deter others from following this
example of recalcitrancy, it was hoped that these cripples would not
die, though in the imperfect surgery of the time they often did.
Always the selfish pleasures of the upper classes so-called, when they
are thoughtless, mean the loss of all possibilities of happiness for
the lower classes. The ways of it all may be different from age to
age, the results and the responsibility are always the same.

In the thirteenth century all this was changed. St. Louis of France
sent one of his greatest noblemen who had unreasonably punished
student poachers on a penitential pilgrimage to the Holy Land and
inflicted a heavy fine, and all notwithstanding the protest of the
most powerful nobles {421} of his kingdom whose rights were invaded.
How we do always hear about the invasion of the rights of the
entrenched classes. In England men, even men without any patent of
nobility or clerical privilege, began to have rights and others had
duties towards them. Above all, men were given opportunities to bring
out what was best in them. The great cathedrals were built, the great
monasteries, some of the greatest castles, some of the fine colleges
at the universities. Many of the municipal buildings were erected in
the glorious architecture of the times. At these men were employed in
what is probably the happiest work that a man can do. They had the
chance to express themselves in the beautiful achievements of their
hands. The village blacksmith made gates, and locks, and bolts, and
hinges for cathedrals that are so beautiful that all the world has
wondered at them ever since. The stained glass is the finest ever
made. The illuminated books are beautiful beyond description, the
handsomest of all times. The needlework of the vestments stands out as
the most beautiful in history. The men and women who did these things
were happy in the execution of beautiful works of art, and as the
population was only scanty a large proportion of them were closer to
beautiful things than the world has ever known.

Blessed is the man who has found his work. These men had found their
work and were happy. Instead of going out to the deadly routine of
{422} work they did not like, but that they had to do, because they
must earn enough so as to get bread enough to eat for themselves and
family, so that they might live and go out and work once more
to-morrow and to-morrow, and so on to the end of recorded time, the
workman dreamt of the beauty that he might express; went out hoping to
achieve it; failed often but still hoped, and hope is life's best
consolation; came away reluctantly, thinking that surely he would
accomplish something on the morrow. It is the difference between mere
routine work and the handicraftsmanship that satisfies because it
occupies the whole man. Is it any wonder that our workman is
discontented; is it any wonder that the England of that time should be
called merry England and the France and Italy gay France and Italy?

All this organization of the workmen was accomplished by the
university men of the time. They were mainly clergymen, but they had
in them not only the wish, but the faculty to help those around them,
and so there arose the beautiful creations of that time in art,
architecture, literature and political freedom which did so much for
the masses of the people. There were more students at the universities
at the end of the thirteenth century to the population of the various
countries of Europe than there are at the present time. That seems
impossible, but so do all the other achievements of the thirteenth
century,--their cathedrals, their arts and crafts, their {423}
universities, their literature,--until you go back to study them.
There is absolutely no doubt about these statistics. These university
men were trained to self-government and to the government of others in
the university life of the time. They took that training out with
them, not for selfish purposes alone, but for the help of others. What
they accomplished is to be found in the social uplift that followed.
There is scarcely a right or a development of liberty that we have now
that cannot be found, in germ at least, often in complete evolution,
in the thirteenth century. The Supreme Courts of most of our states
still make their decisions following the old English common law which
was laid down in that century.

But it will be said, while so much was done for the workman, have we
not heard that his wages were a few cents, almost nothing, and that
his hours were long and he was little better than a slave? Only the
first portion of this has any truth in it. He did get what seems to us
a mere pittance for his day's wages. As pointed out by M. Urbain
Gohier, the French socialist, when he visited this country to lecture
a few years ago, the workmen of this time had already obtained the
eight-hour day, the three eights as they are called, eight hours of
work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for themselves. Besides
they had the Saturday half-holiday, or at least, after the Vesper
hour, work could not be required of them, and there was more than one
holy-day of {424} obligation every two weeks, on which they did not
work, and on the Vigil of which work ceased at four o'clock. As for
their wages, by Act of Parliament they got fourpence a day at the end
of the century and this does not seem much, but the same Act of
Parliament set the minimum wage and the maximum price that could be
charged for the necessities of life. A pair of hand-made shoes could
be bought for fourpence, and no workman can do anything like that for
a day's wage at the present or usually for more than double his daily
wages. A fat goose cost but twopence halfpenny, and when the father of
a family can buy two fat geese for his daily wages, there is no danger
of the family starving. Our wages are higher, but the necessities of
life have gone up so high that the wages can scarcely touch them.

In the parliament that passed these laws the greater proportion were
college men. I suppose probably three-fourths of the members of both
houses had been at the university. Now that the question of the
abolition of the House of Lords is occupying much attention, we
sometimes hear of it as a mediaeval institution. It is spoken of as an
inheritance from an earlier and ruder time. I wonder how much the
people who talk thus know about the realities. They must be densely
ignorant of what the House of Lords used to be. At the present moment
there are in the English House of Lords 627 members, only {425} 75 of
whom do not owe their position directly or solely to the accident of
birth. Even about half of this seventy-five can only be selected from
the hereditary nobility of Scotland and of Ireland. In the Middle Ages
it was quite different. Until the reformation so-called the Lords
Spiritual formed a majority of the House of Lords. They consisted not
only of the bishops but of the abbots and priors of monasteries and
the masters of the various religious and knightly orders. This upper
chamber of the olden time was elected in the best possible sense of
the word. They were usually men who had risen from the ranks of the
people and who had been chosen because of their unselfishness to be
heads of religious houses and religious orders. There were abuses by
which some of these Lords Spiritual obtained their places by what we
now call pull, but the great majority of them were selected for their
virtues, and because they had shown their power to rule over
themselves had been chosen to rule over others.

They were men who could own nothing for themselves and families, and
in whom every motive, human and divine, appealed to make life as happy
as possible for others. They were all of them university men. Compare
for a moment the present House of Lords with that House of Lords and
you will see the difference between the old time and the present. No
wonder England was merry England, no wonder historian {426} after
historian has declared that the people were happier at this time than
they have ever been before or since, no wonder men had leisure to make
great monuments of genius in architecture, in the arts and in
literature. No wonder the universities, in the form in which they have
been useful to mankind ever since, were organized in this century; no
wonder all our rights and liberties come to us. Great generations of
the university men nobly did their work.

Young men, you are graduating from a college that is literally a
lineal descendant of those old-time universities. You have had the
training of heart and of will as well as of mind that was given to
these students of the olden times. You have been taught that the end
of life is not self, but that life shall mean something for others as
well as yourself, that every action shall be looked at from the
standpoint of what it means for others as well as for yourselves, and
that you shall never do anything that will even remotely injure

You are not only going to lead honest but honorable lives. You are
going to be true to yourselves first, but absolutely faithful to
others. They are telling a story in New York now that, perhaps, some
of you have heard. It is of the young man who had graduated at the
head of his class at the high school and delighted his old father's
heart. He kept up the good work, and came out first in his class at
college. Then, when {427} he led a large class at the law school, you
can understand how proud the old gentleman was. Tom came home to
practise law in a long-established firm where there was an opening for
him. Some six months later he said, one day, to his father, "Well, I
made $10,000 to-day," and the old gentleman said, "Well, Tom, that is
a good deal of money to make. I hope you made it honestly." The young
man lifted his head and said, "You can be sure that I would not make
it dishonestly." "That is right," the old man said. "Tell us how it
came about." Then Tom told how he knew that a trolley line was going
to run out far from town and that he had secured an option on some
property through which it was going to pass. "You know old Farmer
Simpson out on the Plank Road?" he said. "His boys have left him and
gone to the city; he cannot work his farm any longer himself, and he
cannot hire men for it, and he wants to get rid of it. I got positive
information yesterday through one of our clients that a trolley line
is going out through that farm. When I went out to see the old man he
knew me at once, spoke about you, and when I offered to try to sell
the farm for him and suggested the advisability of signing an option
on it to me at a definite figure, so that I may be able to close the
price with any one who wanted it, he signed at once at a ridiculously
low figure because, though, as he said, he did not care to sign the
papers for lawyer folk, {428} he knew I was different. I have got the
farm at so low a price that $10,000 is the smallest profit I can look
for. I think I will get that profit out of the company for the right
of way, and then I will have the rest of the farm for myself. It will
make a mighty nice country place."

Then there was a pause. The old gentleman did not lighten up any over
the story, as Tom seemed to think he would. After a minute's silence
the old man said, "Well, Tom, that was not what I sent you to college
and law school for, to come out here and take advantage of my old
neighbors. I thought that you would be helpful to us all, and that
there would be more of happiness in the world because of your
education. You may call that transaction honest, and perhaps it is
legal, but I know that it is dishonorable. Tom, if you don't give
Farmer Simpson back his option I do not think I want you to live here
with me any more. Somehow I couldn't feel as if I could hold up my
head if ever I passed Farmer Simpson and his wife, if you did. You may
act as his attorney if you will and take a good fair fee for it, but
you must not absorb all the profits just because the old man is in
trouble and is glad to trust an old neighbor's son."

Of course Tom's father was dreadfully old-fashioned and out of date.
Of course there are some people who will say that this sort of thing
is quixotic. Now, this sort of thing is what higher education should
mean, and does mean, in a {429} Catholic college. Your principles are
not taught you for the sake of exercises of piety, nor attendance at
religious duties. These you have got to do anyhow, but they are meant
to inflow into every action of your life and to make the basic
principle of them all, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

You are graduating from a Catholic college with high aims, you have
had many advantages, more than are accorded usually in our time to men
of your years in the training of heart and will as well as intellect,
and much is expected of you. You are rich in real education and a
stewardship of great intellectual and moral wealth is given over to
you, and you must be better than others and be, above all, ever
helpful to others. Your education was not given for your benefit, but
for that of the community. Your neighbors are all round you. See that
at the end of your life they shall all be happier because you have
lived. If you do not do so you shall sadly disappoint the hopes of
your teachers and, above all, you shall be false to the trust that has
been confided to you.

Pass on the torch of charity. Let all the world be dear to you in the
old-fashioned sense of that dear old word charity, not merely
distantly friendly in the new-fangled sense of the long Greek term
philanthropy. Be just while you are living your lives and you will not
have the burden of philanthropy that so many rich men are now
complaining of in your older years, and, above all, {430} you will not
have the contempt and aversion of those who may accept your bounty,
but who know how questionably you acquired the means of giving it and
are not really thankful.

I have done but for just one word. Be just and fear not. If you will
be just in your dealing with men, you will have no need for further
advice and no need for repentance. I thank you.




  "It isn't so much the ignorance of mankind that makes them
  ridiculous as the knowing so many things that ain't so."
  --Josh Billings, _writing as "Uncle Esek" in the "Century."_


NEW ENGLANDISM [Footnote 27]

  [Footnote 27: The material for this was collected for a banquet
  address in Boston on Evacuation Day, 1909, before the Knights of
  Columbus. It was developed for various lectures on the history of
  education, in order to illustrate how easy it is to produce a
  tradition which is not supported by historical documents. In its
  present form it appeared as an article in the _West Coast Magazine_
  for July, 1910, at the request of the editor, Mr. John S. McGroarty,
  with whom, more years ago than either of us care to recall now, I
  had learned the New England brand of United States history at a
  country school.]

There is a little story told of a supposed recent celestial
experience, that seems, to some people, at least--perhaps it may be
said without exaggeration, to most of those alas! not born in New
England--to illustrate very well the attitude of New Englanders, and
especially of the Bostonese portion of the New England population,
towards all the rest of the world and the heavens besides. St. Peter,
the celestial gate-keeper, is supposed to be disturbed from the
slumbers that have been possible so much oftener of late years because
of the infrequent admissions since the world has lost interest in
other-worldliness, by an imperious knocking at the gate. "Who's
there?" he asks in a very mild voice, for he knows by long experience
that that kind of knocking usually comes from some grand dame from the
terrestrial regions. The reply, in rather imperative {434} tone, is,
"I am Mrs. Beacon from Boston," with emphasis on the Boston, "Well,
madam," Peter says in reply, "you may come in, but," he adds with a
wisdom learned doubtless from many previous incidents of the same
kind, "you won't like it."

Of course, the thoroughgoing admiration of New England people, and
especially of Bostonians, for all that is New England, and, above all,
all that is Boston, has been well recognized for a long while and has
not failed of proper appreciation, to some degree at least, even in
New England itself. To Oliver Wendell Holmes we owe that delightful
characterization of it in the "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,"
"Boston State House is the hub of the solar system. You could not pry
that out of a Boston man (and _a fortiori_ I think it may be said out
of a Boston woman) if you had the tire of all creation straightened
out for a crowbar." James Russell Lowell expressed the same idea very
forcibly in other words in some expressions of his essay on "A Certain
Condescension in Foreigners," that have been perhaps oftenest quoted
and are dear to every true New Englander's heart. Of course, he meant
it a great deal more than half in jest, but who of us who know our
Down Easterners doubt that most of them take it considerably more than
half in earnest? Their attitude shows us very well how much the
daughter New England was ready to take after mother England in {435}
the matter of thinking so much of herself that she must perforce be
condescending to others.

Lowell's expression is worthy to be placed beside that of Oliver
Wendell Holmes for the guidance of American minds. They are keys to
the situation. "I know one person," said Lowell, "who is singular
enough to think Cambridge (Mass.) the very best spot on the habitable
globe. 'Doubtless God could have made a better, but doubtless he never
did.'" It only needed his next sentence fully to complete the
significance of Boston and its academic suburb in the eyes of every
good Bostonian. "The full tide of human existence may be felt here as
keenly as Johnson felt it at Charing Cross and in a larger sense."

Of course there is no insuperable objection to allowing New Englanders
to add to the gayety of nations in this supreme occupation with
themselves, and we would gladly suffer them if only they would not
intrude their New Englandism on some of the most important concerns of
the nation. But that is impossible, for New Englandism is most
obtrusive. It is New England that has written most of the history of
this country and its influence has been paramount on most of our
education. It has supplied most of the writers of history and moulded
most of the school-teachers of the country. The consequence has been a
stamping of New Englandism all over our history and on the minds of
rising generations for the better part of a century, with a {436}
perversion of the realities of history in favor of New England that is
quite startling when attention is particularly directed to it.

The editors of the "Cambridge modern History," in their preface,
called attention to the immense differences between what may be called
documentary and traditional history. They declare that it has become
"impossible for historical writers of the present age to trust without
reserve even to the most respected secondary authorities. The honest
student finds himself continually deserted, retarded, misled, by the
classics of historical literature, and has to hew his own way through
multitudinous transactions, periodicals, and official publications in
order to reach the truth." Most people reading this would be prone to
think that any such arraignment of American history, as is thus made
by the distinguished Cambridge editors of history in general, would be
quite out of the question. After all, our history, properly speaking,
extends only over a couple of centuries and we would presumably be too
close to the events for any serious distortion of them to have been
made. For that reason it is interesting to realize what an unfortunate
influence the fact that our writers have come mainly from New England
and have been full of the New England spirit has had on our American

Every American schoolboy is likely to be possessed of the idea that
the first blood shed in the Revolution was in the so-called Boston
Massacre. {437} It is well known that that event thus described was
nothing more than a street brawl in which five totally unarmed
passers-by were shot down without their making the slightest
resistance, as an act of retaliation on the part of drunken soldiers
annoyed by boys throwing snowballs at them. This has been magnified
into an important historical event. Two months before it, however,
there was an encounter in New York with the citizens under arms as
well as the soldiers, and it was at Golden Hill on Manhattan Island
and not in Boston that the first blood of the Revolution was shed.
Miss Mary L. Booth, in her "History of the City of New York," says:
"Thus ended the Battle of Golden Hill, a conflict of two days'
duration, which, originating as it did in the defense of a principle,
was an affair of which New Yorkers have just reason to be proud, and
which is worthy of far more prominence than has usually been given it
by standard historians. It was not until nearly two months after that
the Boston Massacre occurred, a contest which has been glorified and
perpetuated in history, yet this was second both in date and in
significance to the New York Battle of Golden Hill."

Practically every other incident of these times has been treated in
just this way, in our school histories at least. Every American
schoolboy knows of the Boston tea party, and usually can and does tell
the story with great gusto because {438} it delights his youthful
dramatic sense. Not only the children, but every one else seems to
think that the organization of the tea party was entirely due to the
New England spirit of resistance to "taxation without representation."
How few of them are taught that this destruction of the tea had been
definitely agreed upon by all the colonies and that it was only by
chance that Massachusetts happened to be first in the execution of the
project. My friend, Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, in his article on "Some
Popular Myths of American History," in the _Magazine of History_
(February, 1905), has stated this aspect of the question very
forcibly. "Previous to the arrival of the ships in Boston, concerted
action had been agreed upon, as has been already shown, in regard to
the destruction of the tea, from Charleston, S. C., to Portsmouth, N.
H. The people of Philadelphia had been far more active and outspoken
at the outset than they of Boston, and it was this decisiveness which
caused the people of Boston to act, after they had freely sought
beforehand the advice and moral support of the other colonies."

It would be utterly unjust to limit the movement which culminated in
the Boston Tea Party to any one or even several of the colonies; to
make so much of the Boston incident is to falsify history in fact,
but, above all, in the impression produced upon the rising generation
that Boston was a leader in this movement. The first {439} tea-ship
arrived in Boston November 28, 1773, and two others shortly after, but
it was not until the evening of December 16th that their contents were
thrown overboard. Over six weeks before this a precisely similar
occurrence had taken place in New York without any such delay, and
though the movement proved futile because it was undertaken on a false
alarm, it is easy to understand that due credit should be given to
those who took part in it for their thoroughgoing spirit of opposition
to British measures. On this subject once more Dr. Emmet, whose great
collection of Americana made him probably more familiar with he
sources of American history than any one of our generation, has been,
in the article already quoted, especially emphatic.

"On November 5, 1773, an alarm was raised in the City of New York to
the effect that a tea-ship had entered the harbor. A large assembly of
people at once occurred, among whom those in charge of the movement
were disguised as Mohawk Indians. This alarm proved a false one, but
at a meeting then organized a series of resolutions was adopted which
was received by the other colonies as the initiative in the plan of
resistance already determined upon throughout the country. Our
schoolbooks are chiefly responsible for the almost universal
impression that the destruction of tea, which occurred in Boston
Harbor, was an episode confined to that city, while the fact is that
the tea sent to this country was either {440} destroyed or sent back
to England from every seaport in the colonies. The first tea-ship
happened to arrive in Boston and the first tea was destroyed there;
for this circumstance due credit should be given the Bostonians. But
the fact that the actors in this affair were disguised as Mohawk
Indians shows that they were but following the lead of New York, where
this particular disguise had been adopted forty-one days before, for
the same purpose."

Just as the Boston Massacre has been insistently pointed out as the
first blood shed for American liberty, so the Battle of Lexington has
been drilled into our school children's minds as the first organized
armed resistance to the British. Without wishing at all to detract
from the glory of those who fought at Lexington, there is every reason
not to let the youth of this country grow up with the notion that
Massachusetts was the first to put itself formally under arms against
the mother country. Lexington was not fought until April 19, 1775. The
battle of Alamance, N. C., which occurred on May 16, 1771, deserves
much more to be considered as the first organized resistance to
British oppression. The North Carolina Regulators rather than the New
England Minute Men should have the honor of priority as the first
armed defenders of their rights against encroachment. The subject is
all the more interesting because the British leader who tried to ride
rough-shod over stout Americans in North Carolina and met {441} with
open opposition was the infamous General Tryon of subsequent
Connecticut fame. Every one knows of his pernicious activity in
Connecticut, very few that he had been previously active in North
Carolina. That is the difference between history as "it has been
written" for New England and the South. That the Battle of Alamance
was no mere chance engagement, and that the North Carolinians were
aflame with the real spirit that finally gave freedom to the colonies,
can be best realized from the fact that the first Declaration of
Independence was made at Mecklenberg in North Carolina, and that some
of its sentiments, and even perhaps its phrases, were adopted in the
subsequent formal Declaration of Independence of all the colonies.

For those who may be surprised that North Carolina should have been so
prominent in these first steps in Revolutionary history and these
primary developments of the great movement that led to the freedom of
the Colonies, for we are accustomed to think of North Carolina as one
of the backward, unimportant portions of the country, it may be well
to say that at the time of the Revolution she was the third State in
the Union in population, following Virginia and Pennsylvania in the
number of inhabitants, exceeding New York in population by the total
census of New York City and Long Island, and ahead of Massachusetts,
which immediately followed it in the list by almost as many. The
sturdy {442} inhabitants of the northern of the Carolinas had been for
a decade before the Revolution constantly a thorn in the side of the
British government and had been recognized as leaders in the great
movement that was gradually being organized to bring all the colonies
together for mutual help against the encroachments of the British
government on their rights. Our school children fail almost entirely
to know this because they have been absorbed by Massachusetts
history--but then North Carolina did not have the good fortune to
have writers of history. New England had them and to spare, and with a
patriotic zeal for their native heath beyond even their numbers. Of
course it may be said that these are old-time historical traditions
which have found their way into history and are difficult to get out,
though most of those who know any history realize their absurdity, and
the modern historian, even though he may be from New England, holds
the balance much more equitably between the different portions of the
country. Apparently this is just what is not true, for New England
professors of history and writers of history still continue to write
in the same old strain of such surpassing admiration for New
Englanders that every other portion of the country is cast into
shadow. It was a distinguished professor of history at Harvard who,
within five years, in an important historical work, [Footnote 28]
said: "Whatever the social mixture {443} of the future, one thing is
certain; the standards, aspirations and moral and political ideas of
the original English settlers not only dominate their own descendants,
but permeate the body of immigrants of other races--the Puritans have
furnished the little leaven that leavens the whole lump."

  [Footnote 28: "The American Nation," 27 vols.]

One wonders just what such a sentence means and, of course, finds it
in many ways amazingly amusing. One would think that the only English
settlers were the Puritans, and that they had had great influence in
the origin of our government. Apparently, for the moment at least,
this Harvard professor forgot in his enthusiasm for the forefathers in
Massachusetts that the other branch of English settlers, those of
Virginia, were ever so much more important in the colonial times and
for long afterwards, than the Puritans. Of the first five Presidents
four were from Virginia. It is possible they forget now, in
Massachusetts, that only one was from Massachusetts, and that that one
did more to disturb government "of the people, by the people, and for
the people" than any other, so that after four short years the country
would have no more of him and no more of these Massachusetts Puritans
for more than a quarter of a century. This dear, good professor of
Harvard has deliberately called all the non-English elements in our
population foreigners because of his absorption in New England. He
said: "If the list of American {444} great men be scanned the
contribution of the foreigner stands out clearly. The two greatest
financiers of America have been the English West Indian Alexander
Hamilton and the Genevan Albert Gallatin. Two Presidents, Van Buren
and Roosevelt, are of Dutch stock; five others, Jackson, Buchanan,
Grant, Arthur and McKinley of Scotch and Scotch-Irish descent." All
"foreigners" except the New Englanders! Save the mark!

It is rather interesting to find that their contemporaries of the
Revolutionary period did not share that high estimation of the New
Englanders which they themselves clung to so tenaciously and have writ
so large in our history that the tradition of New England's unselfish
wonder-working in that olden time has never perished. Most of us are
likely to know something about the rather low estimation, at most
toleration, in which during the Revolutionary period many of the
members of Congress from New England were held by fellow-members of
Congress from other portions of the country. They were the most
difficult to bring into harmony with others, the slowest to see
anything that did not directly enhance the interests of New England;
they were more constantly in opposition to great movements that meant
much for the future of the colonies themselves and the government of
the United States afterward than any others. We are prone to excuse
this, however, on the score {445} of their intolerant Puritanism, and
taught by our New England schoolmasters, most of us, at least, fondly
cherish the notion that all the New Englanders made supreme sacrifices
for the country and did it with a whole-hearted spirit of
self-forgetfulness that made every man, above all in Massachusetts, an
out-and-out patriot. It is curious to find how different were the
opinions of those from other portions of the country who came in
contact with New Englanders at this time, from that which is to be
found in their histories.

Washington, for instance, had by no means the same high opinion of the
New Englanders, and, above all, of the New England troops, that they
had of themselves and that their historians have so carefully
presented of them. It is said that Sparks edited many of Washington's
criticisms of New Englanders out of his edition of the "Life and
Letters." Certain it is that some of the letters which Sparks did not
consider it proper to quote from, contain material that is very
interesting for the modern historian who wants to get at contemporary
documents, and for whom contemporary opinions such as that of
Washington cannot but seem especially valuable. In a letter from the
camp at Cambridge, August 20, 1775, to Lund Washington at Mt. Vernon,
Washington said: "The people of this Government [Massachusetts] have
obtained a character which they by no means deserve; their officers,
generally {446} speaking, are the most indifferent kind of people I
ever saw. I have already broke one colonel and five captains for
cowardice, and for drawing more pay and provisions than they had men
in their companies. There are two more colonels now under arrest and
to be tried for the same offenses; in short, they are by no means such
troops, in any respect, as you are led to believe of them from the
accounts which are published; but I need not make myself enemies among
them by this declaration, although it is consistent with truth. I dare
say the men would fight very well (if properly officered), although
they are an exceedingly dirty and nasty people. Had they been properly
conducted at Bunker's Hill (on the 17th of June) or those that were
there properly supported, the regulars would have met with a shameful
defeat, and a much more considerable loss than they did, which is now
known to be exactly 1,057, killed and wounded. It was for their
behavior on that occasion that the above officers were broke, for I
never spared one that was accused of cowardice, but brought them to
immediate trial."

One of the most interesting perversions of the history written by New
Englanders is that in their emphasis of New Englandism they have
sometimes signally failed to write even their own history as the
documents show it. There has been much insistence, for instance, on
the supposed absolute purity of the English origin of {447} the
settlers in New England and especially in Massachusetts until long
after the Revolution. Palfrey, in the introduction to his "History of
New England," says: "The people of New England are a singularly
unmixed race. There is probably not a county in England occupied by a
population of purer English blood than they are." Senator Lodge, forty
years later, in his "History of the Revolution," re-echoes Mr.
Palfrey's words, and says that "the people were of almost pure English
blood, with a small infusion of Huguenots and a slight mingling in New
Hampshire of Scotch-Irish from Londonderry." During the past ten years
the Secretary of State of Massachusetts, by order of the Legislature,
has been compiling from the state archives the muster roll of the
Massachusetts soldiers and sailors of the Revolutionary War. This does
not bear out at all what Mr. Palfrey and Mr. Lodge have asserted so
emphatically as to the exclusively English origin of the population of
New England and, above all, of Massachusetts at this critical time.
There is not a familiar Irish name that does not occur many times. The
fighting race was well represented. There were 167 Kellys and 79
Burkes, though by some unaccountable circumstance only 24 Sheas. There
were 388 O'Briens and other O's and Macs galore. There are Aherns and
Brannigans and Bannons and Careys and Carrolls and Connellys, Connors
and Corcorans and Costellos and Cosgroves and {448} Costigans, and so
on right through the alphabet. Curiously enough there are no Lodges on
the muster roll, but there is not an Irish name beginning with "L"
that is not represented. There are no less than 69 Larkins and some 20
Learys and Lonergans and Lanigans and all the other Celtic patronymics
in "L."

Dr. Emmet, who has investigated very carefully the question of the
deportation of the Irish to this country under Cromwell, says that
many shiploads of them were sent to Massachusetts in the seventeenth
century. He declares that enough Irish girls were sent over to
Massachusetts at this time to furnish wives for all the immediate
descendants of the Puritans. There are certainly many more Irish names
than are dreamt of in the very early times. Priscilla Alden's name
before she tempted John to give her his rather pretty name, has never
found its way into poetry because no poetry would stand it--it was
Mullen or Mullins.

Even after the Revolution the place of New England, but especially
Massachusetts, in the Republic has been sadly misrepresented in our
American history as a rule, because our school historians at least
have usually been Bostonians. When Washington, in 1789, made his first
visit as President of the United States to New England, he was
received very enthusiastically in Connecticut, though this state had
not been wholly favorable to the new government, but in {449}
Massachusetts his reception was distinctly cold, and indeed, almost
insulting. John Hancock was Governor of this State and he absolutely
refused to meet the President at the State line, though most other
Governors had done this, and while President Washington was in Boston
he declined even to call on him. The reason for this was the
assumption of a characteristic Massachusetts attitude. There seems no
doubt now that John Hancock, not because he was pompous John Hancock,
not because he was the Governor of Massachusetts--and this idea had
been fostered among his people--honestly believed that the Governor of
Massachusetts was a greater man in every way than the President of the

There are many who might say that this state of mind has endured even
to the present time. Certainly Massachusetts' representative men have
constantly set the interests of their commonwealth above those of the
Union. New England has always had a tendency that way. During the
newspaper agitation over the recent tariff bill one of the cartoonists
represented the United States as a puppy dog with New England as the
tail, with the caption, "How long is the tail going to wag the dog?"
During the second war with Great Britain in 1812 New England was the
most recalcitrant portion of the Union, and another conceited Governor
of the State hampered the nation in every way. Our histories for {450}
schools, at least, have been so written as to produce the impression
that only the South ever was dissatisfied with the Union, inclined to
be rebellious and ready to talk about the nullification of the compact
which bound the states together. The Hartford convention is mentioned,
but not given near the place that it deserves, since it represents the
feeling, very rife at that time, that such a procedure as
nullification was quite justifiable. Twelve delegates from
Massachusetts were present in this convention and there was a decided
spirit of rebellion against the general government because, forsooth,
the war had injured Boston's business.

It is not alone in history, however, that New England's thoroughgoing
admiration for herself has served to disturb the attainment of truth
by the rising generation of Americans. Besides exaggerating the
comparative influence of New England in the affairs of the country,
they have exaggerated the place of favorite New England authors in the
literature of the world to such a degree that growing young America
cannot help but have a number of false notions of comparative literary
values, which he has to rid himself of before he is able to attain any
proper appreciation of world literature or even of English literature.
A little group of New England literary folk came into prominence about
the middle of the nineteenth century. Because they were the best that
New England could produce, {451} apparently they were considered by
New Englanders as the best in the world. English critics, of course,
laughed at their self-complacency, but our New England schoolmasters
took New England's writers so seriously and proceeded to write so much
about them and make them so much the subject of teaching not alone in
New England but in every part of the country, that now it is almost
impossible to get our people to accept any true standards, since
admiration for these quite unimportant New England writers has ruined
any proper critical literary appreciation.

As a consequence our rising generations for some time have been
inclined to take Emerson seriously as a great philosopher, writer and
thinker. They have been very prone to accept dear old Oliver Wendell
Holmes, kindliest of men, charmingest of writers, as a great literary
man. There have literally been hundreds of English writers such as
these in the past three centuries of English literary history, who now
take up at most but a few lines in even large histories of English
literature. Taking Emerson seriously is fortunately going out of
fashion. If one wanted a criterion of the depth of thought of the
generation that accepted him originally and passed him along as a
significant philosophic prophet, then surely one need go no farther.
Our optimistic Carlyle, writing in a minor key, looms up so much
smaller now than a generation ago that we can readily realize how
{452} New Englandism infected literary and philosophic standards. What
is thus said of Emerson may be repeated, with perhaps a little less
emphasis, of the other writers whom New England has insisted on
proclaiming to the world as representative of all that was best and
highest in literature--because for a moment they commanded attention
in New England.

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was considered the proper
thing in this country to talk of Longfellow as a great poet. Of
course, no one does so any more. The devotion to him of so much time
in our schools, while so many much more important contributions to our
English poetry have but scanty attention paid them, is still producing
not only a false impression on children's minds as to his proper place
in literature, but is playing sad havoc with literary standards
generally, so far as they may be the subject of teaching. Longfellow
was, of course, nothing more than a pleasant balladist and a writer of
conventional thoughts on rather commonplace themes in reasonably
smooth verse. For really profound thought Longfellow's poetry has
never a place. His loftiest flights of imagination do not bring him
anywhere near the great mysteries of human life or the deep thoughts
that run through men's minds when they are touched to the quick. Of
the sterner passions of men he had scarcely an inkling.

Whittier, of course, has much more real poetry {453} in his little
store of verse than Longfellow, but Whittier's voice is only a very
low treble and his religious training was too narrow to permit him any
breadth of poetic feeling. No one thinks now that anything that
Whittier wrote will live to be read by any but curious students of
certain anti-slavery movements in connection with the history of our
civil war. He will have an interest for antiquarian litterateurs,
scarcely more than that. Of James Russell Lowell's rather charming
academic verse one would prefer to say nothing, only that the serious
study of it in our schools leads the present generation to think that
he, too, must be considered seriously as a poet. It is doubtful if
Russell Lowell ever thought of himself as a poet at all. Appropriate
thoughts charmingly expressed for occasions, in verse reasonably
tuneful, he could do better than most men of his time in America--that
was all. Of real poetic quality there is almost none. Lowell's verse
will not be read at all except by the professional critic before
another generation has passed, and I am sure that no one realized this
better than Lowell himself.

What Longfellow and Lowell will be remembered for in the history of
nineteenth century literature, most of the rising generation of
Americans know very little about and the great majority of them
completely ignore. It is for their critical and expository work in
introducing great foreign authors--really great poets--to the {454}
knowledge of their countrymen that both Longfellow and Lowell will
deserve the gratitude of all future generations and some of their work
in this regard will endure when their verse is forgotten. Longfellow's
edition of Dante was not only well worth all the time he gave to it
during thirty years, but represents a monument in American literature
that will be fondly looked back to by many a generation of
English-speaking people. Very probably of his work in verse the
"Golden Legend" will mean more to a future generation than almost
anything else that Longfellow has done. Above all, it was precious in
making Americans realize how profound and how beautiful had been the
work of the poets of Europe seven centuries ago.

In the light of this gradual reduction of the value of New England's
literature to its lowest terms it is extremely amusing to find
occasionally expressions of the value of the New England period in
English literature as expressed by enthusiastic New Englanders and,
above all, by ardent--what, for want of a better term we must
call--New Englanderesses. One of these, Miss Helen Winslow, has
recently and quite deservedly been made great fun of by Mr. H. W.
Horwin in an article in the _National Review_ (England), headed, "Are
Americans Provincial?" which brings home a few truths to us in what
concerns our complacent self-satisfaction with ourselves. Miss Winslow
declares that the {455} great Bostonian period was "a literary epoch,
the like of which has scarcely been known since the Elizabethan
period." She proclaims that "The Papyrus Club [of Boston] is known to
men of letters and attainments everywhere." She notes that "Scott,
Balzac and Thackeray received a legal training," just when she is
going to add that "Robert Grant is also a lawyer." She adds that
"young people everywhere adore the name of Sophie Sweet" (whoever she
may be). Is it any wonder that the ordinary non-New-England American
"gets hot under the collar" for his countrymen under such

Two really great masters of literature we had in America during the
nineteenth century, Poe and Hawthorne. Because of our New England
schoolmasters, as it seems to most of us, Poe has never come into his
own proper appreciation in this country. The French consider him the
great master of the short story, and that has come to occupy such a
prominent place in our so-called literature in America, that one might
look for an apotheosis of Poe. He is the one writer whose works in
both prose and verse have influenced deeply the literary men of other
countries besides our own. No other American writer has been given the
tribute of more than a perfunctory notice in the non-English-speaking
countries. In spite of this Poe's name was kept out of the Hall of
Fame at New York University, {456} which was meant to enshrine the
memory of our greatest thinkers and literary men, though we had
generally supposed that the national selection of the jury to decide
those whose names should be honored, would preclude all possibility of
any narrow sectional influence perverting the true purpose of the
institution. Poe has never been popular in New England, nor has he
been appreciated at his true worth by the literary circles of New
England. Their schoolmasterly influence has been pervasive enough to
keep from Poe his true meed of praise among our people generally,
though all our poets and literary men look up to him as our greatest
poetic genius.

As for Hawthorne, there is no doubt that he is our greatest American
writer in prose. He was the one man in New England with a great
message. His writings came from deep down in the human heart, from the
very wellsprings of human passion, and had their origin not far from
where soul touches body in this human compound. The English, usually
supposed to be slow of recognition for things American, acknowledged
his high worth almost at once. Some of us here in America, indeed,
have had the feeling that to a great extent our people have had to
learn the lesson of proper appreciation for Hawthorne from the
English-speaking people across the water. To Americans, for years, he
was little more than a story-writer, not so popular as {457} many
another writer of stories, and his really great qualities were to a
great extent ignored. Because Puritan New England was out of sympathy
with the mystical spirit of his writings only a late and quite
inadequate appreciation of the value of his work was formed by his
countrymen. Something of this unfortunate lack of appreciation crept
into the schoolmastering of the country, and Hawthorne is probably not
as highly valued in his native land as he is in England, though France
and Germany have learned to look up to him as our greatest of American
literary men--the one of our writers who, with Poe, attracts a world

When there is question of anything else besides literature, of course,
New England has no claims at all to make, and she has stood for many
unfortunate austere tendencies in American life. For anything like
public spirit for art or music or aesthetics in any department the
Puritan soul had no use. Consequently our artistic development was
seriously delayed as a nation by the influence that New England had as
the schoolmaster of the country. The consequence was that our churches
were bare and ugly, our homes lacking in the spirit of beauty and our
municipalities mere places to live and make money in, but with no
provision for the enjoyment of life. It is in this that New England
has doubtless done us most harm and it is for this reason that many
people will re-echo that expression of a {458} descendant of the
Puritans who declares that it would have been "an awfully good thing
when the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock if only Plymouth Rock had
landed on the Puritans." It would have saved us an immense deal of
inhibition of all the art impulses of this country, which were almost
completely choked off for so long by the narrow Puritanism so rampant
in New England and so diffusively potent in our educational system.

In conclusion one feels like recalling once more Lowell's "Essay on a
Certain Condescension in Foreigners." Surely the daughter New England,
consciously or unconsciously, has treated the rest of the country very
much like Mother England used to treat nascent English America long
ago. There are many of us who in recent years have come to know New
Englandism and its proneness to be condescending, who have felt very
much like paraphrasing, with the addition of the adjective "new" here
and there, certain of Lowell's best-known sentences. The new version
will make quite as satisfactory a bit of satire on our Down East
compatriots as Lowell's hits on the mother country and our English
cousins across the water. Very probably there are more people who will
appreciate the satire in this new application of the great American
essayist's words than they did in its original form: "It will take
(New) England a great while to get over her airs of patronage toward
us, or even passably {459} to conceal them. She has a conviction that
whatever good there is in us is wholly (New) English, when the truth
is that we are worth nothing except so far as we have disinfected
ourselves of (Neo-) Anglicanism."

[Additional Material]

THE POPES AND SCIENCE--The story of the Papal Relations
to Science from the Middle Ages down to the Nineteenth
Century. By James J. Walsh, M. D., Ph. D., LL. D. 440 pp.
Price. $2.00 net.

  Prof. Pagel, Professor of History at the University of Berlin: "This
  book represents the most serious contribution to the history of
  medicine that has ever come out of America."

  Sir Clifford Allbutt, Regius Professor of Physic at the University
  of Cambridge (England): "The book as a whole is a fair as well as a
  scholarly argument."

  _The Evening Post_ (New York) says: "However strong the reader's
  prejudice * * * * he cannot lay down Prof. Walsh's volume without at
  least conceding that the author has driven his pen hard and deep
  into the 'academic superstition' about Papal Opposition to science."
  In a previous issue it had said: "We venture to prophesy that all
  who swear by Dr. Andrew D. White's History of the Warfare of Science
  with Theology in Christendom will find their hands full, if they
  attempt to answer Dr. James J. Walsh's The Popes and Science."

  _The Literary Digest_ said: "The book is well worth reading for its
  extensive learning and the vigor of its style."

  _The Southern Messenger_ says: "Books like this make it clear that
  it is ignorance alone that makes people, even supposedly educated
  people, still cling to the old calumnies."

  _The Nation_ (New York) says: "The learned Fordham Physician has at
  command an enormous mass of facts, and he orders them with logic,
  force and literary ease. Prof. Walsh convicts his opponents of hasty
  generalizing if not anti-clerical zeal."

  _The Pittsburg Post_ says: "With the fair attitude of mind and
  influenced only by the student's desire to procure knowledge, this
  book becomes at once something to fascinate. On every page
  authoritative facts confute the stereotyped statement of the purely
  theological publications."

  Prof. Welch, of Johns Hopkins, quoting Martial, said: "It is
  pleasant indeed to drink at the living fountain-heads of knowledge
  after previously having had only the stagnant pools of second-hand

  Prof. Piersol, Professor of Anatomy at the University of
  Pennsylvania, said: "I have been reading the book with the keenest
  interest, for it indeed presents many subjects in what to me at
  least is a new light. Every man of science looks to the
  beacon--truth--as his guiding mark, and every opportunity to
  replace even time-honored misconceptions by what is really the truth
  must be welcomed."

  _The Independent_ (New York) said: "Dr. Walsh's books should be read
  in connection with attacks upon the Popes in the matter of science
  by those who want to get both sides."

MAKERS OF ELECTRICITY--By Brother Potamian, F. C. S., Sc. D. (London),
Professor of Physics in Manhattan College, and James J. Walsh, M. D..
Ph. D.. Litt. D.. Dean and Professor of the History of Medicine and of
Nervous Diseases at Fordham University School of Medicine, New York.
Fordham University Press, 110 West 74th Street Illustrated. Price,
$2.00 net. Postage. 15 cents extra.

  _The Scientific American:_ "One will find in this book very good
  sketches of the lives of the great pioneers in Electricity, with a
  clear presentation of how it was that these men came to make their
  fundamental experiments, and how we now reach conclusions in Science
  that would have been impossible until their work of revealing was
  done. The biographies are those of Peregrinus, Columbus, Norman and
  Gilbert, Franklin and some contemporaries, Galvini, Volta, Coulomb,
  Oersted, Ampére, Ohm, Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, and Kelvin."

  _The Boston Globe:_ "The book is of surpassing interest"

  _The New York Sun:_ "The researches of Brother Potamian among the
  pioneers in antiquity and the Middle Ages are perhaps more
  interesting than Dr. Walsh's admirable summaries of the
  accomplishment of the heroes of modern science. The book testifies
  to the excellence of Catholic scholarship."

  _The Evening Post:_ "It is a matter of importance that the work and
  lives of men like Gilbert, Franklin, Galvini, Volta, Ampére and
  others should be made known to the students of Electricity, and this
  office has been well fulfilled by the present authors. The book is
  no mere compilation, but brings out many interesting and obscure
  facts, especially about the earlier men."

  _The Philadelphia Record:_ "It is a glance at the whole field of
  Electricity by men who are noted for the thoroughness of their
  research, and it should be made accessible to every reader capable
  of taking a serious interest in the wonderful phenomena of nature."

  _Electrical World:_ "Aside from the intrinsic interest of its
  matter, the book is delightful to read owing to the graceful
  literary style common to both authors. One not having the slightest
  acquaintance with electrical science will find the book of absorbing
  interest as treating in a human way and with literary art the life
  work of some of the greatest men of modern times; and, moreover, in
  the course of his reading he will incidentally obtain a sound
  knowledge of the main principles upon which almost all present-day
  electrical development is based. It is a shining example of how
  science can be popularized without the slightest twisting of facts
  or distortion of perspective. Electrical readers will find the book
  also a scholarly treatise on the evolution of electrical science,
  and a most refreshing change from the 'engineering English' of the
  typical technical writer."


The highest value attaches to historical research on the lines you so
ably indicate, especially at the present time, when the enemies of
Holy Church are making renewed efforts to show her antagonism to
science and human progress generally. I shall have much pleasure in
perusing your work entitled "The Thirteenth Greatest of Centuries."

Wishing you every blessing, I am, Yours sincerely in Xt.,
  R. Card. Merry Del Val.

Rome, January 18th, 1908.
  Jas. J. Walsh, Esq., New York.

--By James J. Walsh. M. D., Ph. D., Litt. D.. Dean and Professor of
Nervous Diseases and of the History of Medicine at Fordham University
School of Medicine; Professor of Physiological Psychology at Cathedral
College, New York. Catholic Summer School Press. 110 West 74th Street,
N. T., Georgetown University Edition. Over 100 additional
illustrations and twenty-six chapters that might have been, nearly 600
pages. Price, $3.50, post free.

  Prof. William Osler, of Oxford, delivering the Linacre Lecture
  before the University of Cambridge, said: "That good son of the
  Church and of the profession, Dr. James J. Walsh, has recently
  published a charming book on The Thirteenth as the Greatest of
  Centuries. He makes a very good case for what is called the First

  _The Saturday Review_ (of London): "The volume contains a mass of
  interesting facts that will start a train of profitable thought in
  many readers' minds."

  _The Educational Review_ said: "The title of Dr. Walsh's book, The
  Thirteenth Greatest of Centuries, will startle many readers, but we
  respectfully commend to the open-minded his presentation of that
  great epoch. A century that witnessed such extraordinary
  achievements in architecture, in arts and crafts, in education, and
  in literature and law, as did the Thirteenth, is not to be lightly
  dismissed or unfavorably compared with periods nearer our own."

  _The Pittsburg Post_ said: "Dr. Walsh writes infused with all the
  learning of the past, enthusiastic in modern research, and
  sympathetic, in true scholarly style, with investigation in every
  line. One need only run over a few of the topical headings to feel
  how plausible the thesis is. The assemblage of the facts and the
  elucidation of their mutual relations by Dr. Walsh shows the
  master's skill. The work bristles on every page with facts that may
  be familiar to many, but which were never before so arranged in just
  perspective with their convincing force so clearly shown."

  Cardinal Moran, of Sydney, Australia: "Just the sort of literature
  we want for English readers at the present day."

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