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Vaux, the present head of the Board of Directors, writes Reports in a style most eccentric, and not always intelligible to remote readers; but it is evident that his heart is in the work, and that he belongs to the party who desire the College to be the useful, unambitious institution that Girard wished it to be. His Reports are not written with rose-water. They say something. They confess some failures, as well as vaunt some successes. We would earnestly advise the Directors never to shrink from taking the public into their confidence. The public is wiser and better than any man or any board. A plain statement every year of the real condition of the College, the real difficulties in the way of its organization, would have been far better than the carefully uttered nothings of which the Annual Reports have generally consisted. It was to Philadelphia that Girard left his estate. The honor of Philadelphia is involved in its faithful administration. Philadelphia has a right to know how it is administered.
The President of the College is Major Richard Somers Smith, a graduate of West Point, where he was afterwards a Professor. He has served with distinction in the Army of the Potomac, in which he commanded a brigade. To learn how to be an efficient President of Girard College is itself a labor of years; and Major Smith is only in the second year of his incumbency. The highest hopes are indulged, however, that under his energetic rule, the College will become all that the public ought to expect. He seems to have perceived at once the weak point of the institution.
"I find in the College," he says in one of his monthly reports, "a certain degree of impatience of study, an inertness, a dragging along, an infection of 'young-Americanism,' a disposition to flounder along through duties half done, hurrying to reach - what is never attained an 'easy success'; and I observe that this state of things is confined to the higher departments of study. In the elementary departments there is life; but as soon as the boy has acquired the rudiments of his English or common-school education, he begins to chafe, and to feel that it is time for him to go out, and to make haste to 'finish (!) his studies,' which of course he does without much heart."
"The 'poor white male orphan,' dwelling for eight or ten years in
comfort almost amounting to luxury, waited upon by servants and machinery in nearly all his domestic requirements, unused to labor, or laboring only occasionally, with some reward in view in the form of extra privileges, finds it hard to descend from his fancied elevation to the lot of a simple apprentice; and his disappointment is not soothed by the discovery that with all his learning he has not learned wherewithal to give ready satisfaction to his master."
It has been difficult, also, to induce the large manufacturers to take apprentices; they are now accustomed to place boys at once upon the footing of men, paying them such wages as they are worth. Men who employ forty boys will not generally undertake the responsibilities involved in receiving them as bound apprentices for a term of years.
To remedy all these evils, Major Smith proposes to add to the College a Manual Labor Department, in which the elder boys shall acquire the rudiments of the arts and trades to which they are destined. This will alleviate the tedium of the College routine, assist the physical development of the boys, and send them forth prepared to render more desirable help to their employers. The present Board of Directors favor the
In one particular the College has fulfilled the wishes of its founder. He said in his will, "I desire that by every proper means a pure attachment to our republican institutions, and to the sacred rights of conscience, as guaranteed by our happy Constitution, shall be formed and fostered in the minds of the scholars." Three fourths of the whole number of young men, out of their time, who were apprenticed from Girard College, have joined the Union army. We must confess, also, that a considerable number of its apprentices, not out of their time, have run away for the same purpose. With regard to the exclusion of ecclesiastics, it is agreed on all hands that no evil has resulted from that singular injunction of the will. On the contrary, it has served to call particular attention to the religious instruction of the pupils. The only effect of the clause is, that the morning prayers and the Sunday services are conducted by gentlemen who have not undergone the ceremony of ordination.
The income of the Girard estate is now about two hundred
thousand dollars a year, and it is increasing. year, and it is increasing. Supposing that only one half of this revenue is appropriated to the College, it is still, we believe, the largest endowment in the country for an educational purpose. The means of the College are therefore ample. To make those means effective in the highest degree, some mode must be devised by which the politics of the city shall cease to influence the choice of Directors. In other words, "Girard College must be taken out of politics." The Board of Directors should, perhaps, be a more permanent body than it now is. At the earliest possible moment a scheme of instruction should be agreed upon, which should remain unchanged, in its leading features, long enough for it to be judged by its results. The President must be clothed with ample powers, and held responsible, not for methods, but results. He must be allowed, at least, to nominate all his assistants, and to recommend the removal of any for reasons given; and both his nominations and his recommendations of removal, so long as the Directors desire to retain his services, should be ratified by them. He must be made to feel strong in his place; otherwise, he will be tempted to waste his strength upon the management of committees, and general whitewashing. Human nature is so constituted, that a gentleman with a large family will not willingly give up an income of three thousand dollars a year, with lodging in a marble palace. If he is a strong man and an honorable, he will do it, rather than fill a post the duties of which an ignorant or officious committee prevent his discharging. If he is a weak or dishonest man, he will cringe to that committee, and expend all his ingenuity in making the College show well on public days. It might even be well, in order to strengthen the President, to give him the right of appeal to the Mayor and Councils, in case of an irreconcilable difference of opinion between him and the Directors. Everything depends upon the President. Given the right President, with power enough and time enough, and the success of the College is assured. Given a bad President, or a good one hampered by committees, or too dependent upon a board, and the College will be the reproach of Philadelphia.
It is a question with political economists, whether, upon the
whole, such endowments as this are a good or an evil to a community. There is now a considerable party in England, among whom are several clergymen of the Established Church, who think it would be better for England if every endowment were swept away, and thus to each succeeding generation were restored the privilege of supporting all its poor, earing for all its sick, and educating all its young. Dr. Chalmers appears to have been inclined to an opinion like this. It will be long, however, before this question becomes vital in America. Girard College must continue for generations to weigh heavily on Philadelphia, or to lighten its burdens. The conduct of those who have charge of it in its infancy will go far to determine whether it shall be an argument for or against the utility of endowments. Meanwhile, we advise gentlemen who have millions to leave behind them not to impose difficult conditions upon the future, which the future may be unable or unwilling to fulfil; but either to bestow their wealth for some object that can be immediately and easily accomplished, or else imitate the conduct of that respectable and public-spirited man who left five pounds towards the discharge of his country's debt.
ART. V.-1. History of the Romans under the Empire. By CHARLES MERIVALE, B. D. From the Fourth London Edition. In Seven Volumes. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1863-64.
2. Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. By WILLIAM FORSYTH. London: John Murray. 2 vols. 1864.
THE great epic poet of the Augustan age, secure in the strength of the newly organized Empire, pictures the shade of Anchises foretelling to his son the greatness of the nation he was about to found. "Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento." Could Virgil have seen the extent and duration of that sway; could he have discerned, looking down the vista of centuries, the destruction of the political fabric which surrounded him, while the ideas on which it was based yet mas
tered the world; could he have known that peoples of diverse origin and language should construct their civilization upon a Roman foundation, and that-even those wild tribes who raged along the Danube and the Rhine, sending a shudder to the heart of the Imperial city, should all be brought in the progress of the ages into subjection to a power which issued from the circle of the seven sacred hills on the banks of the Tiber,
his heart might have swelled with a more exultant pride, and in even loftier strains he might have sung the glories of the mistress of nations.
This destiny was not revealed to the poet's vision; but we of another race, and of a civilization farther from the Roman type than that of the western nations of the European continent, must consider with wonder and admiration the irresistible power of that people, who, after conquering the known world by their arms, possessed a vitality sufficient, even in their overthrow, to project their ideas into the institutions of their conquerors, to work like a leaven, until they had penetrated the whole mass, and by a wonderful chemistry had transformed it into their own likeness.
The extent and importance of the Roman element which has entered into the civilization of modern Europe and of America is hardly to be over-estimated. The languages which are more or less directly derived from the Roman tongue serve to keep alive in the common speech something of the habits of thought of the Roman people; for words, in one sense, are not the mere arbitrary signs of ideas, but ideas once linked to them are perpetuated through the most radical and violent changes, changes that have been able even to sever all outward connection between those who originally wedded the thought and the utterance, and those to whom the united pair have descended. Savigny has shown that many of the municipal institutions left existing throughout Italy and the Western provinces, spared by the barbarians amid the general wreck of the state polity, were the means of preserving during the Middle Ages, and even under the fierce domination of feudalism, a type of organization which dated back to the Empire in its vigor and integrity. But it is chiefly by her jurisprudence, that consummate product of her organizing power, that perfected fruit of her