THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS
EDITOR'S PREFACE By Henry CabotLodge
I. QUINCY (1838-1848)
II. BOSTON (1848-1854)
III. WASHINGTON (1850-1854)
IV. HARVARD COLLEGE (1854-1858)
V. BERLIN (1858-1859)
VI. ROME (1859-1860)
VII. TREASON (1860-1861)
VIII. DIPLOMACY (1861)
IX. FOES OR FRIENDS (1862)
X. POLITICAL MORALITY (1862)
XI. THE BATTLE OF THE RAMS (1863)
XII. ECCENTRICITY (1863)
XIII. THE PERFECTION OF HUMAN SOCIETY(1864)
XIV. DILETTANTISM (1865-1866)
XV. DARWINISM (1867-1868)
XVI. THE PRESS (1868)
XVII. PRESIDENT GRANT (1869)
XVIII. FREE FIGHT (1869-1870)
XIX. CHAOS (1870)
XX. FAILURE (1871)
XXI. TWENTY YEARS AFTER (1892)
XXII. CHICAGO (1893)
XXIII. SILENCE (1894-1898)
XXIV. INDIAN SUMMER (1898-1899)
XXV. THE DYNAMO AND THE VIRGIN(1900)
XXVI. TWILIGHT (1901)
XXVII. TEUFELSDRÖCKH (1901)
XXVIII. THE HEIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE(1902)
XXIX. THE ABYSS OF IGNORANCE (1902)
XXX. VIS INERTIAE (1903)
XXXI. THE GRAMMAR OF SCIENCE (1903)
XXXII. VIS NOVA (1903-1904)
XXXIII. A DYNAMIC THEORY OF HISTORY(1904)
XXXIV. A LAW OF ACCELERATION (1904)
XXXV. NUNC AGE (1905)
EDITOR'S PREFACETHIS volume, written in 1905 as a sequelto the same author's "Mont Saint Michel and Chartres," wasprivately printed, to the number of one hundred copies, in 1906,and sent to the persons interested, for their assent, correction,or suggestion. The idea of the two books was thus explained atthe end of Chapter XXIX:--
"Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured bymotion from a fixed point. Psychology helped here by suggesting aunit--the point of history when man held the highest idea ofhimself as a unit in a unified universe. Eight or ten years ofstudy had led Adams to think he might use the century 1150-1250,expressed in Amiens Cathedral and the Works of Thomas Aquinas, asthe unit from which he might measure motion down to his own time,without assuming anything as true or untrue, except relation. Themovement might be studied at once in philosophy and mechanics.Setting himself to the task, he began a volume which he mentallyknew as 'Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres: a Study ofThirteenth-Century Unity.' From that point he proposed to fix aposition for himself, which he could label: 'The Education ofHenry Adams: a Study of Twentieth-Century Multiplicity.' With thehelp of these two points of relation, he hoped to project hislines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correctionfrom any one who should know better."
The "Chartres" was finished and privately printed in 1904. The"Education" proved to be more difficult. The point on which theauthor failed to please himself, and could get no light fromreaders or friends, was the usual one of literary form. Probablyhe saw it in advance, for he used to say, half in jest, that hisgreat ambition was to complete St. Augustine's "Confessions," butthat St. Augustine, like a great artist, had worked frommultiplicity to unity, while he, like a small one, had to reversethe method and work back from unity to multiplicity. The schemebecame unmanageable as he approached his end.
Probably he was, in fact, trying only to work into it hisfavorite theory of history, which now fills the last three orfour chapters of the "Education," and he could not satisfyhimself with his workmanship. At all events, he was stillpondering over the problem in 1910, when he tried to deal with itin another way which might be more intelligible to students. Heprinted a small volume called "A Letter to American Teachers,"which he sent to his associates in the American HistoricalAssociation, hoping to provoke some response. Before he couldsatisfy himself even on this minor point, a severe illness in thespring of 1912 put an end to his literary activity forever.
The matter soon passed beyond his control. In 1913 the Instituteof Architects published the "Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres."Already the "Education" had become almost as well known as the"Chartres," and was freely quoted by every book whose authorrequested it. The author could no longer withdraw either volume;he could no longer rewrite either, and he could not publish thatwhich he thought unprepared and unfinished, although in hisopinion the other was historically purposeless without itssequel. In the end, he preferred to leave the "Education"unpublished, avowedly incomplete, trusting that it might quietlyfade from memory. According to his theory of history as explainedin Chapters XXXIII and XXXIV, the teacher was at best helpless,and, in the immediate future, silence next to good-temper was themark of sense. After midsummer, 1914, the rule was madeabsolute.
The Massachusetts Historical Society now publishes the"Education" as it was printed in 1907, with only such marginalcorrections as the author made, and it does this, not inopposition to the author's judgment, but only to put both volumesequally within reach of students who have occasion to consultthem.
HENRY CABOT LODGESeptember, 1918
PREFACEJEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU began his famousConfessions by a vehement appeal to the Deity: "I have shownmyself as I was; contemptible and vile when I was so; good,generous, sublime when I was so; I have unveiled my interior suchas Thou thyself hast seen it, Eternal Father! Collect about methe innumerable swarm of my fellows; let them hear myconfessions; let them groan at my unworthiness; let them blush atmy meannesses! Let each of them discover his heart in his turn atthe foot of thy throne with the same sincerity; and then let anyone of them tell thee if he dares: 'I was a better man!'"
Jean Jacques was a very great educator in the manner of theeighteenth century, and has been commonly thought to have hadmore influence than any other teacher of his time; but hispeculiar method of improving human nature has not beenuniversally admired. Most educators of the nineteenth centuryhave declined to show themselves before their scholars as objectsmore vile or contemptible than necessary, and even the humblestteacher hides, if possible, the faults with which nature hasgenerously embellished us all, as it did Jean Jacques, thinking,as most religious minds are apt to do, that the Eternal Fatherhimself may not feel unmixed pleasure at our thrusting under hiseyes chiefly the least agreeable details of his creation.
As an unfortunate result the twentieth century finds few recentguides to avoid, or to follow. American literature offersscarcely one working model for high education. The student mustgo back, beyond Jean Jacques, to Benjamin Franklin, to find amodel even of self-teaching. Except in the abandoned sphere ofthe dead languages, no one has discussed what part of educationhas, in his personal experience, turned out to be useful, andwhat not. This volume attempts to discuss it.
As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; heerected a monument of warning against the Ego. Since his time,and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to effaceitself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on whichthe toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fitor misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, notthe figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothesto his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is tofit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of theworld, equipped for any emergency; and the garment offered tothem is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on theirfathers.
At the utmost, the active-minded young man should ask of histeacher only mastery of his tools. The young man himself, thesubject of education, is a certain form of energy; the object tobe gained is economy of his force; the training is partly theclearing away of obstacles, partly the direct application ofeffort. Once acquired, the tools and models may be thrownaway.
The manikin, therefore, has the same value as any othergeometrical figure of three or more dimensions, which is used forthe study of relation. For that purpose it cannot be spared; itis the only measure of motion, of proportion, of human condition;it must have the air of reality; must be taken for real; must betreated as though it had life. Who knows? Possibly it had!
February 16, 1907