To the Editors of the Crimson:
I listened yesterday with much interest and enjoyment to the eloquent words of my fellow-countryman, Mr. de Mauny-Talvande, who spoke on moral education in France at the Harvard Pedagogical Club.
As I said to Mr. de Mauny-Talvande at the end of his lecture, his opinions are entitled to respect, but they are based on caste and party prejudices; he made a very inadequate presentation of the moral side of our educational system; its defects are magnified a thousand fold in his exposition; he is mistaken in asserting that party considerations govern the appointment of our school teachers; he is utterly wrong in saying that our late prime minister, Jules Ferry, wished the schools to be atheistic; he merely wanted them to be non-confessional; he fails to do justice to the strenuous endeavor of the French Republic, ever since 1876, to raise the level of education in France.
Having mingled among all classes of French society, having studied in all the state-schools, from the grammar school to the university, having furthermore studied in two schools conducted by two of the most famous religious orders, I am able to prove, and hope to do so some day before my fellow-countryman leaves: First, that if there exist in the so-called middle and lower classes in France envy, jealousy, and hatred towards the so-called nobility (and I have my doubts about this) these feelings are not, as Mr. de Mauny-Talvande believes, the result of our bad system of moral education in our primary and secondary schools, but of the idleness, the futility, the licentiousness, the egotism, the superciliousness, of too many members of this so-called nobility, who have learned absolutely nothing from the great revolution and from modern social evolution. Second, that the education to be obtained in the schools, lycees and universities of the French Republic, is infinitely more thorough, broader, more liberal, more moral than the narrow, loose and sectarian education of the religious orders and especially of Jesuits, who have been so vigorously and justly denounced by philosophers and statesmen from Pascal to Gambetta and Jules Ferry and including Montesquieu, Voltaire and de Choiseul.