« PreviousContinue »
the East India Company's service, knowledge or science which it is his or others of literary taste, to matri- duty to explain. If, on the contrary, culate for the sole purpose of attend- he is indolent, tiresome, or monotoning the lectures of some distinguished ous, they turn to something else, and Professor in the higher branches of few have the patience to extract profit philosophy, science, or letters. These from his long-winded dissertations. are not students in the proper sense A stranger, on first visiting Edinof the term, though they enrol them- · burgh, must necessarily be much surselves as such. Nevertheless, their prised by the very motley aspect of attendance is a manifest advantage, the crowd which issues from the as it is also a decided compliment to College gates when the bell tolls the the University.
hourly signal for the dismissal and Next, as to the amount and nature gathering of the classes. Boyhood, of the work which the students are adolescence, manhood, and even age, required to perform. This differs in are there represented. Two generakind according to the character of the tions are mingled together; for they class. In the three classes which rank may be counted from fourteen to first in the curriculum of Arts-La- forty. First, perhaps, a group of tin, Greek, and Mathematics — the juniors, full of animal spirits and business is conducted for the most fun, charges down the steps. Then part by teaching, not by lecturing. comes a knot of grave young men, Each of the students is brought fre- evidently destined for the ministry, to quently, though not daily, under the whom education is a serious matter, eye of the Professor, and they are for their future livelihood depends examined orally as well as through upon it, and, in the mean time, the written
In the other resources of their friends, far away in classes -- Logic, Moral Philosophy, Angus or Dumfries, have been taxed Natural Philosophy, and Rhetoric to give them the advantage of a the business is principally conducted course at the University, Then by means of lectures; but, in addi- strides forth an unmistakable native tion, there are examinations upon of the north, older than the others, the lectures, or upon some special and with the marks of stern determisubject prescribed for study, and also nation on his brow, though somewhat written exercises. In these latter uncouth in appearance. That is a classes it almost invariably happens specimen of a class of whom Scotland that a certain number of the students has cause to be proud, and of whom do not offer themselves for examina- she is sometimes even not sufficiently tion, and do not write the exercises. proud. For the man whom the When this occurs they receive no cer- stranger remarks there, has received tificates, beyond a simple one of at- no preliminary education which laxtendance, at the close of the session; ity itself could denominate classical. and of course they are not allowed to Born of obscure parents, in an excompete for class honours, which are ceedingly remote parish, and appaeagerly coveted by arduous and in- rently destined to win his bread by telligent students. For this there is manual labour, he has received, many no remedy. Once past school, there years ago, the common elementary is an end of coercion ; and even at education of a Scottish peasant, and school, coercion, if pushed too far, from that has passed to a handicraft. degenerates into positive cruelty. But something tells him, as he meaTrue is the adage, that though one sures himself with his fellows, that man can lead a horse to the water, he is intended for a higher career; twenty cannot force him to drink and, accordingly, he has worked The motive power lies with the Pro- double-tides, saved, pinched, almost fessor. If he can invest his subject starved, throughout one with interest, and really attract the summers, in order that he might be attention of the students, there is able, during the winter session, to very little fear but that the greater attend the University classes. part of them will obey his bidding, This is no exaggerated picture; nor and exert themselves to become pro- are such instances uncommon. Livficients in that special branch of ingstone, the African missionary and
traveller, was enabled by such means alert-bis function, when he comes to take that degree in medicine which into play, is to push forward the rewas the foundation of his success; tarded and the slow. To him, cerand many other men, eminent in tain students, whose previous attainscience and literature, or who have ments do not qualify them to keep afterwards risen to the summit of pace with the progress of the class, their professions, have in like man- are to be remitted for extra drill, ner been indebted to that freedom of until they can come up with the entrance which hitherto has been a others who have been more favoured distinguishing and peculiar feature by their course of preliminary educaof the Scottish Universities. This is tion; and beyond this, he is to relieve a point which we are anxious to note the Professor of some drudgery in the carefully, because any rash change, correction of exercises. But there which should have the effect of pre- he is to stop. We are very far from venting such men as we have de- disapproving of the nomination of scribed from becoming students, is, Tutors in this sense. On the conin our opinion, deeply to be depre- trary, we think that, in the prelimicated. Such a change, however, has nary—that is, the teaching classesbeen advocated, with a certain show assistants of this kind are absolutely of plausibility, by some who profess necessary; but we demur to carrying themselves desirous to promote the it farther. In classes which are concause of “high education”-a term ducted mainly by means of lectures, lofty in sound, but oftentimes con- every Professor must have his own tracted in signification.
system, and his own views; and The Tutorial system, as in force at from him alone the students ought the English Universities, was never to receive an opinion as to their propart of the Scottish educational gress in his peculiar branch, and scheme. Obviously it could not be their relative proficiency. so—for this simple reason, that there A very few words relative to the are no endowments to support tutors granting of degrees in arts, will terindependent of casual fees, and but minate our explanation of the course few students who could afford to pay and method of study presently purfor extra-mural assistance. Of late, sued at the University of Edinburgh. however, a great deal has been said At the close of every winter session, and written regarding the propriety seven days are set apart for the of introducing a Tutorial system; and examination of candidates who have the Senatus Academicus of Edin- passed through the curriculum of burgh has so far sanctioned that arts, one day being devoted to each view, as to give a small grant, from subject in rotation. Papers prepared limited funds at the disposal of that by the Professors, and containing learned body, for maintaining what such questions as they may consider are called Tutors, in connection with most fit to test knowledge and acfour out of the seven classes which quirement, are delivered to the canwe have specified as belonging to the didates when they enter the examicurriculum of the Faculty of Arts. nation room; and they are required Tutors, however, they are not. They to write the answers in the presence are merely assistants to the Profes- and under the eye of the examinator, sors, and, as yet, they have no recog- so that there is an effectual check nised University rank or position against collusion or extraneous asWhether or not a new order of this sistance. The answers, when rekind should be instituted, is a question turned, are carefully noted ; and each which deserves serious consideration. Professor frames a list according to
One thing we must note in passing merit, by a system of marks, corre—that those who wish for the estab- sponding in value to the accuracy of lishment of Tutors, as part of the each answer. When these lists are Scottish University system, do not prepared, the Professors meet, and the profess to connect it in any way with numbers of the marks are counted. the preparation for taking a degree. In this examination of lists, a certain The proposed Scottish Tutor is not number represents the minimum for required to assist the advanced or a pass, and if, in any one of the seven examinations necessary for the de- found and distinguished scholars. gree of M.A., or of the five examina- We shall not stay to question the tions necessary for the degree of postulate, because that would merely B.A., a candidate is below that involve us in a vain discussion. We minimum, the degree is withheld. shall therefore admit at once that But there is a further test of acquire- what is called high scholarship is not ment; for the mark system is so so assiduously or successfully culticonstructed that a candidate may be vated in Scotland as in England; above the minimum in each separate that we do not produce so many examination, and yet not be entitled commentators on Greek plays, or so to a degree, on account of his not many elucidators of Aristotle'; and having obtained the aggregate num- that our University training may ber of marks which are requisite for not be such as to excite the admiraa pass. This method, which must tion of a Scaliger. In short, that we appear complex when related, is do not boast of having among us men really very simple in practice, and, of that stamp who were represented in we venture to think, very efficacious; England by Bentley, Porson, or Parr. since while it requires from the can- But we deny that this admission didate at least a respectable know- affords any good or sufficient ground ledge of every branch of learning for advocating a radical change of upon which he is examined, it ex- system. Profound scholarship is no cludes him from a degree, if his doubt a great accomplishment. It knowledge with regard to some of was held in much reverence in the them is not far higher than respect- days when its function was imperaable. Indeed, we are bound to ex- tively required to explain what was press our conviction that the degree dubious in the works of the ancient of Master of Arts as granted by the authors; and even now, when the University of Edinburgh, implies the mass of commentaries exceeds by an possession of a greater amount of hundredfold the volume of the text, varied and useful attainment than it is regarded with sincere respect. is demanded at the present day in But then, under the most favourable any of the Universities of England, circumstances, it would be preposterand that, if fault there be, it lies in ous to expect simultaneously the apthe over-strictness of the examina- parition of more than a limited numtions, and not in their laxity. Cer- ber of active and famous scholars; tainly, in regard to granting degrees that is, of men who, having gained in Arts, the examination in Edin- erudition, do not rest satisfied with burgh is higher and more stringent the mere acquirement, but bequeath than in some other Scottish Uni- to posterity the results of their learned versities. This may, or may not, be labours. We do not admit that it a practical mistake, but it is a fact was solely, or even mainly, with a which should be kept in mind, and view to the production of such a to which we attach no little impor- class, that the Universities either of tance, for reasons which we shall Scotland or of England were instipresently assign.
tuted; although we concede the fact Having given this explanation, the that, out of the latter, more scholars accuracy of which we venture to of eminence arise than are to be think will not be challenged; and found in the northern kingdom. But premising that the Edinburgh system it requires no great penetration to represents, at least in broad features, discover a reason for that. Take though differing somewhat in detail
, away from the English Universities that which is pursued in the other their Tutorships and Fellowships, deScottish Universities—let us consider prive them of their large ecclesiastiwhat are the deficiencies, neglects, cal patronage and munificent endowor shortcomings, which it is now pro- ments, and what stimulus would be left posed to remedy or supplement. for the acquirement of profound erudi
The first and most articulate com- tion ? On the other hand, if it were plaint is that the system is unfavour- possible or advisable (for even that able to erudition, and that Scotland may admit of a doubt) to give Scotdoes not produce its quota of pro- land such temporal advantages and means of prosecuting study, we are not necessarily any bearing upon the thoroughly convinced that the pro- question of academical teaching duct would be such as to satisfy the Let the degree of Master of Arts be cravings of even the most enthusias- taken as the culminating point of tic and extravagant worshipper of teaching, and we should not hesitate the Classics. The simple truth is, to test the comparative attainments that, in England, splendid provision of those who have acquired degrees has been made for the cultivation of in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the learning, without regard to ulterior like number from Oxford and Campurposes; while in Scotland there is bridge. We believe that, in science no provision whatever. So long as and mental philosophy, the Scottish this continues, it is most unfair to graduates would have a marked adimpute inefficiency to the Scottish vantage, and that, even if defeated in Universities, because they do not classics, they would make an honourexhibit a phalanx of renowned able appearance. And we say this scholars, who owe nothing whatever in the full knowledge that young to fostering elsewhere. The sun that men in England, when they present shines so pleasantly in the South, themselves for their degrees, are on does not afford sufficient heat to the average inore advanced in years ripen the grapes upon our Northern than are the Scottish candidates, who wall. But the vines thrive well are for the most part compelled to enough under our care; and when make good use of their time while transplanted to a more genial cli- they tarry at the University, because, mate, their produce is abundant. immediately after that, they must be Let us select, not invidiously we absorbed by the active vortex of their hope, a recent and remarkable in- professions. In the absence of Tutorstance. Dr Tait, the present Bishop ships and Fellowships, the northern of London, received his first uni- student, after he has taken his deversity education in Glasgow, where gree, has no reliable source of livehe took the highest honours. From lihood. He must vend his goods Glasgow he passed to Oxford, became where he can. Scholastic learning Fellow and Senior Tutor of Baliol commands but a low price in the College, was appointed Master of general market when offered in its Rugby, rose to be Dean of Carlisle, own shape. Combined with other and finally, while yet comparatively material, it becomes of much higher young, was elevated to the İletropoli- value. tan see of England. We do not say But while we make this assertion that Dr Tait was indebted for his in behalf of our graduates, who, be it success in this brilliant and almost remarked, are very few in number unexampled career solely to his clas- compared with the non-graduating sical attainments; but this niuch literary students, we do admit that is evident, that, but for these attain- there are certain matters connected ments, he could not have taken two with the teaching of the classics in of the important preliminary steps all the Scottish Universities, which which led to so high a dignity. require consideration. And first Had he tarried in Scotland, the arises the question, which has already highest prize accessible to him on been keenly debated, whether it account of his learning would have would be advisable or not to require been some Professorship, yielding that all students in arts shall unthe modest return of £300 or £400 dergo an entrance examination in per annum.
Greek and Latin. We shall endea“ Laudatur et alget” is an apo- vour to state succinctly the arguthegm which, in Scotland, is peculiar- ments on either side. ly applicable to abstruse scholarship; Those who insist upon the necesand so, we fear, it must remain, for sity of an entrance examination, lay as yet there are but faint symptoms, much stress upon the fact, which is notwithstanding the multitude of undoubted, that amongst the multireclamations, that a more generous tude of students who present themtreatment will be substituted. But selves at College for the first time, these remarks or admissions have there is a gross disparity in attainment. That while some of them ly, would be our opinion, were we have received the advantage of a convinced that the premises assumcareful and minute classical prelimi- ed by the advocates of an entrance nary education at such seminaries examination were in all respects as the High School and Academy correctly laid down; but we appreof Edinburgh, or other gymnasia of hend that in this, as in other keenlyundoubted reputation, others emerge contested matters, the battle-ground from remote parish schools, where has not been accurately surveyed. the teaching is of inferior description, For we find, on referring to the or in which, if well taught, the pupil Edinburgh University programme has not remained long enough to for the present session, that there acquire more than the merest rudi- are two distinct classes of Latin or ments of the ancient languages. Humanity, the junior and the senior, They argue that in classes so consti- with the former of which the Protuted, the interests of the more ad- fessor is occupied two hours each vanced students must necessarily be day in the week, Saturdays exceptsacrificed for the sake of bringing up ed; and that there are no fewer the others; and that, moreover, it is than three Greek classes—the first, beneath the dignity of a University second, and third; the first, as in the that within its walls the rudiments Junior Latin, having two hours each of the classics should be taught. day assigned to it. Now, there is no They think that an entrance exami- University regulation extant which nation would be useful in so far as it compels students who are entering must deter mere boys from coming for the curriculum to join the junior to the University unprepared, as well or rudimental classes, in which the as men who are unfortunately with- method of teaching does not greatly out preparation.
differ from that practised in the Their opponents say that an entrance schools. If they have already atexamination on the classics would, tained that amount of proficiency unless it were merely nominal, change in the languages which enables them altogether the nature of the Scottish to dispense with grammatical exerUniversities; and instead of leaving citations, they are free to enter at them as heretofore essentially popu- once into the Senior Humanity, and lar institutions, would confine their second, or even third, Greek classes, benefits to a limited class of the in which the teaching becomes more community. The elevation or im- of a Professorial nature, and in which provement of certain schools is not, occasional prelections are given; and they maintain, any just or adequate this being the case, the difficulty reason for altering a practice which arising from the acknowledged dishas remained in full force through- parity of the previous attainments out Scotland ever since the Univer- of the students disappears, or at all sities were founded; and they dis- events is very materially lessened. tinctly and strongly object to the Certainly it would be a great, almost exclusion of any person who may an intolerable hardship, and very offer himself as a student, on the detrimental to the prosperity of a ground of his previous want of University, if well-educated pupils, attainment. They say that the coming from the Academy or High effect of such compulsory examina School, should find themselves so tion for entrance, would be to drive swamped by a horde of classical illiintending students away, to narrow terates, that they were compelled to the sphere of the usefulness of the remain idle until the others had University, and to deprive young worked themselves up to their stanmen, whose previous education, by dard ; but such is not the prescribed reason of their poverty, had been method now, nor was it so, many neglected, of the opportunity of years ago, when we entered as an rising to distinction.
alumnus of the Edinburgh UniverSuch are the main arguments on sity. Then, as it still is, the Chair either side ; and the reader will pro- of Humanity was occupied by Mr bably be of opinion that they are Pillans; and we do no more than a very nearly balanced. Such, certain- simple act of justice to that vener
VOL, LXXXIII.—NO, DVII,