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shall deserve is not be inse
view; for while this fact remains, we
hold that no really thorough teaching be is practicable, and for the present we
know of no better models for the di? vision of labor than the gymnasia and
universities of Germany. If we can make improvements on the models, we
shall deserve great credit; but above - all things, let us not be insensible to our :chief imperfections, nor fail to derive
profit from the experience of others.
Another characteristic of the Athe. nian Sophists, and the last which we shall now allude to, was their extreme
servility. “Tell us," said they, “tell T us, ( Athenians, what you want, and
we will give it to you. We can teach everything, and we are ready to teach just what you wish. It lies with you only to signify your pleasure; we are both able and willing to gratify you." This is not far removed from the language of some modern educators. The more carefully it is con
sidered, the more exact will the parallel :: appear. Loud complaints have been
attered among us against those institutions of learning which prescribe rigid
courses of study, and against those E teachers who venture in any case to
urge upon their pupils what they shall learn. It is assumed that the learners
are the best judges of what they need, boys and those who contravene their choice
are opposed to the best interests of education. That is, according to this theory, the youth who have not yet entered on the field of knowledge are better able to decide what valuable treasures it contains than those who have already carefully surveyed it. To support this view, the universities of Germany are referred to. In them, it is said, the utmost freedom of choice exists, and in them also are found the largest number of the best scholars in the world. But it seems to be forgotten that no man can even enter a German university until he has completed a course of study incomparably more rigid than that of
any American college, and more than twice the length of our collegiate course! Well may it be presumed that a man who has done all this is capable henceforth of choosing for himself what studies he will prosecute; for he is already an educated man. But the case of those to whom it is proposed to offer the same option in this country, is totally different. They have not yet acquired the elements of an education. They are often as ignorant of the Latin grammar and of Euclid as they are of Sanscrit or the calculus. They have, peradventure, not even learned the names of those sciences which are embraced in our ordinary course of collegiate study. How different, therefore, is their competence to decide the question, what they want, from that of the student on entering a German university! It might just as reasonably be inferred that because a man is fitted to be thrown upon the world to make shift for himself at twenty-one, he can do the same thing when he is one year old! Freedom of choice is a pleasing idea to an American, but we in most instances suppose some preparation to be requisite for the proper enjoyment of this freedom. It is even unsafe, and may work the greatest mischief, if it is allowed prematurely.
The truth is, educated men, and especially the instructors of our youth — not the youth themselves — are responsible in a great degree for the character of our educational systems. It is their duty to direct and control their pupils, as far as possible, in the choice of their studies; for if competent for their station, they possess superior wisdom in this matter. Without such control on the part of teachers, the education of our youth will necessarily become more and more superficial. Students almost invariably prefer what is easiest. Comparatively few grapple voluntarily with difficult studies, however yaluable and important; while if those studies were · placed directly in their way, so that they
could not honorably avoid them, they would master the difficulty and reap the reward of their achievement.
We must not always ask the people what they want; we must often tell them what they need; and, whether they are pleased or not, we must insist upon what we believe to be the truth.
We may in many ways derive instruction from the example of Socrates and the Sophists: for they lived among a people more nearly resembling our own than any other whose character is im. printed on the pages of history. If we understand our own age and country aright, we shall understand the essential characteristics of the Athenian people in the fourth and fifth centuries before the Christian era. Consequently the examples of individual character which we may find there, are specially adapted to afford instruction and warning to us. Prominent among the char. acters of that period. we find a class of gifted and well-educated men who offered themselves as teachers of the people. Possessing a versatility and tact which have rarely been equalled, they proposed to teach every science and to adopt any method of instruction the people demanded. They were the most will. ing, the most popular, the most accom. plished, and, for aught we know, the most devoted servants of the people whom the world has ever seen. In the same age, there appeared a single man of just the opposite character. He neither asked nor cared what the people wanted, nor what would please the people. He sought their good, not their good-will. With the most provoking rudeness and impertinence, he accosted every man who came in his way, exposing the folly of pride, the shallowness of ignorance, the degradation of vice, and the wickedness of impiety. His reproofs became at length intolerable, and the people, to rid themselves of further annoyance from such a man, finally gave him the
fatal hemlock. And behold! now in : this our day the word Sophist, the name of the former - originally an honorable appellation - has passed into universal contempt; while Socrates, the impertinent, eccentric and once-hated teacher, is spoken of as the wisest and best of the ancient philosophers. It was not his oddities, most certainly, nor his rougbness, nor his utter contempt for the opinions of others (the mere accidents of his character), that entitle him to this proud distinction; nor was it alone his most extraordinary powers of discernment; but, added to these, it was his earnest, passionate love of truth bis determination, regardless of all consequences, to pursue and to teach the truth, whether it happened to be popular or not, whether men wanted it or not. This line of conduct ultimately wins golden opinions from all virtuous communities, and, what is quite as much to be desired, wins the approval of a good conscience in the sight of God and of men.
The above hasty comparison which we have attempted to draw between the Sophists of Athens and certain types of character now existing in our own coun. try, might be carried much further and made more particular. Our aim has been merely to sketch a few outlines, to point out a few tendencies in our educational movements, which we believe to be in the wrong direction. It is evidently the duty of all scholars in our country, while they seek as much as possible to diffuse education and render it popular, to aim also at more perfect scholarship and higher attainments in learning. Whatever facile and superficial acquisitions may be offered as a substitute for solid learning, should be rejected ; and whatever systems of education are likely to depress the standard of scholarship among us, should be calmly but firmly opposed. It is well to render education as cheap as possi. ble, so as to place it within the reach of
all; but it is not well to render it, like many other cheap articles, compara. tively worthless. Let its quality on no account be deteriorated. Let it be cheap and good. It were well if it could not only be rendered cheap, but even gra
tuitous. We should be glad if it could be given to all, without money and without price; but, like the brightness of the sun, or the rain from heaven, let it always be, for the poor as well as for the rich, the very best.
NEVADA AND THE SILVER MINES.
BY A. G. BRACKETT.
THE State of Nevada was formerly a 1 portion of the Territory of Utah, and was admitted into the Union on the 31st of October, 1864. As a whole, it may be said to be a vast, mountainous, rocky desert, though along the water courses there are some fine valleys, and on the sage-brush plains many good farms have been opened. The mountain chains run in the direction from north to south, and their rocky sides, with wide-stretching arid plains at their feet, present a picture at once rugged and forbidding. There is a great scarcity of timber, though along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada range there are some good pine forests, and cottonwood trees are found near the courses of the Carson, Humboldt and Walker rivers, but not in great numbers. There are other places in the State where small groves of cottonwoods may be seen. On the Truckee river, which empties into Pyramid lake, some good farms have been opened, and to a person coming down from the northern portion of the State, where all is desolate and dreary, they present a charming appearance. There are three other streams in the upper part, called the Owyhee, Kings and Quins rivers. Pyr. amid lake is the largest body of water in the State, being about thirty miles long, and from ten to twelve miles wide. Winnemucca lake is near it, and parallel to it, being about the same length, though not more than four miles in
width. Lake Tahoe, or Bigler, is on the summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains, partly in Nevada and partly in California, and is a beautiful sheet of water. The waters of Pyramid and Winnemucca lakes are brackish and unfit to drink. Besides these lakes, there are Walker lake, Humboldt lake and Carson lake. The former is a fine sheet of water, but the two latter are little better than swamps, and are sometimes called "sinks." Above Pyramid lake is the Black Rock desert, or Valley of the Mud lakes, which is over sixty miles long, and from ten to twelve in width, and is as perfect a desert as there is on earth. It is as level as a house floor, and upon its whole surface there is neither a spear of grass nor a shrub of any kind. It makes an excellent road during the summer months, but in spring time is covered with water. Hot springs may be found in every portion of the State, bubbling up and puffing away in fine style, and some of them near Virginia City, on account of their puffing propensities, have obtained for themselves the name of the Steamboat Springs. The waters of many of the springs are strongly impregnated with alkali, so as to render them unfit for use; and in some places the bones of oxen may be seen, which have been killed by drinking too much of this kind of water. In the Truckee and Carson rivers the Indians catch salmon trout, and in many streams in the mountains
fine brook trout are taken in the proper sides of the mountain, with cross streets season.
running down the steep slope. Here is Many of the people say that the a busy scene, as everybody seems to name of the State ought to have been have something to do and is making Washoe instead of Nevada, and now haste to do it. Here, too, are monster there is an effort being made to change quartz mills, grinding and crushing ore, it. The first mines were known as the and causing a din which is almost deafWashoe mines, so called from a small ening. They are generally located in tribe of Indians who resided in the the outskirts of the town, and are survicinity; and the people claim that this rounded by teams hauling wood and would have been far more appropriate ore, and other articles which are needed. than the Spanish word Nevada (snowy), The Gould & Curry mill is in the sixderived from the mountain ridge. Be- mile canon, two miles from town, and sides this, there is a large county in Cal- this mill is said to have cost over a milifornia of that name, and a mining city, lion of dollars. It is complete in all its and this gives rise to endless trouble details, handsomely finished, and, by all with regard to mail matter, localities odds, the finest mill in Nevada. I may and so forth. The people of the Pacific go further, and say truly, that it is the slope seem to have a limited nomencla finest silver mill in America, or perhaps ture, and Virginia Cities, Nevadas, Ruby in the world. It is one of the lions of Cities, Gold Hills and Silver Cities are Nevada, and a visit to the State is inrepeated ad nauseam.
complete without having visited it. The number of inhabitants is a very There are several other excellent mills difficult matter to decide upon, the popu. about the city, and the road from Virlation being, for the most part, a purelyginia City, through Gold Hill and Silver mining one, and constantly shifting from City, appears to be lined with them. place to place. Virginia City is the There are also mills at Dayton and at largest town, and is built high up on the Washoe City. The use of the word "city" side of Mount Davidson, overlooking a in this country must be understood in great many mountain peaks and the the American sense, and need not there. valley of Carson river. This town is fore convey to the mind an extensive built over the famous Comstock silver collection of houses and people. One lead, and underneath the ground is day I heard a new arrival inquire of an completely honey.combed with mines of old miner how large a place Silver City vast extent and wonderful richness. It was. He said it was about as large as is this town which gives the chief im. New York City, but was not built up yet. portance to the State, and it is really a So it is with others; they are all large, miracle of American enterprise and in- but as yet are not built up. The towns dustry. Far away from the seaboard, of Gold Hill and Silver City are merely with no good farming land near, and an extension, down a canon, of Virginia little timber of any kind ; built upon the City, and it is difficult for a stranger to side of a mountain of solid rock, this tell where one ends and another begins. city of ten thousand inhabitants, more Quartz mills, dust, tunnels, and piles on or less, has sprung up, and in it are piles of rock which have been taken from some edifices which would be creditable the mines, one meets in every direction; in any country. There are some fine and these mills are literally eating up three-story brick buildings, and many the bowels of the earth. I venture to stores and shops which present a neat say that no more enterprising and thrifty appearance, besides being well filled. community exists anywhere than this The streets are built partly round the of Virginia City, and withal they are
frank, kind and generous, and greet a person with a whole-souledness which is refreshing.
They are the Titans of the Western world, and such a thing as pauperism is unknown amongst them. Here we find the inevitable Yankee, the stalwart Western man, representatives from all of the South American republics, Jews, Pi-Ute Indians, Chinamen, and a respectable sprinkling of the Teutonic race, who make the lager beer and cul. tivate cabbage-patches in the gorges of the mountains. The wood for the mills is hauled a long distance in wagons, and that for family use is brought in on the backs of donkeys by Chinamen, who know what they are about, and sell as much wood as a man can carry in both arms for a dollar and a half or two dol. lars in silver The State is intensely patriotic, and breathes Union always. The people have great respect for greenbacks, but, when you come to pay them for anything, they prefer silver. The
fact is, you can purchase nothing without E paying coin, and then at a most exorbitant price.
Austin is a town in the Reese River country, where they have good mines, and a population of about three thousand. Here, also, they have some excellent mills, and dig out a large amount of silver ore. It is thought by some that the mines are richer than those about Virginia City, but they are not Dear so extensive, nor do they pay as well; they are farther from market; everything there is much dearer, and the country does not appear to be in as prosperous & condition as its admirers could wish. Besides Austin, there are several settlements in that vicinity. Austin is the principal town in the eastern portion of the State, and is the largest place between Virginia City and Salt Lake City, in Utah, and is located on the old overland mail road.
The Humboldt mines, in Humboldt county, were at one time very much
thought of, and in the year 1864 a great many people gathered in their vicinity, and several towns and villages sprang up at once. The mines are still worked, though not with great success, the ledges being rich but narrow, and fuel scarce. Unionville, the county seat, has about two hundred inhabitants.
Carson City, the capital of the State, is situated in Carson Valley, in a comparatively fertile portion of the State. It contains a thousand or fifteen hundred inhabitants, and is in quite a flourishing condition; it contains some handsome dwellings, and a branch mint or assay office belonging to the government. As yet, there is no State House or Capitol worth mentioning. A few miles away is the Penitentiary or State Prison. About sixteen miles from here is Washoe City, a small town, where there are sev. eral quartz mills. The Carson Valley, next after the Truckee Valley, is the richest in the State, in an agricultural point of view; but where everybody is engaged in mining, agriculture is a secondary affair. Still, hay and grain must be raised to support the horses, mules and oxen which are employed about the mills, and vegetables must be raised for the use of the miners. In the bleak and barren mining regions, anything green looks beautiful, even though it be a bunch of stunted grease wood.
During the summer of 1866, the Governor and a party visited the southeastern portion of the State to see the Pabranagat mines, which are said to be remarkably rich and worthy of further exploration. But by far the richest mines which have been discovered, so far as can be judged from present appearances, are those of White Pine. The mines in this region were first noticed in 1864, though nothing was done to develop them, and prospectors continued their search through 265, '66 and '67, until the autumn of 1868, when such astounding discoveries were made as