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[367] constantly and successfully pressing forward, the lower one's have asked it, as a favor, to be permitted to go back and pass a second time carefully over the elements. All, therefore, have been satisfied,—I believe I may add, better satisfied than in any other study,—and all of them—except about five, who, for idleness, negligence, and other misconduct, might have been dismissed from College long ago—have been advanced according to their respective talents; so that two divisions, having made themselves sufficiently familiar with French to read it anywhere, to write it decently, and to speak it a little, have lately been dismissed from its study, while two other divisions are still going on with it, earnestly and successfully, according to their respective powers.

I know it has been said that the application of this law, for progress according to capacity and proficiency, was less unwelcome to the students in French, because they entered with unequal qualifications. But there is no foundation for this suggestion, for there were but seven out of fifty-five who knew anything of the language, and the remaining forty-eight entered with an equality of pretensions with which forty-eight never entered in anything else since the College was founded, for they entered in entire ignorance. Moreover, of the seven who entered more or less advanced, two fell long since to the bottom of the class, or near it; and all the other five have been compelled to see themselves successively passed by those who entered without knowing a word of French; while, at the same time, the relative position of the whole fifty-five has been freely and frequently changed, according to the development of their talents and industry, and every one has kept his place, if he has kept it, only by his exertions. The difference, therefore, in the effect produced by the application of the law in French and in the other studies was not owing to any such circumstance as has been suggested. If the difference in original qualifications had been all, the law, as it was applied, would have been more odious in French than in anything else. But the real difference was, that in French the law was administered, according to its spirit and intent, by officers who approved it, and that it was, from this administration of it, felt by the students to be useful, just, and beneficial.

These extracts show not only Mr. Ticknor's opinions on this subject, but the labor he was willing to incur, not merely to carry out his system, but to do the work of instruction as he felt it ought to be done, and in a manner approaching that in which he had seen it done in Europe. After this period he was

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