Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

spirit, may afford for the encourage- cusandus heres, qui reliquias testats. ment of learning and genius. In these ris non in mare secundum ipsius votimes, when England expects that luntatem abjecit : sed memoria huevery man in every station shall do his manae conditionis sepulturae tradiduty, the Oxford fellows must not dit.” The Oxford fellows, howbe allowed to slumber in their stalls, ever, ought not to be left to this or to consider their emoluments, whe- hard struggle between their conscither derived from private or from ences and their reason. The legisla. public munificence, as intended sole- ture and the courts of law have al. Îy for the ease and comfort of their ready interfered, and they ought to lives. Many of them are not enga- continue their superintending care ged in the instruction of youth ; until these foundations are reconciled but they have all important duties to the progress of reason, and the to discharge in the preservation and probable intentions of those pious advancement of piety and learning, men from whom they derive their and in the distribution of the wealth origin. entrusted to their hands; the per- When a young man enters any col. formance of which duties the public lege, whether as a dependent or inhave a right to enforce by such re- dependent member, he is immediately gulations as their founders, if now placed under one or more of the col. alive, would have been the first to lege tutors, whose private lectures in sanction and approve, but which the the classics, logic, and mathematics, weaknesses of men forbid us to ex- and sometimes

in other branches, hé pect from their own exertions, or the is obliged to attend generally about vigilance of their visitors. We re- two hours a day. The college tu. spect their reverence for the memory tors, in some instances, teach differof their benefactors and for the sa- ent branches to the same classes of cred nature of their oaths, and readily young men ; but the best arrangeadmit the danger of a general or un- ment seems to be that which allots guarded substitution of the spirit one department to each tutor, in for the letter of statutes originally in which he is to instruct different clastended for literal interpretation ; but These tutors are selected by where the conditions have become the head of the college from the deimpossible, or even manifestly absurd, pendent members above a certain they ought to be considered as no standing. The choice is, for obvious longer in existence ; nor will any ra- reasons, in general made with great tional person be forward strictly to judgement ; so that the persons who interpret against himself the condi- fill these offices are almost always the tions of a compact framed for his best fitted for them that their respecown advantage. “ Quidam," says tive colleges can supply: Their numthe more liberal spirit of the Romanber in each college is in proportion law, “ in suo testamento heredem' to the number of under-graduates ; scripsit sub tali conditione, si reli- and in the larger colleges, where quias ejus in mare abjiciat : Quaere- more are wanted, the field of selecbatur, cum heres institutus condi- tion widens with the demand. As it tioni non paruisset, an expellendus is an office of great labour and reest ab hereditate? Modestinus respon- sponsibility, and contributes more to dit : Laudandus est magis, quam ac- the reputation than emolument of those by whom it is discharged, it the practice of English and Latin soon becomes vacant, if by any acci- composition, which forms a branch dent it falls into improper hands; and of education in every college. It is it almost always happens, that those in some colleges usual to have the who understand their duty best, and best of these exercises read weekly, perform it with most credit to them- and in others at the end of each term, selves and advantage to their pupils, before the whole college, by the au. retain the office longest. If á an thors, as a mark of honour, and stiold college tutor, eminent as a man mulus to future exertion. Those of letters, is rarely to be met with,” who have a turn for verse are expectit is not because “ the church drains ed to give some specimen of their the colleges” of such persons; for abilities in that department. Abridgetheir promotion usually depends up- ments, too, of some books which on the fall of college livings, in which have been read during the term are they take their rotation with the required to be shewn at the college other foundation members ; and even examinations, which take place pre

ses.

, independent on promotion in the vious to each vacation. In some col. church, the office of college tutor is leges, when independent members of such a nature that few persons appear to have little or no knowcare to retain it for any long period ledge of Greek and Latin, as it is of time. Nor is this circumstance, not likely, a degree being out of the upon the whole, to be regretted ; question, that this deficiency will for whatever may be occasionally ever be effectually repaired, the falost in point of experience by its cir-vourite pursuits of the place are someculation, is more than compensated times, with a commendable liberaliin point of vigour and activity. ty, relinquished for the more useful

The great object of every student, study of Blackstone's Commentawho derives any benefit from the Ox- ries; and an attempt is made to fill ford system of education, is distinc- up the intervals of fox-hunting and tion in the examinations for the aca- less manly pleasures with the reflecdemical degrees. All the dependent tions which the pages of English and members, and those intended for holy Roman history may suggest even to orders, are obliged to be examined, the least thoughtful minds. and a large proportion of the inde. The first public or university bupendent members are examined from siness which engages the student's atchoice, or through the influence of tention, is an examination at two their friends. 'I'he principal busi- years standing in the classics, in loness of the college tutors accordingly gic, and the elements of Euclid. consists in lectures in the subjects of This responsio, as it is termed in the these public exercises, or rather, as statute, is well calculated to prepare the word lecture is a little ambigu- for the principal examination, which ous, in daily examining and instruct. takes place a year afterwards ; and to ing their pupils in such books and keep this great object of ambition branches of knowledge as may after in the constant view of the tutors wards insure their proficiency in the and their pupils. Eightcandidates are business of the schools. Beside this examined in a day by the three maspart of his duty, the tutor superin- ters of the schools, in presence of a iends the exertions of his pupils in numerous audience of young men, and must produce a certificate of of Aristotle. The accurate study their success before they can be ad- of these last, which is required in mitted to the next examination. this examination, where all the deThose who fail may make a second finitions and terms must be given in attempt the next term. They can- the original Greek, and the divinot be examined in less than one sions and distinctions, and the whole Greek and one Latin book, and some argument shewn to be distinctly apcompendium of logic, and few are prehended and remembered, is an content with so scanty an exhibition exercise of the mind from which the of their attainments.

student cannot fail to derive the most A year after this at soonest, and important benefit. The treatise on not later than two years, the princi- politics is occasionally added. The pal examination takes place. Four construction of at least three classiexaminers, appointed by the univer- cal authors follows; and those who sity, and sworn to the faithful dis. aim at distinction must present a concharge of their duty, publicly exa- siderable number of the highest class mine six candidates in a day. There in both languages. The mathematiare two periods in the year appoint- cal examination, at least of those who ed for holding these examinations ; have advanced any length in such stuand when all who present themselves dies, is chiefly carried on on paper by at each period have been examined, the solution of problems, while other the examiners proceed to distribute parts of the business proceed. In into three classes those with whose this manner also the candidate's attainments they are satisfied. The knowledge of Latin composition is first branch of examination is the tried. rudiments of religion ; which is ma- It is not intended that these exanaged by construing a passage in minations should exclude persons even the Greek Testament, and answering of moderate attainments from aca. such questions connected with it, as demical degrees, but rather operate may shew the candidate's knowledge as an excitement to emulation, and of Revelation. Questions follow in sa. afford an opportunity for honourable cred history, in the thirty-nine arti. distinction. Some are indeed altocles, and the evidences of our faith. gether rejected every year ; but the The next subject is logic, in which large proportion pass unnoticed in Aldrich's short treatise is generally the third and unpublished class. employed ; though certain excerpts There are two honourable classes from Aristotle's Organon are occa. published both in literature and in sionally offered for the approbation the mathematical sciences, (or rather of the patrons of this ancient disci- there may be said to be three in each, pline. "The next point, and perhaps as the second has been divided into the most laborious of all, is rhetoric two ;) and the same candidate may and moral philosophy, as far as they obtain the first place in both. The are to be derived from the ancient individuals of each class are arranged writers. The works of Cicero and in alphabetical order, as any attempt Quinctilian on these subjects are of- to appreciate the exact merit of each ten presented, but no distinction is of them would be altogether impracto be obtained without an intimate ticable. The proportion which the knowledge of the celebrated treatises numbers in these classes bear to those in the unpublished class is generally All the knowledge of this science about one-third.

that is now required, indispensable as It has been objected, that the ex. it still remains through repect to its aminers, who have to perform the past fame, does not occupy a large most arduous and important office in portion of time, and on all hands it the university, are not sufficiently must be admitted to be a curious, if recompensed for their exertions by not an useful, object of inquiry. One a pension of 801. a-year : but the remark shall only be made in passing, sense we entertain of the important that some of those authors who cons nature of their office, rather inclines tinue at this day to retail Bacon's us to think that the university have comparison of Aristotle's dominion acted wisely in restricting its emolu- over the minds of men to that of his ments to such a sum as will effectual- royal pupil over their bodies, seem ly prevent it from ever becoming an to have overlooked the change of object of desire in a pecuniary point manners and opinions since their of view, and thus degenerating into great master wrote ; and, in their vain a sinecure. Public spirit, and the triumph over the shadow of scholas. hopes of distinction, have hitherto tic logic, to have neglected the hocontributed to the effectual discharge pour which is due to the Greek phiof the highly responsible duties at. losopher in other departments of scitached to it; and there can be no ence. At Oxford, ihough the ethics reason to suppose that able succes- and rhetoric, politics and poetry, be sors will be wanting, who will have still valued in the schools, the logic. the advantage of profiting by the ex. no longer continues to pollute every perience of those who have

gone

be- source of knowledge as in the day's fore them, and the

prospect of

pro

of Bacon, and to infect with its balemotion and public honour as a stimu- ful influence, not only the philosophy lus to their labours.

of mind, but nature herself and the The only parts of the examination pure fountains of our faith. The with which the examiners may not study of the former treatises is indeed occasionally dispense, even in the encouraged, as well forthe intellectual lowest class of candidates, are the ru- riches they contain as for the valuable diments of religion, the classics, and habits which an attentive investigalogic : But no branch can be dispen- tion of their argument requires. But sed with in those who aim at an ho- those to whom they are known only nourable publication of their names. through the medium of an English

The university has been often re. paraphrase, (and of the best of then proached with their attachment to there is, perhaps, fortunately, no poAristotle, and especially to his sys- pular translation,) cannot easily contem of logic, which, though perhaps ceive the benefits which a youthful the greatest effort of his genius, is mind derives from the excellent disnow among the most useless of his cipline of acquiring a thorough labours. As we do not deny that knowledge of the original. Unri. the logic may be of some use in the valled accuracy, and precision of cultivation of the mind, barren as it language and of thought, singular is in works, and worse than useless in powers of discrimination and arrangethe discovery of truth, we would not ment, just principles of taste, pro. altogetherexclude it from the schools. found knowledge of the passions and

a

Caffections of the heart, extensive ex- replied, that if we look to the pulpit perience and patient observation of with any such unreasonable expectahuman nature in public and in pri- tion, we must look in vain. The vate life, are a few of the excellencies, duty of a preacher is to convey reli. which constitute these works into a gious instruction, and exhort to the code of instruction founded on the practice of morality; that of a moral fundamental principles of our nature. philosopher consists in explaining the We would enlarge on this subject, philosophy of the human mind, in inbut that we are not aware that our vestigating the faculties and princiviews of it have been questioned in ples of our nature, and tracing the geany respectable quarter. No one, neral laws of our constitution. Now certainly, who has made the origi- the fact is indisputable, that no nals his study, can doubt their im- means of instruction in the latter are portance in the formation of the ten- provided for the Oxford student, exder mind.

cept what the study of the ancient On one point, however, a difference writers affords; and that he quits the of opinion prevails even at Oxford, university with the same imperfect on the expediency of that part of the and erroneous notions in this most statute which excludes the modern important of all the sciences, as if he writers on moral philosophy from the had studied in the Academy or the schools. In favour of the exclusion Lyceum. Of the analysis of the fait has been argued,* “ That in a chris- culties purely intellectual, which has tian community ethics is much more been lately pursued with so much included within the province of reli- success, he is in almost total ignogion than of philosophy; that with. rance, and even his knowledge of out the sanction of religion the pu- our moral faculties, of the sources of rest system of ethics would be com. our desires and affections, and of the paratively lifeless and unfruitful; and first principles of moral obligation, is without ethical instruction religion it- miserably deficient. In short, he is self is vapid and even dangerous.” It left to go about with a small candle, is argued, “ That we should look to as Bacon somewhere expresses it, the pulpit for the fullest performance lighting up by turns every little corof this branch of education ; and that ner of the mind, instead of collecting it is a popular error to consider moral enlarged and general views of nature philosophy and metaphysics as incon- and of man. But it is unnecessary sistent with the nature of a sermon.' to enlarge on this subject so long as It is stated, “ that the Greek phi. it is not asserted that the names of losophy is always studied with a re- Bacon and his followers in intellectuserve in favour of christianity; and al philosophy have at any time dignithat, while popular modern works fied and profaned the pulpit of St will be read without much specific Mary's ; or that the University of encouragement, a foreign stimulus is Oxford supplies any advice, assistalmost always wanted to make an an- ance, or encouragement in any other cient treatise of any depth generally mode, public or private, in the depart. studied.”

ment of moral philosophy, excepting But, on the other hand, it may be only the examination already men

* See an able pamphlet, entitled, “A Reply to the Calumnies of the Edinburgh Review against Oxford.”

« ForrigeFortsett »