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