Chapter 10

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CHAPTER 10.
EDUCATION IN THE AGE OF SCIENCE AND DEMOCRACY

The Act which laid the foundation of a free school system represented the most significant educational advance in New Brunswick during the nineteenth century. It meant, in effect, that the province subscribed to the doctrine of “schools for all” , but when the century ended the ideal of “all at school” was still far from realization1, and the idea had scarcely more than dawned that diversities in environment, in ability, in tastes, and in vocation should be taken into consideration in providing universal education. Moreover, although the right of every child to an education was no longer questioned, the old laissez-faire idea of every man for himself persisted, in that the clever and ambitious child, if poor, was left to make his own way in the face of inequality of opportunity.
Within the framework of the Act there was, of course, much commendable progress, less perhaps in the growth of ideas than in the development of order and administrative efficiency. Investigation shows that the greater part of the items on the agenda of the Board of Education between the years 1872 and 1900 related to such matters as enquiries from inspectors and teachers on minor points of law, requests from boards of school trustees for permission to levy taxes for school purposes and to borrow money for the building of new schools, the laying off of new districts, the settlement of local disputes involving the location of school buildings and the division of districts, the removal of delinquent trustees, the selection of school texts, and the framing of regulations regarding the time, place, and scope of examinations for Normal School entrance and for school licenses. The general tendency of the deliberations and decisions arising out of these matters was in the direction of that order and system without which progress is difficult, but the number and exacting nature of routine items seem to have discouraged consideration by the Board of broad educational principles, interesting experiments, and important trends. This is not to say that the Chief Superintendent, occupied though he was with administrative details, was unaware of movements and ideas outside the province or was unimpressed by their implications for New Brunswick, but the fiscal weakness of the province, the preoccupation of the government with questions of politics, finance and transportation, and the popular tendency to jog placidly along in the old ways combined, as earlier, to postpone the adoption of many forward-looking suggestions.
Two examples will serve to illustrate this point. Even before the inauguration of the free school system, the idea of a scheme of pensions for teachers had been favorably commented upon by Superintendent Bennet.2 During the
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next thirty years the maintenance of an adequate supply of experienced teachers was rendered particularly difficult by the wave of emigration which drained New Brunswick of its young people, including many potential teachers. There was therefore a particularly obvious need of some inducement to young people to make teaching their life work. The Superintendent and Inspectors from time to time spoke of the advantages to the profession of some provision for aged and infirm teachers, the teachers themselves petitioned the government,3 the Board of Education got as far as appointing a committee to enquire into the feasibility of such a plan,4 and eventually in the Legislature P. J. Veniot and J. D. Chipman advocated a superannuation fund for teachers,5 but when the century ended a pension scheme for teachers was still not an accomplished fact. As Professor Walter C. Murray said in addressing the faculty and students of the University of New Brunswick in 1899, American democracy unfortunately was opposed to the granting of pensions on principle, the feeling being that a man should provide by economy, insurance, or investment, for his old age, no matter what his calling.6
Our second example is even more interesting and illuminating. Marshall d'Avray, it will be remembered, as early as 1847 suggested the inclusion of manual training in the school curriculum, but it was not until 1900 that steps were taken in this direction, and possibly only then because of an impetus from without. Sir William Macdonald, benefactor of the Technical School at McGill, offered in 1899 to pay for the equipment required for educational manual training in one centre of every province of the Dominion, to meet the expenses of qualifying teachers for the new course, and to maintain the schools for three years.7 Professor J. W. Robertson, who had done so much previously to assist the provincial authorities in the promotion of dairy farming and in the establishment of butter and cheese factories, was entrusted with the task of organizing these manual training schools. Thus a department, known at first as the Sloyd8 School, was established at Fredericton where the young men of the Normal School could undergo the new training, and eventually the provincial government offered a special grant to certified teachers giving instruction in manual training, and undertook to pay 20% of the necessary equipment for manual training in any school.9 The adoption of this training for boys naturally facilitated the introduction of household science for girls, but for obvious reasons the new programme became a feature of urban schools only—in fact
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nearly another half century was to elapse before any serious effort was made to provide rural children with opportunities for acquiring training in the manual and household arts.
The course of education in New Brunswick between 1871 and 1900, aside from the problems and complications which arose in connection with religion and language, must be viewed in relation to the economic and political life of the province during that period, for the trend, the temper and the tempo of developments were bound to be affected, directly or indirectly, by the limitations of provincial revenue and the extent of public works programmes, by the relation between emigration and immigration, by trade cycles and Dominion policies, and by many other circumstances. When developments are viewed in this light, one readily establishes a rough correlation between recognizable periods in the educational history of the province and distinct phases in its economic history.
The Golden Age of Maritime prosperity lingered on into the seventies. During that decade the economy of New Brunswick was not yet adversely affected to a large degree by the application of iron and steel and steam to methods of transportation, and was yet to feel the full effects of the growing industrial expansion of the central provinces. Moreover, emigration had not yet become an acute problem—indeed there was still the hope of a large increase in population through immigration. As Professor Murray said in 1899, when he pointed to the consolidation of schools as a remedy for the many poor and thinly settled school districts, the school reformers of the seventies, in deciding on four square miles as the limit of a school district, evidently expected the wastes of the province to be filled up in a short time.10 The general optimism and enthusiasm engendered by the consummation of Confederation and by the extension of railways had their counterparts in educational circles. The establishment at long last of a free school system gave rise to a sense of achievement, fostered a belief in the future, and created enthusiasm and determination for the immediate task of organization. This spirit pulsed through the reports submitted by the Superintendent and Inspectors and found remarkable expression in the reports from the boards of trustees of urban districts. Taking as examples the reports for 1874 from Saint John and Fredericton, one is impressed by the evidence of an extraordinary interest in education and by the thought and labour that the trustees had expended on everything relating to the schools of their respective cities. Clearly, the men who composed these boards had caught a vision of themselves as educationists. The report submitted by the Fredericton Board, as printed in the Journal of the Assembly for 1875, covers twenty-two pages, and deals not only with the question of buildings and equipment but also with such matters as the propriety of giving school prizes, the question of corporal punishment, and the arrangements which the Board had made for the introduction of Industrial Art Drawing. The report also gives an outline of the course of instruction for every grade, and includes extracts from the report of the Superin-
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tendent of the city schools. Principal Crocket of the Normal School, who frankly described the work of each teacher employed. Perhaps most significant of all is the recognition accorded by the Board to certain principles as essential to successful teaching.11 Undoubtedly the members of this Board had familiarized themselves with the pedagogical writings of Pestalozzi!
The report from the Board of Trustees of Saint John is also lengthy, and reveals the fact that the Board had held twenty-three meetings during the year and had discussed “everything connected with the management of the Public Schools in every department” . From the report of the Superintendent of City Schools, John Bennet, formerly the Superintendent of Education for the province, we learn that the Board had been concerned with such matters as evening schools, monthly home reports, regularity of attendance, the importance of music as a branch of education, the introduction of the new subject, drawing, and the improvement of the teaching in the Primary Schools through the use of object-lessons.12 It is no wonder that Superintendent Rand, in paying tribute to the intelligence and spirit of the school trustees in incorporated towns and cities, observed that his remarks had “a special fulness of application to the Trustees of the District of the City of Saint John” .13
From the first, Superintendent Rand emphasized the fact that much more depended on the teachers than on the buildings and equipment, essential though the latter were. He was therefore greatly distressed that in spite of the scarcity of trained teachers many applicants for training had to be rejected because of the limited accommodation in the old Normal School, and he constantly urged the necessity of a new building. When the Legislature in 1876 responded to a stirring speech by William Elder, editor of the Saint John Telegraph, and decided to spend $ 50,000 for a new Normal School, Rand gave Elder's speech publicity in the Educational Circularl4, and in his own address15 at the inaugural exercises of the new school intimated that the building would play an important part in elevating the quality of the instruction given in the schools of the province.
As another means of effecting this object Rand planned at an early date to use the ranking system, having outlined the scheme at length in his report for 187216. The plan was to come into effect in 1877, but so onerous was the task of organization during these years of transition that it was not until 1879 that a complete and graded course of instruction, based on uniform texts, was perfected, and all the schools could be ranked according to the quality of the work done by the teacher. We may presume that Rand had become acquainted with this idea during his visit to Great Britain in 1871,17 for the ranking plan, known there as “payment-by-results” , was popular in that country at the time.
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The device, one of the entering wedges of state control in England, had come into use about 1861, and afforded state grants based on the results of individual inspection and examination in reading, writing and arithmetic. Under this impetus teachers became more industrious and managers and pupils showed new life.18 Rand's application of the plan in New Brunswick was designed to discourage teachers from frequently changing their schools, to encourage regularity of school attendance, and to reward efficiency in teaching. To be eligible for classification, the school must have been conducted by the teacher for more than one term, and the teacher had to present for examination at least the average number of pupils in attendance for the term, an average not less than 60% of the total enrolment. The school or department was to be classified by the Inspector as being of the first rank if not less than 75% of the pupils presented for examination had passed, and not less than 60% of each class. For schools of the second rank the corresponding percentages were to be sixty and fifty, and for schools of the third rank fifty and forty.19 The narrowness of the English plan was avoided, all the subjects prescribed for the various standards or grades being made obligatory examination subjects.20 The rank of the school had no relation to the class of the teacher's license. In other words, the plan left ample room for the recognition of every form of teaching ability, afforded no shelter for “talented indolence” , and discouraged teachers from neglecting any one subject through over attention to a favorite study. Besides the ordinary provincial grants which teachers received according to their sex and license, teachers whose schools were classified were henceforth to receive an additional grant in terms of the ranking accorded to their schools at the time of the inspectoral visitation.21 As the duties and responsibilities of the Inspectors were greatly increased, the county inspectorates were abolished and eight full-time Inspectors were appointed, holding higher qualifications than those formerly required of the County Inspectors.22 From the early reports of the new officials it appears that there was a good deal of misunderstanding of the plan at first and that many teachers regarded it with disfavor, but the Superintendent did not doubt that if all cooperated, it would result in an immense improvement in the quality of the work done in all the schools.23
Through the medium of the Educational Circular, Rand sought to inspire teachers and trustees and to keep them informed on educational matters. These semi-annual publications contained official notices and much information and advice. The Superintendent also enthusiastically promoted County Institutes and made a provincial Educational Institute a regular feature, believing it to be a “desirable connection between the Profession and the Board of Education” .24 He was obviously pleased to report the interest which that body
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showed in his recommendations relative to secondary education,25 and was proud of the recommendations to the Board of Education from one of the committees of the Institute in 1880 touching the new course of instruction.26
Finally, during this period of reform and enthusiasm Rand repeatedly urged the adoption of means to improve the secondary education of the province. At the opening of the new Normal School he intimated that the impetus in this direction must come from the government, for he quoted John Stuart Mill at follows: 'The uncultivated cannot be judges of cultivation. Those who need most to be made wiser and better usually desire it least, and if they desired it, would be incapable of finding their way to it by their own light . . . . Any well-intentioned and tolerably civilized government may think, without presumption, that it does and ought to possess a degree of cultivation above the average of the community which it rules, and that it should therefore be capable of offering better education and better instruction to the people than the greater number of them would spontaneously elect.'27 However, in spite of Rand's solicitations, no reforms were effected in the secondary education of the province until the middle of the eighties, beyond a stiffening of the regulations governing the requirements for a Superior allowance,28 a change which increased the requirements for the receipt of the allowance but at the same time widened for a greater number of districts the opportunities of earning the grant, since heretofore only one school in each parish could receive such a bonus.
At the beginning of the eighties the Superintendent referred regretfully to the industrial depression which was responsible for the closing of schools in some areas and for a reduction in the local salaries paid to teachers.29 He was hopeful, however, that the situation was only temporary. It is true that at the close of the seventies business was particularly poor, but actually there could be no complete recovery, for in industry as well as in education the decade following Confederation had been a transitional period, but with this difference— the change had been for the worse, not for the better. Throughout the eighties and early nineties times continued difficult, partly because of depressed trade elsewhere, partly because of the disastrous effects on the provincial economy of the passing of wood and canvas from the sea-lanes of the world. The earlier hopes of a gain in population through immigration were abandoned, and the retention of native stock, rather than the attraction of immigrants, became the chief object of measures to develop the industries and resources of the province, especially after the census of 1891 had revealed the alarming extent of the drift in population to the United States and to other parts of Canada.30 While the provincial debt soared, largely as the result of a sectional scramble for railways, the educational services of the province suffered from various petty economies.
One of the first things which the Blair administration did was to order
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the discontinuance of the Educational Circular,31 an act which doubtless pleased that member of the legislature who stated in the house, without contradiction, that “it contained some sense and much nonsense” .32 The tendency of local boards of trustees to compete, not for the most competent teachers but for the cheapest, that is, those whose limited training and knowledge entitled them to the lowest class of license, became more pronounced than ever during this period, and even the government grants to teachers were reduced at the time of the abolition of the ranking system. The financial saving effected by the discontinuance of bonuses to classified schools was not, of course, the only reason for the abolition of this system. We are told that in England “payment-by-results” meant that 'the child became a money-earning unit to be driven; the teacher a sort of foreman whose business it was to keep his gang hard at work',33 that it perverted the inspectors from their true duties, made the lives and livings of teachers anxious and precarious, tended to reduce school work to a mechanical drill, forced students into examinations in defiance of the laws of health, and developed such a sentiment that 'failure caused not regret but indignation at the child'.34 In four years the system could not lead to the evils in New Brunswick that thirty years of operation caused in Great Britain, but obviously the plan was open to criticism. Certainly it added to the work of the inspectors,35 and it is doubtful if those officials could arrive at a fair estimate of the progress of a school in the few hours they could devote to its examination. If, for any reason, they failed to visit a school, then the teacher and the district lost the opportunity of earning the bonus. We note that during the operation of the plan the Board of Education received many complaints from teachers whose schools had not been visited, or had not received the ranking to which the teachers thought they were entitled.36 It would seem that few outside of Superintendent Rand had ever been thoroughly “sold” on the scheme, and when Rand had resigned to become a member of the staff at Acadia College, the way was clear for its abolition. Indeed, his successor, William Crocket, questioned the value of the system and suggested that it be discontinued.37 Unfortunately the fixed grants which were substituted for the allowances under the plan were smaller than the maximum grants which teachers had been able to earn under the ranking system. It is only fair to observe that a number of the legislators of the province expressed concern over this reduction,38 but there is significance in the Premier's remark that the government felt it had reached the extent of the financial ability of the country when it placed the grants at the new figures.39
Since the teaching profession did not receive its due from the country,
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the country did not always receive its due from the profession. The very irregularities with which teachers were charged reflected the pinched times—pitiful offences such as the alteration of a school draft from $ 9.83 to $ 25.83, 40 and misrepresentations regarding the class of license held.41 Invariably the official reports spoke of the need of an element of permanency in the profession. That at least a minimum of service might be obtained from trained teachers the practice was initiated in 1872 of exacting from every student-teacher at the Normal School a promise to teach in New Brunswick or forfeit the sum the trainee had received for travelling expenses to the training centre.42 Later the wording of the declaration was altered, the student-teacher being required to promise that if he did not teach, he would report to the Superintendent his reasons for failing to do so, and would consider himself under a moral obligation to pay to the Board the sum of twenty dollars for each session he had attended the Normal School.43 We do not know whether or not the many teachers who sought more remunerative work in the province during these years, or left New Brunswick for the south and west, had first fulfilled their obligations, but probably not many were as scrupulous as the girl who asked to be relieved from the obligation to repay the Board for her training because she was unable to secure a school in New Brunswick on account of her color.44
During this decade and a half, discussion in the legislature of educational topics seldom failed to elicit some form of protest against the cost, and periodically members registered their conviction that the state should not seek to provide anything but an elementary education. In the Legislative Council the session of 1880 witnessed a lively attack on the educational system as expensive and burdensome. The attitude of this body of the Tory tradition seemed to be: “Let the state provide for the teaching of the three R's, and a child, if he has ability and perseverance, will work out for himself a first class education” .45 The next year a resolution favoring economy in every department of legislation and administration was adopted by the Assembly. The premise of the section which related to education declared that the management of educational affairs should be rendered practical and economical, and the conclusion stated that whenever such management should be found to be impractical, or too expensive, or unadapted to the circumstances and needs of the country, measures of reform would receive the sanction of the House.46 In 1884, when the item for education was before the Assembly, a number of members were critical of the expense arising from the secondary schools and the University, and one legislator declared that the time had come when public education should be confined to
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the three R's.47 The same view was expressed in 1889.48 It is true that other considerations besides the need for economy prompted much of the criticism of the period. We note, for instance, a growing conviction that the needs of a large proportion of society were not being met, and the presence of a sentiment against the taxation of the “masses” in the interests of the “classes” . Moreover, the provincial sense of values may have been at fault, for railway deficits were accepted as the inevitable toll of progress, while a slight deviation from the most modest of school budgets was viewed with disapproval, even alarm. Nevertheless, one cannot avoid the conclusion that during these lean years the financial stringencies of the province, either through sheer necessity or through a species of rationalization, conditioned both practices in education and the thought-processes behind the practices.
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, circumstances were such as to engender throughout Canada feelings of optimism, patriotism and nationalism. New Brunswick, now definitely a part of the Dominion—albeit on the periphery of the national economy—shared to some extent in the new prosperity and in these sentiments. If the decline of the wooden shipbuilding industry and the extension of branch railways had meant stagnation for many coastal communities, courage and energy and opportunism were making Saint John a modern world port. Lumbering was still a staple industry with new possibilities opening up in pulpwood enterprises, and greater attention to the improvement and scientific development of agriculture was bringing noticeable results.49 A variety of small scale enterprises was taking root, the tourist trade was beginning to seem worthy of cultivation,50 and in the Hickman scheme modest hopes bloomed of bringing to New Brunswick high grade immigrants from Britain.51 New Brunswick's legislators, unable to express their faith in the future of their province in as comprehensive a phrase as Laurier's classic remark about Canada, nevertheless, made some pretty speeches,52 and the Premier asserted his conviction that New Brunswick was entering on a period of prosperity which would make her “the peer of any province in Canada” .53
The patriotic and nationalist sentiments stirred by the Diamond Jubilee and the Boer War led to increased provisions for school flags,54 stimulated an interest in the study of current events,55 promoted the observance of Empire Day,56 and focussed attention on the study of history, Canadian history in particular,57 which, according to the Inspectors' reports had heretofore been
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badly taught. The relation to education of the improved agricultural and industrial prospects of the province may be seen in the renewed emphasis on the idea of an agricultural school,58 in the serious consideration of the possibilities of a technical institution,59 and in a strong expression of opinion in the legislature that education should take a more practical turn for the benefit of the “toilers” , “the bone and sinew of the country” , the real producers of wealth.60 A Northumberland County Teachers' Institute listened to Mayor Snowball review their work from the standpoint of a business man;61 the border towns of St. Stephen and Milltown asked for and received permission from the Board of Education to include typing and shorthand in the curriculum of their high schools;62 an inspector declared that if one citizen might have his boy prepared for college, another had an equally good right to have his child trained to enter a business office;63 and references to the importance of manual training, domestic science and school gardening became more frequent and urgent in the reports of educational officials. Thus improvements in trade and industry hastened the hitherto slow response of the province to the newer trends in education.
During this whole period of thirty years, progress in education, while largely conditioned by the economic factor, was not uninfluenced by the dominant trends of the time. One of the most outstanding of these was an interest in science. In the civilized world at large science dominated the spirit of the age, appearing not only as an “instrument of culture” 64 but as the means by which man could make his environment yield him wealth and comfort. Increasingly, the application of science to industry, transportation, agriculture, health, sanitation, and education, wrought great changes. While for obvious reasons the process of change was neither early nor rapid in New Brunswick, it nonetheless occurred as inevitably as the distant creek is eventually flooded by the incoming tide.
From the educational viewpoint the cause of science was ably represented in the province during this period in the person of Loring Woart Bailey. A son of the American scientist, Jacob Whitman Bailey, he had grown to manhood in an atmosphere of science and on terms of familiarity with the great scientists of the day. At Harvard he had studied with Louis Agassiz, Asa Gray, and other eminent scientists, and graduated in the year of the publication of Darwin's, “Origin of Species” , coming to New Brunswick two years later, in 1861. From
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his father and his teachers he had caught the spirit of the new scientific age and it was a matter of significance that he was at that time brought into close relationship with New Brunswick's educational system. Although in himself a one-man department of science at the University of New Brunswick, he found time to become well acquainted, through private excursions and Dominion surveys, with the flora, the fauna, and the geologic formations of the province, the latter hitherto almost unexplored. As a newspaper article said at the time of his death, “he has left his mark on the scientific history of the Dominion; but his fame as a geologist was not confined to Canada” .65 We cannot dwell here on the place which be filled for nearly sixty years in the life of the University, nor can we do more than refer to the contributions which be made to natural science and geology, but we do note with interest that “his services were in constant demand at Teachers' Conventions and Summer Schools of Science, and were always cheerfully given” .66 We also observe that in the long list of his publications67—biological, geological, and general—there is included an elementary natural history which on June 24, 1887, was authorized by the Board of Education for use in the schools of New Brunswick.68
The addresses and lessons on the agenda of teachers' institutes during these years indicate an increasing recognition of the claims of science on the part of the teaching profession. As time went on it was a rare convention which did not feature at least one paper or lesson, either to add to the teachers' knowledge of some scientific subject, or to suggest better methods of teaching science. Perhaps the most interesting example, however, of enthusiasm for science among the teachers of the province was the Summer School of Science, established in 1887. This school, a voluntary organization, inter-provincial in its character, was held in annual sessions for several weeks in various centres ranging from Yarmouth in southwestern Nova Scotia to Campbellton in northern New Brunswick. Lectures, discussions, laboratory and field work, and excursions to local points of scientific or historical interest were features of the school. While such courses were given as literature, elocution, music, psychology, and pedagogy, scientific subjects received the greatest emphasis. In 1893, for instance, there were courses of lectures on astronomy, botany, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, physics, physiology, and zoology.69 In 1897 the President and Directors of the school petitioned for a grant-in-aid,70 and eventually the governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick each gave a small annual grant, with Prince Edward Island following suit later. Sometimes, too, the people of the locality where the school was held made a donation. For example, in 1900 the citizens of Bear River, Nova Scotia, gave one hundred dollars.71 Following the action of
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the Nova Scotia Council of Public Instruction in allowing an additional week of vacation to teachers who attended the school, the New Brunswick Board of Education granted the same privilege to the rural teachers of New Brunswick, whose normal holiday was only six weeks.72 The attendance of teachers from New Brunswick naturally varied with the location of the school. There were one hundred and seventy teachers from New Brunswick—an unprecedented number—at the session in Campbellton in 1899,73 but only thirty at Bear River the next year and only fourteen at Lunenburg in 1901. Eventually various circumstances, including the popularity of the newer summer courses for manual training, household science, and school gardening, affected the attendance, and the school was discontinued while the first World War was in progress. For over twenty years it had added to the knowledge and skill of hundreds of maritime teachers, and, in addition, had stood as a fine example of inter-provincial co-operation.
An interesting example of a plea for science from a prominent teacher of the province during the heyday of the Summer School of Science may be found in the tenor and content of a paper written by Philip Cox and read before the Northumberland County Teachers' Institute in 1893. Having referred to “arithmetical gymnastics, algebraical mazes and conundrums, and geometrical puzzles and problems” as the “gourmands” of the educational system, unduly emphasized, “not because of their superiority, either objectively or practically, to other means, but for our too often blind reverence of antiquity” , the writer said: “Why .07, an x or an L is regarded a more interesting and attractive thing for a child to observe, reason about and draw conclusions from, than a plant, a flower, a bird, a fish, a mineral, a chemical experiment, is hard for us to understand: it is a survival of a philosophy74 having little or no place in the learning and progress of the world today” . Having asserted that investigation was the keynote to mental development, this educator declared: “Our children must be led to examine the facts and laws of life and matter, and drink at the reservoir of eternal truth, wisdom and power, which, in the abstract, we call nature” .75
In the same year, in a paper on School Physics presented at the Saint John County Teachers' Institute, W. J. S. Myles contended that physics was the one science subject that would do more than any other to meet the demands of the industrial interests of the country and at the same time furnish mental training and culture. Teachers, he said, must awaken to the fact that hundreds of the boys of the province were looking forward to careers as electrical, mechanical and sanitary engineers, and to industrial positions, in all of which a greater or less knowledge of physics was indispensable. Referring to the new laboratory at McGill and to the more modest measures at the provincial uni-
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versity, the speaker pointed out that the colleges looked to the schools to furnish the preliminary steps in giving students a slight knowledge of the methods of “physical study” . “The idea that a college education should embrace only the humanities, mathematics, philosophy and a smattering of science is now happily antiquated . . . . Science subjects claim a prominent place in our curriculum today, because we live in what may be termed the age of science.” 76
Occasionally even the trustee boards of urban schools made particular mention of science in their reports.77 The Superintendents of Education, each in turn, emphasized the importance of observation and investigation, reminded teachers to make collections of specimens, lamented the limited work done by the secondary schools, commended the Summer School of Science, and gave attention to the question of science texts. The curriculum of the schools, if one might judge by the prescribed books, offered an imposing and lengthening list of science courses in the advanced grades, botany, geology, nautical astronomy, physics, physiology and hygiene, and elementary chemistry, and in the lower grades, nature study, the chemistry of common things, lessons in health and agriculture, and the study of “useful knowledge” . But one must not be misled by all this. It should be borne in mind that the teachers who attended the Summer School of Science and listened at the institutes to addresses and discussions on the importance of science were a decided minority, and that there were hundreds of districts, especially in rural areas, where neither the teachers nor the people cared a whit about the acquisition of scientific knowledge, or strove for the scientific approach to any subject. Actually, in only a few of the larger centres were there the qualified teachers, the equipment, and the demand, to render possible the extensive work in science which the prescribed texts indicated might be carried out. It would appear, moreover, that much which purported to be instruction in science was badly taught. Speaking from the standpoint of the grammar schools, Myles, in the paper we have already noted, even ventured to say that the claim that the New Brunswick school system ranked among the most progressive was not tenable, if it were viewed in the light of modern methods of science teaching. He declared that in not one high school of the province was experimental physics taught, and added: “Much of our physics teaching appeals entirely to the memory, some to memory and observation, very little, if any, to observation and reflection” .78 Inspector Mersereau, referring to the lessons on Useful Knowledge, said that these had created more misapprehension among teachers and more hostility among parents than any other subject. He found that while some teachers had made collections of plants, woods, and minerals, and had used these to excite thought and to promote enquiry, others merely required their pupils to memorize lists of plants and minerals with
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their uses and qualities.79 It is not unlikely that even when object teaching was employed, Messenger's observations about the use of object lessons in many of the American schools previous to 1890 were applicable to their use in New Brunswick. “Many teachers thought if they had before their pupils any sort of hodge-podge of miscellaneous objects for the pupils to perceive through the senses they were getting a valuable training, no matter what they perceived in the objects and no matter what the relations of the objects might be.” 80
We see, therefore, that over against the keen appreciation by a few of the meaning of science in a modern world there were confused ideas, and unwillingness or inability, because of lack of knowledge and training, to harmonize practices and attitudes with the new forces of science. Certainly agriculture and forest maintenance continued to suffer all too much during these years from unscientific and haphazard methods, and a scientific spirit was often lacking in the consideration of problems involving the preservation and restoration of physical and mental health. In other words, to return to our metaphor of an earlier page, the ocean tide had as yet only created ripples on the surface of the creek.
Another outstanding characteristic of the last decades of the nineteenth century was the growth of political and social democracy. In the United States the north had triumphed over the aristocratic south, and in many countries, notably Britain, the social-democratic forces set in motion by the Industrial Revolution were working a change in society and government. New Brunswick, founded in reaction against the American Revolution, had missed the early democratic impulse, and, not being highly industrialized, did not suffer from those evils which hastened the growth of democracy in England and made its achievement somewhat tumultuous. The development of responsible government had been slow and comparatively unspectacular, the popular attitude towards municipal institutions had been one of indifference, the struggle for a democratic school system was protracted, and the movement to abolish the Legislative Council, the existence of which robbed responsible government of half its fruits, lacked urgency and force. Eventually, as we have seen, responsible government and a free school system were achieved. During the last quarter of the century the establishment of municipal institutions became compulsory and the Legislative Council was abolished-although more, perhaps, for economic, than for political and social reasons. Progress in the extension of the suffrage was cautious, even slow, the basis of the franchise remaining practically the same from 1855 to 1889. In the latter year, during the Blair regime, a bill was passed which practically granted manhood suffrage.81 It stopped, however, at votes for women. Even an amendment to give the franchise to widows and spinsters of property was defeated. The right of women who owned property to vote at municipal elections and at school meetings, and to act as school trustees, was, however, conceded, but not without opposition. In 1886, when
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William Pugsley sponsored a measure to permit women to become school trustees, one member of the legislature, E. L. Wetmore, objected on the score that school meetings were often disorderly, sticks and fence-poles being used by contending parties. On this remark a voice from the Assembly cried: “Let the women use the broomsticks” . Wetmore declared that the bill was really the entering wedge of woman suffrage, and John McAdam of St. Stephen said that he would rather fail to win an election than depend on the votes of his wife and daughters.82 Petitions on the question from the women of Saint John went unheeded until 1896, when the Honorable H. R. Emmerson successfully promoted a bill to provide for the appointment of two women to boards of school trustees in towns and cities.83 From 1885 to the close of the century the question of the franchise for women in provincial elections came up repeatedly. In 1894 there were petitions signed by over 10,000 persons,84 and again in 1899 the question prompted a further solicitation. The plea of the petitioners was ably supported in the House by such men as A. A. Stockton and Silas Alward of Saint John, H. R. Emmerson of Dorchester, James Porter of Andover, A. A. Killam of Moncton, H. H. Pitts of Fredericton and M. C. Atkinson of Bristol. Premier A. G. Blair, on the other hand, consistently showed himself an opponent of this reform. A few statements culled from the debates on the subject will illustrate the growth of the democratic idea, may charm with their naiveté, and will illuminate the character of the legislatures which during these same years hesitated to take action in the direction of educational reforms.85
Alward expressed himself as happy to feel that he belonged to that class of persons who, in every legislature, find themselves “the advanced guard of liberty and progress” .86 D. R. Moore of Stanley declared that the bill to enfranchise women aimed to strike off “the last remaining shackle of electoral restriction imposed by the laws and precedent of the past” .87 Stockton thought that the “whole history of civilization had been to elevate women in the scale of existence and make them in every respect the equals of men” .88 Emmerson, one of the stoutest advocates of this reform, contended that in a democracy the government derived its powers from the governed. Women certainly came under the heading of the governed. “A disfranchised class is an oppressed class.” 89 The only arguments against woman suffrage, he said, had their origin in the barbaric past, “when women were either the decorated toy or the degraded drudge of men” .90 Speaking of prejudices against women's votes, he cried: “In large communities, exposed to the bright light of the thinking world, these prejudices cannot stand for a moment” .91 He predicted that “future ages would regard with amazement the long struggle on the part of women for the simple
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right of personal representation which ought to be the birthright of every citizen under our constitution.” 92 Porter expressed the same view. The constitution, he said, professed to be by the people and for the people, but only one-half of the people had a voice in affairs.93 Emmerson also pointed out that thousands of women earned their own livelihood, and in the teaching profession outnumbered men four to one, but were generally paid not much more than half the salaries men received for doing the same work. He felt, he said, that if women had the vote, the sentiment of the country with respect to the compensation which they should receive would be changed, and that in the light of common sense it should be.94
In the course of the discussions, inevitably the Queen was mentioned a number of times, various members pointing out that if the head of the empire was a woman, it was absurd to deny women the right to vote for Her Majesty's representatives, while other members contended that one secret of Queen Victoria's popularity lay in the fact that she did not “meddle” with politics.
For the most part the opponents of the movement tended to place women on a lofty pedestal. How horrible to expose her to the rowdyism and corruption of the polling booth! Give women the vote and next they would demand the right to sit in the Assembly. How embarrassing then if one member should call another a damned liar, as had been known to happen. How painful to hear a woman wrangling across the floors of the House after the manner of the Attorney General (Blair) and the leader of the Opposition (Hanington).95 To throw women into the storm-strife of politics was to jeopardize the homes of the country.96 “Behind all legislation is physical force” , said J. D. Hazen in 1899, “and in the end the men must rule.” If women were given this privilege, how could they, he asked, refuse to serve on juries or to perform military duty if called upon.97
Blair said that if he did not know how talented the supporters of this movement were, he would feel “that they had simply given themselves away to a species of fantastic sentimentalism not in accord with a wise and judicious public policy.” 98 He had, he said, too much respect for woman to wish to see her “dragged from the height upon which she stood and brought into the arena of politics” . When the applause which greeted this noble sentiment had died away, Dr. Stockton interjected “put her in a cage like a canary” , whereupon Blair said he would “sooner see her in a cage than in a polling booth” . The women of Kansas and Wyoming might have the vote, he admitted, but these were crude countries, just emerging from barbarism. He would rather follow Bright and Gladstone than the statesmen of Wyoming.99 The only English-governed community of the world which at the time (1889) had gone to the lengths proposed in the New Brunswick legislature was the Isle of Man. “No
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doubt it might be said that we had as much right to lead as to follow, but he thought such a course was not practical politics.” 100 Emmerson, in reply, said that Blair had given “the greatest exhibition of Rip Van Winkleism ever seen on the Boors of this house” , and seemed to forget that the world moved rapidly.101
The remark of G. J. Baird of Victoria County that there was much in the rude west from which the province might learn lessons102 was deemed unfortunate by the Honorable R. J. Ritchie of Saint John, who said irrelevantly that he did not think Canada should be prepared to follow the state of morals of the republic, considering the case with which a divorce could be obtained in Chicago and other parts of the United States.103 H. A. Powell of Sackville said that in every civilization the arena of politics had been for men. “When that divine law is interfered with, the result is the injury—it might be the ultimate undermining—of society . . . . The apostles commenced their work at Jerusalem, and the place for woman to commence and carry on her high and sainted mission is in the home.” 104 Pugsley, who had somewhat changed his views between 1886 and 1889, “shrank from hasty legislation” , and felt that “before a change so radical, so permanent and far reaching was adopted, the question should be submitted to the people” .105
On the whole the legislature approved of the change whereby “the established seat of learning, which, but a few years ago, haughtily forbade her (woman's) approach within her sacred cell, now opens widely her portals and bids the fair aspirant enter and drink deeply of her Pierian water” 106—in simple words, they approved of the admission of women to the University of New Brunswick.107 They also gave women's organizations credit for the insertion in the school curriculum of lessons on the effects of alcohol and tobacco. But the majority, on every occasion when the question of the suffrage came up, shrank with Pugsley from passing legislation along the lines advocated, and so the province entered upon the twentieth century with this last “shackle of electoral restriction” . Yet the fact that the subject received the attention it did in the legislature shows that the province, suspicious though it might be of drastic changes, was reacting to the growth of the equalitarian spirit.
The expanding political democracy of the period affected only slightly the field of industrial relations. To begin with, prevailing lip service to the dignity of labor, natural enough in a country where the majority of people had to work with their hands, saved the working classes to a great extent from finding in a crushing sense of social inferiority an incentive to action in their own interests. In a province of limited capital, modest industrial enterprises, and many manual workers, the gap between the capitalist and the labourer was naturally less pronounced than in the great industrial areas of Britain and the
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United States. Then too, only a fraction of the workers of the province were the employees of others, and when so employed, they were often seasonal employees only. Consequently the organization of labor groups for the acquisition or protection of rights could proceed but slowly. Moreover, while agriculture and capital had their representatives and their ardent supporters in the legislature, there were few members to speak for labour,108 as Atkinson pointed out in 1888.109 Although Moore warned that under universal suffrage the working classes would become a powerful factor in the politics of the country,110 the introduction of legislation to protect certain classes of labourers from being defrauded of their wages was not received with very great enthusiasm. On various excuses the adoption of such legislation was delayed, the chief argument being that measures of this kind would hamper trade, and would cause much litigation by which only the lawyers would benefit.111 Eventually, however, a bill respecting mechanics' and labourers' liens was accepted.112
A corollary of the doctrine of democratic government is the conception of the state's obligation to educate its citizens.113 By the Act of 1871 the province of New Brunswick had accepted that obligation. In 1881 Superintendent Rand stated that back of the common school course of the province was the assumption that the public school was an agency for the general education of all classes, and was designed to impart a common education useful to all and open to all.114 But there was still a long way to go before the educational system of New Brunswick could approach that modern ideal of democracy in education enunciated by Reisner as follows: “Ideally considered, democracy in education implies generous opportunity for every child, in spite of social distinctions and economic handicaps, to profit by educational opportunities that will enable him to develop his ability as far as possible to the ultimate advantage of himself and of society. It implies further, that the internal economy of the school is to be such that each child may discover his best capacities and may find the means of developing them; and, finally, it means that the objective of school practices is the increase of intelligence in the pupil about everyday situations and the growth in power to meet the problems of citizenship in a critically intelligent spirit.” 115
In the light of this definition the school system of New Brunswick fell far short of democracy. Many schools were small, ugly, and poorly equipped; many were staffed by untrained or inexperienced teachers who lacked culture, vision and a knowledge of child psychology. Thus the internal economy of many schools failed to provide the atmosphere in which children could discover and develop their abilities, and could grow in intelligence and power. Moreover, although in theory the system offered educational opportunities for all, local
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indifference in many areas prevented the establishment of schools. If the people have a right to self-government, they have also a duty to qualify themselves for the exercise of government.116 It would seem that many of the citizens of New Brunswick failed to accept the obligation to make the most of themselves through such educational facilities as were provided. In 1890 Superintendent Crocket stated that 25% of the children of the province between five and fifteen years of age were deriving no benefit from the school system,117 and in 1895, according to the Honorable James Mitchell, the average attendance of the pupils enrolled was only 56%.118 If the people were negligent in this matter, so was the Legislature. Superintendent Crocket pointed out in 1891 that he had repeatedly urged on the Legislature the need of a compulsory attendance law, that the Inspectors had referred time and again to the increasing feeling in favor of such a provision, that many urban boards of trustees in their annual reports119 had given expression to the opinion that nothing short of a compulsory measure would secure the full benefits of the system, and that the press of the province had over and over again argued in favor of enforced attendance. If, he asked, the power of the government to secure the education of every child was not inherent in the Act of 1871, on what principle of right or reason had the state the authority to tax all persons and property for the support of the public schools. This is only one example of the many strong statements on this subject coming from the Chief Superintendent and Inspectors, who also seldom failed to mention the existence of compulsory school laws in other countries. The Legislature, however, continued to postpone action throughout the nineteenth century, and when in 1905 a compulsory school measure was enacted, the optional nature of the law robbed it of much of its efficacy.
In addition to the children who received a deficient education, or none at all, because of the stupidity and indifference of parents and legislators, there were others whose unfortunate economic circumstances prescribed narrow limits to their schooling. The influence of the economic factor was recognized, of course, but the province lacked utopian socialists and economic realists. There was no one to speak after the fashion of Horace Greeley, a friend of the labor movement in the United States, who expressed the belief that before education could become what it should and must be, the social life whence it proceeded, whither it tended, should be reformed.121 The fact that poverty limited the education of so many children was perhaps a matter of regret to many thoughtful individuals; to others it almost appeared as a divine dispensation to enable the ambitious poor to show the stuff of which they were made. With the exception of a few scholarships leading to the provincial university, no aid was made available for the poor individual. The district of very low valuation received special
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aid from the government for the building of schoolhouses and for the maintenance of a minimum of education. That so many districts were classed as “poor” districts was largely due to the arrangements whereby the province was divided for school purposes into small units in order to arouse local pride and a sense of local responsibility. Rand himself as we have seen, regarded the arrangement as a temporary one.122 In 1885 Inspector Dole urged the abolition of all existing small districts, with their petty local machinery, and complained that his views on this subject in a previous report had received no attention.123 Toward the close of the century Superintendent Inch began to emphasize the evils of the multiplicity of small districts, to recommend the policy of consolidation, and to point to the benefits of consolidation in various American states and in Australia.124 Inspector Carter also expressed strong approval of such a move toward centralization.125 In 1900 the Superintendent called on the Board of Education to consolidate arbitrarily small contiguous districts, in view of the fact that in June 1899 there were 490 districts where the average school attendance was less than 12, seventy-six of which had an average attendance of less than 6. He added that he had little hope of the adoption of consolidation in New Brunswick so long as the matter was left to the votes of ratepayers at the annual school meetings.126 Events proved the accuracy of his judgment. A few consolidated schools were established early in the twentieth century under the impetus of Sir William Macdonald's scheme for the introduction of manual training. After that, for forty years, local rivalries, inertia, and a fear of change conspired to prevent the extension of consolidation as part of the New Brunswick school system. Even a suggestion to increase the county fund from thirty cents to fifty cents per head, in order further to relieve poor districts and to offset inequality of assessments, went down before a storm of protest.127
If it was true that the elementary education of the province was not completely democratic, in that not all the children of the province could take advantage of the opportunities for education, those opportunities often being exceedingly unequal, it was still more true that the secondary education of the province required a democratic extension. The increase of high school facilities was in accord with the spirit of the age. England, forced to recognize the superiority in industry and invention of the Germans, extended and modernized her system of secondary education during these years, and high schools were multiplied in the United States and in Ontario. Scarcely any subject gave the educators of New Brunswick greater concern that the state of those venerable institutions, the county grammar schools. By the Act of 1871 the grammar school boards might unite with the common school boards, and some of them did. However, for geographical and economic reasons the great majority of the children of a county could not attend grammar schools. d'Avray's suggestion
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of scholarships from the common schools to the high schools had been ignored. Moreover, with a few exceptions, the grammar and superior schools of the province could furnish no guarantee of adequate secondary instruction, for many of them filled the place and did the work of district schools.128 In 1880 Inspector Gaunce had found an average of only seven pupils for the preceding term in the Victoria County Grammar School, yet the school received a grant of $ 550 per year.129 In 1882 there were only 258 pupils in the province engaged in the study of what might be called high school subjects, and of these 84 were in Saint John and 96 in Fredericton.130 In 1887 Superintendent Crocket declared that outside of the two cities just named there was no grammar school providing a complete course of secondary education, and in 1891 he said that while other institutions had been remodelled to meet modern requirements, the grammar schools were just about where they had been three generations before.131 As late as 1894 Superintendent Inch complained that an ungraded school might be classed as a superior school, and that there were grammar schools in which less than 20 pupils were doing work in advance of grade eight.132 In 1896 he reported that Moncton, with an enrolment beyond grade eight of 84 and 91 per term, received only a superior grant of $ 250, while the grammar school of the county at Shediac received $ 350, yet had no pupils beyond grade eight the first term and only 8 the second term. Obviously, the secondary education of the province needed over-hauling.
We noted earlier that there were people in the province who denied the duty of the state to provide for free secondary education. Others, seeing that few children could take advantage of such education, complained that it benefited only the “classes” , and declared, not without reason, that much of the money devoted to secondary education was wasted. Many also complained that the secondary education which was provided did not meet the needs of the majority of the pupils. Of such complaints we note one in the form of a letter published in the New Brunswick Journal of Education in 1886. The writer of this letter stated: “For the larger scholars of the Province there are no inducements to continue at school. Especially those who do not intend or are not able to take a college course . . . . This is not right. It is not in the best interests of the Province. Three-quarters of the male pupils intend or are forced to become tillers of the soil. Now, Mr. Editor, for this large number of pupils what provision is made?” 133
Perhaps because of lack of unanimity of views on the question of secondary education reforms were typically belated or piecemeal in character. Possibly the monopolistic spirit of favored localities and groups proved the leading obstacle. There was considerable opposition from Saint John in 1884 to the measure which rendered compulsory the dissolution of the old grammar school
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corporations.134 Fredericton was opposed to the change by which the Collegiate School ceased to draw a grant from the University of New Brunswick and became the York County Grammar School. Areas in which grammar schools had been maintained for decades with small expense to the locality objected to the transfer of their grammar schools to more suitable points. As Superintendent Inch intimated in 1896, the residents of such localities regarded any change as an infringement of vested interests.135 The favorite suggestion of Superintendent Crocket that the petty grammar schools be abolished and five well-equipped, properly staffed, suitably located Provincial High Schools be established136 was not acted upon, but legislation in 1884 and 1887 tended toward the unification of the whole educational system from grade one to the university, and improved both grammar and superior schools. Higher standards were exacted with reference to equipment, enrolment of pupils, extent and quality of work done, and in 1895 special financial aid encouraged the employment in grammar schools of more than one teacher holding a grammar school license and doing grammar school work. High school entrance examinations were established, also Grammar School leaving and University Matriculation examinations, and in 1898 a new course of instruction for high schools was ratified. In 1900 Superintendent Inch could report that the number of pupils receiving instruction in the high school grades had increased 150% from 1891 to 1899.137
In the course of instruction the emphasis continued to be on the traditional studies, although the Chief Superintendents in turn often spoke of the demands of modern times, and there were complaints from a number of quarters that the secondary education of the province seemed designed to serve the select few who planned to attend the university. The expense which changes would involve seemed a weighty factor and the force of tradition was strong. Then, too, those parents who were able to give their children a college education generally showed the greatest interest in the schools, and were the most influential persons. Finally, the mass of the people were slow to speak and the legislature was slow to act. Thus it was only at the very close of the century that there was a move toward the inclusion of manual training, domestic science, and business subjects in the curricula of the high schools of the province.
A democratic society, aiming at the good of all, recognizes the importance of the welfare of the individual, and is concerned with questions of health-physical, mental, and moral. In 1897 Stockton, reviewing in the New Brunswick legislature the sixty years of Victoria's reign, referred to the great advances during that period in almost everything that tended to uplift and enoble humanity and to humanize the economic and sanitary conditions of the people. At no previous time, he said, had agencies for relieving suffering, caring
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for the distressed, and holding out a helping hand to the weak been so numerous and obtrusive.138
With the establishment of local Boards of Health and the wider use of vaccination, New Brunswick during these years sought to improve the health of its people and to ward off the terrible epidemics which periodically in the earlier days had caused a heavy loss of life and efficiency. In relation to education, the increased interest in public health promoted an emphasis on the ventilation and sanitary arrangements of schools, and led to the introduction into the curriculum of lessons on health and temperance. We find that schools were now regularly closed by the boards of health at any threat of an infectious or contagious disease, a wise precaution certainly, but one which worked hardship to the teachers of the province, until in 1894 the Board of Education sanctioned the payment to teachers of that portion of their government grant lost when their schools were closed by the Board of Health.139 The prevalence of illness among the Normal School students led Principal Mullin to apply in 1885 to the Board of Education for the appointment of a medical adviser to examine into the physical condition of the students on their admission to the institution, and to attend them in case of illness. The application was not complied with,140 but in 1890 the Board ordered that all applicants for admission to the Normal School were to furnish to the Principal a certificate of general good health, signed by a registered physician.141 In 1899 an unduly large number of cases of typhoid and measles among the students of the Normal School caused a furore over the sanitary conditions in the school. However, the investigation which followed showed that the sanitary system, “although somewhat behind the latest developments of the plumber's art” was efficient enough, and that the prevalence of typhoid could in no wise be charged to the state of the building or to the supervision of the staff.142 In the same year the Principal urged, unsuccessfully of course, the erection of a dormitory for the young ladies at the Normal School, where the dangers of contagion and infection could be reduced to a minimum, and proper hours of study could be prescribed.143
During these years the Provincial Asylum received a good deal of attention in the legislature. The management of the institution was frequently questioned, but invariably from the standpoint of cost of operation. When the government leaders expressed pride, as the Hon. James Mitchell did in 1892,144 over the fact that the asylum cost less per capita for maintenance than any institution of the kind, public or private, in America, few members of the legislature felt called on to question this state of affairs as a source of gratification.
The province was slow to undertake measures to combat delinquency and to aid physical defectives. In 1893, largely through the generosity and
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energy of Lady Tilley, a reform school for boys was established.145 No early provincial measures were taken for the education of blind children, or deaf mutes. For a number of years, the school for the deaf and dumb at Fredericton and a similar institution at Halifax urged the government of New Brunswick for assistance, as pupils from that province attended these institutions and frequently were unable to pay anything for their training. Finally the school at Halifax refused to accept New Brunswick pupils unless the government followed the example of Nova Scotia in giving a grant for each pupil in attendance from the province.146 In 1892 the legislature passed an act by which the Fredericton school for deaf mutes was to receive from the County School Fund a grant of $ 60 per year for every child from New Brunswick in attendance at the school. A somewhat similar provision was made for the education of blind children at the Halifax School for the Blind.147 Small though these grants were, they proved an added strain on the County School Fund of the province, which, however was not increased in spite of the new demands on it.
Retarded pupils and mental defectives were still unprovided for when the century closed. The idea of the Kindergarten for children of pre-school age had begun to attract attention about 1880,148 at the very time when, in the United States, Froebel's theories were beginning to divide the honors with Pestalozzian principles.149 In 1898 there were two kindergartens in Saint John, one in Fredericton, and one in Moncton.150 Campbellton seems to have had a kindergarten department in 1899.151 Superintendent Inch observed in that year that these were all established and maintained by private effort. He himself was strongly in favor of such schools, having suggested in 1892 the establishment of a kindergarten department in connection with the Normal School, but the overcrowding of the building had led to the abandonment of the scheme.152 As a matter of fact, the kindergarten has not become a part of the school system of New Brunswick, such schools of that nature being private institutions.
From the standpoint of pedagogy the growth of democracy in the last half of the nineteenth century led to considerable interest in the psychology of the child, and in the best methods of teaching. Judging from the official reports, the Superintendents of Education in New Brunswick and the Inspectors were conversant with the theories of the great educators of their own and an earlier day. At the Normal School student-teachers received at least a brief exposure to the latest pedagogical theories. When the period of training was extended in 1871, Principal Crocket said that hitherto the lives and principles of distinguished educators such as Pestalozzi and Arnold had been little more than alluded to, but that the extension of the term would henceforth allow the
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student-teachers an opportunity to devote more time to professional work.153 We note that to the list of texts for teachers the Board of Education in 1887 added the following: Fitch's Lectures on Teaching, Payne's Science and Art of Education, Browning's Educational Theories, and, for grammar school teachers, Sully's Outlines of Psychology. Evidence that the Inspectors were interested in the teachers' attitudes toward their profession is found in a number of reports, of which the following are examples. In 1887 Inspector Mersereau said that the teachers of the Institute for Northumberland and Gloucester Counties had unanimously adopted Payne's Science and Art of Teaching for reading during the year, and for discussion at subsequent meetings.155 In 1884 Inspector Oakes reported in disgust that many teachers were unacquainted with professional literature. He had found those who had never read, never even heard of, Calkin's Object Lessons, or Herbert Spencer on Education. Far too many, he lamented, made no effort to put into practice the principles they had learned at the Normal School, seldom attended an institute, or read a book or journal on education.156 The fact that the New Brunswick Journal of Education, and later the Educational Review, with which the Journal merged in 1887, received very limited patronage from the teaching profession of the province bears testimony to the truth of Inspector Oakes' observations.
The Superintendents frequently discussed the practices of other countries, and the teachers, through the Summer School of Science, and an occasional convention, such as that held at St. Stephen in joint session with the teachers of Maine,157 and the inter-provincial conference at Saint John in 1888,158 gained a few interesting contacts with the teachers of adjacent states and provinces. The eventual extension of the Normal School session to one year made possible a greater degree of professional training, but the limited staff of the institution, the lack of space in the Model School, and the necessity of teaching academic subjects to the student-teachers, all combined to set definite limits to the amount of actual training in professional work. Invariably, the Superintendent of Education and the Principal of the Normal School stressed the need of facilities for a more adequate professional training.159 Friction among the members of the staff of the Normal School in 1899, which reached such a point that one member of the faculty struck another, brought on an investigation. The Commissioners appointed for the purpose not only enquired into the strained relations which had existed for some time between the Principal and the teaching staff, but also probed into the methods pursued by the staff. Having found that only about one-fifth of the school time was taken up with instruction in method and professional work, and the other four-fifths was devoted to such ordinary scholastic work as ought to be obtained in any superior or grammar school, the
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Commissioners called for a reorganization of the Normal School with a view to securing more training in professional work than was possible under the existing management.160 As a matter of fact, a short time before this, Principal Mullin, in his annual report, had strongly emphasized the need of better facilities to provide more practice teaching, and had expressed the hope that the day was not far distant when the strength of the Normal School would be expended in securing to its teachers a sound theoretical and practical acquaintance with education, its principles and its practices, its history and its literature.161 The following year he suggested the abolition of third class licenses, the extension to a year and a half of the course for first class teachers, and the gradual reorganization of entrance requirements, so that eventually the teaching of academic subjects at the Normal School might be entirely eliminated, and full attention given to purely professional training.162 In 1901 the Board of Education raised the age of entrance to seventeen and increased the requirements for admission. The Superintendent said, however, that since few persons were willing to spend two years at the Normal School, unless the prospects of financial reward were brighter, the further extension of the Normal session was impossible, and the only practicable course was to continue the teaching of both academic and professional subjects, so as to improve both scholarship and professional knowledge and skill.163 We observed earlier that forty years passed before the practical suggestions of the first Principal of the Normal School were carried out. Another period of four decades has passed since New Brunswick's educationists, at the close of the nineteenth century, hoped for the early establishment of a two-year Normal course. Even after allowance is made for the effect of two wars, and other factors, this delay is surely unduly long.
Among the educational displays from New Brunswick at various exhibitions during this period was one shown at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition held in London in 1886. After viewing this exhibit, William Lant Carpenter, an English educationist who was interested in the condition of education in the “colonies” , reported as follows: “It is somewhat remarkable that a small colony, mainly agricultural, should possess one of the most perfect systems of instruction in primary schools with which I am acquainted . . . . There is a progressive course of instruction for all schools in which the subjects appear to have been selected, arranged and appointed, with a due regard to sound educational principles” .164 In commenting on this tribute, one might observe that in England at the time elementary education was not yet completely free, so that in this respect the New Brunswick system might indeed seem impressive by comparison. Moreover, the exhibit, although accompanied by an historical sketch of the development of education in New Brunswick, could not present an altogether accurate picture of actual conditions and practices. Undoubtedly, however, this
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particular British educationist was impressed by the evidence he saw. The following tribute from the New England Journal of Education in 1881 was also gratifying to Superintendent Rand. Referring to the prescribed course of instruction for the schools of New Brunswick, this educational journal said: “While two-thirds of the Country Districts in New England are plodding along with the go-as-you-please type of district school, with no efficient course of study, untrained teachers and no supervision, our neighbors in the Provinces are laying out a system of public education that, if properly worked, will bring forth a powerful and well-instructed people in half a century that need ask no favors of anybody on the western continent” .165
The educational officials themselves in New Brunswick, at the time of the passage of the Act of 1871 and for many years afterwards, repeatedly expressed the conviction that the province had erected a noble foundation, and that when the system was in complete working order it would be second to none.166 The request from South Africa at the close of the Boer War that Principal Mullin of the Normal School, and a number of other New Brunswick teachers, should be given leave of absence to journey to South Africa and there lay the foundation of a school system along the principles of the system in New Brunswick appeared as lively proof of the excellence of the New Brunswick system. Today the general belief seems to be that the educational services of the Maritime Provinces are of an inferior grade, a belief which has found expression in a number of Maritime briefs. Indeed, the lesson of history is surely that institutions, however well devised they may be at the time of their inception, require constant modification in the light of new needs, as humanity adapts itself to the eternal flux of things. Societies that attempt to remain static inevitably perish. It was a healthy sign that the defects that appeared in New Brunswick's educational system were becoming very evident to many observers at the close of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately not all the old defects and deficiencies have yet been corrected. Moreover, the task of remodelling, a task which in a sense must be continuous, has had many checks and postponements. It is scarcely possible, however, that those whose duty it is to build and rebuild in the present and immediate future will have to face obstacles, difficulties, and vexations any greater than those which confronted the pioneer builders of the past.

Notes

^1. Superintendent Rand's slogan was “schools for all, and all at school” .

^2. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1869, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix 4, pp. 11, 12.

^3. Office of the Executive Council of New Brunswick: Minutes of Executive Council, Vol. 9, March 16, 1877, p. 560.

^4. Department of Education of New Brunswick: Minutes of Board of Education, Oct. 3, 1879-Oct. 1882; Aug. 30, 1880, p. 58.

^5. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1898, p. 171.

^6. Professor Murray, a native of New Brunswick, and later President of the University of Saskatchewan, was, at the time of this address, professor of philosophy at Dalhousie University. Much of his address is still of significance in relation. to the status of the teaching profession in New Brunswick. (See Murray, W. C., “Present Special Position and Prospects of Teaching as a Profession” , Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick, 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix G, pp. 159-173.)

^7. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick, 1902, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. LIII-LXIII.

^8. The term “Sloyd” was used for manual training schools in Sweden where the system originated.

^9. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1902, p. 156.

^10. Murray (1), p. 170.

^11. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1875, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix C, pp. 41-62.

^12. Ibid., pp. 79-99.

^13. Ibid., Part I, pp. XXXVII.

^14. Rand, Educational Circular Nos. I-VIII, Circular No. 3, pp. 35-39.

^15. Ibid., Circular No. 6, pp. 50-67.

^16. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1873, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XXXIII.

^17. Laidlaw, Vol. XV, No. 3, April-May, 1944, p. 330.

^18. Hughes & Klemm, Vol. 23, p. 35.

^19. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1880, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XLVI, XLVII.

^20. Ibid., p. XLV.

^21. Rand, Educational Circular No. 13, 1882, p. 417.

^22. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1880, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XLIII-XLIV.

^23. Ibid., p. XLIX.

^24. Ibid., p. XLII.

^25. Ibid., p. XLII.

^26. Ibid., 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXIX.

^27. Rand, Educational Circulars Nos. II-VIII, Circular No. 6, pp. 65, 66.

^28. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part 1, p. XVII.

^29. Ibid., pp. X, XV.

^30. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1892, pp. 5, 7, 8, 33; Ibid., 1895, pp. 20, 21, 28.

^31. Ibid., 1884, p. 127.

^32. Ibid., p. 126.

^33. Reisner, p. 263.

^34. Hughes & Klemm, Vol. 23, p. 36.

^35. New Brunswick: Journal House of Assembly, 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXXI.

^36. The Minutes of the Board of Education for these years contain references to the receipt of a number of such complaints.

^37. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXXI.

^38. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1884, pp. 126-130.

^39. Ibid., p. 127.

^40. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Oct. 16, 1884, p. 68.

^41. A number of such cases are recorded in the Minutes of the Board of Education between 1882 and 1902.

^42. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1873, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXVI.

^43. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 17, 1873-Aug. 15, 1879; April 28, 1877, p. 212.

^44. Ibid., July 11, 1878, p. 300.

^45. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, pp. 314-316.

^46. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1881, pp. 55, 92.

^47. Ibid., 1884, p. 54.

^48. Ibid., 1889, p. 34.

^49. The Dominion policy of assistance to the dairy industry had been a great impetus.

^50. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1897, p. 6. Ibid., 1896, p. 6. Ibid., 1901, p. 107.

^51. Ibid., 1901, pp. 45, 105.

^52. Ibid., 1900, pp. 7, 9, 23.

^53. Ibid., p. 18.

^54. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1901, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, Appendix 8, p. 47.

^55. Ibid., 1900, p. 42.

^56. Ibid., 1901, pp. 16, 40, also Part I, p. LX.

^57. Ibid., 1897, Part III, Appendix E, pp. 139-144. Ibid., 1899, Part III, Appendix B, p. 44. Ibid., 1901, Part III, Appendix C, p. 74. Also Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; March 15, 1901, pp. 562, 563, 593.

^58. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1899; Annual Report on Schools, Part I. pp. L-LVII. Also Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1900, p. 127 et. al.

^59. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1900, pp. 127, 156-162, 167. The proposed establishment of a Maritime Technical Institution, in which youth might be trained in agriculture, mining, horticulture, and other industrial pursuits, was later abandoned as impractical in view of the limited resources of the provinces, and the terrific expense of such an institution if it were to be at all comparable to the Technical School at McGill, or to the MacDonald Agricultural College at Guelph.

^60. Ibid., pp. 161, 162.

^61. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1902, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, Appendix E, p. 151.

^62. Department of Education: Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1862-Dec. 3, 1902, July 27, 1900. p. 524.

^63. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1901, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, Appendix B, p. 34.

^64. Smith. P., Vol. 1, pp. 316, 317.

^65. Bailey, J. W., (2), p. 5.

^66. Ibid., p. 7.

^67. Ibid., pp. 133-139.

^68. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902, p. 1.

^69. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1894, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XLV.

^70. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Dec. 1, 1897, p. 400.

^71. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1901, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, Appendix E, p. 182.

^72. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Dec. 1, 1897, p. 400.

^73. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 149.

^74. He was referring, of course, to deductive philosophy.

^75. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1894, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, pp. 116, 117.

^76. Ibid., pp. 119, 120.

^77. For example, in 1897 the Secretary of the Campbellton School Board, in praising the Principal of the Grammar School, E. W. Lewis, as an adept in the classics and mathematics, added that he was equally enthusiastic “in the teaching of those modern sciences which are now considered indispensable to the rising generation in enabling them to cope with the great problems of life in these days of scientific investigation” . Journal of the House of Assembly of New Brunswick, 1897. Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 116.

^78. New Brunswick: Journal of the House of Assembly, 1894, Annual Report of Schools, Part III, p. 120.

^79. Ibid., 1885, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, pp. 31, 32.

^80. Messenger, p. 324.

^81. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 345.

^82. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1886, pp. 22, 23.

^83. Ibid., 1896, p. 59.

^84. Ibid., 1894, pp. 33, 99, 105, 123, 136, 157 et. al.

^85. Ibid., 1899, pp. 26, 43, 44.

^86. Ibid., 1889, p. 67.

^87. Ibid., pp. 67, 68.

^88. Ibid., p. 88.

^89. Ibid., 1895, pp. 96, 97.

^90. Ibid., p. 90.

^91. Ibid., p. 96.

^92. Ibid., p. 97.

^93. Ibid., 1899, p. 65.

^94. Ibid., p. 64.

^95. Ibid., 1889, p. 70.

^96. Ibid., 1899, p. 66.

^97. Ibid., pp. 66, 67.

^98. Ibid., 1889, p. 90.

^99. Ibid., p. 92.

^100. Ibid., p. 90.

^101, Ibid., p. 93.

^102. Ibid., p. 96.

^103. Ibid., p. 98.

^104. Ibid., 1894, pp. 162, 163.

^105. Ibid., 1899, p. 65.

^106. Ibid., 1889, p. 68.

^107. Women were admitted to the University of New Brunswick in 1886.

^108. It is significant that for the most part the advocates of woman suffrage also supported legislation for the protection of the working classes.

^109. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1888, p. 120.

^110. Ibid., p. 121.

^111. Ibid., 1889, p. 107.

^112. Ibid., 1894, pp. 126, 127, 140.

^113. Murray (2), p. 97.

^114. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part 1, p. XXXVII.

^115. Reisner, pp. 116, 117.

^116. Murray (2), p. 97.

^117. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1891, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XIV.

^118. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1895, p. 32.

^119. During the nineties a number of petitions urging a compulsory attendance law were presented to the legislature by boards of school trustees and by the W.C.T.U.

^120. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1891, Annual Report on Schools. Part I, pp. XIV, XV.

^121. Curti, p. 91.

^122. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1877, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXVI.

^123. Ibid., 1885, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 23.

^124. Ibid., 1899, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. LVII, LVIII.

^125. Ibid., Part III, pp. 30, 31.

^126. Ibid., 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. 62.

^127. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, p. 24.

^128. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1879, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XIX.

^129. Ibid., 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 33.

^130. Ibid., 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXXII.

^131. Ibid., 1891, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XLIV.

^132. Ibid., 1894, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXIII.

^133. The New Brunswick Journal of Education, Vol. 1, No. 12, Nov. 11, 1886, p. 89.

^134. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1884, pp. 128, 129.

^135. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1896, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXV.

^136. Ibid., 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXXIV. Ibid., 1888, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XLVIII, XLIX. Ibid., 1890, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XLIII. Ibid., 1891, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XLIV.

^137. Ibid., 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. 29.

^138. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1897, p. 11.

^139. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; June 5, 1894, pp. 294, 296.

^140. Ibid., Nov. 26, 1895, p. 109.

^141. Ibid., April 24, 1890, p. 199.

^142. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report on Debates of House of Assembly, 1899, pp. 47-50.

^143. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1899, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 10.

^144. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1892, p. 30.

^145. Ibid., 1893, pp. 8, 20.

^146. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1888, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 125.

^147. Ibid., 1893, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXI.

^148. Ibid., 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXVIII.

^149. Reisner, p. 461.

^150. New Brunsw1ck: Journal of House of Assembly, 1899, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. LX.

^151. Ibid., 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 123.

^152. Ibid., 1899, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. LIX, LX.

^153. Ibid., 1873, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix A, p. 4.

^154. Ibid., 1887, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXXVIII.

^155. Ibid., Part III, p. 11.

^156. Ibid., 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 48.

^157. Ibid., 1898, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XLVII.

^158. Ibid., 1889, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 103.

^159. Actually, as a training school, the New Brunswick institution compared very favourably with the Normal School of Nova Scotia, which, until 1893, was simply a school in competition with the high schools, academies, and colleges, whose courses were also adapted to enable teachers to pass the examinations, which was at that was required at the time to obtain a teacher's license. MacKay, p. 533.

^160. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902, pp. 474, 480, 485-490.

^161. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1899, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. 8.

^162. Ibid., 1900, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, pp. 7, 8.

^163. Ibid., 1901, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XXVI, XXVII.

^164. Ibid., 1887, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. LX.

^165. Ibid., 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part I. Footnote on p. XLV.

^166. Indeed, there were those who thought that the provincial system was ultra-progressive and overly ambitious. In 1881, for instance, the Saint John School Board, which had been plagued with complaints from parents that the course was over-loaded, wrote: “Our educational system Is admirably adapted to a wealthy community where .... the children are not forced to earn their livelihood at an early age, if at all .... Fifty years ahead of Massachusetts, which it is alleged that our system is, means a century ahead of New Brunswick; that is, of what we can afford or really need here. Permit us .... to rest satisfied with the day of smaller things” . Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick, 1881, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, pp. 53, 54.