Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK SIXTH.: Public Instruction. - The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II
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BOOK SIXTH.: Public Instruction. - Hippolyte Taine, The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II 
The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II, trans. John Durand (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1894).
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I. Public instruction and its three effects.—Influences of the master, of the pupils on each other, and of discipline.—Case in which all three tend towards producing a particular type of man. II. Napoleon’s aim.—University monopoly.—Revival and multitude of private schools.—Napoleon regards them unfavorably.—His motives.—Private enterprises compete with public enterprise.—Measures against them.—Previous authorization necessary and optional suppression of them.—Taxes on free education in favor of the university.—Decree of November, 1811.—Limitation of secondary teaching in private schools.—How the university takes away their pupils.—Day-schools as prescribed.—Number of boarders limited.—Measures for the restriction or assimilation of ecclesiastical schools.—Recruits forcibly obtained in prominent and ill-disposed families.—Napoleon the sole educator in his empire. III. His machinery.—The educating body.—How its members come to realize their union.—Hierarchy of rank.—How ambition and amour-propre are gratified.—The monastic principle of celibacy.—The monastic and military principle of obedience.—Obligations contracted and discipline enforced.—The École Normale and recruits for the future university. IV. Object of the educational corps and adaptation of youth to the established order of things.—Sentiments required of children and adults.—Passive acceptance of these rules.—Extent and details of school regulations.—Emulation and the desire to be at the head.—Constant competition and annual distribution of prizes. V. Military preparation and the cult of the Emperor.
At fixed intervals a man, in a room, gathers around him children, youths, a group of young people, ten, twenty, thirty or more; he talks to them for one or two hours and they listen to him. They sit alongside of each other, look in each other’s faces, touch each other’s elbows, feel that they are fellow-disciples, of the same age and occupied alike; they form a society and in two ways, one with another and all with the master. Hence they live under a statute: every society has one of its own, spontaneous or imposed on it; as soon as men, little or big, come together in any number, in a drawing-room, in a café, in the street, they find themselves subject to a local charter, a sort of code which prescribes to them, or interdicts a certain sort of conduct. And so with the school: positive rules along with many tacit rules are here observed and these form a mould which stamps on minds and souls a lasting imprint. Whatever a public lesson may be, whatever its object, laic or ecclesiastic, whether its subject-matter is religious or scientific, from the bottom to the top of the scale, from the primary school and the catechism up to the great seminary, in upper schools and in the faculties, we find in abridgment the academic institution. Of all social engines, it is probably the most powerful and the most efficacious; for it exercises three kinds of influence on the young lives it enfolds and directs, one through the master, another through con-discipleship and the last through rules and regulations.
On the one hand, the master, who passes for a savant, teaches with authority and the scholars, who feel that they are ignorant, learn with confidence.—On the other hand, outside of his family and the domestic circle, the pupil finds in his group of comrades a new, different and complete world which has its own ways and customs, its own sense of honor and its own vices, its own view of things (esprit de corps), in which independent and spontaneous judgments arise, precocious and haphazard divinations, expressions of opinion on all things human and divine. It is in this environment that he begins to think for himself, in contact with others like himself and his equals, in contact with their ideas, much more intelligible and acceptable to him than those of mature men, and therefore much more persuasive, contagious and exciting; these form for him the ambient, penetrating atmosphere in which his thought arises, grows and shapes itself; he here adopts his way of looking at the great society of adults of which he is soon to become a member, his first notions of justice and injustice, and hence an anticipated attitude of respect or of rebellion, in short, a prejudice which, according as the spirit of the group is reasonable or unreasonable, is either sound or unsound, social or antisocial.—Finally, the discipline of the school has its effect. Whatever its rules and regulations may be, whether liberal or despotic, lax or strict, monastic, military or worldly, whether a boarding or a day school, mixed or exclusive, in town or in country, with greater or less stress no gymnastic training or on brain-work, with the mind given to studying objects or to the study of words, the pupil enters into an order of things fashioned for him beforehand. According to the diversities of the system (cadre) he practises different exercises; he contracts different habits; he is developed or stunted physically or morally, in one sense or in a contrary sense. Hence, just as the system is good or bad, he becomes more or less capable or incapable of bodily or mental effort, of reflection, of invention, of taking the initiative, of starting an enterprise, of subordinating himself to a given purpose, of willing, persistent association, that is to say, in sum, of playing an active and useful part on the stage of the world he is about to enter upon. Observe that this apprenticeship in common, sitting on benches according to certain regulations and under a master, lasts six, ten, fifteen years and often twenty; that girls are not exempt from it; that not one boy out of a hundred is educated to the end at home by a private teacher; that, in secondary and even in superior instruction, the school wheel turns uniformly and without stopping ten hours a day if the scholar boards outside, and twenty-four hours a day if he boards within; that at this age the human clay is soft, that it has not yet received its shape, that no acquired and resistent form yet protects it from the potter’s hand, against the weight of the turning-wheel, against the friction of other morsels of clay kneaded alongside of it, against the three pressures, constant and prolonged, which compose public education.
Evidently, there is here an enormous force, especially if the three pressures, instead of opposing each other, as often happens, combine and converge towards the production of a certain finished type of man; if, from infancy to youth and from youth to adult age, the successive stages of preparation are superposed in such a way as to stamp the adopted type deeper and with more exactness; if all the influences and operations that impress it, near or far, great or small, internal or external, form together a coherent, defined, applicable and applied system. Let the State undertake its fabrication and application, let it monopolize public education, let it become its regulator, director and contractor, let it set up and work its machine throughout the length and breadth of the land, let it, through moral authority and legal constraint, force the new generation to enter therein—it will find twenty years later in these minors who have become major, the kind and number of ideas it aimed to provide, the extent, limit and form of mind it approves of, and the moral and social prejudice that suits its purposes.
Such is the aim of Napoleon: “In the establishment of an educational corps,” he says to himself,1 “my principal aim is to secure the means for directing political and moral opinions.” Still more precisely, he counts on the new institution to set up and keep open for inspection a universal and complete police repertory. “This body must be organized in such a way as to keep notes on each child after the age of nine years.” Having seized adults he wants to seize children also, watch and shape future Frenchmen in advance; brought up by him, in his hands or in sight, they become ready-made auxiliaries, docile subjects and more docile than their parents. Amongst the latter, there are still too many unsubmissive and refractory spirits, too many royalists and too many republicans; domestic traditions from family to family contradict each other or vary, and children grow up in their homes only to clash with each other in society afterwards. Let us anticipate this conflict; let us prepare them for concord; all brought up in the same fashion, they will some day or other find themselves unanimous,1 not only apparently, as nowadays through fear or force, but in fact and fundamentally, through inveterate habit and by previous adaptation of imagination and affection. Otherwise, “there will be no stable political state” in France2 ; “so long as one grows up without knowing whether to be republican or monarchist, Catholic or irreligious, the State will never form a nation; it will rest on uncertain and vague foundations; it will be constantly exposed to disorder and change.”—Consequently, he assigns to himself the monopoly of public instruction; he alone is to enjoy the right to manufacture and sell this like salt and tobacco; “public instruction, throughout the Empire, is entrusted exclusively to the university. No school, no establishment for instruction whatever,” superior, secondary, primary, special, general, collateral, laic or ecclesiastic, “may be organized outside of the imperial university and without the authorization of its chief.”3
Every manufactory of school product within these boundaries and operating under this direction is of two sorts. Some of them, in the best places, interconnected and skilfully grouped, are national factories founded by the government, or at its command, by the communes,—faculties, lycées, colleges, and small communal schools; others, isolated and scattered about, are private factories founded by individuals, such as boarding-schools and institutions for secondary instruction, small free schools. The former, works of the State, ruled, managed, supported and turned to account by it, according to the plan prescribed by it and for the object it has proposed, are simply a prolongation of itself; it is the State which operates in them and which, directly and entirely, acts through them: they enjoy therefore all its favor and the others all its disfavor. The latter, during the Consulate, revived or sprung up by hundreds, in all directions, spontaneously, under the pressure of necessity, and because the young need instruction as they need clothes, but haphazard, as required according to demand and supply, without any superior and common regulation—nothing being more antipathetic to the governmental genius of Napoleon: “It is impossible,” he says,1 “to remain longer as we are, since everybody can start an education shop the same as a cloth shop” and furnish as he pleases, or as his customers please, this or that piece of stuff, even of poor quality, and of this or that fashion, even extravagant or out of date: hence so many different dresses, and a horrible medley. One good obligatory coat, of stout cloth and suitable cut, a uniform for which the public authority supplies the pattern, is what should go on the back of every child, youth or young man; private individuals who undertake this matter are mistrusted beforehand. Even when obedient, they are only half-docile; they take their own course and have their own preferences, they follow their own taste or that of parents. Every private enterprise, simply because it exists and thrives, constitutes a more or less independent and dissentient group. Napoleon, on learning that Sainte-Barbe, restored under the direction of M. de Lanneau, had five hundred inmates, exclaims1 : “How does it happen that an ordinary private individual has so many in his house?” The Emperor almost seems jealous; it seems as if he had just discovered a rival in one corner of his university domain; this man is an usurper on the domain of the sovereign; he has constituted himself a centre; he has collected around him clients and a platoon; now, as Louis XIV. said, the State must have no “platoons apart.” Since M. de Lanneau has talent and is successful, let him enter the official ranks and become a functionary. Napoleon at once means to get hold of him, his house and his pupils, and orders M. de Fontaines, Grand-Master of the University, to negotiate the affair; M. de Lanneau will be suitably compensated; Sainte-Barbe will be formed into a lycée, and M. de Lanneau shall be put at the head of it. Let it be noted that he is not an opponent, a man that is not all right. M. de Fontaines himself praises his teaching, his excellent mind, his perfect exactitude, and calls him the universitarian of the university. But he does not belong to it, he stands aloof and stays at home, he is not disposed to become a mere cog-wheel in the imperial manufactory. Therefore, whether he is aware of it or not, he does it harm, and all the more according to his prosperity; his full house empties the lycées; the more pupils he has the less they have. Private enterprises in their essence enter into competition with public enterprise.
For this reason, if tolerated by the latter, it is reluctantly and because nothing else can be done; there are too many of them; the money and the means to replace them at one stroke would be wanting. Moreover, with instruction, the consumers, as with other supplies and commodities, naturally dislike monopoly; they must be gradually brought to it; resignation must come to them through habit. The State, accordingly, may allow private enterprises to exist, at least for the time being. But, on condition of their being kept in the strictest dependence, of its arrogating to itself the right over them of life and death, of reducing them to the state of tributaries and branches, of utilizing them, of transforming their native and injurious rivality into a fruitful and forced collaboration. Not only must private schools obtain from the State its express consent to be born, for lack of which they are closed and their principals punished,1 but again, even when licensed, they live subject to the goodwill of the Grand-Master, who can and must close them as soon as he recognizes in them “grave abuses and principles contrary to those professed by the University.” Meanwhile, the University supports itself with their funds; since it alone has the right to teach, it may profit by this right, concede for money the faculty of teaching or of being taught alongside of it, oblige every head of an institution to pay so much for himself and so much for each of his pupils; in sum, here as elsewhere, in derogation of the university blockade, as with the continental blockade, the State sells licenses to certain parties. So true is this that, even with superior instruction, when nobody competes with it, it sells them; every graduate who gives a course of lectures on literature or on science must pay beforehand, for the year, seventy-five francs at Paris and fifty francs in the provinces. Every graduate who lectures on law or medicine must pay beforehand one hundred and fifty francs at Paris and one hundred francs in the provinces.1 There is the same annual duty on the directors of secondary schools, boarding-schools and private institutions. Moreover, to obtain the indispensable license, the master of a boarding-school at Paris must pay three hundred francs, and in a province two hundred francs; the principal of an institution in Paris pays six hundred francs, and in the provinces four hundred francs; besides that, this license, always revocable, is granted only for ten years; at the end of the ten years the titulary must obtain a renewal and pay the tax anew. As to his pupils, of whatever kind, boarding scholars, day scholars, or even gratis,2 the University levies on each a tax equal to the twentieth of the cost of full board; the director himself of the establishment is the one who fixes and levies the tax; he is the responsible collector of it, book-keeper and the debtor. Let him not forget to declare exactly the terms of his school and the number of his pupils; otherwise, there is investigation, verification, condemnation, restitution, fine, censure, and the possible closing of his establishment.
Regulations, stricter and stricter, tighten the cord around his neck and, in 1811, the rigid articles of the last decree draw so tight as to insure certain strangling at short date. Napoleon counts on that.3 For his lycées, especially at the start, have not succeeded; they have failed to obtain the confidence of families;4 the discipline is too military, the education is not sufficiently paternal, the principals and professors are only indifferent functionaries, more or less egoist or worldly; only former subaltern officers, rude and foul-mouthed, serve as superintendents and assistant-teachers; the holders of State scholarships bring with them “habits fashioned out of a bad education,” or by the ignorance of almost no education at all,1 so that “for a child that is well born and well brought up,” their companionship is disproportionate and their contact as baneful as it is repulsive. Consequently, the lycées during the first years,2 solely filled with the few holders of scholarships, remain deserted or scarcely occupied, whilst “the élite of the young crowd into private schools more or less dear.”
This élite of which the University is thus robbed must be got back. Since the young do not attend the lycée because they like it, they must come through necessity; to this end, other issues are rendered difficult and several are entirely barred; and better still, all those that are tolerated are made to converge to one sole central outlet, a university establishment, in such a way that the director of each private school, changed from a rival into a purveyor, serves the university instead of injuring it and gives it pupils instead of taking them away. In the first place, his high standard of instruction is limited;1 even in the country and in the towns that have neither lycée nor college, he must teach nothing above a fixed degree; if he is the principal of an institution, this degree must not go beyond the class of the humanities; he must leave to the faculties of the State their domain intact, differential calculus, astronomy, geology, natural history and superior literature; if he is the master of a boarding-school, this degree must not extend beyond grammar classes, nor the first elements of geometry and arithmetic; he must leave to State lycées and colleges their domain intact, the humanities properly so called, superior lectures and means of secondary instruction.—In the second place, in the towns possessing a lycée or college, he must teach at home only what the University leaves untaught;2 he is not deprived, indeed, of the younger boys; he may still instruct and keep them; but he must conduct all his pupils over ten years of age to the college or lycée, where they will regularly follow the classes as day-scholars. Consequently, daily and twice a day, he marches them to and fro between his house and the university establishment; before going, in the intermission, and after the class is dismissed he examines them in the lesson they have received out of his house; apart from that, he lodges and feeds them, his office being reduced to this. He is nothing beyond a watched and serviceable auxiliary, a subaltern, a University tutor and “coach,” a sort of unpaid, or rather paying, schoolmaster and innkeeper in its employ.
All this does not yet suffice. Not only does the State recruit its day-scholars in his establishment but it takes from him his boarding-scholars. “On and after the first of November 1812,1 the heads of institutions and the masters of boarding-schools shall receive no resident pupils in their houses above the age of nine years, until the lycée or college, established in the same town or place where there is a lycée, shall have as many boarders as it can take.” This complement shall be three hundred boarders per lycée; there are to be “eighty lycées in full operation” during the year 1812, and one hundred in the course of the year 1813, so that, at this last date, the total of the complement demanded, without counting that of the colleges, amounts to thirty thousand boarding-scholars. Such is the enormous levy of the State on the crop of boarding-school pupils. It evidently seizes the entire crop in advance; private establishments, after it, can only glean, and through tolerance. In reality, the decree forbids them to receive boarding-scholars; henceforth, the University will have the monopoly of them.
The proceedings against the small seminaries, more energetic competitors, are still more vigorous. “There shall be but one secondary ecclesiastical school in each department; the Grand-Master will designate those that are to be maintained; the others are to be closed. None of them shall be in the country.” All those not situated in a town provided with a lycée or with a college shall be closed. All the buildings and furniture belonging to the ecclesiastic schools not retained shall be seized and confiscated for the benefit of the University. “In all places where ecclesiastical schools exist, the pupils of these schools shall be taken to the lycée or college and join its classes.” Finally, “all these schools shall be under the control of the University; they must be organized only by her; their prospectus and their regulations must be drawn up by the council of the University at the suggesiton of the Grand-Master. The teaching must be done only by members of the University at the disposition of the Grand-Master.”—In like manner, in the lay schools, at Sainte-Barbe for example,1 every professor, private tutor, or even common superintendent, must be provided with a special authorization by the University. Staff and discipline, the spirit and matter of the teaching, every detail of study and recreation,2 all are imposed, conducted and restrained in these so-called free establishments; whatever they may be, ecclesiastic or laic, not only does the University surround and hamper them, but again it absorbs and assimilates them; it does not even leave them anything distinctly external. It is true that, in the small seminaries, the exercises begin at the ringing of a bell, and the pupils wear an ecclesiastic dress; but the priest’s gown, adopted by the State that adopts the Church, is still a State uniform. In the other private establishments, the uniform is that which it imposes, the lay uniform, belonging to colleges and lycées “under penalty of being closed”; while, in addition, there is the drum, the demeanor, the habits, ways and regularity of the barracks. All initiative, all invention, all diversity, every professional or local adaptation is abolished.3 M. de Lanneau thus wrote4 : “I am nothing but a sergeant-major of languid and mangled classes . . . to the tap of a drum and under military colors.”
There is no longer any public or even private refuge against the encroachments of this “university” institution; for the last of all, domestic education at home, is not respected. In 1808,1 “among the old and wealthy families which are not in the system,” Napoleon selects ten from each department and fifty at Paris of which the sons from sixteen to eighteen must be compelled to go to Saint-Cyr and, on leaving it, into the army as second lieutenants.2 In 1813, he adds ten thousand more of them, many of whom are the sons of Conventionalists or Vendéans, who, under the title of guards of honor, are to form a corps apart and who are at once trained in the barracks. All the more necessary is the subjection to this Napoleonic education of the sons of important and refractory families, everywhere numerous in the annexed countries. Already in 1802, Fourcroy had explained in a report to the legislative corps the political and social utility of the future University.3 Napoleon, at his discretion, may recruit and select scholars among his recent subjects; only, it is not in a lycée that he places them, but in a still more military school, at La Flèche, of which the pupils are all sons of officers and, so to say, children of the army. Towards the end of 1812, he orders the Roman prince Patrizzi to send his two sons to this school, one seventeen years of age and the other thirteen4 ; and, to be sure of them, he has them taken from their home and brought there by gendarmes. Along with these, ninety other Italians of high rank are counted at La Flèche, the Dorias, the Pallavicinis, the Alfieris, with one hundred and twenty young men of the Illyrian provinces, others again furnished by the countries of the Rhine confederation, in all three hundred and sixty inmates at eight hundred francs per annum. The parents might often accompany or follow their children and establish themselves within reach of them. This privilege was not granted to Prince Patrizzi; he was stopped on the road at Marseilles and kept there.—In this way, through the skilful combination of legislative prescriptions with arbitrary appointments, Napoleon becomes in fact, directly or indirectly, the sole head-schoolmaster of all Frenchmen old or new, the unique and universal educator in his empire.
To effect this purpose, he requires a good instrument, some great human machine which, designed, put together and set up by himself, henceforth works alone and of its own accord, without deviating or breaking down, conformably to his instructions and always under his eye, but without the necessity of his lending a hand and personally interfering in its predetermined and calculated movement. The finest engines of this sort are the religious orders, masterpieces of the Catholic, Roman and governmental mind, all managed from above according to fixed rules in view of a definite object, so many kinds of intelligent automatons, alone capable of working indefinitely without loss of energy, with persistency, uniformity and precision, at the minimum of cost and the maximum of effect, and this through the simple play of their internal mechanism which, fully regulated beforehand, adapts them completely and ready-made to this special service, to the social operations which a recognized authority and a superior intelligence have assigned to them as their function.—Nothing could be better suited to the social instinct of Napoleon, to his imagination, his taste, his political policy and his plans, and on this point he loftily proclaims his preferences. “I know,” says he to the Council of State, “that the Jesuits, as regards instruction, have left a very great void. I do not want to restore them, nor any other body that has its sovereign at Rome.”1 Nevertheless, one is necessary. “As for myself, I would rather confide public education to a religious order than leave it as it is to-day,” which means free and abandoned to private individuals. “But I want neither one nor the other.” Two conditions are requisite for the new establishment. First of all, “I want a corporation, because a corporation never dies”; it alone, through its perpetuity, maintains teaching in the way marked out for it, brings up “according to fixed principles” successive generations, thus assuring the stability of the political State, and “inspires youth with a spirit and opinions in conformity with the new laws of the empire.” But this corporation must be laic. Its members are to be State and not Church “Jesuits”;2 they must belong to the Emperor and not to the Pope, and will form, in the hands of the government, a civil militia composed of “ten thousand persons,” administrators and professors of every degree, comprehending schoolmasters, an organized, coherent and lasting militia.
As it must be laic, there must be no hold on it through dogma or faith, paradise or hell, no spiritual incitements; consequently, temporal means are to be employed, not less efficacious, when one knows how to manage them,—amour propre, emulation, imagination, ambition, the grandiose, vague hope of indefinite promotion, in short, the means and motives already maintaining the temper and zeal of the army. “The educational corps must copy the classification of military grades;” an “order of promotion,” a hierarchy of places is to be instituted; no one will attain superior rank without having passed through the inferior; “no one can become a principal without having been a teacher, nor professor in the higher classes without having taught in the lower ones.”—And, on the other hand, the highest places will be within reach of all; “the young, who devote themselves to teaching, will enjoy the perspective of rising from one grade to another, up to the highest dignities of the State.” Authority, importance, titles, large salaries, preëminence, precedence,—these are to exist in the University as in other public careers and furnish the wherewithal for the most magnificent dreams.1 “The feet of this great body2 will be on the college benches and its head in the senate.” Its chief, the Grand-Master, unique of his species, less restricted, with freer hands than the ministers themselves, is to be one of the principal personages of the empire; his greatness will exalt the condition and feeling of his subordinates. In the provinces, on every fête-day or at every public ceremony, people will take pride in seeing their rector or principal in official costume seated alongside of the general or prefect in full uniform.3
The consideration awarded to their chief will reflect on them; they will enjoy it along with him; they will say to themselves that they too, like him and those under him, all together, form an élite; by degrees, they will feel that they are all one body; they will acquire the spirit of the association and attach themselves to the University, the same as a soldier to his regiment or like a monk to his brethren in a monastery.
Thus, as in a monastic order, one must join the University by “taking the cowl.”1 “I want,” says Napoleon, “some solemnity attached to this act. My purpose is that the members of the corps of instruction should contract, not as formerly, a religious engagement, but a civil engagement before a notary, or before the justice of the peace, or prefect, or other (officer). . . . They will espouse public education the same as their forerunners espoused the Church, with this difference, that the marriage will not be as sacred, as indissoluble. . . . They will engage themselves for three, six, or nine years, and not resign without giving notice a certain number of years beforehand.” To heighten the resemblance, “the principle of celibacy must be established, in this sense, that a man consecrated to teaching shall not marry until after having passed through the first stages of his career;” for example, “schoolmasters shall not marry before the age of twenty-five or thirty years, after having obtained a salary of three or four thousand francs and economized something.” But, at bottom, marriage, a family, private life, all natural and normal matters in the great world of society, are causes of trouble and weakness in a corps where individuals, to be good organs, must give themselves up wholly and without reserve. “In future,2 not only must schoolmasters, but, again, the principals and censors of the lycées, and the principals and rulers of the colleges, be restricted to celibacy and a life in common.”—The last complementary and significant trait, which gives to the laic institution the aspect of a convent, is this: “No woman shall have a lodging in, or be admitted into, the lycées and colleges.”
Now, let us add to the monastic principle of celibacy the monastic and military principle of obedience; the latter, in Napoleon’s eyes, is fundamental and the basis of the others; this principle being accepted, a veritable corporation exists; members are ruled by one head and command becomes effective. “There will be,” says Napoleon, “a corps of instructors, if all the principals, censors and professors have one or several chiefs, the same as the Jesuits had their general and their provincial,” like the soldiers of a regiment with their colonel and captain. The indispensable link is found; individuals, in this way, keep together, for they are held by authorities, under one regulation. As with a volunteer in a regiment, or a monk who enters a convent, the members of the University will accept its total régime in advance, present and future, wholly and in detail, and will subject themselves under oath. “They are to take an engagement1 to faithfully observe the statutes and regulations of the University. They must promise obedience to the Grand-Master in everything ordered by him for the service of the Emperor, and for the advantage of education. They must engage not to quit the educational corps and abandon their functions before having obtained the Grand-Master’s consent. They are to accept no other public or private salaried function without the authentic permission of the Grand-Master. They are bound to give notice to the Grand-Master and his officers of whatever comes to their knowledge that is opposed to the doctrine and principles of the educational corps in the establishments for public instruction.” There are many other obligations, indefinite or precise,2 of which the sanction is not only moral, but, again, legal, all notable and lasting, an entire surrender of the person who suffers more or less profoundly at having accepted them, and whose forced resignation must be insured by the fear of punishment. “Care must be taken3 to insure severe discipline everywhere: the professors themselves are to be subject in certain cases to the penalty of arrest; they will lose no more consideration on this account than the colonels who are punished in the same manner.” It is the least of all penalties; there are others of greater and greater gravity,1 “the reprimand in presence of an academical board, censure in presence of the University board, transfer to an inferior office, suspension with or without entire or partial deprivation of salary, half-pay or put on the retired list, or stricken off the University roll,” and, in the latter case “rendered incapable of obtaining employment in any other public administration.” “Every member of the University2 who shall fail to conform to the subordination established by the statutes and regulations, or in respect due to superiors, shall be reprimanded, censured or suspended from his functions according to the gravity of the case.” In no case may he withdraw of his own accord, resign at will, and voluntarily return to private life; he is bound to obtain beforehand the Grand-Master’s assent; and, if the latter refuses this, he must renew his application three times, every two months, with the formalities, the delays and the importunacy of a long procedure; failing in which, he is not only stricken from the rolls, but again “condemned to a confinement proportioned to the gravity of the circumstances,” and which may last a year.
A system of things ending in a prison is not attractive, and is established only after great resistance. “We were under the necessity,” says the superior council,3 “of taking candidates as they could be found, differing infinitely in methods, principles and sentiments, accustomed to almost unlimited pardon or, at least, to being governed by the caprices of parents and nearly all disliking the régime attempted to be enforced on them.” Moreover, through this intervention of the State, “the local authorities find one of their most cherished perogatives wrested from them.” In sum, “the masters detested the new duties imposed on them; the administrators and bishops protested against the appointments not made at their suggestion; fathers of families complained of the new taxes they had to pay. It is said that the University is known only by its imposts and by its forced regulations; again, in 1811, most of its masters are incompetent, or indocile, and of a bad spirit.—There is still another reason for tightening the cord that binds them to the corporation. “The absolute subordination of every individual belonging to the University is its first necessity; without discipline and without obedience, no University could exist. This obedience must be prompt, and, in grave cases, where recourse must be had to the authority of the government, obedience must always be provisional.” But, on this incurably refractory staff, compression will not suffice; it has grown old and hardened; the true remedy, therefore, consists in replacing it with a younger one, more manageable, expressly shaped and wrought out in a special school, which will be for the University what Fontainebleau is for the army, what the grand seminaries are for the clergy, a nursery of subjects carefully selected and fashioned beforehand.
Such is the object of the “École normale.”1 Young students enter it at the age of seventeen and bind themselves to remain in the University at least ten years. It is a boarding-school (internat), and they are obliged to live in common: “individual exits are not allowed,” while “the exits in common . . . in uniform . . . can be made only under the direction and conduct of superintendent masters. . . . These superintendents inspect the pupils during their studies and recreations, on rising and on going to bed and during the night. . . . No pupil is allowed to pass the hours of his play-spell in his own room without permission of the superintendent. No pupil is allowed to enter the hall of another division without the permission of two superintendents. . . . The director of studies must examine the books of the pupils whenever he deems it necessary, and as often as once a month.” Every hour of the day has its prescribed task; all exercises, including religious observances, are prescribed, each in time and place, with a detail and minuteness, as if purposely to close all possible issues to personal initiation and everywhere substitute mechanical uniformity for individual diversities. “The principal duties of the pupils are respect for religion, attachment to the sovereign and the government, steady application, constant regularity, docility and submission to superiors; whoever fails in these duties is punished according to the gravity of the offence.”—In 1812,1 the Normal School is still a small one, scarcely housed, lodged in the upper stories of the lycée Louis le Grand, and composed of forty pupils and four masters. But Napoleon has its eyes on it and is kept informed of what goes on in it. He does not approve of the comments on the “Dialogue de Sylla et d’Eucrate,” by Montesquieu, on the “Éloge de Marc Aurèle,” by Thomas, on the “Annales” of Tacitus: “Let the young read Cæsar’s commentaries. . . . Corneille, Bossuet, are the masters worth having; these, under the full sail of obedience, enter into the established order of things of their time; they strengthen it, they illustrate it,” they are the literary coadjutors of public authority. Let the spirit of the Normal School conform to that of these great men. The University establishment is the original, central workshop which forges, finishes and supplies the finest pieces, the best wheels. Just now the workshop is incomplete, poorly fitted out, poorly directed and still rudimentary; but it is to be enlarged and completed and made to turn out more and better work. For the time being, it produces only what is needed to fill the annual vacancies in the lycées and in the colleges. Nevertheless, the first decree states that it is “intended to receive as many as three hundred youths.”1 The production of this number will fill all vacancies, however great they may be, and fill them with products of superior and authentic quality. These human products thus manufactured by the State in its own shop, these school instruments which the State stamps with its own mark, the State naturally prefers. It imposes them on its various branches; it puts them by order into its lycées and colleges; at last, it accepts no others; not only does it confer on itself the monopoly of teaching, but again the preparation of the masters who teach. In 1813,2 a circular announces that “the number of places that chance to fall vacant from year to year, in the various University establishments, sensibly diminishes according as the organization of the teaching body becomes more complete and regular in its operation, as order and discipline are established, and as education becomes graduated and proportionate to diverse localities. The moment has thus arrived for declaring that the Normal School is henceforth the only road by which to enter upon the career of public instruction; it will suffice for all the needs of the service.”
What is the object of this service?—Previous to the Revolution, when directed by, or under the supervision of, the Church, its great object was the maintenance and strengthening of the faith of the young. Successor of the old kings, the new monarch underlines1 among “the bases of education,” “the precepts of the Catholic religion,” and this phrase he writes himself with a marked intention; when first drawn up, the Council of State had written the Christian religion; Napoleon himself, in the definitive and public decree, substitutes the narrowest term for the broadest.2 In this particular, he is politic, taking one step more on the road on which he has entered through the Concordat, desiring to conciliate Rome and the French clergy by seeming to give religion the highest place.—But it is simply a place for show, similar to that which he assigns to ecclesiastical dignitaries in public ceremonies and on the roll of precedencies. He does not concern himself with reanimating or even preserving earnest belief; far from that, “it should be so arranged,” he says,3 “that young people may be neither too bigoted nor too incredulous: they should be adapted to the state of the nation and of society.” All that can be demanded of them is external deference, personal attendance on the ceremonies of worship, a brief prayer in Latin muttered in haste at the beginning and end of each lesson,4 in short, acts like those of raising one’s hat or other public marks of respect, such as the official attitudes imposed by a government, author of the Concordat, on its military and civil staff. They likewise, the lyceans and the collegians, are to belong to it and do already, Napoleon thus forming his adult staff out of his juvenile staff.
In fact, it is for himself that he works, for himself alone, and not for the Church whose ascendency would prejudice his own; besides, in private conversation, he declares that he wishes to supplant it; his object in forming the University is first and especially “to take education out of the hands of the priests.1 They consider this world only as a diligence for transportation to the other,” and Napoleon “wants the diligence filled with good soldiers for his armies,” good functionories for his administrations, and good, zealous subjects for his service.—And, thereupon, in the decree which organizes the University, and following after this phrase written for effect, he states the real and fundamental truth. “All the schools belonging to the University shall take for the basis of their teaching loyalty to the Emperor, to the imperial monarchy to which the happiness of the people is confided and to the Napoleonic dynasty which preserves the unity of France and of all liberal ideas proclaimed by the Constitutions.” In other terms, the object is to plant civil faith in the breasts of children, boys and young men, to make them believe in the beauty, goodness and excellence of the established order of things, to predispose their minds and hearts in favor of the system, to adapt them to this system,2 to the concentration of authority and to the centralization of services, to uniformity and to “falling into line” (encadrement), to equality in obeying, to competition, to enthusiasm, in short, to the spirit of the reign, to the combinations of the comprehensive and calculating mind which, claiming for itself and appropriating for its own use the entire field of human action, sets up its corner-posts everywhere, its barriers, its rectilinear compartments, lays out and arranges its racecourses, brings together and introduces the runners, urges them on, stimulates them at each stage, reduces their soul to the fixed determination of getting ahead fast and far, leaving to the individual but one motive for living, that of the desire to figure in the foremost rank in the career where, now by choice and now through force, he finds himself inclosed and launched.
For this purpose, two sentiments are essential with adults and therefore with children: the first is the passive acceptance of a prescribed regulation, and nowhere does a rule applied from above bind and direct the whole life by such precise and multiplied injunctions as under the University régime. School life is circumscribed and marked out according to a rigid, unique system, the same for all the colleges and lycées of the Empire, according to an imperative and detailed plan which foresees and prescribes everything even to the minutest point, labor and rest of mind and of body, material and method of instruction, class-books, passages to translate or to recite, a list of fifteen hundred volumes for each library with a prohibition against introducing another volume into it without the Grand-Master’s permission, hours, duration, application and sessions of classes, of studies, of recreations and of promenades, that is to say, the premeditated stifling of native curiosity with the masters and still more, with the scholars, of spontaneous inquiry, of inventive and personal originality, so great that one day, under the second Empire, a minister, drawing out his watch, could exclaim with satisfaction, “At this very time, in such a class, all the scholars of the Empire are studying a certain page in Virgil.”—Well-informed, judicious, impartial and some kindly-disposed foreigners,1 on seeing this mechanism which everywhere substitutes for the initiative from below the compression and impulsion from above, are very much surprised. “The law means that the young shall never for one moment be left to themselves; the children are under their masters’ eyes all day” and all night. Every step outside of the regulations is a false one and always arrested by the ever-present authority. And, in cases of infraction, punishments are severe; “according to the gravity of the case,1 the pupils will be punished by confinement from three days to three months in the lycée or college, in some place assigned to that purpose; if fathers, mothers or guardians object to these measures, the pupil must be sent home and can no longer enter any other college or lycée belonging to the university, which, as an effect of university monopoly, thereafter deprives him of instruction, unless his parents are wealthy enough to employ a professor in the house. “Everything that can be effected by rigid discipline is thus obtained2 and better, perhaps, in France than in any other country,” for if, on leaving the lycée, young people have lost a will of their own, they have acquired “a love of and habits of subordination and punctuality” which are elsewhere wanting.
Meanwhile, on this narrow and strictly defined road, whilst the regulation supports them, emulation pushes them on. In this respect, the new university corps, which, according to Napoleon himself, must be a company of “lay Jesuits,” resumes to its advantage the double process which its forerunners, the former Jesuits, had so well employed in education; on the one hand, constant direction and incessant watchfulness; on the other hand, the appeal to amour-propre and to the excitements of parades before the public. If the pupil works hard, it is not for the purpose of learning and knowing, but to be the first in his class; the object is not to develop in him the need of truthfulness and the love of knowledge, but his memory, taste and literary talent; at best, the logical faculty of arrangement and deduction, but especially the desire to surpass his rivals, to distinguish himself, to shine, at first in the little public of his companions, and next, at the end of the year, before the great public of grown-up men. Hence, the weekly compositions, the register of ranks and names, every place being numbered and proclaimed; hence, those annual and solemn awards of prizes in each lycée and at the grand competition of all lycées, along with the pomp, music, decoration, speeches and attendance of distinguished personages. The German observer testifies to the powerful effect of a ceremony of this kind1 : “One might think one’s self at the play, so theatrical was it;” and he notices the oratorical tone of the speakers, “the fire of their declamation,” the communication of emotion, the applause of the public, the prolonged shouts, the ardent expression of the pupils obtaining the prizes, their sparkling eyes, their blushes, the joy and the tears of the parents. Undoubtedly, the system has its defects; very few of the pupils can expect to obtain the first place; others lack the spur and are moreover neglected by the master. But the élite make extraordinary efforts and, with this, there is success. “During the war times,” says again another German, “I lodged a good many French officers who knew one half of Virgil and Horace by heart.” Similarly, in mathematics, young people of eighteen, pupils of the Polytechnic School, understand very well the differential and integral calculus, and, according to the testimony of an Englishman,1 “they know it better than many of the English professors.”
This general preparation, Napoleon lays it out with precision and directs it in the sense of his policy, and, as he has special need of soldiers, the school, in his hands, becomes the vestibule of the barracks. From its origin, the institution has received the military turn and spirit, and this form, which is essential to him, becomes more and more restricted. In 1805, during four months,2 Fourcroy, ordered by the Emperor, visits the new lycées “with an inspector of reviews and a captain or adjutant-major, who everywhere gives instruction in drill and discipline.” The young have been already broke in; “almost everywhere,” he says on his return, “I saw young people obey without murmur or reflection younger and weaker corporals and sergeants than themselves, raised to a merited rank through their behavior and progress.” He himself, although a liberal, finds reasons which justify to the legislative body this unpopular practice;3 he replies to the objections and alarm of the parents “that it is favorable to order, without which there are no good studies,” and moreover “it accustoms the pupils to carrying and using arms, which shortens their work and accelerates their promotion on being summoned by the conscription to the service of the State.” The tap of the drum, the attitude in presenting arms, marching at command, uniform, gold lace, and all that, in 1811, becomes obligatory, not only for the lycées and colleges, but again, and under the penalty of being closed, for private institutions.4 At the end of the Empire, there were enumerated in the departments alone which composed old France 76,000 scholars studying under this system of excitation and constraint. “Our masters,” as a former pupil is to say later on, “resembled captain-instructors, our study-rooms mess-rooms, our recreations drills, and our examinations reviews.”1 The whole tendency of the school inclines to the army and merges therein on the studies being completed—sometimes, even, it flows into it before the term is over. After 1806,2 the anticipated conscriptions take youths from the benches of the philosophy and rhetoric classes. After 1808, ministerial circulars3 demand of the lycées boys (des enfans) who are well disposed, scholars of eighteen and nineteen who “know how to manœuvre,” so that they may at once be made under-officers or second-lieutenants; and these the lycées furnish without any difficulty by hundreds; in this way, the beardless volunteer entering upon the career one or two years sooner, but gaining by this one or two grades in rank.—“Thus,” says a principal4 of one of the colleges, “the brain of the French boy is full of the soldier. As far as knowledge goes there is but little hope of it, at least under existing circumstances.” In the schools, says another witness of the reign,5 “the young refuse to learn anything but mathematics and a knowledge of arms. I can recall many examples of young lads of ten or twelve years who daily entreated their father and mother to let them go with Napoleon.”—In those days, the military profession is evidently the first of all, almost the only one. Every civilian is a pékin, that is to say an inferior, and is treated as such.1 At the door of the theatre, the officer breaks the line of those who are waiting to get their tickets and, as a right, takes one under the nose of those who came before him; they let him pass, go in, and they wait. In the café, where the newspapers are read in common, he lays hold of them as if through a requisition and uses them as he pleases in the face of the patient bourgeois.
The central idea of this glorification of the army, be it understood, is the worship of Napoleon, the supreme, unique, absolute sovereign of the army and all the rest, while the prestige of this name is as great, as carefully maintained, in the school as in the army. At the start, he put his own free scholars (boursiers) into the lycées and colleges, about three thousand boys2 whom he supports and brings up at his own expense, for his own advantage, destined to become his creatures, and who form the first layer of the school population; about one hundred and fifty of these scholarships to each lycée, first occupants of the lycée and still for a long time more numerous than their paying comrades, all of a more or less needy family, sons of soldiers and functionaries who live on the Emperor and rely on him only, all accustomed from infancy to regard the Emperor as the arbiter of their destiny, the special, generous and all-powerful patron who, having taken charge of them now, will also take charge of them in the future. A figure of this kind fills and occupies the entire field of their imagination; whatever grandeur it already possesses it here becomes still more grand, colossal and superhuman. At the beginning their enthusiasm gave the pitch to their co-disciples;1 the institution, through its mechanism, labors to keep this up, and the administrators or professors, by order or through zeal, use all their efforts to make the sonorous and ringing chord vibrate with all the more energy. After 1811, even in a private institution,2 “the victories of the Emperor form almost the only subject on which the imagination of the pupils is allowed to exercise itself.” After 1807,3 at Louis le Grand, the prize compositions are those on the recent victory of Jena. “Our masters themselves,” says Alfred de Vigny, “unceasingly read to us the bulletins of the Grande Armée, while cries of Vive l’Empereur interrupted Virgil and Plato.” In sum, write many witnesses,4 Bonaparte desired to bestow on French youths the organization of the “Mamelukes,” and he nearly succeeded. More exactly and in his own words, “His Majesty5 desired to realize in a State of forty millions of inhabitants what had been done in Sparta and in Athens.”—“But,” he is to say later, “I only half succeeded. That was one of my finest conceptions”;6 M. de Fontanes and the other university men did not comprehend this or want to comprehend it. Napoleon himself could give only a moment of attention to his school work, his halting-spells between two campaigns;7 in his absence, “they spoiled for him his best ideas”; “his executants” never perfectly carried out his intentions. “He scolded, and they bowed to the storm, but not the less continued on in the usual way.” Fourcroy kept too much of the Revolution in mind, and Fontanes too much of the ancient régime; the former was too much a man of science, and the latter too much a man of letters; with such capacities they laid too great stress on intellectual culture and too little on discipline of the feelings. In education, literature and science are “secondary” matters; the essential thing is training, an early, methodical, prolonged, irresistible training which, through the convergence of every means—lessons, examples and habits—inculcates “principles,” and lastingly impresses on young souls “the national doctrine,” a sort of social and political catechism, the first article of which enjoins fanatical docility, passionate devotion, and the total surrender of one’s self to the Emperor.1
I. Primary instruction.—Additional and special restrictions on the teacher.—Ecclesiastical supervision.—Napoleon’s motives.—Limitation of primary instruction.—Ignorantin monks preferred.—The imperial catechism. II. Superior instruction.—Characters and conditions of scientific universities.—Motives for opposition to them.—In what respect adverse to the French system.—How he replaces them.—Extent of secondary instruction.—Meets all wants in the new social order of things.—The careers it leads to.—Special schools.—Napoleon requires them professional and practical.—The law school. III. Crowning point of the university edifice.—Faith based on criticism.—How it binds men together and forms a lay Church.—Social power of this Church.—Scientific and literary authorities.—How Napoleon enrolls them.—The Institute, an appendage of the State. IV. Hold of the government on its members.—How he curbs and keeps them down.—Circle in which lay power may act.—Favor and freedom of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences.—Disfavor and restrictions on the moral sciences.—Suppression of the class of moral and political sciences.—They belong to the State, included in the imperial domain of the Emperor.—Measures against Ideology, philosophic or historic study of Law, Political Economy and Statistics.—Monopoly of History. V. Measures against writers so called and popularizers.—Censorship, control of theatres, publications and printing.—Extent and minuteness of the repression.—Persistency in direction and impulsion.—The logical completeness and beauty of the whole system his final object.—How he accomplishes his own destruction.
Such is secondary education, his most personal, most elaborate, most complete work; the other two stories of the educational system, under and over, built in a more summary fashion, are adapted to the middle story and form, the three together, a regular monument, of which the architect has skilfully balanced the proportions, distributed the rooms, calculated the service and designed the façade and scenic effect.
“Napoleon,” says a contemporary adversary,1 “familiar with power only in its most absolute form, military despotism, tried to partition France in two categories, one composed of the masses, destined to fill the ranks of his vast army, and disposed, through the brutishness which he was willing to maintain, to passive obedience and fanatical devotion; the other, more refined by reason of its wealth, was to lead the former according to the views of the chief who equally dominated both, for which purpose it was to be formed in schools where, trained for a servile and, so to say, mechanical submission, it would acquire relative knowledge, especially in the art of war and with regard to a wholly material administration; after this, vanity and self-interest were to attach it to his person and identify it, in some way with his system of government.”—Soften this over-sombre picture one degree and it is true. As to primary instruction, there was no State appropriation, no credit inscribed on the budget, no aid in money, save twenty-five thousand francs, allotted in 1812, to the novices of the Frères Ignorantins and of which they received but 4,500 francs;2 the sole mark of favor accorded to the small schools is an exemption from the dues of the University.3 His councillors, with their habits of fiscal logic, proposed to exact this tax here as elsewhere; a shrewd politician, he thinks that its collection would prove odious and he is bound not to let his popularity suffer among villagers and common people; it is two hundred thousand francs a year which he abstains from taking from them; but here his liberalities in behalf of primary instruction stop. Let parents and the communes take this burden on themselves, pay its expenses, seek out and hire the teacher, and provide for a necessity which is local and almost domestic. The government, which invites them to do this, will simply furnish the plan, that is to say, a set of rules, prescriptions and restrictions.
At first, there is the authorization of the prefect, guardian of the commune, who, having invited the commune to found a school, has himself, through a circular, given instructions to this end, and who now interferes in the contract between the municipal council and the teacher, to approve of or to rectify its clauses—the name of the titulary, duration of his engagement, hours and seasons for his classes, subjects to be taught, the sum total and conditions of his pay in money or in kind; the school grant must be paid by the commune, the school tax by the pupils, the petty fees which help pay the teacher’s living expenses and which he gets from accessory offices such as mayor’s clerk, clock-winder, sexton, bell-ringer and chorister in the church.1 —At the same time, and in addition, there is the authorization of the rector; for the small as well as the average or larger schools are included in the University;2 the new master becomes a member of the teaching body, binds himself and belongs to it by oath, takes upon himself its obligations and submissions, comes under the special jurisdiction of the university authorities, and is inspected, directed and controlled by them in his class and outside of his class.—The last supervision, still more searching and active, which close by, incessantly and on the spot, hovers over all small schools by order and spontaneously, is the ecclesiastical supervision. A circular of the Grand-Master, M. de Fontanes,1 requests the bishops to instruct “messieurs les curés of their diocese to send in detailed notes on their parish schoolmasters;” “when these notes are returned,” he says, “please address them to me with your remarks on them; according to these indications I will approve of the instructor who merits your suffrage and he will receive the diploma authorizing him to continue in his functions. Whoever fails to present these guarantees will not receive a diploma and I shall take care to replace him with another man whom you may judge to be the most capable.”2
If Napoleon thus places his small schools under ecclesiastical oversight, it is not merely to conciliate the clergy by giving it the lead of the majority of souls, all the uncultivated souls, but because, for his own interests, he does not want the mass of the people to think and reason too much for themselves. “The Academy inspectors,”3 says the decree of 1811, “will see that the masters of the primary schools do not carry their teaching beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.” Beyond this limit, should the instructor teach a few of the children the first elements of Latin or geometry, geography or history, his school becomes secondary; it is then ranked as a boarding-school, while its pupils are subjected to the university recompense, military drill, uniform, and all the above specified exigencies; and yet more—it must no longer exist and is officially closed. A peasant who reads, writes and ciphers and who remains a peasant need know no more, and, to be a good soldier, he need not know as much; moreover, that is enough, and more too, to enable him to become an under and even a superior officer; take, for instance, Captain Coignet, whose memoirs we have, who, to be appointed a second-lieutenant, had to learn to write and who could never write other than a large hand, like young beginners.—The best masters for such limited instruction are the Brethren of the Christian Schools and these, against the advice of his counsellors, Napoleon supports: “If they are obliged,” he says, “by their vows to refrain from other knowledge than reading, writing and the elements of arithmetic, . . . it is that they may be better adapted to their destiny.”1 “In comprising them in the University, they become connected with the civil order of things and the danger of their independence is anticipated.” Henceforth, “they no longer have a stranger or a foreigner for their chief.” “The superior-general at Rome has renounced all inspection over them; it is understood that in France their superior-general will reside at Lyons.”2 The latter, with his monks, fall into the hands of the government and come under the authority of the Grand-Master. Such a corporation, with the head of it in one’s power, is a perfect instrument, the surest, the most exact, always to be relied on and which never acts on one side of, or beyond, the limits marked out for it. Nothing pleases Napoleon more, who, in the civil order of things, wants to be Pope; who builds up his State, as the Pope his Church, on old Roman tradition; who, to govern from above, allies himself with ecclesiastical authority; who, like Catholic authorities, requires drilled executants and regimental manœuvres, only to be found in organized and special bodies of men. The general inspectors of the University give to each rector the following instructions as a watchword: “Wherever the Brethren of the Christian Schools can be found, they shall,” for primary teaching, be “preferred to all others.”1 Thus, to the three classes of subjects taught, a fourth must be added, one not mentioned by the legislator in his law, but which Napoleon admits, which the rectors and prefects recommend or authorize, and which is always inscribed in the contract made between the commune and the instructor. The latter, whether layman or frère ignorantin, engages to teach, besides “reading, writing and decimal arithmetic,” “the catechism adopted by the Empire.” Consequently, as the first communion (of the pupil) draws near, he is careful, for at least two years, to have his scholars learn the consecrated text by heart, and to recite this text aloud on their benches, article by article; in this way, his school becomes a branch of the Church and, hence, like the Church, a reigning instrumentality. For, in the catechism adopted for the Empire, there is one phrase carefully thought out, full and precise in its meaning, in which Napoleon has concentrated the quintessence of his political and social doctrine and formulated the imperative belief assigned by him as the object of education. The seven or eight hundred thousand children of the lower schools recite this potent phrase to the teacher before reciting it to the priest: “We especially owe to Napoleon I., our Emperor, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military service, and the dues (tributs) prescribed for the preservation and defence of the Empire and the throne. . . . For it is he whom God has raised up in times of difficulty, to restore public worship and the holy religion of our forefathers, and to be its protector.”2
Superior instruction, the most important of all, remains; for, in this third and last stage of education, the minds and opinions of young people from eighteen to twenty-four years of age are fully formed; it is then that, already free and nearly ripe, these future occupants of busy careers, just entering into practical life, shape their first general ideas, their still hazy and half-poetic views of things, their premature and foregone conclusions respecting man, nature, society and the great interests of humanity.
If it be desirable that they should arrive at sound conclusions, a good many standards of merit must be established for them, substantial, convergent, each with its own rounds of the ladder superposed, each expressly designating the absent, doubtful, provisional or simply future and possible rounds, because they are in course of formation or on trial.—Consequently, these must all be got together in some circumscription, in contiguous structures, not alone the body of professors, the speaking-trumpets of science, but collections, laboratories and libraries which constitute the instruments; moreover, besides ordinary and regular courses of lectures, there must be recitation-rooms, appointed hours, with full liberty and faculty to teach for every man of knowledge and enterprise who, having something to say, likes to say it to anybody that chooses to listen. Thus, a sort of oral encyclopedia is organized, an universal exposition of human knowledge, a permanent exposition constantly renewed and open, to which its visitors, provided with a certificate of average instruction as an entrance ticket, will see with their own eyes, besides completed science that which is in the way of formation, besides discoveries and proofs the way of discovering and proving, namely the method, history and general progress, the place of each science in its group, and of this group its place in the general whole. Owing to the extreme diversity of subjects taught there will be room and occupation for the extreme diversity of intelligences; young minds can choose for themselves their own career, mount as high as their strength allows, climb up the tree of knowledge each on his own side, with his own ladder, in his own way, now passing from the branches to the trunk and again from the trunk to the branches, now from a remote bough to the principal branch and from that again back to the trunk.
And more than this, thanks to the coördination of lessons well classified, there is, for each course of lectures, the means for arriving at full details in all particulars; the young students can talk amongst themselves and learn from each other, the student of moral science from the student of the natural sciences, the latter from the student of the chemical or physical sciences, and another from the student of the mathematical sciences. Bearing still better fruit, the student, in each of these four circumscriptions, derives information from his co-disciples lodged right and left in the nearest compartments, the jurist from the historian, from the economist, from the philologist, and reciprocally, in such a way as to profit by their impressions and suggestions, and enable them to profit by his. He must have no other object in view for three years, no rank to obtain, no examination to undergo, no competition for which to make preparations, no outward pressure, no collateral preoccupation, no positive, urgent and personal interest to interfere with, turn aside or stifle pure curiosity. He pays something out of his own pocket for each course of lectures he attends; for this reason, he makes the best choice he can, follows it up to the end, takes notes, and comes there, not to seek phrases and distraction, but actualities and instruction, and get the worth of his money. It is admitted that knowledge is an object of exchange, so much alimentary food stored up and sold by the masters; the student who takes it on delivery first of all sees to it that it is of superior quality, of authentic derivation and very nutritious; the masters, undoubtedly, through amour-propre and conscience, try to furnish it of this sort; but he is the one who helps himself to it, just here where he judges it to be what he wants, in this particular storehouse rather than in others, from this or that lecture-stand, official or not. To impart and to acquire knowledge for itself and for it alone, without subordinating this end to another distinct and predominant end, to direct minds towards this object and in this way, under the promptings and restraints of supply and demand, to open up the largest field and the freest career to the faculties, to labor, to the preferences of the thinking individual, master or disciple,—such is the spirit of the institution. And, evidently, that it may be effective according to this spirit, it needs an independent, appropriate body, that is to say, autonomous, sheltered against the interference of the State, of the Church, of the commune, of the province, and of all general or local powers, provided with rules and regulations, made a legal, civil personage, with the right to buy, sell and contract obligations, in short proprietorship.
This is no chimerical plan, the work of a speculative, calculating imagination, which appears well and remains on paper. All the universities of the middle ages were organized according to this type. It found life and activity everywhere and for a long time; the twenty-two universities in France previous to the Revolution, although disfigured, stunted and desiccated, preserved many of its features, certain visible externals, and, in 1811,1 Cuvier, who had just inspected the universities of lower Germany, describes it as he found it, on the spot, confined to superior instruction, but finished and complete, adapted to modern requirements, in full vigor and in full bloom.
There is no room in the France to which Cuvier returns for institutions of this stamp; they are excluded from it by the social system which has prevailed.—First of all, public law, as the Revolution and Napoleon comprehended it and enacted it, is hostile to them;1 for it sets up the principle that in a State there must be no special corporations permanent, under their own control, supported by mortmain property, acting in their own right and conducting a public service for their own benefit, especially if this service is that of teaching; for the State has taken this charge upon itself, reserved it for itself and assumed the monopoly of it; hence, the unique and comprehensive university founded by it, and which excludes free, local and numerous universities. Thus, in its essence, it is the self-teaching State and not self-teaching science; thus defined, the two types are contradictory; not only are the two bodies different, but again the two spirits are incompatible; each has an aim of its own, which is not the aim of the other. In a special sense, the use to which the Emperor assigns his university is contrary to the aim of the German universities; it is founded for his own advantage, that he may possess “the means for shaping moral and political opinions;” with this object in view it would be wrong for him to allow several establishments within reach of students in which they would be directed by science alone; it is certain that, in many points, the direction here given to youth would poorly square with the rigid, uniform, narrow lines in which Napoleon wishes to confine them. Schools of this kind would get to be centres of opposition; young men thus fashioned would become dissenters; they would gladly hold personal, independent opinions alongside, or outside, of “the national doctrine,” outside of Napoleonic and civil orthodoxy; and worse still, they would believe in their opinions. Having studied seriously and at first sources, the jurist, the theologian, the philosopher, the historian, the philologist, the economist might perhaps cherish the dangerous pretension of considering himself competent even in social matters; being a Frenchman, he would talk with assurance and indiscretion; he would be much more troublesome than a German; it would soon be necessary to send him to Bicêtre or to the Temple.—In the present state of things, with the exigencies of the reign, and even in the interests of the young themselves, it is essential that superior instruction should be neither encyclopedic nor very profound. Were this a defect, Frenchmen would not perceive it; they are accustomed to it. Already, before 1789, the classes in the humanities were generally completed by the class in philosophy; in this class logic, morals and metaphysics were taught; while on God, nature, the soul and science, the young student, played with, adopted and bandied about with more or less skill, the formulæ he had learned by rote. Less scholastic, abridged, and made easy, this verbal exercise was maintained in the lycées;1 under the new régime, as well as under the old one, a string of abstract terms, which the professor thought he could explain and which the pupil thought he understood, involves young minds in a maze of high, speculative conceptions, beyond their reach and far beyond their experience, education and years. Because pupils play with words, they fancy that they possess ideas, which fancy deprives them of any desire to obtain them. Consequently, in this great French establishment, young people do not remark the lack of veritable Universities; a liberal, broad spirit of inquiry is not aroused in them; they do not regret their inability to have compassed the cycle of varied research and critical investigation, the long and painful road which alone surely leads to profound general conceptions, those grand ideas which are verifiable and solidly based. And, on the other hand, this quick, summary mode of preparation suffices for the positive and appreciable needs of the new society. The question is to fill the gaps made in it by the Revolution; the indispensable contingent of cultivated youth thus demanded, forms an annual recruitment that must be supplied. Now, after as before the Revolution, by this name is understood all who have passed through the entire series of classes; under this régime, subject to the drill in Latin and mathematics, young men have acquired the habit of using clear, connected ideas, a taste for close reasoning, the art of condensing a phrase or a paragraph, an aptitude for attending to the daily business of a worldly, civil life, especially the faculty of carrying on a discussion, of writing a good letter, even the talent for composing a good report or memorial. A young man with these acquirements, some scraps of natural philosophy, and with still briefer notions of geography and history, has all the general, preliminary culture he needs, all the information he requires for aspiring to one of the careers called liberal. The choice rests with himself; he will be what he wants to be, or what he can be—professor, engineer, physician, member of the bar, an administrator or a functionary. In each of his qualifications he renders an important service to the public, he exercises an honorable art; let him be able or an expert, that concerns society. But that alone is all that society cares about; it is not essential that it should find in him additionally an erudite or a philosopher. Let him be competent and worthy of confidence in his limited art, let him know how to teach classes or frame a course of lectures, how to build a bridge, a bastion, an edifice, how to cure a disease, perform an amputation, draw up a contract, manage a case in court, and give judgment; let the State, for greater public convenience, prepare, authenticate, and indorse this special capacity, let it verify this by examinations and diploma, let it make of this a sort of coin of current value, duly minted and of proper standard; let this be protected against counterfeits, not only by its preferences but again by its prohibitions, by the penalties it enacts against the illegal practice of pharmacy and of medicine, by the obligations it imposes on magistrates, lawyers and ministerial officials not to act until obtaining this or that grade,—such is what the interest of society demands and what it may exact. According to this principle, the State institutes special schools, and, through the indirect monopoly which it possesses, it fills them with listeners; henceforth, these are to furnish the youth of France with superior education.1
From the start, Napoleon, as logician, with his usual lucidity and precision, lays it down that they shall be strictly practical and professional. “Make professors (régents) for me,” said he one day in connection with the Ecole normale, “and not littérateurs, wits or seekers or inventors in any branch of knowledge.” In like manner says he again,2 “I do not approve of the regulation requiring a man to be bachelor (bachelier) in the sciences before he can be a bachelor in the medical faculty; medicine is not an exact and positive science, but a science of guess and observation. I should place more confidence in a doctor who had not studied the exact sciences than in one who possessed them. I preferred M. Corvisart to M. Hallé, because M. Hallé belongs to the Institute. M. Corvisart does not even know what two equal triangles are. The medical student should not be diverted from hospital practice, from dissections and studies relating to his art.”
There is the same subordination of science to art, the same idea for immediate or near application, the same utilitarian tendency in view of a public function or of a private career, the same contraction of studies in the law school, in that order of truths of which Montesquieu, a Frenchman, fifty years before, had first seized the entire body, marked the connections and delineated the chart. The question is, laws and the “spirit of laws,” written or not written, by which diverse human societies live, of whatever form, extent and kind,—the State, commune, Church, school, army, agricultural or industrial workshop, tribe or family; now, whether existences or fossils, these are realities, open to observation like plants or animals; one may, the same as with animals and plants, observe them, describe them, compare them together, follow their history from first to last, study their organization, classify them in natural groups, disengage the distinctive and dominant characteristics in each, note its ambient surroundings and ascertain the internal or external conditions, or “necessary relationships,” which determine its failure or its bloom. For men who live together in society and in a State, no study is so important; it alone can furnish them with a clear, demonstrable idea of what society and the State are; and it is in the law schools that this capital idea must be sought by cultivated youth. If they do not find it there, they invent one to suit themselves. As 1789 drew near, the antiquated, poor, barren, teaching of law, fallen into contempt and almost null,1 offered no sound, accredited doctrine which could impose itself on young minds, fill the void and prevent the intrusion of fancy. It did intrude itself: in the anti-social Utopia of Rousseau, in his anarchical and despotic Social Contract. To hinder it from returning, the best thing to do was not to make the same mistake, not to leave the lodging empty, to install in it a fixed occupant beforehand, and to see that this fixed occupant, which is science, may at all times represent its title of legitimate proprietor, its method analogous to that of the natural sciences, its studies of detail from life and, in the texts, its strict inductions, its concordant verifications, its progressive discoveries, in order that, confronting every chance system and without these titles, minds may of themselves shut their doors, or only open them provisionally, and always with a care to make the intruder present his letters of credit—that is the social service rendered by instruction in Law as given in the German mode, as Cuvier had just described it. Before 1789, in the University of Strasbourg, in France, it was thus given; but, in this State and with this amplitude, it is not suitable under the new régime, and still less than under the old one.
Napoleon, in his preparation of jurists, wants executants and not critics; his faculties must furnish him with men able to apply and not to give opinions on his laws. Hence, in the teaching of the law, as he prescribes it, there must be nothing of history, of political economy or of comparative law; there must be no exposition of foreign legislation, of feudal or custom law, or of canon law; no account of the transformations which governed public and private law in Rome down to the Digest and, after that, in France, down to the recent codes; nothing on remote origins, on successive forms and the diverse and ever-changing conditions of labor, property and the family; nothing which, through the law, exposes to view and brings us in contact with the social body to which it is applied. That is to say, this or that active and human group, with its habits, prejudices, instincts, dangers and necessities; nothing but two dry, rigid codes, like two aerolites fallen from the sky ready-made and all of a piece, at an interval of fourteen centuries; at first, the Institutes, “by cutting out1 what is not applicable to our legislation and replacing these matters by a comparison with much finer laws scattered through other books of Roman law,” similar to the classesin the humanities, where Latin literature is reduced to the finest passages of the classic authors; next, the French code, with the comments on it due to the decisions of the court of appeals and the court of cassation. All the courses of lectures of the school shall be obligatory and arranged as a whole, or tacked on to each other in a compulsory order; each step the student takes shall be counted, measured and verified every three months by a certificate, and each year by an examination; at these examinations there shall be no optional matters, no estimate of collateral studies or those of complimentary or superior importance. The student finds no attraction or benefit in studies outside of the programme, and, in this programme he finds only official texts, explained by the bill of fare, one by one, with subtlety, and patched together as well as may be by means of distinctions and interpretations, so as to provide the understood solution in ordinary cases and a plausible solution in disputed cases, in other terms, a system of casuistry.2
And this is just the education which suits the future practitioner. As a celebrated professor of the second Empire says,1 “our young graduates need a system of instruction which enables them to pass without perplexity or discouragement from the school to the halls of justice;” to have the 2281 articles of the civil code at their fingers’ ends, also the rest, hundreds and thousands of them, of the other four codes; to find at once in relation to each case the set of pertinent articles, the general rule, neither too broad nor too narrow, which fits the particular case in question. As for law taken in itself and as a whole, they have none of that clear, full conception of it to which a comprehensive and curious mind aspires. “I know nothing of the civil code,” said another professor, older and in closer proximity with the primitive institution, “I teach only the Code Napoléon.” Accordingly, with his clear-sightedness and his practical and graphic imagination, Napoleon could perceive in advance the coming and certain products of his machine, the magistrates in their bonnets, seated or standing in their court-rooms, with the lawyers in their robes facing them pleading, and, farther on, the great consumers of stamped papers in their bureaus encumbered with files of documents with the attorneys and notaries engaged in drawing them up; elsewhere, prefects, sub-prefects, prefect councillors, government commissioners and other officials, all at work and doing pretty well, all of them useful organs but mere organs of the law. The chances were small, fewer than under the ancient régime, for an erudite and independent thinker, a Montesquieu, to issue from that school.
Everywhere else, the direction and reach of superior instruction are similar. In the Faculties of Science and Literature, much more than in the Faculties of Medicine and of Law, the principal employment of the professors is the collation of grades.—They likewise confer the titles of bachelor, licentiate and doctor; but the future bachelor is not prepared by them; the lycée furnishes him for the examination, fresh from its benches; they have then no auditors but future licentiates, that is to say a few schoolmasters and a licentiate at long intervals who wants to become a doctor in order to mount upward into the university hierarchy. Besides these, occasional amateurs, nearly all of ripe age, who wish to freshen their classic souvenirs, and idlers who want to kill time, fill the lecture-room. To prevent empty benches the lecture course becomes a conférence d’Athenée, which is pleasant enough or sufficiently general to interest or, at least, not to repel people of society.1 Two establishments remain for teaching true science to the workers who wish to acquire it; who, in the widespread wreck of the ancient régime have alone survived in the Museum of Natural History, with its thirteen chairs, and the College of France, with nineteen. But here, too, the audience is sparse, mixed, disunited and unsatisfactory; the lectures being public and free, everybody enters the room and leaves as he pleases during the lecture. Many of the attendants are idlers who seek distraction in the tone and gestures of the professors, or birds of passage who come there to warm themselves in winter and to sleep in summer. Nevertheless, two or three foreigners and half a dozen Frenchmen thoroughly learn Arabic or zoölogy from Silvestre de Sacy, Cuvier or Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. That answers the purpose; they are quite enough, and, elsewhere too in the other branches of knowledge. All that is required is a small élite of special and eminent men—about one hundred and fifty in France in the various sciences,2 and, behind them, provisionally, two or three hundred others, their possible successors, competent and designated beforehand by their works and celebrity to fill the gaps made by death in the titulary staff as these occur. The latter, representatives of science and of literature, provide the indispensable adornment of the modern State. But, in addition to this, they are the depositaries of a new force, which more and more becomes the principal guide, the influential regulator and even the innermost motor of human action. Now, in a centralized State, no important force must be left to itself; Napoleon is not a man to tolerate the independence of this one, allowing it to act apart and outside of limitations; he knows how to utilize it and turn it to his own advantage. He has already grasped another force of the same order but more ancient, and, in the same way, and with equal skill, he also takes hold of the new one.
In effect, alongside of religious authority, based on divine revelation and belonging to the clergy, there is now a lay authority founded on human reason, which is exercised by savants, erudites, the learned and philosophers. They too, in their way, form a clergy, since they frame creeds and teach a faith; only, their preparatory and dominant disposition is not a docile mind and trust, but distrust and the necessity of critical examination. With them, nearly every source of belief is supicious. At bottom, among the ways of acquiring knowledge, they accept but two, the most direct, the simplest, the best tested, and again on condition that one proves the other, the type of the first being that process of reasoning by which we show that two and two make four, and the second that experience by which we demonstrate that heat above a certain degree melts ice, and that cold below a certain degree freezes water. This is the sole process that is convincing; all others, less and less sure in proportion as they diverge from it, possess only a secondary, provisional and contestable value, that which it confers on them after verification and check.—Let us accordingly avail ourselves of this one, and not of another, to express, restrain or suspend our judgment. So long as the intellect uses it and only it, or its analogues, to affirm, set aside or doubt, it is called reason, and the truths thus obtained are definitive acquisitions. Acquired one by one, the truths thus obtained have long remained scattered, in the shape of fragments; only isolated sciences have existed or bits of science; about the middle of the eighteenth century these separate parts became united and have formed one body, a coherent system; out of this, then called philosophy, that is to say a view of nature as a whole, consisting of perfect order on lasting foundations, a sort of universal network which, suddenly enlarged, stretches beyond the physical world to the moral world, taking in man and men, their faculties and their passions, their individual and their collective works, various human societies, their history, customs and institutions, their codes and governments, their religions, languages, literatures and fine arts, their agriculture, industries, property, the family and the rest.1 Then also, in each natural whole the simultaneous or successive parts are connected together; a knowledge of their mutual ties is important, and, in the spiritual order of things, one accomplishes this, as in the material order, through scientific distrust, through critical examination by the process of tests.2
Undoubtedly, in 1789, the work in common on this ground had resulted only in false conceptions; but this is because another than the testing process was applied, hasty, plausible, popular, risky and deceptive. People wanted to go fast, conveniently, directly, and, for guide, accepted unreason under the name of reason. Now, in the light of disastrous experience, there was a return to the narrow, stony, long and painful road which alone leads, both, in speculation, to truth and, in practice, to salvation.—Besides, this second conclusion, like the first one, was due to recent experience; henceforth it was evident that, in political and social matters, ideas quickly descend from speculation to practice. When anybody talks to me about stones, plants, animals and the stars I must, to listen, be interested in these; if anybody talks to me about man and society, it suffices that I am a man and a member of that society; for then it concerns myself, my nearest, daily, most sensitive and dearest interests; by virtue of being a tax-payer and a subject, a citizen and an elector, a property-owner or a proletaire, a consumer or a producer, a free-thinker or a Catholic, a father, son or husband, the doctrine is addressed to me; to affect me it has only to be within reach, through interpreters and others that promulgate it.—This office appertains to writers great or small, particularly to the educated who possess wit, imagination or eloquence, a pleasing style, the art of finding readers or of making themselves understood. Owing to their interposition, a doctrine wrought out by the specialist or thinker in the closet, spreads around through the novel, the theatre and the lecture-room, by pamphlets, the newspaper, dictionaries, manuals and conversation, and, finally, by teaching itself. It thus enters all houses, knocks at the door of each intellect, and, according as it works its way more or less forcibly, contributes more or less efficaciously to make or unmake the ideas and sentiments that adapt it to the social order of things in which it is comprised.
In this respect it acts like positive religions; in its way and on many accounts, it is one of them. In the first place, like religion, it is a living, principal, inexhaustible fountain-head, a high central reservoir of active and directing belief. If the public reservoir is not filled by an intermittent flow, by sudden freshets, by obscure infiltrations of the mystic faculty, it is regularly and openly fed by the constant contributions of the normal faculties. On the other hand, confronting faith, by the side of that beneficent divination which, answering the demands of conscience and the emotions, fashions the ideal world and makes the real world conform to this, it poses the testing process which, analyzing the past and the present, disengages possible laws and the probabilities of the future. Doctrine likewise has its dogmas, many definitive and others in the way of becoming so, and hence a full and complete conception of things, vast enough and clear enough, in spite of what it lacks, to take in at once nature and humanity. It, too, gathers its faithful in a great church, believers and semi-believers, who, consequently or inconsequently, accept its authority in whole or in part, listen to its preachers, revere its doctors, and deferentially await the decisions of its councils. Wide-spread, still uncertain and lax under a wavering hierarchy, the new Church, for a hundred years past, is steadily in the way of consolidation, of progressive ascendency and of indefinite extension. Its conquests are constantly increasing; sooner or later, it will be the first of social powers. Even for the chief of an army, even for the head of a State, even to Napoleon, it is well to become one of its great dignitaries; the second title, in modern society, adds a prestige to the first one: “Salary of His Majesty the Emperor and King as member of the Institute, 1500 francs;” thus begins his civil list, in the enumeration of receipts. Already in Egypt, intentionally and for effect, he heads his proclamations with “Bonaparte, commander-in-chief, member of the Institute.” “I am sure,” he says, “that the lowest drummer will comprehend it!”
Such a body, enjoying such credit, cannot remain independent. Napoleon is not content to be one of its members. He wants to hold it in his grasp, have it at his own disposition, and use it the same as a member or, at least, contrive to get effective control of it. He has reserved to himself an equally powerful one in the old Catholic Church; he has reserved to himself like equivalents in the young lay Church; and, in both cases, he limits them, and subjects them to all the restrictions which a living body can support. In relation to science and religion he might repeat word for word his utterances in relation to religion and to faith. “Napoleon has no desire to change the belief of his populations; he respects spiritual matters; he wishes simply to dominate over them without touching them, without meddling with them; all he desires is to make them square with his views, with his policy, but through the influence of temporalities.” To this end, he negotiated with the Pope, reconstructed, as he wanted it, the Church of France, appointed bishops, restrained and directed the canonical authorities. To this end, he settles matters with the literary and scientific authorities, gets them together in a large hall, gives them arm-chairs to sit in, gives by-laws to their groups, a purpose and a rank in the State, in brief, he adopts, remakes, and completes the “National Institute” of France.
This Institute, in conformity with the traditions of the old monarchy and with the plans, sketched out and decreed by the revolutionary assemblies,1 in conformity with the immemorial principle of French law which enlarges the interference of the central power, not only in relation to public instruction but to science, literature and the fine arts, is a creature and an appendage of the State. It is the State which has produced and shaped it, which has given to it its title, which assigns it its object, its location, its subdivisions, its dependencies, its correspondences, its mode of recruitment, which prescribes its labors, its reports, its tri-monthly and annual sessions, which gives it employment and defrays its expenses. Its members receive a salary, and “the subjects elected2 must be confirmed by the First Consul.” Moreover, Napoleon has only to utter a word to insure votes for the candidate whom he approves of, or to black-ball the candidate whom he dislikes. Even when confirmed by the head of the State, an election can be cancelled by his successor; in 1816,1 Monge, Carnot, Guyton de Morveau, Grégoire, Garat, David and others, sanctioned by long possession and by recognized merit, are to be stricken off the list; by the same sovereign right, the State admits and excludes them, the right of the creator over his creation, and, without pushing his right as far as that, Napoleon uses it.
He holds the members of his Institute in check with singular rigidity, even when, outside of the Institute and as private individuals, they fail to observe in their writings the proper rules imposed on every public body. The rod falls heavily on Jerome de Lalande, the astronomical computer who continues the work of Montucla, publicly and in a mortifying way, the blow being given by his colleagues who are thus delegated for the purpose. “A member of the Institute,” says the imperial note,2 “well known for his attainments, but now fallen into an infantile state, is not wise enough to keep his mouth shut, and tries to have himself talked about, at one time by advertisements unworthy of his old reputation as well as of the body to which he belongs, and again by openly professing atheism, the great enemy of all social organization.” Consequently, the presidents and secretaries of the Institute, summoned by the minister, notify the Institute “that it must send to M. de Lalande and enjoin him not to print anything, not cast a shadow in his old age over what he has done in his vigorous days to obtain the esteem of savants.” M. de Chateaubriand, in his coming reception address, alluding to the revolutionary rôle of his predecessor, Marie Chénier, observed that he could eulogize him only as the man of letters,3 and, in the reception committee, six out of twelve academicians had accepted the discourse. Thereupon, Fontanes, one of the twelve, prudently abstains from going to Saint-Cloud. M. de Ségur, however, president of the committee, he goes. In the evening, at the coucher, Napoleon advances to him before the whole court and, in that terrifying tone of voice which still vibrates through the dead lines of the silent page, “Sir,” says he to him, “literary people desire to set France in a blaze! . . . How dare the Academy speak of regicides? . . . I ought to put you and M. de Fontanes, as Councillor of State and Grand-Master, in Vincennes. . . . You preside over the second class of the Institute. I order you to inform it that I will not allow politics at its sessions. . . . If the class disobeys I will put an end to it as an objectionable club!”
Thus warned, the members of the Institute remain within the circle traced out for them and, for many, the circle is sufficiently large. Let the first class of the Institute, in the mathematical, physical and natural sciences, Lagrange, Laplace, Legendre, Carnot, Biot, Monge, Cassini, Lalande, Burckardt and Arago, Poisson, Berthollet, Gay-Lussac, Guyton de Morveau, Vauquelin, Thénard and Hamy, Duhamel, Lamarck, de Jussieu, Mirbel, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier, pursue their researches; let Delambre and Cuvier, in their quarterly reports, sum up and announce discoveries; let, in the second class of the Institute, Volney, Destutt de Tracy, Andrieux, Picard, Lemercier and Chateaubriand, if the latter desires to take part in its sittings, give dissertations on languages, grammar, rhetoric, rules of style and of taste; let, in the third class of the Institute, Sylvestre de Sacy publish his Arabic grammar; let Langlès continue his Persian, Indian and Tartar studies; let Quatremère de Quincy, explaining the structure of the great chryselephantine statues, reproduce conjecturally the surface of ivory and the internal framework of the Olympian Jupiter; let D’Ansse de Villoison discover in Venice the commentary of the Alexandrian critics on Homer; let Larcher, Boissonade, Clavier, alongside of Coraï publish their editions of the old Greek authors—all this causes no trouble, and all is for the honor of the government. Their credit reflects on the avowed promoter, the official patron and responsible director of science, erudition and talent; therefore, in his own interest, he favors and rewards them. Laurent de Jussieu and Cuvier are titular councillors of the University, Delambre is its treasurer, and Fontanes its Grand-Master. Delille, Boissonade and Royer-Collard and Guizot teach in the faculty of letters; Biot, Poisson, Gay-Lussac, Hamy, Thénard, Brongniart, G. Saint-Hilaire in the faculty of the sciences; Monge, Berthollet, Fourier, Andrieux in the Ecole Polytechnique; Pinel, Vauquelin, de Jussieu, Richèraud, Dupuytren in the Ecole de Médécine; Fourcroy is councillor of State, Laplace and Chaptal, after having been ministers, become senators; in 1813, there are twenty-three members of the Institute in the Senate; the zoölogist Lacépede is grand-chancellor of the Legion of Honor; while fifty-six members of the Institute, decorated with an imperial title, are chevaliers, barons, dukes, and even princes.1 —This is even one more lien, admirably serving to bind them to the government more firmly and to incorporate them more and more in the system. In effect, they now derive their importance and their living from the system and the government; having become dignitaries and functionaries they possess a password in this twofold capacity; henceforth, they will do well to look upward to the master before expressing a thought and to know how far the password allows them to think.
In this respect, the First Consul’s intentions are manifest from the very first day. In his reconstruction of the Institute1 he has suppressed “the class of moral and political sciences,” and therefore the first four sections of the class, “analysis of sensations and ideas, moral science, social science and legislation, and political economy;” he cuts off the main branch with its four distinct branches, and what he keeps or tolerates he trims and grafts or fastens on to another branch of the third class, that of the erudites and antiquaries. The latter may very well occupy themselves with political and moral sciences but only “in their relations with history,” and especially with ancient history. General conclusions, applicable theories, on account of their generality, to late events and to the actual situation are unnecessary; even as applied to the State in the abstract, and in the cold forms of speculative discussion, they are interdicted. The First Consul, on the strength of this, in connection with “Dernières vues de politique et de finances,” published by Necker, has set forth his exact rule and his threatening purpose: “Can you imagine,” says he to Rœderer, “that any man, since I became head of the State, could propose three sorts of government for France? Never shall the daughter of M. Necker come back to Paris!” She would then get to be a distinct centre of political opinion while only one is necessary, that of the First Consul in his Council of State. Again, this council itself is only half competent and at best consultative: “You yourselves do not know what government is.2 You have no idea of it. I am the only one, owing to my position, that can know what a government is.” On this domain, and everywhere on the undefined surroundings of this domain, afar, as far as his piercing eye can penetrate, no independent idea must either be conceived or, especially, published.
In particular, the foremost and guiding science of the analysis of the human understanding, pursued according to the methods and after the examples furnished by Locke, Hume, Condillac and Destutt de Tracy, ideology is proscribed. “It is owing to ideology,” he says,1 “to that metaphysical obscurity which, employing its subtleties in trying to get at first causes, seeks to base the legislation of a people on that foundation, instead of appropriating laws to a knowledge of the human heart and the lessons of history, that all the misfortunes of our admirable France must be attributed.” In 1806, M. de Tracy, unable to print his “Commentaire sur l’Esprit des Lois” in France, sends it to the president of the United States, Jefferson, who translates it into English, publishes it anonymously, and has it taught in his schools.2 About the same date, the republication of the “Traité d’économie-politique” of J.-B. Say is prohibited, the first edition of which, published in 1804, was soon exhausted.3 In 1808, all publications of local and general statistics, formerly incited and directed by Chaptal, were interrupted and stopped; Napoleon always demands figures, but he keeps them for himself; if divulged they would prove inconvenient, and henceforth they become State secrets. The same precautions and the same rigor are extended to books on law, even technical, and against a “Précis historique du droit Romain.” “This work,” says the censorship, “might give rise to a comparison between the progress of authority under Augustus and that going on under the reign of Napoleon, in such a way as to produce a bad effect on public opinion.”1 In effect, nothing is more dangerous than history, for it is composed, not of general propositions that are unintelligible except to the meditative, but of particular facts accessible and interesting to the first one that comes along.
For this reason, not only the science of sensations and of ideas, philosophic law and comparative law, politics and moral law, the science of wealth and statistics, but again, and especially, the history of France, is a State affair, an object of government; for no object affects the government more nearly; no study contributes so much towards strengthening or weakening the ideas and impressions which shape public opinion for or against him. It is not sufficient to superintend this history, to suppress it if need be, to prevent it from being a poor one; it must again be ordered, inspired and manufactured, that it may be a good one. “There is no work more important.2 . . . I am very far from counting expense in any matter. It is even my intention to have it understood through the minister that no work better deserves my protection.” Above all, the spirit of the authors who write should be made sure of. “Not only must this work be entrusted to authors of real talent, but again to attached men, who will present facts in this true light and prepare healthy instruction by bringing history down to the year viii.” But this instruction can be healthy only through a series of preliminary and convergent judgments, insinuating into all minds the final approval and well-founded admiration of the existing régime. Accordingly, the historian “must feel at each line” the defects of the ancient régime, “the influence of the court of Rome, of confessional tickets, of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, of the ridiculous marriage of Louis XIV. with Madame de Maintenon, the perpetual disorder in the finances, the pretensions of the parliament, the want of rules and impulse in the administration, . . . in such a way that one breathes on reaching the epoch when one enjoys the benefits of that which is due to the unity of the laws, administration and territory.” The constant feebleness of the government under Louis XIV. even, under Louis XV. and Louis XVI., “should inspire the need of sustaining the newly accomplished work and its acquired preponderance.” On the 18th of Brumaire, France came into port; the Revolution must be spoken of only as a final, fatal and inevitable tempest.1 “When that work, well done and written in a right direction, appears, nobody will have the will or the patience to write another, especially when, far from being encouraged by the police, one will be discouraged by it.” In this way, the government which, in relation to the young, has awarded to itself the monopoly of teaching, awards to itself in relation to adults, the monopoly of history.
If Napoleon thus guards himself against those who think, it is for no other reason than because their thoughts, once written down by themselves or by others, reach the public,2 the sovereign alone having the right to talk in public. Between writer and readers, every communication is intercepted beforehand by a triple and quadruple line of defences through which a long, tortuous and narrow wicket is the only passage, and where the manuscript, like a bundle of suspicious goods, is overhauled and repeatedly verified after having obtained its free certificate and its permit of circulation. Napoleon thus declares that “the printing-office1 is an arsenal which must not be within the reach of everybody. . . . It is very important for me that only those be allowed to print who have the confidence of the government. A man who addresses the public in print is like the man who speaks in public in an assembly, and certainly no one can dispute the sovereign’s right to prevent the first comer from haranguing the public.”—On the strength of this, he makes publishing a privileged, authorized and regulated office of the State. The writer, consequently, before reaching the public, must previously undergo the scrutiny of the printer and bookseller, who, both responsible, sworn and patented, will take good care not to risk their patent, the loss of their daily bread, ruin, and, besides this, a fine and imprisonment.—In the second place, the printer, the bookseller and the author are obliged to place the manuscript or, by way of toleration, the work as it goes through the press, in the hands of the official censors;2 the latter read it and made their weekly report to the general director of publications; they indicate the good or bad spirit of the work, the “unsuitable or interdicted passages according to circumstances,” the intended, involuntary or merely possible allusions; they exact the necessary suppressions, rectifications and additions. The publisher obeys, the printers furnish proofs, and the author has submitted; his proceedings and attendance in the bureaux are at end. He thinks himself safe in port, but he is not.
Through an express reservation, the director-general always has the right to suppress works, “even after they have been examined, printed and authorized to appear.” In addition to this, the minister of the police,1 who, above the director-general, likewise has his censorship bureau, may, in his own right, place seals on the sheets already printed, destroy the plates and forms in the printing-office, send a thousand copies of the “Germany” by Madame de Staël to the paper-mill, “take measures to see that not a sheet remains,” demand of the author his manuscript, recover from the author’s friends the two copies he has lent to them, and take back from the director-general himself the two copies for his service locked up in a drawer in his cabinet.—Two years before this, Napoleon said to Auguste de Staël,2 “Your mother is not bad. She has intelligence, a good deal of intelligence. But she is unaccustomed to any kind of discipline. She would not be six months in Paris before I should be obliged to put her in the Temple or at Bicêtre. I should be sorry to do this, because it would make a noise and that would injure me in public opinion.” It makes but little difference whether she abstains from talking politics: “people talk politics in talking about literature, the fine arts and morality, about everything in the world; women should busy themselves with their knitting,” and men keep silent or, if they do talk, let it be on a given subject and in the sense prescribed.
Of course, the inspection is still more rigorous and more repressive on publicity, more exacting and more persistent.—At the theatre, where the assembled spectators become enthusiastic through the quick contagion of their sensibilities, the police cut out of the “Heraclius” of Corneille and the “Athalie” of Racine3 from twelve to twenty-five consecutive lines and patch up the broken passages as carefully as possible with lines or parts of lines of their own.—On the periodical press, on the newspaper which has acquired a body of readers and which exercises an influence and groups its subscribers according to an opinion, if not political, at least philosophic and literary, there is a compression which goes even as far as utter ruin. From the beginning of the Consulate,1 sixty out of seventy-three political journals are suppressed; in 1811, the thirteen that still existed are reduced to four and the editors-in-chief are appointed by the minister of police. The property of these journals, on the other hand, is confiscated, while the Emperor, who had taken it, concedes it, one third to his police and the other two thirds to people of the court or littérateurs who are his functionaries or his creatures. Under this always aggravated system the newspapers, from year to year, become so barren that the police, to interest and amuse the public, contrive a pen warfare in their columns between one amateur of French music and one of Italian music.
Books, almost as rigorously kept within bounds, are mutilated or prevented from appearing.2 Chateaubriand is forbidden to reprint his “Essay on Revolutions,” published in London under the Directory. In “L’Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem” he is compelled to cut out “a good deal of declamation on courts, courtiers and certain features calculated to excite misplaced allusions.” The censorship interdicts the “Dernier des Abencerrages,” where “it finds too warm an interest in the Spanish cause.” One must read the entire register to see it at work and in detail, to feel the sinister and grotesque minutia with which it pursues and destroys, not alone among great or petty writers but, again, among compilers and insignificant abbreviators, in a translation, in a dictionary, in a manual, in an almanac, not only ideas but suggestions, echoes, semblances and oversights in thinking, the possibilities of awakening reflection and comparison—every souvenir of the ancient régime, this or that mention of Kléber or Moreau, or a particular conversation of Sully and Henry IV.; “a game of loto,1 which familiarizes youth with the history of their country,” but which says too much about “the family of the grand-dauphin of Louis XVI. and his aunts”; the general work of the reveries of Cagliostro and of M. Henri de Saint-Mesmin, very laudatory of the Emperor, excellent “for filling the soul of Frenchmen with his presence, but which must leave out three awkward comparisons that might be detected by the malevolent or the foolish;” the “translation into French verse of several of David’s psalms,” which are not dangerous in Latin but which, in French, have the defect of a possible application, through coincidence and prophecy, to the Church as suffering, and to religion as persecuted;—and quantities of other literary insects hatched in the depths of publication, nearly all ephemeral, crawling and imperceptible, but which the censor, through zeal and his trade, considers as redoubtable dragons whose heads must be smashed or their teeth extracted.
The next lot proves inoffensive, and, better still, is serviceable, especially the almanacs,2 “in rectifying the ideas of the people in many respects; for 1812, things will probably be in train for controling their composition, and they must be full of anecdotes, songs and stories adapted to the maintenance of patriotism and of devotion to the sacred person of His Majesty and to the Napoleonic dynasty.”—To this end, the police likewise ameliorates, orders and pays for dramatic or lyric productions of all kinds, cantatas, ballets, impromptus, vaudevilles, comedies, grand-operas, comic operas—a hundred and seventy-six works in one day, composed for the birth of the King of Rome and paid for in rewards to the sum of eighty-eight thousand four hundred francs. Let the administration look to this beforehand so as to raise up talent and have it bear good fruit. “Complaints are made because we have no literature;1 it is the fault of the minister of the interior.” Napoleon personally and in the height of a campaign interposes in theatrical matters. Afar in Prussia, and at home in France, he leads tragic authors by the hand, Raynouard, Legouvé, Luce de Lancival; he listens to the first reading of the “Mort d’Henri IV.” and the “États de Blois.” He gives to Gardel, a ballet-composer, “a fine subject in the Return of Ulysses.” He explains to authors how dramatic effect should, in their hands, become a political lesson; for lack of anything better, and waiting for these to comprehend it, he uses the theatre the same as a tribune for the reading to the spectators of his bulletins of the grand army.
On the other hand, in the daily newspapers, he is his own advocate, the most vehement, the haughtiest, the most powerful of polemics. For a long time, in the “Moniteur,” he himself dictates articles which are known by his style. After Austerlitz, he has no time to do this, but he inspires them all and they are prepared under his orders. In the “Moniteur” and other gazettes, it is his voice which, directly or by his mouthpieces, reaches the public; it alone prevails and one may divine what it utters! The official shoutings of every group or authority in the State again swell the one great, constant, triumphant adulatory hymn which, with its insistence, unanimity and violent sonorities, tends to bewilder all minds, deaden consciences and pervert the judgment. “Were it open to doubt,” says a member of the tribunate,1 “whether heaven or chance gives sovereigns on earth, would it not be evident for us that we owe our Emperor to some divinity?”—Another of the choir then takes up the theme in a minor key and thus sings the victory of Austerlitz: “Europe, threatened by a new invasion of the barbarians, owes its safety to the genius of another Charles Martel.” Similar cantatas follow, intoned in the senate and lower house by Lacépède, Pérignot and Garat, and then, in each diocese, by the bishops, some of whom, in their pastoral letters, raise themselves up to the technical considerations of military art, and, the better to praise the Emperor, explain to their parishioners the admirable combinations of his strategic genius.
And truly, his strategy is admirable, lately against Catholic ideas and now against the laic mind. First of all, he has extended, selected and defined his field of operations, and here is his objective point, fixed by himself. “On public affairs, which are my affairs in political, social and moral matters, on history, and especially on actual history, recent and modern, nobody of the present generation is to give any thought but myself and, in the next generation, everybody will follow my example.” With this objective point in view, he has assigned to himself the monopoly of education; he has introduced military discipline and habits and the military spirit into all the public and private educational establishments for secondary instruction; he has reduced and subjected the ecclesiastiaal superintendence of primary education to the minimum; he has removed the last vestige of local, encyclopedic and autonomous universities and substituted for these special and professional schools; he has rendered veritable superior instruction abortive and stifled all spontaneous and disinterested curiosity in youth.—Meanwhile ascending to the source of laic intelligence, he has fastened himself on the Institute. He has effected the necessary amputations, appropriated the credit to himself and imposed his favor or disfavor on the masters of science and literature; then, descending from the source to the canals, constructing dams, arranging channels, applying his constraints and impulsions, he has subjected science and literature to his police, to his censorship and to his control of publishing and printing; he has taken possession of all the publicities—theatre, newspaper, book, pulpit and tribune; he has organized all these into one vast manufactory which he watches over and directs, a factory of public spirit which works unceasingly and in his hands to the glorification of his system, reign and person. Again here, he is found equal and like himself, a stern conqueror making the most of his conquest to the last extreme, a calculator as minute as he is profound, as ingenious as he is consequent, incomparable in adapting means to ends, unscrupulous in carrying them out,1 fully satisfied that, through the constant physical pressure of universal and crushing dread, all resistance would be overcome, maintaining and prolonging the struggle with colossal forces, but against a historic and natural force lying beyond his grasp, lately against belief founded on religious instinct and on tradition, and now against evidence engendered by realities and by the agency of the testing process; consequently, obliged to interdict the testing process, to falsify things, to disfigure the reality, to deny the evidence, to lie daily and each day more outrageously,1 to accumulate glaring acts so as to impose silence, to arouse by this silence and by these lies2 the attention and perspicacity of the public, to transform almost mute whispers into sounding words and insufficient eulogies into open protestations; in short, weakened by his own success and condemned beforehand to succumb under his victories, to disappear after a short triumph, to leave intact and erect the indestructible rival whom he would like to crush as an adversary but turn to account as an instrument.
I. History of the Napoleonic machine.—The first of its two arms, operating on adults, is dislocated and breaks.—The second, which operates on youth, works intact until 1850.—Why it remains intact.—Motives of governors.—Motives of the governed. II. Law of 1850 and freedom of instruction.—Its apparent object and real effects.—Alliance of Church and State.—The real monopoly.—Ecclesiastical control of the University until 1859.—Gradual rupture of the Alliance.—The University again becomes laic.—Lay and clerical interests.—Separation and satisfaction of both interests down to 1876.—Peculiarity of this system.—State motives for taking the upper hand.—Parents, in fact, have no choice between two monopolies.—Original and forced decline of private institutions.—Their ruin complete after 1850 owing to the too-powerful and double competition of Church and State.—The Church and the State sole surviving educators.—Interested and doctrinal direction of the two educational systems.—Increasing divergence in both directions.—Their effect on youth. III. The internal vices of the system.—Barrack or convent discipline of the boarding-school.—Number and proportions of scholars in State and Church establishments.—Starting-point of the French boarding-school.—The school community viewed not as a distinct organ of the State but as a mechanism wielded by the State.—Effects of these two conceptions.—Why the boarding-school entered into and strengthened ecclesiastical establishments.—Effects of the boarding-school on the young man.—Gaps in his experience, errors of judgment, no education of his will.—The evil aggravated by the French system of special and higher schools. IV. Another vice of the system.—Starting-point of superior instruction in France.—Substitution of special State schools for free encyclopedic universities.—Effect of this substitution.—Examinations and competitions.—Intense, forced and artificial culture.—How it reaches an extreme.—Excess and prolongation of theoretical studies.—Insufficiency and tardiness of practical apprenticeship.—Comparison of this system with others, between France before 1789 and England and the United States.—Lost forces.—Mistaken use and excessive expenditure of mental energy.—The entire body of youth condemned to it after 1889. V. Public instruction since 1870.—Agreement between the Napoleonic and Jacobin conception.—Extension and aggravation of the system.—The deductive process of the Jacobin mind.—Its consequences.—In superior and in secondary instruction.—In primary instruction.—Gratuitous, obligatory and laic instruction. VI. Total and actual effect of the system.—Increasing unsuitableness between early education and adult life.—Change for the worse in the mental and moral balance of contemporary youth.
After him, the springs of his machine naturally relax; and, naturally also, of the two groups on which the machine operates, it is the first, that of adult men, which liberates itself less incompletely and the soonest; during the following half century, we see the preventive or repressive censorship of books, journals and theatres, every special instrument that gags free speech, relaxing its hold, breaking down bit by bit and at last tumbling to the ground; even when again set up and persistently and brutally applied, old legal muzzles are never to become as serviceable as before; no government will undertake, like that of Napoleon, to stop at once all outlets of written thought; some will always remain open to a certain extent. Even during the rigorous years of the Restoration and of the second Empire the stifling process is to diminish; mouths open and there is some way of finding utterance, at least in books and likewise through the press, provided one speaks discreetly and moderately in cool and general terms and in a low, even tone of voice. In this direction, the imperial machine, too offensive, soon got out of order; immediately, the iron arm by which it held adults seemed insupportable to them and they were able more and more to bend, push it away or break it. At the present day, nothing remains of it but its fragments; for twenty years it has ceased to work and its parts, even, are utterly useless.—On the contrary, in the other direction, in the second group, on children, on boys, on young men, the second arm, intact down to 1850, then shortened but soon strengthened, more energetic and more effective than ever, maintained its hold almost entirely.
Undoubtedly, after 1814, its mechanism is less rigid, its application less strict, its employment less universal, its operation less severe; it gives less offence and does not hurt as much. For example, after the first Restoration,1 the decree of 1811 against the smaller seminaries is repealed; they are handed back to the bishops, resume their ecclesiastical character and return to the special and normal road out of which Napoleon forced them to march. The drum, the drill and other exercises too evidently Napoleonic disappear almost immediately in the private and public establishments devoted to common instruction; the school system ceases to be a military apprenticeship and the college is no longer a preparatory annex for the barracks. A little later and for many years, Guizot, Cousin, and Villemain teach in full liberty in the State lecture-rooms with great effect, the highest subjects of philosophy, literature and history before attentive and sympathetic audiences. Afterwards, under the monarchy of July, the Institute, mutilated by the First Consul, is restored and completed, and again finds in the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences the suspicious class which, after the Consulate, was lacking to it. In 1833, one minister, Guizot, provides, through a law which is an institution, for the regular maintenance, obligatory dotation, certain recruitment, quality and universality of primary instruction, while, for eighteen years, the university engine, moderating its pressure or smoothing its sharp points, operates at the three stages of instruction in tolerant or liberal hands, with all the caution compatible with its organization, in such a way as to do a great deal of good without much harm, half-satisfying the majority which, in its entirety, is semi-believer, semi-freethinker, by not seriously offending any body except the Catholic clergy and that unyielding minority which, through doctrinal principle or through religious zeal, assigns to education as a directing end and supreme object, the definitive culture, rooting and flowering of faith. But, in law as well as in fact, the University of 1808 still subsists; it has kept its rights, it levies its taxes, it exercises its jurisdiction and enjoys its monopoly.
In the early days of the Restoration, in 1814, the government maintained it only provisionally; it promised everythin, radical reform and full liberty; it announced that, through its efforts, “the forms and direction of the education of children should be restored to the authority of fathers and mothers, tutors and families.”1 Simply a prospectus and a puff by the new pedagogue who installs himself and thus, by sounding words, tries to conciliate parents. After a partial draught of a plan and an ordinance quickly repealed,2 the rulers discover that the University of Napoleon is a very good reigning instrument, much better than that of which they had the management previous to 1789, much easier handled and more serviceable. It is the same with all social instrumentalities sketched out and half-fashioned by the Revolution and completed and set a-going by the Consulate and the Empire; each is constructed “by reason,” “according to principles,” and therefore its mechanism is simple; its pieces all fit into each other with precision; they transmit throughout exactly the impulsion received and thus operate at one stroke, with uniformity, instantaneously, with certitude, on all parts of the territory; the lever which starts the machine is central and, throughout its various services, the new rulers hold this lever in hand. Apropos of local administration, the Duc d’Angoulême said in 1815,3 “We prefer the departments to the provinces.” In like manner, the government of the restored monarchy prefers the imperial University, sole, unique, coherent, disciplined and centralized, to the old provincial universities, the old scattered, scholastic institution, diverse, superintended rather than governed, to every school establishment more or less independent and spontaneous.
In the first place, it gains thereby a vast staff of salaried dependents, the entire teaching staff,1 on which it has a hold through its favors or the reverse through ambition and the desire for promotion, through fear of dismissal and concern for daily bread, at first, 22,000 primary teachers, thousands of professors, directors, censors, principals, regents and subordinates in the thirty-six lycées, three hundred and sixty-eight colleges and twelve hundred and fifty-five institutions and boarding-schools; after this, many hundreds of notable individuals, all the leading personages of each university circumscription, the administrators of twenty-eight academies, the professors of the twenty-three literary faculties, of the ten faculties of the sciences, of the nine faculties of law, and of the three faculties of medicine. Add to these, the savants of the Collège de France and École Polytechnique, every establishment devoted to high, speculative or practical instruction: these are highest in repute and the most influential; the heads of science and of literature are possessed. Through them and their seconds or followers of every degree, in the faculties, lycées, colleges, minor seminaries, institutions, boarding schools, and small schools, beliefs or opinions can be imposed on, or suggested to, two thousand law students, four thousand medical students, eighty-one thousand pupils in secondary education and seven hundred thousand scholars in the primary department. Let us retain and make use of this admirable engine, but let us apply it to our own purposes and utilize it for our service. Thus far, under the Republic and the Empire, its fabricators, more or less Jacobin, have worked it as they thought best, to the “left”; let us work as it suits us, to the “right.”1 All that is necessary is to turn it in another direction and for good; henceforth, “the basis of education2 shall be religion, monarchy, legitimacy and the charter.”
To this end, we, the dominant party, use our legal rights. In the place of bad wheels we put good ones. We purify our staff. We do not appoint or leave in place any but safe men. At the end of six years, nearly all the rectors, proviseurs and professors of philosophy, many other professors and a number of the censors,3 are all priests. At the Sorbonne, M. Cousin has been silenced and M. Guizot replaced by M. Durosoir. At the Collège de France we have dismissed Tissot and we do not accept M. Magendie. We “suppress” in block the Faculty of Medicine in order that, on reorganizing it, our hands may be free and eleven professors with bad notes be got rid of, among others Pinel, Dubois, de Jussieu, Desgenettes, Pelletan and Vauquelin. We suppress another centre of insalubrity, the upper École Normale, and, for the recruitment of our educational body, we institute4 at the principal seat of each academy a sort of university novitiate where the pupils, few in number, expressly selected, prepared from their infancy, will imbibe deeper and more firmly retain the sound doctrines suitable to their future condition.
We let the small seminaries multiply and fill up until they comprise 50,000 pupils. It is the bishop who founds them; no educator or inspector of education is so worthy of confidence. Therefore, we confer upon him “in all that concerns religion,”5 the duty “of visiting them himself, or delegating his vicars-general to visit them,” the faculty “of suggesting to the royal council of public instruction the measures which he deems necessary.” At the top of the hierarchy sits a Grand-Master with the powers and title of M. de Fontanes and with an additional title, member of the cabinet and minister of public instruction, M. de Freyssinous, bishop of Hermopolis,1 and, in difficult cases, this bishop, placed between his Catholic conscience and the positive articles of the legal statute, “sacrifices the law” to his conscience.2 —Such is what can be made out of the scholastic instrument. After 1850, it is to be used in the same way and in the same sense; after 1796, it was made to work, and, after 1875, it is to be made to work as vigorously in the opposite sense. Whatever the rulers may be, whether monarchists, imperialists or republicans, they are the masters who use it for their own advantage; for this reason, even when resolved not to abuse the instrument, they keep it intact; they reserve the use of it for themselves,3 and pretty hard blows are necessary to sever or relax the firm hold which they have on the central lever.
Save these excesses and especially after these excesses come to an end, when the government, from 1828 to 1848, ceases to be sectarian, and the normal play of the institution is no longer vitiated by political interference, the governed accept the University in block, just as their rulers maintain it: they also have motives of their own, the same as for submitting to other engines of Napoleonic centralization.—And first of all, as a departmental and communal institution, the university institution operates wholly alone; it exacts little or no collaboration on the part of those interested; it relieves them of any effort, dispute or care, which is pleasant. Like the local administration, which, without their help or with scarcely any, provides them with bridges, roads, canals, cleanliness, salubrity and precautions against contagious diseases, the scholastic administration, without making any demand on their indolence, puts its full service, the local and central apparatus of primary, secondary, superior and special instruction, its staff and material, furniture and buildings, masters and schedules, examinations and grades, rules and discipline, expenditure and receipts, all at its disposition. As at the door of a table d’hôte, they are told, “Come in and take a seat. We offer you the dishes you like best and in the most convenient order. Don’t trouble yourself about the waiters or the kitchen; a grand central society, an intelligent and beneficent agency, presiding at Paris takes charge of this and relieves you of it. Pass your plate, and eat; that is all you need care about. Besides, the charge is very small.”
In effect, here as elsewhere, Napoleon has introduced his rigid economical habits, exact accounts and timely or disguised tax-levies.1 A few additional centimes among a good many others inserted by his own order in the local budget, a few imperceptible millions among several hundreds of other millions in the enormous sum of the central budget, constitute the resources which defray the expenses of public education. Not only does the quota of each taxpayer for this purpose remain insignificant, but it disappears in the sum total of which it is only an item that he does not notice.—The parents, for the instruction of a child, do not pay out of their pockets directly, with the consciousness of a distinct service rendered them and which they indemnify,1 but twelve, ten, three, or even two francs a year; again, through the increasing extension of gratis instruction, a fifth, then a third,2 and later one half of them are exempt from this charge.
For secondary instruction, at the college or the lyceé, they take out of their purses annually only forty or fifty francs; and, if their son is a boarder, these few francs mingle in with others forming the total sum paid for him during the year, about 700 francs,3 which is a small sum for defraying the expenses, not only of instruction, but, again, for the support of the lad in lodging, food, washing, light, fire and the rest. The parents, at this rate, feel that they are not making a bad bargain; they are not undergoing extortion, the State not acting like a rapacious contractor. And better yet, it is often a paternal creditor, distributing, as it does, three or four thousand scholarships. If their son obtains one of these, their annual debt is remitted to them and the entire university provision of instruction and support is given to them gratis. In the Faculties, the payment of fees for entrance, examinations, grades and diplomas is not surprising, for the certificates or parchments they receive in exchange for their money are, for the young man, so many positive acquisitions which smooth the way to a career and serve as valuable stock which confers upon him social rank. Besides, the entrance to these Faculties is free and gratuitous, as well as in all other establishments for superior instruction. Whoever chooses and when he chooses may attend without paying a cent.
Thus constituted, the University seems to the public as a liberal, democratic, humanitarian institution and yet economical, expending very little. Its administrators and professors, even the best of them, receive only a small salary—6000 francs at the Muséum and the Collège de France,1 7500 at the Sorbonne, 5000 in the provincial Faculties, 4000 or 3000 in the lycées, 2000, 1500 and 1200 in the communal colleges—just enough to live on. The highest functionaries live in a very modest way; each keeps body and soul together on a small salary which he earns by moderate work, without notable increase or decrease, in the expectation of gradual promotion or of a sure pension at the end. There is no waste, the accounts being well kept; there are no sinecures, even in the libraries; no unfair treatment or notorious scandals. Envy, notions of equality scarcely exist; there are enough situations for petty ambitions and average merit, while there is scarcely any place for great ambitions or great merit. Eminent men serve the State and the public cheaply for a living salary, a higher rank in the Legion of Honor, sometimes for a seat in the Institute, or for European fame in connection with a university, with no other recompense than the satisfaction of working according to conscience2 and of winning the esteem of twenty or thirty competent judges who, in France or abroad, are capable of appreciating their labor at its just value.
The last reason for accepting or tolerating the University; its work at home, or in its surroundings, develops gradually and more or less broadly according to necessities.—In 1815, there were 22,000 primary schools of every kind; in 1829,1 30,000; and in 1850, 63,000. In 1815, 737,000 children were taught in them; in 1829, 1,357,000; and in 1850, 3,787,000. In 1815, there was only one normal school for the education of primary teachers; in 1850, there are 78. Consequently, whilst in 1827, 42 out of 100 conscripts could read, there were in 1877, 85; whilst in 1820, 34 out of 100 women could write their names on the marriage contract, in 1879 there are 70.—Similarly, in the lycées and colleges, the University which, in 1815, turned out 37,000 youths, turns out 54,000 in 1848, and 64,000 in 1865;2 many branches of study, especially history,3 are introduced into secondary instruction and bear good fruit.—Even in superior instruction which, through organization, remains languid, for parade, or in a rut, there are ameliorations; the State adds chairs to its Paris establishments and founds new Faculties in the provinces. In sum, an inquisitive mind capable of self-direction can, at least in Paris, acquire full information and obtain a comprehensive education on all subjects by turning the diverse university institutions to account.—If there are very serious objections to the system, for example, regarding the boarding part of it (internat), the fathers who had been subject to it accept it for their sons. If there were very great defects in it, for example, the lack of veritable universities, the public which had not been abroad and ignores history did not perceive them. In vain does M. Cousin, in relation to public instruction in Germany, in his eloquent report of 1834, as formerly Cuvier in his discreet report of 1811, point out this defect; in vain does M. Guizot, the minister, propose to remove it: “I did not find,” says he,1 “any strong public opinion which induced me to carry out any general and urgent measure in higher instruction. In the matter of superior instruction the public, at this time, . . . was not interested in any great idea, or prompted by any impatient want. . . . Higher education as it was organized and given, sufficed for the practical needs of society, which regarded it with a mixture of satisfaction and indifference.”
In the matter of education, not only at this third stage but again for the first two stages, public opinion so far as aims, results, methods and limitations is concerned, was apathetic; that high science which, in the eighteenth century, with Jean-Jacques, Condillac, Valentin, Haüy, Abbé de l’Epée and so many others, sent forth such powerful and fruitful jets, had dried up and died out; transplanted to Switzerland and Germany, pedagogy yet lives but it is dead on its native soil.2 There is no longer in France any persistent research nor are there any fecund theories on the aims, means, methods, degrees and forms of mental and moral culture, no doctrine in process of formation and application, no controversies, no dictionaries and special manuals, not one well-informed and important Review, and no public lectures. An experimental science is simply the summing-up of many diverse experiences, freely attempted, freely discussed and verified, and through the forced results of the university monopoly these are wanting; among other results of the Napoleonic institution, one could affirm, after 1808, the decadence of pedagogy and foresee its certain end at short date. Neither parents, nor masters nor the young cared anything about it; outside of the system in which they live they imagine nothing; they are accustomed to it the same as to the house in which they dwell. They may grumble sometimes at the arrangement of the rooms, the low stories and narrow staircases, against bad lighting, ventilation and want of cleanliness, against the exactions of the proprietor and concierge; but, as for transforming the building, arranging it otherwise, reconstructing it in whole or in part, they never think of it. For, in the first place, they have no plan; and next, the house is too large and its parts too well united; through its mass and size it maintains itself and would still remain indefinitely if, all at once, in 1848, an unforeseen earthquake had not made breaches in its walls.
The day before the 24th of February M. Cousin, meeting M. de Remusat on the quay Voltaire, raised his arms and exclaimed: “Let us fall on our knees to the bishops—they alone can save us now!” While M. Thiers, with equal vivacity, in the parliamentary committee exclaimed: “Cousin, Cousin, do you comprehend the lesson we have received? Abbé Dupanloup is right.”1 Hence the new law.2 M. Beugnot, who presented it, clearly explains its aims and object: the rulers “must assemble the moral forces of the country and unite them with each other to combat with and overthrow the common enemy,” the anti-social party, “which, victorious, would have no mercy on anybody,” neither on the University nor on the Church. Consequently, the University abandons its monopoly: the State is no longer the sole purveyor of public instruction; private schools and associations may teach as they please and not in the way it teaches; it will no longer inspect “instruction,” but simply “morality, hygiene, and salubrity;”3 they are out of its jurisdiction and exempt from its taxes. Therefore, its establishments and free establishments will no longer be dangerous adversaries, but “useful co-operators;” they will owe and give to each other “good advice and good examples;” it will maintain for both “an equal interest;” henceforth, its University “will be merely an institution supported by it to quicken competition and make this bear good fruit,” and, to this end, it comes to an understanding with its principal competitor, the Church.
But in this coalition of the two powers it is the Church which has the best of it, takes the upper hand and points out the way. For, not only does she profit by the liberty decreed, and profit by it almost alone, founding in twenty years afterwards nearly one hundred ecclesiastical colleges and putting the Ignorantin brethren everywhere in the primary schools; but, again, by virtue of the law,1 she places four bishops or archbishops in the superior council of the University; by virtue of the law, she puts into each departmental academic council the bishop of the diocese and a priest selected by him; moreover, through her credit with the central government she enjoys all the administrative favors. In short, from above and close at hand, she leads, keeps in check, and governs the lay University and, from 1849 to 1859, the priestly domination and interference, the bickerings, the repressions, the dismissals,2 the cases of disgrace, are a revival of the system which, from 1821 to 1828, had already been severe. As under the Restoration, the Church had joined hands with the State to manœuvre the school-machine in concert with it; but, under the Restoration, she reserves to herself the upper hand, and it is she who works the machine rather than the State. In sum, under the name, the show, and the theoretical proclamation of liberty for all, the University monopoly is reorganized, if not by law, at least in fact, and in favor of the Church.
Towards 1859, and after the war in Italy, in relation to the Pope and the temporal power, both join hands, relax their grasp, and then separate; there is a dissolution of partnership; their interests cease to agree, and two words come into use, both predestined to great fortune, on the one side the “laic” interest and on the other side the “clerical” interest; henceforth, the government no longer subordinates the former to the latter and, under the ministry of M. Duruy, the direction of the University becomes frankly laic. Consequently, the entire educational system, in gross and in its principal features, is to resemble, until 1876, that of July. For sixteen years, the two great teaching powers, the spiritual and the temporal, unable to do better, are to support each other but act apart, each on its own ground and each in its own way; only the Church no longer acts through the toleration and gracious permission of the University, but through the legal abolition of the monopoly and by virtue of a written law. The whole composes a passable régime, less oppressive than those that preceded it; in any event, the two millions of devout Catholics who consider unbelief as a terrible evil, the fathers and mothers who place instruction below education1 and desire above all things to preserve the faith of their children up to adult age, now find that ecclesiastical establishments are well-conducted hot-houses and well protected against modern draughts of air. One urgent need of the first order,2 legitimate, deeply felt by many men and especially by women, has received satisfaction; parents who do not experience this want, place their children in the lycées; in 1865, in the smaller seminaries and other ecclesiastical schools there are 54,000 pupils and in the State colleges and lycées 64,000,1 which two bodies balance each other.
But even that is a danger. For, naturally, the teaching State finds with regret that its clients diminish; it does not view the rival favorably which takes away so many of its pupils. Naturally also, in case of an electoral struggle, the Church favors the party which favors it, the effect of which is to expose it to ill-will and, in case of political defeat, to hostilities. Now, the chances are, that, should hostile rulers, in this case, attempt to strike it in its most vulnerable point, that of teaching, they might set aside liberty, and even toleration, and adopt the school machine of Napoleon in order to restore it as best they could, enlarge it, derive from it for their own profit and against the Church, whatever could be got out of it, to use with all their power according to the principles and intentions of the Convention and the Directory. Thus, the compromise accepted by Church and State is simply a provisional truce; to-morrow, this truce will be broken; the fatal French prejudice which erects the State into a national educator is ever present; after a partial and brief slackening of its energy, it will try to recover its ascendancy and recommence its ravages.—And, on the other hand, even under this régime, more liberal than its predecessor, real liberty is much restricted; instead of one monopoly, there are two. Between two kinds of establishments, one laic, resembling a barracks, and the other ecclesiastical, resembling a seminary or convent, parents may choose and that is all. Ordinarily, if they prefer one, it is not because they consider it good, but because, in their opinion, the other is worse, while there is no third one at hand, built after a different type, with its own independent and special character, adapting itself to their tastes and accommodating itself to their necessities.
In the early years of the century there were thousands of secondary schools of every kind and degree, everywhere born or reborn, spontaneous, local, raised up through the mutual understanding of parents and masters, and, consequently, subject to this understanding, diverse, flexible, dependent on the law of supply and demand, competitive, each careful to keep its own patrons, each compelled, like every other private enterprise, to adjust its working to the views and faculties of its clients. It is very probable that, if these had been allowed to exist, if the new legislator had not been radically hostile to permanent corporations, endowments, and mortmain titles; if, through the jealous intervention of his Council of State and the enormous levies of his fiscal system, the government had not discouraged free associations and the free donations to which they might have been entitled, the best of these secondary schools would have survived: those which might have been able to adapt themselves to their surroundings would have had the most vitality; according to a well-known law, they would have prospered in branching off, each in its own sense and in its own way.—Now, at this date, after the demolitions of the Revolution, all pedagogic roads were open and, at each of their starting-points, the runners were ready, not merely laics but, again, independent ecclesiastics, liberal Gallicans, surviving Jansenists, constitutional priests, enlightened monks, some of them philosophers and half-laic in mind or even at heart, using Port-Royal manuals, Rollin’s “Traité des Études” and Condillac’s “Cours d’Etudes,” the best-tried and most fecund methods of instruction, all the traditions of the seventeenth century from Arnauld to Lancelot and all the novelties of the eighteenth century from Locke to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, all wide-awake or aroused by the demands of the public and by this unique opportunity and eager to do and to do well. In the provinces1 as at Paris, people were seeking, trying and groping. There was place and stimulant for original, sporadic and multiple invention, for schools proportionate with and suited to various and changing necessities, Latin, mathematical or mixed schools, some for theoretical science and others for practical apprenticeship, these commercial and those industrial, from the lowest standpoint of technical and rapid preparation up to the loftiest summits of speculative and prolonged study.
On this school world in the way of formation, Napoleon has riveted his uniformity, the rigorous apparatus of his university, his unique system, narrow, inflexible, applied from above, and with what restrictions, with what insistence, with what convergence of means, what prohibitions, what taxes, what application of the university monopoly, what systematic hostility to private establishments!—In the towns, and by force, they become branches of the lycée and imitate its classes; in this way Sainte-Barbe is allowed to subsist at Paris and, until the abolition of the monopoly, the principal establishments of Paris, Massin, Jauffrey, Bellaguet, existed only on this condition, that of becoming auxiliaries, subordinates and innkeepers for lycée day-scholars; such is still the case to-day for the lycées Bossuet and Gerson. In the way of education and instruction the little that an institution thus reduced can preserve of originality and of pedagogic virtue is of no account.—In the country, the Oratoriens who have repurchased Juilly are obliged,2 in order to establish a free and durable school of “Christian and national education,” to turn aside the civil law which interdicts trusts and organize themselves into a “Tontine Society” and thus present their disinterested enterprise in the light of an industrial and commercial speculation, that of a lucrative and well-attended boarding-school. Still at the present day similar fictions have to be resorted to for the establishment and duration of like enterprises.1
Naturally, under this prohibitive régime, private establishments are born with difficulty; and afterwards, absorbed, mutilated and strangled, they find no less difficulty in keeping alive and thus degenerate, decline and succumb one by one. And yet, in 1815, not counting the 41 small seminaries with their 5000 scholars, there still remained 1,225 private schools, with 39,000 scholars, confronting the 36 lycées and 368 communal colleges which, together, had only 37,000 scholars. Of these 1,255 private schools there are only 825 in 1854, 622 in 1865, 494 in 1876, and, finally, in 1887, 302 with 20,174 scholars; on the other hand, the State establishments have 89,000 schools, and those of the Church amount to 73,000. It is only after 1850 that the decadence of laic and private institutions is precipitated; in effect, instead of one competitor, they have two, the second as formidable as the first one, both enjoying unlimited credit, possessors of immense capital and determined to spend money without calculation, the State, on one side abstracting millions from the pockets of the taxpayers and, on the other side, the Church deriving its millions from the purses of the faithful: the struggle between isolated individuals and these two great organized powers who give instruction at a discount or gratis is too unequal.2
Such is the actual and final effect of the first Napoleonic monopoly: the enterprise of the State has, by a counter-stroke, excited the enterprise of the clergy; both now complete the ruin of the others, private, different in kind and independent, which, supported wholly by family approbation, have no other object in view than to render families content. On the contrary, along with this purpose, the two survivors have another object, each its own, a superior and doctrinal object, due to its own particular interest and antagonism to the opposite interest; it is in view of this object, in view of a political or religious purpose, that each in its own domicile directs education and instruction; like Napoleon, each inculcates on, or insinuates into, young minds its social and moral opinions which are very decided and become energetic. Now, the majority of parents, who prefer peace to war, desire that their children should entertain moderate and not bellicose opinions. They would like to see them respectful and intelligent, and nothing more. But neither of the two rival institutions thus limits itself; each works beyond and aside,1 and when the father, at the end of July,2 goes for his son at the ecclesiastical college or laic institution, he risks finding in the young man of seventeen the militant prejudices, the hasty and violent conclusions and the uncompromising rigidity of either a “laïcisant” or a “clérical.”
Meanwhile, the innate vices of the primitive system have lasted and, among others, the worst of all, the internat1 under the discipline of barracks or convent, while the university, through its priority and supremacy, in contact with or contagiously, has communicated this discipline at first to its subordinates, and afterward to its rivals.—In 1887,2 in the State lycées and colleges, there are more than 39,000 boarding-schools (internes) while, in the ecclesiastic establishments, it is worse: out of 50,000 pupils there, over 27,000 are internes, to which must be added the 23,000 pupils of the small seminaries, properly so called, nearly all of them boarders; in a total of 163,000 pupils we find 89,000 internes. Thus, to secure secondary instruction, more than one-half of the youth of France undergo the internat, ecclesiastic or laic. This is peculiar to France, and is due to the way in which Napoleon, in 1806, seized on and perverted all school enterprises.
Before 1789, in France, this enterprise, although largely trammelled and impeded by the State and the Church, was not violated in principle nor perverted in essence; still at the present day, in Germany, in England, in the United States, it exists and is developed in accordance with its nature. It is admitted to be a private enterprise,3 the collective and spontaneous work of several associates voluntarily bound together, old founders, actual and future benefactors, masters and parents and even scholars,1 each in his place and function, under a statute and according to tradition, in such a way as to last in itself indefinitely, in order to provide, like a gas company on its own responsibility, at its own risk and expense, an object of consumption for those who want it; in other terms, the school enterprise must, like any other undertaking, render acceptable what it offers in satisfaction of the needs it provides for.—Naturally, it adapts itself to these needs; its directors and those concerned in it do what is necessary. With hands free, and grouped around an important interest evidently for a common purpose, mutually bound and veritable associates not only legally but in feeling, devoted to a local enterprise and local residents for many years, often even for life, they strive not to work against the rooted dislikes of the young and of families; to this end, they agree amongst themselves and with the parents.2
This is why, outside of France, the French internat, so artificial, so forced, so exaggerated, is almost unknown. In Germany, out of one hundred pupils in the gymnases, which correspond to our lycées, there are scarcely ten boarders lodged and fed in the gymnase; the rest, even when their parents do not dwell near by, remain day-scholars, private guests in the families that harbor them, often at a very low price and which take the place of the absent family. No boarders are found in them except in a few gymnases like Pforta and by virtue of an ancient endowment. The number, however, by virtue of the same endowment, is limited; they dine, in groups of eight or ten,1 at the same table with the professors lodged like themselves in the establishment, while they enjoy for a playground a vast domain of woods, fields and meadow.—The same in England, at Harrow, Eton and Rugby. Each professor, here, is keeper of a boarding-house; he has ten, twenty and thirty boys under his roof, eating at his table or at a table the head of which is some lady of the house. Thus, the youth goes from the family into the school, without painful or sudden contrasts, and remains under a system of things which suits his age and which is a continuation, only enlarged, of domestic life.
Quite the opposite, and against the true spirit of the school, the French college or lycée is for eighty years an enterprise of the State, the local extension of a central enterprise, one of the hundred branches of the great university trunk, possessing no roots of its own and with a directing or teaching staff composed of functionaries similar to others, that is to say transferable,2 restless and preoccupied with promotion, their principal motive for doing well being the hope of a higher rank and of getting a better situation, and hence almost separated in advance from the establishment in which they labor and, besides that, led, pushed on, and restrained from above, each in his own particular sphere and in his limited duty, the principal (proviseur) confined to his administrative position and the professor to his class, expressly forbidden to leave it, no professor “under any pretext to receive in his house as boarders or day-scholars more than ten pupils,”1 no woman allowed to lodge inside the lycée or college walls, all,—proviseur, censor, cashier, chaplain, head-masters and assistants, fitted by art or force to each other like cogwheels, with no deep sympathy, with no moral tie, without collective interests, a cleverly designed machine which, in general, works accurately and smoothly, but with no soul because, to have a soul, it is of prime necessity to have a living body. As a machine constructed at Paris according to a unique pattern and superposed on people and things from Perpignan to Douai and from Rochelle to Besançon, it does not adapt itself to the requirements of its public; it subjects its public to the exigencies, rigidity and uniformity of its play and structure. Now, as it acts mechanically only, through outward pressure, the human material on which it operates must be passive, composed, not of diverse persons, but of unities all alike; its pupils must be for it merely numbers and names.—Owing to this, our internats, those huge stone boxes set up and isolated in each large town, those lycées parcelled out to hold three hundred, four hundred, even eight hundred boarders, with immense dormitories, refectories and playgrounds, recitation-rooms full to overflowing, and, for eight or ten years, for one half of our children and youths, an anti-social unnatural system apart, strict confinement, no going out except to march in couples under the eyes of a sub-teacher who maintains order in the ranks, promiscuity and life in common, exact and minute regularity under equal discipline and constant constraint in order to eat, sleep, study, play, promenade and the rest,—in short, communism.
From the University this system is propagated among its rivals. In conferring grades and passing examinations, it arranges and overburdens the school programme of study; hence, it incites in others what it practises at home, the over-training of youth, and a factitious, hot-house education. On the other hand, the internat is, for those who decide on that, less troublesome than the day-school;1 also, the more numerous the boarders in any one establishment, the less the expense; thus, in order to exist in the face of the university establishments, there must be internats and internats that are full. Ecclesiastical establishments willingly resign themselves to all this; they are even inclined that way; the Jesuits were the first ones, under the old monarchy, who introduced cloistered and crowded boarding-houses. In its essence, the Catholic Church, like the French State, is a Roman institution, still more exclusive and more governmental, resolved to seize, hold on to, direct and control man entirely, and, first of all, the child, head and heart, opinions and impressions, in order to stamp in him and lastingly the definitive and salutary forms which are for him the first condition of salvation. Consequently, the ecclesiastical cage is more strict in its confinement than the laic cage; if the bars are not so strong and not so rough, the grating, finer and more yielding, is more secure, closer and better maintained; they do not allow any holes or relaxation of the meshes; the precautions against worldly and family interference, against the mistakes and caprices of individual effort, are innumerable, and form a double or even triple network. For, to school discipline is added religious discipline, no less compulsory, just as rigid and more constant—daily pious exercises, ordinary devotions and extraordinary ceremonies, spiritual guidance, influence of the confessional and the example and behavior of a staff kept together around the same work by the same faith. The closer the atmosphere, the more powerful the action; the chances are that the latter will prove decisive on the child sequestered, sheltered and brought up in a retort, and that its intellect, faith and ideas, carefully cultivated, pruned and always under direction, will exactly reproduce the model aimed at.—For this reason, in 1876, 33,000 out of the 46,000 pupils belonging to the 309 ecclesiastical establishments of secondary instruction, are internes,1 and the Catholic authorities admit that, in the 86 small seminaries, no day-scholars, no future laics, are necessary.
This conclusion is perhaps reasonable in relation to the 23,000 pupils of the small seminaries, and for the 10,000 pupils in the great seminaries; it is perhaps reasonable also for the future officers formed by the State at La Flèche, Saint-Cyr, Saumur, and on the Borda.2 Whether future soldiers or future priests, their education fits them for the life they lead; what they are to become as adults, they already are as youths and children; the internat, under a convent discipline or that of the barracks, qualifies them beforehand for their profession; since they must possess the spirit of it they must contract its habits; having accepted the form of their pursuit they more easily accept its constraints and all the more that the constraints of the regiment will be less for the young officer than recently at Saint-Cyr, and for the young ministrant in the rural parish than lately in the great seminary.—Quite the reverse for the 75,000 other internes of public or private establishments, ecclesiastic or laic, for the future engineers, doctors, architects, notaries, attorneys, advocates and other men of the law, functionaries, land-owners, chiefs and assistants in industry, agriculture and commerce; for the internat affords precisely the opposite education required for a laic and civil career. These carry away from the prolonged internat a sufficient supply of Latin or of mathematics; but they are lacking in two acquisitions of capital import: they have been deprived of two indispensable experiences; on entering society the young man is ignorant of its two principal personages, man and woman, as they are and as he is about to meet them in society. He has no idea of them, or rather he has only a preconceived, arbitrary and false conception of them.—He has not dined, commonly, with a lady, head of the house, along with her daughters and often with other ladies; their tone of voice, their deportment at table, their toilette, their greater reserve, the attentions they receive, the air of politeness all around, have not impressed on his imagination the faintest lines of an exact notion; hence, there is something wanting in him in relation to how he should demean himself; he does not know how to address them, feels uncomfortable in their presence; they are strange beings to him, new, of an unknown species.—In a like situation, at table in the evening, he has never heard men conversing together: he has not gathered in the thousand bits of information which a young growing mind derives from general conversation: about careers in life, competition, business, money, the domestic fireside and expenses; about the cost of living which should always depend on income; about the gain which nearly always indicates the current rates of labor and of the social subjection one undergoes; about the pressing, powerful, personal interests which are soon to seize him by the collar and perhaps by the throat; about the constant effort required, the incessant calculation, the daily struggle which, in modern society, makes up the life of an ordinary man. All means of knowing have been denied him, the contact with living and diverse men, the images which the sensations of his eyes and ears might have stamped on his brain. These images constitute the sole materials of a correct, healthy conception; through them, spontaneously and gradually, without too many deceptions or shocks, he might have figured social life to himself, such as it is, its conditions, difficulties, and its risks;—he has neither the sentiment of it nor the presentiment. In all matters, that which we call common-sense is never but an involuntary, latent summary, the lasting, substantial and salutary depot left in our minds after many direct impressions. With reference to social life, he has been deprived of all these direct impressions and the precious depot has never been formed in him.—He has scarcely ever conversed with his professors; their talk with him has been about impersonal and abstract matters, languages, literatures and mathematics. He has spoken but little with his teachers, except to contest an injunction or grumble aloud against reproof. Of real conversation, the acquisition and exchange of ideas, he has enjoyed none, except with his comrades: if, like him, all are internes, they can communicate to each other only their ignorance; if day-scholars are admitted, they are active smugglers or willing agents who bring into the house and circulate forbidden books and obscene journals, along with the filthy provocatives and foul atmosphere of the streets.—Now, with excitations of this class or in this wise, the brains of these captives, as puberty comes on and deliverance draws near, work actively and we know in what sense1 and in what counter-sense, how remote from observable and positive truth, how their imagination pictures society, man and woman, under what simple and coarse appearances, with what inadequacy and presumption, what appetites of liberated serfs and juvenile barbarians, how, as concerns women, their precocious and turbid dreams first become brutal and cynical,2 how, as concerns men, their unballasted and precipitous thought easily becomes chimerical and revolutionary.3 The downhill road is steep on the bad side, while, to put on the drag or to remount it, the young man who takes the management of his life into his own hands must know how to use his own will and persevere to the end.
But a faculty is developed only by exercise, and the French internat is the engine the most effective for hindering the exercise of this one.—The youth, from the first to the last day of his internat, has never been able to deliberate on, choose and decide what he should do at any one hour of his school-days; except to idle away time in study-hours, and pay no attention at recitations, he could not exercise his will. Nearly every act, especially his outward attitudes, postures, immobility, silence, drill and promenades in rank, is only obedience to orders. He has lived like a horse in harness, between the thills of his cart; this cart itself, kept straight by its two wheels, must not leave the rectilinear ruts hollowed out and traced for it along the road; it is impossible for the horse to turn aside. Besides, every morning he is harnessed at the same hour, and every evening he is unharnessed at the same hour; every day, at other hours, he has to rest and take his ration of hay and oats. He has never been under the necessity of thinking about all this, nor of looking ahead or on either side; from one end of the year to the other, he has simply had to pull along guided by the bridle or urged by the whip, his principal springs of action being only of two kinds, on the one hand more or less hard guidance and urgings, and on the other hand indocility and more or less indolence and fatigue; he has been obliged to choose between the two. For eight or ten years, his initiative is reduced to that—no other employment of his free will. The education of his free will is thus rudimentary or null.
On the strength of this our system supposes that it is complete and perfect. We cast the bridle on the young man’s neck and hand him over to his own government. We admit that, by extraordinary grace, the scholar has suddenly become a man; that he is capable of prescribing and following his own orders; that he has accustomed himself to weighing the near and remote consequences of his acts, of imputing them to himself, of believing himself responsible for them; that his conscience, suddenly emancipated, and his reason, suddenly adult, will march straight on athwart temptations and immediately recover from slips. Consequently, he is set free with an allowance in some great city; he registers himself under some Faculty and becomes one among ten thousand other students on the sidewalks of Paris.—Now, in France, there is no university police force to step in, as at Bonn or Göttingen, at Oxford or Cambridge, to watch his conduct and punish him in the domicile and in public places. At the schools of Medicine, Law, Pharmacy, Fine-Arts, Charters, and Oriental Languages, at the Sorbonne and at the École Centrale, his emancipation is sudden and complete. When he goes from secondary education to superior education he does not, as in England and in Germany, pass from a restricted liberty to one less restricted, but from a cloisteral discipline to complete independence. In a furnished room, in the promiscuity and incognito of a common hotel, scarcely out of college, the novice of twenty years finds at hand the innumerable temptations of the streets, the dram-shops, the beer-shops, public balls, obscene publications, chance acquaintances, and the liaisons of the gutter. Against all this his previous education has disarmed him. Instead of creating a moral force within him, the long and strict internat has maintained moral debility. He yields to opportunity, to example; he goes with the current, he floats without a rudder, he lets himself drift. As far as hygiene, or money, or sex, is concerned, his mistakes and his follies, great or small, are almost inevitable, while it is an average chance if, during his three, four or five years of full license, he does not become entirely corrupt.
Let us now consider another effect of the primitive institution, not less pernicious. On leaving the lycée after the philosophy class, the system supposes that a general education is fully obtained; there is no question of a second one, ulterior and superior, that of universities. In place of these encyclopedic universities, of which the object is free teaching and the free progress of knowledge, it establishes special State schools, separate from each other, each confined to a distinct branch, each with a view to create, verify and proclaim a useful capacity, each devoted to leading a young man along, step by step, through a series of studies and tests up to the title or final diploma which qualifies him for his profession, a diploma that is indispensable or, at least, very useful since, without it, in many cases, one has no right to practise his profession and which, thanks to it, in all cases, enables one to enter on a career with favor and credit, in fair rank, and considerably promoted.—On entering on most careers called liberal, a first diploma is exacted, that of bachelor of arts, or bachelor of sciences, sometimes both, the acquisition of which is now a serious matter for all French youth, a daily and painful preoccupation. To this end, when about sixteen, the young man works, or, rather, is worked upon. For one or two years, he submits to a forced culture, not in view of learning and of knowing, but to answer questions well at an examination, or tolerably well, and to obtain a certificate, on proof or on semblance of proof, that he has received a complete classical education.—Next after this, at the medical or law school, during the four prescribed years, sixteen graduated inscriptions, four or five superposed examinations, two or three terminal verifications, oblige him to furnish the same proof, or semblance of proof, to verify, as each year comes round, his assimilation of the lessons of the year, and thus attest that, at the end of his studies, he possesses about the entire scope and diversity of knowledge to which he is restricted.
In the schools where the number of pupils is limited, this culture, carried still farther, becomes intense and constant. In the École Centrale and in the commercial or agronomic schools, in the École des Beaux-Arts or des Chartes, the pupil is there the entire day; in the military schools, in the École Polytechnique or Normale, he is there all day and all night,—he is housed in a barracks.—And the pressure on him is twofold—the pressure of examinations and that of competition. On entering, on leaving, and during his stay there, not only at the end of each year but every six or three months, often every six weeks, and even every fortnight, he is rated according to his compositions, exercises and interrogatories, getting so many marks for his partial value, so many for his total value and, according to these figures, classed at a certain rank among his comrades who are his rivals. To descend on the scale would be disadvantageous and humiliating; to ascend on the scale is advantageous and glorious. Under the impulse of this motive, so strong in France, his principal aim is to go up or, at least, not to go down; he devotes all his energy to this; he expends none of it on either side or beyond; he allows himself no diversion, he abstains from taking any initiative; his restrained curiosity never ventures outside of the circle traced for him; he absorbs only what he is taught and in the order in which it is taught; he fills himself to the brim, but only to disgorge at the examination and not to retain and hold on to; he runs the risk of choking, and when relieved, of remaining empty. Such is the régime of our special schools. They are a systematic, energetic and prolonged system of gardening; the State, the gardener-in-chief, receiving or selecting plants which it undertakes to turn out profitably, each of its kind. To this end, it separates the species, and ranges each apart on a bed of earth; and here, all day long, it digs, weeds, rakes, waters, adds one manure after another, applies its powerful heating apparatus and accelerates the growth and ripening of the fruit. On certain beds its plants are kept under glass throughout the year; in this way it maintains them in a steady, artificial atmosphere, forcing them to more largely imbibe the nutritive liquids with which it floods the ground, thus causing them to swell and become hypertrophic, so as to produce fruits or vegetables for show, and which it exposes and which bring it credit; for all these productions look well, many of them superb, while their size seems to attest their excellence; they are weighed beforehand and the official labels with which they are decorated announce the authentic weight.
During the first quarter, and even the first half, of the century, the system remained almost unobjectionable; it had not yet pushed things to extremity. Down to 1850 and later, all that was demanded of the young, in their examinations and competitions, was much less the extent and minutia of knowledge than proofs of intelligence and the promise of capacity: in a literary direction, the main object was to verify whether the candidate, familiar with the classics, could write Latin correctly and French tolerably well; in the sciences, if he could, without help, accurately and promptly solve a problem; if, again unaided, he could, readily and accurately to the end, state a long series of theorems and equations without divergence or faltering; in sum, the object of the test was to verify in him the presence and degree of the mathematical or literary faculty.—But, since the beginning of the century, the old subdivided sciences and the new consolidated sciences have multiplied their discoveries and, necessarily, all discoveries end in finding their way into public instruction. In Germany, for them to become installed and obtain chairs, encyclopedic universities are found, in which free teaching, pliant and many-sided, rises of itself to the level of knowledge. With us, for lack of universities, they have had only special schools; here only could a place be found for them and professors obtained. Henceforth, the peculiar character of these schools has changed: they have ceased to be strictly special and veritably professional.—Each school, being an individuality, has developed apart and on its own account; its aim has been to domiciliate and furnish under its own roof all the general, collateral, accessory and ornamental studies which, far or near, could be of service to its own pupils. No longer content with turning out competent and practical men, it has conceived a superior type, the ideal model of the engineer, physician, jurist, professor or architect; and, to manufacture this extraordinary and desirable type, it has imagined a quantity of supererogatory courses of lectures for show, and to obtain which, it has enhanced the advantage to a young man of giving him not alone technical knowledge, but knowledge in the abstract, multiple and great variety of information, complementary culture and lofty general ideas, which render the specialist a savant, properly so called, and a man of a very broad mind.
To this end, it has appealed to the State. The State, the contractor for public instruction, the founder of every new professional chair, appoints the occupant, pays the salary and, when in funds, is not ill-disposed, for it thus gains a good reputation, an increase of granting power and a new functionary. Such is the why and wherefore, in each school, of the multiplication of professorships: schools of law, of medicine, of pharmacy, of charters, of fine arts, polytechnic, normal, central, agronomic and commercial schools, each becoming, or tending to become, a sort of university on a small scale, bringing together within its walls the totality of teachings which, if the student profits by them, renders him in his profession an accomplished personage. Naturally, to secure attendance at these lectures, the school, in concert with the State, adds to the exigencies of its examinations, and soon, for the average of intellects and for health, the burden imposed by it becomes too heavy. Particularly, in the schools to which admission is gained only through competitions the extra load is still more burdensome, owing to the greater crowd striving to pass; there are now five, seven and even eleven candidates for one place.1 With this crowd, it has been found necessary to raise and multiply the barriers, urge the competitors to jump over them, and to open the door only to those who jump the highest and in the greatest number. There is no other way to make a selection among them without incurring the charge of despotism and nepotism. It is their business to have good legs and make the best of them, and after that to submit to methodical training, to drill and drag along the whole year and for several years in succession up to the final struggle, without thinking of any but the barriers in front of them on the race-course at the appointed date, and which they must spring over to get ahead of their rivals.
At the present day, after the complete course of classical studies, four years in school no longer suffice for obtaining the degrees of a doctor in medicine or doctor in law. Five or six years are necessary. Two years are necessary between the baccalauréat ès-lettres and the various licenses ès-lettres or sciences, and from these to the corresponding aggrégations two, three years, and often more. Three years of preparatory studies in mathematics and of desperate application lead the young man to the threshold of the École Polytechnique; after that, after two years in school and of no less sustained effort, the future engineer passes three not less laborious years at the École des Ponts et Chaussées or des Mines, which amounts to eight years of professional preparation. Elsewhere, in the other schools, it is the same thing with more or less excess. Observe how days and hours are spent during this long period.2 The young men have attended lecture-courses, masticated and remasticated manuals, abbreviated abridgments, learned by heart mementoes and formulæ, stored their memories with a vast multitude of generalities and details. Every sort of preliminary information, all the theoretical knowledge which, even indirectly, may serve them in their future profession or which is of service in neighboring professions, are classified in their brains, ready to come forth at the first call, and, as proved by the examination, disposable at a minute; they possess them, but nothing otherwise or beyond. Their education has all tended to one side; they have undergone no practical apprenticeship. Never have they taken an active part in or lent a hand to any professsional undertaking either as collaborators or assistants. The future professor, a new aggrégé at twenty-four years of age, who issues from the École Normale, has not yet taught a class, except for a fortnight in a Paris lycée. The future engineer who, at twenty-four or twenty-five years of age leaves the École Centrale, or the École des Ponts, or École des Mines, has never assisted in the working of a mine, in the heating of a blast-furnace, in the piercing of a tunnel, in the laying-out of a dike, of a bridge or of a roadway. He is ignorant of the cost and has never commanded a squad of workmen. If the future advocate or magistrate has not made up his mind to remain a notary’s or lawyer’s clerk at twenty-five years of age, even a doctor of law with his insignia of three “white balls,” he knows nothing of business; he merely knows his codes; he has never examined pleadings, conducted a case, drawn up an act or liquidated an estate. From eighteen to thirty, the future architect who competes for a prix de Rome may stay in the École des Beaux-Arts, draw plan after plan there, and then, if he obtains the prix, pass five years at Rome, make designs without end, multiply plans and restorations on paper, and at last, at thirty-five years of age, return to Paris with the highest titles, architect of the government, and ambitious to erect edifices without having taken even a second or third part in the real construction of a single house.—None of these men so full of knowledge know their trade and each, at this late hour, is expected to improvise himself a practitioner,1 in haste and too fast, encountering many drawbacks at his own expense and at the expense of others, along with serious risks for the first commissions he receives.
Before 1789, says a witness of both the ancient and the modern régime,2 young Frenchmen did not thus pass their early life. Instead of dancing attendance so long on the threshold of a career, they were inducted into it very early in life and at once began the race. With very light baggage and readily obtained “they entered the army at sixteen, and even fifteen years of age, at fourteen in the navy, and a little later in special branches, artillery or engineering. In the magistracy, at nineteen, the son of a conseiller-maître in parliament was made a conseiller-adjoint without a vote until he reached twenty-five; meanwhile, he was busy, active and sometimes was made the reporter of a case. Not less precocious were the admissions to the Cour des Comptes, to the Cour des Aides, to inferior jurisdictions and into the bureaux of all the financial administrations.” Here, as elsewhere, if any rank in law was exacted the delay that ensued was not apparent; the Faculty examinations were not simulachres; for a sum of money, and after a more or less grave ceremonial, a needed diploma was obtained almost without study.3 —Accordingly, it was not in school, but in the profession, that professional instruction was acquired; strictly speaking, the young man for six or seven years, instead of being a student was an apprentice, that is to say a working novice under several master-workmen, in their workshop, working along with them and learning by doing work, which is the best way of obtaining instruction. Struggling with the difficulties of the work he at once became aware of his incompetency;1 he became modest and was attentive; with his masters, he kept silent, and listened, which is the only way to understand. If he was intelligent he himself discovered what he lacked; as he found this out he felt the need of supplying what he needed; he sought, set his wits to work, and made choice of the various means; freely and self-initiating he helped himself in his general or special education. If he read books, it was not resignedly and for a recitation, but with avidity and to comprehend them. If he followed lecture-courses it was not because he was obliged to, but voluntarily, because he was interested and because he profited by it.—Magistrate at seventeen, the witness I cite attended at the lycée the lectures of Garat, La Harpe, Fourcroy and Duparcieux and, daily, at table or in the evening, listened to his father and his friends discussing matters which, in the morning, had been argued in the Palais de Justice or in the Grand-Chambre. He imbibed a taste for his profession. Along with two or three prominent advocates and other young magistrates like himself, he inscribed his name for lectures at the house of the first president of the first court of inquiry. Meanwhile, he went every evening into society; he saw there with his own eyes the ways and interests of men and women. On the other hand, at the Palais de Justice, a conseiller-écoutant he sat for five years, alongside of the conseillers-juges and often, the reporter of a case, he gave his opinion. After such a novitiate, he was competent to form a judgment in civil or criminal cases with experience, competency and authority. From the age of twenty-five, he was prepared for and capable of serious duties. He had only to live and perfect himself to become an administrator, deputy or minister, a dignitary as we see under the first Empire, under the Restoration, under the July monarchy, that is to say the best informed, well-balanced, judicious political character and, at length, the man of highest consideration of his epoch.1
Such is also the process which, still at the present day, in England and in America secures future ability in the various professions. In the hospital, in the mine, in manufactories, with the architect, with the lawyer, the pupil, taken very young, goes through his apprenticeship and subsequent stages about the same as a clerk with us in an office or an art-student in the studio. Preliminarily and before entering it, he has attended some general seminary lecture which serves him as a ready-made basis for the observations he is about to make. Meanwhile, there are very often technical courses within reach, which he may attend at his leisure in order to give shape to his daily experiences as these happen to accumulate. Under a régime of this stamp practical capacity grows and develops of itself, just to that degree which the faculties of the pupil warrant, and in the direction which his future aims require, through the special work to which he wishes for the time being to adapt himself. In this way, in England and in the United States, the young man soon succeeds in developing all he is good for. From the age of twenty-five and much sooner, if the substance and bottom are not wanting, he is not only a useful executant, but again a spontaneous creator, not merely a wheel but besides this a motor force. In France, where the inverse process has prevailed and become more and more Chinese at each generation, the total of the force lost is immense.
The most productive period of human life extends from fifteen or sixteen up to twenty-five or twenty-six; here are seven or eight years of growing energy and of constant production, buds, flowers and fruit; during this period the young man sketches out his original ideas. But, that these ideas may be born in him, sprout, and flourish they must, at this age, profit by the stimulating or repressive influence of the atmosphere in which they are to live later on; here only are they formed in their natural and normal environment; their germs depend for their growth on the innumerable impressions due to the young man’s sensations, daily, in the workshop, in the mine, in the court-room, in the studio, on the scaffolding of a building, in the hospital, on seeing tools, materials and operations, in talking with clients and workmen, in doing work, good or bad, costly or remunerative; such are the minute and special perceptions of the eyes and the ears, of touch and even smell which, involuntarily gathered in and silently elaborated, work together in him and suggest, sooner or later, this or that new combination, economy, perfection or invention.1 The young Frenchman, just at this fecund age, is deprived of all these precious contacts, of all these assimilating and indispensable elements. During seven or eight years, he is shut up in school, remote from the direct and personal experience which might have given him an exact and vivifying notion of men and things, and of the various ways of handling them. All this time his inventive faculties are deliberately sterilized; he can be nothing but a passive recipient; whatever he might have produced under the other system he cannot produce under this one; the balance of debit and credit is utter loss.—Meanwhile, the cost has been great. Whilst the apprentice, the clerk busy with his papers in his office, the interne with his apron on standing by the bedside of the patient in the hospital, pays by his services, at first for his instruction, then for his breakfast, and ends in gaining something besides, at least his pocket-money, the student under the Faculty, or the pupil in a special school is educated and lives at the expense of his family or of the State; he gives back in exchange no work that is useful to mankind, none that is worth anything on the market; his actual consumption is not compensated for by his actual production. Undoubtedly, he cherishes the hope that some day or other he will obtain compensation, that he will refund later and largely both capital and interest, and all the advances made; in other words, his future services are discounted and, as far as he is concerned, he speculates on a long credit.—It remains to be seen whether the speculation is a good one; whether, at last, the receipts will cover the expenses, in short, what will be the net or average returns to the man thus fashioned.
Now, among the forces expended, the most important to take into account is the time and attention of the pupil, the sum of his efforts, this or that quantity of mental energy; he has only a limited provision of this, and, not only is the proportion of this which the system consumes excessive, but, again, the application of it which the system enforces is not remunerative. The provision is exhausted and by a wrong use of it, with scarcely any profit.—In our lycées, the pupil sits at his task more than eleven hours a day; in a certain ecclesiastical college it is twelve hours, and, from the age of twelve years, through the necessity of being first in competition as well as for securing the greatest number of admissions through various examinations.—At the end of this secondary education there is a graduated scale of successive tests, and first the baccalauréat. Fifty out of one hundred candidates fail and the examiners are indulgent.1 This proves, first of all, that the rejected have not profited by their studies; but it likewise proves that the programme of the examination is not adapted to the general run of minds, nor to the native faculties of the human majority; that many young men capable of learning by the opposite method learn nothing by this one; that education, such as it is, with the kind and greatness of the central labor it imposes, with its abstract and theoretical turn, exceeds the average compass of memories and understandings.—Particularly, during the last year of classical studies, the pupils have had to follow the philosophy lectures: in the time of M. Laromiguière, this might be useful to them; in the time of M. Cousin, the course, so far, did but little harm; at the present day, impregnated with neo-Kantism, it injects into minds of eighteen, seventeen, and even sixteen years, a metaphysical muddle as cumbersome as the scholasticism of the fourteenth century, terribly indigestible and unhealthy for the stomachs of novices; they swallow even to bursting and throw it off at the examination just as it comes, entirely raw for lack of the capacity to assimilate it.—Often, after failure at the baccalauréat, or on entering the special schools, the young people go into, or are put into, what they call “a box” or an “oven,” a preparatory internat, similar to the boxes in which silkworms are raised and to the ovens where the eggs are hatched. In more exact language it is a mechanical “gaveuse”1 in which they are daily crammed; through this constant, forced feeding, their real knowledge is not increased, nor their mental vigor; they are superficially fattened and, at the end of the year, or in eighteen months, they present themselves on the appointed day, with the artificial and momentary volume they need for that day, with the bulk, surface, polish and all the other requisite externals, because these externals are the only ones that the examination verifies and imposes.1 All of the special and systematic studies which prepare young men for the École de Saint-Cyr and for the polytechnic, naval, central, normal, agricultural, commercial and forestry schools operate, a little less rudely, but in the same way and with the same object, in our lycées and colleges; in these too, these studies are cramming machines which prepare the pupil for examination purposes. In like manner, above secondary education, all our special schools are public cramming machines;2 alongside of them are private schools advertised and puffed in the newspapers and by posters on the walls, preparing young men for the licence degree in Law and for the third and fourth examinations in Medicine. Some day or other, others will probably exist to prepare them for Treasury inspectors, for the “Cour des Comptes,” for diplomacy, by competition, the same as for the medical profession, for a hospital surgeon and for aggregation in law, medicine, letters or the sciences.
Undoubtedly, some minds, very active and very robust, withstand this régime; all that is ingurgitated they absorb and digest. After leaving the school and having passed through all grades they preserve the faculty of learning, investigating and inventing intact, and compose the small élite of savans, men of letters, artists, engineers and physicians who, in the international exposition of superior talent, maintain France in its ancient rank.—But the rest, in very great majority, nine out of ten at least, have lost their time and trouble, many years of their life and years that are useful, important and even decisive: take at once one-half or two-thirds of those who present themselves at the examinations, I mean the rejected, and then, among the admitted who get diplomas, another half or two-thirds that is to say, the overworked. Too much has been required of them by exacting that, on such a day, seated or before the blackboard, for two entire hours, they should be living repertories of all human knowledge; in effect, such they are, or nearly so, that day, for two hours; but, a month later, they are so no longer; they could not undergo the same examination; their acquisitions, too numerous and too burdensome, constantly drop out of their minds and they make no new ones. Their mental vigor has given way, the fecund sap has dried up; the accomplished man appears, but often that is the last of him. The steady, sober man, married, content to plod along indefinitely in the same circle, intrenches himself in his restricted vocation and does his duty, but nothing more. Such are the average returns—assuredly, the receipts do not balance the expenses. In England and in America where, as before 1789 in France, the inverse method is followed, the returns are equal or superior,1 and they are obtained with greater facility, with more certainty, at an age less tardy, without imposing such great and unhealthy efforts on the young man, such large expenditure by the State, and such long delays and sacrifices on families.2
Now, in the four Faculties of Law, Medicine, Science and Letters, there are this year 22,000 students; add to these the pupils of the special schools and those who study with the hope of entering them, in all probably 30,000. But there is no need of counting them; since the suppression of the one-year voluntariat, the entire body of youths capably of study, who wish to remain only one year in barracks and not remain there to get brutalized during three years, flocks to the benches of the lycée or to those of a Faculty; the sole object of the young man is not, as before, to reach the baccalauréat; it is essential that he should be admitted, after a competition, into one of the special schools, or obtain the highest grades and diplomas in one of the Faculties; in all cases, he is bound to successfully undergo difficult and multiplied examinations. At the present time, there is no place in France for an education in an inverse sense, nor for any other of a different type. Henceforth, no young man, without condemning himself to three years of barrack life, can travel at an early age for any length of time, or form his mind at home by free and original studies, stay in Germany and follow speculative studies in the universities, or go to England or to America to derive practical instruction from factory or farm. Captured by our system, he is forced to surrender himself to the mechanical routine which fills his mind with fictitious tools, with useless and cumbersome acquisitions that impose on him in exchange an exorbitant expenditure of mental energy and which is very likely to convert him into a mandarin.
Such is the singular and final result brought about by the institution of the year x, due to the intervention of the grossly levelling Jacobin spirit. Indeed, since 1871, and especially since 1879, this spirit, through Napoleonic forms, has given breath, impulse and direction, and these forms suit it. On the principle that education belongs to the State, Napoleon and the old Jacobins were in accord; what he in fact established they had enounced dogmatically; hence the structure of his university-engine was not objectionable to them; on the contrary, it conformed to their instincts. Hence, the reason why the new Jacobins, inheritors of both instinct and dogma, immediately adopted the subsisting engine; none was more convenient, better calculated to meet their views, better adapted in advance to do their work. Consequently, under the third Republic, as under anterior governments, the school machine continues to turn and grind in the same rut, through the same working of its mechanism, under the same impulse of its unique and central motor, conformably to the same Napoleonic and Jacobin idea of the teaching State, a formidable conception which, more invasive every year, more widely and more rigorously applied, more and more excludes the opposite conception, the remission of education to those interested in it, to those who possess rights, to parents, to free and private enterprises which depend only on personal exertions and on families, to permanent, special, local corporations, proprietary and organized under statutes, governed, managed and supported by themselves. On this model, a few men of intelligence and sensibility, enlightened by what is accomplished abroad, try to organize regional universities in our great academic centres, and the State may, perhaps, grant, if not the thing itself, at least the semblance of the thing, but nothing more. Through its right of public administration, through the powers of its Council of State, through its fiscal legislation, through the immemorial prejudices of its jurists, through the routine of its bureaux, it is hostile to a corporate personality; never can their project be considered a veritable civil personage; if the State consents to endow a group of individuals with civil powers, it is always on condition that they be subjects to its narrow tutelage and be treated as minors and children.—Besides, these universities, even in possession of their majority, are to remain as they are, so many laboratories for grades: they must no longer serve as an intellectual refuge, an oasis at the end of secondary instruction, a station for three or four years for free curiosity and disinterested self-culture. Since the abolition of the voluntariat for one year, a young Frenchman no longer enjoys the leisure to cultivate himself in this way; free curiosity is interdicted; he is too much harassed by a too positive interest, by the necessity of obtaining grades and diplomas, by the preoccupations of examinations, by the limitations of age; he has no time to lose in experiments, in mental excursions, in pure speculation. Henceforth, our system allows him only the régime to which we see him subject, namely the rush, the puffing and blowing, the gallop without stopping on a race-course, the perilous jumps at regular distances over previously arranged and numbered obstacles. Instead of being restricted and attenuated, the disadvantages of the Napoleonic institution spread and grow worse, and this is due to the way in which our rulers comprehend it, the original, hereditary way of the Jacobin spirit.
When Napoleon built his University he did it as a statesman and a man of business, with the foresight of a contractor and practical man, calculating outlay and receipts, means and resources, so as to fashion at once and with the least expense, the military and civil instruments which he lacked and of which he always had too few because he consumed too many: to this precise, definite purpose he subjected and subordinated all the rest, including the theory of the educational State; she was for him simply a sum-total, a formula, a thing for show. On the contrary, for the old Jacobins, she was an axiom, a principle, an article in the Social Contract; by this contract, the State had charge of public education; it had the right and its duty was to undertake this and manage it. The principle being laid down, as convinced theorists and blindly following the deductive method, they derived consequences from it and rushed ahead, with eyes shut, into practical operation, with as much haste as vigor, without concerning themselves with the nature of human materials, of surrounding realities, of available resources, of collateral effects, nor of the total and final effect. Likewise with the new Jacobins of the present day, according to them, since instruction is a good thing,1 the broader and deeper it is the better; since broad and deep instruction is very good, the State should, with all its energy and by every means in its power, inculcate it on the greatest possible number of children, boys and adolescents. Such, henceforth, is the word of command from on high, transmitted down to the three stages of superior, secondary and primary instruction.
Consequently, from 1876 to 1890,2 the State expends for superior instruction, in buildings alone, 99,000,000 francs. Formerly, the receipts of the Faculties about covered their expenses; at the present day, the State allows them annually 6,000,000 francs more than their receipts. It has founded and supports 221 new (professional) chairs, 168 complementary courses of lectures, 129 conférences and, to supply the attendants, it provides, since 1877, 300 scholarships for those preparing for the licence and, since 1881, 200 scholarships for those preparing for the aggrégation. Similarly, in secondary instruction, instead of 81 lycées in 1876, it has 100 in 1887; instead of 3,820 scholarships in 1876, it distributes, in 1887, 10,528; instead of 2,200,000 francs expended for this branch of instruction in 1857, it expends 18,000,000 in 1889.—Through this surcharge of instruction, the greater the surcharge of examinations: was it well to “assign to the grades” that the State exacts, and confer “more science than in the past, which is what was everywhere done where it seemed necessary.”1 Naturally, and through contagion, the obligation of possessing more knowledge descended to secondary instruction. In effect, after this date, we see no neo-Kantian philosophy descending like hail from the metaphysical ether above on the lowest lycée classes, to the lasting injury of seventeen-year-old brains; again, after this date, we see in the class of special mathematics the thorny vegetation of complicated problems, so rank and so excessively intermingled that, nowadays, the candidate for the Polytechnic School must, to gain admission, expound theorems that were only mastered by his father after he got there.—Hence, “boxes” and “ovens,” private internats, the preparatory laic or ecclesiastical schools and other “scholastic cramming-machines”; hence, the prolonged mechanical effort which forces each intellectual sponge to imbibe all the scientific fluid it will hold, even to saturation, and maintain it in this state of extreme repletion if only for two hours during an examination, after which it may subside incontinently and filter away; hence, that mistaken use, that inordinate expenditure, that precocious usury of mental energy, and the whole of that pernicious system which oppresses the young for so long a time, not for their advantage, but to their detriment on arriving at maturity.
To reach the uncultivated masses, to address the popular intellect and imagination, one must use absolute, simple catchwords; in the matter of primary instruction, the simplest and most absolute is that which promises and offers it to all children, boys and girls, not merely universal, but, again, complete and gratuitous. To this end, from 1878 to 1891,1 the State has expended for school buildings and installations 582,000,000 francs; for salaries and other expenses it furnished the latter year 131,000,000. Somebody pays for all this, and it is the tax-payer, and by force; aided by gendarmes, the collector puts his hand forcibly into all pockets, even those containing only sous, and withdraws these millions. Gratuitous instruction sounds well and seems to designate a veritable gift, a present from the great vague personage called the State, and whom the general public dimly sees on the distant horizon as a superior, independent being, and hence a possible benefactor. In reality, his presents are made with our money, while his generosity consists in the fine name with which he here gilds his fiscal exactions, a new constraint added to so many others which he imposes on us and which we endure.2 —Besides, through instinct and tradition, the State is naturally inclined to multiply constraints, and this time there is no concealment. From six to thirteen years of age, primary instruction becomes obligatory;3 the father is required to prove that his children receive it, if not at the public school at least in a private school or at home. During these seven years it continues, and ten months are devoted to it each year. The school takes and keeps the child three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon; it pours into these little heads all that is possible in such a length of time, all that they can hold and more too,—spelling, syntax, grammatical and logical analysis, rules of composition and of style, history, geography, arithmetic, geometry, drawing, notions of literature, politics, law, and finally a complete moral system, “civic morality.”
That it is very useful for every adult to know how to read, write and cipher, and that, for this motive, the State should exact from the child the minimum of this knowledge, may not meet with disapproval as a State exaction; for the same motive, and on the same principle, provision should be made for swimming-schools in every village and town on the sea-coast, or on the streams and rivers; every boy should be obliged to learn how to swim.—That it may be useful for every boy and girl in the United States to pass through the entire system of primary instruction is peculiar to the United States and is comprehensible in an extensive and new country where multiplied and diverse pursuits present themselves on all sides;1 where every career may lead to the highest pinnacle; where a rail-splitter may become president of the republic; where the adult often changes his career and, to afford him the means for improvising a competency at each change, he must possess the elements of every kind of knowledge; where the wife, being for the man an object of luxury, does not use her arms in the fields and scarcely ever uses her hands in the household.—It is not the same in France. Nine out of ten pupils in the primary school are sons or daughters of peasants or of workmen and will remain in the condition of their parents; the girl, adult, will do washing and cooking all her life at home or abroad; the son, adult, confined to his occupation will work all his life in a shop or on his own or another’s field. Between this destiny of the adult and the plenitude of his primary instruction, the disproportion is enormous; it is evident that his education does not prepare him for the life he has to lead; but for another life, less monotonous, under less restraint, more cerebral, and of which a faint glimpse disgusts him with his own;1 at least, it will disgust him for a long time and frequently, until the day comes when his school acquisitions, wholly superficial, shall have evaporated in contact with the ambient atmosphere and no longer appear to him other than empty phrases; in France, for an ordinary peasant or workman, so much the better if this day comes early.
At the very least, three quarters of these acquirements are for him superfluous. He derives no advantage from them, neither for inward satisfaction nor for getting ahead in the world; and yet they must all be gone through with. In vain would the father of a family like to curtail them, to limit the mental acquirements of his children to attainments that they can make use of, to reading, writing and arithmetic, to giving to these just the necessary time, at the right season, three months for two or three winters, to keep his twelve-year-old daughter at home to help her mother and take care of the other children, to keep his boy of ten years for pasturing cattle or for goading on oxen at the plough.2 In relation to his children and their interests as well as for his own necessities, he is suspect, he is not a good judge; the State has more light and better intentions than he has. Consequently, the State has the right to constrain him and in fact, from above, from Paris, the State does this. Legislators, as formerly in 1793, have acted according to Jacobin procedure, as despotic theorists; they have formed in their minds a uniform, universal, simple type, that of a child from six to thirteen years as they want to see it, without adjusting the instruction they impose on it to its prospective condition, making abstraction of his positive and personal interest, of his near and certain future, setting the father aside, the natural judge and competent appreciator of the education suitable to his son and daughter, the sole authorized arbiter for determining the quality, duration, circumstances and counterpoise of the mental and moral manipulation to which these young lives, inseparable from his own, are going to be subject away from home.—Never, since the Revolution, has the State so vigorously affirmed its omnipotence, nor pushed its encroachments on and intrusion into the proper domain of the individual so far, even to the very centre of domestic life. Note that in 1793 and 1794 the plans of Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau and of Saint-Just remained on paper; the latter for ten years have been in practical operation.
At bottom, the Jacobin is a sectarian, the propagator of his own faith, and hostile to the faith of others. Instead of admitting that people’s conceptions are different and rejoicing that there are so many of them, each adapted to the human group which believes in it, and essential to believers to help them along, he admits but one, his own, and he uses power to force it upon adherents. He also has his own creed, his catechism, his imperative formula, and he imposes them.—Henceforth,1 education shall be not only free and obligatory but again laic and nothing but laic. Thus far, the great majority of parents, most of the fathers and all of the mothers, were desirous that it should at the same time be religious. Without speaking of professing Christians, many heads of families, even lukewarm, indifferent or skeptical, judge that this mixture of the two is better for children, and especially for girls. According to them, knowledge and faith should not enter into these young minds separate, but combined and as one aliment; at least, in the particular case in which they were concerned, this, in their view, was better for the child, for themselves, for the internal discipline of the household, for good order at home for which they were responsible, for the maintenance of respect, and for the preservation of morals. For this reason, the municipal councils, previous to the laws of 1882 and 1886, still free to choose instruction and teachers as they pleased, often entrusted their school to the Christian Brethren or Sisters under contract for a number of years, at a fixed price, and all the more willingly because this price was very low.1 Hence, in 1886, there were in the public schools 10,029 teachers of the Christian Brethren and 39,125 of the Sisters. Now, since 1886, the law insists that public instruction shall be not only laic, but that lay teachers only shall teach; the communal schools, in particular, shall be all laicized, and, to complete this operation, the legislator fixes the term of delay; after that, no congregationist, monk or nun, shall teach in any public school.
Meanwhile, each year, by virtue of the law, the communal schools are laicized by hundreds, by fair means or foul; although this is by right a local matter, the municipal councils are not consulted; the heads of families have no voice in this private, domestic interest which touches them nearly, and on such a sensitive point. And likewise, in the cost of the operation their part is officially imposed on them; at the present day,2 in the sum-total of 131,000,000 francs which primary instruction costs annually, the communes contribute 50,000,000 francs; from 1878 to 1891, in the sum-total of 582,000,000 francs expended on school buildings, they contributed 312,000,000 francs.—If certain parents are not pleased with this system they have only to subscribe amongst themselves, build a private school at their own expense, and support Christian Brothers or Sisters in these as teachers. That is their affair; they will not pay one cent less to the commune, to the department or to the State, so that their tax will be double and they will pay twice, first for the primary instruction which they dislike, and next for the primary instruction which suits them.—Thousands of private schools are founded on these conditions. In 1887,1 these had 1,091,810 pupils, about one fifth of all children inscribed in all the primary schools. Thus one fifth of the parents do not want the laic system for their children; at least, they prefer the other when the other is offered to them; but, to offer it to them, very large donations, a multitude of voluntary subscriptions, are necessary. The distrust and aversion which this system, imposed from above excites can be measured by the number of parents and children and by the greatness of the donations and subscriptions. Note, moreover, that in many of the other communes, in all places where the resources, the common understanding and the generosity of individual founders and donators are not sufficient, the parents, even distrustful and hostile, are now constrained to send their children to the school which is repugnant to them.—In order to be more precise, imagine an official and daily journal entitled Laic journal, obligatory and gratuitous for children from six to thirteen, founded and supported by the State, at an average cost of 582,000,000 francs to set it agoing, and 131,000,000 francs of annual expenditure, the whole taken from the purses of taxpayers, willingly or not; take it for granted that the 6,000,000 children, girls and boys, from six to thirteen, are forced subscribers to this journal, that they get it every day except Sundays, that, every day, they are bound to read the paper for six hours. The State, through toleration, allows the parents who do not like the official sheet to take another which suits them; but, that another may be within reach, it is necessary that local benefactors, associated together and taxed by themselves, should be willing to establish and support it; otherwise, the father of a family is constrained to read the laic journal to his children, which he deems badly composed and marred by superfetations and shortcomings, in brief, edited in an objectionable spirit. Such is the way in which the Jacobin State respects the liberty of the individual.
On the other hand, through this operation, it has extended and fortified itself; it has multiplied the institutions it directs and the persons whom it controls. To direct, inspect, augment and diffuse its primary instruction, it has maintained 173 normal schools for teachers, male and female, 736 schools and courses of lectures in primary, superior and professional instruction, 66,784 elementary schools, 3,597 maternal schools, and about 115,000 functionaries, men and women.1 Through these 115,000 agents, representatives and mouthpieces, laic Reason, which is enthroned at Paris, sends its voice even to the smallest and most remote villages. It is Reason, as our rulers define it, with the inclination, limitations and prejudices they have need of, a little near-sighted and half-domesticated daughter of the other, the formidable, blind, brutal, ancestral madman who, in 1793 and 1794, sat under the same name and in the same place. With less of violence and of blundering, but by virtue of the same instinct and with the same onesidedness, the latter employs the same propagandism; she too aims at getting possession of new generations, and through her programmes and manuals, her sketches and summaries of the Ancient Régime, the Revolution and the Empire, her own views of recent or contemporary matters, through her formulæ and suggestions in relation to moral, social and political affairs, it is herself, and she alone, that she preaches and glorifies.
Thus is the French enterprise of education by the State completed in France. When an affair is not left in the hands of interested parties and a third party, whose interest is different, takes it in hand, it cannot end well; sooner or later, its original defect manifests itself and through unlooked-for results. Here, the principal and final effect is the growing disparity between education and life. At the three stages of instruction, for infancy, adolescence and youth, the theoretical and school preparation at the desk, through books, is prolonged and overcharged in view of the examination, the grade, the diploma and the certificate; in view of that only, and by the worst means, through the application of an unnatural and anti-social system, through excessive delay in practical apprenticeship, through the internat, through artificial stimulation and mechanical cramming, through overwork, without any consideration of the future, of the adult epoch and the duties of the complete man, leaving out the real world in which the young man is about to enter, the state of society to which he must adapt or resign himself beforehand, the human struggle in which to defend himself or keep erect he must be fully armed, equipped, drilled and hardened. That indispensable equipment, that most important of all acquirements, that solid good-sense, strong will and steady nerves, our schools do not furnish him with; quite the contrary; far from qualifying him for his approaching and final condition they disqualify him for it. Accordingly, his entrance into the world and his first steps on the field of practical life are generally a series of painful falls; he remains bruised and hurt a long time and is often lastingly maimed. This experience is both rude and dangerous. The moral and mental balance is disturbed and risks never being restored. His illusions vanish too suddenly and too completely. His deceptions have been too great and his disappointments too severe; the heart of the young man has sunk too often. Often, with his intimates, soured and played upon like himself, he is tempted to tell us: “Through your education you have led us to believe, or you have let us believe, that the world is made in a certain fashion. You have deceived us. It is much uglier, more dull, dirtier, sadder and harder, at least to our sensibility and to our imagination: you judge us as overexcited and disordered; if so, it is your fault. For this reason, we curse and scoff at your world and reject your pretended truths which, for us, are lies, including those elementary and primordial verities which you declare are evident to common sense, and on which you base your laws, your institutions, your society, your philosophy, your sciences and your arts.”1 —And such is what our contemporary youth, through their tastes, opinions and aims in letters, arts and life, have loudly proclaimed for the past fifteen years.
Pelet de la Lozère, 161. (Speech by Napoleon to the Council of State, March 11, 1806.)
A. de Beauchamp, “Recueil des lois et réglemens sur l’enseignement supérieur,” vol. iv. (Report of Fourcroy to the Corps Législatif, May 6, 1806.) “How important it is . . . that the mode of education admitted to be the best should add to this advantage, that of being uniform for the whole Empire, teaching the same knowledge, inculcating the same principles on individuals who must live together in the same society, forming in some way but one body, possessing but one mind, and all contributing to the public good through unanimity of sentiment and action.”
Pelet de la Lozère, 154.
A. de Beauchamp, ibid. (Decree of March 7, 1808.)—Special and collateral schools which teach subjects not taught in the lycées, for example the living languages, which are confined to filling a gap, and do not compete with the lycées, are subject to previous authorization and to university pay.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 170. (Session of the Council of State, March 20, 1806.)
Quicherat, “Histoire de Sainte-Barbe,” iii., 125.
A. de Beauchamp, ibid. (Decrees of March 17, 1808, arts. 103 and 105, of Sep. 17, 1808, arts. 2 and 3 of Novem. 15, 1801, arts. 54, 55 and 56.) “Should any one publicly teach and keep a school without the Grand-Master’s consent, he will be officially prosecuted by our imperial judges, who will close the school. . . . He will be brought before the criminal court and condemned to a fine of from one hundred to two hundred francs, without prejudice to greater penalties, should he be found guilty of having directed instruction in a way contrary to order and to the public interest.”—Ibid., art. 57. (On the closing of schools provided with prescribed authority.)
A. de Beauchamp, ibid. (Decree of Sep. 17, 1808, arts. 27, 28, 29, 30, and act passed April 7, 1809.)
Id., ibid. (Decrees of March 17, 1808, art. 134; of Sep. 17, 1808, arts. 25 and 26; of Nov. 15, 1811, art. 63).
Ambroise Rendu, “Essai sur l’instruction publique,” 4 vols., 1819, i., 221. (Notice to M. de Fontanes, March 24, 1808. “The university undertakes all public institutions, and its tendency must be to have as few private institutions as possible.”
Eugène Rendu, “Ambroise Rendu et l’Université de France” (1861), pp. 25, 26. (Letter of the Emperor to Fourcroy, Floreal 3, year xiii, ordering him to inspect the lycées and Report of Fourcroy at the end of four months.) “In general, the drum, the drill and military discipline prevent parents in the largest number of the towns from sending their children to the lycée. . . . Advantage is taken of this measure to make parents believe that the Emperor wants only to make soldiers.” Ibid. (Note of M. de Champagny, Minister of the Interior, written a few months later.) “A large half of the heads (of the lycée) or professors is, from a moral point of view, completely indifferent. One quarter, by their talk, their conduct, their reputation, exhibit the most dangerous character to the youths. . . . The greatest defect of the principals is the religious spirit, religious zeal. . . . There are not more than two or three lycées in which this is apparent. Hence the coolness of the parents which is attributed to political prejudices; hence the rarity of peasant pupils; hence the discredit of the lycées. In this respect opinion is unanimous.”
“Histoire du Collége Louis le Grand,” by Esmond, emeritus censor, 1845, p. 267: “Who were the assistant-teachers? Retired subaltern officers who preserved the coarseness of the camp and knew of no virtue but passive obedience. . . . The age at which scholarships were given was not fixed, the Emperor’s choice often falling on boys of fifteen or sixteen, who presented themselves with habits already formed out of a bad education and so ignorant that one was obliged to assign them to the lowest classes, along with children.”—Fabry, “Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de l’instruction publique depuis 1789,” i., 391. “The kernel of boarding-scholars (holders of scholarships) was furnished by the Prytanée. Profound corruption, to which the military régime gives an appearance of regularity, a cool impiety which conforms to the outward ceremonies of religion as to the movements of a drill, . . . steady tradition has transmitted this spirit to all the pupils that have succeeded each other for twelve years.”
Fabry, ibid., vol. ii., 12, and vol. iii., 399.
Decree of Nov. 15, 1811, articles 15, 16, 22.
Quicherat, ibid., iii., 93 to 105.—Up to 1809, owing to M. de Fontane’s toleration, M. de Lanneau could keep one half of his pupils in his house under the name of pupils in preparatory classes, or for the lectures in French or on commerce; nevertheless, he was obliged to renounce teaching philosophy. In 1810, he is ordered to send all his scholars to the lycée within three months. There were at this date 400 scholars in Sainte-Barbe.
Decree of Nov. 15, 1811, articles 1, 4, 5, 9, 17 to 19 and 24 to 32.—“Procès-verbaux des séances du conseil de l’Université impériale.” (Manuscripts in the archives of the Ministry of Public Instruction, furnished by M. A. de Beauchamp), session of March 12, 1811, note of the Emperor communicated by the Grand-Master. “His Majesty requires that the following arrangement be added to the decree presented to him: Wherever there is a lycée, the Grand-Master will order private institutions to be closed until the lycée has all the boarders it can contain.” The personal intervention of Napoleon is here evident; the decree starts with him; he wished it at once more rigorous, more decidedly arbitrary and prohibitive.
Quicherat, ibid., iii., 95-105.—Ibid., 126. After the decree of November 15, 1811, threatening circulars follow each other for fifteen months and always to hold fast or annoy the heads of institutions or private schools. Even in the smallest boarding-schools, the school exercises must be announced by the drum and the uniform worn under penalty of being shut up.
Ibid., iii., 42.—At Sainte-Barbe, before 1808, there were various sports favoring agility and flexibility of the body, such as running races, etc. All that is suppressed by the imperial University; it does not admit that anything can be done better or otherwise than by itself.
Decree of March 17, 1808, article 38. Among “the bases of teaching,” the legislator prescribes “obedience to the statutes the object of which is the uniformity of instruction.”
Quicherat, iii., 128.
“The Modern Régime,” i., 164.
See, for a comprehension of the full effect of this forced education, “Les Mécontens” by Mérimée, the rôle of Lieutenant Marquis Edward de Naugis.
“Recueil,” by A. de Beauchamp; Report by Fourcroy, April 20, 1802: “The populations which have become united with France and which, speaking a different language and accustomed to foreign institutions, need to abandon old habits and refashion themselves on those of their new country, cannot find at home the essential means for giving their sons the instruction, the manners and the character which should amalgamate them with Frenchmen. What destiny could be more advantageous for them and, at the same time, what a resource for the government, which desires nothing so much as to attach new citizens to France!”
“Journal d’un déténu de 1807 à 1814” (1 vol., 1828, in English), p. 167. (An account given by Charles Choderlos de Laclos, who was then at La Flèche.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid., pp. 162, 163, 167. (Speeches by Napoleon to the Council of State, sessions of Feb. 10, March 1, 11 and 20, April 7, and May 21 and 29, 1806.)
Napoleon himself said this: “I want a corporation, not of Jesuits whose sovereign is in Rome, but Jesuits who have no ambition but to be useful and no interest but the interest of the State.”
This intention is formally expressed in the law. (Decree of March 17, 1808, art. 30.) “Immediately after the formation of the imperial university, the order of rank shall be followed in the appointment of functionaries, and no one can be assigned a place who has not passed through the lowest. The situations will then afford a career which offers to knowledge and good behavior the hope of reaching the highest position in the imperial university.”
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid.
“Procès-verbaux des séances du conseil de l’Université.” (In manuscript.) Memoir of February 1, 1811, on the means for developing the spirit of the corporation in the University. In this memoir, communicated to the Emperor, the above motive is alleged.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid.
Decree of March 17, 1808, arts. 101, 102.
Decree of March 20, 1808, articles 40-46.
For example, act of March 31, 1812, on leaves of absence.—Cf. the regulations of April 8, 1810, for the “École de la Maternité, titres ix, x and xi). In this strict and special instance we see plainly what Napoleon meant by “the police” of a school.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid.
Decree of March 17, 1808, articles 47 and 48.
Decree of Nov. 15, 1811, articles 66 and 69.
Procès-verbaux et papiers du conseil supérieur de l’Université (in manuscript).—(Two memoirs submitted to the Emperor, Feb. 1, 1811, on the means of strengthening the discipline and spirit of the body in the University.)—The memoir requests that the sentences of the university authorities be executable on the simple exequatur of the courts; it is important to diminish the intervention of tribunals and prefects, to cut short appeals and pleadings; the University must have full powers and full jurisdiction on its domain, collect taxes from its taxpayers, and repress all infractions of those amenable to its jurisdiction.
“Statut sur l’administration, l’enseignement et la police de l’École normale,” March 30, 1810, title ii, articles 20-23.
Villemain, “Souvenirs contemporaines,” vol. i., 137-156. (“Une visite à l’École normale en 1812,” Napoleon’s own words to M. de Narbonne.) “Tacitus is a dissatisfied senator, an Auteuil grumbler, who revenges himself, pen in hand, in his cabinet. His is the spite of the aristocrat and philosopher both at once. . . . Marcus Aurelius is a sort of Joseph II., and, in much larger proportions, a philanthropist and sectarian in commerce with the sophists and idealogues of his time, flattering them and imitating them. . . . I like Diocletian better.”—“. . . Public education lies in the future and in the duration of my work after I am gone.”
Decree of March 17, 1808, art. 110 and the following.
Circular of Nov. 13, 1813.
Decree of March 17, 1808, article 38.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid., 158.
Id., ibid., 168. (Session of March 20, 1806.)
Hermann Niemeyer, “Beobactungen auf einer Deportation-Reise nach Frankreich im J. 1807 (Halle, 1824), ii., 353.—Fabry, “Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de l’instruction publique,” iii., 120. (Documents and testimony of pupils showing that religion in the lycées is only ceremonial practice.)—Id., Riancey, “Histoire de l’instruction publique,” ii., 378. (Reports of nine chaplains in the royal colleges in 1830 proving that the same spirit prevailed throughout the Restoration: “A boy sent to one of these establishments containing 400 pupils for the term of eight years has only eight or ten chances favoring the preservation of his faith; all the others are against him, that is to say, out of four hundred chances, three hundred and ninety risk his being a man with no religion.”
Fabry, ibid., iii., 175. (Napoleon’s own words to a member of his council.)—Pelet de la Lozère, ibid., 161: “I do not want priests meddling with public education.”—167: “The establishment of a teaching corps will be a guarantee against the re-establishment of monks. Without that they would some day come back.”
Fabry, ibid, iii., 120. (Abstract of the system of lycées by a pupil who passed many years in two lycées.) Terms for board 900 francs, insufficiency of food and clothing, crowded lectures and dormitories, too many pupils in each class, profits of the principal who lives well, gives one grand dinner a week to thirty persons, deprives the dormitory, already too narrow, of space for a billiard-table, and takes for his own use a terrace planted with fine trees. The censor, the steward, the chaplain, the sub-director do the same, although to a less degree. The masters are likewise as poorly fed as the scholars. The punishments are severe, no paternal remonstrance or guidance, the under-masters maltreated on applying the rules, despised by their superiors and without any influence on their pupils.—“Libertinage, idleness, self-interest animated all breasts, there being no tie of friendship uniting either the masters to the scholars nor the pupils amongst themselves.”
Hermann Niemeyer, “Beobachtungen,” etc., ii., 350. “A very worthy man, professor in one of the royal colleges, said to me: ‘What backward steps we have been obliged to take! How all the pleasure of teaching, all the love for our art, has been taken away from us by this constraint!’ ”
Id., ibid., ii., 339.—“Decree of November 15, 1811, art. 17.
Id., ibid., ii., 353.
Hermann Niemeyer, ibid., 366, and following pages. On the character, advantages and defects of the system, this testimony of an eye-witness is very instructive and forms an almost complete picture. The subjects taught are reduced to Latin and mathematics; there is scarcely any Greek, and none of the modern languages, hardly a tinge of history and the natural sciences, while philology is null; that which a pupil must know of the classics is their “contents and their spirit” (Geist und Inhalt).—Cf. Guizot, “Essai sur l’histoire et l’état actuel de l’instruction publique,” 1816, p. 103.
“Travels in France during the Years 1814 and 1815” (Edinburgh, 1816), vol. i., p. 152.
“Ambroise Rendu et l’Université de France,” by E. Rendu (1861), pp. 25 and 26. (Letter of the Emperor, Floréal 3, year xiii, and report by Fourcroy.)
“Recueil,” etc., by de Beauchamp, i., 151. (Report to the Corps Législatif by Fourcroy, May 6, 1806.)
“Procès-verbaux et papiers” (manuscripts) of the superior council of the University, session of March 12, 1811, note by the Emperor communicated by the Grand-Master: “The Grand-Master will direct that in all boarding-schools and institutions which may come into existence, the pupils shall wear a uniform, and that everything shall go on as in the lycées according to military discipline.” In the decree in conformity with this, of Nov. 15, 1811, the word military was omitted, probably because it seemed too crude; but it shows the thought behind it, the veritable desire of Napoleon.—Quicherat, “Histoire de Sainte-Barbe,” iii., 126. The decree was enforced “even in the smallest boarding-schools.”
Testimony of Alfred de Vigny in “Grandeur et Servitude militaires.” Alfred de Musset is of the same impression in his “Confession d’un enfant du siècle.”
Quicherat, ibid., p. 126.
“The Modern Régime,” i.
Hermann Niemeyer, ibid., i., 153.
“Travels in France,” etc., ii., 123. (Testimony of a French gentleman.) “The rapid destruction of population in France caused constant promotions, and the army became the career which offered the most chances. It was a profession for which no education was necessary and to which all had access. There, Bonaparte never allowed merit to go unrecognized.”
Véron, “Mémoires d’un bourgeois de Paris,” i., 127 (year 1806).
Guizot, ibid., pp. 59 and 61.—Fabry, “Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de l’instruction publique,” iii., 102. (On the families of these favorites and on the means made use of to obtain these scholarships.)—Jourdain, “le Budget de l’instruction publique (1857), p. 144.—In 1809, in the 36 lycées, there are 9,068 pupils, boarding and day scholars, of whom 4,199 are boursiers. In 1811, there are 10,926 pupils, of whom 4,008 are boursiers. In 1813, there are 14,992 pupils, of whom 3,500 are boursiers. At the same epoch, in private establishments, there are 30,000 pupils.
Fabry, ibid., ii., 391 (1819). (On the peopling of the lycées and colleges.) “The first nucleus of the boarders was furnished by the Prytanée. . . . Tradition has steadily transmitted this spirit to all the pupils that succeeded each other for the first twelve years.”—Ibid., iii., 112. “The institution of lycées tends to creating a race inimical to repose, eager and ambitious, foreign to the domestic affections and of a military and adventurous spirit.”
Quicherat, ibid., iii., 126.
Hermann Niemeyer, ibid., ii., 350.
Fabry, ibid., iii., 109-112.
Ambroise Rendu, “Essai sur l’instruction publique,” (1819), i., 221. (Letter of Napoleon to M. de Fontanes, March 24, 1808.)
“Mémorial,” June 17, 1816.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid., 154, 157, 159.
“Mémorial,” June 17, 1816. “This conception of the University by Napoleon must be taken with another, of more vast proportions, which he sets forth in the same conversation and which clearly shows his complete plan. He desired “the military classing of the nation,” that is to say five successive conscriptions, one above the other. The first, that of children and boys by means of the University; the second, that of ordinary conscripts yearly and effected by the drawing by lot; the third, fourth and fifth provided by three standards of national guard, the first one comprising young unmarried men and held to frontier service, the second comprising men of middle age, married and to serve only in the department, and the third comprising aged men to be employed only in the defence of towns—in all, through these three classes, two millions of classified men, enrolled and armed, each with his post assigned him in case of invasion. “In 1810 or 1811, this scheme was read to the Council of State up to fifteen or twenty corrections. “The Emperor, who laid great stress on it, frequently recurred to it.” We see the place of the University in his edifice: from ten to sixty years, his universal conscription was to take, first, children, then adults, and, with valid persons, the semi-invalids, as, for instance, Cambacérès, the arch-chancellor, gross, impotent, and, of all men, the least military. “There is Cambacérès,” says Napoleon, “who must be ready to shoulder his gun if danger makes it necessary. . . . Then you will have a nation sticking together like lime and sand, able to defy time and man.” There is constant repugnance to this by the whole Council of State, “marked disfavor, mute and inert opposition. . . . Each member trembled at seeing himself classed, transported abroad,” and, under pretext of internal defence, used for foreign wars.” The Emperor, absorbed with other projects, overlooked this plan.
Lamennais, “Du Progrès de la Révolution,” p. 163.
“The Modern Régime,” i., 247.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 159.
Maggiolo, “Les Ecoles en Lorraine avant et après 1789,” 3d part, p. 22 and following pages. (Details on the foundation or the revival of primary schools in four departments after 1802.) Sometimes, the master is the one who taught before 1789, and his salary is always the same as at that time; I estimate that, in a village of an average size, he might earn in all between 500 and 600 francs a year; his situation improves slowly and remains humble and wretched down to the law of 1833.—There are no normal schools for the education of primary instructors except one at Strasbourg established in 1811 by the prefect, and the promise of another after the return from Elba, April 27, 1815. Hence the teaching staff is of poor quality, picked up here and there haphazard. But, as the small schools satisfy a felt want, they increase. In 1815, there are more than 22,000, about as many as in 1789; in the four departments examined by M. Maggiolo there are almost as many as there are communes.—Nevertheless, elsewhere, “in certain departments, it is not rare to find twenty or thirty communes in one arrondissement with only one schoolmaster. . . . One who can read and write is consulted by his neighbors the same as a doctor.”—(“Ambroise Rendu,” by E. Rendu, p. 107, Report of 1817.)
Decree of May 1, 1802, articles 2, 4 and 5.—Decree of March 17, 1808, articles 5, 8 and 117.
E. Rendu, ibid., pp. 39 and 41.
Id., ibid., 41. (Answers of approval of the bishops, letter of the archbishop of Bordeaux, May 29, 1808.) “There are only too many schools whose instructors neither give lessons nor set examples of Catholicism or even of Christianity. It is very desirable that these wicked men should not be allowed to teach.”
Decree of Nov. 15, 1811, article 192.—Cf. the decree of March 17, 1808, article 6. “The small primary schools are those where one learns to read, write and cipher.”—Ibid., § 3, article 5, definition of boarding-schools and secondary communal schools. This definition is rendered still more precise in the decree of Nov. 15, 1811, article 16.
Pelet de la Lozère, ibid., 175. (Words of Napoleon before the Council of State, May 21, 1806.)
Alexis Chevalier, “Les Frères des écoles chrétiennes pendant la Révolution,’ 93. (Report by Portalis approved by the First Consul, Frimaire 10, year xii.)
“Ambroise Rendu,” by E. Rendu, p. 42.
D’Haussonville, “L’Eglise romaine et le premier Empire,” ii., 257, 266. (Report of Portalis to the Emperor, Feb. 13, 1806.)
Cuvier, “Rapport sur l’instruction publique dans les nouveaux départements de la basse Allemagne, fait en exécution du décret du 13 novembre 1810,” pp. 4-8. “The principle and aim of each university is to have courses of lectures on every branch of human knowledge if there are any pupils who desire this. . . . No professor can hinder his colleague from treating the same subjects as himself; most of their increase depends on the remuneration of the pupils which excites the greatest emulation in their work.”—The university, generally, is in some small town; the student has no society but that of his comrades and his professors; again, the university has jurisdiction over him and itself exercises its rights of oversight and police. “Living in their families, with no public amusements, with no distractions, the middle-class Germans, especially in North Germany, regard reading, study and meditation as their chief pleasures and main necessity; they study to learn rather than to prepare themselves for a lucrative profession. . . . The theologian scrutinizes even to their roots the truths of morality and of natural theology. As to positive religion he wishes to know its history and will study in the original tongue sacred writings and all the languages relating to it that may throw light on it; he desires to possess the details of Church history and become acquainted with the usages of one century after another and the motives of the changes which took place.—The jurisconsult is not content with a knowledge of the code of his country; in his studies everything must be related to the general principles of natural and political laws. He must know the history of rights at all epochs, and, consequently, he has need of the political history of nations; he must be familiar with the various European constitutions, and be able to read the diplomas and charters of all ages; the complex German legislation obliges him, and will for a long time, to know the canon laws of both religious, of feudal and public law, as well as of civil and criminal law; and if the means of verifying at its sources all that is taught to him are not afforded to him, he regards instruction as cut short and insufficient.”
Louis Liard, “L’Enseignement supérieur en France,” pp. 307-309
Comte Chaptal, “Notes.”—Chaptal, a bright scholar, studied in his philosophy class at Rodez under M. Laguerbe, a highly esteemed professor. “Everything was confined to unintelligible discussions on metaphysics and to the puerile subtleties of logic.” This lasted two years. Public discussions by the pupils were held three or four hours long; the bishop, the noblesse, the full chapter attended at these scholastic game-cock fights. Chaptal acquired a few correct notions of geometry, algebra and the planetary system, but outside of that, he says, “I got nothing out of it but a great facility in speaking Latin and a passion for cavilling.”
Louis Liard, “Universités et Facultés,” pp. 1-12.
Pelet de la Lozère, 176 (Session of the Council of State, May 21, 1806).
Liard, “L’Enseignement supérieur en France,” 71, 73. “In the law schools, say the memorials of 1789, there is not the fiftieth part of the pupils who attend the professors’ lectures.”—Fourcroy, “Exposé des motifs de la loi concernant les Ecoles de droit,” March 13, 1804. “In the old law faculties the studies were of no account, inexact and rare, the lectures being neglected or not attended. Notes were bought instead of being taken. Candidates were received so easily that the examinations no longer deserved their name. Bachelor’s degrees and others were titles bought without study or trouble.”—Cf. the “Mémoires” of Brissot and the “Souvenirs of d’Audifret-Pasquier,” both of them law students before 1789.—M. Léo de Savigny, in his recent work, “Die französischen Rechtsfacultäten” (p. 74 et seq.), refers to other authorities not less decisive.
Decree of March 19, 1807, articles 42, 45.
Courcelle-Seneuil, “Préparation à l’étude du droit” (1887), pp. 5, 6 (on the teaching of law by the Faculty of Paris).
Léo de Savigny, ibid., p. 161.
Bréal, “Quelques mots sur l’instruction publique” (1892), pp. 327, 341.—Liard, “Universités et Facultés,” p. 13 et seq.
Act of Jan. 23, 1803, for the organization of the Institute.
Voltaire’s “Essai sur les mœurs” is of 1756; “L’Esprit des Lois” by Montesquieu also, in 1754, and his “Traité des Sensations.” The “Emile” of Rousseau is of 1762; the “Traité de la formation mécanique des langues,” by de Brosses, is of 1765; the “Physiocratie” by Quesnay appeared in 1768, and the “Encyclopédie” between 1750 and 1765.
On the equal value of the testing process in moral and physical sciences, David Hume, in 1737, stated the matter decisively in his “Essay on Human Nature.” Since that time, and particularly since the “Compte-rendu” by Necker, but especially in our time, statistics have shown that the near or remote determining motives of human action are powers (grandeurs) expressed by figures, interdependent, and which warrant, here as elsewhere, precise and numerical foresight.
Cf. Liard, “L’Enseignement supérieur en France,” vol. i., in full.—Also the law of Brumaire 3, year iv. (Oct. 25, 1795), on the primitive organization of the Institute.
Decree of Jan. 23, 1803.
Decree of March 21, 1816.
“Corréspondance de Napoléon,” letters to M. de Champagny, Dec. 13, 1805, and Jan. 3, 1806. “I see with pleasure the promise made by M. de Lalande and what passed on that occasion.”
De Ségur, “Mémoires,” iii., 457.—“M. de Chateaubriand composed his address with a good deal of skill; he evidently did not wish to offend any of his colleagues, without even excepting Napoleon. He lauded with great eloquence the fame of the Emperor and exalted the grandeur of republican sentiments.” In explanation of and excusing his silence and omissions regarding his regicide predecessor, he likened Chénier to Milton and remarked that, for forty years, the same silence had been observed in England with reference to Milton.
Edmond Leblanc, “Napoléon Iere et ses institutions civiles et administratives,” pp. 225-233.—Annuaire de l’Institut for 1813.
Law of Oct. 25, 1795, and act of Jan. 23, 1803.
Rœderer, iii., 548.—Id., iii., 332 (Aug. 2, 1801).
Welschinger, “La Censure sous le premier Empire,” p. 440. (Speech by Napoleon to the Council of State, Dec. 20, 1812.)—Merlet, “Tableau de la littérature française de 1800 à 1815,” i., 128. M. Royer-Collard had just given his first lecture at the Sorbonne to an audience of three hundred persons against the philosophy of Locke and Condillac (1811). Napoleon, having read the lecture, says on the following day to Talleyrand: “Do you know, Monsieur le Grand-Electeur, that a new and very important philosophy is appearing in my University . . . which may well rid us entirely of the ideologists by killing them on the spot with reason?”—Royer-Collard, on being informed of this eulogium, remarked to some of his friends: “The Emperor is mistaken. Descartes is more refractory to despotism than Locke.”
Mignet, “Notices et Portraits.” (Eulogy of M. de Tracy.)
J.-B. Say, “Traité d’économie-politique,” 2d ed., 1814 (Notice). “The press was no longer free. Every exact presentation of things received the censure of a government founded on a lie.”
Welschinger, p. 160 (Jan. 24, 1810).—Villemain, “Souvenirs contemporains,” vol. i., p. 180. After 1812, “it is literally exact to state that every emission of written ideas, every historical mention, even the most remote and most foreign, became a daring and suspicious matter.”—(Journal of Sir John Malcolm, Aug. 4, 1815, visit to Langlès, the orientalist, editor of Chardin, to which he has added notes, one of which is on the mission to Persia of Sir John Malcolm.) “He at first said to me that he had followed another author: afterwards he excused himself by alleging the system of Bonaparte, whose censors, he said, not only cut out certain passages, but added others which they believed helped along his plans.”
Merlet, ibid. (According to the papers of M. de Fontanes, ii. 258.)
Id., ibid. “Care must be taken to avoid all reaction in speaking of the Revolution. No man could oppose it. Blame belongs neither to those who have perished nor to those who survived it. It was not in any individual might to change the elements and foresee events born out of the nature of things.”
Villemain, ibid., i., 145. (Words of M. de Narbonne on leaving Napoleon after several interviews with him in 1812.) “The Emperor, so powerful, so victorious, is disturbed by only one thing in this world and that is by people who talk, and, in default of these, by those who think. And yet he seems to like them or, at least, cannot do without them.”
Welschinger, ibid., p. 30. (Session of the Council of State, Dec. 12, 1809.)
Welschinger, ibid., pp. 31, 33, 175, 190. (Decree of Feb. 5, 1810.)—“Revue Critique,” Sep. 1870. (Weekly bulletin of the general direction of publications for the last three months of 1810 and the first three months of 1814, published by Charles Thursot.)
Collection of laws and decrees, vol. xii., p. 170. “When the censors shall have examined a work and allowed the publication of it, the publishers shall be authorized to have it printed. But the minister of the police shall still have the right to suppress it entirely if he thinks proper.”—Welschinger, ibid., pp. 346-374.
Welschinger, ibid., pp. 173, 175.
Id., ibid., pp. 223, 231, 233. (The copy of “Athalie” with the erasures of the police still exists in the prompter’s library of the Théâtre Français.)—Id., ibid., p. 244. (Letter of the secretary-general of the police to the weekly managers of the Théâtre Français, Feb. 1, 1809, in relation to the “Mort d’Hector,” by Luce de Lancival.) “Messieurs, His Excellency, the minister-senator, has expressly charged me to request the suppression of the following lines on the stage in ‘Hector’:
Welschinger, ibid., p. 13. (Act of Jan. 17, 1800.)—117, 118. (Acts of Feb. 18, 1811, and Sep. 17, 1813.)—119, 129. (No indemnity for legitimate owners. The decree of confiscation states in principle that the ownership of journals can become property only by virtue of an express concession made by the sovereign, that this concession was not made to the actual founders and proprietors and that their claim is null.)
Id., ibid., pp. 196, 201.
“Revue critique,” ibid., pp. 142, 146, 149.
Welschinger, ibid., p. 251.
“Corréspondance de Napoléon Iere.” (Letter of the Emperor to Cambacérès, Nov. 21, 1806. Letters to Fouché, Oct. 25 and Dec. 31, 1806.)—Welschinger, ibid., pp. 236, 244.
“Moniteur,” Jan. 1, 1806. (Tribunate, session of Nivose 9, year xiv., speeches of MM. Albisson and Gillet.—Senate, speeches of MM. Pérignot, Garat, de Lacépède.)—In the following numbers we find municipal addresses, letters of bishops and the odes of poets in the same strain.—In the way of official enthusiasm take the following two fine examples. (“Débats,” March 29, 1811.) “The Paris municipal council deliberated on the vote of a pension for life of 10,000 francs in favor of M. de Govers, His Majesty’s second page, for bringing to the Hôtel de Ville the joyful news of the birth of the King of Rome. . . . Everybody was charmed with his grace and presence of mind.”—Faber, “Notices sur l’intérieur de France,” p. 25. “I know of a tolerably large town which could not light its lamps in 1804, on account of having sent its mayor to Paris at the expense of the commune to see Bonaparte crowned.”
Faber, ibid., p. 32 (1807). “I saw one day a physician, an honest man, unexpectedly denounced for having stated in a social gathering in the town some observations on the medical system under the existing government. The denunciator, a French employé, was the physician’s friend and denounced him because he was afraid of being denounced himself.”—Count Chaptal, “Notes.” Enumeration of the police forces which control and complete each other. “Besides the minister and the prefect of police Napoleon had three directors-general residing at Paris and also in superintendence of the departments; . . . besides, commissioners-general of police in all the large towns and special commissioners in all others; moreover, the gendarmerie, which daily transmitted a bulletin of the situation all over France to the inspector-general; again, reports of his aids and generals, of his guard on supplementary police, the most dangerous of all to persons about the court and to the principal agents of the administration; finally, several special police-bodies to render to him an account of what passed among savants, tradesmen and soldiers. All this correspondence reached him at Monon as at the Tuileries.”
Faber, ibid. (1807), p. 35. “Lying, systematically organized, forming the basis of government and consecrated in public acts, . . . the abjuring of all truth, of all personal conviction, is the characteristic of the administrators as presenting to view the acts, sentiments and ideas of the government, which makes use of them for scenic effect in the pieces it gives on the theatre of the world. . . . The administrators do not believe a word they say, nor those administered.”
The following two confidential police reports show, among many others, the sentiments of the public and the usefulness of repressive measures. (Archives nationales, F. 7, 3016, Report of the commissioner-general of Marseilles for the second quarter of 1808.) “Events in Spain have largely fixed, and essentially fixed, attention. In vain would the attentive observer like to conceal the truth on this point; the fact is that the Spanish revolution is unfavorably looked upon. It was at first thought that the legitimate heir would succeed to Charles IV. The way in which people have been undeceived has given the public a direction quite opposite to the devoted ideas of His Majesty the Emperor. . . No generous soul . . . rises to the level of the great continental cause.”—Ibid. (Report for the second quarter of 1809.) “I have posted observers in the public grounds. . . . As a result of these measures, of this constant vigilance, of the care I have taken to summon before me the heads of public establishments when I have ascertained that the slightest word has been spoken, I attain the end proposed. But I am assured that if the fear of the upper police did not restrain the disturbers, the brawlers, they would publicly express an opinion contrary to the principles of the government. . . . Public opinion is daily going down. There is great misery and consternation. Murmurs are not openly heard, but discontent exists among citizens generally. . . . The continental war, the naval warfare, events in Rome, Spain and Germany, the absolute cessation of trade, the conscription, the droits unis . . . are all so many motives of corruption of the public mind. Priests and devotees, merchants and proprietors, artisans, workmen, the people in fine, everybody is discontented. . . . In general, they are insensible to the continental victories. All classes of citizens are much more sensitive to the levies of the conscription than to the successes which come from them.”
Ordinance of Oct. 4, 1814.
Liard, “L’Enseignement supérieur pendant la Restauration.” (Rev. des deux Mondes, number for Feb. 15, 1892.) Decree of April 8, 1814.
Ordinance of April 17, 1815 (to suppress the university pay and separate the sole University into seventeen regional universities.) This ordinance, dating from the last days of the first Restoration, is repealed the first days of the second Restoration, Aug. 15, 1815.
“The Modern Régime,” p. 316.
Basset, censor of studies in the Charlemagne college, “Coup d’œil général sur l’Éducation et l’Instruction publique en France” (1816), p. 21. (State of the University in 1815.)
Ordinance of Feb. 21, 1821, article 13, and Report by M. de Corbières: “Youth requires a religious and moral direction. . . . The religious direction belongs by right to the highest pastors. It is proper to demand of them for these establishments (the university colleges) constant supervision and to legally call on them to suggest all measures that they may deem necessary.”
Ordinances of Novem. 21, 1822, article 1, and Feb. 2, 1823, article 11.
Ordinances of Novem. 21, 1822, article 1, and Feb. 2, 1823, article 11.
Ordinances of Sep. 6, 1822, and of Feb. 21, 1821, title vi, with report by M. de Corbières.
Liard, ibid., p. 840. (Circular addressed to the rectors by Monseigneur Freyssinous immediately after his installation:) “In summoning a man of sacerdotal character to the head of public instruction, His Majesty has made all France well aware of his great desire to have the youth of his kingdom brought up in monarchical and religious sentiments. . . . Whoever has the misfortune to live without religion, or not to be devoted to the reigning family, ought to be sensible of what he lacks in becoming a worthy instructor of youth. He is to be pitied and is even culpable.”—“Ambroise Rendu,” by Eug. Rendu, p. 111 (Circular to rectors in 1817). “Make it known to the MM. the bishops and to all ecclesiastics that, in the work of education, you are simply auxiliaries, and that the object of primary instruction is above all to fortify religious instruction.”
De Riancey, “Histoire de l’instruction publique,” ii., 312. (Apropos of the lectures by Guizot and Cousin, stopped by Mgr. de Freyssinous:) “He did not believe that a Protestant and a philosopher could treat the most delicate questions of history and science with impartiality, and through a fatal effect of the monopoly he found himself placed between his conscience and the law. On this occasion he sacrificed the law.”
Liard, ibid., p. 837. After 1820, “a series of measures are passed which, little by little, give back its primitive constitution to the University and even end in incorporating it more closely with power than under the Empire.
See “The Modern Régime,” i., pp. 183, 202.
Maggiolo, “des Ecoles en Lorraine.” (Details on several communal schools.) 3d part, pp. 9-50.—Cf. Jourdain, “le Budget de l’Instruction publique,” 1857, passim. (Appropriation by the State for primary instruction in 1829, 100,000 francs; in 1832, 1,000,000 francs; in 1847, 2,400,000 francs;—for secondary instruction, in 1830, 920,000 francs; in 1848, 1,500,000 francs; in 1854, 1,549,241 francs. (The towns support their own communal colleges.)—Liard, “Universités et Facultés,” p. 11. In 1829, the budget of Faculties does not reach 1,000,000 francs; in 1848, it is 2,876,000 francs.
Law of Floreal 11, year x, article 4.—“Rapport sur la statistique comparée de l’enseignement primaire,” 1880, vol. ii., p. 133;—31 per cent of the pupils in the public schools were gratuitously admitted in 1837; 57 per cent in 1876-77. The congregationists admit about two thirds of their scholars gratuitously and one third for pay.
Cf. Jourdain, ibid., pp. 22, 143, 161.
Cf. Jourdain, ibid., p. 287. (The fixed salary and examination-fees are included in the above figures.) In 1850, the regular salary of the professor in the Paris Medical Faculty is reduced from 7000 to 6000 francs. In 1849, the maximum of all the salaries of the Law professors is limited to 12,000 francs.
Read, among other biographies, “Ambroise Rendu,” by Eug. Rendu.
“Rapport sur la statistique comparée de l’enseignement primaire,” 1880, vol. ii., pp. 8, 110, 206.—Law of March 15, 1850, “Exposé des motifs,” by M. Beugnot.
“Revue des Deux Mondes,” number of Aug. 15, 1869, pp. 909, 911. (Article by M. Boissier.)
Act of Novem. 9, 1818. (Down to 1850 and after, the University so arranged its teaching as not to come in conflict with the clergy on the debatable grounds of history. For example, at the end of the fourth class the history of the Roman Empire after Augustus was rapidly passed over and then, in the third class, they began again with the invasion of the barbarians; the origins of Christianity were thus skipped over and the entire primitive history of the Christian Church. For the same reason, modern history ended in 1789.
M. Guizot, “Mémoires,” vol. ii.
An eminent university personage, a political character and man of the world, said to me in 1850: “Pedagogy does not exist. There are only personal methods which each finds out for himself and eloquent phrases for effect on the public.”—Bréal, “Quelques mots sur l’instruction publique” (1872), p. 300: “France produces more works on sericiculture than on the direction of colleges; rules and a few works already ancient suffice for us.”
“L’Église et l’État sous la monarchie de juillet,” by Thureau-Dangin, 481-483.
Law of March 15, 1850 (Report by M. Beugnot).
Law of March 15, 1850, art. 21.
Law of March 15, 1850, article 21.
“Ambroise Rendu et l’Université de France,” by E. Rendu, p. 128 (January, 1850). The discretionary power given to the prefects to punish “the promoters of socialism” among the teachers in the primary schools.—Six hundred and eleven teachers revoked.—There was no less repression and oppression in the secondary and higher departments of instruction.
De Riancey, ibid., ii., 476. (Words of M. Saint-Marc Girardin.) “We instruct, we do not bring up (children); we cultivate and develop the mind, not the heart.”—Similar evidence, as for instance that of M. Dubois, director of the École Normale and of M. Guizot, minister of public instruction. “Education is not up to the level of instruction.” (Exposition of the intent of the law of 1836.)
De Riancey, ibid., ii., 401, 475.—Thureau-Dangin, ibid., 145 and 146.—(Words of a fervent Catholic, M. de Montalembert, on the trial of the Free School, Sept. 29, 1831.) “It is with a heart still distressed with these souvenirs (personal) that I here declare that, were I a father, I would rather see my children crawl their whole life in ignorance and idleness than expose them to the horrible risk I ran myself of obtaining a little knowledge at the cost of their father’s faith, at the price of everything that is pure and fresh in their soul and of honor and virtue in their breast.”—(Testimony of a zealous Protestant, M. de Gasparin.) “Religious education does not really exist in the colleges. I remember with terror what I was on finishing my national education. Were we good citizens? I do not know. But it is certain that we were not Christians.”—(Testimony of a free-thinker, Sainte-Beuve.) “In mass, the professors of the University, without being hostile to religion, are not religious. The pupils feel this, and they leave this atmosphere, not fed on irreligion, but indifferent. . . . One goes away from the University but little of a Christian.”
Boissier, ibid., p. 711.
In my youth, I was able to talk with some of those who lived during the Consulate. All agreed in opinion. One, an admirer of Condillac and founder of a boarding-school, had written for his pupils a number of small elementary treatises, which I still possess.
Charles Hamel, “Histoire de Juilly,” pp. 413, 419 (1818).—Ibid., 532, 665 (April 15, 1846.) The Tontine Association replaced by a limited association (40 years) with a capital of 500,000 francs in 1000 shares of 500 francs each, etc.
For example, “Monge,” the “École Alsacienne,” the “École libre des Sciences Politiques.” Competent jurisconsults recommend the founders of a private school to organize it under the form of a commercial association, with lucre for its aim and not the public good. If the founders of the school wish to maintain the free management of it they must avoid declaring it “of public utility.”
The “École Alsacienne” has been supported for some years mainly by a subsidy of 40,000 francs allotted by the State. This year the State furnishes, “Monge” and “Sainte-Barbe” with subsidies of 130,000 and 150,000 francs, without which they would become bankrupt and close their doors. The State probably thus supports them so as to have a field of pedagogic experiences alongside of its lycées, or to prevent their being bought by some Catholic corporation.
Even when the masters are conciliatory or reserved the two institutions face each other and the pupils are aware of the antagonism; hence, they turn a cold shoulder to the pupils, education and ideas of the rival institution. In 1852, and on four circular journeys from 1863 to 1866, I was able to observe these sentiments which are now very manifest.
The period of the annual school examinations in France.—Tr.
This word means something more than an ordinary “boarding-school,” as the reader will see by the text, and is therefore retained as untranslatable.—Tr.
Expositione universelle of 1889, “Rapport du jury,” group ii., 1st part, p. 492.—Documents collected in the bureaus of public instruction for 1887. (To the internes here enumerated must be added those of private laic establishments, 8958 out of 20,174 pupils.)—Bréal, “Excursions pédagogiques,” pp. 293, 298.
Bréal, ibid., pp. 10, 13. Id., “Quelques mots sur l’instruction publique,” p. 286. “The internat is nearly unknown in Germany. . . . The director (of the gymnase) informs parents where families can be found willing to receive boarders and he must satisfy himself that their hospitality is unobjectionable. . . . In the new gymnascs there is no room for boarders.”—Demogeot et Montucci, “Rapport sur l’enseignement secondaire en Angleterre et en Écosse,” 1865.—(I venture also to refer the reader to my “Notes sur l’Angleterre,” for a description of Harrow-on-the-Hill and another school at Oxford, made on the spot.)
“Notes sur l’Angleterre,” p. 139. The pupils of the superior class (sixth form), especially the first fifteen of the class (monitors), the first pupil in particular, have to maintain order, insure respect for the rules and, taking it all together, take the place of our maitres d’étude.
Bréal, “Quelques mots, etc.,” pp. 281, 282. The same in France, “before the Revolution, . . . except in two or three large establishments in Paris, the number of pupils was generally sufficiently limited. . . . At Port-Rcyal the number of boarders was never over fifty at one time.”—“Before 1764, most of the colleges were day-schools with from 15 to 80 pupils,” besides the scholarships and peasant boarders, not very numerous.—“An army of boarders, comprising more than one half of our bourgeois class, under a drill regulated and overlooked by the State, buildings holding from seven to eight hundred boarders—such is what one would vainly try to find anywhere else, and which is essentially peculiar to contemporary France.”
Bréal, ibid., 287, id., “Excursions pedagogiques,” p. 10. “I took part (with these pupils) in a supper full of gayety in the room of the celebrated Latinist, Corssen, and I remember the thought that passed through my mind when recurring to the meal we silently partook of at Metz, two hundred of us, under the eye of the censor and general superintendent, and menaced with punishment, in our cold, monastic refectory.”
Pelet de la Lozère, “Opinions de Napoléon au Conseil d’État,” p. 172. (Session of April 7, 1807:) “The professors are to be transferred from place to place in the Empire according to necessity.”—Decree of May 1, 1802, article 21: “The three functionaries in charge of the administration and the professors of the lycées may be transferred from the weakest to the strongest lycées and from inferior to superior places according to the talent and zeal they show in their functions.”
Act of Jan. 11, 1811.—Decree of March 17, 1808, articles 101 and 102.
Boissier (“Revue du Deux Mondes,” Aug. 15, 1869, p. 919): “The externe lycées cost and the interne lycées bring in.”
“Statistique de l’enseignement secondaire” (46,816 pupils, of which 33,092 internes and 13,724 externes).—Abbé Bougaud, “Le Grand Péril de l’Eglise du France,” p. 135.—“Moniteur,” March 14, 1865, Speech of Cardinal Bonnechose in the Senate.
Name of the navy school-ship at Brest.—Tr.
Bréal, “Quelques mots, etc.,” p. 308: “We need not be surprised that our children, once out of the college, resemble horses just let loose, kicking at every barrier and committing all sorts of capers. The age of reason has been artificially retarded for them five or six years.”
On the tone and turn of conversation among boys in school on this subject in the upper classes and even earlier, I can do no more than appeal to the souvenirs of the reader.—Likewise, on another danger of the internat, not less serious, which cannot be mentioned.
Bréal, “Excursions pédagogiques,” pp. 326, 327. (Testimony of two university graduates.) “The great college virtue is comradeship, which comprises a bond of union among the pupils and hatred of the master.” (Bessot:) “Punishment irritates those who undergo it and engenders punishment. The pupils become wearied: they fall into a state of mute irritability coupled with contempt for the system itself and for those who apply it. Unruliness furnishes them with the means of avenging themselves or at least to relax their nerves; they commit disorders whenever they can commit them with impunity. . . . The interdiction of an act by authority is sufficient to excite the glory of committing it.” (A. Adam, “Notes sur l’administration d’un lycée.”)—Two independent and original minds have recounted their impressions on this subject, one, Maxime Du Camp, who passed through the lycée system, and the other, George Sand, who would not tolerate it for her son. (Maxime Du Camp, “Souvenirs littéraires,” and George Sand, “Histoire de ma vie.”)
This year (1892) 1750 candidates were entered for 240 vacancies in the École Polytechnique, 230 for 30 places in the École des Beaux-Arts (section of Architecture) and 266 for 24 places in the École Normale (section of Literature).
I was once an examiner for admission to a large special school and speak from experience.
A practical apprenticeship in the Faculty of Medicine is less retarded; the future doctors, after the third year of their studies, enter a hospital for two years, ten months of each year or 284 days of service, including an “obstetrical stage” of one month. Later, on competing for the title of physician or surgeon in the hospitals and for the aggrégation of the Faculty, the theoretical preparation is as onerous as that of other careers.
“Souvenirs” by Chancellor Pasquier. (Written in 1843.)
“Souvenirs,” etc. Nobody attended the lectures of the Law Faculty of Paris, except sworn writers who took down the professor’s dictation and sold copies of it. “The theses were nearly all supported by arguments communicated beforehand. . . . At Bourges, everything was got through within five or six months at most.”
Ibid. Nowadays, “the young man who begins the world at twenty-two, twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, thinks that he has nothing more to learn; he commonly starts with absolute confidence in himself and profound disdain for whoever does not share in the ideas and opinions that he has adopted. Full of confidence in his own force, taking himself at his own value, he is governed by one single thought, that of displaying this force and this estimate of himself immediately so as to demonstrate what he is worth.”
This last quality is given by Sainte-Beuve.
Dunoyer, “De la liberté du travail” (1845), ii., 119. The extraordinary progress of England in the mechanical arts, according to English engineers “depends much less on the theoretical knowledge of savans than on the practical skill of the workmen who always succeed better in overcoming difficulties than cultivated minds.” For example, Watt, Stephenson, Arkwright, Crampton and, in France, Jacquart.
Bréal, “Quelques mots,” etc., p. 336. (He quotes M. Cournot, a former rector, inspector-general, etc.:) “The Faculties know that they would be subject to warnings on the part of the authorities as well as to comparisons and regrettable desertions on the part of the pupils if the proportion between candidates and admissions did not vary between 45 and 50 per cent. . . . When the proportion of postponements reaches between 50 and 55 per cent. . . . the examiners admit with groans, considering the hard times, candidates of which they would reject at least one half if their hands were not tied.”
A machine for the forced feeding of poultry.
An old professor, after thirty years of service, observed to me by way of summing up: “One half, at least, of our pupils are not fitted to receive the instruction we give them.”
Lately, the director of one of these schools remarked with great satisfaction and still greater naiveté: “This School is superior to all others of its kind in Europe, for nowhere else is what we teach taught in the same number of years.”
“Souvenirs” (unpublished), by Chancellier Pasquier. Although pupils were admitted in the preparatory Schools very early, “our navy, engineer and artillery officers were justly esteemed the best instructed in Europe, as able practically as theoretically; the position occupied by artillery and engineer officers from 1792 in the French army sufficiently attests this truth. And yet they did not know one tenth of those who now issue from the preparatory schools. Vauban himself would have been unable to undergo the examination for admission into the Polytechnic School.” There is then in our system “a luxury of science, very fine in itself, but which is not necessary to insure good service on land or at sea.” The same in civil careers, with the bar, in the magistracy, in the administration and even in literature and the sciences. The proof of this is found in the men of great talent who, after 1789, were prominent in the Constituent Assembly. In the new-born University there was not one half of the demand for attainments as is now exacted. There is nothing like our over-loaded baccalauréat, and yet there issued from it Villemain, Cousin, Hugo, Lamartine, etc. No École Polytechnique existed, and yet at the end of the eighteenth century in France, we find the richest constellation of savans, Lagrange, Laplace, Monge, Fourcroy, Lavoisier, Berthollet, Hally, and others. (Since the date of these “Souvenirs” the defects in the French system have largely augmented.)
In England and in the United States the architect and engineer produce more than we do with greater pliancy, fertility, originality and boldness of invention, with a practical capacity at least equal and without having passed six, eight or ten years in purely theoretical studies.—Cf. Des Rousiers, “La Vie Américaine,” p. 619: “Our polytechnicians are scientific erudites. . . . The American engineer is not omniscient as they were, he is special.” “But, in his specialty he has profound knowledge; he is always trying to make it more perfect by additions, and he does more than the polytechnician to advance his science” or his art.
Instruction is good, not in itself, but through the good it does, and especially to those who possess or acquire it. If, simply by raising his finger, a man could enable every French man or woman to read Virgil readily and demonstrate Newton’s binomial theory, this man would be dangerous and ought to have his hands tied; for, should he inadvertently raise his finger, manual labor would be repugnant and, in a year or two, become almost impossible in France.
Liard, “Universités et Facultés,” p. 39 and following pages.—“Rapport sur la statistique comparée de l’instruction,” vol. ii. (1888).—“Exposition universelle de 1889” (“Rapport du jury,” groupe ii., part i., p. 492.)
Liard, ibid., p. 77.
These figures were obtained in the bureaux of the direction of primary instruction.—The sum-total of 582,000,000 francs is composed of 241,000,000, furnished directly by the State, 28,000,000 furnished by the departments, and 312,000,000 furnished by the communes. The communes and departments being, in France, appendices of the State, subscribe only with its permission and under its impulsion. Hence the three contributions furnish only one.—Cf. Turlin, “Organisation financière et budget de l’Instruction primaire,” p. 61. (In this study, the accounts are otherwise made up. Certain expenses being provided for by annuities are carried into the annual expenditure:) “From June 1, 1878, to Dec. 31, 1887, expenses of first installation, 528 millions; ordinary expenses in 1887, 173 millions.”
Law of June 16, 1881 (on gratuitous education).
Law of March 28, 1882 (on obligatory education).
National temperament must here be taken into consideration as well as social outlets. Instruction out of proportion with and superior to condition works differently with different races. For the German adult it is rather soothing and a derivative; with the adult Frenchman it is especially an irritant or even an explosive.
Among the pupils who receive this primary instruction the most intelligent, who study hardest, push on and pass an examination by which they obtain the certificate that qualifies them for elementary teaching. The consequences are as follows. Comparative table of annual vacancies in the various services of the prefecture of the Seine and of the candidates registered for these places. (“Débats,” Sep. 16, 1890:) Vacancies for teachers, 42; number of registered candidates, 1,847. Vacancies for female teachers, 54; number of candidates, 7,139.—7,085 of these young women, educated and with certificates, and who cannot get these places, must be content to marry some workman, or become housemaids, and are tempted to become lorettes.
In certain cases, the school commission may grant exemptions. But there are two or three parties in each commune, and the father of a family must stand well with the dominant party to obtain them.
Law of March 28, 1882, and Oct. 30, 1886.
“Journal des Débats,” Sep. 1, 1891, Report of the Commission on Statistics: “In 1878-9 the number of congregationist schools was 23,625, with 2,301,943 pupils.”
Bureaux of the direction of public instruction, budget of 1892.
“Exposition universelle” of 1889. “Rapport général,” by M. Alfred Picard, p. 367. At the same date, the number of pupils in the public schools was 4,500,119.—“Journal des Débats,” Sep. 12, 1891, Report of the commission of statistics. “From 1878-79 to 1889-90, 5,063 public congregationist schools are transformed into laic schools or suppressed; at the time of their transformation they enumerated in all 648,824 pupils.—Following upon this laicization, 2,839 private congregationist schools are opened as competitors and count in 1889-90, 354,473 pupils.”—In ten years public laic instruction gains 12,229 schools and 973,380 pupils; public congregationist instruction loses 5,218 schools and 550,639 pupils. On the other hand, private congregationist instruction gains 3,790 schools and 413,979 pupils.”
Turlin, ibid., p. 61. (M. Turlin enumerates “104,765 functionaries,” to which must be added the teaching, administrative and auxiliary staff of teachers of the 173 normal schools and their 3000 pupils, all gratuitous).
In this respect, very instructive indications may be found in the autobiography of Jules Vallès, “l’Enfant,” “le Bachelier” and “l’Insurgé.” Since 1871, not only in literature do the successful works of men of talent but, again, the abortive attempts of impotent innovators and blasted half-talents, converge to this point.”