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EDITORS HERALD-CRIMSON :-Dear Sirs : Having read to-day your article of the 28th, in which you cite Canon Farrar's views in regard to the (socalled) English system of classical education, I trust that, with your usual courtesy and fairness and desire to furnish your readers correct information on the subjects discussed in your paper, you will permit me to offer a few brief remarks, that may tend to modify largely the conclusions that might be drawn from the extract you have given.
If you will carefully examine Canon Farrar's remarks as a whole you will see that they are not directed against "classical education" in a broad and liberal point of view, but against the special system, with which he was familiar as an assistant master at Harrow from 1855 to (I think) 1871, chiefly under the mastership of Dr. Vaughan. That system, though much improved by Dr. Vaughan, still preserved and preserves the old traditions and arrangements of the school which made a very full and finished classical education the one great object, to which all other branches were made subordinate. As a natural result, Harrow has for long sent out a very large number of men, who have won Classical Scholarships and other high class honors in the Universities, but has seldom produced scholars of much ability in other departments of a liberal education. Nor could this well be otherwise, seeing that, in the upper classes of Harrow, the greater portion of every week's time is given to Greek and Latin composition, and more especially in Greek and Latin verse, in which the Harrovians have always ranked high. The same system has until very lately prevailed in some four or five other of the "Public Schools" which have come to be regarded by those not practically acquainted with the general system of classical education in England as specimens of the whole. This is a very unfortunate mistake, caused mainly by the Commissioners some years ago having made a report to Parliament based almost solely on those six or seven well known and aristocratic schools, which still clung to the old classical system long after most important and liberal reforms had been introduced into the great body of the "Grammar" or endowed schools of the country, such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Durham, Cheltinham, anni multis Allis, hundreds in fact, in which for more than 30 years a liberal scientific, English and modern education has not only been combined with the classical, but made to a considerable extent imperative upon all pupils from the lowest "form" to the highest.
The happy result has been an immense improvement in the "middle class" education of the country, and also in the liberal culture of the two chief Universities, whose authorities name wisely and powerfully sustained and extended this improved system, in which the study of the English Language and Literature, and of Modern Languages holds a high place, in conjunction with, not in opposition to, a respectable proficiency in Greek and Latin.
Far be it from me to say anything derogatory to Canon Farrar who early proved himself a brilliant and accomplished classical scholar, winning fourth place in the first class of the classical tripos in 1854, and a Trinity fellowship in 1856, besides many of the highest prizes in Greek and Latin verse composition. But his studies and experience have hardly been such as to render him a sound judge of university education, and he has shown in his remarks an ignorance of the broad and liberal system that has been doing such good work in England, outside of the small circle of Harrow and the other six favored and fashionable public schools. All of these, however, have their good points, and may well be proud of the large number of distinguished men that have been educated in them. Of the Harrowians I can shy, from personal knowledge, (as during Dr. Vaughan's time not a few of them came from the Fourth Form of Harrow to finish or supplement their education for various professions and the Indian Civil Service under me) that more gentlemanly young men I never had under my care. But certainly, while well trained in Greek and Latin verse composition they were lamentably deficient in many necessary branches of education. Not to trespass on your space, however, I would ask you and your readers to examine the whole bearing of Canon Farrar's remarks, and also his career as scholar and teacher before, drawing a conclusion adverse to the benefits of an intelligent and enlightened study of Greek and Latin as important factors in a liberal education.
E. R. HUMPHREYS.Boston, November 30, 1883.
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