Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership


Title: The Story of a Great Schoolmaster
Author: H. G. Wells
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1100501.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: June 2011
Date most recently updated: June 2011

Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg Australia License which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

To contact Project Gutenberg Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Story of a Great Schoolmaster
Author: H. G. Wells

(1924)

*

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I    SANDERSON THE MAN
CHAPTER II   THE MODERNISATION OF OUNDLE SCHOOL
CHAPTER III  THE REPLACEMENT OF COMPETITION BY GROUP WORK
CHAPTER IV   THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF RELATIONS BETWEEN SCHOOL AND REALITY
CHAPTER V    THE GROWTH OF SANDERSON SHOWN IN HIS SERMONS AND SCRIPTURE LESSONS
CHAPTER VI   THE WAR AND SANDERSON'S PROPAGANDA OF RECONSTRUCTION
CHAPTER VII  THE HOUSE OF VISION AND THE SCHOOL CHAPEL
CHAPTER VIII THE LAST LECTURE

*



CHAPTER I. SANDERSON THE MAN

1

Of all the men I have met--and I have now had a fairly long and active
life and have met a very great variety of interesting people--one only
has stirred me to a biographical effort. This one exception is F. W.
Sanderson, for many years the headmaster of Oundle School. I think him
beyond question the greatest man I have ever known with any degree of
intimacy, and it is in the hope of conveying to others something of my
sense not merely of his importance, but of his peculiar genius and the
rich humanity of his character, that I am setting out to write this book.
He was in himself a very delightful mixture of subtlety and simplicity,
generosity, adventurousness, imagination and steadfast purpose, and he
approached the general life of our time at such an angle as to reflect
the most curious and profitable lights upon it. To tell his story is to
reflect upon all the main educational ideas of the last half-century, and
to revise our conception of the process and purpose of the modern
community in relation to education. For Sanderson had a mind like an
octopus, it seemed always to have a tentacle free to reach out beyond
what was already held, and his tentacles grew and radiated farther and
farther. Before his end he had come to a vision of the school as a centre
for the complete reorganisation of civilised life.

I knew him personally only during the last eight years of his life; I met
him for the first time in 1914, when I was proposing to send my sons to
his school. But our thoughts and interests drew us very close to one
another, I never missed an opportunity of meeting and talking to him, and
I was the last person he spoke to before his sudden death. He was
sixty-six years of age when he died. Those last eight years were
certainly the richest and most productive of his whole career; he grew
most in those years; he travelled farthest. I think I saw all the best of
him. It is, I think, no disadvantage to have known him only in his
boldest and most characteristic phase. It saves me from confusion between
his maturer and his earlier phases. He was a much stratified man. He had
grown steadfastly all his life, he had shaken off many habitual
inhibitions and freed himself from once necessary restraints and
limitations. He would go discreetly while his convictions accumulated and
then break forward very rapidly. He had a way of leaving people behind,
and if I had fallen under his spell earlier, I, too, might have been left
far behind. He was, I recall, a rock-climber; he was a mental
rock-climber also, and though he was very wary of recalcitrance, there
were times when his pace became so urgent that even his staff and his own
family were left tugging, breathless and perplexed, at the rope.

Out of a small country grammar-school he created something more
suggestive of those great modern teaching centres of which our world
stands in need than anything else that has yet been attempted. By all
ordinary standards the Oundle School of his later years was a brilliant
success; it prospered amazingly, there was an almost hopeless
waiting-list of applicants; boys had to be entered five years ahead; but
successful as it was, it was no more than a sketch and demonstration of
the great schools that are yet to be. I saw my own sons get an education
there better than I had ever dared hope for them in England, but from the
first my interest in the intention and promise of Oundle went far beyond
its working actualities. And all the educational possibilities that I had
hitherto felt to be unattainable dreams, matters of speculation, things a
little too extravagant even to talk about in our dull age, I found being
pushed far towards realisation by this bold, persistent, humorous and
most capable man.

Let me first try to give you a picture of his personality as he lives in
my memory. Then I will try to give an account of his beginnings, as far
as I have been able to learn about them, and so we will come to our main
theme, _Sanderson contra Mundum,_ the schoolmaster who set out to conquer
the world. For, as I shall show, that and no less was what he was trying
to do in the last years of his life.

'Ruddy' and 'jolly' are the adjectives that come first to mind when I
think of describing him. He had been a slender, energetic young man his
early photographs witness; but long before I met him he had become plump
and energetic, with a twinkling appreciation for most of the good things
of life. His complexion had a reddish fairness; he had well-modelled
features, thick eyebrows and thick moustache touched with grey, and he
wore spectacles through and over and beside which his active eyes took
stock of you. About his eyes were kindly wrinkles, and generally I
remember him as smiling--often with a touch of roguery in the smile.
Quick movements of his head caused animating flashes of his glasses. He
was carrying a little too much body for his heart, and that made him
short of breath. His voice was in his chest, there was a touch of his
native Northumbria in his accent, and he had a habit of speaking in
incomplete sentences with a frequent use of the interrogative form. His
manner was confidential; he would bend towards his hearer and drop his
voice a little. 'Now what do you think of ----?' he would say, or 'I've
been thinking of ----' so and so. At times his confidential manner became
endearingly suggestive of a friendly conspirator. This, as yet, he seemed
to say, was not for too careless a publication. You and he understood,
but those other fellows--they were difficult fellows. It might not be
practicable to attempt everything at once.

That reservation, that humorous discretion, is very essential in my
memory of him. It is essential to the whole educational situation of the
world. He was an exceptionally bold and creative man, and he was a
schoolmaster, and that is perhaps as near as one can come to a complete
incompatibility of quality and conditions. In no part of our social life
is dull traditionalism so powerfully entrenched as it is in our
educational organisation. We have still to realise the evil of mental
heaviness in scholastic concerns. We take, very properly, the utmost
precautions to exclude men and women of immoral character not only from
actual teaching but also from any exercise of educational authority. But
no one ever makes the least objection to the far more deadly influences
of stupidity and unteachable ignorance. Our conceptions of morality are
still grossly physical. The heavier and slower a man's mind seems to be,
the more addicted he is to intellectual narcotics, the more people trust
him as a schoolmaster. He will 'stay put.'

A timid obstructiveness is the atmosphere in which almost all educational
effort has to work, and schoolmasters are denied a liberty of thought and
speech conceded to very other class of respectable men. They must still
be mealy mouthed about Darwin, fatuously conventional in politics, and
emptily orthodox in religion. If they stimulate their boys they must
stimulate as a brass trumpet does, without words or ideas. They may be
great leaders of men--provided they lead backwards or no whither.
Sanderson in his latter days broke into unexampled freedom, but for the
greater part of his life he was--like most of his profession--'wading
hips-deep in fools,' and equally resolved to work out his personal
impulse and retain the great opportunities that the governing body of
Oundle School had, almost unwittingly, put into his hands. He was
therefore not only a great revolutionary but something of a Vicar of
Bray. A large part of the amusing subtlety of his personality was the
result of the balanced course he had to pursue. In all he did, in all he
said, he was feeling his way. No other schoolmaster--and there must be
many a rebellious heart lying still in the graves of dead schoolmasters
and many a stifled rebel in the schoolrooms of to-day--no other
schoolmaster has ever felt his way so discreetly, so far and, at last, so
triumphantly.

I remember as a very characteristic thing that he said one day when I
asked for his opinion of a particularly progressive and hopeful addition
to his board of governors: 'He does not know much about schools yet, but
he will learn. Oundle will teach him.' And in his last great lecture, he
flung out a general 'aside'--that lecture was full of astonishing
'asides'--'I turned round on the boys and the parents,' he said, _'both
are my business.'_

Never was schoolmaster so emancipated as he in his latter years from the
ancient servility of the pedagogue. Not for him the handing on of mellow
traditions and genteel gestures of the mind, not for him the obedient
administration of useful information to employers' sons by the docile
employee. He saw the modern teacher in university and school plainly for
what he has to be, the anticipator, the planner, and the foundation-maker
of the new and greater order of human life that arises now visibly amidst
the decaying structures of the old.

2

Sanderson was born and brought up outside the British public-school
system that he was to affect so profoundly. His early education was
obtained in a parish school. His father was employed in the estate office
of Lord Boyne at Brancepeth in Durham. There were several brothers but
they all died before manhood, and the scanty indications one can glean of
those early years suggest a slender, studious, and probably rather
delicate youngster. He was never very proficient in any out-of-door
games. In the early days at Oundle he careered about on a bicycle; in
later years he played tennis; his vacation exercise was rock-srambling.
He became a 'student-teacher,' so the official Life phrases it, at a
school at Tudhoe, but whether there was any difference between being a
student-teacher at a school at Tudhoe and being an ordinary pupil-teacher
in an ordinary elementary school under the English Education Department I
have been unable to ascertain. He was already notable in his village
world as exceptionally intelligent, industrious, and ambitious, and with
a little encouragement from the local vicar and one or two friends he
effected an escape from the strangling limitations of elementary
teaching.

He may have aimed at the church at that time. At any rate he gained a
scholarship and entered Durham University as a theological student. He
did well in Durham University both in theology and mathematics; he was
made a Fellow and he was able to go on as a scholar from Durham to the
wider and more strenuous academic life of Cambridge. At Cambridge
theology drops out of the foreground of the picture. He took a fairly
good degree in mathematics, and he worked for the Natural Science Tripos.
He did not fight his way up into that select class which secures
Cambridge fellowships, but he had made a reputation as an able, hard, and
honest worker; he was much sought after as a coach, and he was given a
lectureship in the woman's college of Girton. From this he went as senior
physics master to the big school for boys at Dulwich.

A photograph of him in the early Dulwich period shows him slender and
keen-looking, already bespectacled and with a thick moustache; except for
the glasses not unlike another ruddy north-countryman I once knew, the
novelist George Gissing. Both were what one might call Scandinavian in
type. But Gissing was as despondent as Sanderson was buoyant. In those
days, an old Dulwich associate tells me, Sander.. son was in a state of
great mental fermentation. He loved long walks in his spare time, and
along the pebbly paths and roads and up and down the little hills of that
corner of Kent, the two of them talked out a hundred aspects and issues
of the perplexing changing world in which they found themselves.

It was the world of the eighteen-eighties they were looking at, before
the first Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and it may be worth while to devote
a paragraph or so to a reconstruction of the moral and intellectual
landscape this lean and eager young man was confronting.

Upon the surface and in its general structure that British world of the
eighties had a delusive air of final establishment. Queen Victoria had
been reigning for close upon half a century and seemed likely to reign
for ever. The economic system of unrestricted private enterprise with
privately owned capital had yielded a great harvest of material
prosperity, and few people suspected how rapidly it was exhausting the
soil of willing service in which it grew. Production increased every
year; population increased every year; there was a steady progress of
invention and discovery, comfort, and convenience. Wars went on, a
marginal stimulation of the empire, but since the collapse of Napoleon I
no war had happened to frighten England for its existence as a country;
no threat of warfare that could touch English life or English soil
troubled men's imagination. Ruskin and Carlyle had criticised English
ideals and the righteousness of English commerce and industrialism, but
they were regarded generally as eccentric and unaccountable men; there
was already a conflict of science and theology, but it affected the
national life very little outside the world of the intellectuals; a
certain amount of trade competition from the United States and from other
European countries was developing, but at most it ruffled the surface of
the national self-confidence. There was a socialist movement, but it was
still only a passionless criticism of trade and manufacturers, a
criticism poised between aesthetic fastidiousness and benevolence. People
played with that Victorian socialism as they would have played with a
very young tiger-cub. The labour movement was a gentle insistence upon
rather higher wages and rather shorter hours; it had still to discover
Socialism. In a world of certainties the rate of interest fell by minute
but perceptible degrees, and as a consequence money for investment went
abroad until all the world was under tribute to Britain. History seemed
to be over, entirely superseded by the daily paper; tragedy and
catastrophe were largely eliminated from human life. One read of famines
in India and civil chaos in China, but one felt that these were
diminishing distresses; the missionaries were at work there and railways
spreading.

It was indeed a mild and massive Sphynx of British life that confronted
our young man at Dulwich and his friend, an amoeboid Sphynx which
enveloped and assimilated rather than tore and devoured. It had not been
stricken for a generation, and so it felt assured of the ages. But
beneath its tranquil-looking surfaces many ferments were actively at
work, and its serene and empty visage masked extensive processes of
decay. The fifty-year-old faith on which the social and political fabric
rested--for all social and political fabrics must in the last resort rest
upon faith--was being corroded and dissolved and removed. Britain in the
mid-Victorian time stood strong and sturdy in the world because a great
number of its people, its officials, employers, professional men and
workers honestly believed in the rightness of its claims and professions,
believed in its state theology, in the justice of its economic
relationships, in the romantic dignity of its monarchy, and in the real
beneficence and righteousness of its relations to foreigners and the
subject-races of the Empire. They did what they understood to be their
duty in the light of that belief, simply, directly, and with self-respect
and mutual confidence. If some of its institutions fell short of
perfection, few people doubted that they led towards it. But from the
middle of the century onward this assurance of the prosperous British in
their world was being subjected to a more and more destructive criticism,
spreading slowly from intellectual circle into the general
consciousness.

It is interesting to note one or two dates in relation to Sanderson's
life. He was born in the year 1857. This was two years before the
publication of Darwin's _Origin of Species._ He was growing up through
boyhood as the application of the Darwinian criticism of life to current
theology was made, and as the great controversy between Science and
orthodox beliefs came to a head. Huxley's challenging book, _Man's Place
in Nature,_ was published in 1863; Darwin became completely explicit
about human origins only in 1871 with _The Descent of Man._ Sanderson,
then a bright and forward boy of fourteen, was probably already beginning
to take notice of these disputes about the fundamentals, as they were
then considered, of sound Christianity.

He was already at college when Huxley was pounding Gladstone and the Duke
of Argyll upon such issues as whether the first chapter of Genesis was
strictly parallel with the known course of evolution, and whether the
miracle of the Gadarene swine was a just treatment of the Gadarene
swineherds. Sanderson's Durham and Cambridge studies and talks went on
amidst the thunder of these debates, and there can be little doubt that
his early theology underwent much bending and adaptation to the new
realisations of the past of man, and of human destiny that these
discussions opened out. He did not take holy orders but he remained in
the Anglican Church; manifestly he could still find a meaning in the Fall
and in the scheme of Salvation. Many other promising teachers of his
generation found this impossible; such men as Graham Wall as, for
example, felt compelled for conscience' sake to abandon the public-school
teaching to which they had hoped to give their lives. Wallas found scope
for his very great gifts of suggestion and inspiration in the London
School of Economics, but many others of these Victorian non-jurors were
lost to education altogether.

The criticism of the economic life and social organisation of that age
was going on almost parallel with the destruction of its cosmogony.
Ruskin's _Unto this Last_ was issued when Sanderson was four years old;
_Fors Clavigera_ was appearing in the seventies and the early eighties.
William Morris was a little later with _News from Nowhere_ and _The Dream
of John Ball;_ they must have still been vividl y new books in
Sanderson's Cambridge days. Marx was little heard of then in England. He
was already a power in German socialism in the seventies, but he did not
reach the reader of English until the eighties were nearly at an end.
When Sanderson discussed socialism during those Dulwich walks, it must
have been Ruskin and Morris rather than Marx who figured in his talk. Al
though there remains no account of those early conversations, it is easy
to guess that this stir of social reconstruction and religious
readjustment must have played a large part in them. Sanderson meant to
teach and wanted to teach; he was quite unlike that too common sort of
schoolmaster who has fallen back into teaching after the collapse of
other ambitions; like all really sincere teachers he was eager to learn,
open to every new and stimulating idea, and free altogether from the
malignant conservatism of the disappointed type.

He kept that adolescent power of mental growth throughout life. I
remember my pleased astonishment on my first visit to Oundle to find in
his library--I had drifted to his bookshelves while I awaited him--a row
of the works of Nietzsche (who came into the English-speaking world in
the late nineties) and recent books by Bertrand Russell and Shaw. Here
was a schoolmaster, a British public schoolmaster, aware that the world
was still going on! It seemed too good to be true. But it was true, and
in the end Sanderson was to die, ten years, shall we say?--or twenty,
ahead of his time.

And while we are placing Sanderson in relation to the intellectual stir
of the age let us note, too, the general shape of human affairs as it was
presented to his mind. It was an age of steadily accelerated political
change, and of a vast increase in the population of the world. The
fifties and sixties of the nineteenth century had seen the world-wide
spread of the railway and telegraph network, and a consequent opening up
of vast regions of production that had hitherto lain fallow. The screw
was replacing the ineffective paddle-wheel of the earlier steamships and
revolutionising ocean transport. There was a great increase in mechanical
and agricultural efficiency. We still call that time the mid-Victorian
period, but the history teacher of the future, more sensible than we are
of the innocence of good Queen Victoria in any concern of importance to
mankind, is more likely to distinguish it as the Advent of the New
Communications. These new inventions were 'abolishing distance.' They
were demanding a political synthesis of mankind. But there was little
understanding as yet of this now manifest truth. One hardly notes a sign
of any such awareness in literature and public discussions until the end
of the century; and failing a clear understanding of their nature the new
expansive forces operated through the cheap and unsound interpretations
first of sentimental nationalism and then of romantic imperialism.

Sanderson's boyhood saw the differences of the cultures of north and
south in the United States of America at first exacerbated by the new
means of communication and then, after four years of civil war, resolved
into a stabler unity. The straggling peninsula of Italy under the sway of
the new synthetic forces recovered a unity it had lost with the decay of
the Roman roads; the internal tension of the continental powers
culminated in the Franco-German war. But these were insufficient
adjustments, and a renewed growth of armaments upon land and sea alike,
betrayed the growing mutual pressure of the great powers. All dreamt of
expansion and none of coalescence. The dominant political fact in Europe
while Sanderson was a young man, was the rise of Germany to political and
economic predominance. German energy, restrained from geographical
release, drove upward along the lines of scientific and technical
progress, and the outward thrust of its pent-up imperialism took the form
of a gathering military threat. Germany first and then the United States,
released and renewed after their escape from the fragmentation that had
threatened them, made the economic pace for the rest of the world
throughout the eighties and the nineties. They stirred the British
manufacturer and parent to indignant inquiries; they forced the drowsy
schools of Great Britain into a reluctant admission of scientific and
technical teaching. But they awakened as yet no profounder
heart-searchings.

The young science-master at Dulwich talked, no doubt, as we all did in
those days, of Evolution and Socialism, of the rights of labour and the
Christianisation of industry, of the progress of science and the scandal
of the increasing expenditure upon armaments, with the illusion of an
immense general stability in the background of his mind. It was an
illusion that needed not only the Great War of 1914-18 but its
illuminating sequelae to shatter and destroy.

3

Accounts of Sanderson's work in Dulwich school differ very widely. At one
time it would seem that he had troubles about discipline, and it is quite
conceivable that his methods there were experimental and fluctuating. No
doubt he was trying over at Dulwich many of the things that were to
establish his success at Oundle. On the whole the Dulwich work was good
work, and it gave him sufficient reputation to secure the headmastership
of Oundle School when presently the governing body of that school sought
a man of energy and character to modernise it.

The most valuable result of his Dulwich period was the demonstration of
the interestingness of practical work in physical science for boys who
remained apathetic under the infliction of the stereotyped classical
curriculum. He was not getting the pick of the boys there but the
residue, but he was getting an alertness and interest out of this
second-grade material that surprised even himself. The interest of the
classical teaching was largely the interest of a spirited competition
which demanded not only a special sort of literary ability but a special
sort of competitive disposition. But there are quite clever boys of an
amiable type to whom competition does not appeal, and some of these were
among the most interesting of the youngsters who were awakened to
industrious work by his laboratory instruction.

It is clear that before Sanderson went to Oundle he had already developed
a firm faith in the possibility of a school with a new and more varied
curriculum, in which a far greater proportion of the boys could be
interested in their work than was the case in the contemporary classical
and (formal) mathematical school, and also that he had conceived the idea
of replacing the competitive motive, which had ruled the schools of
Europe since the establishment of the great Jesuit schools three hundred
years before, by the more vital stimulus of interest in the work itself.
He also took to Oundle a proved and tested conception of the need for the
utmost possible personal participation by every boy in every collective
function of the school. Quite early in his Oundle career he came into
conflict with his boys and carried his point upon the issue whether every
boy was to sing in the school singing or whether that was to be left to
the specialised choir of boys who had voices and a taste for that sort of
thing. That was an essential issue for him. From the very first he was
working for the rank and file and against the star system of school work
by which a few boys sing or work or play with distinction and
encouragement, against a background of neglected shirkers and defeated
and discouraged competitors.

Sanderson married soon after he went to Dulwich. His wife came from
Cumberland and she excelled in all those domestic matters that make a
successful headmaster's wife. Throughout all the rest of his life she was
his loyal and passionate partisan. His friends were her friends, and his
critics and opponents were her enemies, and if she had a fault it was
that she found it difficult to forgive anyone who had seemed ever to
differ from him. Two sons were born during the seven years that passed in
the little home in Dulwich. It must have been a very brisk and happy
little home. One can imagine the tall young man with his gown a little
powdered with blackboard chalk, flying out behind him, striding along the
school corridors to some fresh and successful experiment in laboratory
work, or in homely tweeds walking along the Kentish lanes with his
friend, or snatching a delightful half-hour in the nursery to see Master
Roy's first attempts to walk, or reading some new and stirring book with
the lamp of those days before electric lighting at his elbow. He was
thirty-five when he achieved his last step in the upward career of a
secondary schoolmaster and was appointed headmaster of Oundle. That
success probably came as a surprise, for Sanderson's modest origins and
the fact that he was not in holy orders must have been a serious handicap
upon his application. It must have been a very elated young couple who
packed their household belongings for the unknown town of Oundle.



CHAPTER II. THE MODERNISATION OF OUNDLE SCHOOL

1

Oundle School, which was to be the material of Sanderson's life work,
which was to teach him so much and profit so richly by the reaction, was
one of comparatively old standing. It was a pre-reformation foundation; a
certain Joan Wyatt having endowed a schoolmaster in the place in 1485.
Its main revenues, however, derived from Sir William Laxton, Lord Mayor
of London and Master of the Grocers' Company, who in 1556 left
considerable property to that body on condition that it supported a
school in his native town of Oundle. The Grocers' Company took over the
Joan Wyatt school and schoolmaster, and has discharged its obligations to
Oundle with intermittent energy and honesty to this day.

Oundle has always been a school of fluctuating fortunes. The district
round and about does not sustain a sufficient population to maintain full
classes and an efficient staff, and only when the prestige of the school
was great enough to attract boys from a distance had it any chance of
flourishing. Time after time an energetic head with more or less support
from the distant governing body would push it into prominence and
prosperity only to pass away and leave it to an equally rapid decline.
The London Grocers' Company is a very unsuitable body for educational
work. It is not organised for any such work. It was originally a
chartered association of city wholesalers, spice dealers, and so forth,
who maintained a certain standard of honest trading and protected their
common interests in the middle ages; it commended itself to the spiritual
care of St. Anthony, and built a great hall and acted as almoner for its
impoverished members and their widows and orphans; its normal function
to-day is the entertainment of princes and politicians. It is now a
fortuitous collection of merchants, business-men, and prosperous persons,
and it is only by chance that now and then a group of its members have
had the conscience and intelligence to rise above the normal indifference
of such people to the full possibilities of the Laxton bequest. Generally
the Company's conduct of the school has varied between half-hearted help
and negligence and the diversion of the funds to other ends; it has no
tradition of competent governorship, and the ups and downs of Oundle have
been dependent mainly upon the personal qualities of the masters who have
chanced to be appointed.

There was a period of prosperity during the second quarter of the
seventeenth century which was brought to an end by the plague, and by the
impoverishment of the school through the fire of London in which various
Laxton properties were destroyed. Throughout a large part of the
eighteenth century the school was completely effaced, and the entire
revenues of the Laxton bequest were no doubt expended in hospitality.
There was a revival in 1796. In the seventies of the nineteenth century
the school was doing well in mathematics under a certain Dr. Stansbury,
and in the eighties it had as many as two hundred boys under the Rev. H.
St. J. Reade. Then it declined again until the numbers sank below a
hundred. It was a time of quickened consciences in educational matters,
and some of the more energetic and able members of the Grocers' Company
determined to make a drastic change of conditions at Oundle. They found
Sanderson ready to their hands.

2

The world is changing so rapidly that it may be well to say a few words
about the type of school Sanderson was destined to renovate. Even in the
seventies and eighties these smaller 'classical' schools had a quaint
old-fashioned air amidst the surrounding landscape. They were staffed by
the less vigorous men of the university-scholar type; men of the poorer
educated classes in origin, not able enough to secure any of the prizes
reserved for university successes, and not courageous enough to strike
out into the great world on their own account. They protected themselves
from the sense of inferiority by an exaggeration of the value of the
schooling and disciplines through which they had gone, and they ignored
their lack of grasp in a worship of the petty accuracies within their
capacity. Their ambition soared at its highest to holy orders and a
headmastership, a comfortable house, a competent wife, dignity, security,
ease, and a certain celebrity in equation-dodging or the imitation of
Latin and Greek compositions. Contemporary life and thought these worthy
dominies regarded with a lofty scorn. The formal mathematical work, it is
true, was not older than a century or a century and a half, but the
classical training had come down in an unbroken tradition from the
seventeenth century. One of the staff of Oundle when Sanderson took it
over is described as a 'wonderful' classical master. 'His master
passion,' we are told, 'for Latin elegiacs and Greek iambics fired many
of his pupils, whose best efforts were copied into a book that bore the
title _Inscribatur.'_ These exercises in stereotyped expression were
going on at Oundle right into the eighteen-nineties. They had their
justification. From the school the boys passed on to the Universities of
Oxford and Cambridge, where sympathetic examining authorities awarded the
greater prizes at their disposal to the more proficient of these victims.
The Civil Service Commissioners by a mark-rigging system that would have
won the respect of an American election boss, kept the Higher Division of
the Civil Service as a preserve for ignorance 'classically' adorned. So
that the school could boast of 'an almost uninterrupted stream of
scholarship successes at Cambridge' even in its decline in the late
eighties, when its real educational value to the country it served was a
negative quantity.

This seventeenth century 'classical' grind constituted the main work of
the school, and no other subject seems to have been pursued with any
industry. Most of the staff could not draw or use their hands properly;
like most secondary teachers of that time they were innocent of
educational science, and no attempt was made to teach every boy to draw.
Drawing was still regarded as a 'gift' in those days. The normally
intelligent boy without the peculiar aptitudes and plasticity needed to
take Latin elegiacs seriously, had no educational alternative whatever.
There was no mathematical teaching beyond low-grade formal stuff of a
very boring sort, and the only science available was a sort of science
teaching put in to silence the complaints of progressive-minded parents
rather than with any educational intention, science teaching that was
very properly called 'stinks.' It was a stinking imposture. The boy of
good ordinary quality was driven therefore to games or 'hobbies' or
mischief as an outlet for his energies, as chance might determine. The
school buildings before Sanderson was appointed were as cramped as the
curriculum; old boys recall the 'redolent' afternoon class-rooms; the
Grocers' Company in its wisdom had built a new Schoolhouse during the
brief boom under St. John Reade, between a public house on either side
and a slum at the back. It must have been pleasant for master and boys
alike to escape from the stuffiness of general teaching upon these
premises, and from the priggish exploits in versification of the
'inspired' minority, to the cricket field. There one had scope; there was
life. The Rev. H. St. J. Reade, the headmaster in the eighties, had been
Captain of the Oxford Eleven, and drove the ball hard and far, to the
admiration of all beholders.

The Rev. Mungo J. Park, who immediately preceded Sanderson, is described
as a man of considerable personal dignity, aloof and leisurely, and
greatly respected by the boys. Under him the number of the boys in the
school declined to fewer than a hundred. That dwindling band led the
normal life of boys at any small public school in England. Most of them
were frightfully bored by the teaching of the bored masters; the
wonderful classical master lashed himself periodically up to the
infectious level of enthusiasm for his amazing exercises; there was
cribbing and ragging and loafing, festering curiosities and emotional
experimenting, and, thank Heaven! games a fellow could understand. If
these boys learnt anything of the marvellous new vision of the world that
modern science was unfolding, they learnt it by their own private reading
and against the wishes of their antiquated teachers. They learnt nothing
in school of the outlook of contemporary affairs, nothing of contemporary
human work, nothing of the social and economic system in which many of
them were presently to play the part of captains. If they learnt anything
about their bodies it was secretly, furtively, and dirtily. The gentlemen
in holy orders upon the staff, and the sermons in the Oundle parish
church, had made souls incredible. There has been much criticism of the
devotion to games in these dens of mental dinginess, but games were the
only honest and conclusive exercises to be found in them. From the
sunshine and reality of the swimming-pool, the boats, the cricket or
football field, the boys came back into the ill-ventilated class-rooms to
pretend, or not even to pretend, an interest in languages not merely
dead, but now, through a process of derivation and imitation from one
generation to another, excessively decayed. The memory of school taken
into after life from these establishments was a memory of going from
games and sunshine and living interest into class-rooms of twilight, bad
air, and sham enthusiasm for exhausted things.

3

Sanderson made his application 'for the headmastership of Oundle at an
unusually favourable time. There were several men of exceptional
enlightenment and intelligence upon the governing body of the school, and
they were resolved to modernise Oundle thoroughly and well. To the
innovators the very unorthodoxy of Sanderson's upbringing and
qualifications was a recommendation, to their opponents they made him a
shocking candidate, and the Grocers' Company was rent in twain over his
application. It requires a little effort nowadays for us to understand
just how undesirable a candidate this spectacled young man from Dulwich
must have appeared to many of the older and riper 'grocers.'

In the first place he was not in holy orders, and it was a fixed belief
of many people--in spite of the fact that few of the clerically-ruled
English public schools of that time could be described as hotbeds of
chastity--that only clergymen in holy orders could maintain a
satisfactory moral and religious tone. On the other hand, he had been a
distinguished theological student. That, however, might involve heresy;
English people have an instinctive perception of the corrosive effect of
knowledge and intelligence upon sound dogma. Then he was not a
public-school boy, and this might involve a loss of social atmosphere
more important even than religion or morals. The almost natural grace of
deportment that has endeared the English traveller and the English
official to the foreigner, and particularly to the subject-races
throughout the world, might fail under his direction. Moreover, he was no
cricketer. He had no athletic distinction; a terrible come-down after the
Rev. H. St. J. Reade. These were all grave considerations in those days.
Against them weighed the growing dread of German efficiency that was
already spreading a wholesome modesty throughout the commercial world of
Britain. This young man from Dulwich might bring to Oundle, it was
thought, the base but valuable gifts of technical science. And there was
apparent in him a liveliness and energy uncommon among scholastic
applicants. His seemed to be a bracing personality, and Oundle was in
serious need of a bracing regime. The members who liked him liked him
warmly, and he roused prejudices as warm; feeling seems to have run high
at the decision, and he was appointed by a majority of one.

The little world of Oundle heard of the new appointment with mixed and
various feelings, in which there was no doubt a considerable amount of
resentment. No man becomes headmaster of an established school without
facing many difficulties. If he is promoted from among the staff of his
predecessor old disputes and rivalries are apt to take on an exaggerated
importance, and if he comes in from outside he finds a staff disposed to
a meticulous defence of established usage. And the young couple from
Dulwich came to the place in direct condemnation of its current condition
and its best traditions. There can be no doubt that at the outset the
school and town bristled defensively and unpleasantly to the newcomers.

In one respect the old educational order had a great advantage over the
new that Sanderson was to inaugurate. It had a completed tradition, and
it provided the standards by which the new was tried. Whatever it taught
was held to be necessary to education, and all that it did not know was
not knowledge. By such tests the equipment of Sanderson was exhibited as
both defective and superfluous. Moreover, the new system was confessedly
undeveloped and experimental. It could not be denied that Sanderson might
be making blunders, and that he might have to retrace his steps. People
had been teaching the classics for three centuries; the routine had
become so mechanical that it was done best by men who were intellectually
and morally half asleep. It led to nothing; except in very exceptional
cases it did not even lead to a competent use of either the Latin or
Greek languages; it involved no intelligent realisation of history, it
detached the idea of philosophy from current life, and it produced the
dreariest artistic Philistinism, but there was a universal persuasion
that in some mystical way it _educated._ The methods of teaching science,
on the other hand, were still in the experimental stage, and had still to
convince the world that even at the lowest levels of failure they
constituted a highly beneficent discipline.

I do not propose to disentangle here the story of Sanderson's first seven
years of difficulty. He found the school and the town sullen and hostile,
and he was young, eager, and irascible. The older boys had all been
promoted upon classical qualifications, they were saturated with the old
public-school tradition that Sanderson had come to destroy, and behind
them were various members of a hostile and resentful staff inciting them
to obstruction and mischief. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Sanderson was old
enough or wise enough to disregard slights or to ignore mere gestures of
hostility.

Reminiscences of old boys in the official life give us glimpses of the
way in which the old order fought against the new. Everything was done to
emphasise the fact that Sanderson was 'no gentleman,' 'no sportsman,' 'no
cricketer,' 'no scholar.' It is the dearest delusion of snobs everywhere
that able men who have made their way in the world are incapable of
acquiring a valet's knowledge of what is correct in dress and deportment,
and the dark legend was spread that he wore a flannel shirt with a sort
of false front called a 'dicky' and detachable cuffs, in place of the
evening shirt of the genteel. Moreover, his dress tie was reported to be
a made-up tie. Unless he is to undress in public I do not see how a man
under suspicion is to rebut such sinister scandals. The boys, with the
help and encouragement of several members of the staff, made up a
satirical play full of the puns and classical tags and ancient venerable
turns of humour usual in such compositions, against this Barbarian
invader and his new laboratories. It was the mock trial of an incendiary
found trying to burn down the new laboratories. It was 'full of envenomed
and insulting references' to all the new headmaster was supposed to hold
dear. Finally it was rehearsed before him. He sat brooding over it
thoughtfully, as shaft after shaft was launched against him. 'It didn't
seem so funny then,' said my informant, 'as it had done when we prepared
it.' It went to a 'ragged and unconvinced applause.' At the end 'came a
pause--a stillness that could be felt.' The headmaster sat with downcast
face, thinking.

I suppose he was chiefly busy reckoning how soon he would be rid of this
hostile generation of elder boys. They had to go. It was a pity, but
nothing was to be done with them. The school had to grow out of them, as
it had to grow out of its disloyal staff.

He rose slowly in his seat. 'Boys, we will regard this as the final
performance,' he said, and departed thoughtfully, making no further
comment. He took no action in the matter, attempted neither reproof nor
punishment. He dropped the matter with a magnificent contempt. And, says
the old boy who tells the story, from that time the spirit of the school
seemed to change in his favour. The old order had discharged its venom.
The boys began to real ise the true value of the forces of spite and
indolent obstructiveness with which their youth was in alliance.

4

Not always did Sanderson carry things off with an equal dignity. His
temperament was choleric, and ever and again his smouldering indignation
at the obstinate folly and jealousy that hampered his work blazed out
violently. Dignified silence is impossible as a permanent pose for a
teacher whose duty is to express and direct. Sanderson's business was to
get ideas into resisting heads; he was not a born orator but a confused,
abundant speaker, and he had to scold, to thrust strange sayings at them,
to force their inattention, to beat down an answering ridicule. He was
often simply and sincerely wrathful with them, and in his early years he
thrashed a great deal. He thrashed hard and clumsily in a white-heat of
passion--'a hail of swishing strokes that seemed almost to envelop one.'
A newspaper or copybook at the normal centre of infliction availed but
little. Cuts fell everywhere on back or legs or fingers. He had been
sorely tried, he had been overtried. It was a sort of heartbreak of
blows.

The boys argued mightily about these unorthodox swishings. It was all a
part of Sanderson being a strange creature and not in the tradition. It
was lucky no one was ever injured. But they found something in their own
unregenerate natures that made them understand and sympathise with this
eager, thwarted stranger and his thunderstorms of anger. Generally he was
a genial person, and that, too, they recognised. It is manifest quite
early in the story that Sanderson interested his boys as his predecessor
had never done. They discussed his motives, his strange sayings, his
peculiar locutions with accumulating curiosity. Two sorts of
schoolmasters boys respect: those who are completely dignified and opaque
to them, and those who are transparent enough to show honesty at the
core. Sanderson was transparently honest. If he was not pompously
dignified he was also extraordinarily free from vanity; and if he thrust
work and toil upon his boys it was at any rate not to spare himself that
he did so. And he won them also by his wonderful teaching. In the early
days he did a lot of the science teaching himself; later on the school
grew too big for him to do any of this. All the old boys I have been able
to consult agree that his class instruction was magnificent.

Every year in the history of Sanderson's headmastership shows a growing
understanding between the boys and himself. 'Beans,' they called him, but
every year it was less and less necessary to 'Give 'm Beans,' as the
vulgar say. The tale of storms and thrashings dwindles until it vanishes
from the story. In the last decade of his rule there was hardly any
corporal punishment at all. The whole school as time went on grew into a
humorous affectionate appreciation of his genius. It was a sunny,
humorous school when I knew it; there was little harshness and no dark
corners. No boy had been expelled for a long time.

5

The official life gives a diagram and particulars of the growth of the
school during Sanderson's time, and there is no need to repeat those
particulars here. From 1892 to 1900 there was no very remarkable increase
in the number of boys; it rose from ninety-odd to a hundred and twenty or
so. Then as Sanderson's grip became sure there followed a rapid
expansion.

From 1900 onwards Oundle grew about as fast as it was possible to grow.
New laboratories were built, new subjects introduced so as to furnish a
wider and wider variety of courses to meet such intellectual types as the
school had hitherto failed to interest. There was a great development of
biological and agricultural work from about 1909 onward. The attention
given to art increased, and there was a great change and revolution in
the history teaching. By 1920 the numbers of the school were soaring up
towards six hundred. He wanted them to go to eight hundred, because he
still wanted to increase the variety of courses, and the larger numbers
gave a better prospect of classifying out the boys effectively and making
I sure that each course of studies was sufficiently attended to keep it
active and efficient.

The prestige of the school grew even more rapidly than its size. From
1905 onward the inquiring parent who wanted something more than school
games and _esprit de corps_ was sure to hear of Oundle.

And Sanderson was growing with his school. Every installment of success
stimulated him to new experiments and fresh innovations. No one learnt so
muc h at Oundle as he did, and it is with that growth of his conception
of school method and his widening vision of the schoolmaster's role_ _in
the world that we must now proceed to deal.



CHAPTER III. THE REPLACEMENT OF COMPETITION BY GROUP WORK

1

When Sanderson first came to Oundle his ideas seem to have differed from
the normal scholastic opinion of his time mainly in his conviction of the
interestingness and attractiveness of real scientific work for many types
of boys that the established classical and stylistic mathematical
teaching failed to grip. He developed these new aspects of school work,
and his earliest success lay in the fact that he got a higher percentage
of boys interested and active in school work than was usual elsewhere,
and that the report of this and the report of his wholesome and
stimulating personality spread into the world of anxious parents. But it
early became evident to him that the new subjects necessitated methods of
handling in vivid contrast to the methods stereotyped for the classical
and mathematical courses.

There have been three chief phases in the history of educational method
in the last five centuries, the phase of compulsion, the phase of
competition, and the phase of natural interest. They overlap and mingle.
Medieval teaching being largely in the hands of celibates, who had
acquired no natural understanding of children and young people, and who
found them extremely irritating, irksome, or exciting, was stupid and
brutal in the extreme. Young people were driven along a straight and
narrow road to a sort of prison of dusty knowledge by teachers almost as
distressed as themselves. The medieval school went on to the chant of
rote-learning with an accompaniment of blows, insults, and degradations
of the dunce-cap type. The Jesuit schools, to which the British public
schools owe so much, sought a human motive in vanity and competition;
they turned to rewards, distinctions, and competitions. Sir Francis Bacon
recommended them justly as the model schools of his time. The class-list
with its pitiless relegation of two-thirds of the class to self-conscious
mediocrity and dufferdom was the symbol of this second, slightly more
enlightened phase. The school of the rod gave place to the school of the
class-list. An aristocracy of leading boys made the pace and the rest of
the school found its compensation in games or misbehaviour. So long as
the sole subjects of instruction remained two dead languages and formal
mathematics, subjects essentially unappetising to sanely constituted
boys, there was little prospect of getting school method beyond this
point.

By the end of the eighteenth century schoolmasters were beginning to
realise what most mothers know by instinct, that there is in all young
people a curiosity, a drive to know, an impulse to learn, that is
available for educational ends, and has still to be properly exploited
for educational ends. It is not within our present scope to discuss
Pestalozzi, Froebel, and the other great pioneers in this third phase of
education. Nearly all children can be keenly interested in some subject,
and there are some subjects that appeal to nearly all children. Directly
you cease to insist upon a particular type of achievement in a particular
line of attainment, directly your school gets out of the narrow lane and
moves across open pasture, it goes forward of its own accord. The
class-list and the rod, so necessary in the dusty fury of the lane, cease
to be necessary. In the effective realisation of this Sanderson was a
leader.

For a time he let the classical and literary work of the school run on
upon the old competition compulsion, class-list lines. For some years he
does not seem to have realised the possibility of changes in these
fields. But from the first in his mechanical teaching and very 'soon in
ma thematics the work ceased to have the form of a line of boys all
racing to acquire an identical parcel of knowledge, and took on the form
more and more of clusters of boys surrounding an attractive problem.
There grew up out of the school Science a periodic display, the Science
Conversazione, in which groups of youngsters displayed experiments and
collections they had co-operated to produce. Later on a Junior
Conversazione developed. These conversaziones show the Oundle spirit in
its most typical expression. Sanderson derived much from the zeal and
interest these groups of boys displayed. He realised how much finer and
how much more fruitful was the mutual stimulation of a common end than
the vulgar effort for a class place. The clever boy under a class-list
system loves the shirker and the dullard who make the running easy, but a
group of boys working for a common end display little patience with
shirking. The stimulus is much more intimate, and it grows. Jones minor
is told to play up, exactly as he is told to play up in the playing
field.

In the summer term the conversazione in its fully developed form took up
a large part of the energy of the school. Says the official life:

'All the senior boys in the school were eligible for this work, the only
qualification necessary being a willingness to work and to sacrifice
some, at least, of one's free time. There was never any dearth of willing
workers, the total number often exceeding two hundred. The chief
divisions of the conversazione were: Physics and Mechanics; Chemistry;
Biology; anti Workshops. A boy who volunteered to help was left free to
choose which branch he would adopt. Having chosen, he gave his name to
the master in charge; if he had any particular experiment in view, he
mentioned it, and if suitable, it was allotted to him. If he had no
suggestion, an experiment was suggested, and he was told where
information could be obtained. As a general rule two or three boys worked
together at anyone experiment.

'Some of the experiments chosen required weeks of preparation; there was
apparatus to be made and fitted up, information to be sought and
absorbed, so that on the final day an intelligent account could be given
to any visitor watching the experiment. This work was all done out of
school hours. Four or five days before Speech Day, ordinary school
lessons ceased for those taking part in the conversazione; the
laboratories, class-rooms, and workshops were portioned out so that each
boy knew exactly where he was to work, and how much space he had. The
setting up of the experiments began. To anyone visiting the school on
these particular days it must have seemed in a state of utter confusion,
boys wandering about in all directions apparently under no supervision,
and often to all appearances with no purpose. A party might be met with a
jam-jar and fishing-net near the river; others might be found miles away
on bicycles, going to a place where some particular flower might be
found. Three or four boys would appear to be smashing up an engine and
scattering its parts in all directions, while others could be seen
wheeling a barrow-load of bricks or trying to mix a hod of mortar.
Gradually a certain amount of order appeared, some experiments were tried
and found to work satisfactorily, others failed, and investigation into
the cause of failure had to be carried out. As the final day approached
excitement increased, frantic telegrams were sent to know, for example,
if the liquid air had been despatched, frequent visits to the
railway-station were made in the hopes of finding some parcel had
arrived; sometimes it was even necessary to motor to Peterborough to pick
up material which otherwise would arrive too late. A programme giving a
short description of the experiment or exhibit had to pass through the
printer's hands. At last everything would be ready; occasionally, but
very seldom, an experiment had to be abandoned or another substituted at
the last moment.'

The year 1905 marked a phase in the co-operative system of work on the
mechanical side with the machining and erection of a six-horse-power
reversing engine, designed for a marine engine of 3500 horse-power.
Castings and drawings were supplied by the North Eastern Marine
Engineering Works. The engine was a triumphant success, and thereafter a
number of engines has been built by groups of boys. Concurrently with
this steady replacement of the instructional-exercise system by the
group-activity system, the mathematical work became less and less a
series of exercises in style and more and more an attack upon problems
needing solution in the workshops and laboratories, with the solution as
the real incentive to the work. These dips into practical application
gave a great stimulus to the formal mathematical teaching, for the boys
realised as they could never have done otherwise the value of such work
as a 'tool-sharpening' exercise of ultimately real value.

2

Quite early in his Oundle days Sanderson displayed his disposition
towards collective as against solitary activity in his dealings with the
school music. When he came to the school the 'musical' boys were
segregated from the non-musical in a choir; the rest listened in
conscious exclusion and inferiority. But from the outset he set himself
to make the whole school sing and attend to music. The few boys with bad
ears were carried along with the general flood; the discord they made was
lost in the mass effect. Towards the end a very great proportion of the
boys were keen listeners to and acute critics of music. They would crowd
into the Great Hall on Sunday evenings to listen to the organ recital
with which that day usually concluded.

3

Presently Sanderson began to apply the lessons he had learnt from
grouping boys for scientific work to literature and history. Most of us
can still recall the extraordinary dreariness of school literature
teaching; the lesson that was a third-rate lecture, the note-taking, the
rehearsal of silly opinions about books unread and authors unknown, the
horrible annotated editions, the still more horrible text-books of
literature. Sanderson set himself to sweep all this away. A play, he
held, was primarily to be played, and the way to know and understand it
was to play it. The boys must be cast for parts and learn about the other
characters in relation to the one they had taken. Questions of language
and syntax, questions of interpretation, could be dealt with best in
relation to the production. But most classes had far too many boys to be
treated as a single theatrical company, so small groups of boys were cast
for each part. There would be three or four Othellos, three or four
Desdemonas or Iagos. They would act their parts simultaneously or
successively. The thing might or might not ripen into a chosen cast
giving a costume performance in public. The important thing is that the
boys were brought into the most active contact possible with the reality
of the work they studied. The groups discussed stage 'business' and
gesture and the precise stress to lay on this or that phrase. The master
stood like a producer in the auditorium of the Great Hall. Let anyone
compare the vitality of that sort of thing with the ordinary lesson from
an annotated text-book.

The group system was extended with increasing effectiveness into more and
more of the literary and historical work. Here the School Library took
the place of the laboratory and was indeed as necessary to the effective
development of the group method. The official life of Sanderson gives a
typical scheme of operations pursued in the case of a form studying the
period 1783-1905. The subject was first divided up into parts, such as
the state of affairs preceding the French Revolution; the French
Revolution in relation to England; the industrial system and economic
problems generally; and so on. The form divided up into groups and each
group selected a part or a section of a part for its study. The objective
of each group was the preparation of a report, illustrated by maps,
schedules, and so forth, upon the section it had studied. After a
preliminary survey of the whole field under the direction of a master,
each boy followed up the particular matter assigned to him by individual
reading for a term, supplemented when necessary by consultation with the
master. Then came the preparation of maps and other material, the
assembling of illuminating quotations from the books studied, the
drafting of the group's report, the discussion of the report. In some
cases where the group was in disagreement there would be a minority
report.

In this way there was scarcely a boy in the form who did not feel himself
contributing and necessary to the general result, and who was not called
upon not merely by his master but by his colleagues, for some special
exertion. It might be thought that the departmentalising of the subject
among groups would mean that the knowledge would accumulate in pockets,
but this was not the case. Boys of separate groups talked with one
another of their work and found a lively interest in their different
points of view. It is rare that boys who have received the same lesson
can find much in it to talk about, unless it is a comparison of who has
retained most, but a boy who has been preparing maps of the Napoleonic
military campaigns may find the liveliest interest in another who has
been following the history of the same period from the point of view of
sea power. There was indeed a very considerable amount of interchange,
and when it came to facing external examiners and testing the general
knowledge attained, the Oundle boys were found to compare favourably with
boys who had been drummed in troops through complete histories of the
chosen period.

This group system of work had arisen naturally out of the conditions of
the new laboratory teaching, and it had been developed for the sake of
its educational effectiveness; but as it grew it became more and more
evident to Sanderson that its effects went far beyond mere intellectual
attainment. It marked a profound change in the spirit of the school. It
was not only that the spirit of co-operation had come in. That had
already been present on the cricket and football fields. But the boys
were working to make something or to state something and not to gain
something. It was the spirit of creation that now pervaded the school.

And he perceived, too, that the boys he would now be sending out into the
world must needs carry that creative spirit with them and play a very
different part from the ambitious star boys who went on from a training
under the older methods. They would play an as yet incalculable part in
redeeming the world from the wild orgy of competition that was now
afflicting it. In one of his very characteristic sermons he gave his
ripened conception of this side of his work. He had been speaking,
perhaps with a certain idealisation, of the old craftsmen's guilds--with
a glance or so at the Grocers' Company. The school, he declared, was to
be no longer an arena but a guild. For what was a guild?

'A community of co-workers and no competition, that was its idea. It is
all based on the system of apprenticeships and co-workers. The
apprentices helped the masters in every way they could; even the masters
were grouped together for mutual assistance and were called assistants.
The Company was a mystery or guild of craftsmen and dealers, and their
aim was to produce good craftsmen and good dealers.

'To-day, in these days of renascence, we return to the aim and methods of
the guilds. Boys are to be apprentices and master-workers and co-workers.
In a community this needs must be. We are called to a definite work, all
who are privileged to attend here, staff and boys alike--the work of
infusing life into the boys committed to our care. Nor can anyone stand
out of this and seek work elsewhere. Nemesis sets in for all who try to
live for themselves alone. They may try to work--but their work is
sterile. The community calls for the energies and activities of all. We
are beginning to learn something of what this means. It does not mean an
abandonment of the best methods of the past. But it does mean that we
have to concern ourselves with the pressing needs and problems of to-day,
and join in the work. I do not dwell on this now. My mind goes off to the
possible effect of these ideas on the general life of the school.

'The working of these ideas is well seen already in the outdoor life of
the school. We see it when houses are getting their teams together to
join a competition for a shield, say. We see the mutual help, the
voluntary practice, the consultations of the captain with others. We see
it in the work in the Cadet Corps. We see it in the preparation for a
play--this time, the _Midsummer Night's Dream._ We see it in the new work
in the library, and we see it as clearly as in anything in the
preparation for a conversazione. No more valuable training can be given
than this last-well worth all the many kinds of sacrifice it entails.
From it, at any rate, the spirit of competition is, I think, altogether
removed. Boys, we believe, set forth to do their work as well as they
possibly can--but not to beat one another...I dwell upon these things
because we hope that all boys will become workers at last, with interest
and zeal, in some part of the field of creation and inquiry, which is the
true life of the world. It is from such workers, investigators,
searchers, the soul of the nation is drawn. We will first of all
transform the life of the school, then the boys, grown into men--and
girls from their schools grown into women--whom their schools have
enlisted into this service, will transform the life of the nation and of
the whole world.'



CHAPTER IV. THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF RELATIONS BETWEEN SCHOOL AND REALITY

1

In the previous chapter I have told how Sanderson was taught by his
laboratories and library the possibility of a new type of school with a
new spirit, and how he grew to realise that an organisation of such new
schools, a multiplication of Oundles, must necessarily produce a new
spirit in social and industrial life. Concurrently with that, the obvious
implications of applied science were also directing his mind to the close
reaction between schools and the organisation of the economic life of the
community.

It is amusing to reflect that Sanderson probably owed his appointment at
Oundle to the simple desire of various members of the Grocers' Company
for a good school of technical science. They did not want any change in
themselves, they did not want any change in the world nor in the methods
of trading and employment, but they did want to see their sons and
directors and managers equipped with the sharper, more modern edge of a
technical scientific training. Germany had frightened them. If this new
training could be technical without science and modern without
liberality, so much the better. So the business man brought his ideas to
bear upon Oundle, to produce quite beyond his expectation a
counter-offensive of the school upon business organisation and methods.
Oundle built its engines, organised itself as an efficient munitions
factory during the war, made useful chemical inquiries, extended its work
into agriculture, analysed soils and manures for the farmers of its
district, ran a farm and did much able competent technical work, but it
also set itself to find out what were the aims and processes of business
and what were the reactions of these processes upon the life of the
community. From the laboratory a boy would go to a careful examination of
labour conditions under the light of Ruskin's _Unto This Last;_ he was
brought to a balanced and discriminating attitude towards strikes and
lock-outs; he was constantly reminded that the end of industry is not
profits but life a more abundant life for men.

As one reads through the sermons and addresses that are given in
_Sanderson of Oundle_ one finds a steadily growing consciousness of the
fact that there was a considerable and increasing proportion of Oundle
boys destined to become masters, managers, and leaders in industrial and
business life, and with that growing consciousness there is a growing
determination that the school work they do shall be something very far
beyond the acquisition of money-getting dodges and devices and
commercialised views of science. More and more does he see the school not
as a training ground of smart men for the world that is, but as a
preliminary working model of the world that is to be.

Two quotations from two of Sanderson's sermons will serve to mark how
vigorously he is tugging back the English schools from the gentlemanly
aloofness of scholarship and school-games to a real relationship to the
current disorder of life, and how high he meant to carry them to
dominance over that disorder.

The first extract is from a sermon on Faraday. Under Sanderson, it has
been remarked, Faraday ousted St. Anthony from being the patron saint of
Oundle School. 'With what abundant prodigality,' Sanderson exclaims, 'has
Nature given up of her secrets since his day!'

'A hundred years ago Man and Nature as we think of them to-day were
unexplored by science; to-day a new world, a new creation. Industrial
life has developed, machinery, discoveries, inventions--steam engine, gas
engine, dynamo--electrical machinery, telegraphy, radioactive bodies,
tremendous openings out of chemistry, biology, economics, ethics. All
new. These are Thy works, O God, and tell of Thee. Not now only may we
search for Thy Presence in the places where Thou wert wont in days of old
to come to man. Not there only. Not only now in the stars of heaven; or
by the seashore, or in the waters of the river, or of the springs; among
the trees, the flowers, the corn and wine, on the mountain or in the
plain; not now only dost Thou come to man in Thy works of art, in music,
in literature; but Thou, O God, dost reveal Thyself in all the multitude
of Thy works; in the workshop, the factory, the mine, the laboratory, in
industrial life. No symbolism here, but the Divine God. A new Muse is
here:

'Mightier than Egypt's tombs,
Fairer than Grecia's, Roma's temples.
Prouder than Milan's statued, spired cathedral,
More picturesque than Rhenish castle-keeps,
We plan even now to raise, beyond them all,
Thy great cathedral, sacred industry, no tomb--
A keep for Life.'

'And the builders, a mighty host of men: Homeric heroes, fighting against
a foe, and yet not a foe, but an invisible, impalpable thing wherein the
combatant is the shadow of the assailant.

'Mighty men of science and mighty deeds. A Newton who binds the universe
together in uniform law; Lagrange, Laplace, Leibnitz with their wondrous
mathematical harmonies; Coulomb measuring out electricity; Oversted with
the brilliant flash of insight "that the electric conflict acts in a
revolving manner"; Faraday, Ohm, Ampere, Joule, Maxwell, Hertz, Rontgen;
and in another branch of science, Cavendish, Davy, Dalton, Dewar; and in
another, Darwin, Mendel, Pasteur, Lister, Sir Ronald Ross. All these and
many others, and some whose names have no memorial, form a great host of
heroes, an army of soldiers--fit companions of those of whom the poets
have sung; all, we may be sure, living daily in the presence of God,
bending like the reed before His will; fit companions of the knights of
old of whom the poets sing, fit companions of the men whose names are
renowned in history, fit companions of the great statesmen and warriors
whose names resound through the world.

'There is the great Newton at the head of this list comparing himself to
a child playing on the seashore gathering pebbles, whilst he could see
with prophetic vision the immense ocean of truth yet unexplored before
him. At the end is the discoverer Sir Ronald Ross, who had gone out to
India in the medical service of the Army, and employed his leisure in
investigating the ravishing diseases which had laid India low and stemmed
its development. In twenty years of labour he discovers how malaria is
transmitted and brings the disease wi thin the hold of man.'

The second is from a sermon called 'The Garden of Life.'

'As Canon Driver says, "Man is not made simply to enjoy life; his end is
not pleasure; nor are the things he has to do necessarily to give
pleasure or lead to what men call happiness." This is not the biological
purpose of man. His purpose or instinctive end is to develop the
capacities of the garden in the wilderness of nature; to adapt it to his
own ends, i.e. to the ends of the races of men. Or, as we would now say,
his aim is to take his part in the making of his kind; and he is to "keep
it," or guard it--i.e. he is to conquer the jungle in it, to prevent it
from roving wild again, from reverting to the jungle, from losing law and
order, from becoming unruly and disorderly, from breaking loose and
running amok. He is to bring and maintain order out of the tangle of
things, he is to diagnose diseases; he is to co-ordinate the forces of
nature; he is above all things to reveal the spirit of God in all the
works of God.

'And in all this we read the duty and service of schools. The business of
schools is through and by the use of a common service to get at the true
spiritual nature of the ordinary things we have to deal with. The spirit
of the true active life does not come to us _only_ in those experiences
we have been so accustomed to think of as beautiful and revealing. The
active spirit of life is not revealed simply by the arts-the beautiful
arts as they may be thought-of music or painting, or literature. These
indeed may be only and abundantly _material,_ and the eye and ear may be
blind and deaf to the active, creative, discovering, revealing spirit.
"Painting, or art generally, as such," says Ruskin in his _Modern
Painters,_ "with all its technicalities, difficulties, executive skills,
pleasant and agreeable sensations, and its particular ends, is nothing
but an expressive language, invaluable if we know it as we might know it
as the vehicle of thought, but by itself nothing." He who has learnt what
is commonly considered as the whole art of painting, that is the art of
representing any natural object faithfully, has as yet only learnt the
language by which his thoughts are to be expressed. One language or mode
of expression may be more difficult than another; but it is not by the
mode of representing and saying, but by the greatness, the awakening, the
transmuting and transfiguring conception and knowledge of the thought
presented, that the gift cometh, that man is created. Awkward,
discordant, stammering attempts may be the burning message of a new hope.
But this "voice" of art is too often drowned. It is drowned by executive
skill--as is the history of all art-when this skill stretches itself to
present things that are static, motionless, dead...

'It is especially our duty to reveal the spirit of God in the things of
science and of the practical life. Herein lies a new revelation, a new
language, a direct symbolism. Science, just like art and music, can be
materialistic--science can aim only at mechanical advancement and worldly
wealth, which is not wealth at all--just as art can aim only at pleasure,
desire, and drawing-room appreciation. But this need not be so. Certainly
no one in a responsible position can teach science for long without the
coming of the revelation of a new voice, a new method of expression, a
new art--revealing quite changed standards of value, quite new
significances of what we speak of as culture, beauty, love, justice. A
new voice speaks to the souls of men and women calling for a new age with
all its altered relationships and adventures of life.

'With eyes opened to this new art you can wander through the science
block and find in it all a new Bible, a new book of Genesis. So we
believe. This is our duty and our faith. Into this Paradise have you been
placed to dress it and to keep it.'

Let me turn from these two passages of talk to his boys--they are rescued
from a mass of pencil notes in his study--to a passage from an address
delivered in the Great Hall in Leeds in 1920. It shows very plainly the
quality of his conception of what I have called the return of schools to
reality.

'Schools should be miniature copies of the world. We often find that
methods adopted in school are just the methods we should like applied in
the state. We should, in fact, direct school life so that the spirit of
it may be the spirit which will tend to alleviate social and industrial
conditions. I will give an example of the kind of influence the ideals
and methods of a school can exert upon the working life. I will take a
condition of labour which is now recognised as probably the greatest of
tragedies. It is the slow decay of the faculties of crowds of men and
women, caused by the nature of their employment--the tragedy of the
unstretched faculties. So common is it, and ordinary, that we pass it by
on one side; but no one can go into a factory without seeing workers
engaged in work which is far below their capacities. Decay sets in, and
the death of talent and enthusiasm, the inspirer of creative work. A
little thought will convince us that the process of decay of such a
delicate and vital organism as the brain is bound to set up violent,
destructive, anarchic forces which go on for several years. A recent
writer in the _Times Educational Supplement_ (and this paper cannot be
called revolutionary) says that the tragedy of undeveloped talent is
being seen more and more to be a gigantic waste of potentiality and an
unpardonable cruelty. It is a tragic disease and produces in early life
startling intellectual and moral disturbances, which are the natural
sources of unrest. As years go on a mental stupor sets in, and there is
peace, but peace on a low plane of life. The loss to the community by
this waste is colossal, and it is not too much to say that the output of
man could be multiplied beyond conception.

'Schools should send boys out into the industrial world whose aim should
be to study these tragedies, and by experiments, by new inventions, by
organisation, try, we may hope, by some of their own school experience,
to alleviate the disease. To my mind this is the supreme aim of schools
in the new era.'



CHAPTER V. THE GROWTH OF SANDERSON SHOWN IN HIS SERMONS AND SCRIPTURE
LESSONS

1

Before I go on to a discussion of the latest, broadest, and most
interesting phase of Sanderson's mental life, I would like to give my
readers as vivid a picture as I can of his personality and his methods of
delivery. I have tried to convey an impression of his stout and ruddy
presence, his glancing spectacles, his short, compact but allusive
delivery, his general personal jolliness. I will give now a sketch of one
of his Scripture lessons made by two of the boys in the school. Nothing I
think could convey so well his rich discursiveness nor the affectionate
humour he inspired throughout the school. Here it is.


SCRIPTURE LESSON

_Delivered by F. W. Sanderson on Sunday, 25th May 1919, and taken down
word for word by X and Y, and subsequently written up by them._

_Limitations of space and time have prevented them from including all the
lesson. Omissions have been indicated. They apologise for the lapses of
the speaker into inaudibility, which were not their fault. They do not
hold themselves in any way responsible for the opinions expressed
herein._

'ANALYSIS'

'of the portions copied.

'Characteristic portions in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

'Obstinacy of the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board.

'Character of the devil, according to some modern writers.

'First act of our Lord on beginning the Galilean Ministry.

'Empire Day.

_'Subject of the Scripture lesson:--St. Matthew, chaps. iv and v._

('The Temptations, the commencement of the Galilean Ministry, the first
portion of the Sermon on the Mount.')

'(The headmaster enters, worries his gown, sits down, adjusts his
waistcoat, and coughs once.)

'The--um--er--I am taking you through the Gospel of St. Matthew. I think,
as a matter of fact, we got to the end of the third chapter. We won't
spend much time over the fourth. The fourth, I think, is
the--er--er--Temptations, which I have already taken with you--a
rather--er--very interesting--ah--very interesting--er--survival. That
the Temptation Narrative should have survived shows that there is
probably something of value in it or I do not think it would have
survived. There are two incidents of very similar character
of--er--very--er--similar character and--ah--different to a certain
extent from everything else--er--ah--There is a boy in that corner not
listening to me. Who is that boy in the corner there? No, not you--two
rows in front. I will come down to you later, my boy. There are two
incidents in the Gospel Narrative which are similar in--er--character and
which I have for the moment called "Survivals"--very characteristic,
namely, the somewhat surprising narrative of the Temptation of our Lord,
and the other the account of the Transfiguration. These are different in
form and character from other narratives, just in the same way as the
account of our Lord sending messages to the Baptist differs from others.
Er--yes--that last one. I should put them together as coming from a
similar source (lapse into inaudibility--bow wow wow. Unique in
characteristic--bow wow wow-Somewhat subtle--bow wow). One remarks that
the Temptations are always looked at from the personal point of view,
which I have put down in my synopsis. Has anybody here got my synopsis?
lend it to me a moment. I don't think the personal significance of the
Gospel stories has importance nowadays. We needn't consider it. That's
what I think about things in general. Personal importance giving place to
universal needs. We are not so much concerned with whether boys do evil
or not. Of course it annoys me if I find a boy doing evil. Leading others
astray. Shockingly annoying. Oughtn't to be. Like continuous mathematics
not enabling a boy to pass in arithmetic--bow wow wow--screw loose. See
what I mean,  K----? Not referring to you, my boy (laughter). Hunt me up
something in Plato about all these things. During the last generation--

'(Half a page omitted.)

'Just in the same way from another point of view shall we live for own
advancement, which we are continually tempted to do? It's awfully
annoying if you do certain things and people won't recognise them. I was
pretty heftily annoyed myself at a meeting of the Oxford and Cambridge
Board. Professor Barker--great man--I nearly always agree with him.
Professor Barker. They had made science compulsory for the school
certificate. Bow wow wow. I don't want boys turned aside from their main
purpose to have to get up scraps and snippets of science. Literary
pursuits and so on. I wouldn't have it at any price. Bow wow wow. Modern
languages are compulsory too. By looking at a boy's French set I can tell
whether he can pass or not. Bow wow. Professor Barker proposed that
science should be voluntary. I seconded him, but I said that languages
should be voluntary as well. He didn't see that at all. Isn't it enough
to make a man angry?

'(Half a dozen lines omitted from our note as incomprehensible.)

'Now I am inclined to think that Satan in this Gospel is not intended to
be the Satan of our minds--the prince of evil. He is in tended to be more
like the Satan in the book of Job. He is the devil's advocate. He argues
for the other side. For the opposition. He is put up to create
opposition. This may in itself be a valuable thing. I don't know that I
need go further into it. I would just like to tell you this, boys. Some
modern writers, especially Bernard Shaw, have a very high esteem for the
devil. He[*] prefers hell to heaven. So he says. Of course he hasn't been
there, so he can't tell. So he is voted a dangerous personage because,
dear souls, they don't know what he means. What _he_ means is that heaven
as it has been run down to and God as He has been run down to--everything
placid and simple and inactive and non-creative and sleepy. People don't
worship God. They worship (burble burble). They don't disturb their minds
and think about things. That's what he means. Yes. Man and Superman.
Activity of intellect. That's more or less what he has in mind. He
prefers people doing something outrageously wrong than doing nothing at
all. I don't know if it's true; it's all expressed in Greek thought.

[* Mr. Shaw]

'(Four pages omitted on running with the tide, Lloyd George, the
importance of French in examinations, and the correct way of getting a
true national spirit.)

'Well, our Lord now proceeded to found His Galilean Ministry. And what
was the first thing He did, L----? It's quite obvious. What did He do?
Obvious. Were you thinking of what I said just now? No, sir. My stream of
words goes over you, not through you. Obvious. Now what was the first
thing He did? What is obviously the first thing He did? Why, it's
painfully obvious, even to L----. What was it? What? Where are we, L----?
L---- has lost the place. Which paragraph do I mean, L----? Read the
paragraph I mean. No. I have finished that. Next one. Obvious. What is it
about? Yes, what is it about? What is it about? Two or four? Yes, four!
Now what is obvious? Obvious! Now you've just got it, and you're ten
minutes behind. Of course. The first obvious thing He had to do was to
get a band of faithful disciples. Very first thing He did. What did H
call them to be? To be what? Fishers of Men. Obvious.

'(Five pages omitted on Empire Day, Medical Study, and Cancer.)

'Now the--er--the Sermon on the Mount. You have heard this ever since you
were on your mother's knee. At least I hope so. Beyond the historical
times of your memory. For you, the Sermon on the Mount is as old as the
ages. And yet I dare trespass on the Sermon on the Mount. "I've heard of
it before," you say. "I'm tired of it. Do something fresh." Boys, you
must go and read old things and breathe into them the new Spirit of Life.
Now what is that chapter in Ezekiel, boys? Do you know the number of the
page, and the paragraph, and the chapter? No. What am I talking about?
Why, the valley of dry bones. Never heard of it! No. Is it in Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, or where, or Habakkuk? Is it in Ezekiel 1? No.36? No.37? Yes.
Dry Bones. Bones. Yes. That's what. I am going to take you to a valley of
dry bones. Dry Bones. Bones. It is your business to go into the dry bones
of the past and cover them with flesh, and breathe into them the new
Spirit. I often read the Sermon on the Mount. It never bores me. I have
more excuse to be bored than you. I learned it, gracious goodness, how
long ago! Beyond Historic times. I loved it as a boy. Dry Bones.

'(Three pages on the Sermon on the Mount.)

'Now yesterday was Empire Day. Why did you want me to put the flag up?
Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves! Is not that it? (Yes, sir.)
Dear boys! I wouldn't throw cold water on it for worlds. Well, you had
your flag. It didn't fly. There was no wind behind it. There was no devil
to blow it. Dear boys, you wanted that flag for a reason I think a shade
wrong. It wouldn't be within the-what's the word I want?--suited for our
modern gauges. The new world won't come until we give up the idea of
Conquest and Extension of Empire--no new kingdom until its members are
imbued with the principles that competition is wrong, that conquest is
wrong, that co-operativeness is right, and sacrifice a law of nature.
Now, how do the seven Beatitudes read with _Rule Britannia?_ Now you say
you believe in your Bibles. You say you are Christians. Pious Christians.
You would be most annoyed if I called you heathens. Well, if so, you
believe that these are right:--

'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Rule Britannia!

'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Rule
Britannia!

'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Rule Britannia!

'Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they
shall be filled. Britannia rules the waves!

'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Rule Britannia!

'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see all that is worth
seeing and living for. Wave your flag! Rule Britannia!

'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Rule
Britannia!

'Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake. Rule
Britannia! It is incongruous...

'Dear souls! My dear souls! I wouldn't lead you astray for anything. I
can't explain it...this national spirit of yours. Beneath it all there is
a spirit of great righteousness. I wouldn't tamper with it for thousands
of pounds. But you must just see the other side...

'(Starts on the Salt of the Earth, but is interrupted by time. Sets a
heavy prep., and goes.)'

2

Now that was the key in which Sanderson dealt with his boys and in which
he gave his message to the world. And that is also the key in which they
dealt with him. I want to clear out of the reader's mind any idea that
this great teacher of men was a solemn and superior person, clear, exact,
and exalted, and that his boys had any vague sentimental worship for him.
They laughed at him, loved him, understood him, assimilated his ideas,
and worked with him. He was much more like a sweating, panting, burly
leader pushing a way for himself and others through a thorny thicket. And
when I sat in his study and read over the notes of his sermons and
scripture lessons I got the same impression of a sturdy fighter thrusting
through a tangle.

Al together there were several hundred of these sermon-memoranda. He
would take a quire of manuscript paper and write down his notes, not
headings merely but sentences, writing very fast, missing out halves of
words, leaving phrases incomplete. The result would be a little book with
perhaps a title and a date scribbled on the back page. The dozen specimen
sermons in the official Life were mostly taken from these rough drafts.
There was also a quantity of printed sermons dating from his earliest
days at Oundle. So that it was possible to trace his development from the
days when every heretical utterance was jealously noted, to the days of
complete freedom of thought and expression.

He came into the interlaced briars and brakes of modern religious
thought, a trained theological student, but already a very broad one, far
from the trite materialistic superstitions of the narrowly orthodox. 'Of
what is termed "definite religious teaching" his boys received little,'
says one of his clerical assistants. 'The Head fought shy of anything
which he felt might cramp a boy's tendency to think for himself and
develop his own views.'

This is far from the old days of salvation by belief.

He took Christ as the central figure in his teaching. In his early days
he had prepared a parallel arrangement of the gospels, and this developed
into his _Synopsis of the Life of Christ._ He seems to have clung stoutly
to the authenticity of the recorded sayings of Christ, but he held
himself free to doubt whether we have as yet 'got to the bottom of many
sayings of the Master.' And, says the same witness, at once rather
vaguely and rather illuminatingly: 'He brushed aside impatiently doubts
as to the feasibility of this miracle or that. To any who seemed to be
worrying about the actual turning of water into wine at Cana he would
urge that they were missing the whole point; cold, lifeless water was
turned into warm, life-giving wine--and this was the work of the Master
and His new teaching. Could they doubt that? He seemed to feel acutely
that the passing of the centuries is liable to bring a distortion as well
as an enrichment of the Christian revelation, and for that reason he was
always trying to meditate himself, and to get others to meditate, on the
true characteristics of the Master in the earliest portraits of Him
handed down to us in the Gospels.'

Like all religious teachers he emphasised some aspects of the general
doctrine in preference to others, but his accent was never on the
sacramental or ceremonial side. The root ideas of orthodox Christianity,
the ideas of sin and an atonement, never very prominent in his teaching,
faded more and more from his discourses as the years went on. He never
seems to have had much sense of sin, and he laid an increasing stress on
action, on courage and experiment. One saying he repeated endlessly,
'Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken
together, running over, shall men give into your bosom.' Still more
frequently he quoted, 'I came that ye might have life, and that ye might
have it more abundantly.' In his later days that had become a new motto
for Oundle School; it ousted 'God grant Grace' from the boys' thoughts in
much the same way that Faraday for all spiritual purposes ousted St.
Anthony as the patron saint of the school. And in the later sermons one
would find side by side with Gospel sayings, exhortations from quite
another quarter. The boys were told to 'live dangerously.' The Christ of
later Oundle became indeed a very Nietzschean Christ.

3

Orthodox Christianity is built upon the doctrine of the Fall of Man and
the damnation of mankind, but I could find only the rarest and remotest
allusions to this ground beneath the Christian corner-stone of salvation
in the bale of sermons I examined. There is no evidence that Sanderson
ever denied the fallen state of man, but he never alluded to it, and the
general effect of his teaching went far beyond a mere avoidance. As his
teaching developed, another word, a word infrequent in the gospels,
became dominant, the word 'creative.' For any mention of 'salvation' you
will find twenty repetitions of 'creative.' So far as I can gather he
took the word from a hitherto unrecognised Christian father, St. Bertrand
Russell. And I should submit the following passage from a sermon on The
Garden of Life, to any competent theological body with very grave doubts
whether they would accept it as consistent with the teaching of any
recognised Christian Church.

'God had created man, and had moulded and fashioned him, and had breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul,
possessed of the divine and eternal indestructible spirit, the God-like
spirit which would fill him with the glorious and life-giving spirit of
unrest, of unsatisfied longings and desire, of the instinctive natural
urge to have more of life. A mighty power, a dynamic creative force, a
daemonic increasing urge--against which the forces of hell, of
destructiveness, of caprice, of lawlessness, of the jungle, cannot
prevail. Under this power man and the races of man progress: but without
this mental fight, this constant struggle, no life can come. I dwelt on
this fact last time I spoke to you, having in mind the mental or
intellectual aspect of it, especially for those of you who are working
for some searching examinations: for without a persistent, painful, and
often enough disappointing effort the understanding of things will not
come to you, or to any of us.

'Be true to yourselves, suffer no artifice, or artificial understanding,
to throw dust in your eyes. Do not struggle for a static victory. Be true
to yourselves. Do not struggle for your recognition, as it were, or for
the mere appearance of knowledge--rather struggle to enter into the
kingdom, the kingdom of service.

'And where can you find the inspiration and urge of life The source is
wonderfully drawn out for us in the illuminating and suggestive
commentary on Genesis you have the advantage to study. A great human book
is Canon Driver's _Commentary,_ digging out for us the deep truths of
life embedded in the ancient myths of Genesis. A study in the use of
words; of what we can learn from words; a new form of text-book. Such a
text-book as we should have for the new era. This picture of the coming
and making of man tells us a story of the widest applicability. It is
found in all the works of God; it is found in all our surroundings; it is
found in all our work and toil; it is found most fully and actively in
all our daily working life. God, we are told, made a garden for man, and
there He placed him and gave him charge of it; and there the Lord God
came and walked with man, and communed with man, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life. And there He gave him his chief aim of life,
his one purpose. And the Lord God took man, and put him in the Garden of
Eden, to dress it and to keep it. And then with the memory and order of
that garden in his mind He permitted him to receive knowledge, and then
sent him out into the great wilderness to find his garden there.'

And here is another passage from a sermon entitled 'Creative.'

'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was
waste and void. The world was in chaos, darkness, and gloom. But it was
not to be left in this state. All this condition of anarchy, this waste
and void, was the material out of which a new world was to be created.
Confused and impossible though everything appeared, yet there was
something present that made steadfastly and incessantly for order. So we
believe it is now, in the present state of things. All the conflicts and
strifes of to-day are the breaking up of the fallow ground. They are the
effort to create life. The: are the messengers of the coming of the Son
of Man. In storm and tempest cometh the Son of Man. Over all this
lawless, shapeless, impossible material of chaos there brooded, we are
told, the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God was brooding over the waters
like a bird over its nest, and in due time, in the order of creation, a
new life was to take shape, and a new world was to rise up. In stately,
ordered, majestic manner with all the certainty and irresistible power of
gravitation, step by step, stage by stage, out of the welter of anarchy,
a life--a new life--was to come into the world. A new life came.

'And at each stage we hear the words of the Lord God, "Let there be," and
"there was." And then: "God saw tha tit was good." There was evening, and
there was morning--darkness changed into light--and the day's work was
done. And God saw that it was good.

'So, too, it is and will be in the history of the human race. The
uplifting of mankind, the coming of fuller life to nations, to man, to
classes and sections of men, has come in epochs of change. Such stages in
history are like the stages in the life history of a plant. There seem to
be resting phases, epochs of apparent quiescence, the cessation of
struggle.

'The fact is that some new freedom, some new principle of life, some
desire to grow, has for a long time been taking root in the minds and
souls of men. The urge to become more creative--to gain more of life and
give more of life--becomes at last intense. And there is an immense
desire to satisfy the great urge of nature. The old order passes. The
gathered forces seek release. The pangs of birth are upon us.'

The further one goes with Sanderson, the stronger is one's sense of new
wine fermenting in the old bottle of orthodox Christian formulae. In one
of the late sermons he deliberately sets aside the Epistles of the New
Testament as of less account than the gospels. He was still diverging
when he died. In the last year or so of his life a new word crept into
his talk and played an increasingly important part in it. That word was
'syncretism.' He spoke of it more and more plainly as an evil thing. And
I cannot but believe, knowing his sources of knowledge and the angle at
which he approached history, that he must have been aware that doctrinal
Christianity--as detached from the personal teaching of Jesus--is, with
its Mithraic blood sacrifice and Sabbath keeping, its Alexandrine
trinity, its Egyptian priests, shaven and celibate, its Stella Maris and
infant Horus, the completest example of a syncretic religion in the
world. My impression is that if he had lived another two years he would
have shed his last vestiges of theological paraphernalia and gone
straight back to the teaching of the Nazarene, openly and plainly. And
that would have created a very embarrassing situation for the members of
the Grocers' Company, in the school at Oundle.

4

And what creed was taking the place of the old theological tangle? What
interpretation was Sanderson putting upon this ever-new teaching of
Christ in the world, that he was stripping so steadily out of its
irrelevant casings of dogma and superstition? I cannot do better in
answer to that than quote from one of his latest sermons, a sermon
delivered on the reassembly of the school at the opening of a new school
year.

'The fundamental instinct of life is to create, to make, to discover, to
grow, to progress. Every on in some form or other has experience of this
joy of creating; the joy of seeing the growth, the building, the change,
the coming. The instinct of those in authority has recognised--without
perhaps knowing it--the love to create, when they devised punishment--the
treadmill, prisons, routine, all thwarting that free creative impulse to
the point of torture. Or on a minor scale the trivial school stupidities
and idlenesses of 'lines'; detentions without labour or sacrifice or
both; or even the cheap and easy physical punishment. Such punishment, if
not all inflicted punishment, springs out of the distinctive protective
aim of slavery. Creative life comes slowly.

'Life, this beautiful, creative life, comes slowly through the ages, but
it comes. Slowly mankind is emerging out of slavery into the beautiful
freedom of creative life. Slowly mankind is realising the natural desire,
the instinctive natural urge, the essential need for life-of each
individual to be free. Free--i.e. free to strive, to endeavour, to reach
on wards, to create, to make, to beget. The economic freedom of the
individual has been slowly escaping throughout history. It burst into a
new vigorous life through the hammering blows of the French Revolution.
During the last century or more this principle of freedom has been
changing our political relationships and values. This economic escape may
be said to have reacted on science, and the modern developments of
evolution have benefited by the spreading change in the temper of mind,
and by the influx of workers and creative thinkers from the enslaved
order.

'And this raises a large question which I have in mind this morning.
Everyone can see to-day the immensity of the problems before the world.
It does not need much reflection, or foresight, or knowledge, to see that
the organisation of the intercourse of races is hurrying on to becoming a
dangerous problem. As has been said, and as anyone I think with powers of
sight can see, it is in a large sense a race between education and
catastrophe. And the question we in schools have to ask is, Can we in
schools be outside all this Can we confine our work, our play, our
necessary work, our necessary play, to the recognised, traditional work
or play of schools We here think not. We believe that schools should move
on towards becoming always a microcosm of the new world. A microcosm, and
experiment, of the standards of value, of the commandments, the statutes
and judgments, of the organisation, of the visions and aims of a coming
world. We must not get into our heads that these are theoretical things,
it may be pure idealistic sort of things, or, it may be new and dangerous
things. They are none of these things--they can be expressed in very
everyday, homely, matter-of-fact things and in the doing of our ordinary
work. Of course they do mean thought, a tendency to believe, a faith in
boys--and they do mean labour, and sacrifice-as they are called or
thought of at first--until both pass on into the beautiful life.

'Such aims and urges become terrific powers for prolonging the life of
man; and as the stream of life goes on it becomes more and more like a
vast river moving slowly forward with great power, receiving more and
more of tributaries, slowly, strongly, surely flowing on "unto the
estuary that enlarges, and spreads itself grandly as it pours its waters
into the great ocean of sea."

'But the beginnings are here: and here boys must find themselves in the
great stream of true life. They must find themselves in the land of the
great vision, of faith, of service. No beating or marking of time here.
No easy static state. No satisfaction with conventional static comfort.
Here they will join in this great world-life. They came from their homes
to join the great world-lif here. Even these tiny boys here will feel
that something is before them that matters, something of true life and
true intent. They will get the germs of life from some of those things we
are perpetually trying to do, and never succeeding in doing. They will
catch the contagion of effort. For learning is not our object here, but
doing. They may learn things in a deadly static way, they may learn much
in a static way and gain nothing of life. Not here, I hope. No, the germs
of life come from the spirit; from the incessant travail of the soul;
from high intent; they come from the burning desire to know of the things
that are coming into the world...'



CHAPTER VI. THE WAR AND SANDERSON'S PROPAGANDA OF RECONSTRUCTION

1

The disaster of the great war came to Sanderson as a tremendous
distressful stimulant, a monstrous and tragic turn in human affairs that
he had to square with his aims and teaching. He had had our common
awareness of its possibility, and yet when the crash came it took him, as
it took most of us, by surprise. At first he accepted the war as a dire
heroic necessity. This aggression of a military imperialism had to be
faced valiantly. That was how he saw it. Both his sons joined up at the
earliest possible moment, and the school braced itself up to train its
senior boys as officers, to help in the production of munitions, to
produce aviators, gunners and engineers for the great service of the war.

The practical quality of the old boys from Oundle became apparent at
once. They stepped from laboratory and factory and office into
commissions; they returned from all over the world to prepare for the
battlefields. By 1918 over a thousand Oundle boys had gone into the
fighting services, three had V.C.'s, many had been mentioned in
despatches, awarded the Military Cross and the like.

He did his best to find God and creative force in the world convulsion.
Here is a part of an address to the Church Parade of the Cadet Corps
which shows his very fine and very human struggle to impose a nobility of
interpretation upon the grim distressful last stages of the war.

'It is a pleasant thing to wander about these fields and watch the cadets
who are told off to instruct their squads. It is a splendid illustration
of the power of co-operation in education-where boys and men, or where a
community work together, teaching one another, learning one from the
other, where all are teachers and scholars, a body of co-workers,
helping, encouraging, stimulating each other. This community method is
dominant wherever there is a great stirring, e.g. a great call, a great
pressing into a new kingdom; wherever there is a great discovery and a
new need. The war will establish it in schools.

'And just one word when you go forth from here. You will carry this
mutual co-operative spirit with you. You will love your men, take care of
their interests, making full use of their individual faculties, and learn
to be co-workers with them.

'It is often said that wars will never cease that they are a
necessity--and in a sense this is true. One thing we know quite well,
that in all affairs of life _peace_ may be simply the peace of death.
There is the peace of lifelessness, of inactivity, notwithstanding all
its autumnal beauty. There is the quiet peace which changes not, the
conventional belief, the conventional kind of round of work, with lack of
initiative, of experiment, of testing and trials. There is the peace
which follows on contentment with things as they are, the peace of death.
The land of peace and of convention, and of cruel contentment. The land
of dark Satanic mills--as in Blake's imagery. War may come to break up
this deathful peace. So said John Ruskin. I have a letter written to me
just when the war broke out. In July 1914 the O.T.C. was inspected by
General Birkbeck, and in his speech he expressed his belief that war was
coming. On 2nd August, 1914, he wrote to me:

'"DEAR MR. SANDERSON,--We little thought when I spoke to those boys of
yours how near we were to our trial!" and he adds: "These are the words
of a peaceful philosopher, Mr. Ruskin, when concluding a series of
lectures on War at Woolwich Royal Academy Institution, which may give you
comfort. Men talk of peace and plenty, of peace and learning, of peace
and civilisation; but I found that those are not the words which the muse
of history has coupled together! On her lips the words are Peace and
Selfishness, Peace and Sensuality, Peace and Death!!! I learned, in
short, that all great nations learned their truth of word and strength of
thought in war; that they were taught by war and betrayed by
peace--trained by war and deceived by peace--nourished in war and decayed
in peace; in a word, that they were born in war and expired in peace."

'This is the prophet's call to arise and awaken out of sleep; to abandon
the easy life of routine and routine's belief. It is a call to rise up
and breathe life into the dry bones of the past; it is the trumpet blast
for active warfare against all things that have become lifeless and
dead. It is the herald call for a new army, to build up a new world of
active, creative, dynamic Peace.'

2

In April 1918 his eldest son, Roy, died of wounds at Estaires after the
battle of the Lys. Loss after loss of boys and trusted colleagues had
grieved and distressed him; now came this culminating blow. There had
been the closest understanding between father and son; Roy had left
engineering to become a master at the Royal Naval College, Osborne, which
Sanderson had helped to reconstruct, and more and more had the father
looked to his boy as his chosen disciple and possible successor.

On the Whitsunday following Sanderson preached a sermon on the text: 'I
will not leave you desolate, I will come unto you.' The notes of the
sermon were untidy, and have had to be carefully pieced together, but I
think they rise to a very high level of poetry. And when 1 copy them out
I think how the dear sturdy man in his academic gown must have stood up
and clung to his desk, after his manner, full of grief and sorrowful
memories of the one 'gentle soul,' in particular, and of many other
gentle souls, he had lost--clinging to his desk with both hands as he
clung to his faith and speaking stoutly.

'Whitsunday--White Sunday--white, pure, untainted--day of
consolation--day of inspiration--perhaps the most joyous time of all the
year. Spring in its power, life, Spirit of Peace, joy. Everywhere
joy--sanctified, subdued. Joy, and peace, and new life in the music, the
harmonies and discords, of Nature--here, in the country. The singing of
the birds, their twittering, chattering, calling; their excitement; their
restful chirping, abandon of joy, peace without alloy--they are friends
of the soul. The atmosphere too--the gentleness of it, the life within it
and soft warmth of it: freedom, imagination, inspiration are in the air;
the wind bloweth whereit listeth. Joy, innocent, white, pure, and happy.
Happiness too. Life steeped in the sunshine of happiness. The spring, the
elasticity, the eutrophy of life: life-creating life; life-giving life.
Happiness on every hand mystic, elusive as the forces of Nature. "The
wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but
cannot tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth." Happiness! Not
freedom from care, or from sorrow, or from sleepless anguish; not freedom
from abasement, not even from dark gloom--the accidie of depression--yet
nevertheless the increasing sense of the life of love and service, the
power of service, the completeness of it. The happiness which breaks ever
and again through the clouds of uncertainties, doubts, darknesses of
life-revealing it may be, for a moment, the signs of long years of
effort-for as life goes on it is given to catch glimpses of the growth of
the soul, something of the part the soul has taken in the building of the
kingdom. It is in this life of love and service the words of the Master
come to us: "I will not leave you desolate, I will come unto you."'

Followed praise of the beauty of work with which his congregation must
have been familiar. And then came this concluding passage:--

'And when these days of wrath are passed away, there will be a great
battlefield for a new birth. Days of wrath and then a new revelation.
When God came down on the first Pentecost on Mount Sinai, He came amid
thunders and lightnings, and in a thick dark cloud-and when the Holy
Spirit of God came to the waiting disciples there was a sound of a
rushing mighty wind. And it must be so. New birth comes through much
sorrow. So we may hope that new theories of life which for a century have
been growing towards birth will spring forth out of this great contest in
all the lands of the earth. Vast work there will be, and the labourers
sadly fewer. The nation is now sending of her very best into the
battlefield. There will be great call for new recruits to restore the
countries which are devastated--great calls, too, for investigators in
all branches of knowledge. Pioneers are now leading the way in research,
in mathematics, in science, in industry, in the laws of logic and
thought, with new ways of expression in language and art.

'There is the great pressing need of revolution in the laws and
relationships in the social life. We may have visions of a regenerated
social state, in which courtesy, justice, mercy, the spirit of the
gentle knight, will show themselves in change of thought, of belief; we
may have visions of communities guided by principles which we hope and
believe rule in our great school. Care for the weak; clothing, feeding,
housing, medical care for all; a crime to be poor; to be diseased, to be
underfed; these regenerations controlled by the true and public spirit
at the cost of the community. Laws for reform and redemption, and not
for punishment. Each member of the state cared for, as it is our hope
each boy of this school is. Great changes-essential to the well-being of
a state, and to each member of it. We may have visions that the spirit
of chivalry, of kindness, of courtesy, of gentleness, of all that goes
to make the "gentle soul" will bring this redemption to the people.'

3

The war turned Sanderson from a successful schoolmaster into an amateur
statesman. Life had become intolerable for him unless he could interpret
all its present disorders as the wreckage and confusion of the
house-breakers preparing the site for a far nobler and better building.
He shows himself at times by no means certain that this would ever prove
to be the case, but he had the brave man's assurance that with luck and
courage there was nothing impossible in the hope that a more splendid
human order might be built at last upon this troubled and distressful
planet. But for that to happen every possible soul must be stirred, no
latent will for order but must be roused and brought into active service.
He had no belief in hopeless and irremediable vulgarity. People are mean,
base, narrow, implacable, unforgiving, contentious, selfish, competitive,
because they have still to see the creative light. Let that but shine
upon them and seize them and they would come into their places in that
creative treatment of life which ennobles the servant and enriches the
giver, which is the true salvation of souls.

He became a propagandist. He felt he had now made good sufficiently in
his school. He had established a claim as an able and successful man to
go out to able men, to business men, to influential men of all sorts, and
tell them the significance of this school of his, this hand-specimen,
this assay sample, of what could be done with the world. He went to
Chambers of Commerce, to Rotary Clubs, to Civic Assemblies, to Luncheon
gatherings of business men, to tell them of this idea of organisation for
service, instead of for profit and possession. He tried to find
industrial magnates who would take up the methods of Oundle in productive
organisation. He corresponded extensively with such men as, for example,
Lord Weir and Sir Alfred Yarrow and Lord Bledisloe. He wanted to see them
doing for industrial and agricultural production what he had done for
education, reconstructing it upon a basis of corporate service, aiming
primarily at creative achievement, setting aside altogether competitive
success or the amassing of private wealth as the ends of human activity.
Surely they would see how much finer this new objective was, how much
fuller and richer it must make their own lives!

When I tell of this search for a kindred spirit among iron masters and
great landlords and the like I am reminded of Confucius and his search
for a duke in China, or of Plato or Machiavelli looking for a prince.
There is the same belief in the power of a leader and the need of a
personal will; the same utter scepticism in any automatic or crowd
achievement of good order; once again the schoolmaster sets out to
conquer the world. Perhaps some day that perennial attempt will come to
fruition, and the schoolmaster will then indeed conquer the world.
Perhaps the seeds that Sanderson has sown will presently be germinating
in a crop of masterful business men of a new creative type. Perhaps there
are Sandersons yet to come, men of energy; each with his individual
difference, but all alight with the new conception of man's creative
life. Perhaps Oundle may, after all, prove to be the egg of a new world.
Oundle may relapse, probably will relapse, but other, more enduring
Oundles may follow in other parts of the world. At present all that I can
tell is of the message Sanderson was preaching during the last six years
of his life.

Here he is, talking to the textile manufacturers of Bradford. This that
follows is from his printed address, restrained and pruned, but for the
manner of his delivery, the reader should think rather of that sample
sermon and the other descriptions I have given of his personal quality.

'I am very much honoured by your invitation to address this important
congress, and I am honoured, too, in being permitted to speak on
education in this great city of Bradford. For your city stands out very
prominently in the annals of education, and its work is well known by all
who have watched educational progress.

'You, gentlemen, are concerned with education: you are much concerned
with the education which will promote the welfare of the leaders and
workers in your industry; and the welfare of the people in your
districts. Industrialism has tumbled upon us, and it is an untamed,
unruly being, the laws of which are not yet known, and need study. For
some thirty-five years-a long spell-I have, in places removed far away
from the voices of industry, devoted my time towards the introduction
into Public Schools of those Scientific and Technical studies which, as I
understand it, lie at the basis of industrial life. I have always had
before me the work of organising Technical Subjects so that they might
give all that is best to give of spiritual and intellectual training. And
our object is to send forth from school boys that will be in sympathy
with the work that they have to do, that they will be privileged to do,
and to send them forth equipped for it. You have the same purpose. Your
wish is that the boys and girls of your country should have every chance
of developing into effective workers in the community, and that they
should take a zealous intellectual interest in their work--that they
should love their work, love to do it well, ever anxious to mount to
higher things.

'And one of the difficulties of the immediate future will be to
reorganise industrial conditions so that each worker may have the chance
of stretching his faculties and of getting the work that will give him
reasonably full play for his abilities. The fact that able and clever men
are, in the present system, kept too long at work which does not stretch
their brains, is a cause of unrest. Fortunately there is a growing
consensus of opinion that more freedom for opportunity and for
advancement is seriously necessary, and this sympathetic opinion will
lead towards a solution. It is also well within the work of a school to
promote this sympathy by sending out boys with those intellectual and
scientific tastes and knowledge which will react upon themselves and
attract them to the workers.

'There are two other questions which I will mention before I come to the
actual work which may be done in schools. One of the main aims of a good
school is to see that each boy and girl is cared for, that each one has
every opportunity for development. We must not cast out, or send our weak
ones away, we must keep them in school--we must find out what kind of
work will appeal to them, so that they, too, may move upwards, gain in
self-respect, and love their life. And we claim that this is what we
would have done in all factories, or in any occupation. It is the
essential duty of every nation. We are anxious that no worker should be
stunted mentally or physically by the kind of work he has to do. This
again is a difficult as it is an urgent problem. It is one which can be
studied in schools, and there is no doubt that the attempts of a school
to provide avenues of advance for all kinds of boys will tend to bring
the right spirit into industrial and agricultural life...'

4

So much for the Bradford discourse. Here is the gist of a discourse given
to the Reconstruction Council in London a year later..

'The object of this paper is to describe in practical working terms an
organisation of schools which shall be based on a close association with
the manifold needs and labours of the community life. At the outset I may
say that the proposals will refer--even if not specifically so stated--to
all types of schools, from the elementary to the Public Schools. It will
be seen that the change needs a change in the ideals which have usually
prevailed in schools of the past. In the community life the one urgent
thing to be done to-day is to reorganise industry and the conditions of
labour. This reorganisation may require quite organic or even anarchic
changes--and for these changes the ideals of boys and girls must be
changed, and to prepare for this change is the urgent work of the
schools.

'Before I come to the proposals for reconstruction of schools, I will
state very briefly some facts in industry which are now meeting with
acceptance:

'1. Modern industrial life has come in with a tumultuous rush, in a
haphazard, ungoverned way, through the activities of forceful, capable,
and industrious leaders who have made use of the scientific discoveries
of another type of men.

'2. The shrinkage of the world, and the growth of population which
followed, has led to fierce competition; and this spirit of competition
has ruled everywhere.

'3. In the ungoverned rush for production all sorts of methods are
adopted which seem to be justified by their effectiveness. An example is
the modern system of efficiency, at first sight captivating to the
intellect and the desires, but yet a method which needs very careful
study.

'4. Now men are beginning to believe that the first product of industry
must be for the worker; that the worker should grow physically,
intellectually, spiritually by his work.

'I shall claim that the work in schools should be permeated by Science
and by the scientific method and outlook, and it will be found that
Science itself does not set all this store on efficiency. Efficiency, I
believe, is entirely contained within the first, or quantitative law of
Thermo-dynamics. But eutrophy based on the more elusive qualitative law
is concerned with the quality which leads to the giving up of life to
others. We must see to it that whatever the efficiency may be, the
eutrophy of industry be high.

'The principle that the first product of industry must be the worker
leads to great organic changes. It will lead to no less a thing than
closing down certain productions, certain classes of occupations, certain
industries or processes. It will lead to a modification in repetition
work; and to adjustmets in organisation. I hope to show the bearing of
this on our educational methods, and how the ideals implied may bring
some help in diagnosing Labour unrest.

'It will be seen that most of the changes needed to-day depend upon
international agreements; and a league of nations is essential, not, I
think, to end wars, but to make the change from competition to
co-operation possible.

'We are concerned to-day with the part education must take in this change
of ideals of life. It is not too much to say that without the influence
of a reconstructed education the way to change in the ideals of men will
be hard to find. The change has to be made from competitive methods and
ideals to co-operative methods; from the spirit of dominance to
creativeness; and the present system of aristocraticism in schools must
give way to democratisation.

'Competition holds sway to-day in industrial life with disastrous
results. Every employer of labour feels this, and wrestles, and would be
glad of a change, but he is held in the grip of a system. Every one feels
that competition destroys the creative, inventive life--and is the seat
of unrest. And yet the spirit of competition holds sway, not in commerce
only nor in diplomacy, but in the schools. Our public schools are
professedly schools for training a dominant class; the aims, the
educational methods, the school subjects and their relative values, the
books read, the life led--are all based on this spirit. The methods are
largely competitive, possessive. With, as I believe, tragic results in
industrial life this same system, with the ideals behind it, has been
unwittingly impressed on the working class in the elementary schools...

'The change which I am advocating will demand a new organisation, and
will call for a new type of school buildings, and new values of subjects.
The new-comer Science, and with it organised industry, which springs out
of it, must take a prominent and inspiriting place in school, and in
every part of school work. It is not sufficient to say that Science
should be taught in schools. The time has gone by for this. We claim that
scientific thought should be the inspiring spirit in school life. Science
is essentially creative and co-operative, its outlook is onwards towards
change, it means searching for the truth, it demands research and
experiment, and does not rest on authority. Under this new spirit all
history, literature, art, and even languages should be rewritten.

'A new type of school buildings and requirements will arise. No longer
buildings comprised only of class-rooms, but large and spacious
workrooms. Class-rooms are places where boys go to be taught. They are
tool-sharpening rooms--necessary, but subsidiary. For research and
cooperative creative work the larger halls are needed. Spacious
engineering and wood-working shops, well supplied with all kinds of
machine tools, a smithy, a foundry, a carpenter's shop, a drawing
office--all carried on for manufacturing purposes. Plenty of work which
will employ boys of all ages will be found to do.

'There will be a corresponding spacious literary and historical workshop
with a really spacious library full of books: books on modern subjects,
as well as reference books. The building should have wings in it for
foreign books--modern as well as classic, history, economics, literary,
scientific. As many as possible of the foreign languages should be
represented here, that boys may grow up with knowledge and sympathy and
respect for other nations, and thus aid in promoting wider and deeper
ideals of life. Another gallery for geography, and natural history,
travels, ethnology.

'Here is full scope for a large number of boys of all ages to be engaged
in research. It is all of a co-operative character. They can study the
various social and economic systems--from co-partnership to syndicalism;
or the Liberation of Slaves; or the League of Nations; or the Liberation
of Italy.

'Another block will be a science block with an engineering laboratory,
machinery hall, physical, chemical, and biological laboratories--well
supplied with apparatus and plant for applied science; plant, too, to
lead to the investigations of the day; testing machine, ship tank, air
tunnel; a miniature standardising laboratory; and with this a botanical
garden and an experimental farm.

'Another would be an art-room, music-room, theatre, a home of industry
for studying industrial development and industrial life.

'This is not a Utopian scheme, but one within possibility in town and
country. To each large central high school should be associated groups of
elementary schools, and there should be free highways between them,
neither barred by examinations nor barred by expense...

'Another change must also come. Books on modern problems, strangely
enough, are not yet read in schools. For example, the time is overdue for
a change in the English books: Burke's _Reflections_ and Pitt's _War
Speeches,_ or Addison, to Ruskin's _Unto This Last_ and _Time and Tide,_
or to Bernard Shaw, Wells, Galsworthy, and the modern poets. Some would
go so far as to give Shakespeare a rest. It is astonishing how the newer
books bearing on the large questions of the day, and bearing on the
actual life of the boy, strike the imagination of boys--even quite young
boys of the upper elementary school age. They stir up the faculties and
appeal to a less used kind of imagination. It is surprising, too, what
open and live views young boys will reach.

And one thing the study of these books possesses, which I hope to dwell
upon later, is that they bring the schools into close touch with the
everyday life of their homes and of the community.

'Creative education demands that schools should be brought into harmony
with the community life, and should take part in the industrial and
economic life. When boys and girls go home from school (even to the
humblest home) the parents should find there is something their children
have done at school which will help them in their work. This means that
technical and vocational training should hold a prominent, and not a
subsidiary, place in the schools. It is not difficult to see that this
kind of work contains within it the spirit and genius of Science. We
claim that education should be turned in this direction, with confidence
and inspiration. The divorce of industrial life from the life of the
spirit is one of the tragedies of the age. It produces calamitous
results. A man's work may be of an impossible kind, it may be sordid and
destructive of life--and the cure proposed is that he should have shorter
hours and more pay. This leads to bad diagnosis of the cause of the
Labour difficulty, and prevents necessary reforms in the industries...

'Creativeness, the co-operative spirit and method, the vision, the
experimental method of searching for the truth, form the unique gift
Science and Industry have to give to the "New Education." Under the
influence of this new outlook all other departments of knowledge must be
restudied. Under its influence the life of school will become active, the
workers self reliant, love abounding. It will make good craftsmen and
make the school of use in the community--whether in the manufacturing
life or in the investigation of economic conditions. Incidentally it will
give rise to a new body of men capable of going wholly or in part to
teaching, and the school will be thus linked up with the life of the
place.

'It may be well to state that with an education of this kind based
fundamentally on Science a capable boy will leave a secondary school with
a good knowledge of Science and of its application, with a research
attitude towards history and modern problems, and with a good working
knowledge of two, or three, or even four languages...

'The study of social questions is seriously needed. Industries would then
have a close connection with the boys and girls, and yet boys and girls
would be free to follow the best of their own talents and
inclinations--the industrial life would not be separated from the
spiritual life and we may hope that some part of this ideal would pass
over into the workshops and factories; so that the labourer would learn
to love his work better than his wage--for so indeed he would wish to do.
And the faculties of the worker would grow. The method of the work would
follow the method of the school, as it is doing more and more in our own
land and in many a workshop. For the spirit is with these ideals; the
practice difficult for any single firm to carry out. Hence is the need
for radical change in schools. Firms are being driven to start trade
schools of their own, when they would prefer the work to be done with all
the wider scope of a school. And the same enlightened firms endeavour to
"promote" their men.

'And here we come to what is probably the natural source of all labour
"unrest"--the unstretched faculties of the worker. Men there are in any
great shops who have intellectual faculties of the highest order, and
these faculties are not used, so the greatest possession a man has, and
the greatest his country has--the "faculties" of its owners--is allowed
to dissipate. And in the feeling of the mental want of equilibrium, in
the slow frittering away of life, there arrives the turbulent spirit. The
study of these questions is the problem for our coming international
university. The industrial and economic problems involved can only be
approached under international agreement. All that has been possible at
present in the way of making industrial life pure and holy is by
legislative restrictions, often enough rankling to the worker even when
needed for his amelioration. Such legislation (Factory Acts, Insurance
Acts, wages, hours) does not remove the source of the disease; at best it
only mitigates the worst results. More drastic changes may be needed in
the nature of the work-to the ruling out certain manufacturing processes
until new discoveries can be made.

'So with the work in the shops. Men do not want wages, or shorter hours;
these demands are only symptoms of a disease; short cuts to amelioration.
They are doctoring. What men want is that their work may be such that
they can love it, and want more of it. They do not want slaves' work in
the shops and a "dose" of the spiritual life out of it. So we believe.

'Parents, too, would let their children remain at school. As a class
there is no one more unselfish and self-sacrificing and co-operative than
the working-class parent. Boys want to leave school because of the
natural urge for making something and getting to business-as they see it
at home. To remain at school without joining in some work is unthinkable
when they see the life their parents lead.

'I may be permitted to insert one paragraph on the unfortunate opposition
to this new position which is claimed for Science in the schools. The
opposition springs from the belief that vocational work is simply
material, having no spiritual outlook. But the truth is all the other
way. Unfortunately the present studies of history, art, economy,
literature, are biassed by "possessive" instincts and education, and we
claim that Science and its methods are seriously demanded for a new
reading of these things. However, the opposition finds expression in high
quarters. The Workers' Educational Union, acting in sympathy with the
Labour view--that vocational studies are to be avoided--practically
taboos technical studies. This is reasonable as things are to-day, when a
man's work is too often for the profit of others, and for this reason the
workers are not in love with their work, and when the day is over they
have seen plenty of it; so the best of them go elsewhere for the springs
of the spiritual life. But this is all disastrous to individuals and
disastrous to progress. What the workers should do is to watch for the
spirit in their daily work, for it is the work itself which will hold a
man to God--nothing else will.'

5

I have quoted from this London Reconstruction discourse very fully. In
the official Life there are a number of such addresses in which the
student will find the main doctrines of that particular address repeated,
varied, amplified, but as my object in this book is to strip Sanderson's
views down to his essential ideas, I will make only one further quotation
from this propaganda material here. This is from the notes he arranged
for an address to the Newcastle Rotary Club. His favourite contrast
between the possessive instincts and the creative instincts comes out
very clearly here. Like all the great religious teachers, Sanderson aims
quite clearly at an ultimate communism, to be achieved not by revolution
but by the steady development of a creative spirit in the world.

'Schools should be miniature copies of the world we should love to have.
Hence our outlooks and methods must have these aims in mind.
Schoolmasters have great responsibilities. We should be able to say to a
boy, we have endeavoured to do such things for you, and we ask you to go
forth, it may be, into your father's business or factory and do the same
to the workers. Let me illustrate from the workshops. Workshops in a
school are by far the most difficult things to carry on along the lines I
have in mind. Here are three conditions which must be kept in the
shops:--

'(a) The work boys are doing should not be for themselves, or exercises
to learn by; it must always be work required by the community.

'(b) Each boy must have the opportunity of doing all the main operations,
and all the operations should be going on in the workshops.

'(c) Whenever a boy goes into the shop he should find himself set to work
which is up to the hilt of his capacity. There is no "slithering" down to
work which is easy, no unnecessary and automatic repetition, no working
for himself but 'for the community.

'And we can say, and are entitled to say, to the boy, when you go forth
into life, perhaps into your father's work or business or profession, you
must try to do for your apprentices and workers what we have tried to do
for you. You, too, will try to see that everyone has work which exacts
their faculties--by which they will grow and develop; you will see to it
that they are working directly on behalf of and for the welfare of the
community, and not for yourself.

'This is your real duty towards your neighbour. It is a vastly hard thing
to do. This duty of believing that others are of the same blood with
yourself, and have the same feelings, and loves, and desires and needs,
and natural elementary rights; this duty of setting them free to exercise
their faculties spaciously that they, too, may get more of life-is the
real duty towards your neighbour. It is a hard thing. If you think of the
works, the factory, the office, it is a hard thing. It involves vast
sacrifice-the hardest sacrifice--the sacrifice of belief and economic
tradition. We need not be surprised that Christianity has "slithered
down" to an easier and softer level of culture and duty towards our
neighbours. But whether the workers know it or not, this hard duty is
essential in considering the relationships of our community system and
our international system to-day.

'It is a hard duty, and boys must be immersed in it in school. The
outlook, values, and organisation of a school should be based on the
fundamental fact of the community service. By habit of mind, and by the
activity of the schools, boys should be imbued with this high duty. It
means a reorganisation of methods and aims.

'It is a hard duty, this duty towards your neighbour--the hardest part
being to believe that he has like feelings with yourself and equal
rights. The young man went away sorrowful, for he had great
riches--riches intellectual or other. Yet the young man went away
sorrowful, and there is no doubt that he eventually sold all that he had.
This is Watts' version of it. The young man was at heart a follower of
Jesus; he did not say that the commandment was an old one and well known,
that it had been said before in the Hagadah and by Moses; he did not say
that the language was the language of Plato or Philo; he did not say that
it was too difficult and could not be true for everyone--he went away
sorrowful. We have no doubt that he sold all that he had.

'The system of education in the past has been based on training for
leadership, i.e. for a master class, and its method has been a training
of the faculties. But the sharply defined line between the leaders and
the led has been broken down. The whole mass of people has been aroused
towards intellectual creative efforts. The struggle going on in all
communities and amongst all races is a struggle to grow and have more of
life.. Whether at home amongst our workers, or in India, or Egypt, or
Ireland; or between China and Europe--the struggle is the same. It is a
struggle to make progress, and have more of life. This urge to grow is a
biological fact. We cannot tell why it is or what creates it--but
everything around us has this urge to grow, and to grow in its own
particular way. One seed grows into a tulip, another into wheat. We know
not how, but we recognise it. And it is precisely the same urge to grow
that is causing all this apparent conflict. It is the fundamental
creative instinct--the most powerful instinct of the human race, by which
the race is preserved. Deep down in human nature lies this instinct; it
is never forgotten, it is always present in the mind. It is voluptuous,
anarchic, joyful, violent, powerful.

'The other instinct is called the fighting, aggressive, acquisitive,
possessive instinct. It is the instinct to acquire, to overcome. It is
distinct from the creative instinct even in the biological growth, but
the distinction manifests itself more clearly in the community or herd
relationships. It has none of the beautiful and life-giving qualities of
the creative urge. It is essentially, even in its romance (of which we
have plenty), dull, selfish, destructive. It varies its forms from sheer
animal force to the dialectical methods which have assumed the names of
talent and culture. The same characteristics are seen in the force of the
slave-driver, in the forces of the wage-nexus, and in the dialectical
force of the council. These are hard sayings, but for the solution of the
problems of the present times it is wise, and necessary, to look facts in
the face. At any rate it is well to know of the possibilities, feelings,
and loves of the uprising mass...

'But what has this to do with schools? My answer is that if we are to
deal with the problems thrown up by science in our industrial system, and
our close national and international contacts, the schools must be the
seed grounds of the new thought and visions...'



CHAPTER VII.  THE HOUSE OF VISION AND THE SCHOOL CHAPEL

1

I come now to one of the most curious and characteristic things in
Sanderson's later life, a conflict and interaction that went on between
two closely related and yet in many ways intensely competitive ideas, the
idea on the one hand of a new sort of building unprecedented among
schools, a building which should symbolise and embody the whole aim of
the school and the renewed community of which it is the germ, and on the
other hand the idea of a great memorial chapel to commemorate the
sacrifice of those who had fallen in the war. These ideas assumed protean
forms in his mind, they grew, they blended and separated again. I will
call the first, for reasons that will appear later, the House of Vision;
the second, the school chapel. For though Oundle had thrown up a great
cluster of houses, halls, laboratories, and other buildings during its
quarter of a century of growth, it had never yet produced anything more
than a corrugated-iron meeting-house for its religious services. The want
of some more dignified chapel had long been evident, and even before the
war was very much in Sanderson's mind.

The idea of a House of Vision was therefore the later of the two. Very
early in the war a boy of great promise, Eric Yarrow, the son of Sir
Alfred Yarrow, the great shipbuilder, was killed at Ypres, and parent and
schoolmaster met at the house of the former to mourn their common loss.
Sanderson and Eric Yarrow had been close friends; they had discussed and
developed the idea of a creative reconstruction of industry together;
Eric Yarrow was to have played a part in the industrial world similar to
the part that Roy Sanderson was to have played in the educational world.

The two men sat late at night and talked of these vanished hopes. Could
not something be done, they asked, to record at least the spirit of these
fine intentions, and they sketched out a project for a memorial building
that should be a symbol and incitement to effort for the reorganised
industrial state. It should be in a sense a museum containing a record of
human effort and invention in the past; a museum of the development of
work and production and a statement of the economic problems before
mankind. Sir Alfred produced a cheque more than sufficient to cover the
building of such a memorial as they had planned, and Sanderson returned
to Oundle to put the realisation of the project in hand. Probably the two
of them also discussed the need for a memorial chapel and probably
neither of them realised a possible clash between that older project and
the new one they were now starting.

It was in the early stage when the Eric Yarrow memorial was to be nothing
more than a museum of industrial history and organisation that Sanderson
set afoot the building at Oundle which is now known by that name.
Apparently he did not get much inspiration over to the architect, and at
any rate the edifice that presently rose was a very weak and dull-looking
one, more suitable for a herbarium or a minor lecture-hall than for a
temple of creative dreams. It was a premature materialisation, done in
the stress and under the cramping limitations of war time. Long before it
was finished Sanderson's imaginations had outgrown it. I think this
unconfessed architectural disappointment probably played a large part in
the subsequent development of the idea of the school chapel, still to be
planned, still capable of being made a spacious and beautiful building.
To the latter dream he transferred more and more of the ideas that arose
properly out of the germ of the Eric Yarrow memorial.

At first the House of Vision was to have been no more than an industrial
museum. It was not to be used as a class-room or lecture-room. It was to
be empty of chairs, desks, and the like, and clear for anyone to go in to
think and dream. About its walls, diagrams and charts were to display the
progress of man from the sub-human to his present phase of futile power
and hope. There were to be time-charts of the whole process of history,
and a few of these have been made. As his idea ripened it broadened. The
memorial ceased to be a symbol merely of industrial reorganisation and
progress, and became a temple to the whole human adventure. He began to
stress first social and then imaginative growth. The charts were to be
full and accurate, everything shown was to be precisely true, but there
was to be no teaching in the building, no direction beyond the form and
spirit of the place.

And so while the scaffolds of the workmen rose about the commonplace
little erection in the school fields, the schoolmaster in his day-dreams
realised more and more the full measure of the opportunity he was
missing.

The realisation of the past is the realisation of the future, and it was
an easy transition to pass to the idea of this building as an expression
of tile creative will in man. In it the individual boy was to realise the
aim of the school and of schooling and living. It was to be the eye of
the school, its soul, its headlight.

The idea of this 'House of Vision' was still growing in his mind when he
died. He had not yet settled upon a name for it, though he had tried over
a number of names--a House of Vision, which is the name we have taken for
it here, the Home of Silence, the Hall of Industry, the Anthropaeum, the
Making of Man, the Life Creative, the Soul of the School. All these names
converge upon the end he was seeking. This approach by trial, by leaving
the idea to shape itself for a time and then taking it up again, by
talking it over with this man and that, was very characteristic of his
mental processes.

A member of the staff recalls a stage in the development of the idea. 'I
talked with the headmaster about the Yarrow Memorial in October 1920,' he
says. 'He then seemed to dally with a suggestion to name it the "Temple
of the World"--he expressed his hatred of the tendency to call it the
"Museum." I gathered that his idea was to fill it with charts of all
things and all ages, including pictures of at least all the world's great
men--then to turn a boy loose in it, thereby to realise his position in
the world as a unit of its time, as opposed to the inculcation of any
idea of his having a part in his nationality only. His root idea seemed
to be that it should be a place for meditation--restful as well as
invigorating.'

Here is a passage written by Sanderson himself a little later. The idea
ripens and broadens out very manifestly.

'Every school, every locality and industry,' he writes, 'might build
within their boundaries a new kind of chapel, a heritage, a temple-a
beautiful building in which are gathered together and exhibited the
records of man's great deeds and of man's progress, and the records of
his needs. It is such a "Hall of Needs" that we regard the Yarrow
Memorial, and to this end it is being equipped.'

And here Sanderson speaks again in a sermon preached upon the text of
Moses' withdrawal to the mount.

'A school will grow into a book. It will take upon itself the form of a
Bible. Within it will appear the stages in the life of the soul--"the
coming of a kingdom"; the foundations, the building, the furniture, the
complex apparatus, the organised beauty. A school--its buildings,
workshops, class-rooms, and all that goes towards a great school--can
take on the form of a parable. As we wander from one place to another all
that speaks of life will manifest itself before us. How life begins, what
is needed for its growth; what shall be its standards, its ideals; what
the nature of its proof-plate; the craftsman and what he is;  the
craftsman in languages, in mathematics, in science, in art; the secrets
of nature revealing themselves; progress, change, vision.

'And boys will go out into the factory, or mine, or business, or
profession, imbued with the spirit of the active love of humanity. Some
will be called to lead, as Moses was called. They, too, will plant the
"Tent of Meeting," the "Temple of Vision." A return with a new view-point
will be made to the temple of ages gone by. The Assyrian frescoed his
walls with sculptures of the deeds of his hero-kings; the Franciscans
frescoed the walls of their chapels with the life of Jesus as told in the
Gospels--the life of the Divine builder, of Him who came to restore a
kingdom, by whose life and death a new world was created.

'But the Temple of Vision of to-day; the new Tent of Meeting. What of it?
The new home of vision will be frescoed with the thoughts of to-day,
changing in to the thoughts of to-morrow. Generations of workers will go
up into the mount, and to them, too, will be shown the pattern. "See that
thou make them after their pattern which hath been shown thee in the
mount."'

2

Now this is a very great and novel idea, the idea of a modern temple set
like a miner's lantern in the forefront of school or college to light its
task in the world. It rounds off and completes Sanderson's vision of a
modern school; it is logically essential to that vision. But meanwhile
what was happening to the school-chapel project?

For, after all, in the older type of school, the chapel with its matins
and evensong, its _Onward Christian Soldiers_ and suchlike stirring
hymns, its confirmations and first communions, was in a rather dreamy,
formless mechanical way undertaking to do precisely what the new House of
Vision was also to do, that is, to give a direction to the whole
subsequent life. But was it the same direction? The normal school-chapel
points up--not very effectively one feels; the House of Vision was to
point onward. Sanderson had a crowded, capacious mind, but sooner or
later the question behind these two discrepant objectives, whether men
are to live for heaven or for creation, was bound to have come to an
issue.

His mental process was at first syncretic. He began to think of a
school-chapel, not as a place for formal services but as a place of
meditation and resolve. He began to speak of the chapel also as though it
was to be 'the tent on the mount,' the place of vision. He betrayed a
growing hostility to the intoned prayers, the trite responses, the
tuneful empty hymns, the Anglican vacuity of the normal chapel procedure.
Had he lived to guide the building of Oundle chapel I believe it would
have diverged more and more from any precedent, more and more in the
direction of that House of Vision, that the premature and insufficient
Eric Yarrow building had so pitifully failed to realise.

Here is evidence of that divergence in a passage from a sermon preached
after a gathering of parents and old boys in the Court Room at the London
Grocers' Hall to discuss the chapel project. I ask anyone trained in the
services of the Church of England and accustomed to enter, pray into a
silk hat, deposit it under the seat, sit down, stand up, bow, genuflect,
kneel decorously on a hassock, sing, repeat responses, and go through the
simple and wholesome Swedish exercises of the Anglican prayer book, what
is to be thought of this project of a chapel with hardly a sitting in it?
And what is to be thought of this suggestion of wandering round the
aisles? And what is this talk of young gentlemen who have died 'for king
and country,' casting down their lives for the rescue of man?

'For the years to come, when the war is over, it will be well to have
some visible memorial; some symbol of the redemption of the Great War,
and of the heroic part old boys have taken in it; some record of the
great struggle from out of which the new spirit will rise; some record of
the part the whole school took in this; some record of the boys who have
fallen; some thanksgiving symbol for all who have given their service.
And for this it is proposed to build a chapel. But when the time comes we
shall be sad to leave our present building. It is a poor building, but it
is very rich in its associations. The services in this temporary chapel
have taken a large part in the building of the school. Simple as is the
Tent in the Wilderness, yet we have hoped that the Spirit of God would
come and dwell in it. We have hoped that the Divine Spirit would come
into all the activities and outlook of the school in its diverse
occupations, whether they be literary or whether they be scientific or
technical. And we have always looked onward to the day when a permanent
chapel should be built, symbolic of the Divine Omnipresence for worship
and for sacrifice.

'And this is what is in mind to do--and yet I confess to a certain amount
of fear. A lofty, spacious chapel I have had no doubt would at the right
moment be built by the Grocers' Company. Just before the war the building
of this chapel was emerging as the next great building to undertake--a
chapel, such as a college chapel with stalls, as for private service. But
now we look beyond this. We want something different, more open. A lofty,
spacious chapel to form the nave--no fixed seats, the clear open space;
quiet, still, "urgent with beauty." Joined to this the choir and
sanctuary, with aisles round the three sides of it, forming an
ambulatory. Round these aisles, on the walls and in the windows, the
recorded memory of the boys who have fallen. An east window, a reredos,
stalls, altar. A chapel, abundant in space, not for the mind to sit down
in, but for the mind to move about in, for contemplation, for dwelling in
the infinite, for piercing through the night, for vision, for the clear
spirit of thankfulness, for communion with the saints, our own young
saints among them. So we hope. As you wander round the aisles there will
pass before you the memorial of those boys who have cast down their lives
for the rescue of man.'

3

I cannot guess how Sanderson, had he lived, would have resolved this
conflict between his House of Vision and his Great Chapel, just as I can
hazard no opinion of the ultimate form his interpretation of Christianity
would have taken. But the recognition of these conflicts is fundamental
to my conception of the man and his significance.

He stands for a great multitude reluctant to abandon many of the familiar
phrases of the Christian use and eager to read new and deeper meanings
into them. But he never took 'holy orders'; he knew the days of the
priest, except for evil, were past, and it is only by its being born
again as a House of Vision that he could anticipate his chapel with
contentment. The time has come for mankind to choose plainly between the
priest and the teacher.

Some six months after Sanderson's death I went to Oundle and visited the
Yarrow Memorial, that abortive first House of Vision. Except for a bronze
statue of a boy by Lady Scott that Sanderson had liked and bought, it was
as I had seen it with Sanderson a year before. It was still, deserted,
and I suppose I must count it dead. The time-charts had not been carried
on. The collection of inventions, the display of humanity's growth, were
still represented by empty cases. The statue was intended for the school
chapel, but meanwhile it had been dumped in the House of Vision as a
convenient vacant place for such dumping. The bronze boy is in an eager
pose; there is duty to be done and danger to be faced and a great
creative effort to be made. 'Send me!' he said, in that empty, neglected
House of Vision. But the hand that would have put that dart to the
bowstring and aimed it at work and service was there no more.

Building operations upon the chapel were proceeding slow I y. The rising
walls were very like the rising walls of the sort of church for
respectable people that gets built in Surbiton or Beckenham. I gather
that in all probability it will even carry the debt customary in such
cases. The new headmaster was, I found, a thoroughly pleasant man who
came not from an elementary school but from Eton, and had never met
Sanderson in his life and knew nothing of his work. He seemed disposed to
regard Sanderson as a bit of a crank and to be intelligently puzzled by
his originalities. I felt assured that when at last that old
corrugated-iron building is abandoned for the new chapel there would be
pews in the new nave in spite of Sanderson, and services of an altogether
normal type and no nonsense of walking about and thinking or anything of
that sort.

But though I have seen the House of Vision at Oundle dead and vacant as a
museum skull, yet I know surely that neither Sanderson nor his House of
Vision are in any real sense dead at all. A day will certainly come when
his name will be honoured above all other contemporary schoolmasters as
the precursor of a new age in education and human affairs. In that age of
realisation every village will be dominated by its school, with its
library and theatre, its laboratories and gymnasium, every town will
converge upon its cluster of schools and colleges, its research buildings
and the like, and it will have its Great Chapel, its House of Vision as
its crown and symbol even as the cathedral was the crown and symbol of
the being and devotion of the medieval city. And therein Sanderson's
stout hopefulness and pioneer thrustings will be kept in remembrance by
generations that have come up to the pitch of understanding him.



CHAPTER VIII. THE LAST LECTURE

1

Sanderson's propaganda of this idea of the possible reorganisation of the
world through schools came to an abrupt end in the summer of 1922. He
died suddenly of heart failure in the Botanical Theatre of University
College, London, at the end of an address to the National Union of
Scientific Workers. He had chosen as the title of the address, 'The Duty
and Service of Science in the New Era,' and it was in effect a
recapitulation of his most characteristic views. He attached considerable
importance to the delivery and he made unusual preparations for it.

Upon his desk after his death seven separate drafts, and they were all
very full drafts, of this address were found. In the margins of the pages
little sums have been worked out--so many pages at three hundred words a
page, four thousand, five thousand words; a full hour's talking, and
still so much to say! There are little notes framed in a sort of Oxford
frame of lines reminding him, for example, to 'say more of bringing
scientific method into all parts of school.' On the reverse of the pages
of manuscript are trial restatements. He tried back several times to a
fresh beginning. There is a page headed 'The New School,' and giving
three headings: the first, which he afterwards marked as second, is, 'The
faculty of each member shall be developed'; the second, which became the
first, is 'Community service-no competition'; the third is,
'_Outlook--aim_, more value than ability. Service. All are equal. The
Spirit an the Bride say, Come. Let all that will, come.'

Then we find him trying over his ideas about science under a heading,
'What we claim for science.' Under that are a number of interesting
subheads:--

'Its own value in the great discoveries.

'That its spirit is that of life, giving, changing, searching. (Marginal
note:--without being deterred by any of the results which may follow.)

'It is "natural" to the vast number of boys.

'Very directly applicable to needs.

'That it has a language and a message.

(Marginal note:--it seeks to test, to create new standards, to fearlessly
rewrite knowledge.)

'The same spirit. (? as Christianity: Editor.)

Finally he produced a draft which was at least his eighth. This he had
printed and this he may have intended to read to the meeting. But h did
not do so. In the end he spoke from a fresh set of notes, which must have
been at least the ninth draft. That eighth draft is given in full in the
official Life.

His health had not been good for some time, and he kept this lecture and
his exceptional interest in it more or less secret from his wife. He
spent a long and interested morning at the experimental farm at
Rothamsted, and in the afternoon he went to the opticians to get a new
pair of spectacles and attended to other small businesses. He met a small
party of us at the London University Club in Gower Street to take tea
before lecturing. Sir Richard Gregory, the editor of _Nature,_ was
present, Major Church, the secretary of the National Union of Scientific
Workers, and Dr. Charles Singer, the historian of classical science.
Sanderson was evidently hot and rather tired, but he did not seem to be
ill; he gossiped pleasantly with us and showed us his new spectacles.
They were made of a recently discovered glass, opaque to ultra-violet
rays and he betrayed the pride and interest of a boy in possessing them.

University College was not very far away, but he asked for a cab thither
because he felt fagged. The audience was already assembled and he went
straight on to the platform. The present writer made a few introductory
remarks, and the lecture began. It is a matter of keen regret to all of
us that we allowed him to stand throughout his discourse. It would have
been so easy to have arranged for him to talk from a chair; the Botanical
Theatre is not a large one and it is quite conceivable that he might be
alive now, if one of us could have had that much thoughtfulness for him.
We had thought of it--ten minutes af ter his death.

But we were all so used to the quality of effort in his voice, so
accustomed to its sudden fall into almost inaudible asides, that we did
not mark what hung over us until the very moment of catastrophe. His
sentences seemed to me a little more broken than usual; he was rather
more disconnected, he was leaving rather more than usual to the
intelligence of his audience, and as he talked I watched the faces before
me rather anxiously to see just how much they missed of what he was
trying to get over to them. He got over much more than I supposed, for I
have since talked with many who were present. A fairly full shorthand
note was made at the trifle, and on this the following rendering of the
last address is based. Like everything that has been printed of his here,
it has been clipped and shorn, little distracting side glances have been
eliminated and broken sentences filled in and rounded off.

2

'It is a great honour,' he began, 'to come and address scientific workers
(I have only recently discovered my claim to be a scientific worker), and
to describe to you what has turned out to be a scientific experiment. I
hope to show the results of an experiment carried on, not in a scientific
laboratory so-called--physical, chemical, biological, or
anthropological--but in a school for boys.

'Before doing that, I should like to say that we scientific workers do
very much depend on having a number of us together. One scientific worker
placed in charge of any great work finds it difficult; scientific workers
do not get the chance of appointing men in sympathy with themselves often
enough; so it is frequently said that scientific men placed in command of
a factory in industry or a department of state at home or in the colonies
fail. Well, if so, they fail because scientific men have not often got
the opportunity of getting men of like sympathy to work with them. I take
it that the object of the National Union of Scientific Workers is to get
scientific men with scientific views of life and experimental experience
to join together in some great work. When I speak of the duty and service
of science in the new era, I mean that I want scientific men to claim
justly a larger share in the work of the world, and not to confine
themselves to what is called purely scientific work. We want them to
expand themselves over a wider area. As a matter of fact, that is what
two distinguished writers have suggested: that the time has come when the
ordinary discoveries and inventions of science should be closed down in
order to enable scientific minds to do this simple thing. Practically
everything that exists now is the work of scientific men, their
discoveries and their inventions. The whole world teems with the results
of the work of science. The great machines we see used in industry-the
industrial machine itself-have been created by men of science. Now, I put
it to you that when motor cars came in, the nobility of the land found
their coachmen of little use. The scientific machine requires scientific
men to manage it. Our industrial life is imperfectly organised; all our
troubles are due to the fact that we have a process created by science,
but organised in the old way by men of a different outlook. The
discoveries of science have rushed into the world a considerable amount
of unexpected ability. Working men engaged in industrial pursuits have
had their intelligence discovered and brought out, and it is one thing to
control a mass of human beings who are not thus inspired with the
knowledge of their own possibilities, and another to control those who
are. It is like trying to control a set of live molecules. It is one
thing to control a hard atom and another to control a live electron.

'So that the duty and service of science would seem to lie in scientific
men bringing their ideal of life, their standards, their vision, their
outlook, and their methods to organise the great machine that their
inventions have created. You cannot have a world half scientific and the
other half nothing of the sort.

'That is to say, scientific workers will have to consider the whole
question, for instance, of economics. I heard yesterday a distinguished
member of the Government saying that we cannot change economics. Of
course, that is one thing scientific men have got to do, to change
economics so that the system of our industry shall be recreated. The
system of management by dual control of the master and the slave will not
work when the slave becomes an alive, active, intelligent, anarchic
being. He will not be governed by the rein but by a system which the
magnet can influence. However, the last hundred years has resulted in a
race between the changed conditions that science has brought about and
the organisation required to control them, in what has been called by Mr.
Wells a race between education and catastrophe. In scientific language,
it has produced a serious stress because of the hurrying on of change of
conditions and the lagging behind of the methods of controlling them. It
is this stress, I think, which has broken up the system. You may even say
that the war itself is no cause of anything, but a result of the purely
automatic action of shearing forces, as when a testing machine breaks a
metal bar.

'The end of the war has left us with a whole host of individuals set
free, and the business before science men is to organise this new body.
It is a big problem, and requires scientific thought, temperament, and
outlook to rewrite practically the whole of our knowledge. It reminds me
of the tremendous rush there was amongst scientific men to provide
workers to overhaul practically very thing in biology (and theology) and
other parts of human knowledge after the doctrines of Darwin were well
established. I take it that all the departments of human life have to be
re-written by men under the influence of the spirit of science. Our books
have to be rewritten, our very dictionaries. I have often amused myself
with the _Oxford Dictionary,_ or found it necessary to send a boy to that
authority for a definition, and it has pretty nearly always been false.
Take such a simple case as the word "democracy." The _Oxford Dictionary_
hasn't a thing to tell you about the meaning of "democracy" as we use it
to-day. It tells you nothing of the living use of words. That is one of
the terrible dangers of leaving our books in the hands of men who have
not got that outlook which experiment in science brings to the
individual. Consequently I say that the duty of scientific men is to
scour the whole area of knowledge and rewrite it to bring out new
standards, new values, by means of which labour and industry itself, in
the first instance, can be reorganised (the schools first should be
reorganised), and then you can extend it into the wider area of
international affairs.

'They tell us that economics cannot change our human nature. That is the
great duty and service of science--to change human nature. Scientific men
have to collect a band of disciples and make a new world. As far as I can
gather, from a long connection with boys, the only scientific quality
which is constant is inertia in response to change. The actual change
itself, when it has arrived, no one objects to, and every one says, "Why
didn't we do that before?" Scientific workers rarely have their
opportunity in industry. To have their full opportunity they are to set
forth in the spirit of the Great Master to found a new kingdom: not to
manage industry by the standards and values of the present, but to
transform them. And they must do what our Master Himself did--collect a
faithful band of disciples imbued with the same belief. I know it is
freely said (I have been corresponding with some of the leaders in
industry) that scientific men cannot do this thing. They can, if only
they are true to themselves and their vision; they can absolutely change
the whole system under which industry is worked, and change the world to
their ideals.

'"Come, and I will make you fishers of men..." The great work that lies
before scientific workers to-day is to extend the area of their labours,
to become not fishers of facts but fishers of men. There will always be a
distinguished band of purely scientific men devoted to pure science, who
will abide devoted to pure science; but with the present number trained
in science, we claim them also to organise the machinery that science has
created. They must leave their ships and nets and become fishers of
men...I dare say even scientific workers know that is from the Bible. One
of the greatest tragedies scientific men have allowed is for others to
steal the Bible from them. The Old and New Testaments, with their record
of progressive revelation, form the most scientific book ever seen. Yet
scientific men have allowed a certain type of men to steal it from them.
Bible stealing is an old thing, and one favourite method is to bind it in
morocco and to put it on a top shelf...

'But I must return to my scientific business. When I was at Cambridge I
was not regarded as scientific. I was amongst those who took mathematics,
and those who took mathematics and classics were respectable and had to
attend chapel. But if you inclined at all towards science, or even
ethics, you were not supposed to attend chapel...

'I said that I have recently discovered I am a scientific worker, that I
have been working a scientific experiment, though not of the kind
accepted for report to the Royal Society. It has been worked by being
headmaster of a school for thirty years and by having taught for forty
years. When I became a headmaster I began by introducing engineering into
the school--applied science. The first effect was that a large number of
boys who could not do other things could do that. They began to like
their work in school. They began to like school. That led on to
introducing a large number of other sciences, such as agricultural
chemistry, horse-shoeing (if that is a science), metallurgical chemistry,
bio-chemistry, agriculture; and, of course, these new sorts of work
interested a large number of other boys of a type different from the type
interested in the old work, so we got an exceptional number of boys,
curiously enough, unexpectedly liking w ha t they had to do in school.
Then I ventured to do something daring; it is most daring to introduce
the scientific method of finding out the truth--a dangerous thing--by the
process of experiment and research. We began to replace explicit teaching
by finding out. We did this first with these newly introduced sciences.
Then we began to impress the aims and outlook of science on to other
departments of school life. History, for instance: we began to replace
the old class-room teaching and learning by a laboratory for history,
full of books and other things required in abundance, so that boys in all
parts of the school could, for some specific purpose (not to learn; to go
into school to learn was egotistical), find out the things we required
for to-day. We set them to find out things for the service of science,
the service of literature, modern languages, music.

'This began to change the whole organisation of the school, its aims and
methods. It was no use organising boys in forms by the ordinary methods
of promotion for this sort of work. You have to make up your mind what
you have to do, and then go about and collect .anybody who would be of
service to that particular work. You would require boys of one
characteristic and boys of another. You make them up into teams for the
particular work they have to do. The boys who do not fit into this or
that particular work must have some other particular work found for them.
You begin to design the work of the school for them. You must have all
the apparatus you want for it, and you must organise for it, but you
begin by organising the work for the boys and what they need to find out,
and not by putting the boys into the organisation. Now, presently you
discover, when you do this, that not a single boy exists who is not
wanted for some particular work; to carry out your object every boy is
fundamentally equal. One does this, one does that. Each boy has his place
in the team, and in his place he is as important as any other boy.
Placing them in order of meri t does not work any more. The scientific
method absolutely changed the position towards class lists and order of
merit. That was an astonishing result.

'Another astonishing result was that we could not have anybody who was
not working. If a boy was not working, you could see that he was not
working. You could see that he was doing nothing. He could not sit at the
back of a class-room and seem to be working. Everybody was working. You
can manage that in school, but what about the world? All sorts of people
may seem to be working and not be working at all. The curate may be doing
nothing! (_Chuckle and something inaudible_.) This seems to land us into
the extraordinary fact that no community if it is scientifically
organised can carry anyone who does not do service. I hope you will agree
with me that that is scientific.

'A little farther on I turned round on the boys and the parents. (Both
are my business.) I said, "I have and the school has tried all it could
to see to it that your boy got the right kind of work to do. We spared no
trouble or expense to see to it that he might be able to perform his
service in the school and to the community...When you go forth to your
father's works, keep in mind that it is your business to see to it that
every person that comes within your influence has a like opportunity."
That is totally different from your duty to your neighbour as taught in
the Church Catechism. We have landed ourselves hopelessly in the position
of having a practical community definition of our duty towards our
neighbour. You remember the rich young ruler who came to ask what his
duty was, and went away sorrowful because he had great possessions. Some
of these possessions were perhaps intellectual. I like to think of Watts'
picture of that man and I like Watts' idea that he came back. I hope if
any of our boys go a way they will come back.

'Another step. This actual love of work spreads, and ultimately every one
comes within its influence, and they begin to like the service they are
rendering. Finally, competition dwindles and passes away, so that we have
reached what appears to be a change in human nature. It is not really a
change, but by care and attention calling out what has always been ready
there in human nature, namely, a first instinctive love to create. I have
always held that competition is a secondary interest and creation a
primary instinct. Competition dwindles and passes away. Competition is a
very feeble incentive to live. It is cheap and easy to arouse the motive,
it is a swift motive and on the surface of things ready for you, but it
is not even a powerful motive. Half the boys it dispirits and leaves idle
and useless.

'The passing of competition leads on to another thing passing away, which
is this: you soon find that a body of workers that as a community has
attempted to provide for itself, as a community adapts itself to the
community spirit, and punishment is totally unnecessary. It was a long
time before that dawned on me. I have not, as a headmaster, taken any
part in any shape in punishing boys directly, either by the easy methods
supposed to train them for after life or by the other methods that have
sprung from the fertile brains of a dominant order. Punishment, I declare
from years of experience in this experiment, is a crime: not only a crime
but a blunder. Why? Because it is a cheap and easy thing. If you punish
it is easy, but if a community has so to arrange itself and adapt itself
as to produce the reaction on the individual not to do objectionable
things, that is hard. It is complicated. It requires an abundance of real
sacrifice. It demands readjustment of everything upon a basis of service.
I have been much impressed recently by the effect of having punishment
organised in removing any activity on the part of the community itself
towards adjusting itself so that punishment should not be necessary. I
used to flatter myself, "I don't punish that boy, my prefects do; they
keep me right." But I have been convinced by my thirty years of
experiment that that was all wrong. These things come slowly. Now,
without any action on my part, the prefects have stopped punishing, and a
good thing for them. If they leave their boots about, the small boys will
too, and they will have to punish them for doing so. To leave your own
boots about like a lord is a fine thing, and to punish the small boy who
does so is also a fine thing! But it is easy. The hard thing is never to
leave your own boots about...

'The reactions that we have been taught to make in the world are weakly
static. What is the good of static methods? There is friction; we are
told how to overcome frictional resistance. We can put an end to friction
by stopping the machine. That is the static method of dealing with
friction. Or we can go on working the machine, with oil and care...which
is not so cheap and easy, but which gets somewhere...If we try to remove
friction by the static methods of punishment we are removing the
incentive to live a dangerous life. "The secret of a joyful life is to
live dangerously." You only live dangerously if you are perpetually
trying to overcome your own inertia and trying to get the capacity to do
great things. If you are only defensive, static, it is a waste of time.
Yet those defences and resistances are securely placed in the governance
of the state. What a curious thing is the form of government! Its
characteristics include no repentance, no regret, otherwise it would
acknowledge itself less than the governed. Its ideal is a perpetual
static calm. _Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re._ It is the method of
people who perform the confidence trick. It is the method of "If you want
peace, prepare for war."...'

For some minutes Mr. Sanderson paused. He looked at his notes. He was
obviously very fatigued, but very resolute to continue. He read:--

'Acquisitiveness leads to these glorified things: general science,
general knowledge, national history, scholarships, examinations, advanced
courses, "interesting" things (whoever wanted to be interested), the
theological thing called syncretism, tact, Swindling...'

Mr. Sanderson stopped and smiled in a breathless manner, half panting,
half laughing, very characteristic of him. His glasses gleamed at the
audience. His smile meant: 'We are going a little too fast, boys. Where
are we getting to Where are we getting to' He affected to refer to his
notes and then broke away upon a new line.

'Out of all these things I have been telling you, out of all these
considerations, evolves the modern school. The modern school is not made
by the very simple and easy method of abandoning Greek. (Laughter.) Nor
is it made by introducing science or engineering. The modern school's
business is to impress into the service of man every branch of human
knowledge we can get hold of. The modern method in the modern school does
not depend on any method of teaching. We hear a great deal about methods
of teaching languages, mathematics, science; they are all trivial. The
great purpose is to enlist the boys or girls in the service of man to-day
and man to-morrow. The method which makes learning easy is waste of time.
What boy will succumb to the entreaty: "Come, I will make you clever; it
will be so easy for you; you will be able to learn it without an effort"?
What they succumb to is service for the community. I have tested that in
the workshops. They don't want to make things for themselves; they soon
cease to have any longing desire to make anything even for their mothers.
What they love to do is to take part in some great work that must be done
for the community; some work that goes on beyond them, some great
spacious work. You can spread them out into all sorts of spacious things,
in all departments, such things as taking part in investigating the
truth. The truth, for instance, of the actual condition of the
coal-miners or of any miners. An important question which we have been
concerned with for at least three years is "_What is China?_ What is it
like?" You may say, "Methods of teaching geography." But who ever learned
anything from geography--as geography? Who wants to know geography--as
geography? Books exist for it, maps, plasticine exists for it. We want to
know about China. If we are going to see to it that everyone of our
working men has the same opportunities that in our school we give to our
boys we shall have some difficulty with China. We shall never be able to
give our working people these opportunities unless the Chinese give them
too. Scientific men must find themselves dominant in the Foreign Office
and Colonial Service so as to know what is the nature of the people in
these distant places, how we can bring to them what we are able to give
to our sons--the opportunity of making the highest and best use of their
faculties. We shall not get that sort of thing from geography books. You
will have to take the boys and let them find out what men have done who
have been in China: to get products from China; to know its geology, and
whether, after all, the Chinese do so deeply love rice that they want to
live on a very little a day. Do the Chinese love rice? Do they love
underselling white labour? Do they want to? That is real geography, but
not class-room geography. That extension of interest, until China is
brought into the class-room and the boys are finding out about it, is, I
claim, one of the deepest and greatest tasks to be undertaken.
China-India-the Durham miners--spacious undertakings...

'Schools must be equipped spaciously, _spaciously_, and they must have a
spacious staff. I have the list of our staff here. We have masters for
mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics, biology, zoology,
anthropology, botany, geology, architecture, classics, history,
literature, geography, archaeology, economics, French, German, Spanish,
Italian, Russian, Eastern languages, art, applied art, handicrafts, and
music.

'"Impossible," some people say. There is no great school in the land but
could quite well afford it...

'We must send out workers imbued with the determination to seek and
investigate truth--truth that will make them free--and to take great care
that in the search for truth they will never take part in or sympathise
with those methods by which the edge of truth is blunted.'

3

The voice beside me stopped. Some one pushed up a chair for Sanderson and
he sat down. There was applause. I stood up and then struck by a thought,
whispered: 'Would you like to answer a few questions?'

'Yes, yes. Certainly,' he said.

'Not too tired to answer them?'

'No--no.'

I had a little strip of notes In my hand and I thought of underlining one
or two points in this tremendous project of a school he had spread before
his audience before I let in the questioners. I began by saying that the
lecture had been a little hard to follow but that it would repay
following into the remotest corners of its meaning. Then I heard a little
commotion behind me and turned round to see what was the matter.
Sanderson had slipped from his chair on to the platform and was lying on
his back breathing hoarsely. His collar and tie were removed forthwith.
There were several doctors on the platform with us and they set to work
upon him. I hesitated for a moment and then declared the meeting at an
end, and asked the audience to disperse as speedily as possible. I
thought it was an epileptic fit and I had no sense of Sanderson's
impending death. I had never seen anything of the sort before. I could
not believe it when they told me he was dead.

The windows of the hot and sultry room were opened and most of the
people made their way out, but the reporters remained and one or two
persons of the curious type who hung about vaguely with an affectation of
decorous sympathy. The lecture had been a very difficult one for the
newspaper men, and they came now with a certain eagerness to ask
questions about Oundle and Sanderson's career. I answered them as well as
I could. Sanderson lay across the back of the platform, bare-chested and
still. It became evident that I had to seek out Mrs. Sanderson and tell
her of this disaster.

There was a little difficulty in ascertaining at which hotel Mr. and Mrs.
Sanderson had been staying, and when I got there I found she was out
shopping, and I waited some time for her return. Meanwhile her daughter
and her daughter-in-law at Oundle were called up by telephone to come to
her at once in London. I told her at first that her husband was ill, and
then, as we went together in a cab to University College, dangerously
ill. She was fully prepared to hear from the doctors at the hospital that
the end had come. The poor lady took the news very simply and bravely.

In the Mortuary Chapel of University College Hospital I saw my friend's
face for the last time, in all the irresponsive dignity of death. We took
Mrs. Sanderson to him and left her for a time alone with him. Four years
before in the same London hotel at which she was now solitary, he and she
had shared the bitter grief of their eldest son's death together.

4

An event of this sort produces the most various reactions in people, and
I recall with a distressful amusement two unknown persons who accosted me
as I went out from University College to find a taxi to take me to 1rs.
Sanderson. One was a young woman who came up to me and said: 'Don't be
grieved for your friend, Mr. Wells. It was a splendid thing to die like
that in the midst of life, after giving his message.'

I did not accept these congratulations and I made no reply to her. I was
thinking that a little acute observation, a little more consideration on
my part, a finer sense of the labour I was putting upon my friend, might
have averted his death al together. And I was by no means convinced that
his message was delivered, that it had reached the people I had hoped it
would reach and a waken. I had counted on much more from Sanderson. This
death seemed to me and still seems far more like frustration than
release.

Then presently as I gesticulated for a cab near Gower Street Station, I
found a pale-faced, earnest-looking man beside me asking for a moment's
speech. 'Mr. Wells,' he said, 'does not this sudden event give you new
views of immortality, new lights upon spiritual realities?'

I stared at a sort of greedy excitement in his face. 'None whatever!' I
said at last and got into my taxi.

I must confess that to this day I can find in Sanderson's death nothing
but irreparable loss. He left much of his work in a state so incomplete
that I cannot see how his successors can carry it on. In matters
educational he was before all things a practical artist, and education is
altogether too much the prey of theories. He filled me--a mere writer,
with envious admiration when I saw how he could control and shape things
to his will, how he could experiment and learn and how he could use his
boys, his governors, his staff, to try out and shape his creative dreams.

He was a strong man and in a very profound and simple way a good man, and
it was a very helpful thing to feel oneself his ally. But now that he is
gone, now that all his later projects and intentions shrivel and fade and
his great school recedes visibly towards the commonplace, I do not know
where to turn to do an effective stroke for education. It is only
schoolmasters and school-mistresses and educational authorities and
school governors and school promoters and university teachers who can
really carry on the work that he began. In this book I have tried to set
out as clearly as possible, and largely in his own words, his fundamental
ideas of the suppression of competition by co-operation, of the return of
schools to real service and of a House of Vision, a Temple of History and
the Future, as the brain and centre of community life. This present book
is, as it were, a simplified diagram of the teachings less luminously and
more fully set out in the official Life.

One thing I shared with Sanderson altogether, and that was our conviction
that the present common life of men, at once dull and disorderly,
competitive, uncreative, cruelly stupid and stupidly cruel, unless it is
to be regarded merely as a necessary phase in the development of a nobler
existence, is a thing not worth having, that it does not matter who drops
dead or how soon we drop dead out of such a world. Unless there is a more
abundant life before mankind, this scheme of space and time is a bad joke
beyond our understanding, a flare of vulgarity, an empty laugh, braying
across the mysteries. But we two shared the belief that latent in men and
perceptible in men is a greater mankind, great enough to make every
effort to realise it fully worth while, and to make the whole business of
living worth while.

And the way to that realisation lies, we both believed, through thought
and through creative effort, through science and art and the school.



THE END



This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia