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larger than ours, has a downy skin, no
thorns, and is quite dry. The natives eat
it raw, and also cooked, and when so
prepared it tastes like our squash. The
maize of the country resembles our sor-
ghum, and the kernels are found in a
bushy top, and are of the size of rice.
Curds and a black bread form most of the
food of men who toil from dawn till dark.
They rarely eat meat, though they have
cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry ; but
these are mostly for the market. Many
of the peasants rent land from the govern-
ment, — small patches, at an annual rental
of about five dollars per acre; but the
severe and oppressive taxation levied on
all they raise brings the rental much
higher. The English rule is doing much
for these helpless people. Forced labor
on the canals and public works is abolish-
ed. Formerly the Khedive would call for
so many laborers from a hamlet to work
on his estates, or to clear out the water
courses, and they had to go and labor
without pay, and support and care for
themselves. Hundreds of these poor
people were thus called on at a time and
compelled to work for weeks.

The region between Cairo and the pyra-
mids is full of charming scenes. The
groups and throngs of laborers, plowing,
planting, hoeing, cutting grain, tethering
out the buffalo or camels, trailing water
to their tiny patches of vegetables or
grain, catch the eye on every side. To
look down on the Delta from the pyra-
mids as the sun buries itself in the Lybian
sands fastens on the mind a never-to-be-
forgotten picture. The busy fellahin turn
from their toil into the paths that con-
verge in their hamlets, — some leading
camels, others driving sheep or goats,
others with bundles of alfalfa or freshly
cut grain in their arms. The plain seems
to be alive with moving forms of men and
beasts. Shadows creep over landscapes



and a tremulous golden twilight rivets the
eye long after distant forms have van-
ished. Many of these peasants find em-
ployment on the mysterious Nile. There
are islands of considerable size which
they till entirely by hand, no camels or
buffalo being seen there. But it is as
sailors on the Dahbeyea, either spreading
the sails, or more often in towing the boat
by means of long ropes against the cur-
rent, that the river gives employment. It
is not uncommon to see a dozen men at
the edge of a stream in the water well up
to their waists, forcing the craft up the
stream.

Of all the lands whose record runs back
into the last centuries, Egypt is the most
hoary, and most interesting. The pain
taken by its primeval people to perpetuate
their lives and deeds in paintings on stone
walls, in a climate where mildew and rain
rairly appear, has sent down to us an
unerring record, from which we depict
the customs and occupations, the modes
of agriculture and mechanical arts, and
pursuits of these remote ages. These pic-
tures were often accompanied by short
inscriptions significant of the scene pre-
sented. For centuries, as these inscriptions
were in the hieroglyphic language of a
forgotten era, there was no means of tell-
ing what they meant. It chanced a few
years ago that a flat, black stone, about
twelve inches square, was found near
Rosetta, at one of the old openings of the
Nile into the sea. It was on one side
covered with three parallel inscriptions,
each telling the same thing, one in the
ancient priestly hieroglyphics, the second
in the popular language of that day, and
the third in Greek. This gave a kfey to
the numerous inscriptions in the walls.
The mastaba or tomb house of Ti in the
necropolis of old Memphis dates back
forty-five centuries, being erected in the
5 th Egyptian dynasty. It stands among
black sands which the fierce gales toss
into angry billows. The desert is even
with the roof of the tomb house, and not
a sign of vegetation is found for miles in



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SEMINAR Y NO TES.



any direction. The zeal and wealth of a
Frenchman, Mariette, a few years ago
lifted the sands from the building and
now it is open to the traveler. Three
entrances lead down to the outer chamber,
and from it a long passage way opens on
an inner room without window or light.
On the outer court, passage ways and
dark room is the story of the life, and the
deeds of this great prime minister of the
ruling king. From these paintings and
sculptures, and the accompanying inscrip-
tions, we gain a clear idea of life in Egypt
forty-five hundred years ago. The exact
purpose of these decorations of the tomb
of the dead prince is not clear, but the
view they give of his great estates and the
pursuits there carried on are vivid presen-
tations, Every trade and mechanical oc-
cupation carried on among men in those
remote periods, all branches of husbandry
and domestic life are there portrayed.
From them we learn that the Nile boat,
the Dahbeyeh of to-day, is just what it
was when they bore to Memphis the pro-
ducts of Lisertatis, hundreds of miles up
the mysterious river. The plow then used
has not been improved in the four thou-
sand years that have flown away. Among
the throngs of servants and workmen that
start out of these walls we see what we do
not find in Egyptian fields now, women
hard at work. In addition to the domes-
tic animals now found in the Delta we
note the presence of antelopes as tame as
the sheep and goats with which they feed.
How immobile and fixed the Egyptian life
has been through all the historic periods
is revealed in these walls whose story was
written there twenty-five centuries before
Christianity dawned on the world. Ani-
mal life as here portrayed was as perfect
then as now. The art of snaring the great
river horse, the leviathan of the bible, was
then known. The plow, the shadoof, and
the rude hoe of Ti's estates are now in
use by the people who look like the groops
of servants or laborers on the mural
decorations of this desert tomb.



Passing from this strange land with its
types of laborers as unchanged as the
stony gaze of its weird sphynx, we find on
the famed plains of Sharon and Esdrpelon
much of the same stolid adherence to old
methods of labor. The thorns that spring
up and choke the seeds of the sower are
there now as then, and hundreds of wo-
men of children can be seen the live long
day plucking up these thorns, as did their
prototypes. Abraham's plow is still the
favorite implement for stirring the soil.
The open threshing floor on the bare
earth, the noisome underground granaries,
the diminutive oxen and the flocks of
sheep and goats, the black tents of the
wandering Bedouin, and the women gath-
ering at the wells or springs to bear thence
water in great jugs placed on their heads
to their homes in villages nestled on
high points of land; these meet the eye
of the traveler everywhere, and tell him
how the far away past in the Orient is
reproduced in the scenes of to-day. The
homes of the peasantry of Syria are, if
possible, more completely uncomfortable,
gloomy, and cheerless, than are those of
the same class in Egypt. At one of our
lunch places there was a small village of
stone huts. It was not laid out on any
street or square, no trees bloomed about
it. The best house in the hamlet had
neither window, floor, or ceiling. The
mistress of the place showed us her abode
with an evident pride of possession. To
one conversant with the comfort and
cheer of our American laborers' home,
the squalor and misery of these Syrian
villages is very depressing. Children
nearly naked, men and women with bare
feet, poorly clothed with scanty dresses,
small patches of very stony garden, hun-
gry faces, lizards darting in and out of the
chinks of their poorly-built stone huts, fires
made of desiccated droppings of the camel
or ox, — surely no one need envy the lot
of the laborer in Egypt or Palestine.

S. O. Thacher.



SEMINARY NOTES.



161



THE STUDY OF HISTORY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.



.^T^VERY subject but history has its
^^^ beginning and its end. History is
continuous; forming in peace and in war,
ever increasing in volume. In earlier
years attention was paid more particularly
to man and his development than to the
influences which surrounded him, but as
the study of history has developed all the
outside influences of soil, climate, food,
intercourse with other peoples and all
those matters which so materially affect
mankind are to be carefully noted. It is
only as we study any subject in its rela-
tions to man that we rise to the full appre-
ciation of it and only then that it becomes
worthy of a lifetime of study. The im-
portance of history in its relation to
other subjects and how it is to be brought
into its true position in our courses of
study should be constantly before the
mind of every teacher.

Our universities are arranging courses
and developing the work in history rapidly
but as yet are far behind the ideal course
in history, still on the other hand they are
ahead of the majority of students who
enter the regular course. Our professors
may work and toil but the results reached
will not be satisfactory. It is a well
known fact that history is not taught as it
should be in our common and high
schools, and in many instances the attempt
at teaching it only causes a distaste for the
study. In my opinion the greatest reason
for this unsuccessful work and lack of
interest is that the study of history is not
commenced soon enough. Reading, writ-
ing and arithmetic monopolize the time of
a majority of our pupils until they are
through the common school course and
then they either go into active life or enter
special lines of work and the best oppor-
tunity for beginning the study of history
has p'assed. The stories that we remem-
ber best were told us when we were chil-
• dreji on our mother's knee, and that early



teaching should be followed by stories
from history in the primary grades, his-
torical readers in the grammar grades
and regular work in history from the
eighth grade through the high school, and,
as far as possible, with other work through
life. Stories told by the teacher in the
primary grades, read by the pupils in
intermediate grades, and related or given
in essay form by pupils of higher grades
during general exercises, will create a
desire and love for the study of history.
Then it will not be considered dry, un-
interesting, and be thrown aside for other
work as children grow older. Pupils
should be shown the relation history bears
to other studies, and especially to geogra-
phy and literature. This is an easy matter
as places, people and events are spoken
of in reading lessons, language work, or
are referred to in general conversation.
The reading of books and giving synopsis
of stories contained, the writing of bio-
graphical sketches concerning prominent
men and women; the comparison of* peo-
ple of the present with historical charac-
ters of the past; the noting of events,
inventions, discoveries, new scientific facts
and many other things of interest, may be
introduced in a manner suitable to the
grade of work, and the breadth of vision
thus given will never be lost but will tend
to expand while the pupil 'at the same
time is gathering from all fields of knowl-
edge.

The problem is not so much how shall
history be taught in our high schools and
universities as how shall the foundation
be laid. When the foundation is laid and
the work carried up to the high school the
demand from the pupils will cause a place
to be provided in the course of study
there, and the number studying history
will fill that department in the universities
until greater facilities will be needed. As
indicated above, give history its true place



i6:



SEMINAR Y NO TES.



and prominence through all the grades of
our common schools, and you will in the
main have solved the question of "The
Study of History in our High Schools and
Universities." Far the greater proportion
of our pupils leave school before entering
the high school, and in order to reach the
masses, to lift up the whole, we must
begin at the bottom and build up. Uni-
versities and high schools are farther
removed from the people than the com-
mon schools, consequently the support
any particular departmentment may re-
ceive will depend upon the interest created
among the people, and there is no factor
so potent to-day as the common school in
forming future public opinion. Our pro-
fessors may prepare lectures for "Univer-
sity Extension" audiences, and lose sleep
in midnight rides in order to enlighten the
people, but their work will be patchwork —
simply trying to remedy what has not been
done in school. They cannot reach any
great number of people in that way. Lit-
erature, history, local government, the
elements of science and other subjects
may properly be introduced into graded
work. Without geography and history
our rpading lessons are not well understood,
and good literature requires a knowledge
of these as well as other subjects. It may



be urged that it is not possible to teach
all of these subjects, and it is true that a
full knowledge cannot be obtained in the
graded school, but general information
may be gained even if less work is done
in other lines. Every field of work should
receive its due share of attention in the
beginning and as pupils advance and
become able to judge for themselves they
will be prepared to take up that special
work which inclination prompts them to
choose. We need specialists in every line
of work in our graded schools in order
that the pupils may have thorough teach-
ing in the elements 9f learning. The
specialists will be better for having re-
ceived their general information under
specialists.

We would only ask for history the place
that it deserves in relation to other sub-
jects, and let it be borne in mind that our
laws and the welfare of our country depend
upon the degree of knowledge, concerning
mankind and his environments, that is
possessed by our people. The noblest
work of God is man, his history, here, is
from the cradle to the grave, and his study
of self and his fellow man should begin
with the cradle and only end with the.
grave.

H. A. Peairs.



SEMINARY REPORTS.



The Single Tax.

■^rPHE Seminary met March 25th. Mr.
,^^ Simmon's read a paper on the Single
Tax. His remarks were in substance as
follows:

The advocates of the single tax theory
are opposed, and in some measure justly,
to all existing forms of taxation. The
personal property tax is objected to on
account of the impossibility of levying it
justly. Even if an accurate list of prop-
erty is obtained, a man worth $100 is



obviously less able to pay a ^10 tax than
a man worth $1000 is to pay a ;^ioo tax.
The injustice arising here is repeated in a
per capita tax. A tax on real estate falls
on prices, and does not touch those it is
designed to reach. The advocate of the
Single Tax argues that rent is an income
arising without the owners exertion, that
it arises through society. It is then just
to apply it to the advantage of society.
The idea is that the earth belongs to the
people, and that its products should go to-



SEMINARY NOTES.



163



the people. This will be accomplished
by the confiscation or appropriation of
rents.

The arguments pro and con turn upon
the question " In whom is the title to land
vested ?" Individual ownership has long
been the rule, and the individual, of
course, defends the established custom.
Land is held by the individual for the
general welfare of all, he says. Yet no
one questions that the state has some
control over land. It may take it for rail-
ways, roads, public buildings and like
purposes.

The single tax advocate argues that in
the earlier development land was held in
common, and that the strong afterward
took possession of the land by force.
Hence he states that common ownership
of land is a peace institution, and indi-
vidual ownership a war institution, and
he believes with Herbert Spencer that
"Equity does not permit private owner-
ship in land." Although the contingency
is remote, it is a fact that the present
system of holdings would permit a mo-
nopoly of land. Henry George says that
if all land were taken up, every person
coming afterward would have to pay for
the privilege of living on the land of
others. With the same idea in view,
Laveleye believed that America and Aus-
tralia should not dispose of their lands
absolutely, but should let the use of them.

It is sometimes stated that rent, acting
as a reserve fund, enables the landowning
class to devote themselves to a higher
development of their intellectual nature.
True, says the single tax advocate; but
there is danger that the increase in prop-
erty will meanwhile force the masses to
work for a recompense so small as to
lower the general standard of mankind.
The advocates of the single tax assert
that the ideal distribution would give to
society that which society has produced,
to capital the reward justly accruing to it,
and to labor what it earns. If it be
granted that land should not belong to a
class, a tax on rent would not be unjust.



The cause of poverty lies in the injustice
that denies to men their natural rights,
and imposes taxes pn thrift and industry,
by a monopoly of land. Land and labor
are the great factors in the production of
wealth; and that civilization is the highest
which affords to individuals the greatest
opportunity to apply their efforts with
adequate return. Some speculators have
been more farseeing than laborers, and
monopolize the field for the remunerative
employment of labor, which must now
submit to dictation.

"Tax that which you wish to suppress,"
says the single taxer, "monopolies are
created by a monopoly of land, or by a
favoring system of taxation. The single
tax will do away with them." Taxes, at
present, do not stay where they are put.
A tax on the products of labor falls with
redoubled severity on the consumer. Such
taxes foster trusts. In some instances the
match, cigar, and liquor combines have
strenuously opposed a repeal of the taxes
on their commodities. The single tax,
falling only on such land as yields rent,
would stay where it was put.

Some advantages claimed for the single
tax are that it has no depressing effect on
industry, that it does not raise prices, and
that it stimulates production. The single
taxer would not put land in the hands of
the state, for he believes that long occu-
pancy by a single owner is the best system.
The partisans of the single tax would
make taxes a form of consumption rather
than a form of distribution.

The opponents of the single tax often
involve themselves in inconsistencies.
The force of some of Edward Atkinson's
arguments is broken by a wrong view of
rent. Another of his arguments is that
land now pays about one-fifth of all taxes,
and that five times the amount it now
pays would exceed the total rent. This
argument must remain unsubstantiated
because we have no statistics of economic
rent. Roscher inquires "Why tax the
farmer and not the manufacturer." But
the manufacturer, when he buys the pro-



164



SEMINARY NOTES.



ducts of the farm helps pay the tax.
The really valid arguments against the
single tax are those based on its imprac-
ticability; and even these are often con-
tradicted. Australia has a large party,
out of power at present, in favor of the
single tax. Its platform would require
immediate cessation of the sale of public
lands, and the repurchase of lands already
sold. Even if the scheme were to succeed
in Australia, the conditions of society as
a whole are such as greatly to limit its
possibilities. Its advocates claim that the
single tax fulfils the conditions of a good
system as laid down by the best Political
Economists; but there are too many ob-
stacles in its way. No large country could
make the necessary classifications. Eco-
nomic rent could not be accurately de-
termined if a piece of land were never
used for more than one purpose; and the
problem would be utterly incapable of
solution if land were used for more than
one purpose, or changed from one use to
another.

All monopolies would have to be owned
by the state or the single tax would benefit
and. foster them. The whole question
resolves itself into one between socialism
and individualism, although the advocates
of the single tax protest that they are not
socialists. Socialistic aims can be real-
ized only by slow individual growth, by
the yielding of selfishness to benevolence.

In the discussion which followed, a
number of points presented by the paper
were gone over and emphasized.

So much time was consumed by the
paper and discussion, that Mr. Stuart's
paper on the "Fallacies of the Single
Tax," was reserved for another occasion.
The Seminary then adjourned.

Thornton Cooke, Reporter.

Prk-historic Topics.



aCPHE Seminary met in regular sessi(
^§ March 11. Papers on pre-histor



session
)ric
topics were read by students.

The first paper was on "Plato's Lost
x\tlantis," by R. D. O'Leary. Of the



stories told to deprive Columbus of his
place as discoverer of America, none is
stranger than that told by Plato of a vast
land in the Atlantic ocean. Plato's story
is as follows: Solon, a great law-giver of
x\thens, traveling in Egypt, met an old
priest who told him that eight or nine
thousand years ago, a great war raged
between the Greeks and the inhabitants
of a large island in the Atlantic west of
the column of Heracles. This island was
larger than Asia and Libya together. It
was called Atlantis. It had a strong
government and was successful over its
enemies, but the whole island was sunk
beneath the waves in a single day and
night by an earthquake, accompanied by
a flood.

Whether Plato intended this as history
or fiction will probably always remain
unknown. The frequent mention by the
classics of the land in the ocean west of
Europe and Africa is an argument in
favor of this story. Crantor, B. C. 300,
said the Egyptian priest declared inscrip-
tions of the destruction of Atlantis had
been found on Egyptian pillars. Plutarch
and Herodotus speak of islands in the
Atlantic as known facts. Another and
stronger proof of the truth of the Atlantis
theory is the nature of the Atlantic sea
bottom. It has a high ridge running
north and south.

In reply to these arguments, the classics
probably took Plato's narrative as their
basis. They believed Plato wrote history
not fiction? The many questions that
must arise about this theory will perhaps
forever baffle the patience and learning of
historian, archaeologist, and critic.

W. D. Ross next read a paper on
"The Mound Builders — Who were they?"
America, though the youngest among
nations, goes far back of the oldest na-
tions in geological structure.

The magnitude and skill displayed in
the erection of the mounds together with
their great perfection in form, show
thai, they are not the work of the Indians.
The erection of these mounds must have



SEMINAR Y NO TES.



165



required industry, organization, a vast
population, and a settled mode of life,
which the Indians did not possess. Nor
is it believed the Indians ever preferred
the raising of beans and corn to hunting -
and fishing. The inherent laziness of the
red man shows that the mounds are not
products of his toil.

In conclusion we may say with Dr.
Wilson that the mounds are structures
erected to perpetuate the memory of the
honored dead in ages utterly forgotten,
and by a race of which they preserve
almost the sole remaining vestiges.

J. D. Wine then read a paper on the
other side of the question, "Who were
the Mound Builders?" Since the Indians
were the only known inhabitants of this
country prior to the white settlers it is
natural to presume they built the mounds.

De Soto and De Narvaez reported, after
their explorations, that the Indians lived
in towns surrounded by ditches and walls.
The Indians are known to have built four
kinds of mounds: — fortifications, enclo-
sures, building tumuli and burial mounds.
It is also known that several different
tribes built mounds. There were periods
of peace among the Indians which allowed
dense agricultural populations to collect.
These communities were broken up by
wars and invasions in which the incipient
civilization was lost.

To deny that the Indians were Mound
Builders and accept its alternative is to
■ reject a simple explanation for one that is
far fetched.

The Seminary then adjourned.

Kate Blair, Reporter.

Origin of the Aryans.

■3'T^HE Seminary met in regular session on



Online LibraryKansas. UniversitySeminary notes published by the Seminary of historical and political science → online text (page 27 of 62)