from "Boston Latin School, 1635 : 1935" by George Santayana, Class of 1882

"To have existed for three hundred years, as things go, is remarkable; much more remarkable to have been constant, through those three hundred years, to one purpose and function. . . . In spite of all revolutions and all the pressure of business and all the powerful influences inclining America to live in contemptuous ignorance of the rest of the world, and especially of the past, the Latin School, supported by the people of Boston, has kept the embers of traditional learning alive, at which the humblest rush-light might always be lighted; has kept the highway clear for every boy to the professions of theology, law medicine, and teaching, and a window open to his mind from these times to all other times and from this place to all other places. This fidelity to tradition, I am confident, has and will have its reward . . .New ideas in their violence and new needs in their urgency pass like a storm; and then the old earth, scarred and enriched by those trials, finds itself still under the same sky, unscarred and pure as before. The Latin language and the study of classic antiquity are the chief bond for western nations with the humanities, with the normalities of human nature . . . giving us a sound sense of the moral forces and the moral issues that now concern us. The merely modern man never knows what he is about. A Latin education, far from alienating us from our own world, teaches us to discern the amiable traits in it, and the genuine achievements; helping us, amid so many distracting problems, to preserve a certain balance and dignity of mind, together with a sane confidence in the future."