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An indispensable condition of intel- mined activity, — command of one's lectual growth is liberty. That liberty time for voluntary study. the present system denies. More and There are two things which unless more it is straitened by imposed tasks. a university can give, it fails of its And this I conceive to be the reason legitimate end.
One is opportunity, why, with increased requirements, the the other inspiration. But opportunity College turns out a decreasing propor- is marred, not made, and inspiration tion of first-class men. If the theory quenched, not kindled, by coercion. of college rank were correct, the high- Few, I suspect, in recent years, have est marks should indicate the men who had the love of knowledge awakened by are to be hereafter most conspicuous, their college life at Harvard, and leaders in the various walks of life. often quenched by the rivalries and This is not the case, - not so much so penalties with which learning here is now as in former years. Of the pres- associated. Give the student, first of ent chief lights of American literature all, opportunity ; place before him the and science, how many, if graduates best apparatus of instruction ; tempt of Harvard, took the first honors of the him with the best of teachers and University here? Or, to put the ques- books ; lead him to the fountains of tion in another form, Of those who took intellectual life. His use of those founthe first honors at Harvard, within the tains must depend on himself. There last thirty years, how many are now is a homely proverb touching the imconspicuous among the great lights of possibility of compelling a horse to American literature and science ? drink, which applies to human animals
Carlyle, in his recent talk to the and intellectual draughts as well. The students at Edinburgh, remarks that student has been defined by a German “since the time of Bentley, you cannot pedagogue as an animal that cannot be name anybody that has gained a great forced, but must be persuaded. If, name for scholarship among the Eng- beside opportunity, the college can furlish, or constituted a point of revolution nish also the inspiration which shall in the pursuits of men, in that way.” make opportunity precious and fruitful, The reason perhaps is, that the system its work is accomplished. The college of the English universities, though al- that fulfils these two conditions - oplowing greater liberty than ours, is still portunity and inspiration will be a a struggle for college honors, in which success, will draw to itself the frequenrenown, not learning for the sake of cy of youth, the patronage of wealth, learning, is the aim. The seeming pro- the consensus of all the good. Such a ficiency achieved through the influence university, and no other, will be a power of such motives — knowledge acquired in the land. for the nonce, not assimilated — is of- Nothing so fatal to inspiration as exten delusive, and is apt to vanish when cessive legislation. It creates two parthe stimulus is withdrawn. The stu- ties, the governors and the governed, dents themselves have recorded their with efforts and interests mutually opjudgment of the value of this sort of posed; the governors seeking to eslearning in the word "cramming," a tablish an artificial order, the governed phrase which originated in one of the bent on maintaining their natural libEnglish universities.
erty. I need not ask you, Alumni, if The rudiments of knowledge may be these two parties exist at Cambridge. instilled by compulsory tasks; but to They have always existed within the form the scholar, to really educate the memory of “the oldest graduate.” man, there should intervene between Professors should not be responsible the years of compulsory study and the for the manners of students, beyond the active duties of life a season of com- legitimate operation of their personal parative leisure. By leisure I mean, influence. Academic jurisdiction should not cessation of activity, but self-deter- have no criminal code, should inflict no penalty but that of expulsion, and that not appear singular ; endure it, harden only in the way of self-defence against yourself to it. Olim meminisse juvapositively noxious and dangerous mem- bit.”* The universities legislated against bers. Let the civil law take care of civil this barbarism ; all the governments of offences. The American citizen should Germany conspired to crush it; but in early learn to govern himself, and to re- spite of all their efforts, which were enact the civil law by free consent. Let only partially successful, traces of it easy and familiar relations be estab- still lingered in the early years of this lished between teachers and taughtcentury. It was not completely aboland personal influence will do more for ished until, in 1818, there was formed the maintenance of order than the most at Jena by delegates from fourteen unielaborate code. Experience has shown versities a voluntary association of stuthat great reliance may be placed on dents on a moral basis, known as “The the sense of honor in young men, when General German Burschenschaft,” the properly appealed to and fairly brought first principle in whose constitution into play. Raumer, in his
History was, Unity, freedom, and equality of of German Universities,” testifies that all students among themselves, - equalthe Burschenschaften abolished there ity of all rights and duties,”—and whose the last vestige of that system of haz- second principle was “Christian Gering practised on new-comers, which man education of every mental and bodseems to be an indigenous weed of the ily faculty for the service of the Facollege soil.
It infested the ancient therland." This, according to Raumer, universities of Athens, Berytus, Car- was the end of Pennalism in Germathage, * as well as the mediæval and ny. What the governments, with their the modern. Our ancestors provided a stringent enactments and formidable natural outlet for it when they ordained penalties, failed to accomplish, was acthat the Freshmen should be subject to complished at last by a voluntary asthe Seniors, should take off their hats in sociation of students, organizing that their presence, and run of their errands. sense of honor which, in youth and soThis system, under the name of “ Pen- cieties of youth, if rightly touched, is nalism,” had developed, in the German never appealed to in vain. universities, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a degree of op- The question has been newly agipression and tyrannous abuse of the tated in these days, whether knowledge new-comer unknown to American col- of Greek and Latin is a necessary part leges, and altogether incredible were it of polite education, and whether it should not sufficiently vouched by contempo- constitute one of the requirements of rary writers, and by the acts of the the academic course. It has seemed to various governments which labored to
me that those who take the affirmative suppress it. A certain German worthy in this discussion give undue weight writes to his son, who is about to enter
to the literary argument, and not the university: “You think, perhaps, enough to the glossological. The litthat in the universities they sup pure
erary argument fails to establish the wisdom by spoonfuls, .... but when you supreme importance of a knowledge of are arrived there, you will find that you these languages as a part of polite edumust be made a fool of for the first cation. The place which the Greek year. .... Consent to be a fool for this
and Latin authors have come to occupy one year ; let yourself be plagued and in the estimation of European scholars abused ; and when an old veteran steps is due, not entirely to their intrinsic up to you and tweaks your nose, let it merits, great as those merits unquesnial occultation the classics, and espe- tongues, the same argument applies to cially, with the fall of the Palæologi, the Hebrew, to the Sanscrit, to the the Greek classics burst upon Western Persian, to say nothing of the modern Europe, there was no literature with languages, to which the College assigns which to compare them. The Jewish a subordinate place. Scriptures were not regarded as litera- But, above all, the literary importance ture by readers of the Vulgate. Dante, of Greek and Latin for the British and it is true, had given to the world his American scholar is greatly qualified immortal vision, and Boccaccio, its first by the richness and superiority of the expounder, had shown the capabilities English literature which has come into of Italian prose. But the light of Flor- being since the Græcomania of the entine culture was even for Italy a par- time of the Tudors, when court ladies tial illumination. On the whole, we of a morning, by way of amusement, may say that modern literature did not read Plato's Dialogues in the original. exist, and the Oriental had not yet If literary edification is the object income to light. What wonder that the tended in the study of those languages, classics were received with boundless that end is more easily and more effecenthusiasm! It was through the influ- tually accomplished by a thorough acence of that enthusiasm that the study quaintance with English literature, than of Greek was introduced into schools by the very imperfect knowledge which and universities with the close of the college exercises give of the classics. fifteenth century. It was through that Tugging at the Chained Prometheus, influence that Latin, still a living lan- with the aid of grammar and lexicon, guage in the clerical world, was per- may be good intellectual discipline, but petuated, instead of becoming an obso how many of the subjects of that dislete ecclesiasticism. The language of cipline ever divine the secret of ÆsLivy and Ovid derived fresh impulse chylus's wonderful creation, or receive from the reappearing stars of secular any other impression from it than the Rome.
tionably are, but in part to traditional • St. Augustine records his connection, when a
prepossessions. When after a millenstudent at Carthage, with the “Eversores structives), an association which flourished at that * Raumer's “History of German Universities." university.
Translated by Frederic B. Perkins.
feeling perhaps that the worthy Titan's It is in vain to deny that those liter- sense of constraint could hardly have atures have lost something of the rela- been more galling than their own. tive value they once possessed, and Give them Shakespeare's Tempest which made it a literary necessity to to read, and with no other pony than study Greek and Latin for their sakes. their own good will, though they may The literary necessity is in a meas- not penetrate the deeper meaning of ure superseded by translations, which, that composition, they will gain more though they may fail to communicate ideas, more nourishment from it, than the aroma and the verbal felicities of
they will from compulsory study of the the original, reproduce its form and whole trio of Greek tragedians. And substance. is furthermore super- if this be their first introduction to seded by the rise of new literatures, the great magician, they will say, with and by introduction to those of other Miranda, and elder lands. The Greeks were
"O), wonder! masters of literary form, but other How many goodly creatures are there here!
O brave new world, nations have surpassed them in some
That has such people in it!" particulars. There is but one Iliad, and but one Odyssee ; but also there The literary argument for enforced is but one Job, but one Sakoontalà, study of Greek and Latin in our day but one Hafiz-Nameh, but one Gu- has not much weight. What I call listan, but one Divina Commedia, but the glossological argument has more. one Don Quixote, but one Faust. If Every well-educated person should the argument for the study of Greek have a thorough understanding of his and Latin is grounded on the value of own language, and no one can thorthe literary treasures contained in those oughly understand the English without some knowledge of languages spiration fails, coercion can never supwhich touch it so nearly as the Latin ply its place. If the mathematics shall and the Greek. Some knowledge of continue to reign at Harvard, may their those languages should constitute, I empire become a law of liberty. think, a condition of matriculation. I have ventured, fellow-graduates, to But the further prosecution of them throw out these hints of University should not be obligatory on the student Reform, well aware of the opposition once matriculated, though every en- such views must encounter in deepcouragement be given and every fa- rooted prejudice and fixed routine ; cility afforded to those whose genius aware also of the rashness of attemptleans in that direction. The College ing, within the limits of such an occashould make ample provision for the sion, to grapple with such a theme; study of ancient languages, and also but strong in my conviction of the for the study of the mathematics, but pressing need of a more emancipated should not enforce those studies on scheme of instruction and discipline, minds that have no vocation for such based on the facts of the present and pursuits. There is now and then a the real wants of American life. It is born philologer, one who studies lan- time that the oldest college in the land guage for its own sake, - studies it per- should lay off the prætexta of its long haps in the spirit of “ the scholar who minority, and take its place among the regretted that he had not concentrated universities, properly so called, of modhis life on the dative case.” There
ern time. are also exceptional natures that delight in mathematics, minds whose One thing more I have to say while young affections run to angles and standing in this presence. The Collogarithms, and with whom the com- lege has a duty beyond its literary and putation of values is itself the chief scientific functions, duty to the value in life. The College should ac
nation,-a patriotic, I do not scruple commodate either bias, to the top of to say a political duty. its bent, but should not enforce either
Time was when universities were with compulsory twist. It should not joint estates of the realms they eninsist on making every alumnus a lin- lightened. The University of Paris guist or a mathematician. If mastery was, in its best days, an association of dead languages is not an indispensa- possessing authority second only to ble part of polite education, mathemat- that of the Church. The faithful ally ical learning is still less so. Excessive of the sovereigns of France against the requirements in that department have ambition of the nobles and against the not even the excuse of intellectual dis- usurpations of Papal Rome, she bore cipline. More important than mathe- the proud title of “The eldest Daughter matics to the general scholar is the of the King," — La Fille aînée du Roi. knowledge of history, in which Ameri- She upheld the Oriflamme against the can scholars are so commonly deficient. feudal gonfalons, and was largely inMore important is the knowledge of strumental in establishing the central modern languages and of English lit- power of the crown.* In the terrible erature. More important the knowl- struggle of Philip the Fair with Boniedge of Nature and Art. May the face VIII., she furnished the legal science of sciences never want repre- weapons of the contest. She fursentatives as able as the learned gen- nished, in her Chancellor Gerson, the tlemen who now preside over that leading spirit of the Council of Condepartment in the mathematical and stance. In the Council of Bâle she presidential chairs. Happy will it be * “C'est ainsi que peu à peu ils (that is, “les letfor the University if they can inspire a
tres ") parvinrent à sapper les fondements du poulove for the science in the pupils com
voir féodal et à élever l'étendard royal là où flottait
la bannière du baron." — Histoire de l'Université, mitted to their charge. But where in- par M. Eugene Dubarle, Vol. I. p. 135.
VOL. XVIII. — NO. 107.
“ Sad fancies did we then affect
obtained for France the “ Pragmatic In my college days it was the fashion Sanction.” Her voice was consulted with some to think lightly of our Amerion the question of the Salic Law; un- can birthright, to talk disparagingly of happily, also in the trial of Jeanne republics, and to sigh for the disposid'Arc; and when Louis XI. concluded tions and pomps of royalty. a treaty of peace with Maximilian of Austria, the University of Paris was
In luxury of disrespect
To our own prodigal excess the guaranty on the part of France.
Of too familiar happiness." Universities are no longer political bodies, but they may be still political All such nonsense, if it had not already powers, centres and sources of po- yielded to riper reason, would ere this litical influence. Our own College in
have been washed out of us by the the time of the Revolution was a mani- blood of a hundred thousand martyrs. fest power on the side of liberty, the The events of recent years have enpolitical as well as academic mother of kindled, let us hope, quite other sentiOtis and the Adamses. In 1768," when
ments in the youth of this generation. the patronage of American manufac- May those sentiments find ample nutritures was the test of patriotism,” the
ment within these precincts evermore. Senior Class voted unanimously to
Soon after the conquest of American take their degrees apparelled in the independence, Governor Hancock, in coarse cloths of American manufacture.
his speech at the inauguration of PresiIn 1776, the Overseers required of the
dent Willard, eulogized the College as professors a satisfactory account of having been in some sense the partheir political faith. So much was then
ent and nurse of the late happy Revoluthought of the influence on young
tion in this Commonwealth.” Parent minds of the right or wrong views of and nurse of American nationality, political questions entertained by their
such was the praise accorded to Harinstructors. The fathers were right vard by one of the foremost patriots of When the life of the nation is con
the Revolution ! Never may she cease cerned, — in the struggle with foreign
to deserve that praise ! or domestic foes, — there is a right the Mother refuse to acknowledge the and a wrong in politics which casuistry
seed herself has propagated! Never may seek to confuse, but which sound may her seed be repelled by the Mothmoral sentiment cannot mistake, and
er's altered mind! which those who have schools of learn- “Mutatam ignorent subito ne semina matrem." ing in charge should be held to respect. When Protagoras came to Athens to Better the College should be disbanded teach in the university as self-appointthan be a nursery of treason. Better ed professor, or sophist, according to these halls even now should be levelled the fashion of that time, it was not to with the ground, than that any influence instruct Athenian youth in music or should prevail in them unfriendly to geometry or astronomy, but to teach American nationality. No amount of them the art of being good citizens, – intellectual acquirements can atone for Την πολιτικών τεχνών, και ποιείν άνδρας defective patriotism. Intellectual su- ảyadoùs molitas. That was his profespremacy alone will not avert the down- sion. With which, as we read, Hipfall of states. The subtlest intellect of pocrates was so well pleased, that he Greece, the sage who could plan an ideal called up Socrates in the middle of the republic of austere virtue and perfect night to inform him of the happy arproportions, could not preserve his rival. We have no professorship at own; but the love of country inspired Cambridge founded for the express by Lycurgus kept the descendants of purpose of making good citizens. In the Dorians free two thousand years the absence of such, may all the proafter the disgrace of Chæronea had fessorships work together for that end. sealed the fate of the rest of Greece. The youth intrusted to their tutelage