« 上一頁繼續 »
r'acuity only, as a Faculty of Theology or a Faculty of Law; but they were not universities because they taught Theology or Law or the Liberal Arts. Their distinctive characteristic was the power possessed by them exclusively to license teachers in all these departments of knowledge; and as these licenses came in time to be called degrees, it may be said at present, as in the mediæval period, that, in a technical sense, all that is necessary to make a university is the possession of the degreeconferring power. It follows that, as in bestowing charters on colleges, our American legislatures have invariably accompanied the concession with the power “to give and grant any such degree or degrees to the students of said college, or to any other person or persons by them thought worthy thereof, as are usually granted by universities or colleges now existing,” all the more than four hundred chartered colleges of the United States, many of them differing only in name from schools for children of tender age, are equally clothed with university powers, and entitled to assume the honorable title of University.
The colleges, on the other hand, of England and the continent of Europe were originally established to provide for the lodging and subsistence of the university students, without being intended to exercise any educational function at all. They gradually took upon themselves such a function, by making it their business to ascertain, by daily or less frequent examination, how faithfully their inmates were profiting by the teachings of the university. By degrees, in England the colleges have arrogated to themselves all that is necessary to prepare the student to pass the examinations required to secure his degree; and it is entirely possible, and, more than that, is a thing of frequent occurrence, for a student to graduate at Oxford or Cambridge without attending on the course of instruction given by any university teachers at all. It is the university, however, which holds the test examinations and confers the degrees. The power of the college ends with recommending its candidates to the examining board.
But, in the popular idea of our own time, the relation between college and university is by no means such as is here indicated. The distinction between the classes of institutions so designated is understood to be one not of powers but of comprehensiveness. It is understood that while the teaching of the college is confined within a pretty sharply defined limit, the teaching of the university has no definite limit at all; that while the college teaches only some things, the fully appointed university teaches everything; also that an educational institution approaches the ideal of an university in proportion as it transcends the narrow boundary which is supposed to define the proper province of the college.
But the university not only carries on indefinitely the intellectual work which the college begins, but it also bridges over in a variety of directions the wide gap which exists between the ideal world, which is the world of the college, and the actual world of busy life. It has been
made a frequent reproach to the training given by the college, or to what is called a liberal education, that it is wholly impractical, and fails completely to fit a man for any career by which he may hope to gain his daily bread. Nay, it is even said that this kind of training not only fails to fit, but actually unfits men for the work of real life. It draws them gradually away into a world of abstractions, or of truths divested of all utilitarian associations (which it holds in contempt), so that when at last this species of culture has accomplished for them all that it can, they are even less well prepared to make their way in the world than they were before it began. To a certain extent, the imputation here thrown out is well founded; but it is not just on that account to regard it as a reproach. It would be truly a reproach, if it had ever been assumed for a liberal education that its object is to prepare men for the business of life. The object of liberal education is to make the most that can be made of man as man, not as lawyer or physician or carpenter. This being the avowed design, there is implied in it by necessary consequence that when the culture has done its work the man will not be prepared to enter directly upon any special career or vocation, but that he will be capable of adapting himself promptly to such a specialty, and of pursuing it afterwards with a vigor and success which could only be the result of such a previous preparation. In this respect it is with mental as with physical training. As the muscular exercises of the gymnasium do not result in fitting a man and are not intended to fit a man to use with dexterity the carpenter's plane or the stonemason's chisel or the pavior's rammer, but have the effect of solidifying the frame and hardening the muscles and exalting the power of endurance to such a degree as to make it possible for one who has undergone them to become, after a suitable subsequent apprenticeship, a more effective carpenter or mason or pavior than he could otherwise have been, so the mental discipline imparted by the course of instruction in the college, without fitting its subject to enter immediately upon any specific calling, prepares him nevertheless to fit himself for engaging in any chosen departinent of human activity with a probability of success on which he could not otherwise have been able to count. It is not, therefore, a reproach to collegiate education that it is not practical. It is only a mistake to suppose that it ought to be practical. And those who have assisted to overload the college curriculum with subjects thrust upon it on the ground of their practical utility have only helped to pervert its original and legitimate design, and, so far as they have succeeded, to detract from its efficiency and impair its usefulness. But the error is not only to assume that the education of the college ought to be practical, but, further, to forget that the education of the college is not, and is not intended to be, the completion of the education of the man. There are two stages in this education. The first is subjective; it is to draw out the capabilities of the man himself without reference to any use that is to be made of him, or that he may make of himself. The second is to adapt the capabilities so developed to that special line of effort into which the work of the coming life is to be directed.
The college is not, therefore, in any proper sense a finishing school. It is a very common error to regard it as such. The youthful graduate is very commonly spoken of as having " completed his education.” In a certain sense this is not wholly incorrect. His education is complete as individual man, but as social man it ought to be just about to begin. Those who forget that this supplementary education is yet to be accomplished commit an error which may draw after it serious consequences. This supplementary education in a large variety of forms it is the province of the university to furnish. It may not fulfill every demand of this nature which may be made upon it. If there are any who, after enjoying the benefit of a high intellectual culture, choose to apply the faculties so cultivated to mean and unintellectual pursuits, they will be obliged to find their supplementary education in the difficult school of experience, by serving a kind of preliminary apprenticeship to their selected calling. But to all those who purpose to fulfill the destiny which, in devoting the best years of their life to the acquisition of a liberal education, they have marked out for themselves, the university offers opportunities for passing from the ideal to the practical, from the general to the special, in many different directions ; and thus speedily transforms the inexperienced thinker into the active and energetic worker. The university may therefore be described as a school of the professions ; but it is more than that. If there are those who, without aiming at a professional career, feel an impulse urging them to devote themselves to the pursuit of truth, by research or investigation in any direction, the university provides them with the aids, the encouragement, and the instrumentalities for carrying out such a purpose also. Universities are therefore not merely schools of the professions, but they are at the same time the fountains and fosterers of the highest learning and the profoundest science of every kind.
It is true that all existing universities do not correspond to this description. The universities of England are not in any proper sense professional schools; and if it may be truly said of them that they foster learning, it has never been equally true that they are similarly propitious to science. They have produced some illustrious scientific men. Newton stands perhaps without a peer in the scientific annals of all time; yet the astronomy of Ptolemy continued to be taught in Newton's own University of Cambridge for a century after the publication of the Principia had created astronomical science anew. The universities of England have never made it their aim to open to educated men the way to any career of active life, unless it might be perhaps in the church or in the field of statesmanship. They have furnished in the past centuries almost exclusively, and they do in the present very largely, the rulers of Great Britain; and the clergy of the establishmant, including the whole House of Bishops, are recruited from their ranks. But the great jurists who have adorned the British bench or the British bar, and the eminent physicians who have shed luster on the medical science of England, have derived very little of their knowledge of law or of medicine from the universities; and of the great architects, engineers, naturalists, artists, and explorers, whose works or whose achievements constitute a large proportion of the national glory of the empire, not one can be said to have been made by these famous institutions. The British universities have, on the other hand, been rather administered in the interests of the aristocracy than of the people of England, and they have been adapted to the wants or the preferences of a class whose wealth lifts them above the necessity of labor, and who have no desire to be initiated into any professional career, unless it be the political—a career which is not a profession, and for which no especial training is esteemed to be necessary. It is therefore quite true that the British universities are not universities at all, if we use the word in its modern popular acceptance; if we understand it to mean, as it meant originally, institutions possessing and exercising the power to confer degrees, then they are entitled to the name.
The Universities of Germany correspond more nearly to the popular idea. They are devoted to supplementary education exclusively and altogether. They do not concern themselves in the least with questions of mental discipline. Their object is not to form, but to inform the mind. Constituting, moreover, as they do the only channels of access to the liberal professions and to the civil service of the empire or of its component states, they possess a political importance wbich is not equally enjoyed by institutions of corresponding grade in other countries. The students (native to the country) who attend these great institutions come up from the Gymnasia and the Realschulen, which occupy the position and fulfill the functions of the colleges of our country. The course of instruction in the Gymnasia covers quite as much ground as that of the American college of the eighteenth century, and in its practical enforcement is believed to be carried out much more thoroughly than can with truth be asserted of many of our collegiate institutions. Hence one is a little surprised to find in an able article on this subject, by a well known educationist,* published in March, 1880, the stricture on the German University system, that it leads to unsatisfactory results because the Gymnasium “ does not carry the general culture high enough.” There is another fault imputed by the same writer to this system which seems to be better founded. He says: “Everywhere in Europe, and nowhere more than in Germany, society is burdened with an unnatural and irrational aristocracy. Hence there is also an unnatural and irrational aristocracy of intellectual pursuits—unnatural and irrational because founded on tradition and not on culture alone. To this aristocracy belong the three traditional liberal professions, the*Joseph Le Conte, in Princeton Review, March, 1880, p. 201.
ology, law, and medicine, together with the professions of the scholar and scientific investigator. The so-called technical professions, equa..y intellectual-i. e., requiring equal general culture-are denied the cognomen of “liberal,' banished with scorn from the university, and COINpelled to seek refuge in separate technical schools. Thus thought and action, the ideal and the practical-a twain that should be joined in indissoluble marriage--are forced into unnatural divorce,' to the loss and injury of both. On the one hand, the technical professions would be imbued with the lofty spirit of true culture, and thus elevated and ennobled into true liberal professions; on the other, the culture of the university would be quickened and vitalized by the earnestness of men having practical ends in view. On the one hand, the general culture would create a soul under the dead ribs of the technical professions; on the other, the technical professions would give practical body to the too ideal culture of the university.”
The exclusion of the technical professions from the university is a practical and economical error, which in our gradually developing American universities we have had the good sense to avoid; but it is certainly a mistake to attribute this exclusion in Germany to the unnatural constitution of German society, or to the existence of class distinctions among that people. The technical professions are not held in contempt because the occupations they offer are presumed to be unfit for noblemen. The prejudice against them, so far as it exists, is a prejudice which men of literary culture, not in Germany only but everywhere, feel toward pursuits to which the idea of a mercenary character in any way attaches. It is a feeling which those in whom it exists entertain as scholars and not as aristocrats. * * * If any tradition has been more persistently and consistently maintained from the earliest times down to the present, it has been the profound contempt of the man of letters for the lucre of gain. And such are the men who have always had possession of the universities of the Continent of Europe. So far, therefore, as science has presented itself in a character purely intellectual, it has received the hospitality of the universities; but at every point at which it has manifested a tendency to ally itself with the spirit of cupidity, it has been met by the scholar's dislike for the mean and mercenary, and contemptuously turned away. This is the reason, and the only reason, that the technical professions are driven to take refuge in Germany in separate technical schools.
In our own country, though universities, in the full significance of that term, cannot be said as yet to exist, yet they are gradually growing up by the expansion, on the part of some of our colleges, of the sphere of their teaching in the upward direction. One form of this expansion consists in the creation of professional schools, and in this process there is no such invidious distinction made with us as that above noticed as occurring in the German universities. On the other hand, in some instances, the technical professions have been provided