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The Intellectual Development of the Canadian People Chapter II. - Education

The great educational advantages that the people of Canada now enjoy, and more especially in the premier Province of Ontario--as the splendid exhibit recently made at Paris and Philadelphia has proved to the world--are the results of the legislation of a very few years. A review of the first two periods of our political history affords abundant evidence that there existed in Canada as in Europe much indifference in all matters affecting the general education of the country. Whatever was accomplished during these early times was owing, in a great measure, to the meritorious efforts of ecclesiastical bodies or private individuals. As long as France governed Canada, education was entirely in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits, Franciscans, and other religious male and female Orders, at an early date, commenced the establishment of those colleges and seminaries which have always had so important a share in the education of Lower Canada. The first school in that province was opened in 1616 at Three Rivers, by Brother Pacifique Duplessis, a Franciscan. The Jesuits founded a College at Quebec in 1831, or three years before the establishment of Harvard and the Ursulines opened their convent in the same city four years later. Sister Bourgeoys, of Troyes, founded at Montreal in 1659 the Congregation de Notre Dame for the education of girls of humble rank, the commencement of an institution which has now its buildings in many parts of Canada. In the latter part of the seventeenth century Mgr. Francois Xavier de Laval-Montmorency, a member of one of the proudest families in Europe, carried out a project of providing education for Canadian priests drawn from the people of the country. Consequently, in addition to the Great Seminary at Quebec, there was the Lesser Seminary where boys were taught in the hope that they would one day take orders. In this project the Indians were included, and several attended when the school was opened in 1668, in the humble dwelling owned by Mme. Couillard, though it was not long before they showed their impatience of scholastic bondage. It is also interesting to learn that, in the inception of education, the French endeavoured in more than one of their institutions to combine industrial pursuits with the ordinary branches of an elementary education. For instance, attached to the Seminary was a sort of farm-school, established in the parish of St. Joachim, below Quebec, the object of which was to train the humbler class of pupils in agricultural as well as certain mechanical pursuits. The manual arts were also taught in the institutions under the charge of the Ursulines and Congregation. We find, for example, a French King giving a thousand francs to a sisterhood of Montreal to buy wool, and the same sum to teach young girls to knit. We also read of the same Sovereign maintaining a teacher of navigation and surveying at Quebec on the modest salary of four hundred francs a-year. But all accounts of the days of the French regime go to show that, despite the zealous efforts of the religious bodies to improve the education of the colonists, secular instruction was at a very low ebb. One writer tells us that 'even the children of officers and gentlemen scarcely knew how to read and write; they were ignorant of the first elements of geography and history.' These were, in fact, days of darkness everywhere, so far as the masses were concerned. Neither England nor France had a system of popular education. Yet it is undoubted that on the whole the inhabitants of Canada had far superior moral and educational advantages than were enjoyed during those times by the mass of people in England and France. Even in the days of Walpole and Hannah More the ignorance of the English peasantry was only equalled by their poverty and moral depravity. [Footnote: Green in his 'History of the English People' says:--Purity and fidelity to the marriage vow were sneered out of fashion; and Lord Chesterfield, in his letters to his son, instructed him in the art of seduction as part of a polite education. At the other end of the social scale lay the masses of the poor. They were ignorant and brutal to a degree which it is hard to conceive, for the vast increase of population which followed on the growth of towns and the development of manufactures had been met by no effort for religious or educational improvement. Not a new parish had been created. Hardly a single new church had been built. Schools there were none save the grammar schools of Edward and Elizabeth. The rural peasantry, who were fast being reduced to pauperism by the poor-laws, were left without moral or religious training of any sort. 'We saw but one bible in the parish of Chedda,' said Hannah More, at a far later time, 'and that was used to prop a flower pot.' p. 707, Harpers' ed. 1870. Parkman also admits that 'towards the end of the French regime the Canadian habitant was probably better taught, so far as concerned religion, than the mass of French peasants.'--The Old Regime in Canada.

Sensuality was not encouraged in Canada by the leaders of society, as was notoriously the case in the best circles of England and of France. Dull and devoid of intellectual light as was the life of the Canadian, he had his places of worship, where he had a moral training which elevated him immeasurably above the peasantry of England as well as of his old home. The clergy of Lower Canada confessedly did their best to relieve the ignorance of the people, but they were naturally unable to accomplish, by themselves, a task which properly devolved on the governing class. But under the French regime in Canada, the civil authorities were as little anxious to enlighten the people by the establishment of schools as they were to give them a voice in the government of the country. In remarkable contrast with the conduct of the French Government in this particular were the efforts of the Puritan pioneers then engaged in the work of civilization among the rocks of New England. Learning, after religion and social order, was the object nearest to the hearts of the New England fathers; or rather it may be said that they were convinced that social order and a religious character could not subsist in the absence of mental culture. As early as 1647, Governor Winthrop sanctioned a measure [Footnote: This measure provided that 'every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord has increased them to the number of 50 householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town, to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to write and read, whose wages shall be paid, either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply.' And it was further ordered that 'when any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families, or householders, they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the University.'] which was the first school law ever passed in America, and outlined just such a system as we now enjoy on an extended scale in Canada. Wise men those stern Puritans of the early colonial times! It is not surprising that intellectual food, so early provided for all classes, should have nurtured at last an Emerson, an Everett, a Hawthorne, a Wendell Philips, a Longfellow, a Lowell, a Howells, and a Parkman.

After the Conquest the education of the people made but little progress in Lower Canada. Education was confined for the most part to the Quebec Seminary, and a few other institutions under the control of religious communities, permitted to remain in the country. Lord Dorchester appointed a Commission in 1787, to enquire into the whole subject, but no practical results followed the step. In 1792 the Duke de Rochefoucauld wrote that 'the Canadian who could read was regarded as a phenomenon.' The attempt of the 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning' to establish schools was comparatively a failure; for after an existence of twenty years it had only 37 schools, attended by 1,048 pupils altogether. The British Government, at no time after it came into possession of the province, ever attempted anything for the promotion of general education. Indeed, the only matter in which it appeared in connection with education was one by no means creditable to it; for it applied the Jesuits' estates, which were destined for education, to a species of fund for secret service, and for a number of years maintained an obstinate struggle with the Assembly in order to continue this misappropriation. No doubt the existing antagonism of races, then so great an evil in Lower Canada, prevented anything like co-operation in this matter; but added to this was, probably, a doubt among the ruling class in Canada, as in England, as to the wisdom of educating the masses. An educational report of 1824 informs us that 'generally not above one-fourth of the entire population could read, and not above one-tenth of them could write even imperfectly.' In the presentments of the grand juries, and in the petitions on public grievances so frequently presented to Parliament, the majority of the signers were obliged to make their marks. During the year 1824, the Fabrique Act was passed with the view of relieving the public ignorance, but unhappily the political difficulties that prevailed from that time prevented any effective measures being carried out for the establishment of public schools throughout the province.

Nor was education in the western province in a much better state during the first period of Parliamentary Government, that is from 1792 to 1840. It is noteworthy, however, that high schools for the education of the wealthier classes were established at a very early date in the province. The first classical school was opened in the old town of Kingston by the Rev. Dr. Stuart. In 1807 the first Education Act was passed, establishing grammar schools in each of the eight districts in which the province was divided, and endowing them with an annual stipend of one hundred pounds each. In 1816 the first steps were taken by the Legislature in the direction of common schools--as they were then, and for some time afterwards, designated--but the Acts that were then and subsequently passed up to the time of the Union were very inadequate to accomplish the object aimed at. No general system existed; the masters were very inferior and ill paid. A very considerable portion of the province was without schools as well as churches. Of the lands which were generally appropriated to the support of the former by far the most valuable portion was diverted to the endowment of King's College. In 1838 there were 24,000 children in the common schools, out of a population of 450,000, leaving probably some 50,000 destitute of the means of education. The well-to-do classes, however, especially those living in the large towns, had good opportunities of acquiring a sound education. Toronto was well supplied with establishments, supported by large endowments: Upper Canada College, the Home District Grammar School, besides some well conducted seminaries for young ladies. For years Cornwall Grammar School, under the superintendence of the energetic Dr. Strachan was the resort of the provincial aristocracy. Among the men who received their early education in that famous establishment were Robert Baldwin, H. J. Boulton, J. B. Macaulay, Allan McNab, John Beverley Robinson, Dean Bethune, Clark Gamble, and many others afterwards famous in politics, in law and in the church. Dr. Strachan was not only a sound scholar but an astute man of the world, admirably fitted to develop the talents of his pupils and prepare them for the active duties of life in those young days of Canada. 'In conducting your education,' said he on one occasion, 'one of my principal duties has always been to fit you for discharging with credit the duties of any office to which you may hereafter be called. To accomplish this it was necessary for you to be accustomed frequently to depend upon and think for yourselves. Accordingly, I have always encouraged this disposition, which, when preserved within due bounds, is one of the greatest benefits that can possibly be acquired. To enable you to think with advantage, I not only regulated your tasks in such a manner as to exercise your judgment, but extended them for you beyond the mechanical routine of study usually adopted in schools.' [Footnote: Scadding's 'Toronto of Old,' p. 161.] None of the masters of the high schools of the present day could do as much under the very scientific system which limits their freedom of action in the educational training of their scholars. But whilst the wealthier classes in the larger centres of population could avail themselves of the services of such able teachers as the late Bishop of Toronto, the mass of people were left in a state of ignorance. The good schools were controlled by clergymen of the different denominations; in fact, the Church of England was nearly dominant in such matters in those early times, and it must be admitted that there was a spirit abroad in the province which discredited all attempts to place the education of the masses on a more liberal basis.

The Union of 1840 and the extension of the political rights of the people gave a new impulse to useful and practical legislation in a country whose population commenced from that time to increase very rapidly. In 1841, 1843 and 1844 measures were passed for the improvement of the school system of both provinces. In 1846, the system of compulsory taxation for the support of public schools was, for the first time, embodied in the law, and education at last made steady progress. According as experience showed the necessity of changes, the Legislature improved the educational system of both provinces--these changes having been continued to be made since Confederation. In Lower Canada, the names of two men will always be honourably associated with the working out of the School Law, and these are Dr. Meilleur and Hon. Mr. Chauveau, the latter of whom succeeded in establishing Normal Schools at Montreal and Quebec. In the Province of Ontario, Egerton Ryerson has perpetuated his name from one end of the country to the other, where the young are being educated in large, comfortable school-houses by a class of teachers whose qualifications, on the whole, are of a high order.

Great as has been the progress of education in Quebec, yet it must be admitted that it is in some respects behind that of Ontario. The buildings are inferior, the teachers less efficient, and insufficiently paid in many cases--and efficiency, no doubt, depends in a great measure on the remuneration. The ratio of children who are ignorant of the elements of knowledge is greater than in the Province of Ontario, where, it must be remembered, there is more wealth and, perhaps, more ambition among the people generally. Still the tendency in Quebec is in the direction of progress, and as the people become better off, they will doubtless be induced to work out their system, on the whole so admirable, with greater zeal and energy.

In the Province of Ontario every child can receive a free education, and can pass from the Public School to the High School or Collegiate Institute, and thence to the University, where the fees are small and many scholarships are offered to the industrious student. The principles which lie at the basis of the system are local assessment to supplement State aid; thorough inspection of all schools; ensuring the best teachers by means of Normal Schools and competitive examinations, complete equipment, graded examinations, and separate schools. The State recognises its obligation to the child, not only by contributing pecuniary aid, but by exercising a general supervision, by means of a Superintendent in Quebec and by a Minister of the Crown in Ontario. The system of Ontario, which has been the prototype for the legislation of all the smaller provinces, is eclectic, for it is the result of a careful examination of the systems that prevail in the United States, Prussia, and Ireland.

As in the larger provinces, much apathy was shown in Nova Scotia for many years on the subject of the education of the people. Unhappily this apathy lasted much longer; for the census of 1861 proved that out of a population of 284,000 persons over five years of age, no less than 81,469 could not read a printed page, and 114,877 could not write their names. It was not till 1864 that Sir Charles Tupper, then Premier, brought in a comprehensive measure containing the best features of the Ontario system; and the result has been a remarkable development in the education of the province. In New Brunswick, where the public schools were long in a very inferior state--though parish schools had been established as early as 1823--the system was remodelled, in 1871, on that of Ontario, though no provision was made for Separate Schools--an omission which has created much bitterness in the province, as the political history of Canada for the subsequent years abundantly testifies. In Prince Edward Island the first free schools were established in 1852, and further improvements have been made of recent years. In British Columbia, the Legislature has adopted substantially the Ontario School Law with such modifications as are essential to the different circumstances of a sparse population. In the North-west, before the formation of the Province of Manitoba, education was in a much better condition than the isolation and scattered state of the population would have led one to expect. In 1857 there were seventeen schools in the settlements, generally under the supervision of the clergy of the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian bodies. In the Collegiate School, managed by the Church of England, and supported, like all other institutions in the country, by contributions from abroad, Aeschylus, Herodotus, Thucydides and Livy were read with other classics besides mathematics. In 1871 a school law of a liberal character was passed, provision being made for Protestant and Roman Catholic schools separately.

The higher branches of education have been taught from a very early date in the history of all the provinces. In the Jesuit College, the Quebec Seminary, and other Roman Catholic institutions founded in Montreal, St. Hyacinthe, Three Rivers, and Nicolet, young men could always be educated for the priesthood, or receive such higher education as was considered necessary in those early times. The Quebec Seminary always occupied a foremost position as an educational institution of the higher order, and did much to foster a love for learning among those classes who were able to enjoy the advantages it offered them. [Footnote: Mr. Buller, in his Educational Report to Lord Durham, says: 'I spent some hours in the experimental lecture-room of the eminent Professor M. Casault, and I think that I saw there the best and most extensive set of philosophic apparatus which is yet to be found in the Colonies of British North America. The buildings are extensive, and its chambers airy and clean; it has a valuable library, and a host of professors and masters. It secures to the student an extensive course of education.'] It has already been noticed that a Grammar School system was established in the years of the first settlement of Ontario. Governor Simcoe first suggested the idea of a Provincial University, and valuable lands were granted by George III., in 1798, for that purpose. The University of Toronto, or King's College, as it was first called, was established originally under the auspices of the Church of England, and was endowed in 1828, but it was not inaugurated and opened until 1843. Upper Canada College, intended as a feeder to the University, dates back as far as the same time, when it opened with a powerful array of teachers, drawn for the most part from Cambridge. In 1834, the Wesleyan Methodists laid the foundation of Victoria College, at Cobourg, and it was incorporated in 1841, as a University, with the well-known Rev. Dr. Ryerson as its first President. The Kirk of Scotland established Queen's College, at Kingston, in 1841, and the Presbyterian Church of Canada, Knox's College, at Toronto, in 1844. The Roman Catholics founded Regiopolis, at Kingston, in 1846; St. Joseph's College, at Ottawa, in 1846; St Michael's, at Toronto, in 1852. Trinity College, under the auspices of the Church of England, was the issue of the successful effort that was made, in 1849, to throw King's College open to all denominations. Bishop Strachan determined never to lend his countenance to what he called 'a Godless University,' and succeeded in founding an institution which has always occupied a creditable position among the higher educational establishments of the country. The Baptists established the Woodstock Literary Institute in 1857; the Episcopal Methodists, Albert College, at Belleville, in 1866; and the Evangelical section of the Church of England, in 1878, obtained a charter for Huron College, under the name of the Western University of London.

But the great Province of Ontario cannot lay claim to the honour of having established the first Colleges with University powers in British North America. King's College at Windsor, in Nova Scotia--the old home of 'Sam Slick'--was the first institution of a high order founded in the provinces, its history as an academy going as far back as 1788, when Upper Canada had no government of its own. This institution has always remained under the control of the Church of England, and continues to hold a respectable position among educational institutions. Dalhousie College was established at Halifax in 1820, chiefly through the efforts of the Presbyterian Church. In 1831 the Baptists founded Acadia in Horton, and in 1843 the Wesleyans an Academy at Sackville, N. B.--a neutral ground as it were--which was afterwards elevated to the dignity of a University. The Catholics founded St. Mary's at Halifax in 1840, and St Francois Xavier at Antigonishe in 1855. In 1876 the experiment was commenced, at Halifax, of a University to hold examinations in arts, law, and medicine, and to confer degrees. In New Brunswick, King's College was established at Fredericton in 1828 under the control of the Church of England, but in 1858 it was made non-sectarian under the designation of the University of New Brunswick. Even the little Provinces of Prince Edward Island and Manitoba have aspirations in the same way, for the University of Manitoba was established a year or two ago, and the Prince of Wales College followed the visit of His Royal Highness to Charlottetown in 1860.

The establishment of Laval University was an important event in the annals of education of the Province of Quebec. Bishop Bourget of Montreal first suggested the idea of interesting the Quebec Seminary in the project. The result was the visit of the Principal, M. Louis Casault, to Europe, where he obtained a Royal charter, and studied the best university systems. The charter was signed in 1852, and the Pope approved the scheme, and authorized the erection of chairs of theology and the conferring of degrees. The University of McGill is an older institution than Laval. The noble bequest to which it owes its origin was for many years a source of expensive litigation, and it was not till 1821 that it received a charter, and only in 1829 was it able to commence operations. In fact, it cannot be said to have made any substantial progress till 1854, when it was re-organized with a distinguished Nova Scotian scientist as its Principal--Dr. J. W. Dawson--to whom his native province previously owed much for his efforts to improve education at a time when it was in a very low state, owing to the apathy of the Legislature. Bishop's College at Lennoxville was established in 1844, for the education of members of the Church of England, through the exertions of Bishop Mountain, but it was not till 1853 that it was erected into a University. Besides these institutions, the Roman Catholics and other denominations have various colleges and academies at different important points--such as St. Hyacinthe, Montreal, Masson and L'Assomption Colleges. The Government of the Dominion have also established, at Kingston, an institution where young men may receive a training to fit them for the military profession--an institution something on the model of West Point--the practical benefits of which, however, are not as yet appreciable in a country like this, which has no regular army, and cannot afford employment suitable for the peculiar studies necessarily followed in the Academy. The Ontario Government are also trying the experiment, on an expensive scale, of teaching young men agriculture, practically and scientifically--a repetition, under more favourable circumstances, of what was tried centuries ago by the religious communities of Quebec. Nor, in reviewing the means of mental equipment in Canada, must we forget the many establishments which are now provided for the education of young women outside of the Public and High Schools, the most notable being the Roman Catholic Convents of Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, Ottawa Ladies' College, Wesleyan Ladies' College at Hamilton, Brantford Ladies' College, Bishop Strachan School at Toronto, Helmuth Ladies' College at London, Albert College, and Woodstock Literary Institute, besides many minor institutions of more or less merit. Several of our universities have also shown a liberal progressive spirit in acknowledging the right of women to participate in the higher education, hitherto confined to men in this country--an illustration in itself of the intellectual development that is now going on among us.

When we proceed to review the statistics of educational progress, they present very gratifying results. The following table, carefully prepared to the latest date, from the voluminous official returns annually presented to the different Legislatures of the Provinces of Canada, will be quite sufficient for the purposes of this paper:

Total number of public educational institutions in the Dominion 13,800
Number of pupils in attendance throughout the year 925,000
Amount now annually contributed by the State and People $6,700,000
Number of Colleges and Universities 21
Number of Undergraduates in Arts, Law, Medicine, Theology, about 2,200
Number of Superior and High Schools, including Academies and Collegiate Institutes 443
Aggregate attendance in same 141,000
Number of Normal Schools 8
Number of students in same 1,400

Amount expended in Ontario alone during 30 years (from 1850 to 1880,) for erection and repairs of School-houses, fuel and contingencies, about $15,000,000

[Footnote: The educational statistics preceding 1850 are not easily ascertained, and in any case are small. I have not been able to obtain similar figures for other provinces; in fact, in some cases, they are not to be ascertained with any degree of accuracy.]

Total amount expended in same province, for all educational purposes during same period, upwards of $50,000,000

Total amount (approximate), available for public school purposes, in all Canada, since Confederation, i.e. in 12 years $64,000,000

These statistics prove conclusively, that Canada occupies a foremost position among communities for its zeal in developing the education of the people, irrespective of class. The progress that has been made within forty years may be also illustrated by the fact that, in 1839, there were in all the public and private schools of British North America only some 92,000 young people, out of a total population of 1,440,000, or about one in fifteen, whilst now the proportion may be given at one in four, if we include the students in all educational institutions. But it must be admitted, that it is to Ontario we must look for illustrations of the most perfect educational system. There, from the very commencement, the admirable municipal system which was one of the best results of the Union of 1840, enabled the people to prove their public spirit by carrying out with great energy the different measures passed by the Legislature for the promotion of Public Schools. 'By their constitution, the municipal and school corporations are reflections of the sentiments and feelings of the people within their respective circles of jurisdiction; their powers are adequate to meet all the economic exigencies of each municipality, whether of schools or roads, of the diffusion of knowledge, or the development of wealth.' [Footnote: Hon. Adam Crooks, Minister of Education, Report on Educational Institutions of Ontario, for Philadelphia Exhibition, p. 45.] As a result of such public spirit, we find in Ontario the finest specimens of school architecture, and the most perfect school apparatus and appliances of every kind, calculated to assist the teacher and pupil, and to bring into play their best mental faculties. But there can be no doubt that the success of the system rests in a very great measure on the effort that has been made to improve the status of the teacher. The schoolmaster is no longer a man who resorts to education because everything else has failed. He is no longer one of that class of 'adventurers, many of them persons of the lowest grade,' who, we are told, infested the rural districts of Upper Canada in olden times, 'wheresoever they found the field unoccupied; pursuing their speculation with pecuniary profit to themselves, but with certainly little advantage to the moral discipline of their youthful pupils.' [Footnote: Preston's 'Three Years in Canada' (1837-9), p. 110, Vol. ii.] The fact that such men could be instructors of youth, half a century ago, is of itself a forcible illustration of the public indifference to the question of popular education. All the legislation in Ontario, and in the other provinces as well, has been framed with the object of elevating the moral and intellectual standing of a class on whose efforts so much of the future happiness and prosperity of this country depends. On the whole, the object has been successfully achieved, and the schoolmasters of Ontario are, as a rule, a superior class of men. Yet it must be admitted that much can still be done to improve their position. Education, we all know, does not necessarily bring with it refinement; that can only come by constant communication with a cultured society, which is not always, in Canada, ready to admit the teacher on equal terms. It may also be urged that the teacher, under the system as now perfected, is far too much of an automaton--a mere machine, wound up to proceed so far and no farther. He is not allowed sufficient of that free volition which would enable him to develop the best qualities of his pupils, and to elevate their general tone. Polite manners among the pupils are just as valuable as orderly habits. Teachers cannot strive too much to check all rudeness among the youth, many of whom have few opportunities to cultivate those social amenities which make life so pleasant, and also do so much to soften the difficulties of one's journey through life. [Footnote: Since the above was written, I find the following remarks by Mr. Adam, editor of the _Canada Educational Monthly_, to the same purport: 'The tone of the Schools might be largely raised and the tender and plastic nature of the young minds under training be directed into sympathy with the noble and the elevating. Relieved of much of the red-tapism which hampers the work of the High-School teacher, the masters of the Public Schools have more opportunity to make individuality tell in the conduct of the school, and of encircling the sphere of their work with a bright zone of cultivation and refinement. But the Public School teacher will accomplish much if, reverently and sympathetically, he endeavours to preserve the freshness and ingenuousness of childhood and, by the influence of his own example, while leading the pupil up the golden ladder of mental acquisition, he encourages the cultivation of those graces of life which are the best adornments of youth.'--Feb. 1879.] Such discipline cannot be too rigidly followed in a country of a Saxon race, whose _brusquerie_ of manner and speech is a natural heritage, just as a spirit of courtesy seems innate in the humblest _habitants_ who have not yet forgotten, among the rude conditions of their American life, that prominent characteristic of a Gallic people. [Footnote: More than forty years ago, Mr. Buller, in his report to Lord Durham on the State of Education in Lower Canada, pays this tribute to the peasantry: 'Withal this is a people eminently qualified to reap advantages from education; they are shrewd and intelligent, never morose, most amiable in their domestic relations, and most graceful in their manners.'

It is quite probable that the Public School system of this country is still defective in certain respects, which can only be satisfactorily improved with the progress of experience. The remarks of a writer in a recent number of a popular American magazine, _Scribner's Monthly_, may have some application to ourselves, when he says that there is now-a-days 'too decided an aim to train everybody to pass an examination in everything;' that the present system 'encourages two virtues--to forgive and forget, in time to forgive the examiner, and to forget the subject of the examination.' The present writer does not wish--in fact, it is rather beyond the limit he has marked out for this review--to go into any lengthy discussion of matters which are worthy, however, of consideration by all those interested in perfecting the details of the educational system in Ontario; but he may refer, _en passant_, to the somewhat remarkable multiplication of text-books, many of which are carelessly got up, simply to gratify the vanity and fill the purse of some educationist, anxious to get into print. Grammar also appears to be a lost art in the Public Schools, where the students are perplexed by books, not simple, but most complex in their teachings, calculated to bewilder persons of mature analytical minds, and to make one appreciate more highly than ever the intelligible lessons of Lennie's homely little volume, which was the favourite in those times when education was not quite so much reduced to a science. But these are, after all, only among the details which can be best treated by teachers themselves, in those little parliaments which have grown up of recent years, and where educationists have admirable opportunities of comparing their experiences, and suggesting such improvements as may assist in the intellectual development of the young, and at the same time elevate their own social standing in this country. On the whole, Canada has much reason for congratulation in possessing a system which brings education in every province within the reach of all, and enables a lad to cultivate his intellectual faculties to a point sufficient to place him in the years of his mature manhood in the highest position that this country offers to its sons. As to the objection, not unfrequently urged, that the tendency of the public school education of this country is to withdraw the young from the industrial avocations of life, it may be forcibly met by the fact, that it is to the New England States we look for the best evidences of industrial, as well as intellectual, development. The looms of Massachusetts and Connecticut are not less busy--the inventive genius of those States is not less fertile, because their public schools are teeming with their youth. But it is not necessary to go to the neighbouring States to give additional force to these remarks; for in no part of the Dominion, is there so much industrial energy as in the Province of Ontario, where the school system is the best. An English gentleman, who has devoted more attention than the majority of his countrymen to the study of colonial subjects, has well observed on this point: 'A key to one of the principal causes of their successful progress in the development of industrial art is probably to be found in their excellent and superior educational system.' [Footnote: Address of Mr. Frederick Young on the Paris Exhibition, before the Royal Colonial Institute, 1878-9.]

A review of the University system of this country, on the perfection of which depends the higher culture of the people, shows us that the tendency continues to be in the direction of strengthening the denominational institutions. The Universities of Toronto and McGill are the principal non-sectarian institutions of a higher class, which appear to be on a popular and substantial basis. It is natural enough that each denomination should rally around a college, which rests on a religious basis. Parents seem in not a few cases to appreciate very highly the moral security that the denominational system appears to afford to their sons--a moral security which they believe to be wanting in the case of non-sectarian institutions. Even those colleges which do not shut their doors to young men of any particular creed continue to be more or less supported by the denominations under whose auspices they were first established. No doubt, these colleges, sufficiently numerous for a sparsely peopled country like Canada, are doing a valuable work in developing the intellectual faculties of the youth of the several provinces. It is a question, however, if the perpetuation of a system which multiplies colleges with University powers in each province, will tend to produce the soundest scholarship in the end. What we want even now are not so many 'Admirable Crichtons' with a smattering of all sorts of knowledge, but men recognised for their proficiency in special branches of learning. Where there is much competition, there must be sooner or later an inclination to lower the standard, and degrade the value of the diplomas issued at the close of a college course. Theoretically, it seems preferable that in a great province like Ontario, the diplomas should emanate from one Central University authority rather than from a number of colleges, each pursuing its own curriculum. No doubt it is also quite possible to improve our higher system of education so as to make it more in conformity with the practical necessities of the country. An earnest discussion has been going on for some time in the United States as to the inferiority of the American University System compared with that of Germany. [Footnote: An article, in the July number of _Harper's_ for 1880, by so distinguished an authority as Professor Draper, is well worthy of perusal by those who wish to pursue this subject at greater length. Among other things he says (pp. 253-4): 'There is therefore in America a want of a school offering opportunities to large and constantly increasing classes of men for pursuing professional studies--a want which is deeply felt, and which sends every year many students and millions of dollars out of the country. Where in the United States can a young man prepare himself thoroughly to become a teacher of the ancient classics. A simple college course is not enough. The Germans require that their teachers of Latin and Greek should pursue the classics as a specialty for three years at a University after having completed the gymnasium which, as a classical school, would be universally admitted to rank with our colleges.... If an American (or a Canadian) wishes to pursue a special course in history, politics and political economy, mathematics, philosophy, or in any one of many other studies lying outside of the three professions, law, medicine, and theology, he must go to Europe. Again, whoever desires even in theology, law and medicine to select from one branch as a specialty, must go to Europe to do so.' Hon. Mr. Blake, in his last address as Chancellor of Toronto University, also dwelt very forcibly on the necessity of _post graduate_ courses of study in special subjects.--_Canada Educational Monthly_, Oct. 1880.] John-Hopkins University in Baltimore, Michigan University, and Cornell University, are illustrations of the desire to enlarge the sphere of the education of the people. If we had the German system in this country, men could study classics or mathematics, or science, or literature, or law, or medicine, in a national University with a sole view to their future avocations in life. It is true, in the case of law and medicine Laval, Toronto, McGill and other Universities in the provinces have organized professional courses; and there is no doubt a desire on the part of the educational authorities in these institutions to ensure proficiency so far as the comparatively limited means at their command permit them. It is certainly a noteworthy fact--lately pointed out by Mr. Blake--that during the last five years only one fourth of the entrants into Osgoode Hall were graduates of any University, and three-fourths were men who had taken no degree, and yet there is no profession which demands a higher mental training than the Bar. In medical education there is certainly less laxity than in the United States; all the efforts of medical men being laudably directed to lengthen the course and develop the professional knowledge of the students. Still, not a few of our young men show their appreciation of the need of even a wider knowledge and experience than is afforded in the necessarily limited field of Canadian study, by spending some time in the great schools and hospitals of Europe. Of course, in a new country, where there is a general desire to get to the practical work of life with as little delay as possible, the tendency to be carefully guarded against is the giving too large facilities to enter professions where life and property are every day at stake. It is satisfactory, however, to know that the tendency in Canada is rather in the other direction, and that an institution like McGill College, which is a Medical College of high reputation, is doing its best with the materials at command, to perfect the medical knowledge of those who seek its generous aid. No doubt the time is fast approaching when the State will be obliged to give greater assistance to Toronto University so as to enable it to enter on a broader and more liberal system of culture, commensurate with the development of science and literature. Unless the State makes a liberal effort in this direction, we are afraid it will be some time before University College will be in a position to imitate the praiseworthy example set by Columbia College, which, from its situation in the great commercial metropolis, and the large means at its command, seems likely to be the great American University of the future. It must be remembered that the intellectual requirements of the Dominion must continue to increase with great rapidity, since there is greater wealth accumulating, and a praiseworthy ambition for higher culture. The legislature and the public service are making very heavy requisitions on the intellect of this much governed country, with its numerous Parliaments and Cabinets and large body of officials, very many of whom are entrusted with the most responsible duties, demanding no ordinary mental qualifications. [Footnote: It is a fact worthy of mention in this connection, that in the English House of Commons dissolved in 1880, 236, or more than a third out of 658, members were Oxford or Cambridge men, while about 180 were 'public school men,'--the 'public schools' being Eton and such high class institutions. In a previous English Cabinet, the majority were Honor men; Mr. Gladstone is a double first of Christ Church, Oxford.]

The public schools, collegiate institutes, and universities, apart from the learned professions, must also every year make larger demands on the intellectual funds of the Dominion, and as the remuneration of the masters and professors in the educational institutions of this country should in the nature of things improve in the future, our young men must be necessarily stimulated to consider such positions more worthy of a life's devotion. Under such circumstances, it should be the great object of all true friends of the sound intellectual development of Canada to place our system of higher education on a basis equal to the exigencies of a practical, prescient age, and no longer cling to worn out ideas of the past. In order to do this, let the people of Ontario determine to establish a national University which will be worthy of their great province and of the whole Dominion. Toronto University seems to have in some measure around it that aroma of learning, that dignity of age, and that prestige of historic association which are necessary to the successful establishment of a national seat of learning, and will give the fullest scope to Canadian talent.

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