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probably do more to heighten the character of our Universities than anything which has yet been suggested. We contemplate no interference whatever with existing vested interests. The Professors of Greek and Latin have already two classes on their hands, and they devote two hours each day to the teaching of the Junior classes. In the Greek department there is even a third class of a more advanced kind; but it is purely optional; and Mr Blackie states that the number of students who attend it is very small. Then there are the exercises, of which the number is immense, to be corrected; and so heavy is the present labour, that the Professors have been under the necessity of asking for assistance, and for that purpose small grants of money have been accorded by the Senatus. Obviously, therefore, it would be unfair to expect them to undertake a further duty. What we earnestly recommend is the institution of a new chair-that of Ancient Literature-to be conducted solely by means of lectures, the course to be completed within the session. Such a chair, if occupied by a ripe scholar and able lecturer, would, we venture to predict, be most popular as well as useful, and would secure a large attendance.
It would be a very desirable thing indeed if such a chair could be established in all the Universities, and at once included in the curriculum. But we must be cautious even in improvements; and we are aware that the introduction of a new compulsory classical chair would be violently opposed, more especially if the views which we have stated as to the necessity, in certain cases, of enforcing two years' attendance on the Greek and Latin classes, should be carried into effect. Therefore, in the mean time at least, we would make attendance on the new Chair optional to students. That its institution would tend greatly to heighten the standard of classical learning in Scotland, requires, we venture to think, neither argument nor demonstration.
We are not in the least degree surprised to find that Dr Schmitz is very jealous lest any of the youth of Scotland should escape the ordeal of
the schools, and be allowed to enter the University without a due amount of preliminary study. We have not denied that a strong argument may be maintained in favour of entrance examinations; and we are quite as much opposed as Dr Schmitz can be to the recognition of short cuts to learning. But, after giving all due weight to his arguments, the fact still remains, that the institution of entrance examinations would effectually shut the door in the face of men who have not been able, from adverse circumstances, to attend the burgh schools for three or four years, so as to prepare themselves for the University-men who have laboured with their hands and practised self-denial of the most austere kind, in order to obtain the means of joining a University-men who, after they have joined the Junior classes, apply themselves to work with such energy and determination as suffices in a very short time to place them on a level with the more favoured entrants from the schools-men who are earnestly striving for the acquirement of learning, because they know full well that without learning they never can hope to attain distinction. Surely it would be a hard-nay, a barbarous and inhuman thing, to say to such men-"Go to! you are simply illiterates, for whom there is no appointed place in this temple of learning. You bring no passports from the schools-you can neither parse Latin nor construe Greektherefore you are Pariahs, and Pariahs you must remain. Return to the spade, the plough, or the loom, and forget the insane dream which has prompted you to demand education. You are guilty of the sin of original poverty, let it cleave to you to the grave!" Dr Schmitz, being of foreign extraction, may not thoroughly understand how such a speech would sound in Scottish ears; but God forbid that we should be a consenting party to any measure which should compel its utterance. To checks which shall stop the progress of the idle and inveterately illiterate, we have no manner of objection; but that is quite a different thing from the institution of an entrance examination, which may have
the effect of excluding students on account of their previous deficiencies, to whatever cause these may be attributed.
Of a preliminary examination we highly approve; on the understanding that the object of such examination shall simply be to determine whether the new student is qualified to join the Senior classes of Greek and Latin, or whether he ought to begin with the Junior classes. And we think, along with Dr Schmitz, that such examinations should be conducted by examiners quite independent of the Universities; or, at least, independent of the Professors who are immediately concerned. Moreover, we would have a second examination for the Junior class at the end of the first session, in order to determine who are fit to pass from the Junior to the Senior classes; all those who are so qualified receiving certificates to that effect, the others being compelled either to remain for another year in the Junior classes, or to renounce the advantages of the curriculum. For, as we have already remarked, there is a large section of attending students in the Faculty of Arts, to whom the curriculum is matter of perfect indifference; and surely it is not intended or proposed in any quarter that the University system shall be so restricted as to prevent any one from entering his name in the matriculation books for the purpose of attending any class in the capacity of an amateur. In the higher literary and scientific classes, the bulk of the students, nominally so called, have no intention either of taking a degree or of passing through Divinity Hall. They are attracted to the University by the fame of particular Professors; and they wish to hear those Professors, and to profit by their expositions, without any ulterior view. That is one of the finest features of the Scottish University system, and it would be an act of utter madness to alter it. We believe that both the Marquess of Lansdowne and Lord John Russell were alumni of Edinburgh University, but sure we are that neither of them would have submitted to the ordeal of an examination.
Examinations, therefore, can only
apply to entrants for the curriculum; and beyond that point, the representatives of schools, or the advocates of high education, have no right to be heard. The sons of tradesmen and of merchants, clerks in offices and counting - houses, and many such, esteem it a great privilege that they can fill up a vacant hour by attending some class in the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow; but they do not enter for the curriculum, and have no intention of presenting themselves for a degree. To exclude this division of students, which is a numerous and important one, from any class which they may wish to attend, would be to inflict a great and permanent injury on the general education, not of the poorer, but of the wealthier classes, and would be the sure means, not of elevating, but of destroying the efficiency of the Universities. But on this topic we have said enough. Pass we now to the next disputed point, which_regards the appointment of College Tutors.
The appointment of Tutors, which has been warmly advocated by some, is a subject to the details of which very little attention has hitherto been paid, and we believe that it is generally misunderstood. But for certain circumstances connected exclusively with the University of Edinburgh, it is possible that the idea of appointing tutors would never have arisen; and the history is briefly this :-Some years ago, the Senatus Academicus, being administrators of a considerable bequest for University purposes, determined to expend a portion of their revenue for the endowment of certain temporary fellowships for the encouragement of the most deserving graduates. These fellowships were of the value of £100 per annum each; and with the view of making the endowment serviceable to the University, and in some degree maintaining the connection of the graduates with it, it was proposed that these graduates, so long as they held fellowships, should act as tutors in connection with the larger classes, and assist the Professors both by extra teaching, so as to bring up the more deficient students, and by correction of exercises. Owing to circumstances upon which it is unnecessary to touch,
the fellowships were discontinued, but the idea still continued; and as it was found that in some of the larger classes the aid of an assistant was really required, the Senatus, though with very limited means, have awarded grants, amounting in the aggregate to £100 annually, towards the payment of assistants in four classes, the Latin, Greek, Mathematics, and Logic. This, it will be seen, is merely the recognition by that learned body, of certain special wants which they know to exist, but which they cannot adequately supply. Indeed, the employment of assistants is no new thing in the Universities. Professors occupying other Chairs besides those above specified, have had resort to private assistance, bearing the charges themselves; indeed, it is obvious that such assistance must often be absolutely necessary. Still, however, it is not a practice to be commended in the higher classes, and it is not one acceptable to the students, who think, and with considerable reason, that it is part of the personal duty of the Professor to revise and pass judgment upon the class exercises, and they do not always receive with submission the corrections or criticisms of an assistant. Therefore we are not desirous to see the new system extended further; perhaps, indeed, it has already been pushed too far. But we think that assistants, by whatever name they may be called, are really wanted for bringing up the Junior classes, when these classes are so numerously attended as in Edinburgh and Glasgow; because it is not fair to a Professor who has charge also of a Senior class, to subject him to all the drudgery necessary for the minute drill of the Juniors. Certainly it is much more than is expected or required from any rector of a school. It is very easy to sneer at a Professor when he complains of such drudgery, and to twit him with a desire to get rid of a burden which he is bound to bear; but there is no amount of human energy which may not be overtaxed; and the possible consequence of compelling a man to do too much in one department, may be to lessen his efficiency in another which is even of greater importance. But, while we
say this in favour of the employment of certain assistants, which we conceive would be of public advantage, we would strongly discountenance any proposal for lessening the amount of public teaching which is now undertaken by the Professors. existing relation between the Professor and the students ought not to be disturbed. The function of the assistant or tutor should be limited to giving extra drill at extra hours to such students as require it during their first year at College, and to the revision of exercises solely with the view to grammatical or technical correction. If it were possible, from any source, to obtain funds for the decent endowment of such tutorships, that would certainly act as an incentive and encouragement to graduates; for the degree of M.A. should be an indispensable qualification for the holding of such a tutorship. As to the notion of introducing the tutorial system of England into our Universities, we hold that to be utterly extravagant. The thing is simply impossible; and against impossibilities it is no use maintaining an argument.
Next in order of the disputed points is the proposal-which, so far as we can see, has not met with any large share of public sympathy-for Germanising the Scottish Universities by the institution of a large number of additional Chairs, to be endowed at the public expense. It was proposed at one time, if we recollect aright, that some twenty new professorships should be founded, for the purpose of teaching history in allits branches, international law, political economy, Sanscrit, the modern languages, and we know not what besides. In short, it was a scheme for providing comfortable berths for a certain number of literary men, who, if they lectured at all, would have to lecture to empty benches. This might, no doubt, prove an encouragement to literature, quite as efficacious as a considerable addition to the pension-list; but we are unable to see in what way it would tend to the improvement of the Universities. At present there are at least two professorships connected with the Faculty of Arts which are practically in abeyance. The Profes
sors of Astronomy and History have been compelled to desist from lecturing, solely because they had no audience. The present occupiers of these Chairs are men of great eminence and celebrity, well known to the public for their scientific and literary attainments, and fully competent to do justice to their respective subjects. But Astronomy cannot be made an attractive branch of study; and it seems to be the prevalent opinion that History can be better learned through books than by lectures. No pains have been spared to make the History Chair attractive. Within the last twenty years four Professors in succession, all of them distinguished men, have prepared and delivered elaborate courses of lectures, but they could not muster sufficient students to constitute a remunerative class. Experience shows us that a class, in order to be self-sustaining, must be imperative; and for many years there is no single case which can be quoted as an exception. It is not too much to say that the emolument accruing to the other Chairs, unconnected with the curriculum, is so small, that, but for the endowments-and these are very attenuated-they would also cease to be operative. The fact is, that the necessary branches of study engross as much time as the regular students can afford; and as for irregular students in other words, amateurssurely it would be fantastical to establish and endow classes merely for their gratification. Is it reasonable that the country should be taxed to the amount of some annual thousands, in order that a few gentlemen, who in reality are not students, should doze through a course of lectures?
There are many branches of study, important in themselves, which cannot be taught in Universities without disorganising, or at any rate impairing, the efficiency of the regular course. For example, no one will deny that a knowledge of the language and literature of foreign nations is a great and enviable accomplishment; but it is to be acquired without, not within, the walls of the Universities. There is no lack anywhere of good teachers, but we cannot make them Professors without
rendering the machinery of the colleges unwieldy. That we are not prepared to do, nor do we think that there is any call for such a violent change of system. We are, however, by no means satisfied that the staff of our Universities is complete, because there is undoubtedly room for improvement within the limits of the curriculum. We have already expressed a strong opinion in favour of the establishment of Chairs of Ancient Literature in the Universities; and we are no less impressed with the necessity of establishing Chairs of English Literature,comprehending the important studies of composition and delivery. No such Chair exists in any of the Scottish Universities, except that of Edinburgh, in which it is disguised under the name of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. This is a matter which the Church should look to, and that speedily, for its own credit; and attendance upon such a Chair should be made compulsory, not only for intending graduates, but for all who seek entrance into Divinity Hall. The standard of preaching never can be raised until far more attention than is now bestowed is given to style, method, and delivery; for learning, though excellent in itself, does not comprehend all the qualities which are requisite for the formation of an effective preacher. Besides this, the examinations which have recently been instituted for the purpose of testing the acquirements of candidates for admission to various branches of the public service, in which examinations the subjects of the English language and literature have marked prominence, are strong arguments in favour of the institution of such Chairs, inasmuch as they indicate what are the qualifications most desirable for young men who are ambitious of public employment. But we are not inclined to go any further in the way of extension. We are satisfied that the changes, or rather additions, which we advocate, would tend greatly to revivify and elevate the standard of our Universities. We advise nothing which is not practical, and also practicable, if Government shall, at last, manifest a disposition to assist and support the cause of learning in Scotland.
The next topic is the granting of Degrees. Here, we think, there is not only room for improvements, but urgent necessity for a change. At present there is no general standard, each University granting degrees according to a peculiar method of its own. The consequence of this loose practice is, that a Scottish degree, especially in Arts, is regarded as of little value, and esteemed to be no proper certificate of high education. It is most desirable that some steps should be taken for enforcing uniformity of practice; and we think that this could best be done by the appointment of a Board of Examiners to frame the questions, and to receive and decide upon the answers. Obviously, this Board should not consist entirely of Professors, but neither should they be excluded from it, as the practical knowledge which they possess would be very serviceable. Thus a common standard would be established, and full security would be given that the examinations should in no case be so slight as to admit the unworthy to a degree. Nevertheless, it would scarcely be worth while making the change, unless it were accompanied by some substantial privileges to graduates. The number of those who annually present themselves for graduation in Arts at Edinburgh has rarely exceeded twenty, of whom fully one-half, or more, aspire only to the degree of B.A. This apparent apathy on the part of the students is simply attributable to the fact that, at present, there are no privileges of any kind consequent on the possession of a degree, which receives no practical recognition either from Church or State.
There is a plain and effectual remedy for this, if the parties who are in possession of the power will consent to apply it. In the first place, if proper arrangements are made for elevating the degree-as we have just proposed the possession of the degree of M.A. ought to supersede all examinations for the public service on subjects connected with general and classical literature and philosophy. Let there be so much trust reposed in the Universities, that they shall be regarded in the light of State
institutions, whose certificate, in the shape of a degree, shall be accepted as conclusive evidence that the bearer has received and profited by a generous education-so liberal as to entitle him to enter the public service. The examinations, as at present conducted, have not given universal satisfaction; but, by this plan, all ground of complaint would be removed, and a new value would accresce to the degree. This is a point of great importance, and we earnestly recommend it to the attention of the Lord Advocate, who, it is understood, is willing to introduce some measure for the improvement of our Universities. In the second place, let the Church do its duty likewise, and require graduation from all who aspire to the office of the ministry. So far from being an innovation, this would merely be a return to the ancient and laudable rules which were in full force in the days of Andrew Melville, and we cannot too much deplore the laxity which allowed them to become obsolete. Should the Church hesitate, or delay to act, the State can accomplish the same end by a very simple means. Nothing more is required than an official notice from the Secretary of State, that for the future the preference will be given to graduates, in the disposal of the Crown patronage, which is very large. This would work wonders in the way of graduation; for no student of divinity who was able to take a degree would run the risk of exclusion from a living in the gift of the Crown; and the example thus set by the Establishment would be immediately followed by the other Presbyterian Churches, in order to maintain the educational credit of their ministers.
Further, we are not without hope that Lord Palmerston may see fit to accord to the Scottish Universities a share in the Parliamentary representation; in which case the graduates would constitute the electoral body, and so retain throughout life a connection with their Alma Mater. Most assuredly the Scottish Universities stand in need of representation; for it is now more than thirty years ago since a Royal Commission was appointed to report upon their condi