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[365] proved. The experiment was made unwillingly, and was soon given up.

In the autumn of 1826, when a committee of the Overseers made the annual visitation of the College, the new arrangements were not found working successfully in any department but that of the modern languages. In carrying out the regulation by which the students were divided into sections, according to their capacity and proficiency, it was attended with great and seemingly insurmountable difficulties, and the Overseers recommended to the Corporation some modification of the rule. The Corporation accordingly relaxed its binding force, and early in 1827 the Faculty resolved that it was expedient that this law ‘should not be applied to the departments, or by individual instructors, without the assent of the Faculty,’ but ‘that if the Department of Modern Languages choose to apply the law to the classes instructed by that department, the Faculty assent.’

Although this vote was virtually the abandonment, so far as the College was concerned, of the improvement which Mr. Ticknor had desired to accomplish, it left him free to regulate his own department as he chose, and gave him the opportunity, which he did not fail to use, to exhibit in its operation the advantages of the system he had so vigorously urged. The following account of the mode in which he governed his department, and of the success which attended his course, is taken from a letter1 addressed by him in April, 1827, to the President and Fellows— the Corporation—of the College:—

I receive detailed reports from each of its three instructors at the end of every term, teach in their classes myself frequently, introduce changes in their modes of instruction, and, in general, look upon myself as responsible for the good management of the students under their care . . . . The object of the law was in part, if I rightly understand it, to lead to instruction by subjects rather than by books, so that, for instance, a student should not merely read Livy and Horace, but learn Latin. This has been attempted in the modern languages,

1 The original of this letter has not been found; but the existence of a careful copy, preserved by Mr. Ticknor to the end of his life, shows that he placed a value on it, as a true record of his views and of his work.

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