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carry expenses which a parent or guardian intends that he shall indulge in with moderation. All this is so far from being peculiar to the habits of the student at Oxford, as such, that as long as he is resident, he is subject to restraints on his expendi ture, both from the university statutes and the surveillance of his particular hall or college, from which he is, of course, free elsewhere. The ordinary college account for the year, including university and college fees of all kinds, postage, boarding, lodging, washing, coals, and servants, oftener falls short of 801. or 907. than it exceeds 100l. The habits of the students are certainly more expensive than is convenient for all who might come, and who might afford to pay the necessary demands; but these habits do not arise out of the demands of the university or of the several colleges and halls.
ON THE ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES.
By the late Dr. A. H. NIEMEŸER*, Chancellor of the University of Halle. (From Niemeyer's Travels in England.)
WERE I asked the result of my opinions as to the comparative merits of the universities of England and Germany, after personal and local inquiries, I should be forced to acknowledge, that the longer I meditate upon the subject, the greater is the difficulty I feel in forming any accurate conclusions. The country itself, the national character, the future destiny and mode of life of the individuals who study in England, are so intimately blended with its systems of education, and present so dissimilar an aspect in the two countries, that an unconditional transfer of the schools or universities of either to a foreign soil, could never be recommended. I have also remarked, that among all classes in England, there is a considerable number of intelligent and scientific men who have never received a university education.
Those who are not blindly attached, as indeed too many of us are, to the pristine forms of German institutions, or are not so devoid of reflexion as to confound the jocund career of their academical years with the legitimate ends of scholastic life, will not fail, on an impartial review of the systems of Oxford and Cambridge, to acknowledge that they present, in many of their features, much that is estimable; nor will they be able to suppress a wish, that parts of them might be transplanted to our own schools. On the present occasion, I must, however, limit myself to a few brief observations.
*These observations of Dr. Niemeyer we think it better to give as they are, without comment, for the consideration of those concerned in English universities.
In the first place, I conceive it to be a great acquisition to the major part of those who have just quitted the schoolroom (some, indeed, at a very early period of life), that the prosecution of their studies under experienced persons is not suddenly checked, and that the acquisitions they have made in seminaries are not laid almost wholly upon the shelf by an instantaneous transition to the higher branches of science and learning. There is not one-third of our young academicians, and I challenge any one to show that I have not even underrated the numbers,-there is not one-third of them who dream of a continued study of the Literæ humaniores,' than which there are no means so eminently calculated to exercise and cultivate the mental faculty; nay, there are but too many who consider it beneath them to retain even the possession of their classical books. Most of them float with the popular stream, which carries them away to prelections, the very name of which is-frequently beyond their comprehension; and, in this way, a youth of shallow parts or uncultivated understanding finds himself listening to subjects which the wisest of his companions is scarcely competent to digest. There are no regulations made to prevent him from entering on his academical career when unqualified; and indeed the veriest dolt never finds the door closed upon him.
In the colleges of an English university, the course of instruction has immediate reference to, and connexion with, that which obtains in the English schools, and the youth, though raised in rank, finds himself pursuing his former occupations. His mind ripens in the same soil which nurtured its first expansion, instead of being transplanted into a hothouse, where, though it may shoot up rapidly, it will too often bear no other fruits but those of empty and profitless acquirements. None but individuals, who, like myself, have passed a long series of years in close connexion with high schools, and have had a continued experience of academical examinations, can feel such deep reason for deploring that so vast a multitude out of the thousands, whom we have seen pressing forwards to their Alma Mater, should have taken part in prelections from which it was morally impossible for their minds to derive any salutary nutriment whatever. How few of them will suffer themselves to be advised to devote their first year to classical learning, or the lighter preparatory studies in philosophy! And, even were they inclined to listen to such advice, how few of them are there whose time —and much more whose pecuniary resources-would allow them to follow it.
This topic reminds me of another advantage peculiar to the English universities. Whatever may be the inequalities of condition among their frequenters, the most scantily provided student, excepting, perhaps, the class of Servitors, is by no means so entirely destitute of pecuniary means as the great bulk of our German academicians. In England, the mere pauper will shrink from the idea of entering upon collegiate pursuits, or, if he do venture to follow them, he is so liberally supported by the aid of rich endowments, that he is elevated far above the chilling poverty which humbles so many of our academicians to the dust, and leaves them often destitute of the commonest necessaries of life. Though there may be instances in which these impediments and difficulties have been surmounted by strength of mind, extraordinary perseverance, an inextinguishable desire of knowledge, or consummate address and industry in profiting by every little advantage which has fallen across the aspirant's path, yet such instances of eminent individuals rising superior to the pressure of the deepest poverty, can only be regarded as exceptions to the general rule. On the contrary, if we contemplate those whose destination is to pursue an academical course under such circumstances, we shall discover that their poverty of spirit, their illiberality of sentiment, their coarseness of manners, their eagerness after some employment which may administer to their necessities, and their want of love or taste for science, are an inevitable consequence of the effect of abject poverty on the earlier years of education,—a poverty, which, in England, is deemed an insuperable bar to the dedication of a child to a learned life. I know that there are institutions, such as Christ's Hospital in London, where the poorer classes of boys, who possess eminent abilities, receive a scientific education. But such as these are so liberally provided for, that they cease to rank in the class of paupers from the moment they are elevated to a condition which enables them to look forward with certainty to the ease or affluence of laical or clerical appointments.
I remarked a third advantage inherent in the course pursued at the English universities during the first three or four years. It springs from that peculiar distribution of time by which many more hours are left for labour and composition in the privacy of the domestic study, than is the case with us. The English student is obliged to read, write, translate, and recollect much, independently of extraneous aids: hence, as he advances in years, he becomes familiar with the whole body and spirit of the ancient writers; which, in schools, are
seldom read or elucidated otherwise than by piecemeal. He is obliged to work himself (if we may use the expression) into an acquaintance also with the elements of history, mathematics, and philosophy. A variety of prizes for the best essays, discourses, and poems, serve also to keep alive a spirit of emulation; and he is under the necessity, moreover, of rendering an account of his labours. How seldom do such points as these receive attention under our system! Who is there that gives himself any concern about the individual industry of his pupils? Or how would such inquiries be practicable under the circumstances in which the German professor is placed? And how small is the number of those who frequent scholastic classes or repetitions! Amongst ourselves, the industrious are those who spend from five to seven hours a day in listening, and then writing down what they have heard, -too often, alas! under the pressure of disadvantages which are fatal to intellectual vigour or discernment. In this way, the impression made at one hour is obliterated by some totally different object presented in the next. to any investigation of the subject lectured upon, or any attempts at essays or original composition, which give wings to reflexion, and teach youth to express their thoughts with ease and precision,-these are points with which none but the select few concern themselves. It must be evident, that such a system must overload and surfeit the strongest intellect, on the same principle that an exuberant sowing makes one germ choke another, and effectually prevents the single shoots from taking deep root, or ripening to a healthy maturity.
Yet, on the other hand, the English student exchanges the indisputable advantage of an animating and alluring delivery on the teacher's part, for the privilege of forming his own judgment, and being left at the mercy of his doubts and apprehensions. Mightily, indeed, has the life and soul' of men, who have proved themselves masters in their peculiar department, transfused itself at all times into the breasts of their crowded auditories; and happily, indeed, has the breath of this spirit survived in after hours. The disciple has borne an indelible mark of the school in which he has been formed: for the master-mind is always the creator of a school. Is it necessary to point at such scholars as Wolf, Kant, Heyne, Morus, or Ernesti? But, in England, it is only at certain intervals that some eminent professor, such as a Lowth or a Blair, comes before the public with a series of profound and finely-wrought essays. This is the whole extent of his exertions; and with them terminates his short-lived course.
were well if many of our own classes went beyond the mere drawl and whine of reading and dictation!
There are many objects of lecturing altogether neglected in England. In this department the German university has decidedly the advantage; nor less so, in regard to scientific institutions, in which we greatly excel the English. It may, however, be questioned, whether our universities do not present a classification of the sciences, which is far too extensive to be comprehended in a bare three years' course, and whether a condensation of them would not be productive of more solid benefits? A universitas literarum must exult in the opportunity of teaching every branch of learning and science. I cannot help thinking, however, that many students, from being destitute of a helm's-man, grasp in an early stage at too much; and this excess, under the disguise of polymathy, degenerates into a diseased state of superficial attainments, the next step to which, after a certain point is reached, consists in total stagnation. It is, in every branch, a leading characteristic of English industry to keep one single object in view, and to prefer a state of partial ignorance to a scanty and imperfect acquaintance with a multitude of objects. It is possible that this may spring from an indifference towards the diffusion of general knowledge. It may also frequently engender narrow and partial views of things; but it must as often prove the source of depth and solidity of judgment.
I have observed, on a former occasion, that the Academical Discipline, peculiar to English universities, singularly contrasts with the spirit of indecision which forms so striking a feature in the German. With us, one hour is marked by illtimed harshness, and the next by pernicious moderation: if we are apt to display our awkwardness in carrying statutes into effect, we are equally apt to betray a want of skill in dealing with the waywardness of youth; we are tied down to a tedious course of judicial proceedings, where a summary process would spare the sacrifice of many a valuable hour, and act as the preventive of many a greater evil; our system undergoes yearly revision, which brings with it incessant change of views and principles; we are the creatures of an ignoble subserviency to prejudices, which have nothing but their antiquity to recommend them, whilst they are anathematized by the law and favoured by popular opinion; we too often court applause and favour by pusillanimous forbearance; but there is not one of those evils which press upon us with so heavy a hand as the absence of public spirit. These are the principal sources of a vexatious and constantly-recurring occurrence of scenes which are infinitely disgraceful to a seat