« AnteriorContinuar »
probably do more to heighten the the schools, and be allowed to enter character of our Universities than the University without a due amount anything which has yet been suggest- of preliminary study. We have not ed. We contemplate no interference denied that a strong argument may whatever with existing vested inte- be maintained in favour of entrance rests. The Professors of Greek and examinations; and we are quite as Latin have already two classes on much opposed as Dr Schmitz can their hands, and they devote two be to the recognition of short cuts hours each day to the teaching of the to learning. But, after giving all Junior classes. In the Greek de- due weight to his arguments, the partment there is even a third class fact still remains, that the instituof a more advanced kind; but it is tion of entrance examinations would purely optional; and Mr Blackie effectually shut the door in the face states that the number of students of men who have not been able, who attend it is very small
. Then from adverse circumstances, to attend there are the exercises, of which the the burgh schools for three or four number is immense, to be corrected; years, so as to prepare themselves for and so heavy is the present labour, the University-men who have lathat the Professors have been under boured with their hands and practised the necessity of asking for assistance, self-denial of the most austere kind, and for that purpose small grants of in order to obtain the means of joinmoney have been accorded by the ing a University-men who, after Senatus. Obviously, therefore, it they have joined the Junior classes, would be unfair to expect them apply themselves to work with such to undertake a further duty. What energy and determination as suffices we earnestly recommend is the insti- in a very short time to place them on tution of a new chair-that of An- a level with the more favoured encient Literature -- to be conducted trants from the schools—men who solely by means of lectures, the are earnestly striving for the acquirecourse to be completed within the ment of learning, because they know session. Such a chair, if occupied full well that without learning they by a ripe scholar and able lecturer, never can hope to attain distinction. would, we venture to predict, be Surely it would be a hard—nay, a most popular as well as useful, and barbarous and inhuman thing, to say would secure a large attendance. to such men—“Go to! you are
It would be a very desirable thing simply illiterates, for whom there is indeed if such a chair could be estab- no appointed place in this temple of lished in all the Universities, and at learning. You bring no passports once included in the curriculum. But from the schools—you can neither we must be cantious even in improve- parse Latin nor construe Greekments; and we are aware that the therefore you are Pariahs, and Paintroduction of a new compulsory riahs you must remain. Return to classical chair would be violently the spade, the plough, or the loom, opposed, more especially if the views and forget the insane dream which which we have stated as to the neces- has prompted you to demand educasity, in certain cases, of enforcing two tion. You are guilty of the sin of years' attendance on the Greek and original poverty, let it cleave to Latin classes, should be carried into you to the grave !” Dr Schmitz, effect. Therefore, in the mean time being of foreign extraction, may not at least, we would make attendance thoroughly understand how such a on the new Chair optional to students. speech would sound in Scottish ears ; That its institution would tend but God forbid that we should be a greatly to heighten the standard of consenting party to any measure classical learning in Scotland, re- which should compel its utterance. quires, we venture to think, neither To checks which shall stop the proargument nor demonstration.
gress of the idle and inveterately We are not in the least degree illiterate, we have no manner of obsurprised to find that Dr Schmitz is jection ; but that is quite a different very jealous lest any of the youth of thing from the institution of an enScotland should escape the ordeal of trance examination, which may have the effect of excluding students on apply to entrants for the curriculum ; account of their previous deficiencies, and beyond that point, the represento whatever cause these may be attri- tatives of schools, or the advocates of buted.
high education, have no right to be Of a preliminary examination we heard. The sons of tradesmen and highly approve; on the understanding of merchants, clerks in offices and that the object of such examination counting - houses, and many such, shall simply be to determine whether esteem it a great privilege that they the new student is qualified to join can fill up a vacant hour by attendthe Senior classes of Greek and Latin, ing some class in the Universities of or whether he ought to begin with Edinburgh and Glasgow; but they the Junior classes. And we think, do not enter for the curriculum, and along with Dr Schmitz, that such have no intention of presenting themexaminations should be conducted selves for a degree. To exclude this by examiners quite independent of division of students, which is a numethe Universities; or, at least, inde- rous and important one, from any pendent of the Professors who are class which they may wish to attend, immediately concerned. Moreover, would be to inflict a great and perwe would have a second examina- manent injury on the general education for the Junior class at the end tion, not of the poorer, but of the of the first session, in order to deter- wealthier classes, and would be the mine who are fit to pass from the sure means, not of elevating, but of Junior to the Senior classes ; all those destroying the efficiency of the Uniwho are so qualified receiving certi- versities. But on this topic we have ficates to that effect, the others being said enough. Pass we now to the compelled either to remain for another next disputed point, which regards year in the Junior classes, or to re- the appointment of College Tutors. nounce the advantages of the curri- The appointment of Tutors, which culum. For, as we have already has been warmly advocated by some, remarked, there is a large section of is a subject to the details of which attending students in the Faculty of very little attention has hitherto been Arts, to whom the curriculum is paid, and we believe that it is genermatter of perfect indifference; and ally misunderstood. But for certain surely it is not intended or proposed circumstances connected exclusively in any quarter that the University with the University of Edinburgh, it system shall be so restricted as to is possible that the idea of appointing prevent any one from entering his tutors would never have arisen ; and name in the matriculation books for the history is briefly this :- Some the purpose of attending any class in years ago, the Senatus Academicus, the capacity of an amateur. In the being administrators of a considerable higher literary and scientific classes, bequest for University purposes, dethe bulk of the students, nominally termined to expend a portion of their so called, have no intention either of revenue for the endowment of certain taking a degree or of passing through temporary fellowships for the enDivinity Hall. They are attract- couragement of the most deserving ed to the University by the fame of graduates. These fellowships were particular Professors; and they wish of the value of £100 per annuin each ; to hear those Professors, and to profit and with the view of making the by their expositions, without any endowment serviceable to the Uniulterior view. That is one of the versity, and in some degree maintainfinest features of the Scottish Univer- ing the connection of the graduates sity system, and it would be an act with it, it was proposed that these of utter madness to alter it. We graduates, so long as they held felbelieve that both the Marquess of lowships, should act as tutors in conLansdowne and Lord John Russell nection with the larger classes, and were alumni of Edinburgh Univer- assist the Professors both by extra sity, but su we are that neither of teaching, so as to bring up the more them would have submitted to the deficient students, and by correction ordeal of an examination.
of exercises. Owing to circumstances Examinations, therefore, can only upon which it is unnecessary to touch,
the fellowships were discontinued, say this in favour of the employment
endowed at the public expense. It they may be called, are really wanted was proposed at one time, if we refor bringing up the Junior classes, collect aright, that some twenty new when these classes are so numerously professorships should be founded, for attended as in Edinburgh and Glas- the purpose of teaching history in all gow; because it is not fair to a Pro- its branches, international law, polifessor who has charge also of a Senior tical economy, Sanscrit, the modern class, to subject him to all the drudg- languages, and we know not what ery necessary for the minute drill of besides. In short, it was a scheme the Juniors. Certainly it is much for providing comfortable berths for more than is expected or required a certain number of literary men, from any rector of a school. It is very who, if they lectured at all, would easy to sneer at a Professor when he have to lecture to empty benches. complains of such drudgery, and to This might, no doubt, prove an entwit him with a desire to get rid of couragement to literature, quite as a burden which he is bound to bear; efficacious as a considerable addition but there is no amount of human to the pension-list; but we are unenergy which may not be overtaxed ; able to see in what way it would and the possible consequence of com- tend to the improvement of the Unipelling a man to do too much in one versities. At present there are at department, may be to lessen his least two professorships connected efficiency in another which is even of with the Faculty of Arts which are greater importance. But, while we practically in abeyance. The Profes
sors of Astronomy and History have rendering the machinery of the colbeen compelled to desist from lectur- leges unwieldy. That we are not ing, solely because they had no au- prepared to do, nor do we think that dience, The present occupiers of there is any call for such a violent these Chairs are men of great emi- change of system. We are, however, nence and celebrity, well known to by no means satisfied that the staff the public for their scientific and li- of our Universities is complete, beterary attainments, and fully compe- cause there is undoubtedly room for tent to do justice to their respective improvement within the limits of the subjects. But Astronomy cannot be curriculum. We have already exmade an attractive branch of study; pressed a strong opinion in favour of and it seems to be the prevalent the establishment of Chairs of Ancient opinion that History can be better Literature in the Universities; and we learned through books than by lec- are no less impressed with the necestures. No pains have been spared sity of establishing Chairs of English to make the History Chair attractive. Literature,comprehending the importWithin the last twenty years four ant studies of composition and deliProfessors in succession, all of them very. No such Chair exists in any of distinguished men, have prepared and the Scottish Universities, except that delivered elaborate courses of lec- of Edinburgh, in which it is disguised tures, but they could not muster suf- under the name of Rhetoric and Belles ficient students to constitute a remu- Lettres. This is a matter which the nerative class. Experience shows us Church should look to, and that that a class, in order to be self-sus- speedily, for its own credit; and attaining, must be imperative; and tendance upon such a Chair should for many years there is no single be made compulsory, not only for case which can be quoted as an ex- intending graduates, but for all who ception. It is not too much to say seek entrance into Divinity Hall. that the emolument accruing to the The standard of preaching never can other Chairs, unconnected with the be raised until far more attention than curriculum, is so small, that, but for is now bestowed is given to style, the endowments—and these are very method, and delivery ; for learning, attenuated-they would also cease to though excellent in itself, does not be operative. The fact is, that the comprehend all the qualities which necessary branches of study engross are requisite for the formation of an as much time as the regular students effective preacher. Besides this, the can afford ; and as for irregular stu- examinations which have recently dents—in other words, amateurs- been instituted for the purpose of surely it would be fantastical to es- testing the acquirements of cantablish and endow classes merely for didates for admission to various their gratification. Is it reasonable branches of the public service, in that the country should be taxed to which examinations the subjects of the amount of some annual thou- the English language and literature sands, in order that a few gentlemen, have marked prominence, are strong who in reality are not students, should arguments in favour of the institudoze through a course of lectures ? tion of such Chairs, inasmuch as they
There are many branches of study, indicate what are the qualifications important in themselves, which can- most desirable for young men who not be taught in Universities without are ambitious of public employment. disorganising, or at any rate impair- But we are not inclined to go any ing, the efficiency of the regular further in the way of extension. We
For example, no one will are satisfied that the changes, or radeny that a knowledge of the lan- ther additions, which we advocate, guage and literature of foreign na- would tend greatly to revivify and tions is a great and enviable accom- elevate the standard of our Universiplishment, but it is to be acquired ties. We advise nothing which is without, not within, the walls of the not practical, and also practicable, if Universities. There is no lack any- Government shall, at fast, manifest where of good teachers, but we can- a disposition to assist and support not make them Professors without the cause of learning in Scotland.
The next_topic is the granting of institutions, whose certificate, in the Degrees. Here, we think, there is shape of a degree, shall be acceptnot only room for improvements, but ed as conclusive evidence that the urgent necessity for a change. At bearer has received and profited by a present there is no general standard, generous education—so liberal as to each University granting degrees entitle him to enter the public seraccording to a peculiar method of its vice. The examinations, as at preown. The consequence of this loose sent conducted, have not given unipractice is, that a Scottish degree, versal satisfaction; but, by this plan, especially in Arts, is regarded as of all ground of complaint would be little value, and esteemed to be no removed, and a new value would proper certificate of high education. accresce to the degree. This is a It is most desirable that some steps point of great importance, and we should be taken for enforcing unifor- earnestly recommend it to the attenmity of practice; and we think that tion of the Lord Advocate, who, it this could best be done by the ap- is understood, is willing to introduce pointment of a Board of Examiners some measure for the improvement to frame the questions, and to receive of our Universities. In the second and decide upon the answers. Ob place, let the Church do its duty viously, this Board should not con- likewise, and require graduation from sist entirely of Professors, but neither all who aspire to the office of the should they be excluded from it, as ministry. So far from being an inthe practical knowledge which they novation, this would merely be a possess would be very serviceable. return to the ancient and laudable Thus a common standard would be rules which were in full force in the established, and full security would days of Andrew Melville, and we be given that the examinations should cannot too much deplore the laxity in no case be so slight as to admit which allowed them to become obthe unworthy to a degree. Never- solete. Should the Church hesitate, theless, it would scarcely be worth or delay to act, the State can accomwhile making the change, unless it plish the same end by a very simple were accompanied by some substan- means. Nothing more is required tial privileges to graduates. The than an official notice from the Secrenumber of those who annually pre- tary of State, that for the future the sent themselves for graduation in Arts preference will be given to graduates, at Elinburgh has rarely exceeded in the disposal of the Crown patrontwenty, of whom fully one-half, or age, which is very large. This would more, aspire only to the degree of work wonders in the way of graduaB.A. This apparent apathy on the tion ; for no student of divinity who part of the students is simply attri- was able to take a degree would run butable to the fact that, at present, the risk of exclusion from a living in there are no privileges of any kind the gift of the Crown ; and the exconsequent on the possession of a ample thus set by the Establishment degree, which receives no practical would be immediately followed by recognition either from Church or the other Presbyterian Churches, in State.
order to maintain the educational There is a plain and effectual re- credit of their ministers. medy for this, if the parties who are Further, we are not without hope in possession of the power will con- that Lord Palmerston may see fit to sent to apply it. In the first place, accord to the Scottish Universities a if proper arrangements are made for share in the Parliamentary represenelevating the degree—as we have just tation; in which case the graduates proposed--the possession of the de- would constitute the electoral body, gree of M.A. ought to supersede all and so retain throughout life a conexaminations for the public service nection with their Alma Mater. Most on subjects connected with general assuredly the Scottish Universities and classical literature and philo- stand in need of representation ; for sophy. Let there be so much trust it is now more than thirty years ago reposed in the Universities, that they since a Royal Commission was apshall be regarded in the light of State pointed to report upon their condi