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made during a too brief visit to the Continent in the spring of the present year. My object in instituting these inquiries was to ascertain the present condition of commercial education in the principal countries of Europe, and to supplement and verify, where necessary, the information I had gathered on this subject when, as a member of the Commission on Technical Instruction, I inspected for the first time several of the chief continental schools of commerce. The conclusions at which I arrived confirm those of the writers of the Report, that, in the matter of commercial education, we are far behind other nations of Europe, and that to the well-organized schools, which are found particularly in Germany, is due the success with which her merchants and mercantile agents "are winning for her so large a share of the world's commerce. An intimate acquaintance with these foreign schools undoubtedly proves, what the Report tells us, that "it is in the school that England must prepare to meet her great European rival, and train the forces that will efficiently equip her commercial offices at home and provide a capable body of commercial travelers to push her merchandise abroad.

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The questions of technical and commercial education are so closely associated that it is difficult to consider them except in connection with each other. Speaking generally, technical education may be said to have reference to the work of production, and commercial education to that of distribution; but as the character of the goods produced by the manufacturer must depend to a great extent upon the tastes and requirements of the consumer, which should be ascertained by those engaged in the work of distribution, commercial success may be regarded as a function of two factors, one of which has reference to the skill displayed in the processes of manufacture, and the other to the activity and economy shown in bringing the products of industry into the hands of the consumer.

Hitherto, owing to the necessity of previously considering the question of technical education, the closely allied question of commercial education has remained somewhat in the background. The progress that has been made during the last few years in providing the necessary instruction for persons of all classes engaged in productive industry is, on the whole, satisfactory. Our University Colleges, under the influence of the demand for technical teaching, have become technical schools with a literary side. The Charity Commissioners have framed schemes for the curriculum of endowed schools, in which science, instruction and manual training occupy part of the time formerly devoted to the study of classics. Some o our School Boards have, as far as the iron regulations of the Code permit them, introduced the teaching of drawing, science, and handicrafts into the schools under their control. The Science and Art Department has made its examinations in science somewhat more


practical, and has given more prominence to design in the teaching of art. And to the City Guilds is due the credit of having estab lished at Finsbury the first distinctly Technical College, and at Kensington a Central Institution for the training of manufacturers, engineers, and teachers; of having organized, in the principal trade centers throughout the kingdom, a large number of technical, as distinguished from ordinary science, classes; and of having thereby given a powerful impetus to the creation of technical schools.

This record of progress, which has prepared the way for the introduction into Parliament of a comprehensive and efficient Technical Instruction Bill, may be regarded as satisfactory, and the time has now come when attention must be prominently called to our deficiencies in the matter of commercial, as distinguished from technical, education. If evidence is needed of the want of knowledge among our commercial classes of those subjects about which they ought to be informed, it will be found in the Report of the Commission or the Depression of Trade and Industry, as well as in the valuable consular reports which are now periodically published in this country. From these documents it appears that it is mainly owing to German competition that our foreign trade is shrinking; and it is in Germany that the most abundant provision has been made for the fitting educational equipment of young persons who are engaged in mercantile pursuits. The Commissioners tell us that the increasing severity of this competition, both in our home and neutral markets, is especially noticeable in the case of Germany, and that in every quarter of the world the perseverance and enterprise of the Germans are making themselves felt. They say:

"In the actual production of commodities we have now few, if any, advantages ever them; and in a knowledge of the markets of the world, a desire to accommodate themselves to local tastes or idiosyncrasies, a determination to obtain a footing whereever they can, and a tenacity in maintaining it, they appear to be gaining ground upon us."

This advance of German trade does not appear to be due to any falling off in the efficiency of the British workman, but solely to the superior fitness of the Germans, due unquestionably to the more systematic training they receive, for mercantile pursuits. The Commissioners tell us that, while, "in respect of certain classes of products, the reputation of our workmanship does not stand as high as it formerly did," those who have had personal experience of the comparative efficiency of labor carried on under the conditions which prevail in this country and in foreign countries appear to incline to the view that the English workman, notwithstanding his shorter hours and his higher wages, is to be preferred." They further state:

"In the matter of education, we seem to be particularly deficient as compared with some of our foreign competitors, and this remark applies, not only to what is usually called technical education, but to the ordinary commercial education which is required in mercantile houses, and especially the knowledge of foreign languages."

The recommendation of the Commissioners, that Her Majesty's diplomatic and consular officers abroad should be instructed to report any information which appears to them of interest as soon as they obtain it, and that it should be as promptly published at home when received, has resulted in the publication of a series of reports which, from all parts of the world, fully bear out the conclusions at which the Commissioners have arrived with regard to the deficiencies of our commercial education, to the activity displayed by foreigners in the search for new markets, and to the readiness of manufacturers abroad to accommodate their products to local tastes and peculiarities.

In the review which appeared in the Times of August 10, of more than one hundred consular reports which had been published within the previous three months, attention is repeatedly called to the importance to this country of possessing an army of commercially trained agents, who shall be able to discover foreign markets, to inform English manufacturers as regards the requirements of these markets, and to push the sale of home-made goods.

These statements show the extent to which our trade with foreign countries is falling off in consequence of the want of commercial knowledge and activity among our mercantile classes. At home, the pinch of competition is equally felt, and is due partly to the same cause. The answers to a circular recently addressed by the London Chamber of Commerce to the leading City firms have shown the extent to which foreign clerks are employed by commercial firms in London, and also, what is less flattering to us, the reason of the preference shown for them. It appears that 35 per cent. of the firms replying to the circular employ foreign clerks, and that less than 1 per cent. of English clerks are able to correspond in any foreign language. From several of the answers received, it also appears that preference is given to foreigners on account of their generally superior education, and of their special qualifications for commercial work. According to many of the witnesses "the foreigner is, at present, the better 'all round' man; better equipped both with the special technical knowledge of his particular industry, and with the wider culture which enables him to adapt his knowledge and his training to the varying demands of modern commerce." Now, not only is the recognition of this fact somewhat humiliating to us as a nation, but the fact itself serves to explain some of the causes of the success of foreign competition of which we complain. In the first place, every foreigner employed in an English firm dis

places an Englishman, who might, and would be, so employed if only he were properly educated. Moreover, many of these foreign clerks, after having learnt what they can as regards our manufactures, our markets, and modes of conducting business, return to their native land to utilize that knowledge as our competitors and rivals; and even of those who remain here, and establish new firms, a large number, naturally, show a preference for foreign manufacturers with whom they stand in relation, and from whom they obtain goods for the supply of the markets in which they deal. Having regard to the importance of these facts, it is well that we should acquaint ourselves with the systems of commercial education that exist in foreign countries, with a view of ascertaining in what respects the training there afforded is better adapted to qualify young men for commercial pursuits than that provided in our own schools. In nearly all the countries of Europe there exists a system of intermediate and secondary education, which has been organized with reference to the careers which the children are likely subsequently to follow; and there exist, also, numerous special schools, or departments of schools, which are intended to provide a distinctly professional training. In fact, two important principles seem to regulate the systems of education now adopted in most continental countries: First, that general education should have some reference to the activities of life, and should be supplemented by professional instruction; secondly, that professional studies, if properly pursued, may be made to yield the intellectual discipline necessary for mental culture, and may form the basis of a broad and liberal education.

The system cf intermediate education in France has been fully described, and is highly recommended by the Commissioners in their Report on Technical Instruction. In the whole system of French instruction, they say, they "have found nothing, except as regards art teaching, so worthy of attention as these higher elementary schools." These schools, many of which, coming under the provisions of the Public Elementary Education Act, are free, have a technical and commercial department; and in the commercial section the subjects of study include modern languages-English or German, and often both-history, geography, law, political economy, mathematics, practical science, bookkeeping, office practice, and, in some cases, manual training. Examples of such schools are found in Bordeaux, Havre, Amiens, Marseilles, Rheims, Rouen, Lyons, and other large towns. The Ecole Martinière of Lyons is one of the oldest and one of the most interesting of these schools. It is presided over by a council of members, who are nominated by the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, on the recommendation of the municipality. The children are admitted to the school between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, and the education is gratuitous.

From 60 to 75 per cent. of the boys go into commercial houses, and about 25 per cent. take up industrial pursuits. The Ecole Professionnelle of Rheims is a more modern school of the same kind, having a commercial department, with a course of instruction specially adapted to the wants of those children who are likely to be engaged as clerks in merchants' houses, as commercial agents, or travelers. At Vierzon, a school is now being erected, which, when completed, will be equipped with all the newest appliances for improved technical and commercial instruction.

Of French schools specially devoted to commercial training, and having no technical department, the most important are in Paris. The Paris schools are of two grades-middle and higher schools. There are two middle schools-the Ecole Commerciale, in the Avenue Troudaine, founded by the Chamber of Commerce in 1863, and the Institut Commercial, in the Chaussée d'Antin, founded by a number of merchants, as a public company, with a capital of 80007., in 1884. These schools differ somewhat in their methods of instruction, but their general object is to take lads who have received a primary education, and to train them in those subjects which will be useful to them in a mercantile career. Modern languages, commercial law and geography, mathematics, bookkeeping, and shorthand are the chief subjects of instruction. In the Institut, more attention is given to the practical details of office work with special reference to foreign trade. "Different trade operations are illustrated from the books of extinct firms; and the mathematical teacher has ready to his hand coins, weights, and measures of all nations. The school contains an extensive museum, created by gifts of samples from a large number of firms, which is used to illustrate the lessons on the raw materials and finished products of commerce.

Besides these schools, which are for the training of boys from thirteen to sixteen years of age, there are in Paris two higher schools, or colleges, which are intended to give a distinctly professional education to young men who have received an ordinary school training in one of the lycées of France, as well as to continue the education of a few of those who have passed through one of the middle schools. These higher schools are known as the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerci ales. The main object of these institutions, but especially of the latter, is to attract to the pursuits of commerce some of the bettereducated youths, belonging to families of good social position, who are too generally disposed to enter the overstocked ranks of the socalled learned professions, and to give them a thorough training in the principles and practice of mercantile and banking business. "In France," says M. Gustav Roy, "commerce has too long been regarded as a second-rate calling; it is time to disprove this idea, and

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