No More Compulsory Latin & Greek

From Benjamin Rush’s commonplace book*

“Habit continues after what occasioned it ceases. Latin and Greek [were] useful to monks when all knowledge [was] shut up in them. Not so now. As well might continue the spade since the invention of the plough, or skins and fig leaves since the discovery of silk, cotton, and woolen clothing… Dead languages [are] less necessary now than formerly. All that is available in them [is] diffused through other and modern books… As medicine and law cannot be learned by all, but are necessary to all, why [can] not the dead languages [be] confined like medicine and law to certain persons only? Teaching dead languages [is] irritating to the tempers of Schoolmasters. [There should be] No ears pulled, no swearing, no calling [students] beasts for ignorance or dullness of apprehension in teaching other things.”

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*Cited in The Founders and the Classics by Carl J. Richard

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