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Legislature have been subjected to closer or severer scrutiny. No concealment of any of its objects or details was attempted by its advocates. Some of its most active opponents objected to it on the ground that its scope was too wide, that it attempted to accomplish too much; but the Legislature thought otherwise, and it became a law. It may be contended that the Act itself is not sufficiently explicit as to all the details. To that it may be replied, that it was so intended. It was no easy matter to frame a bill which would embrace all the subjects contemplated by it, without confusion, and it probably would have been more difficult to reconcile differences of opinion as to form than as to substance. Besides, it was supposed that much would depend upon the personal interest, the zeal and intelligence of those who were to carry out the scheme, and it was contemplated that to them all necessary details should, be left. If Dr. Thornwell had examined the Act which created the institution over which he presides, with so much reputation to himself and satisfaction to the public, he would have discovered that the South-Carolina College owes its origin to a statute not more extended in length nor more definite as to its end and aim, than the "Act to convert the Arsenal at Columbia, and the Citadel and Magazine in and near Charleston, into Military Schools."
So much for President Thornwell's first allusion to the Military Academies; and we regret to state that no part of his letter contains information any more trustworthy concerning their organization, their objects, their course of studies, or their results. The reason of this we do not know, but must presume that the author was so much occupied with two branches of his subject as to have no opportunity left him to ensure accuracy of statement or inference with regard to the third.
By the report of the Chairman of the Board of Visitors, we learn that the number of appointments made to the Academies in 1843, the year of their establishment, was forty-nine. In 1853, there were appointed twenty-eight beneficiaries and seventy-three pay Cadets; the aggregate number admitted has been seven hundred and twenty-five. At present there are in the Academies—of the fourth class, eighty-one; third class, forty-two; second class, twentythree; and first or senior class, thirteen. These classes numbered on entering—third, ninety; second, one hundred and three; and first, sixty-nine. The reason of the reduced numbers will appear.
There have graduated, in seven annual classes, only eightyeight, and the remainder, with comparatively few exceptions, have been dismissed for deficiency or misconduct, or have found it necessary to seek, in advance, an honourable discharge in order to forestall the academic decision which would prevent their obtaining it. The exceptions referred to, consist of those who, while maintaining, in every respect, a creditable position in the institution, have, on account of ill health, desire of change, or some other cause, resigned their Cadetship. The reasons why so few complete the course are given in Gen. Jones's report:
"It is owing, in a great measure, to want of care, on the part of parents, guardians and commissioners of free schools, in selecting young men for the Academies, who, from previous imperfect instruction, improper moral training, or natural incapacity, are either rejected on their presentment for admission, discharged at the end of their probationary term of four months, or they break down at some subsequent period of their four years' course. Besides, they are subjected to a rigid system of instruction and a severe course of study, which requires some talent and much diligence to .withstand and complete; and the boy who cannot work, or will not work, is discharged, and bis place given to another.
"But the difficulty of completing the course of instruction, and the large number of dismissals from the Institutions, so far from beinaj an argument against the system pursued there, are, in the opinion of the Board, not the least causes of its excellence. It is impossible to educate everybody, and it seems to be better, by fixing a high standard of education, to train up those who are subjected to it so as to enable them to accomplish the greatest amount of good, than to educate a large number imperfectly. For, if the standard is low, very many will fall short even of thai mark, and the tendency of such a system will be to deteriorate, until it becomes worthless, and in the end contemptible."
In the truth of these sentiments we most decidedly acquiesce; with classes of nearly a hundred* entering every year, it would not be difficult, conscience permitting, to graduate fifty or more; but conscience forbids, good policy forbids, the cause of education forbids. The fourth class at the Military Academy will always be large, and the graduating class will always be small, because a thorough knowledge of the course is exacted. Simple good conduct, and attendance in the section rooms, with an occasional tolerable recitation, do not suffice to merit or receive a diploma. Such is the theory everywhere, but that it is the practice in this case, the statistics given above will amply verify. Besides, those who leave before graduation are always more or less benefited in proportion to the length of their stay. They have learned the drill, and the duties of soldiers and officers ; they have made some, and many of them considerable, progress in one or more branches of the course; they have acquired habits of study, promptitude and order, and, above all, they have been, for the time, kept aloof from those temptations to dissipation and vice to which almost every youth at college is, in a great measure, exposed.
*Thi- number could be greatly increased by admitting pay Cadeta from other States, but such applications are uniformly rejected.
The fourth class is instructed at the Academy in Columbia, the others at that in Charleston. The course of instruction in everything, except those studies preparing for immediate entrance into the corps of Military Engineers, is identical with that pursued at West Point: and, with the exception of Latin and Greek, for which are substituted French, Drawing, and Military Art and Science, comprehends all the features of the highest college course. We give it here in full:
Arithmetic, Algebra, English Grammar, Mythology, Geography, History of the United States, and French.
Geometry and Trigonometry, Descriptive and Analytical Geometry, Surveying, Universal History, "Parker's Aids to English Composition," French and Landscape Drawing.
Shades and Shadows, Church's Calculus, Muller's Physics, Harriett's Mechanics, Whately's Logic, Blair's Rhetoric, Shaw's History of English Literature, Chemistry, and Topographical Drawing.
Civil and Military Engineering and Science of War, (in Mahan's texts, the West Point Lithographic Notes, Scott's Tactics, Kingsbury's Artillery, and Halleck's "Military Art and Science,") Gummere's Astronomy, Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Political Economy, Story on the Constitution, (Calhoun is just substituted by special order of the Board,) Chemistry, Geology, and Architectural Drawing.
Exercise in composition and declamation, and practical instruction in Infantry, Light Infantry and Artillery Tactics, are conducted throughout the course. The months of May and December are employed exclusively in military instruction, and an annual encampment of three weeks' duration, forms a feature of the system.
The apparatus connected with the departments of physical science, is complete, and there is every facility for imparting instruction in the most efficient manner. But one want remains to be supplied: that of a good library. By the voluntary contributions of the Cadets, a beginning has been made, but until the number of books increases tenfold, the Institution cannot be said to have even a tolerable library.
Such is the course of studies pursued at the State Military Schools; and, by this, we do not mean only attendance at lectures, but diligent application to text books and daily recitations upon them. In certain departments, lectures are, of course, delivered"; but they are illustrative of the text books, and do not supersede their use, nor do they interfere with close daily examinations upon the lessons assigned.
The professors are eight in number, of whom three are beneficiary graduates of the Institution, and one of them was but three years beyond its walls, when he was entrusted with the whole mathematical department of the Citadel Academy. Three of these professors are stationed in Columbia, the five others are at the Academy in Charleston ; but, besides the regularly constituted officers of the Institution, four or five cadets of the first class, most distinguished for proficiency in the various departments, are appointed to act as assistant teachers, and aid in the instruction of the third class. Without entering into a discussion of the comparative merits of mathematical and classical studies for training and developing the mind, we will proceed to show that, apart from actual military instruction, the academic discipline of a military school is, of itself (other circumstances being equal) calculated to insure a far greater degree of application to study, and a proportionately greater amount of knowledge and profit, than a residence of the same length of time under any college system whatever, now in vogue. In establishing this position, President Thornwell's letter affords us valuable aid. He writes (pp. 7, 8):
"In the next place, it is equally important that the whole course of studies be rigidly exacted of every student. Their value as a discipline depends altogether upon their being studied, and every college is defective in its arrangements, which fails to secure, as far as legislation can secure it, this indispensable condition of success. "Whatever may be the case in Europe, it is found from experience in this country, that nothing will avail without the authority of law. The curriculum must be compulsory, or the majority of students will neglect it. In most men, the love of ease is stronger than ambition, and indolence a greater luxury than thought," <fec. "The argument of necessity helps to reconcile the student to the weariness of study." "What he feels that he must do, he will endeavour to do with grace." "There are always causes at worlf, apart from the repulsiveness of intellectual labour, to seduce the student from his books; and before his habits are yet formed, and the love of study grounded into his nature, it is of the utmost consequence to keep these causes in check. No other motives will be sufficient without the compulsion of law," &c.
To all of which we yield our most hearty assent; but does it not directly follow, that the institution in which that compulsion and that power of authority are most effectively exercised upon the student, short of tyranny and consistently with his manly dignity, must be, in that respect at least, the best?
Now let us allude to a few of the regulations of the Military Academy. On entering, every Cadet signs a promise on honour, to obey all the legal orders of the constituted authorities of the Academy, and to discharge the duties of a Cadet