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throws light upon his character as a man and as a possible President.
It is now generally understood that the dispute between England and Venezuela had lasted for half a century, and that various Secretaries of State for the United States had addressed the English government on the subject, in one way and another, but always upon the ground that we had an interest in the matter. That is, the intervention of the United States was based upon the Monroe doctrine. Chiefly, this intervention had taken the form of repeated requests to Great Britain to submit the dispute to arbitration. These requests had always been refused, and meantime the boundary line, as the British Foreign Office understood it, was creeping further and further over the disputed territory. In the two years between 1885 and 1887 it advanced so far as to include thirty-three thousand square miles which had not previously been claimed by Great Britain. Such was the situation when Mr. Olney became Secretary of State. He took up the matter with the promptness and thoroughness which have always marked his career as a lawyer. It may be that he misunderstood and misapplied the Monroe doctrine; some of his critics have concluded that he did, and he has fallen in their estimation accordingly. But whether he was historically correct or not has ceased to be a matter of practical importance. The American people, with a few but notable exceptions, have accepted and approved his understand ing of the doctrine. It is the Monroe doctrine now, whether it was so before or not; and it is hardly conceivable that it should ever be repudiated by any future Secretaries of State or Presidents of the republic. That doctrine, so far as it applies to the Venezuelan case, is this: no foreign power shall acquire new territory in South America, without the consent of the United States, either by actual conquest, or by pushing forward its boundary line against the will of the
state whose territory is thus invaded. This practical exposition of the Monroe doctrine will preserve Mr. Olney's name in American history, even if no other act of his shall be remembered.
The terms of his letter to Mr. Bayard, for the information of Lord Salisbury, have been criticised severely. It is said that he might have put the matter more diplomatically, and that a request, instead of a peremptory demand, would have done better. But it must be remembered that the resources of diplomacy had been exhausted by former Secretaries of State without producing the slightest effect. The English are not, like the French (and perhaps like ourselves), unduly sensitive about either giving or taking a hint. The elder Mr. Osborne was a typical Englishman, and there is no dispute about his peculiarities. "When he gave what he called a
hint,'" his biographer relates, “there was no possibility for the most obtuse to mistake his meaning. He called kicking a footman downstairs a hint to the latter to leave his service."
Mr. Olney, in his letter to Mr. Bayard, gave the British government a strong hint, but a hint no stronger than was required. The same critics who condemned the terms of that letter also derided Mr. Olney's proposed commission as being an additional insult to Great Britain. Lord Salisbury, they declared, would ignore it. And yet, as these lines are written, news comes that the case of the British government, prepared by the most competent man in England, and duly illustrated by elaborate maps and diagrams, will be presented at Washington. This, of course, will not be done officially. The book will not be sent by Lord Salisbury, with his compliments; but it will arrive; it will be laid upon the table of the commission, and there will be no doubt as to its authenticity. If the commission, constituted as it is, and having been furnished with all the evidence at the disposal of the British government, should
decide against England, it is reasonably certain that public opinion in England would not sustain Lord Salisbury in maintaining his case by actual war against the United States. It seems, therefore, not premature to conclude that Mr. Olney's diplomacy has succeeded; and it is hardly fair to attribute this success entirely to good luck and "pugnacity." He is a pugnacious man, no doubt; even the carriage of his head suggests that trait in his character. His head does not hang like the head of a dreamy man, nor droop like the head of a scholar; it is lowered, like the head of a bull.
But this pugnacity is held in check by a very cool and logical intellect, by a lawyer's respect for the law, by the conscience of a man who in his whole life has never done a single thing for display. There was nothing rash, or reckless, or unpremeditated in the famous letter to Mr. Bayard; and yet that letter had certain defects which correspond with a defect in Mr. Olney's character considered as a President. It showed a want of tact: there were sentences in it which, without adding to the strength of the Secretary's position, were of such a nature as to wound the pride and provoke the resentment of the person to whom it was addressed. It must be admitted that Mr. Olney is not a politic man. He would not be successful in winning over disaffected persons, in harmonizing differences of opinion, in arranging compromises, in opposing people without offending them. As President, he would probably make many enemies.
Mr. Olney's election would be, in one respect, almost unique. He would be the first President since Washington — with the single exception of Grant - who had not been a politician. He would take office absolutely untrammeled by previous alliances or associations; he would be under obligations to nobody, and he would have nobody to reward or to punish. His want of experience as an ex
ecutive officer (except during the past. few years) is not important. The chief functions of a President are to select men and to choose policies; and nobody has a better knowledge of men, or is more fitted to decide questions of policy, than a naturally acute and well-educated lawyer, who has been trained by many years of hard and responsible labor at the bar. Nor is Mr. Olney merely a lawyer, in the sense that his interests are confined to his office. He is not the kind of man who goes home late, with a green bag full of papers under his arm. Instead, he leaves his office at a seasonable hour, and takes a long walk, or plays tennis, at which he is an adept. He has been seen upon the baseball grounds; and best of all, he has a keen sense of humor. He is not an orator, and as a writer he has no distinction of style; but the justness of his ideas and the cultivation of his mind are shown in the few occasional addresses which he has been obliged to make since he became a member of the Cabinet. As Attorney-General, it was his part to present to the court the resolutions of the bar upon the death of the late Mr. Justice Blatchford, and in the course of his remarks he said :;
"It is not given to every man to be instinct with true genius, to exult in acknowledged intellectual superiority, to be chief among the chiefs of his chosen calling. Such men are rare, and their examples as often provoke despair as excite to emulation. But to every man it is given to make the most of the faculties that he has; to cultivate them with unflagging diligence; to make sure that they deteriorate neither from misuse nor disuse, but continue in ever-growing strength and efficiency, until the inevitable access of years and infirmities bars all further progress. By such means alone, without the aid of any transcendent powers, it is astonishing to what heights men have climbed, what conquests they have made, and what laurels they have won."
No man spends three years at Washington in an official position without some change in his character or habits, either for better or for worse; and this is especially true when the transition to Washington is made from the country or from a provincial city like Boston. For a weak man the experience is apt to be depraving; in some cases it has proved disastrous. But Mr. Olney, in the course of his residence at Washington, has visibly brightened and expanded. He has the air of one who, having suddenly been put in a new and difficult place, yet finds the ground firm under his feet, and himself the master of the situation. We began by saying that he was of that type which is most admired by the typical Democrat, by the great mass of Democratic voters, and we believe that this will appear the more
clearly the more his character becomes known. Notwithstanding his dignity and reserve, in spite of the conventional surroundings of his life and his forty years of office work, the primitive man survives in him. His long association with corporations has bred in him not a trace of the timidity or selfishness of wealth. Though a man of education and refinement, he has never been touched by that academic frost under the blighting influence of which the natural promptings of the heart are so often replaced by the feeble conclusions of the intellect. Mr. Olney has retained what may be called the natural impulses of human nature,
the impulses of love and hatred, the impulse of pity, and the impulse of pugnacity; and it is this naturalness and spontaneity which make his character attractive as well as strong.
TEACHING OF ECONOMICS.
THERE are obvious differences between the students in high schools or academies, studying elementary economics, and the older students engaged in collegiate or university work, in both maturity and general training. Hence, methods of instruction should be fittingly adapted to their differing needs. If I were to begin with the elementary and lead up to the advanced work, assuming that the two were quite alike, it might be said of this treatment as of Bishop Berkeley's Siris (1744), that it began with Tar Water and ended with the Trinity. But as theology and ethics may possibly underlie the virtues of tar water as well as those of the Trinity, it is also possible that we may find a common characteristic running through both the elementary and the advanced work of instruction. At least, it will be at once apparent that the special peculiarities of the subject, what
ever they may be, should shape the methods of teaching, in both its earlier and its later stages.
These distinguishing features of our subject are not difficult to determine. Economics deals not only with psychological, but also with physiological and physical phenomena, that is, with mental operations as well as with bodily and physical facts; and it aims at the discovery and exposition of causes and effects in regard to this subject-matter. Preeminently concerned as it is with every-day life, it demands careful investigation into the accuracy of data, and a keen sense to note their relations to existing science. The field of economics is, fortunately, quite definite, but it includes differing orders of things. It does not deal solely with physical nature, as do the natural sciences; nor solely with ethical or psychic data, as do the moral sciences.
It deals with conclusions taken from both these groups of sciences. Therefore its field is somewhat peculiar, although its im, common to other sciences, is the discovery and verification of a body of principles. This is a point of particular importance to us in discussing methods of teaching.
A science is a body of principles. While principles may abide, the phenomena in which they appear may change. For instance, the hot debates on the inflation of the currency by greenbacks in 1874 may seem to the public quite dissimilar to the rancorous struggle on silver of our day; but the same fundamental monetary principles underlay both discussions. So, as in all science, the first and primary interest of economics is not in its subject-matter, but in the validity and scope of its principles. One realOne real izes instinctively that a mathematician, for example, is less occupied with the whole mass of matter in the world having length, breadth, and thickness, than with the principles which may apply to any and all of this matter. Similarly, economics, when properly understood, is seen to be a body of principles, and not a description at any given moment of mere concrete facts. Any student, therefore, who aims at more than narrow or superficial knowledge should be directed not merely to collate the data in which the principles appear, but to comprehend the principles themselves. (It should be here noted that I am not now discussing in any way the methods of discovering these principles, but only the methods of teaching existing principles.) From this point of view, to teach a science is to teach, first, how to understand and assimilate this body of principles; and then, how, by constant practice, to apply them to every kind of its own subject-matter. This furnishes us our bearings in teaching economics. For the economic student, who has been taught merely the facts of a certain period or subject, and who has not been trained
primarily in using principles to explain these facts, has been given the counterfeit of an education, and not the real thing. If he has been plunged at once into figures and facts before he has received a careful preliminary training in principles, he is cheated by his instructor into a false belief that he is being educated, when he is not. Such a student is like a traveler in the dark, who has a lantern, but, when an emergency arises, finds, to his chagrin, that it contains no light.
Therefore, whether we are speaking of the tar water or of the Trinity of economics, of teaching the elementary or the advanced work, it must be quite clear that the nature of our subject prescribes a common point of view which the instructor should never forget. No matter with what class of students he is dealing, even though he may change his detailed processes of teaching to suit different ages, he cannot overlook the fact that he is teaching a science. is teaching a science. It may seem too simple a matter to enforce this point of view; but it is, and has been, constantly overlooked. So with purpose aforethought, let us emphasize here that it is the fundamental aim of the instructor in economics to give power, and not mere information; to teach how to apply principles to groups of complicated facts; to train students to explain, not merely to collate; in short, to teach them to think, and not merely to know.
No apology, however, need be offered for setting forth so plain a lesson of pedagogics, because the study of economics in this country is relatively young, and its teaching methods have not yet had proper examination. In the beginning, economic instructors adopted the methods they had been familiar with in other fields. The other and older studies, with long-established methods of teaching, naturally handed down their habits and traditions to their younger sister. But we are now breaking away from
these ties, in the process of a natural evolution into better things. An experience of twenty years or more has brought about a better understanding of the nature of economics and of its characteristics, and consequently has given a distinct impetus towards applying appropriate methods of training economic students. In regard to teaching, economics is declaring its independence.
The earlier teacher in economics, as in history and law, generally spoke through a formal textbook. A great dependence on a textbook, however, is a clear indication of that lack of thorough and broad training in the whole subject, on the part of the instructor, which necessarily followed from the meagreness of the opportunities for economic training of a few years ago. Or if the earlier instructor did not rely on a formal textbook, he not infrequently went to another extreme of relying entirely upon lectures, after the German fashion. In first introducing a student to economics, be he young or old, some textbook, as an exposition of principles, is a necessity. That goes without saying; but the textbook, if properly used, should be regarded only as a means of grasping principles, and not as a record of dog
The effect of a hard-and-fast set of lectures may not differ in practice from that of a textbook; the lectures may be only the equivalent of a textbook of which the instructor is the author, and may be subject to the same abuses. They are often more objectionable than a textbook, because not accessible to the student for study in accurate form, and they often degenerate into directions as to what the student should believe. Without getting trained, in such cases, the student takes the facts, the interpretation, and a bias from the lecturer.
Not so much stress, of course, can be put upon teaching how to think, in the elementary as in the advanced work, but this aim must still control the policy of the teacher. While keeping this general
principle in view, more emphasis could be laid upon clear exposition and illustration of elementary principles. For the younger mind, more time could be wisely devoted to instructive and interesting information upon questions of the day. But it is dangerous to carry this too far. These questions of the day often change their shape, and much of the information-teaching soon becomes obsolete; and only that teaching remains which gave a grasp of governing principles persisting in varying forms of actual life. Consequently, elementary textbooks for high schools or academies might be divided into two parts: one devoted to an exposition of the main and undisputed principles of economics, and the other to materials of practical interest to which these principles are to be applied. In this way, the materials of the second part could be modified as the questions of the day come and go.
In collegiate and university work, however, the instructor will find his students older and more mature, and can exact scientific methods with rigor and success. In introductory work with mature students, the necessity of grasping an abstract principle and working out its application in every-day life can be urged at once. Unexpected tests upon practical problems made in writing drive this operation home, and force habits of precision and accuracy. But an increase of numbers in the class-room, which makes these tests every few days impossible, will result in a less seasoned student for advanced work. As soon as the introductory work is passed, it is often assumed as a matter of course that lecturing is the only method of teaching it has a more learned sound, and suggests the great man whose every word is eagerly swallowed by admiring students. Some of the evils of this system, which is common in Germany and elsewhere to-day, are doubtless familiar to all of us. In proportion as the lecturer is learned and gifted with the art of lucid and attractive