In a very interesting article in the Atlantic Monthly for January, Mr. E. J. Powell gives his ideas of what constitutes a liberal education. The following extract contains what is most essential:
"A liberal education, such a one as can be completed by the age of twenty-two, should include two things, namely, mental training and positive knowledge. In this, I think, almost all men are agreed; but as to the proportions of the two and as to their compatibility, men's opinions vary widely. Of one thing, however, we may be sure. If either element of education be neglected in the undergraduate course, it is unlikely that the deficiency will ever be made good. The years immediately following graduation are devoted, in the vast majority of instances, to learning a profession or a business; and these interests should be shared with no others except by way of recreation. If, therefore, a young man begins the work of his life while still deficient in mental training, his mind will be trained by that work only in those parts which are actively used in the business or profession which he has taken up. If he begins active life ill provided with positive knowledge of facts he is likely to learn only those facts which are useful in his branch of active life. In this way he becomes one-sided and narrow-minded; efficient, perhaps, and useful, but not liberally educated, and probably less useful and efficient than if he were so. For it is the province of a liberal education to widen the mind, to make it turn more readily to new subjects of interest, to make it understand the ideas of others. The man who is liberally educated should possess more varied pleasures, a sounder judgment, more sympathy with his fellow-beings, a higher ideal of life and of its duties, than are held by other men. No education which is simply intellectual can give all these, but a proper intellectual education may assist a young man in acquiring them.