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The lately published Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission has given an immediate importance to the question whether Euclid's Elements is the proper text-book for teaching Geometry to beginners. Euclid's recognised and acknowledged faults as a system of Geometry, and as a specimen of analysed reasoning, are of slight importance compared with others of greater magnitude. The real objections to Euclid as a text-book are his artificiality, the invariably syllogistic form of his reasoning, the length of his demonstrations, and his unsuggestiveness.
As to the first, he aimed, not at unfolding Geometry as a science, but at shewing on how few axioms and postulates the whole could be made to depend: and he has thus sacrificed, to a great extent, simplicity and naturalness in his demonstrations, without any corresponding gain in grasp or cogency. The exclusion of hypothetical constructions may be mentioned as a self-imposed restriction which has