Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I. - The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II
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CHAPTER I. - 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
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.