In his recent lecture on "The Lesson of Greek Art" in New York, Dr. Charles Waldstein, of Cambridge University, lately of Columbia College, took occasion to draw the moral from Greek art in favor of the highest and most liberal education in this country. The advice of the King of Bavaria to a young architect, he chained, was the advice we, of all nations, needed most to heed: "Build your spire first! The others will see to it that the nave does not remain unfinished"-advice the very reverse in purport of the popular maxim of "penny wise and pound foolish."
This is the prevailing danger of democracy, that with its intense sense of the importance of the mass, it spend all its energies in the construction of the nave while the tower remains always unfinished. To guard against this tendency, to throw all its influence against this tendency; is the great mission of this university as of every university with high aims and abilities in the land. The tendency of democracy is to make little of such purposes, to hold in slight regard in comparison with other things the means by which such purposes are attained the colleges of the country and the great body of college graduated infused with the spirit of respect for the highest cultures a culture irrespective of utilitarian ends.
It is the peculiarity of the people of New England,-a people essentially undemocratic in their nature, in the sense that the people of England itself are undemocratic,-that they, above all sections of the United States, have always recognized the importance of the higher education and that they have been the chief promoters of it in this country. "Build the tower first; and others will see to it that the nave does not remain untinished." From the founding of Harvard College in the midst of an almost unbroken wilderness until this day of universal education, this has been the experience of New England.