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conceptions by the addition of which his grandson metamorphosed the theory of evolution as applied to living things and gave it a new foundation. Charles Darwin's childhood and youth afforded no intimation that he would be, or do, anything out of the common run. In fact, the prognostications of the educational authorities into whose hands he first fell were most distinctly unfavourable; and they counted the only boy of original genius who is known to have come under their hands as no better than a dunce. The history of the educational experiments to which Darwin was subjected is curious, and not without a moral for the present generation. There were four of them, and three were failures. Yet it cannot be said that the materials on which the pedagogic powers operated were other than good. In his boyhood Darwin was strong, well-grown, and active, taking the keen delight in field sports and in every description of hard physical exercise which is natural to an English country-bred lad; and, in respect of things of the mind, he was neither apathetic, nor idle, nor one-sided. The “Autobiography” tells us that he “ had much zeal for whatever interested " him, and he was interested in many and very diverse topics. He could work hard, and liked a complex subject better than an easy one. The “clear geometrical proofs" of Euclid delighted him. His interest in practical chemistry, carried out in an extemporised laboratory, in which he was permitted to assist by his elder brother, kept him late at work, and earned him the nickname of “gas" among his schoolfellows. And there could have been no insensibility to literature in one who, as a boy, could sit for hours reading Shakespeare, Milton, Scott, and Byron; who greatly admired some of the Odes of Horace ; and who, in later years, on board the “ Beagle,” when only one book could be carried on an expedition, chose a volume of Milton for his companion. Industry, intellectual interests, the capacity for taking pleasure in deductive reasoning, in observation, in experiment, no less than in the highest works of imagination: where these qualities are present any rational system of education should surely be able to make something of them. Unfortunately for Darwin, the Shrewsbury Grammar School, though good of its kind, was an institution of a type universally prevalent in this country half a century ago, and by no means extinct at the present day. The education given was “strictly classical,” “especial attention” being “paid to verse-making,” while all other subjects, except a little ancient geography and history, were ignored. Whether, as in some famous English schools at that date and much later, elementary arithmetic was also left out of sight does not appear; but the instruction in Euclid which gave Charles Darwin so much satisfaction was certainly supplied by a


private tutor. That a boy, even in his leisure
hours, should permit himself to be interested in
any but book-learning seems to have been regarded
as little better than an outrage by the head master,
who thought it his duty to administer a public
rebuke to young Darwin for wasting his time
on such a contemptible subject as chemistry.
English composition and literature, modern lan-
guages, modern history, modern geography, appear
to have been considered to be as despicable as
For seven long years Darwin got through his
appointed tasks; construed without cribs, learned
by rote whatever was demanded, and concocted
his verses in approved schoolboy fashion. And
the result, as it appeared to his mature judgment,
was simply negative. “The school as a means of
education to me was simply a blank.” (I. p. 32)
On the other hand, the extraneous chemical
exercises, which the head master treated so
contumeliously, are gratefully spoken of as the
“best part” of his education while at school.
Such is the judgment of the scholar on the school;
as might be expected, it has its counterpart in the
judgment of the school on the scholar. The
collective intelligence of the staff of Shrewsbury
School could find nothing but dull mediocrity in
Charles Darwin. The mind that found satisfac-
tion in knowledge, but very little in merelearning;
that could appreciate literature, but had no par-


ticularaptitude for grammatical exercises; appeared to the “strictly classical” pedagogue to be no mind at all. As a matter of fact, Darwin's school education left him ignorant of almost all the things which it would have been well for him to know, and untrained in all the things it would have been useful for him to be able to do, in after life. Drawing, practice in English composition, and instruction in the elements of the physical sciences, would not only have been infinitely valuable to him in reference to his future career, but would have furnished the discipline suited to his faculties, whatever that career might be. And a knowledge of French and German, especially the latter, would have removed from his path obstacles which he never fully overcame. Thus, starved and stunted on the intellectual side, it is not surprising that Charles Darwin's energies were directed towards athletic amusements and sport, to such an extent, that even his kind and sagacious father could be exasperated into telling him that “he cared for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching.” (I. p. 32.) It would be unfair to expect even the wisest of fathers to have foreseen that the shooting and the ratcatching, as training in the ways of quick observation and in physical endurance, would prove more valuable than the construing and verse-making to his son, whose attempt, at a later period of his life, to persuade himself “that shooting was almost an


intellectual employment: it required so much skill to judge where to find most game, and to hunt the dogs well” (I. p. 43), was by no means so sophistical as he seems to have been ready to admit. In 1825, Dr. Darwin came to the very just conclusion that his son Charles would do no good by remaining at Shrewsbury School, and sent him to join his elder brother Erasmus, who was studying medicine at Edinburgh, with the intention that the younger son should also become a medical practitioner. Both sons, however, were well aware that their inheritance would relieve them from the urgency of the struggle for existence which most professional men have to face; and they seemed to have allowed their tastes, rather than the medical curriculum, to have guided their studies. Erasmus Darwin was debarred by constant ill-health from seeking the public distinction which his high intelligence and extensive knowledge would, under ordinary circumstances, have insured. He took no great interest in biological subjects, but his companionship must have had its influence on his brother. Still more was exerted by friends like Coldstream and Grant, both subsequently well-known zoologists (and the latter an enthusiastic Lamarckian), by whom Darwin was induced to interest himself in marine zoology. A notice of the ciliated germs of Flustra, communicated to the Plinian Society in 1826, was the first fruits of Darwin's half century of scientific work. Occa

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