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result that the proportion of mathematical students in Oxford has actually declined instead of increasing. We are now enabled to add, to the information conveyed in that pamphlet, that, during the examinations which have since occurred, the resulting ratio has continued nearly the same, with the exception of the examination of Easter term, 1833, in which there happened to be an unprecedentedly large number of mathematical candidates; and, in this single instance, the triumphant result was a ratio of about one in nine --that is, one out of nine students, honoured with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, knew something, more or less, of physical science and this is a proportion quite unparalleled !
There is, however, another description of argument actually and seriously urged, which we must confess we should little have expected to hear avowed, however we might suspect it to be really entertained. The examination, say these considerate and enlightened persons, is already so severe, that a very large proportion of the under-graduates can only get through it with extreme difficulty, and many fail altogether. It would be quite monstrous to add to it any requisition for physical or mathematical knowledge; the candidate has already as much work as he can at all get through, and it would be oppressing him with a most intolerable burden to require more. Besides, the great mass of our young men are really of such limited capacities, that they are physically incapable of grappling with the study of mathematics or natural philosophy. They really can hardly succeed in going through the process of construing their four classic authors, though they have been engaged upon these studies constantly for perhaps seven or eight years before coming to college, and three years since. It would be an excessive hardship to require of these unfortunate youths the additional labour of studying such difficult and abstruse systems as those of elementary mathematics; it would be an intolerable grievance to require them to show a knowledge of arithmetic, or to understand anything about the solar system or the mechanical powers. Besides this, they have no time: their mornings are entirely occupied with the college lectures, and it would be injurious to their health to hinder them from the necessary recreation of their ride or walk for the purpose of attending experimental lectures, by which they would probably be incapable of profiting.-But some little abatement might be made in the classical attainments required.-That we can never listen to. To destroy the glorious system of classical discipline erected by the wisdom of our forefathers-to impair the solidity of that mighty edifice-and injure the beauty of that
goodly temple in which our ancestors worshipped! and this for the sake of introducing those low mechanical studies which are now filling the heads of the unwashed mechanics with every kind of vain and dangerous delusion, through every dirty manufacturing district in the kingdom! No! such pollution shall not defile Oxford.
These are curious confessions; but supposing them founded in fact, we say, if these young men cannot acquire an elementary knowledge of science, they may be very good sort of persons, and may become very respectable members of society, but they are not fit to have an academical degree. It is preposterous that thus grossly ignorant of the commonest rudiments of science, they should go forth to the world as Bachelors of Arts.
But you would then reject half the candidates; our numbers would be grievously thinned, and our colleges emptied. This was exactly the argument when the first examination system was proposed in 1800-and what was the result?-No sooner was the examination instituted than a vast increase of numbers took place; the colleges all began to fill in an unprecedented degree, and a regular and steady increase of numbers took place; and, of late years, it has become necessary to apply two, three, or four years beforehand for admission at the colleges in highest repute.
But consider the consequences of frightening young men away from a university where such grievous requisitions are laid upon them. Our numbers must infallibly dwindle away, our tutorial system be ruined, and our pockets unfurnished. Hinc ille lachrymæ. The young aristocracy will no longer consider it fashionable to honour Oxford even with the usual short residence, if we impose upon them studies of a debasing kind, unsuitable to their quality; and then farewell to our system of obtaining connexion, interest, and preferment; farewell to the dignity of the university, and all our hopes of livings, stalls, and mitres, by which that dignity is so nobly upheld.
That all this may be likely to happen we are disposed to believe. We are only inclined to differ from our worthy tutorial friends as to the probable cause and manner. We contend it will never arise from the cause assigned. We rely upon the experience of the past for assuring ourselves that no moderate increase in the requisitions of the examination will deter young men from coming to the university; and we believe that the immediate effect of such requisition would be to send them better prepared from the schools, both public and private, in which they would no longer consume so preposterously disproportionate a share of their time in the mere acquisition of the Greek and Latin languages. Under
such a system, we should before long find an elementary acquaintance with science as general a qualification as a knowledge of the classics is now; it would come to be regarded as much a matter of reproach to any man pretending to the education of a gentleman to show an ignorance of elementary physical truths, as it is now to betray such an ignorance of classical literature.
Such a consummation as our tutorial friends foresee, then, we are convinced will not arise out of the introduction of a physical examination. But it may arise from another cause. may arise from the obstinate refusal to admit those studies. There is a spirit abroad to look into the administration of all public establishments; there is a disposition to regard university endowments as funds held in trust for the benefit of the public; and there is a growing desire to see that the institutions supported by them are turned to their legitimate purpose. National education, especially that most important branch of it-the education of those who are to fill all the highest stations, civil and ecclesiastical-must be always regulated according to the exigencies of the times; and those who are to discharge important public functions, in a community rapidly advancing in intellectual strength, must be educated in a way to qualify them for the position they are to maintain among such a people. In the present tone of the public mind it is not a visionary expectation that public opinion and public efforts will be directed towards an object of such vital public importance. Again, will parents continue to send their sons to establishments not affording them the education which the present state of society requires? Will a system of influence and patronage escape the scrutiny of a reforming age? Will the higher classes continue to have the means of keeping up such a system? or will they long remain the higher class if they persist in cherishing the spirit of opposition to improvement, and allow those whom they call their inferiors to rise above them in knowledge? In a word, will not the system of classical ignorance be in all probability overthrown, and the consummation so much dreaded by the tutors be in all likelihood brought about by their obstinate and perverse efforts to resist the rational and moderate amendments which the few friends to academical reform and the physical sciences in Oxford have been, and are so earnestly, and we trust not hopelessly, labouring to promote?
To conclude, the proposition for amendment is now under the consideration of the university: we shall watch its progress with the most anxious attention, and earnestly hope (though not without some misgivings) that in a future Number we may be able to announce its success.
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.*
It is not from any opinion of the immediate practicability of the plans and views proposed in this Address that we are led to notice it; for, of all means yet devised for making any great changes in education, proprietary institutions are the most inefficient. But, because this Address advocates some principles totally at variance with those which guide the ordinary course of education, we think it our duty to bring them before the notice of all real friends to improvement, that they may be induced to consider more fully what ought to be the settled and unchangeable principles of rational instruction.
Mr. Morgan proposes the establishment of a Professorship of Education in the London University, as the most likely means of giving an impulse and a right direction to public instruction. Before we consider this proposition, it is necessary to make a few remarks on some slight inaccuracies in Mr. Morgan's statements, which he has fallen into from not being personally acquainted with the internal history of the London University.
Mr. Morgan speaks (p. 12) of the enlightened views displayed on the subject of education generally' in the introductory lectures of those professors who still retain their classes this might lead to an inference, which we do not think is intended by the author, that those who have not retained their classes expressed, in their introductory lectures, sentiments of an opposite character. All we can venture to say is, that those professors who have not retained their classes have left their opinions on record for those who may wish to examine them. Again, the author speaks of 'corporal punishment' being abolished, and the more efficient method of oral instruction being partially introduced.' This remark may lead to great misunderstanding among those who know the London University only by what they read. On the recent establishment of a day school in the University, it was very properly made a regulation that corporal punishment should not be inflicted in the school: the rule of course applies only to the school department, and has nothing to do either with the present or past state of the other parts of the institution. The method of oral instruction was completely introduced into the general classes of the University from the very first day of its opening; and if it now existed
* Address to the Proprietors of the University of London. By J. M. Morgan, Esq. London, 1833.
only partially, which we believe is not the case, we should regret that a change had been made which is not an improvement.
On the subject of prizes, a mode of excitement adopted at the commencement of the University, and still continued, the author has made some remarks, which we shall quote. We give the whole argument as it is here presented, being of opinion that some of the evil effects of the system are not overrated, though the question is not viewed in all its bearings, nor exactly in the way most likely to overcome the prejudices of those who have been accustomed to consider this species of emulation as inseparable from good instruction. Perhaps we might say that, according to our view, there is exaggeration in the opinions expressed as to the bad effects of the prize system on future life; but though there may be exaggeration, we do not affirm that there is no truth in this part of the statement.
There may be some customs still continued in deference to prevailing prejudices: among these, probably, is the practice of giving Prizes, which, having a most pernicious tendency, it would be gratifying to hear that the London University was the first to relinquish, and to prove how much more could be achieved without the aid of artificial stimulants.
The Prize is the least effectual mode of accomplishing the object desired and it is founded in injustice, inasmuch as it heaps honours and emoluments upon those to whom Nature has already been most bountiful, and whose enjoyments are multiplied, and increasing in a greater ratio than others, by the more easy acquisition of knowledge. The favoured individual has also a much higher enjoyment in his ability to assist others; for as it is most true, that "it is more blessed to give than to receive," the blessing is still greater as the gift is more valuable; and when youth are trained, as they can be, to derive pleasure from aiding their companions, the act of teaching strengthens the memory, and improves both the understanding and the feelings. These are the rich and enduring rewards which accompany the right exercise of talent; and, as if resolved to defeat the designs of Nature, we deprive ingenuous youth of the generous and happier motive-we rob him of the "prize of his high calling," and present him with one sordid and selfish. What, then, is the consequence? He no longer regards the boys of inferior capacity; and those who approach near to him in talent, he views with jealousy. He gains the prize, and enters society, where he looks eagerly for other prizes; he is vexed and harassed by disappointment, or he may reach the object of his ambition; his former associates are forgotten, perhaps even those who have contributed to his elevation.-And what is the effect upon the boy of inferior organization? He can never hope to gain the prize; and the intelligent boy, who would have taken him by the hand,