The reader who has been kind enough to follow us so far in our peregrinations through the wonders of the foreign section, has seen with what care we have, in each country we have passed through, noted the degree to which public education has risen.
We have had cause to give many commendations, especially to Russia for its pedagogical museum which, by centralising the method of teaching and by constantly seeking, after a progress has been found and put into practice, another progress to be achieved theoretically and practically, realises, in our view at least, the last word of the eager and methodical, ardent and thoughtful initiative.
We have also praised England, which, in the matter of school furniture, seemed to us to be ahead of all other nations, even Belgium; indeed, its school furniture reveals, in our opinion, a better understanding of the child's needs from the point of view of hygiene and comfort.
We shall now place before the eyes of the reader the Exhibition of Teaching France.
Before going into the details of this Exhibition, we shall be grateful to note here, so that it may be remembered, the efforts which France has been making for some years to develop her education at all levels and the successes already achieved in this great and peaceful struggle of light against ignorance, of progress against routine.
Primary education, which is undoubtedly the most interesting of all, since it applies to the greatest number of people, appeared in the 1874 budget for a sum of 4,739,916 francs.
In the budget for 1879, it will appear for the sum of 5,382,916 francs; that is an increase of nearly five hundred thousand francs.
Everything is being done to make education as free as possible; this is not enough, and it is going to become compulsory in France as it is in so many foreign countries.
On all sides, through the initiative of the government or of individuals, useful institutions are being founded with the aim of spreading education.
In Paris, the city has just created and is going to open three so-called half-time schools, for the instruction of children aged 10 to 12, employed in workshops and who, according to the law of 10 May 1874, must receive primary education during their free time at work.
For the category of apprentices aged between 12 and 15 years, says the newspaper La France, from which we borrow these details, the law does not allow them to work more than six hours a day, as long as they have not proved, by producing a certificate, that they have received sufficient primary education. At first it was thought that these children could also be accommodated in half-time schools with apprentices aged 10 to 12, but in practice this would have been a cause of complications. The working hours are not the same, the degrees or conditions of ignorance vary. Age differences are no less essential to consider when it comes to a work of moralisation. Moreover, the law of 15 March 1850, by assimilating 13-year-old apprentices to adults, made it possible to provide for this difficulty in Paris, since the City offers adult classes every evening in all schools, to all those who want to attend them.
We have therefore regularly organised, since last year, the admission of apprentices to these evening classes. The results of this organisation have been excellent. Out of 10,688 adults, men and women, who attended these courses last winter, there were 6,191 apprentices. The elementary course, of course, had the largest number of students in the first year; however, the middle and upper courses had 2,572 students.
The examination which took place in June gave very favourable results, so that a large number of these pupils were able to produce the certificate required by law to be admitted to work more than six hours a day.
With regard to mixed schools - schools where children of both sexes are taught together - the Free Education Congress held at the Trocadero expressed a favourable opinion on their development.
The mixed school is indispensable in most small localities; there is a place which is too small to have a school, and where the parents are obliged to send their children two kilometres to the neighbouring hamlet; this hamlet itself had great difficulty in having a school built; now that it is built, it has great difficulty in supporting it.
If two schools were imposed on it, one for girls, the other for boys, either it would close its school, and goodbye to education! or it would assign the school exclusively to one of the two sexes and the other would be condemned to ignorance.
M. Louis Liévin has rightly said:
"The mixed school, by the very fact that it is mixed, raises mixed questions which are both questions of practice and questions of morality. The question is whether co-education is easy to practise and, moreover, whether it does not entail any untoward consequences for public morality. If so, then the difficulty would be resolved, and the higher interest of morality would have to take precedence over all other considerations of convenience or economy. But, if not, the solution should be in favour of mixed schools, for, from the point of view of utility and economy, there is no demonstration to be tried. It is obvious that it will be more economical to build one school than two, and that one school equipment serving two will cost less than two separate school equipment. There will be no less obvious benefit in maintaining one teacher instead of two.
"The only question mark that remains, then, is whether joint instruction, whether the co-education of the two sexes, is a system contrary to the present and future moralization of children brought up under it."
Mixed schools operate successfully in the United States, and M. Buisson, who made the official report on primary education in Philadelphia, seems to us to have removed all doubts and all anxieties as to the question of morality when he said of the pupils in mixed schools: "Accustomed to living side by side, they are no more in danger than brothers and sisters in the family. The less one affects to separate them, to hide them from each other, the less mysteries and anxious curiosities there are. As children, they are not surprised to have work and play in common; as adolescents, they continue to be together without surprise or disturbance: this amiable and innocent trade, not being new to them, does not arouse any new emotions in them.
M. Louis Daunat, in his pamphlet on California, formulates a similar opinion: "Teachers in general agree to say," writes the author of this study, which we will soon examine in greater detail, "that boys and girls brought up side by side consider themselves as brothers and sisters: that this result is in conformity with the instincts of man, in whom desires are born less from the facilities given than from the obstacles opposed to their satisfaction.
Mixed schools should therefore be regarded as a powerful means of spreading education and their development should be vigorously pursued.
Let us conclude this general overview with a final detail: for some time now, schools have been instituted on board government ships in imitation of the regimental schools, and the number of illiterate sailors is decreasing day by day.
THE SCHOOL SITUATION.
By the school situation we mean the number of establishments of all classes which teach and the number of children who receive education at all levels.
We will quickly draw up a table:
Public boys' schools ................. 20,629 pupils
- Girls' schools.................... 9,024
- hamlet schools.................... 13,212
Free schools in lieu of public schools for
boys' schools............................. 38
- for girls....................... 205
Free schools for boys...................... 1,437
- girls' schools...................... 4,236
- mixed.......................... 327
Public boys' schools ................... 2,126
- Girls' schools..... ................ 9,667
- mixed.......................... 987
- of hamlets...................... 288
Free schools in lieu of public schools for
boys' schools............................. 58
- of girls..,................... 1,464
- mixed........................... 59
Boys' free schools........................ C12
- for girls..................... 4,476
- mixed.......................... 231
The number of pupils receiving instruction in the various schools breaks down as follows
Secular public schools...... 1,826,241 boys 829,672 girls
Secular free schools............ 96,838 191,958
Total..... 2,938,709 pupils.
Congregational public schools. 436,958 957,082
Congregational free schools.... 90,646 330,333
Total..... 1,871,019 pupils.
Municipal high schools and colleges............. 71,650 students
Higher education includes seven faculties of theology, eleven faculties of law, fifteen faculties of literature, fifteen faculties of science, three faculties of medicine, three colleges of pharmacy, twenty preparatory colleges of medicine and pharmacy.
The institutions of higher learning are: the Collège de France, the Museum of Natural History and the Conservatoire des arts et métiers.
To this list, the reader should add the nomenclature, too long to be included here, of the special state schools, such as Saint-Cyr, the Ecole normale, etc.
THE SMALL COLLEGES.
We shall not end this general overview without mentioning a very happy innovation which, we have no doubt, will become widespread.
The isolation of these young children makes it possible to give them care appropriate to their age, and to use a special indulgence towards them which the necessities of discipline would prohibit if they lived in common with their older companions.
THE EXHIBITION OF THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
The part reserved for the Ministry of Public Education exhibition in 1867 was quite small. When the visitor had passed the portico, of fairly good order, where the words "In the land of universal suffrage, every citizen must know how to read and write" were written, he found only a rather small number of pupils' works, documents relating to education, drawings of government schools, geographical devices, models and reproductions of school equipment. The largest area was given over to some specimens of the scientific missions, which were then, under the impetus of M. Duruy, taking on new life. A Mexican portico, built to the plans of M. Léon Méhesdin, various instruments of the Buddhist cult, among which a "prayer wheel" attracted most of the attention; a few trophies, albums of photographs, and that was all. Free education, especially Congregational education, was more widely represented than that of the State: the contributions of the Brothers' schools occupied a whole side of the space reserved for classes 89 and 90; religious subjects dominated: the statue of the Abbé de La Salle, rising from the threshold of the portico, was not matched by that of a teacher from the University.
This year, the exhibition of the ministry itself, conceived in a truly liberal spirit, occupies three large rooms. It offers a very complete view of the work undertaken and the progress made since 1867, which it summarises with remarkable order, method and clarity.
The circular to the rectors of 18 December 1877, which was one of M. Bardoux's first acts, contained this appeal: "Surrounded as we are by emulators and rivals, let us endeavour to make the University's generous efforts visible to all. The Exhibition will provide us with the means of showing our detractors the purity of the doctrines professed by our teaching staff, together with the solid merit and the immense variety of their work..." This passage has been the watchword of the present exhibition, and it has been faithfully followed. This heap of books and things, the result of a prodigious and incessant movement of ideas, constitutes a whole whose importance will escape only the discerning mind. This simple statement, testifying through its works to what it is, what it produces, what it thinks, was the best, the most worthy response that the National University could make to the clerical University.
The general public, those who can only see with their eyes and who only have time to wander through the galleries of the Champ de Mars, will first stop at the products of the scientific missions, which are accumulated in the first room. The provisional ethnographic museum, the idea of which alone is proof of the development of these studies and of the interest that the public is beginning to take in them, has singularly aroused the public's taste for these curious collections, acquired, most of the time, at the price of unheard-of dangers and fatigue. The name of the missionaries has gone beyond the circle of the learned world, and all those who followed the conferences of January and February do the justice they deserve to our courageous French travellers, some of whom, like M. Wiener, had to make more than one shot to gain control of a coveted object. The history of scientific missions, disseminated in reports and articles, is a popular book to be made, - the golden book of science. And what a book! What a subject of varied pictures and dazzling descriptions as that which, from the depths of unknown India, with its marvels of colour, its displays of pomp, the outward signs of dreadful myths, its riches of architecture, its square pagodas, its statues with diamond eyes as big as eggs, would transport us to the midst of Central Asia, scarcely open to Europeans and reluctantly revealing to them the splendours of its palaces, harems and bazaars; who, taking us across the Atlantic, would lead us into the heart of South America, finding for us the remains of a vanished world, raising the fallen idols, forcing the ruins to reveal to us the secrets of the grandiose era they attest to, and, leaving this cradle of collapsed civilizations, would boldly lead us back to the heart of Central Africa, to those boundless lands, with no history other than the perpetual flow of the migrations of their restless races.
In the Ministry's exhibition, the objects brought back by Mr. Charles Wiener and his reproductions hold one of the first ranks of importance. Somewhere, in pages as moving as the most interesting novel, he has given an account of his mission to the heart of Peru and Bolivia, accomplished in the midst of all imaginable difficulties and obstacles. Having to fight against the hostility of the Indians, the irritations of a burning climate, and against nature itself, he managed to bring back to Europe more than 4,000 curious pieces, but at the price of what fatigue! Was it not he who, in order to seize two mummies, placed in small caves dug into the side of enormous schistose rocks, had to get down on horseback on a stick perpendicular to the rope held by his guides! Cunning, patience, courage, he had to deploy all the energy of Cooper's adventures to carry out his mission: he did science with a rifle in his fist. The Monumental Gate reproduced under his direction, as well as the Peruvian Monolithic Fountain, are remarkable works that do him the greatest honour.
It is also in South and Central America that Mr. Pinart and Mr. de Cessac asked for the priceless collection of terracotta, agates, onyx, and crystals that they exhibit, and among which we note a rock crystal skull of marvelous purity. Mr. Pinart's travels have also been more than accidental. He was one of the first Europeans to penetrate the territory of the Apaches, on the contours of southern Arizona, whose inhabitants retain with terror the memory of the great chief Cachise. It requires uncommon fortitude to advance into these fearful regions when, on their frontiers, one has read, as M. Pinart relates in his report, inscriptions thus conceived, written on hundreds of graves: Un tel, captured and tortured to death by Apaches, or: Unknown, killed by Apaches. But all has been said about these devotions of our scholars, and praise is here superfluous. The most curious objects due to the research of Messrs Pinartet de Cessac come from Mexico and Peru.
The name of Commandant Roudaire is too popular for it to be useful to insist on his shipments. His gigantic plan in relief of the Algerian chotts is a real marvel.
Khmer art was the subject, during the time the Ethnographic Museum was open, of interesting lectures by Lieutenant Delaporte. A reduction of a monumental Khmer doorway, which was executed in collaboration with Mr. Emile Soldi, statues of the Khmer people, is on display at the Exhibition. M. Emile Soldi, statuary.
The current geographical trend is mainly towards central Asia and Africa. The objects sent by Messrs. Ujfalvy, who explored Russian Turkestan, and Marche, who travelled the entire Ogoued basin, are, so to speak, of current interest, an interest that has been doubled by the gravity of the events in the East and the complications that were at stake. The maps of Central Asia are recent; the regions which make it up have long been traced only in vague delineations: at the beginning of the nineteenth century, information on them was available only from Arab geographers. Messrs Burnaby, Mac-Aghan, Mayef, Abramoff, Lusilin and Venukoff were the first travellers to establish their boundaries and configuration in a certain way. Mr. Ujfalvy's shipments show that France is working hand in hand with the English, Russians and Americans in the exploration of the Central Asian plateaus. Let us note, in passing, that Mr. Mac-Aghan, less well known than Mr. Stanley, is also an editor of the New-York Herald. His book, A Campayne on the Oxus, in which he has summarised his researches and discoveries, deserves a place of honour beside his illustrious collaborator.
M. Marche's plans and maps are also of powerful interest and nobly maintain France's share in African discoveries. How could curiosity not be aroused to the highest degree for this world which is being forced out little by little, which is being revealed under the footsteps of the pioneers, and of which every piece of land is a glorious conquest for civilisation? In ten years, what progress has been made! Ten years ago, many educated Egyptians, those who had penetrated far into the land, still firmly believed in the tradition which relates that beyond the mouths of the Soubat, in the region of Bahr-el-Abiad, there existed, among other giant animals, monstrous flies, "as big as horses. This detail gives the measure of the ignorance and uncertainty that prevailed at the time. Who would believe today, not among Europeans, but among Egyptians, the very ones who did not follow Colonel Chaillé-Long on his expeditions to Lake Victoria-Nyanza and Makraka Niam-Niam, in similar tales?
The consignments of Mr. Édouard André (natural history collection), of Dr. Crevaux (products of Guyana), of Mr. Carlo Lansberg (Phoenician glasses), the objects of the prehistoric age of Mr. Rivière, who is not angry about his nickname of prehistoric man of Menton, a nickname which recalls one of his most beautiful discoveries, would deserve a special study. What can we say also about the exhibition of Dr. Harmand, who visited the curious regions of Cambodia and Laos, kingdoms whose foundation is, according to sacred tradition, attributed to Prea-En, king of the Angels, who left his sword, sparkling like a diamond, in the temple raised in his honour? M. Harmand is the worthy continuation of the work begun by Mouhot in 1860 and by M. de Lagrée in 1860, those scholars who were the first to give an accurate account of the marvels of the temple of Angcor, a gigantic edifice with square columns, jade staircases, towers sculpted to the light, and colossal statues,
symbols of the mysteries of the Buddhist cult, a prestigious remnant of an era of incomparable grandeur.
We must also mention the objects discovered by M. de Sainte-Marie in Carthage, his reproduction of a Phoenician door copied on the drawings of one of the stones of the wall that he had the good fortune to find, and which, nearly one kilometre long, offered a different drawing on each of its stones. The exhibition of Mr. de Sainte-Marie, currently on mission in Ragusa, was organised by Mr. Ph. Berger, librarian of the Institute. It is known that all these objects were on board the Magenta and that they had to be salvaged after the disaster that destroyed this ship.
This is the overall ethnographic exhibition of the Ministry, the initiative of which was taken by M. de Watteville, Director of Science and Letters, and M. X. Charmes, head of the Minister's office and of the Exhibition department. It is completed by the invaluable collection of archives of the scientific missions.
By their very nature, works of the mind, the superior source of practical discoveries, escape the appreciation of the eye. But if it is impossible to include in an Exhibition the works of the university body, if it is impossible to show to all the value of certain researches, the intellectual progress which is manifested in this or that method, the merits of thought and style of an original thesis, one can at least show the number, the variety and the sequence.
This is the truly new idea which inspired the Ministry's appeal to all teachers asking for the works published by them from 1867 to 1878, and which makes it possible to present the country's work, composed of the alternating efforts of speculative thought and practical realisation, in its two aspects. In this way the difficulty of showing in a complete way the products of the mind is in some way overcome.
The library thus formed, which comprises no less than 8,000 volumes, thus offers an infinite variety. Alongside the works of historians, mathematicians and chemists, there are literary, poetic and purely imaginative works. The modest pamphlet, the grammar book or the most elementary treatise on arithmetic by a schoolteacher have their place there, as do the most elevated works by professors of higher education or members of the Institute. It is therefore easy to understand the importance of the Catalogue, which is no longer a simple guide to this vast collection, but a work of special bibliography, an overview, a summary of the work of the teaching profession. It was drawn up by Mr Lorédan Larchey, librarian of the Arsenal.
In the same room, the literate public had at its disposal, in the morning, the rich collection of unpublished documents, the Revue des Sociétés savantes, the main works to which the ministry had subscribed, and the catalogues of provincial libraries. The whole of learned France, the whole of France which educates, is thus there, in this little corner of the Exhibition where the indifferent pass by without stopping; and from these shelves where these books are crowded, which, to varying degrees and in different languages, teach everything that is true, just and useful, emerges the common thought which makes up the strength of this consortium magistrorum, of this great family of the University, whose work is one of the noblest expressions of the national activity.
The exhibition of precision instruments, apparatus and machines invented by the professors, which are the natural counterpart of the exhibition of their works, offered a certain difficulty in classification. It was not possible, in fact, to divert them from the classes in which their application in science or industry logically placed them, and it was necessary, however, that they be attached to the consignments of the members of the University. The skilful administration which presided over the ministry's exhibition reconciled all interests by including these instruments in the catalogue of public instruction, which then refers to the classes to which they belong. In this way, the learned inventors do not cease to be part of the ministry, without being deprived by this fact of the rewards to which they may be entitled in other groups. In rooms 6, 7 and 8 only the instruments made for scientific demonstrations or intended to make the notions of primary education more easily penetrate the minds of children have been kept; we note the solar heat instruments of M. Mouchot, the polarising mirrors of M. Descloizeaux, the mouldings of M. Talrich, the counting abacuses, the spheres of M. Grévin, etc. Most of these objects were first shown in regional exhibitions organised in each rectorate.
We must pass quickly over the work of the students, which includes nearly one hundred thousand notebooks and drawings. We must mention the Ecole des arts décoratifs de la rue de l'École-de-Médecine, those of Lyon and Dijon, and the Ecole de sculpture de Nancy, whose shipments show the flourishing situation of these establishments.
We are anxious to arrive at a most interesting exhibition, which will bear definite fruit by serving to propagate more than ever an excellent idea, that of school museums. For some time now, this idea has been, as they say, "in the air," and a few attempts had already been made. In several stations of the Midi, in fact, there is a sort of permanent exhibition of local productions and curiosities; in Calvados, a lawyer from Lisieux who has done much for education, M. Groult, has even created, in the form of a museum, an exhibition of local products. Groult, who has done much for education, has even created, under the name of Musées cantonaux, a number of such collections, in which he brings together the particular products of the soil, specimens of the principal terrains of the region, and photographs of the curiosities of the country; but these were only isolated attempts, the first trials and tribulations of men of good will: the movement has only become more widespread in recent years. The school museums on display (the one in Roubaix is the perfect type of the desirable installation), by exciting emulation, will expressly establish the character they should have, that of a collection formed by the teacher and his pupils of all the special products of the region they inhabit.
It is useless to insist on the usefulness that these museums, started, as it were, without cost, and whose formation is a pleasant pastime, should later offer to inventors, farmers, and all those who seek.
Next to it stands the model school library, installed with the greatest care by M. Edouard Gœpp, head of the library office; he composed it from a selection of works accepted by the Ministry. In 1855, three years after their foundation, the number of school libraries was 4,851, with a number of volumes of 180,854, which had been lent to 179,267 persons. On the first of January 1875, there were 16,449 libraries; 1,540,697 volumes; 962,416 readers. In the year of the war itself, the number of loans provided by the 13,638 libraries still amounted to 789,077. - In short, since 1862, seven million volumes have been lent to families.
The Ministry's exhibition still offers sewing work from girls' schools. M. de Watteville has found a way to interest others than mothers in the complications of "chain stitch", "stitching" and "overlocking". Instead of sending simple models, the schools sent, according to the instructions received, mannequins and dolls dressed in the costume of the department from which they came. Some of these specimens, those from the Vendée, the Haute-Saône and the Nord, are real little masterpieces.
If we have faithfully translated the impressions we brought back from our examination of the special exhibition of the Ministry of Public Education, we will have given an idea of the interest which is attached to it and sufficiently indicated the place out of line which it has acquired in the Universal Exhibition of 1878. It may be added that it is to the unceasing progress of our university education, to the spirit which animates it, to the science of its teachers, that we may truly attribute the marvels of art and industry which will be admired in the palace of the Champ de Mars. It was therefore good that the source and cause of these marvels should be brought to light, and too much praise cannot be given to the organisers, M. de Watteville and M. X. Charmes, as well as to their collaborators, Messrs Gœp, Larchey, Passier, Sommé, etc. It would have been difficult to present a more complete and comprehensive overview of the intellectual situation in France in 1878, a year which will be remembered as the happy date of the affirmation of the national recovery.
To complete this information, we mention at random : the Polytechnic Association for the free instruction of workers, which renders incalculable services, the League of Education, the Commercial School for Young Girls, the Institution for Backward Children at Gentilly, the Rural Children's Home at Ry, the Rustcluld Orphanage, the Auteuil Orphanage, the Franklin Society for the propagation of popular libraries in France, the Society for Elementary Instruction, the Society for the Professional Education of Women, the Society of Nurseries.
Finally, let us mention the remarkable work of Mrs. Marie Pape-Carpentier, a worthy, intelligent and charitable woman who, for years, has devoted herself tirelessly to teaching.
This study would not be complete if we did not place before the reader's eyes an interesting study that Dr. Ad. Nicolas has published in La Liberté, which gives us the conclusions of a report by Dr. E. Daily on pedagogical hygiene:
"In previous works on orthopaedics, and lastly, in a recent communication made to the Academy of Medicine, Dr. Daily insisted on the part played by gravity in the production of deformities, when, instead of distributing equally the loads which the feet or the seat have to bear in the standing or sitting position, one endeavours to maintain equilibrium by muscular effort; when, instead of compensating for the overloads, by adopting an attitude which neutralises them, we impose a precarious, and so to speak artificial, straightness on the body by a forced attitude.
Many spinal curvatures and twists are due, as we know, to wrong attitudes; many migraine headaches, nosebleeds, eye diseases and even diseases of the internal organs have no other cause, and we should not always blame the furniture of the schools for them. Mr. Daily recommends frequent examination of children in this respect, to ascertain the manner in which the weight of the body is distributed in them.
They should even be observed while walking. The child should walk1 with the feet at a very acute angle, and avoid putting the weight of the body exclusively on one part of the sole, heel, thumb or toes.
The consequences of faulty walking are extremely serious and weigh on the whole of life. How many limbs are deformed by the habit of an attitude of the feet contrary to the laws of physiological balance! The most common of these is the outward foot. Children who walk on the inside edge of the foot put the weight of the body on the instep joint, so that the rather weak muscle which raises the inside edge of the sole is unable to struggle with its antagonist which raises the opposite edge; the conditions of this struggle, which in the normal state results in the regular attitude of the limb, are too unequal when the weight of the body comes to favour the action of the antagonist muscle. Soon, the sole of the foot, which owes an exceptional degree of resistance to its arch construction, sags; the leg tires; certain muscles atrophy; the knee turns inwards and the deformation spreads to the whole skeleton. Moreover, the limbs thus deformed are incapable of continuous fatigue, both because of the vicious distribution of the effort, which is entirely focused on one muscle group, to the exclusion of its antagonist, and because of the pain. Mr. Daily, whose orthopaedic competence is well known, believes he can assure us that at least one child in ten has this deformity to a more or less marked degree.
The question of footwear is no less important at this age. How many feet are deformed (I would say all of them!) because of shoes that are too small, too wide, too hard, too high or badly made!
It is therefore important to ensure that schoolchildren sit upright in the seat. Moreover, any prolonged standing position is very harmful. The disadvantages which result for the various organs depend on the way in which the attitude is coordinated, on the defective conditions made to this or that organ in particular, on the situation of what I myself have called, in time, the centre of effort, which is to the active attitude what the centre of gravity is to the simply balanced attitude.
The sitting posture is important to watch in boys, but even more so in girls, who have twenty times more vertebral deformities than boys.
Sitting on one side of the seat is recommended by most teachers and writing methods. It is instinctive, when the right hand is usually used. Fashion favours it. It becomes more habitual and prolonged in young girls, who usually sit longer than boys.
Now, this attitude is eminently vicious, and leads to the same consequences as the hancher in standing, that is to say an inclination with double lateral torsion of the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis around the axis of the body; hence these chronic deformations of the skeleton, which go back, for the most part, to the second childhood.
It is necessary, says Mr. Daily, to vary the exercises as often as possible, and not to remain more than an hour or an hour and a half in the same form of station, and to avoid the chest being compressed forward by the weight of the shoulders. In the same work there is advice on the art of breathing, which could be of benefit to everyone. It is necessary to see to it that the children stand upright and do not let their shoulders go forward. When young girls are ordered to stand up straight, they fall backwards, dig in their loins, and, in order to keep their centre of gravity upright, they carry their heads forward, arching their backs in proportion to the digging in their loins. From childhood onwards, the habit is formed of having a hunched back; at the same time as this arching is accomplished, the belly proeminates and a dorsal concavity and lumbar curve are produced, which is very common during pregnancy. This results in habitual fatigue, and the progressive aggravation of deformities with age.
What then is the normal attitude, and how to correct these defective attitudes? It is necessary, concludes Mr. Daily, to require that the anterior plane of the body always be at the chest and not at the belly or stomach; it is necessary to require that the shoulder blades be almost parallel to the transverse axis of the thorax and that the back be flat; it is necessary, finally, to require that the hollow of the kidneys not be excessive and that the posterior plane of the pelvis be very slightly inclined upwards and backwards. In a word, the median transverse plane must be at approximately equal distance from the two extremities of the anteroposterior axis. The school bench and the school desk have an influence on vicious attitudes; but, without giving up modifying the school furniture, it is the education that must be corrected above all.
THE FREE SCHOOL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
It is right to devote a special chapter to a very useful institution, almost born yesterday: the Ecole libre des sciences politiques.
M. Louis Liévin, in the newspaper La France, has very judiciously assessed it in the following terms:
"The Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques is a recent creation, but it is flourishing, and its eminent founder, M. Emile Boutmy, is already reaping the fruits of his courageous initiative. It is, in fact, a new branch of public education, or rather a special educational cutting newly grafted onto an already old trunk. Before M. Boutmy had founded his school, diplomacy certainly existed, but it was not taught. Today, thanks to him, there is a course where one learns the procedure of a negotiation. Thanks to him, too, the parliamentary and constitutional history of France has left the newspaper, where it was exclusively confined, and gone up to the pulpit; there it gains in gravity and effective dissemination. This parliamentary and constitutional history, of which journalism hastily recalls an uncertain episode from time to time, is an indispensable lesson. Is there, in fact, a study whose importance equals that of the Constitutions, each of which is like a commemorative marker left on the road by the explorers who have preceded us? Is it not interesting to see by what routes, by what detours, through what obstacles the liberal caravan has had to travel since 1789, always on its way and always hindered, but never forgetting its goal, resolutely setting off again after each disaster?
All these facts were not coordinated, the principles whose discovery they brought about were not fixed, neither their physiognomy nor their chronology was known. One would tell you in detail the developments of the battle of Actium who is completely unaware of the phases of our electoral system, and knows the history of the Roman senate better than that of the parliamentary sessions of the Restoration. Certainly, it is not bad to know what the Senate did after the battle of Cannes, but it is good not to ignore how Charles X was led to sign the ordinances of 1830.
By making this study a science and this science a study, M. Emile Boutmy has given to the teaching of young people an impulse that will be lasting. If it is indeed permitted to ignore what is not taught, political ignorance abused the permission; it flaunted itself with the complacency of the great lords of the past who put their self-respect in knowing how to read only sweet notes and not spelling their answers. In a few years, this "kind" of not knowing anything about the things of the present time, about administration, about financial organisation, about commercial legislation, about diplomacy, this affectation will have given way to the necessity for everyone to possess these notions, which are obligatory for the man who wants to live free. This detachment from political science does not suit the citizens of a republic.
M. Emile Boutmy will have the merit of having understood that France must learn to know itself; hence the foundation of a school intended to teach everything that is done in France, and everything that has been done historically from the special point of view of politics, administration, finance, everything that is usually neglected in works of history.
M. Boutmy, author of a book on the Reform of Higher Education, has joined forces with men who, like him, had preached the example before professing: M. Albert Sorel, author of a Diplomatic History of the Franco-German War; M. Flourens, maître des requêtes at the Conseil d'État, known in the scholarly world by his history of the Administrative and Judicial Organisation of Belgium; M. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, author of a book on the Reform of Higher Education; and M. M. M. de la Villette, author of a book on the Reform of Higher Education. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu; M. G. de Molinari; M. Alexandre Ribot, and finally M. Vergniaud, the young secretary of the prefecture of police, who has just acquired new titles to public esteem, and no less valuable, by his fine conduct in the Rue Béranger.
The Free School of Political Science was awarded the medal of merit at the Vienna Exhibition, and the Exhibition of 1878 can only confirm this high distinction in the most literal and honourable sense of the word.
THE SCIENTIFIC MISSIONS.
We promised the reader to return to the scientific missions. We shall keep our promise.
All the visitors admired the superb induction of the Angkor gate. Everyone was struck by the astonishing dimensions, the somewhat fantastic dimensions of this gigantic and massive construction, with its many wide steps, with its elephants linking their trunks and forming caryatids that are sure to strike the imagination.
The Peruvian fountain, of which Mr. Vienner, another millionaire of science, brought back a specimen, attracted no less attention from the spectators, and, in truth, it deserved it well.
It was a huge monolith from the top of which water gushed and flowed along capricious gullies cut into the rock probably by the water itself.
The part of the exhibition of the scientific missions on which we will rely the most is the one relating to the project of an inland sea to be created in the south-east of our Algerian possessions, of which Commandant Roudaire conceived the project.
A large relief map, drawn up by him, represented at the Exhibition the plan of this sea; the Journal des Voyages, which never lets an interesting question escape its notice and whose competence is moreover indisputable in this matter, has given interesting details on this plan and on the ideas of Commandant Roudaire which we shall borrow from it:
"The results which would be obtained by the execution of this beautiful project are so important that they explain the very particular attention which the public brings to the study of this question. M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, one of the most competent men in these matters, has not been afraid to state publicly, either at the Geographical Society of Paris or at the Institute of which he is a member, that the creation of an inland sea would bring an abundance of rain to the desert and thus restore fertility to these regions which were once the granary of Europe. In support of his argument, he recalled what had happened following the construction of the Suez isthmus. The regions crossed by this new communication route were formerly deserted and uncultivated; rain was so unknown there that the houses had only very light roofs which would have been crossed by the slightest shower. As soon as the two seas were joined, the clouds soon gathered and these regions, condemned by drought to sterility, suddenly became fertile as a result of frequent rainfall.
"M. Roudaire, who was then a staff captain and who has since become commander of the same army, was the first to think of taking advantage of a series of dry lakes which extend from our possessions to the Mediterranean and which could be put in communication with this sea by means of a simple canal. The level of these lakes, placed in most cases well below that of the waters of the Mediterranean, demonstrated from the outset that the project of an inland sea was far from being impossible to achieve.
"The Ministers of War and Public Education and the Governor General of Algeria understood the importance of the undertaking and gave it their support. A mission was organised in November 1874, and Captain Roudaire was appointed its director. Definitively constituted in Biskra on 1 December, it consisted of three staff officers and a doctor for the war department. On the other hand, the Geographical Society of France, wishing to be associated with a work of this importance, joined the members of the expedition with one of its secretaries, M. Duveyrier, whose special knowledge of the Sahara, of Arab customs and language, was to be a precious element for the enterprise. The Minister of Public Works delegated a student mining engineer. Thirty men from the African battalion, twenty soldiers from the train and a few spahis completed the auxiliary personnel.
"This was no small undertaking. It was nothing less than to determine the outline of the region to be flooded, that is to say a surface of at least 6,000 square kilometres, and to level it. It was recognised that almost everywhere the soil of the chotts was deeply dug below sea level. In some places the depth was as much as 27 metres; in the highest places it hardly exceeded zero.
"In this preliminary expedition, Captain Roudaire made a definitive and complete study of the whole part of the chotts situated in our territory, and his conclusion was most favourable to the creation of an inland sea. However, the definitive study of the project could only be made after the levelling of the chotts of Tunisia and the threshold which separates them from the Gulf of Gabes. This was the goal that Captain Roudaire had set for himself on his return to France.
"However, this project had become the subject of discussion in the entire learned world. Rival nations saw in its execution the prognosis of an enlargement of our power and generally showed themselves hostile to it. An Italian expedition even went to Tunisia. It arrived in Tunis on 24 May 1875, after the most inadequate and hasty of explorations, and returned to Europe with inaccurate information, erroneous estimates and conclusions unfavourable to the project. Captain Roudaire was not discouraged, and the National Assembly having voted subsidies, the Geographical Society having, for its part, taken a small sum from its travel fund, the young officer set to work again. It was accompanied only by a young painter, who had just been awarded the Salon prize, Mr Cormon, and a civil engineer, Mr Baronet, that he went to continue his levelling.
"The first part visited and whose inspection was all the more important as it could decide on the possibility of carrying out the undertaking, was the Gabes threshold. Two rivers, both called Oued-Mélah by the Arabs, have their source, as can be seen on the map displayed at the Champ de Mars, at the highest point separating the Tunisian chotts from the Mediterranean. They flow in opposite directions, one towards the sea, the other towards the Chott Fejej, through a terrain composed exclusively of heaped sands.
"The Arabs, to explain this unity of name between two rivers which follow an opposite slope, affirm that formerly they formed only one watercourse which, putting in communication the chotts and the gulf of Gabès, was used so to speak as source to an interior sea. The distance occupied by these two rivers together does not exceed twenty kilometres.
"After he had been edified on the ease of creating a canal, Captain Roudaire came to resume his levelling at the point of the Rharsa chott, where he had abandoned it. We will not follow the expedition in the complicated work of levelling that it had to accomplish. Suffice it to say that everywhere it was demonstrated that it would be possible, without great expense, to reconstitute this sea, which was undoubtedly once nothing other than the Bay of Triton. The Chott Rharsa is separated from the Chott El-Djerid by a sandy bulge of about 3 or 4 kilometres in width, but which, in certain points, rises to 40 metres above sea level. This would be, with the piercing of the Gabes sill, the only important work to be done.
"We call the attention of our readers to a most singular fact, which was particularly studied by the learned officer, and which is still at this moment the subject of new investigations which, thanks to the generosity of our deputies, Commander Roudaire has been able to undertake. The Chott El-Djerid is, in almost all its extent, situated at a level higher than that of the sea, but its surface which, at first sight, appears to be a dry lake, is in reality only a crust formed of a mixture of sand and salt, and whose thickness varies from 60 to 80 centimetres. This kind of cover, the formation of which is not yet very clearly explained, extends over an immense underground lake of brackish water. Without pretending to resolve this scientific question, it seems to us that the still unexplained phenomenon may have a fairly simple cause. When the passage that connected the inland sea with the Mediterranean was blocked by the sands, the great rivers that primitively fed this mass of water had dried up following the destruction of the forests. As the vaporisation became very considerable, the salt contained in the waters crystallised, and, floating on the increasingly dense waters, formed a sort of crust which received the sands carried by the wind and thus thickened until our days.
"In any case, Captain Roudaire had holes dug in this soil at a great number of different points; everywhere he found this liquid mass, and a stone attached to a rope to act as a probe penetrated the brackish water without ever being able to touch the bottom. This covering of the subterranean salt lake is understandably unsafe and unsound ground. The Arabs refuse to venture there, and every year some terrible accident justifies their fears.
"Some time before the arrival of the explorers, an Arab driving a camel with a woman on it was imprudent enough to stray a little from the narrow and more solid route followed by the inhabitants. Suddenly he noticed with horror that the legs of his camel were slowly sinking into the ground and that the animal was making futile efforts to free itself. Mad with terror, he ran to the road and went to the nearest village for help. When they arrived, it was too late. They searched in vain. The camel and the woman it was carrying had disappeared and there was nothing on the closed ground to indicate where they had been swallowed up.
"In many circumstances, Captain Roudaire was able to observe that high winds cause the solid surface covering the chott to undulate. The frightened camels then lie down trembling and refuse to go any further.
"The inland sea project has already given rise to much controversy. It has met with ardent detractors; on the other hand, competent men and conscientious scholars have ardently supported it. For our part, we shall be content to wish its author the success that his perseverance deserves."
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878