« PreviousContinue »
ated gentleman when we say that ever poor they be, without check and we owe to him a large debt of grati- without hindrance; and let the doors tude for having introduced us to of knowledge be shut in the face of new fields, and for having made us none who demand it, not as far better acquainted than we were eleemosynary boon, but on the same before with the beauty, spirit, and terms as are exacted from the richer extent of the Roman literature.
In classes of society. the Senior Humanity class he pre- In the course of the discussion lected upon authors whose works which has arisen on this important receive little consideration in the point, many rash statements have schools. He explained to us the been hazarded. These it is not our Fasti of Ovid, thereby opening the purpose to notice in detail ; but one richest mine of Latin antiquity and averment recently made by a gentletradition; and, by drawing our at- man who occupies a high position in tention to such writers as Lucretius, the educational profession, is of so Martial, and Claudian, he made us positive and startling a nature that aware of some of the changes of style we cannot pass it over. In a letter and manner which mark the litera addressed to the Lord Advocate on ture of Rome. Under Mr Pillans the subject of University Reform, Dr at least, we can testify, with the ut- Leonhard Schmitz, Rector of the High most confidence, that we felt no re- School of Edinburgh, while adverttardation, though we had the great ing generally to the burgh schools in advantage of preliminary discipline Scotland, expresses himself thus : under the care of the learned and “Most of these schools are already erudite Archdeacon Williams, then in a condition to bring their pupils Rector of the Edinburgh Academy, up to any reasonable standard that before we joined the University. If may be fixed for admission to a in other branches of education we University, while a few, such as the were not so fortunate, the blame Edinburgh High School and Acaprobably lay with us rather than demy, are actually in advance of with the Professors. But our own the Scottish Universities,” When this experience assures us that a vast passage first met our eye, we predeal of imaginary evil has been con- sumed Dr Schmitz's meaning to be jured up, and paraded against the that the pupils leaving the highpresent system, as if that system est classes in the High School and possessed no power of elasticity, and Academy were so far advanced that must necessarily contract instead of they could not derive any assistance enlarging its sphere.
in their future studies by joining the As for the argument that it is junior classes of Latin and Greek at beneath the dignity of a University any of the Scottish Universities. In to deal with rudimentary elements, that statement we were fully prewe dismiss that at once with the pared to concur; for both the semicontempt which it deserves. No naries referred to have been, and are, higher privilege is granted to man, most ably conducted by an excellent than the power of instruction, how- and learned staff of teachers, under ever humble or limited that in the superintendence of accomplished struction may be. The rich of this rectors; and they produce the average earth may learn, and have learned, crop of promising scholars, as well as the highest truths from the lips of a of inveterate dunces. But we prepeasant; and pride never assumes a sently stumbled upon another passage more revolting guise, than when, which shows that the previous remark boasting of its own intellectual was intended to convey a much more achievements, it looks down arro- extensive meaning. It is this: “The gantly on those below, and disdains Edinburgh High School and Acato reach out a finger to aid them in demy, which, as I have already their upward ascent. For the hon- remarked, rise above the Universities, our and reputation of our country, in many cases send their pupils to we say, let us maintain the Scottish foreign or English Universities, beUniversities as we found them, in- cause those of Scotland do not afford stitutions open to the aspiring, how- the means of continuing the studies
from the point at which they had he has been doing great injustice to arrived on leaving the school.” This himself. But admissions, or rather statement is so clear as to require no self-accusations, are dangerous things, explanation. In the opinion of Dr and, therefore, we are not surprised Schmitz, no Professor of Latin or to observe that Dr Schmitz should Greek in any of the Scottish Uni- have emphatically dwelt, towards the versities for the remark applies to conclusion of his letter, upon a very them all--advances his pupils to a sweeping, but really hyperbolical, higher point than is reached in the assertion once made by Professor senior classes of the Edinburgh Aca- Blackie, to the effect that the literary demy and High School ; of course, Professors in the Scottish Universiby the more intelligent and indus- ties lived by poaching on the schools. trious boys, for we presume that Dr This, as applied to the Faculty of Arts, Schmitz has no infallible receipt for was simply an extravagant trope, the entire abolition of boobies. which did not require a serious
If this be so, then assuredly it is answer, and which we are certain time that some active remedy should was not intended as a substantive be devised, for we cannot consent to charge, because four departments at strangle education at a certain point least, if not five, out of the seven for the sake of indiscriminate admis- comprehended in the ordinary currision. The Academy and High School culum, were clearly beyond the reach are institutions of which we have of the schools, and could not be guilty just reason to be proud, and cer- of an infringement of the literary tainly the Universities cannot afford game-law. Therefore, there were only to lose the best educated of the two departments directly arraigned youth of Scotland. They are the as poachers, for one of which the insalt which should season the others cautious Professor admitted that he
- the class which more than any must answer in person. And as he other is required to stimulate activity has confessed the crime, though we among the students. But are the do not believe in his real guilt, nofacts really such as Dr Schmitz thing can be more natural than that represents them to be? Strictly Dr Schmitz should move for judgspeaking, this is matter of opinion, ment accordingly. But when Dr and therefore the learned Rector Schmitz moves for general judgment cannot be offended if we venture to against the Classical Professors of doubt his accuracy. No doubt he Scotland, the case is very different. has some academical testimony to We must have something better than which he can refer in support of his his own assertion, that his very best statement, in so far at least as the pupils cannot be advanced by atUniversity of Edinburgh is con- tending the Senior Humanity class in cerned ; since Professor Blackie, the the University of Edinburgh, or the incumbent of the Greek Chair in Senior Humanity and Greek classes Etlinburgh, has, in his ardour for in any other of the Universities of the establishment of a staff of Uni- Scotland. It is not alleged that versity Tutors, sometimes employed classical education in the High a latitude of speech which is liable School and Academy is now carried to misconstruction. Smarting under to a higher point than was reached the annoyance of elementary teach- some five-and-twenty years ago, when ing, he has, we venture to think, Archdeacon Williams and Dr Carson exaggerated the difficulties of his were at the head of those distinposition, and he has unwittingly guished seminaries. Dr Schmitz, we depreciated his own acknowledged apprehend, will hardly venture to power, and suggested doubts as to make that assertion; and if he does the efficacy of his practice. Pro- not make and maintain it, then we fessor Blackie must not be angry must conclude either that the Uniwith us for dealing with him so versities of Scotland have, for the frankly. We do not hold the doc- last quarter of a century, been betrine of Cassius that, “ A friendly eye hind the schools in respect of classishould never see such faults," more cal teaching, or that, during the especially when we are satisfied that interval, the Professorial teaching
has degenerated. With regard to ties of Scotland. Here again we must the first conclusion, we have already enter into details in order to explain borne testimony, from personal ex- our views. perience, that the Senior Humanity By the existing regulations for the class in Edinburgh was, at the time curriculum of Arts in the University we allude to, decidedly in advance of Edinburgh, all candidates for deof the Academy; and, were it possible grees in Arts, and all divinity stuto cite the Bishop of London as a dents, must attend the Humanity and witness, we are thoroughly con- Greek classes for at least one session. vinced that he, who was dux of The Professors of Humanity and the Edinburgh Academy, would pro- Greek are bound to teach two classes, test against the idea that the teach- a junior and a senior; and as they give ing of Sir Daniel Sandford, then two hours each day throughout the Professor of Greek at Glasgow, did session to the junior classes, they are not afford him the means of con- actively engaged in teaching at least tinuing his studies from the point at three hours per diem; and beyond which he had arrived in the school. that, they have to correct the exercises In considering a matter of this kind, of perhaps two hundred students. however, we must not lose sight of This is, indeed, a severe amount of the fact that it is the system which academic labour, the mind being kept is on trial, not the merits of in- constantly on the strain ; and it is dividual Professors, difficult though not easy to conceive how a Professor, it be always to observe the distinc- after two hours' elementary teaching, tion. For a good system badly con- can address himself to lecture with ducted may not be so advantageous that amount of energy and freshness to the scholar as an indifferent sys- which are required in order to give tem, when the teacher is a man of interest to his subject. Besides this, extraordinary talent. Indeed, a good the classes are undeniably too large teacher, whatever be his system, is for efficient teaching by a single man. sure to attract, whereas a bad one is In a lecturing class a large attendance sure to repel. The alternative con- is no hindrance to the Professor ; but clusion which implies a degeneracy in a class which has to be taught, in in the Professorial teaching of the the more familiar sense of the term, classics throughout Scotland, cannot a large attendance is, beyond a cerbe discussed without violating the tain point, a very great hindrance rules of propriety; but this much we indeed, since every student is entitled may be allowed to say with respect to to a certain proportional share of the Glasgow, as the only other Univer- Professor's special attention. Allowsity besides that of Edinburgh which ing that fifty minutes in the hour are receives a sensible augmentation of occupied with the proper business students from the Academy and of the class, which has often conHigh School, that its reputation sisted of one hundred and fifty stunever stood higher than at the pre- dents, the proportion of time given sent moment, and that not even a to each student in the senior classes whisper of dissent has been heard will be one-third of a minute per against the general applause ac- day, or a whole minute every third corded to the teaching of Ramsay day, or seven minutes in the month, and of Lushington.
ess than forty minutes in the We therefore think, and we believe course of the academical session. that most men who are conversant That is clearly not enough for efficawith the subject will agree with us, cious teaching ; because it is notothat the very natural enthusiasm of rious that the bulk of the students Dr Schmitz in behalf of the schools will not give their undivided attenhas carried him too far. But, though tion to one of their number repeating that is our decided conviction, we a lesson, or foundering through some shall not by any means reject his grammatical difficulty; and though general testimony; especially because various expedients have been adopted we agree with him in thinking that as a remedy, none of them have as there is ample room for the extension yet proved successful. The monitoof classical teaching at the Universi- rial system was early introduced by
Professor Pillans, who, in a letter tated by plain common sense. The addressed to Sir E. B. Lytton, and mastery of a dead language is really noticed in his England and the Eng- of little value, except as a key to the lish, expresses himself satisfied with literature which made the language its application. But, with all respect of importance. No man, in our day, to the learned Professor, and speak- has occasion to write in Latin, much ing from our own recollection, we less in Greek. The literature of both apprehend that he has over-estimated nations is sealed, and the roll made its value. There is a good deal of up; and no further scholastic accomjealousy among students as to dele- plishment is required than the power gated authority. They will willingly of easy interpretation. After six or obey the Professor, who is their · seven years of grammatical drill and proper captain, but they recalcitrate exercise in the acquisition of the lanagainst the authority of subalterns, guage at the schools, it is positively who are chosen from the ranks. It is 'hurtful to the student to prolong the on that ground mainly that we are process. When he understands the favourable in certain cases to the ap- language, let him then apply himself pointment of Tutors, for, as regards to the literature ; and, beyond all them, no such jealousy can exist. question, the exposition of that litera
It was from the lectures delivered ture is the proper province of a Uniin the Senior Humanity class that versity Professor. "Language for the we derived the greater portion of the schools, literature for the Universities benefit which we have already ac- -such is the rule that we would inknowledged; and we wish that it culcate, and even enforce, had we to were possible to carry to still greater deal with new institutionsbut the length the system of lecturing in the institutions are not new ; and it is Senior classes. That, however, is a imperatively necessary that we should matter which must be left entirely to be cautious in making changes which the Professors, who most properly may seriously affect the privileges adapt their mode of teaching to the heretofore within the reach of the average capacity and attainments of commonalty of Scotland. the classes. We are aware that there To force students, who have alare objections to frequent lecturing, ready been exercised in the acquisibefore the students are thoroughly tion of the dead languages for five, conversant with the languages; but six, or seven years in the schools, to this, at least, we may be permitted attendance for another year on the to say, as an expression of our deli- Junior University classes, would be berate opinion, that when a young worse than purgatory; for purgatory man has acquired so much know- was, in theory at least
, a state of imledge of Greek and Latin that he provement, whereas this bondage jeocan compose verses, and translate pardises the loss of all that had been with fluency and correctness, it is previously gained. The Senior classes, mere pedantry to compel him longer therefore, are the proper receptaclé to work at the grindstone. His at- for them; and the only remaining tention should be thereafter directed question is, whether means should exclusively to the spirit, and not the not be provided for advancing them letter, of the classics. I am,” said still further in classical literature. Sir Walter Scott, no great idolater This is a point of real importance for of the learned languages, excepting the character of Scottish scholarship; for what they contain. We spend in indeed, we consider it to be the most youth that time in admiring the important point of all
. For, as we do wards of the key which we should not retain our students after they beemploy in opening the cabinet, and
come graduates in connection with examining its treasures.” That sen- the Universities, and as we have not timent we apprehend to be a general substantial awards such as Fellowone, though it is not generally ex- ships to offer them as an inducement pressed, owing to a certain degree of to push their classical studies further, cowardice which haunts us whenever we are the more bound to take care classical subjects are brought under that, so long as they do tarry at the discussion. Nevertheless, it is dic- University, they shall have the means
of acquiring a full knowledge not to with too much indulgence, that it only of the languages, but of the lite- would be a great hardship to force rature of Greece and Rome. We be- young men intended for the ministry, lieve that the present arrangements to study Greek and Latin for two are sufficient as regards the languages, separate sessions. In that sense all and that every diligent student who teaching is a hardship; but hardship leaves the Senior classes, carries or no, it is incumbent upon the away as much knowledge as would Church to provide that its ministers enable him to pass a creditable exa- shall be sufficiently educated for their mination. But it does not therefore calling, and it is incumbent upon the follow that they are acquainted with Universities to see that all graduates the literature, and although we shall have attended a proper course. know full well that a thorough know- But, in reality, there is no hardship. ledge of such literature cannot be We require nothing more from a acquired without long study and young man when he joins the Unimuch private reading, still a great versity, than such a knowledge of deal may be accomplished by way of the Greek and Latin languages as direction and exposition within the may enable him to join the Senior walls of the University. We shall classes; and if he is so qualified, the revert to this immediately.
attendance of a session will suffice. A large portion of the students, If he has not such an amount of however, do not join the Senior knowledge, we are ready to give it classes at once, but enrol themselves him in the Junior classes; but he for elementary instruction in the must, in that case, submit to instrucJunior classes. Having passed through tion for a second session. these, the presumption is that they We entertain no extravagant nohave gained the point of knowledge tions as to the advantages of classiat which the better-educated students cal attainments; but we think it stood when they entered the Senior necessary that all who offer themclasses. But is it to be presumed selves as candidates for degrees, or that they are then so far advanced who aspire to the office of the minisin classics as to enable them to go try, should have a thorough knowforward for a degree, or to enter ledge of the learned languages; and Divinity Hall? We apprehend not. it is with that view that we recomIt seems to us absolutely indispen- mend an alteration in the currisable that clergymen--and most of culum. But, beyond this, we are the graduates intend to be clergymen conscious that there is still a serious --should have a better knowledge of want in our Universities. No chair the classical languages than they can exists for the purpose of giving a possibly acquire by attendance for a broad, comprehensive, and distinct single session in the Junior classes. view of the state of the literature The fact that they select, or are sent of Greece and Rome, at different to, the lower classes, is a clear proof epochs, or of marking the many of the imperfect nature of their pre- changes, both in spirit and in form, vious training; and though industry which are so deeply interesting to the may do much, it cannot work such a scholar, and which should be treated miracle as the transmutation of an in connection with the social condiignorant lad into an apt classical tion of the states. Nothing of this scholar within a period of six months. kind has been as yet attempted; for,
For these reasons, we are strongly although in the Senior classes there of opinion that the arrangements for are occasional prelections upon parthe curriculum should be so far alter- ticular authors, yet the staple of the ed, as to make attendance on the study is undoubtedly of a philological Senior classes compulsory on those kind, and the Professor, for the most who enter as Juniors; in other words, part, is expected to proceed that they should attend the Huma
" In the scholar's regal way nity and Greek classes for two years Of giving judgment on the parts of speech, instead of one. Here, no doubt, we As if he sate on all twelve thrones up-piled, shall be encountered by the cry, Arraigning Israel.” which heretofore has been listened The supply of that want would