In calling this little book 'The Curse of Education,' I trust that I shall not be misunderstood to disparage culture. The term 'education' is used, for want of a better word, to express the conventional mode of teaching and bringing up children, and of educating youth in this and other civilized countries. It is with education systems, with the universal method of cramming the mind with facts, and particularly with the manufacture of uniformity and mediocrity by subjecting every individual to a common process, regardless of his natural bent, that I have chiefly to find fault.
happily to the young bookbinder making the acquaintance of the lecturer, and eventually obtaining a position as assistant in the Royal Institution.
Linnæus, the great naturalist, had a very narrow escape from missing his proper vocation. He was sent to a grammar-school, but exhibited no taste for books; therefore his father decided to apprentice him to a shoemaker. Fortunately, however, a discriminating physician had observed the boy's love of natural history, and took him into his own house to teach him botany and physiology.
Instances of the kind might be multiplied. Milton himself began life as a schoolmaster, and the father of Turner, one of the greatest landscape painters who ever lived, did his best to turn his brilliant son into a barber. The point, however, is obvious enough without the need of further illustration. A few examples have been adduced of great geniuses who have contrived, by the accident of circumstances or through sheer force of character, to escape from an environme