THE LITTLE RENAISSANCE OF ENGLISH EDUCATION

THE change in outlook was strongly marked in education. The old education in Latin and Greek-very unintelligently taught-which had been originally devised for a few clever boys in the fifteenth century had become the staple education for all boys able to afford a good education (one in fifty, perhaps). Elementary mathematics in schools made a very feeble beginning about the beginning of the century; modern history and modern languages, taught very badly, crept in during the third quarter, and science and geography were finally recognised. At the end of the century, however, clever boys were more often than not still kept on a diet of classics during their whole school and university career, and it appeared to give satisfactory results. It often left them ill-informed of the world, both in its scientific and economic aspects, but it served to select a type of intellect efficient in administration and politics. In other words, a person who could fight his way through a classical education could do anything that depended on the competent use of the arts of reading, writing, and speaking.

The Victorian Age was, on the whole, a time when England began to take an interest in intellectual things, though scholarship and intelligence were never respected as much as they were in France and Germany. Something of the little renaissance which occurred in English education was due to the Prince Consort, an excellent type of the intelligent German, who, but for his early death in 1863, would have made a much deeper impression on English life, and perhaps on the British Constitution, than the Queen after whom the period is named ever did.