ACCORDING TO SOME
MODERN MASTER S
CHARLES FRANKLIN THWING
BOOKS ON COLLEGE SUBJECTS:
American Colleges: Their Students and Work.
Within College Walls.
The College Woman.
The American College in American Life.
If I Were a College Student.
The Choice of a College.
A Liberal Education and a Liberal Faith.
College Training and the Business Man.
A History of Higher Education in America.
Education in the Far East.
History of Education in the United States Since
the Civil War.
Universities of the World.
Letters from a Father to His Son Entering Col-
Letters from a Father to His Daughter Entering
The Co-Ordinate System in the Higher Educa-
The American College: What It Is and What It
Education According to Some Modern Masters.
ACCORDING TO SOME
CHARLES FRANKLIN THWING
PRESIDENT OF WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
AND ADELBEBT COLLEGE
THE PLATT & PECK CO.
Copyright, 1916, by
THE PLATT & PECK CO.
EDUCATION is in peril of losing its human
touch. Important as technical means, meth-
ods and conditions are, there is a belief, and a dan-
ger, too, that these elements may take to themselves
an importance not fundamentally belonging to
them. In the desire to emphasize the large human
relations, I have made these interpretations of the
educational masters who, first and last, are human-
ists. Being great humanists, they have tried to see
education, as they have tried to see other great
human forces, in its relations. In my turn, I have
simply tried to interpret and properly to relate
It is my present hope to make a similar inter-
pretation of the Greek and Latin masters and of
the medieval. For, each age indeed should have a
voice, moving and quickening for every other age
of the race and of the races of man.
C. F. T.
Western Reserve University,
I. EMERSON 1
II. CARLYLE 38
III. BUSKIN 74
IV. JOHN STUART MILL 131
V. GLADSTONE 179
VI. MATTHEW ARNOLD 196
VII. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN 221
VIII. GOETHE 251
IX. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 279
INDEX . 293
EDUCATION ACCORDING TO
SOME MODERN MASTERS
EDUCATION ACCORDING TO EMERSON
SCIENCE, knowledge, the scholar, the intellect,
as well as education, are the great terms under
which Emerson presents his thoughts regarding
our central subject. Little does it signify which of
the quintette of words is used. For, science and
knowledge are the materials of which education
makes avail, and by the use of which the intellect
creates the scholar. The scholar represents the
force in education who, in turn, is himself the prod-
uct of education. In this personality called the
scholar, the intellect is the chief part, guiding, in-
spiring, by its own might enlarging itself and all
that it approaches. Education, in turn, commands
science and all knowledge as its tool and content,
disciplining the intellect, creating the scholar. Of
all the words of the quintette education is the term
most germinal, fundamental and comprehensive.
In Emerson's presentation of this great unit
composed of diverse elements, education is not
found as an orderly process. It is not seen as an
art, much less as a science. Its nature is inter-
preted with aptness, grandeur and inspiring im-
pressiveness, but is not definitely articulated. Its
purposes, and in turn its effects, are indicated with
fullness, diversity and weight, not at all with
scholarly orderliness. Its methods are outlined
and its forces made known, but not in sequence.
Its conditions and limitations are drawn up with
philosophical comprehensiveness, breadth, depth
and height, but the presentation lacks precision.
We may thank God that the educational gospel
of Emerson is as it is, and that it is not scholastic.
It is life, and life, although lived under recognized
principles, is not subject to prescription. Emer-
son's idea of education calls up picturesque visions
of the Concord meadows. His thought wanders
on quietly like the Concord River, and its reflection
of forest and field, of horizon and zenith, suggests
the Concord landscapes.
Emerson's own education gives a prophetic inti-
mation of the variety of his interpretation of the
forms and forces of education. The regular course
of Harvard College, which he entered in 1817, did
not command his attention, and he left, after pur-
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 3
suing it for four years, feeling, in the words of
James Elliot Cabot, his biographer,
that the college had done little for him. He found there but
little nutriment suited to his appetite, and strayed off, though
with some misgivings, to other pastures. In one of his jour-
nals long afterwards, he speaks of "the instinct which leads
the youth who has no faculty for mathematics, and weeps over
the impossible Analytical Geometry, to console his defeats with
Chaucer and Montaigne, with Plutarch and Plato at night."
. . . "The boy at college apologizes for not learning the tutor's
tasks, and tries to learn them ; but stronger nature gives him
Otway and Massinger to read, or betrays him into a stroll to
Mount Auburn, in study hours. The poor boy, instead of
thanking the gods and slighting the mathematical tutor, ducks
before the functionary, and poisons his fine pleasures by a
In his own way he was industrious; feeling vaguely that,
for him, power of expression was more important than philo-
logical or scientific training.
Of his college standing Mr. Cabot says :
The rest of the course (except mathematics) he passed
through without discredit though without distinction, and
came out somewhat above the middle of his class in college
And he adds :
It may be doubted whether under any system he would
have been a student of books. It was not in his nature; he
could never, he said in after years, deal with other people's
facts and he never made the attempt. 1
The subject to be educated, according to Emer-
son, is man, and this man is a youth. Youth in turn
is in part a temporary thing, and is only in part to
be interpreted in terms of manhood, of interest, of
responsiveness, of contagious and absorbing en-
thusiasms and of immortal hilarity.
Education, according to Emerson, is to be under-
stood, not through formal definition, but through
consideration of its purposes and effects, its meth-
ods, forces, conditions and values. Without giving
a formal definition himself, he adopts the great
definition of John Milton. He holds that in all
English literature there is no "more noble outline
of a wise external education than that which he
[Milton] drew up, at the age of thirty-six, in his
Letter to Samuel Hartlib." 2
The college, in giving education, deals at once
with truth and personality. It has "to teach you
geometry, or the lovely laws of space and figure;
chemistry, botany, zoology, the streaming of
thought into form, and the precipitation of atoms
1 " A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ' ' James Elliot Cabot, Hough-
ton, Mifflin and Co., Vol. I, pp. 56, 57.
1 "Milton," Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Houghton,
Mifflin and Co., Centenary Edition, Vol. XII., p. 256.
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 5
which Nature is." 8 But education is also per-
sonal. It is
the happy meeting of the young soul, filled with the desire,
with the living teacher who has already made the passage
from the centre forth, step by 'step, along the intellectual roads
to the theory and practice of special science. Now if there
be genius in the scholar, that is, a delicate sensibility to the
laws of the world, and the power to express them again in
some new form, he is made to find his own way. He will
greet joyfully the wise teacher, but colleges and teachers are
no wise essential to him; he will find teachers everywhere. 4
The lower purpose of education is the object of
ridicule by Mr. Emerson. The ground is alto-
gether too common of which he makes fun. It is
the people have the power, and if they are not instructed to
sympathize with the intelligent, reading, trading and gov-
erning class; inspired with a taste for the same competitions
and prizes, they will upset the fair pageant of Judicature, and
perhaps lay a hand on the sacred muniments of wealth itself,
and new distribute the land. 5
And a still lower purpose may prevail. One
will hear every day the maxims of a low prudence. You will
hear that the first duty is to get land and money, place and
"The Celebration of Intellect," Complete Works, etc., Ibid., p. 127.
4 Ibid., p. 128.
' ' The Conservative, ' ' Complete Works, etc., VoL I., p. 320.
name. ' ' What is this Truth you seek ? what is this Beauty ? ' '
men will ask, with derision. If nevertheless God have called
any of you to explore truth and beauty, be bold, be firm, be
true. When you shall say, "As others do, so will I: I re-
nounce, I am sorry for it, my early visions; I must eat the
good of the land and let learning and romantic expectations
go, until a more convenient season;" then dies the man in
you ; then once more perish the buds of art, and poetry, and
science, as they have died already in a thousand thousand
men. The hour of that choice is the crisis of your history,
and see that you hold yourself fast by the intellect. It is
this domineering temper of the sensual world that creates
the extreme need of the priests of science ; and it is the office
and right of the intellect to make and not take its estimate. 8
No such reasoning has value with this philoso-
pher who is at once transcendental and experi-
mental. The education which a man receives is re-
creation of the man, or at least a confirmation of
the original creation in which he was made.
Humanly speaking, the school, the college, society, make the
difference between men. All the fairy tales of Aladdin or the
invisible Gyges or the talisman that opens Kings' palaces or
the enchanted halls underground or in the sea, are only fic-
tions to indicate the one miracle of intellectual enlargement.
When a man stupid becomes a man inspired, when one and
the same man passes out of the torpid into the perceiving
state, leaves the din of trifles, the stupor of the senses, to
enter into the quasi-omniscience of high thought, up and
"Literary Ethics," Complete Works, etc., Ibid., p. 185.
down, around, all limits disappear. No horizon shuts down.
He sees things in their causes, all facts in their connection. 7
The scholar, as I have intimated, is the force in
education and also its fruit. His function is a
great and precious one.
The scholar, when he comes, will be known by an energy
that will animate all who see him. The labor of ambition and
avarice will appear fumbling beside his. In the right hands,
literature is not resorted to as a consolation, and by the
broken and decayed, but as a decalogue. In this country
we are fond of results and of short ways to them ; and most
in this department. In our experiences, learning is not
learned, nor is genius wise. The name of the Scholar is
taken in vain. We who should be the channel of that un-
weariable Power which never sleeps, must give our diligence
no holidays. Other men are planting and building, baking
and tanning, running and sailing, heaving and carrying, each
that he may peacefully execute the fine function by which
they all are helped. Shall he play, whilst their eyes follow
him from far with reverence, attributing to him the delving
in great fields of thought, and conversing with supernatural
allies? If he is not kindling his torch or collecting oil, he
will fear to go by a workshop; he will not dare to hear the
music of a saw or plane ; the steam-engine will reprimand, the
steam-pipe will hiss at him; he cannot look a blacksmith in
the eye ; in the field he will be shamed by mowers and reapers.
The speculative man, the scholar, is the right hero. He is
brave, because he sees the omnipotence of that which in-
spires him. Is there only one courage and one warfare? I
'"Education," Complete Works, etc., VoL X., p. 126.
cannot manage sword and rifle; can I not therefore be
brave? I thought there were as many courages as men. Is
an armed man the only hero? Is a man only the breech of
a gun or the haft or a bowie-knife ? Men of thought fail in
fighting down malignity, because they wear other armor than
their own. Let them decline henceforward foreign methods
and foreign courages. Let them do that which they can do.
Let them fight by their strength, not by their weakness. It
seems to me that the thoughtful man needs no armor but
this concentration. 8
The scholar also has a special function in minis-
tering to the joy of life. Emerson says :
I think the peculiar office of scholars in a careful and
gloomy generation is to be (as the poets were called in the
Middle Ages) Professors of the Joyous Science, detectors and
delineators of occult symmetries and unpublished beauties;
heralds of civility, nobility, learning and wisdom; affirmers
of the one law, yet as those who should affirm it in music
and dancing; expressors themselves of that firm and cheer-
ful temper, infinitely removed from sadness, which reigns
through the kingdoms of chemistry, vegetation and animal
life. Every natural power exhilarates ; a true talent delights
the possessor first. A celebrated musician was wont to say,
that men knew not how much more he delighted himself with
his playing than he did others ; for if they knew, his hearers
would rather demand of him than give him a reward. The
scholar is here to fill others with love and courage by con-
firming their trust in the love and wisdom which are at the
heart of all things; to affirm noble sentiments; to hear them
"The Scholar," Complete Works, etc., Ibid., pp. 273-74.
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 9
wherever spoken, out of the deeps of ages, out of the obscuri-
ties of barbarous life, and to republish them : to untune no-
body, but to draw all men after the truth, and to keep men
spiritual and sweet. 8
In the broadest way, the scholar, at once the
subject and the force of education,
is here to be the beholder of the real ; self-centred amidst the
superficial ; here to revere the dominion of a serene necessity
and be its pupil and apprentice by tracing everything home
to a cause; here to be sobered, not by the cares of life, as
men say, no, but by the depth of his draughts of the cup of
The scholar is both the thinker and the expositor.
He represents true wisdom. He reveals, and he is
able to reveal, because he is a learner. Being a
thinker and revealer, he is a master. He embodies
the Napoleonic command. Bearing the yoke in his
youth, enduring toil as a good soldier, he is able
through obedience to become a first-rate com-
mander. He unites in himself the two poles of
reason and common sense. Lacking reason, his
philosophy is utilitarian ; lacking common sense, it
becomes too vague for life's uses.
Happy is the lot of the scholar in this new world.
Ibid., p. 262.
"Ibid., p. 264.
In an address given at Dartmouth College in the
year 1838, Mr. Emerson said :
I have reached the middle age of man ; yet I believe I am
not less glad or sanguine at the meeting of scholars, than
when, a boy, I first saw the graduates of my own College
assembled at their anniversary. Neither years nor books have
yet availed to extirpate a prejudice then rooted in me, that
a scholar is the favorite of Heaven and earth, the excellency
of his country, the happiest of men. His duties lead him
directly into the holy ground where other men's aspirations
only point. His successes are occasions of the purest joy
to all men. Eyes is he to the blind; feet is he to the lame.
His failures, if he is worthy, are inlets to higher advantages.
And because the scholar by every thought he thinks extends
his dominion into the general mind of men, he is not one,
but many. The few scholars in each country, whose genius
I know, seem to me not individuals, but societies; and when
events occur of great import, I count over these representa-
tives of opinion, whom they will affect, as if I were counting
nations. And even if his results were incommunicable; if
they abode in his own spirit; the intellect hath somewhat so
sacred in its possessions that the fact of his existence and
pursuits would be a happy omen. 11
Although happy, the scholar in America is not
to sit down in listless idleness.
Here you are set down, scholars and idealists, as in a bar-
barous age; amidst insanity, to calm and guide it; amidst
fools and blind, to see the right done; among violent pro-
11 "Literary Ethics," Complete Works, etc., Vol. I., p. 155.
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 11
prietors, to check self-interest, stone-blind and stone-deaf, by
considerations of humanity to the workman and to his child;
amongst angry politicians swelling with self-esteem, pledged
to parties, pledged to clients, you are to make valid the large
considerations of equity and good sense; under bad govern-
ments to force on them, by your persistence, good laws.
Around that immovable persistency of yours, statesmen, leg-
islatures, must revolve, denying you, but not less forced to
In this educational process, all forces, even the
whole world itself, educates. The teachers are
found in earth, air, sky and sea, as well as in
We have many teachers; we are in this world for culture,
to be instructed in realities, in the laws of moral and intelli-
gent nature ; and our education is not conducted by toys and
luxuries, but by austere and rugged masters, by poverty, soli-
tude, passions, War, Slavery ; to know that Paradise is under
the shadow of swords; that divine sentiments which are al-
ways soliciting us are breathed into us from on high, and
are an offset to a Universe of suffering and crime ; that self-
reliance, the height and perfection of man, is reliance on
God. 13 To breathe, to sleep, is wonderful. But never to
know the Cause, the Giver, and infer his character and will !
Of what import this vacant sky, these puffing elements, these
insignificant lives full of selfish loves and quarrels and ennui ?
Everything is prospective, and man is to live hereafter.
''Progress of Culture," Complete Works, etc., VoL VIII., p. 230.
u "The Fugitive Slave Law," Complete Works, etc., Vol. XL, p. 236.
That the world is for his education is the only sane solution
of the enigma. 14
The force, however, that does really educate is
the teacher, the man teaching. The highest char-
acter makes the most worthy instructor. Person-
ality is the chief value. The communication of
character is more than the communication of
formal truth. In many places and under diverse
forms does Mr. Emerson inculcate this great prin-
The man may teach by doing, and not otherwise. If he
can communicate himself he can teach, but not by words.
He teaches who gives, and he learns who receives. There
is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state
or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place;
he is you and you are he ; then is a teaching, and by no un-
friendly chance or bad company can he ever quite lose the
benefit. But your propositions run out of one ear as they
ran in at the other. We see it advertised that Mr. Grand
will deliver an oration on the Fourth of July, and Mr. Hand
before the Mechanics' Association, and we do not go thither,
because we know that these gentlemen will not communicate
their own character and experience to the company. If we
had reason to expect such a confidence we should go through
all inconvenience and opposition. The sick would be car-
ried in litters. But a public oration is an escapade, a non-
14 "Immortality," Complete Works, etc., Vol. VIII., p. 334.
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 13
commital, an apology, a gag, and not a communication, not
a speech, not a man. 18
The man who thus teaches is a scholar, and the
scholar is to have resources. In his first great ora-
tion, Emerson interprets with detail the resources
of the American scholar, which consist, he says, of
nature, of the past and of action. These resources
are primarily resources of the intellect. As he
says, in the college address of 1838,
The resources of the scholar are proportioned to his con-
fidence in the attributes of the Intellect. The resources of
the scholar are coextensive with nature and truth, yet can
never be his unless claimed by him with an equal greatness
of mind. He cannot know them until he has beheld with
awe the infinitude and impersonality of the intellectual power.
When he has seen that it is not his, nor any man's, but that
it is the soul which made the world, and that it is all acces-
sible to him, he will know that he, as its minister, may right-
fully hold all things subordinate and answerable to it. A
divine pilgrim in nature, all things attend his steps. Over
him stream the flying constellations ; over him streams Time,
as they, scarcely divided into months and years. He inhales
the year as a vapor: its fragrant midsummer breath, its
sparkling January heaven. And so pass into his mind, in
bright transfiguration, the grand events of history, to take
a new order and scale from him. He is the world; and the
epochs and heroes of chronology are pictorial images, in
which his thoughts are told. There is no event but sprung
" ' ' Spiritual Laws, ' ' Complete Works, etc., Vol. II., p. 152.
somewhere from the soul of man; and therefore there is
none but the soul of man can interpret. 18
These resources increase, too, with the growth of
the intellect. The scholar's treasures are not to be
slight. A larger receptiveness stands for increas-
ing power. Its development is a history of alter-
nating expansions and concentrations. Such
growth means the augmentation of the power of
the teacher and of education.
But it is ever to be remembered that the teacher
is an individual, a person. The teacher is to be
his own individual self. Imitation and counterfeit
are weaknesses. He says :
I advise teachers to cherish mother-wit. I assume that
you will keep the grammar, reading, writing and arithmetic
in order; 't is easy and of course you will. But smuggle in
a little contraband wit, fancy, imagination, thought. If you
have a taste which you have suppressed because it is not
shared by those about you, tell them that. Set this law up,
whatever becomes of the rules of the school: they must not
whisper, much less talk; but if one of the young people says
a wise thing, greet it, and let all the children clap their hands.
They shall have no book but school-books in the room; but
if one has brought in a Plutarch or Shakspeare or Don Quixote
or Goldsmith or any other good book, and understands what
he reads, put him at once at the head of the class. Nobody
shall be disorderly, or leave his desk without permission, but
""Literary Ethics," Complete Works, etc., Vol. I., p. 158.
ACCORDING TO EMERSON 15
if a boy runs from his bench, or a girl, because the fire falls,
or to check some injury that a little dastard is inflicting be-
hind his desk on some helpless sufferer, take away the medal
from the head of the class and give it on the instant to the
brave rescuer. If a child happens to show that he knows any
fact about astronomy, or plants, or birds, or rocks, or his-
tory, that interests him and you, hush all the classes and
encourage him to tell it so that all may hear."
But this individuality on the part of the teacher
is never to overcome the individuality on the part
of the student. To respect that student, his per-
sonality, even his idiosyncrasies, is a primary pur-
Let us wait and see what is this new creation, of what
new organ the great Spirit had need when it incarnated
this new Will. A new Adam in the garden, he is to name
all the beasts in the field, all the gods in the sky. And
jealous provision seems to have been made in his constitu-
tion that you shall not invade and contaminate him with
the worn weeds of your language and opinions. The charm
of life is this variety of genius, these contrasts and flavors
by which Heaven has modulated the identity of truth, and
there is a perpetual hankering to violate this individuality,
to warp his ways of thinking and behavior to resemble or
reflect your thinking and behavior. A low self-love in the
parent desires that his child should repeat his character and