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degree of fluency or precision; and how can they be expected to teach others what they do not understand themselves ? Very erroneous opinions are entertained on this subject. Even those whom all expect to know better are often of opinion that any one who has received what is called a liberal education, is capable of giving instructions in composition ; forgetting that the surest and best fruits of education consist in writing and speaking well. There
There is no better precept in Buckingham's admirable Essay on poetry than that contained in the opening couplet :
“ Of all the arts in which the wise excel,
Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well." Quintilian, who embodies the views of all the illustrious authors of antiquity on the same subject, including those of Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus, is equally emphatic in enjoining the practice of writing as the great source of all knowledge, and consequently of all mental power.
66 We must write,” he says, “ therefore, as carefully and as much as we can; for, as the ground, by being dug to a great depth, becomes more fitted for fructifying and nourishing seeds, so improvement of the mind, acquired from more than mere superficial cultivation, pours forth the fruits of study in richer abundance and retains them with greater fidelity. For without this precaution the very faculty of speaking extempore will but furnish us with empty loquacity and words born on the lips. In writing are the roots, in writing are the foundations of eloquence ; by writing, resources are stored up, as it were, in a sacred repository, where they may be drawn forth for sudden emergencies or as circumstances require.'
If it is thus true that no other study is of greater importance to the student, or more likely to influence his whole future life, it is equally true that in no other study does he require more skilful aid from his instructor; if the latter is
' not capable of rendering such aid, certain it is that he will do more harm than good.
Most of our literary institutions are still very backward in teaching their students how to speak, as if the faculty of
* Scribendum ergo quam diligentissime et quam plurimum. Nam ut terra altius effossa generandis alendisque seminibus fecundior fit : sic profectus non a summo petitus, studiorum fructus et fundit uberius et fidelius continet. Nam, sine hac quidem conscientia, ipsa illa ex tempore dicendi facultas inanem modo loquacitatem dabit, et verba in labris nascentia. Illic radices, illic fundamenta sunt : illic opes velut sanctiore quodam aerario reconditæ unde ad subitos quoque casus quum res exiget proferantur.—De Institutione Oratoria, lib. X., c. iii.
expressing their ideas orally with facility and accuracy were but a matter of secondary consideration. Under all circumstances, the ability of speaking appropriately and forcibly is of the greatest value, but it attains its highest utility, and exercises the greatest influence, in republics; -hence it is that republics have produced the greatest orators, and that no despotism has produced a Demosthenes or a Cicero.
66 But the richest fruit of all our study,” says Quintilian, " and the most ample recompense for the extent of our labor, is the faculty of speaking extempore."* Further on the same author dwells on the superior importance of writing and speaking. •. These qualifications,” he says, “ depend on art; others on study; thus we must acquire, as has been already directed, an ample store of the best language ; our style must be formed by much and diligent composition, that even what is poured forth by us unpremeditatedly may present the appearance of having been previously written, so that after having written much we shall have the power of speaking copiously. For it is habit and exercise that chiefly beget facility ; and if they are intermitted, even but for a short period, not only will our fluency be diminished, but cur mouth may even be closed.”+
There is not a view we have expressed in the preceding pages on the subject of education in which we are not sustained by authorities equally reliable and illustrious. Of all modern educators, those who have most successfully carried out the different educational plans to which we have thus hurriedly alluded, and which we would earnestly recommend, are the Jesuits. Did we consult our own interests rather than those of education and justice, we should not pay them this tribute, for we are well aware that there are strong prejudices entertained against them by a large proportion even of our own readers—nay, even by those from whose educational institutions we derive ten times as much patronage as we do from those of the Jesuits. But we have nothing to to do with the differences or jealousies between different religious sects; what we pretend to pay attention to, in the best way we can, is the development of the human mind; and as Bacon and other great thinkers, who were not Catholic, have declared the educational system of the Jesuits to be worthy of imitation,* we may be permitted to give our humble opinion to the same effect. But let us not be misunderstood; we do not mean that all Jesuit colleges are better than others, whether Protestant or Catholic; we believe that there are some of the former which are as defective as any similar institutions; and we are equally satisfied that there are other colleges, both Protestant and Catholic, which are not surpassed even by the best Jesuit colleges.
* Maximus vero studiorum fructus est, et velut præmium quodam amplissimum longi laboris, ex tempore dicendi facultas.- 1b.
† Nam consuetudo et exercitatio facilatatem maxime parit, quæ si paullulum intermiesa fuerit, non velocitatas illa modo tarditur, sed ipsum os quoque concurrit.- 1b., lib. x., C. vii,
It is precisely because the Jesuits are such excellent educators that it would afford us great pleasure to contribute, in the slightest manner, to remove the prejudices entertained against them by a large class of well-meaning people; although, in general, so far as we could ever learn, they are as kind and generous as they are learned. It is often urged against the Jesuits that they must be a dangerous class of educators, inasmuch as they have been banished from so many countries
But those who reason in this way forget to ask what they have been banished for in nine cases out of ten. It cannot be pretended that the Catholic sovereigns of France, Spain, and Portugal banished them on account of their zeal for the Catholic religion ; the truth is that they were banished in each instance for their opposition to despotism. Let those who doubt this mention a single instance in which they have been banished from a republic, except from one which their own teachings had established, as in South America, when they excited the implacable ire of despotic Spain by instructing her oppressed colonists in the art of selfgovernment.
Even those who have abused the Jesuits most have felt constrained to give them credit for '
noble qualities. No one, for example, has reviled them more than Voltaire, yet he speaks of them as “ that singular society, in which it must be confessed there have been found, and are to be found still, individuals of very extraordinary merit.”+ He could never forgive them as a body, because they did more with pen and tongue.to refute his arguments against Christianity than all other societies and sects. They could forgive him, however, as history abundantly proves ; although they might justly regard him
* " The chief reason,” says the philosopher, “why the Jesuits make such excellent tutors is, perhaps, their being versed in civil as well®as collegiate life, so as to join the gentleman with the scholar."--Bacon's Works, Preliminaries, Section iii.
† Philosoph. Dict. art. the Jesuits.'
as an ingrate, since it was they who not only educated him, but secured him that position in society which enabled him to become famous at once. Both Father Porée and Father Jay, the professors under whom he was first placed, readily discovered that he possessed the germ of a great mind; both also dealt gently with the independence which characterized the opinions of their eccentric pupil. It was well known before he left the college of the Jesuits that he entertained anti-Christian views; but this did not prevent the Abbé Chateauneuf from recommending him to the celebrated Madame Ninon l'Enclos as an ingenious and brilliant youth ; and she was so much pleased with him that she presented him two thous nd livres for the purpose of purchasing a small library. Another Jesuit abbé (Chaulieu) introduced him to Madame de Maintenon, who in turn introduced him to the brilliant court of Louis XIV,
Singularly enough, the gravest fault attributed by Voltaire to his old instructors, and his most formidable antagonists in his attacks on the religion of Christ, was Pride, which he makes synonymous with their name in his article on the subject in his Philosophical Dictionary, in which he also avails himself of the opportunity to compare them to Lucifer. “What is it, then,” he asks, “ that was their ruin ? Pride. What! it may be asked by some, were the Jesuits prouder than other monks? Yes; and so much so that they procured a lettre-de-cachet against an ecclesiastic for calling them monks.”
But pride is a noble passion; if it sometimes degenerates into vice, it is that of the vigorous and independent mind, not that of the feeble and subservient. Hence it is that Montesquieu tells us that women are too feeble to be proud; they are but vain.* Proud men seldom commit any of the darker class of crimes, even when their minds are not strengthened by a superior education, as those of the Jesuits confessedly are. There is no crime that a proud man is more likely to be guilty of than that opposition to the will of a tyrant which is called treason. Virginius, for example, was a proud man when he preferred to stab his beloved daughter to the heart rather than see her dishonored by the tyrant; and William Tell was a proud man when he cut short the career of the modern fyrant in a somewhat similar manner.
* Elles sont trop foibles, pour avoir de l'orgueil ; elles n'ont que de la vanité. -De l'Esprit des Lois, tome i, p. 340.
True, Milton describes Satan as the impersonation of pride, but in doing so he makes even the demon so august and sublime a personage that many critics have represented him as the real hero of Paradise Lost. Be it remembered that in the case of Satan, as well as in that of Virginius and William Tell, pride assumes the form of opposition to individual power; in short, the prominent idea of the Arch-fiend, as given by Milton, is that such was his pride and his love of liberty that he was impatient of the control of even the Creator of the universe. Supposing it to be true, then, that the Jesuits are so proud that they are always inclined to rebel against despotic power, would it not be rather illogical for us to dislike them on this account? Are we not also opposed to despotic power? If we are, should we not rather sympathize with them, since they think so much like ourselves on so important a subject? It might be different had we any evidence of their being opposed to republics even when King Mob is as despotic and tyrannical as any individual tyrant that ever lived. Let us, therefore, be frank and honest, and give the Jesuits full credit for their superior educational abilities and appliances, without being in the least afraid that they will undermine our free institutions.
Our readers are already familiar with our impressions of the principal Jesuit colleges of the United States. It would be superfluous, therefore, to repeat them here. Nor could it be expected that we could attend all the commencements oven of our first-class colleges, since most of them are held nearly, if not exactly, at the same time. We pursue a course, however, which we are sure is equally satisfactory to our readers. That is, we embody the substance of the accounts given of those annual exercises by journals which we know to have men of education and ability connected with them precisely for such purposes ; men in whose judgment and veracity we have full confidence. It is with this understanding, for example, that we give an extract or two from the Washington National Intelligencer's report of the last commencement of Georgetown College, D. c. The writer first takes a cursory glance at the history of the institution, which, as it is not without interest to the friends of education in all parts of the country, we quote as follows:
“ The commencement exercises at this venerable seat of learning took place yesterday at nine o'clock, before a large and fashionable audience. if within a few years the population of the district had not materially changed, and our circulation of late been considerably increased, it would