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own work; and being their own work, not only are all the previous time and money lost, but that period of life which ought to have been occupied in acquisition, has passed, never to return, never to be compensated by after-industry. The monopoly has cheated them with the semblance of teaching; it has taught them what they hare not learned, or if they have learned what it has taught, they have hastened to forget it. It has cheated them of their wealth, and their time; it has cheated, as far as it could, the state which depends on their acquisitions; it has not made the citizens which it promised; it is not an Alma Mater, but a harpy and a robber.”-Westminster Reriew. Will the Quarterly Reviewer affirm that this is not fact? Will he question its truth? Let him look within himself, and pronounce.-Strain the fourth. “ The number of these proficients is extremely small, compared with that of the whole students; (Scotice ;) and there is really no medium between almost entire idleness, and such skill in making Greek and Latin verses as would astonish a first-rate German commentator, and such readiness in solving difficult problems as would surpass the belief, certainly far exceed the power, of Sir Isaac Newton, were he again to visit the banks of the Granta."Edinburgh Review. Is this false in fact ?--Strain the fifth. “ Bat the true test of a good and efficient system of instruction is, first of all, its teaching the whole body of those whom it embraces, and making each advance according to the measure of his abilities; and next to that, its imparting knowledge which may remain with the students in after life. Tried by either test, the systems of our University lamentably fail.”-Ibid. Is this false in fact, or fallacious in argument? Is it false in fact that the University of Cambridge has within the last fortnight, after conferring on them a degree, which implies that their education is completed, dismissed a great majority of her pupils entirely ignorant of the very science, which she considers as constituting the most essential and important part of a liberal education? If it be true, is it scurrilous to aver the fact? If it be true, will the public care in what “ manner" the fact is stated, though it be as “ dull" as that of Mr. T. Campbell's Lectures on Poetry, or as lively and metaphorical as that of the Quarterly Review itself? The Reviewer must place unbounded confidence in the authority of his journal, if he trusts that an audacious front, and a bold denial, will maintain his cause, not only against the asseverations of the Edinburgh Review, but in the face of the truth itself. We would advise him to recollect that the ground of combat is now shifted, and the weapons changed. His old rival has learned wisdom from experience. He no longer denies the merit of Cambridge as a seat of science, or of Oxford as a school of classical lore; he only contends that they are inefficient and inadequate places of education; and the Quarterly Reviewer must descend into the field of evidence, and come to close conflict with facts, or the public will give verdict against him. The learning of Copleston can no longer avail the cause; that learning is not denied. The pre-eminence of Eton in the manufacture of hexameter and pentameter is now conceded. The miraculous proficiency of the higher Wranglers is allowed in the most unbounded terms. The Quarterly Reviewer shows himself to be at his utmost need, when he would confound the ground of former contests, in which we grant the “ discomfiture" of the enemy, with that of the present. But every shepherd knoweth his flock, and the Quarterly Reviewer has taken measure of his reader's credulity. He knows that every thing he chooses to affirm or deny, will be held true, or false, by those for whom he writes, not because it is proved to be so, but because the “ Quarterly" says it. How long will the public decide all questions in morals and literature, not by their merits, but by the politics of those who discuss them? How long will the Tory part of the community persist in believing every thing under a brown cover, and the Whig part in believing every thing under a blue? We beg the reader to credit neither but on evidence. When he reads in the Westminster and the Edinburgh Reviews, the severe remarks of those periodical censors of our system and our seats of education, instead of regarding the style and form of their periods, whether they be more or less balanced, more or less coarse, more or less correct, let him apply our test—is this false in fact ?—“ We thank thee, Jew, for that word,”)—is this fallacious in argument ? If they be neither, let him not care how“ dull” they are “ in manner.” It were to be wished that these two journals had gone
had gone into evidence, and, instead of pleading, had endeavoured to prove. The latter, we are sorry to see, has not only forborne to attempt this, but, with its usual spirit of partisanship, has again dragged forward the Scotch colleges into comparison with our own. We devoutly wish the Edinburgh Reviewers would be pleased to leave them out of the case. We are sure the mention of them will do the cause of reformation here no good. We know our English temper better; and, besides, we are not so thoroughly assured of the goodness of even the Scotch colleges, as not to wish for more unexceptionable models. As for the Quarterly, it is really a lesson to consider how it has comported itself on this emergency. As if to contrast the roughness of the unsparing adversary, and lull its friends to the repose which these recent censures must have, in some measure,
disturbed, how smoothly and equably do its periods flow on!-how correct, how calm, (except in one instance, and dispassionate its expressions! -how condescending the terms in which it announces to the city of London that the latter is permitted by the Quarterly Reviewer to have a university, provided always that it keep its distance, and“ disclaim all competition with our ancient and flourishing universities !"-how graciously it is pleased to approve of Mr. Campbell's “ conciliating," "unassuming," and“ earnest, indeed, but calm," method of propounding his views,“ dissuading all ideas of comparison with the English universities, [as if London were in Scotland or Jamaica,] as well as any attempt to censure their proceedings !"—how pathetically it deprecates “ all bitterness of contention,” as if the Reviewer had never once dipped his own pen in gall and wormwood! The whole article, indeed, is a choice sample of that drawing-room style, and elegant imbecility, for which the Quarterly is justly renowned. Equally admirable with its tone and language is the policy upon which it is composed. The reader's attention is quietly led away from the present state of the universities, and engaged in a consideration perfectly alien to the only important question, of their rise, and gradual advances to the state in which we now find them. With this part of their history, the public has little
It is their present condition we would have unfolded; and, therefore, we propose to take up their history, where the Quarterly Review (contented with the supposition“ that the ideal pattern has been tolerably preserved in practice”) has left it.
Our readers consist of persons who are either well acquainted with the subject, and have reflected upon it, or who are well-informed, without having reflected, or who are entirely ignorant, and, therefore, car not have reflected. It were desirable that the first division should constitute the majority, though we apprehend it is in fact by much the smallest ; but, whether more or fewer, the readers of this class will pardon the apparent impertinence of dwelling upon topics, to them so notorious, and opinions so trite, in consideration of the great number of the uninformed or unreflecting. It is needless to add, we design the little information we are able to communicate solely for the benefit of the latter. On questions of universal interest, it is to be wished that every member of the community should be enabled to arrive at a just conclusion. Whilst a portion of it, and that portion a very great majority, remains either heedless from want of reflection, or incapable of thinking right from want of information, public opinion, the only redresser of grievances, and reformer of abuses, cannot be expected to overbear the obstacles, which the active opposition of an interested class puts in the way of improvement.
The reader will observe, that we purpose confining our testimony at present to the system of education pursued at Cambridge. We have our reasons. Let every man speak from his own knowledge. Views cannot be given at second-hand without the risk of receiving a new colour in the process of transmission. The public is thus far led into
It is difficult enough to cunvey to the mind of another precisely the just impressions, even when received from actual experience; let alone the hazard of attempting that communication by means of copying from the observations of other people. We see how long the Edinburgh Reviewers, and other enquirers, have been at fault in their conjectures. Let Oxford, therefore, speak for itself.
We may add, that the consideration of Cambridge alone, embraces fully one-half of the whole subject; that university enjoying, at this moment, perhaps rather more than her moiety of public attention. Cambridge men figure in the annals of our police; Cambridge trials agitate our courts of law. The representation of Cambridge is at this moment canvassed by lawyers of the first eminence, statesmen of the highest character, and travellers of the greatest renown. Public buildings, observatories or colleges, are daily starting into existence, and the number of those with whom they overtiow, is now greater than that of the students at the other university. The outward and visible signs of prosperity abound. In the language of the Quarterly Review, and measuring the progress of science and learning by yards of stone walls, and the height of stone columus, Cambridge is a flourishing university.” We have also the authority of a northern writer, we believe, in an Athenian publication, called Janus, of which, perhaps, the reader now hears mention for the first time, for considering Oxford and Cambridge as at least on a footing of equality. “ They have long been rivals,” thus argues Sawney,“ ergo, they must be equal."
We have another reason for selecting Cambridge in preference to Oxford. The latter, it is understood, does contrive to diffuse the be
See London Magazine, No. V. New Series, and Westininster Review, No. VIII.
nefits of classical learning (such as they are) throughout the mass of her students. They can read the New Testament; they are tolerable theologians, so at least the bishops or their chaplains say; and, therefore, the question at issue with that university may more nearly approach to the fundamental inquiry, how far classical learning in our schools and colleges ought to supersede learning of other descriptions. Oxford is also understood to teach the art of reasoning, and to supply the future legislator or economist with the only instrument by which - his statistical or political enquiries can be rendered of service to himself or his country. If Oxford really do thus much, she is not all outside show. Her fair form is tenanted by a soul as fair.
We think it right to disclaim all feelings of malevolence towards the University, to whose discipline and management we more particularly object. She is not to blame for what she is. The public are to blame for countenancing her in an adherence to å mode of education, or rather non-education, so futile and prejudicial. Admitting this, we deny the justice of that claim she is generally supposed to have upon her children, for forhearance or silence. * This notion of filial respect due to Alma Mater, originates entirely with a practice, far too universal in our language, of personifying every constituted body of men under some one name, and giving to them a kind of unity. Thus, the seventeen establishments, instituted for the purposes of education, and directed by masters, with a greater or less number of fellows to cooperate, which compose the University of Cambridge, are often comprehended under the title of an ideal personage, whom fancy has been pleased to represent as belonging to the fairer sex, and has sanctified with the attributes and name of a mother. There wants but some idea of this kind to be once entertained, and straightway every one, vho has idled away three years at Cambridge, becomes a son of Alma Afater; and is bound to yield her all the respect, which the child ovies to its mother. Such are the restraints, purely imaginary, which the metaphorical genius of our language and country imposes upon our reason. But it is time these cobwebs, or gossamers, (which you please,) should be brushed away. If we give in to this idle practice, by the use of the collective term University, and speak of it as belo‘iging to the feminine gender, we do it only to avoid the suspicion of personality. It is the system—the state of the university, not the rembers, which we censure. They are where they found themselves, end as they found themselves ; and are no more to he blamed for being where they are, and as they are, than a ploughman is guilty of plougliing, or a tailor culpable of cutting cloth. Whilst, then, on the one hand, there is no obligation to silence or forbearance, it is on the other, a duty incumbent upon every man, to lay before the community whatever information he is able to furnish, respecting the nature and character of this sequestered seat of education. The community is concerned to know every particular relative to it. The community believes itself to be in possession of a place of sound moral, religious, classical, and scientific discipline; and, of course, acts in conformity
*" Perhaps it would not be right in me thus far to betray the secrets, and expose the vices of my own Alma Mater.' Confessions of a Cantub. See the London Magazine, No. XII. December. Feb. 1826.
with that belief. The community, we may also observe, has hitherto shewn itself as blind as a beetle, on a matter that vitally affects its interests.* The splendour diffused round the University by the rare occurrence of a Watson, a Paley, a Milner,-names illustrious indeed but not great enough to justify an attachment so idolatrous—has concealed from observation the vulgar herd of ABC-darians who have completed their education at Cambridge. Every one of the select few, conscious of great intellectual superiority, and ascribing that superiority to the University, has looked within himself, instead of casting his eyes abroad, for the fruits of her discipline. Each one of the million, supremely ignorant, and therefore, perhaps, unconscious of the cheat, or supremely elated by the importance which the community attaches to a university education, and therefore not disposed to lessen his own consequence, by discovering the cheat, has not been accessary to the detection of the utter worthlessness of an education so much vaunted, otherwise than as far as he could not help betraying it grossly in his own conversation and demeanour. There are exceptions, however, in both classes. Of the former, the most remarkable may be considered the Cantab, whose Regrets we lately communicated to the reader, and who appears to have scaled the very top of Olympus, and enjoyed the luxury of sitting down, and contemplating the barrenness of the prospect. The mere mention of angles and triangles must, one would think, prove quite fatal to the sentimental; and yet there was that in these remarkable confessions, which touched us to the quick. To the latter division, we ourselves profess to belong; and assume nothing more than the credit of hearkening to Regan's dutiful advice to poor Lear: “I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.”. Far be it from us to question the excellence of the “ pattern," which the University of Cambridge professes to "preserve in her practice.” We only complain of her practice, and with reason, since we own ourselves to be of the number of those who have suffered by it. In our following numbers we propose to dedicate a few pages in each, to the benefit of Alma Mater; and we hereby invite all, who are aggrieved, either by her conduct towards them, or our animadversions upon her, to acquaint us with their grievances. If well founded, whether they make for, or against our common mother, they may depend upon it the world shall hear of their complaint. We have only one word of advice more to give to these two classes at parting. In weighing any thing we have said, or shall hereafter say, let the few individuals who ascribe their own high attainments to the influence of Alma Mater, look, not into their own minds for evidence of the truth of what we urge, but abroad; and let the rest look not abroad, but at home.
The Westminster Review speaks the truth broadly and boldly, on this head: “The greater mass of the public has, as usual, shown the most determined inveteracy not to listen to advice that will give them the trouble of thinking, the trouble of quitting a beaten routine, to enter on a new line of action, and the vast effort of doubting the wis. dom of their ancestors.” We laud the persevering temper discovered in the sentence, which follows the above :-" It must be our business to sound that advice in their ears till they do listen, &c, since For this were we ordained.'” Indeed, the motto of those, who would inculcate any truth upon the public, must be that scripture which exhorteth to prayer without ceasing, “ in season and out of season."