Fact and Comment
"The teaching of the classic languages nowadays is merely the result of a heritage, a tradition, begun back in mediaeval times, when what teaching there was existed in church schools only, in which Latin was the official languages. We all know what it meant, some centuries ago, to have even the slightest education. If a man could translate a little Latin into his mother tongue, he could not be tried by a civil court for any crime. He could claim "benefit of clergy" and be tried in an ecclesiastical court--and the ecclesiastical court was very likely to pardon, or to inflict comparatively mild punishment.
"As centuries passed schools slipped from the control of the Church, and benefit of clergy was no more. But no people cling to tradition and custom as do schoolmen the world over. And so Latin, and Greek too, for that matter, remained a basic part of the usual school curriculum. And now some disrespectful and doubting inquirer stands up and asks why it is that children should spend so large a fraction of their whole school time in the technical study of languages that have been dead and buried these many years. Immediately there is a great hunting for reasons--and of really good reasons there is none, for the simple cause that it is not based upon reason at all, but upon unreasoning custom and tradition, coupled with a prestige handed down some several hundred years. CHARLES K. TAYLOR."