City of London School


My dear Marshall,

I have looked through the Report of the Syndicate, more particularly Parts II, III, & IV, and I very much wish I could come up to vote for it. Without committing myself to every detail in these parts I quite go with the principle of them. I sincerely trust the Report, as a whole, will be adopted.

As for part II, I believe it will have the effect of raising the standard both of dead & of modern languages. Teachers will no longer have to inflict both Greek & Latin upon pupils that will never get a single literary idea from either; and French and German will gain more respect and attention.

The peculiar training (for I quite admit there is a peculiar training) given by the dead and not by the modern languages will be supplied by Latin alone, or by Greek alone, to a degree quite sufficient for such pupils as we are now considering. If Greek and Latin, both, were to be insisted on much longer, I fear an increasing number of able scientific and mathematical students might find Cambridge inacceptable to them.

I wish Part IV had been in force when I was an undergraduate. I can never look back without regret at 3 1/2 years spent in the study of little else but the mere words, apart from the subject matter, of the classical authors. I take it for granted that, when the Honour Previous Examination is started the Classical Tripos will become even less of an examination in mere composition work than it is now.

I believe the great bulk of Head Masters will welcome these changes. Of course, each of us will have idiosyncrasies. I should have preferred as the alternative for one dead language, English and French, or English and German, instead of French and German.

With best wishes for the success of the Report.

I am, Dear Marshall,

Yours very truly,

Edwin A. Abbott