Imágenes de páginas


literature and occasional lectures and a university which had no professors or scientific institutions diffuse through the examinations at all, but merely brought a community, I think it a graceful accom- number of young men together for three plishment, and a suitable, nay, in this day or four years, and then sent them away a necessary accomplishment, in the case as the University of Oxford is said to of educated men. Nor, lastly, am I dis- have done some sixty years since, if I paraging or discouraging the thorough were asked which of these two methods acquisition of any one of these studies, or was the better discipline of the intellect, denying that, as far as it goes, such - mind, I do not say which is morally thorough acquisition is a real education 10 the better, for it is plain that compulsory of the mind. All I say is, call things by study must be a good and idleness an their right names, and do not confuse to- intolerable mischief,- but if I must degether ideas which are essentially differ- mine which of the two courses was the ent. A thorough thorough knowledge of one more successful in training, molding, enscience and a superficial acquaintance 15 larging the mind, which sent out men the with many, are not the same thing; a more fitted for their secular duties, which smattering of a hundred things or a produced better public men, men of the memory for detail, is not a philosophical world, men whose names would descend or comprehensive view. Recreations are to posterity, I have no hesitation in givnot education; accomplishments are not 20 ing the preference to that university education. Do not say, the people must which did nothing, over that which exbe educated, when, after all, you only acted of its members an acquaintance mean, amused, refreshed, soothed, put with every science under the sun. And, into good spirits and good humor, or paradox as this may seem, still if results kept from vicious excesses. I do not say 25 be the test of systems, the influence of that such amusements, such occupations the public schools and colleges of Engof mind, are not a great gain; but they land, in the course of the last century, are not education. You may as well call at least will bear out one side of the condrawing and fencing education as a gen- trast as I have drawn it. What would eral knowledge of botany or conchology. 30 come, on the other hand, of the ideal Stuffing birds or playing stringed instru- systems of education which have fasments is an elegant pastime, and a re- cinated the imagination of this age, could source to the idle, but it is not education; they ever take effect, and whether they it does not form or cultivate the intellect. would not produce a generation frivoEducation is a high word; it is the prep- 35 lous, narrow-minded, and resourceless, aration for knowledge, and it is the im- intellectually considered, is a fair subject parting of knowledge in proportion to that for debate; but so far is certain, that the preparation. We require intellectual eyes universities and scholastic establishments, to know withal, as bodily eyes for sight. to which I refer, and which did little We need both objects and organs intel- 40 more than bring together first boys and lectual; we cannot gain them without then youths in large numbers, these insetting about it; we cannot gain them in stitutions, with miserable deformities on our sleep, or by haphazard. The best the side of morals, with a hollow protelescope does not dispense with eyes; the fession of Christianity, and a heathen printing press or the lecture room will 45 code of ethics, I say, at least they can assist us greatly, but we must be true to boast of a succession of heroes and statesourselves, we must be parties in the work. men, of literary men and philosophers, A university is, according to the usual of men conspicuous for great natural designation, an alma mater, knowing her virtues, for habits of business, for knowchildren one by one, not a foundry, or a so ledge of life, for practical judgment, for mint, or a treadmill. cultivated tastes, for accomplishments, who have made England what it is,able to subdue the earth, able to domineer over Catholics.

I protest to you, gentlemen, that if I had to choose between a so-called university, which dispensed with residence and tutorial superintendence, and gave its 55 degrees to any person who passed an examination in a wide range of subjects, and

How is this to be explained? I suppose as follows: When a multitude of young men, keen, open-hearted, sympa

thetic, and observant, as young men are, come together and freely mix with each other, they are sure to learn one from another, even if there be no one to teach them; the conversation of all is a series of lectures to each, and they gain for themselves new ideas and views, fresh matter of thought, and distinct principles for judging and acting, day by day.

is submitted to it, becomes a twofold source of strength to him, both from the distinct stamp it impresses on his mind, and from the bond of union which 5 it creates between him and others,effects which are shared by the authorities of the place, for they themselves have been educated in it, and at all times are exposed to the influence of its ethical at

An infant has to learn the meaning of 10 mosphere. Here then is a real teaching, the information which its senses convey to it, and this seems to be its employment. It fancies all that the eye presents to it to be close to it, till it

whatever be its standards and principles, true or false; and it at least tends towards cultivation of the intellect; it at least recognizes that knowledge is something

scraps and details; it is a something, and it does a something, which never will issue from the most strenuous efforts of a set of teachers, with no mutual sympathies and no intercommunion, of a set of examiners with no opinions which they dare profess, and with no common principles, who are teaching or questioning a set of youths who do not know them, and do not know each other, on a large number of subjects, different in kind, and connected by no wide philosophy, three times a week, or three times a year, or once in three years, in chill lecture-rooms or on a pompous anniversary.

actually learns the contrary, and thus by 15 more than a sort of passive reception of practice does it ascertain the relations and uses of those first elements of knowledge which are necessary for its animal existence. A parallel teaching is necessary for our social being, and it is secured 20 by a large school or a college; and this effect may be fairly called in its own department an enlargement of mind. It is seeing the world on a small field with little trouble; for the pupils or students 25 come from very different places, and with widely different notions, and there is much to generalize, much to adjust, much to eliminate, there are inter-relations to be defined, and conventional rules to be 30 established, in the process, by which the whole assemblage is molded together, and gains one tone and one character.

Nay, self-education in any shape, in the most restricted sense, is preferable to a system of teaching which, professing so much, really does so little for the mind. Shut your college gates against the votary of knowledge, throw him back upon the searchings and the efforts of his own mind; he will gain by being spared an entrance into your babel. Few indeed there are who can dispense with the stimulus and support of instructors, or will do anything at all, if left to themselves. And fewer still (though such great minds are to be found), who will

Let it be clearly understood, I repeat it, that I am not taking into account 35 moral or religious considerations; I am but saying that that youthful community will constitute a whole, it will embody a specific idea, it will represent a doctrine, it will administer a code of conduct, and 4° it will furnish principles of thought and action. It will give birth to a living teaching, which in course of time will take the shape of a self-perpetuating tradition, or a genius loci, as it is some- 45 not, from such unassisted attempts, contimes called; which haunts the home where it has been born, and which imbues and forms more or less, and one by one, every individual who is successively brought under its shadow. Thus it is that, independent of direct instruction on the part of superiors, there is a sort of self-education in the academic institutions of protestant England; a characteristic tone of thought, a recognized 55 standard of judgment is found in them, which as developed in the individual who

tract a self-reliance and a self-esteem, which are not only moral evils, but serious hindrances to the attainment of truth. And next to none, perhaps, or 50 none, who will not be reminded from time to time of the disadvantage under which they lie, by their imperfect grounding, by the breaks, deficiencies, and irregularities of their knowledge, by the eccentricity of opinion and the confusion of principle which they exhibit. They will be too often ignorant of what every one


[ocr errors]

knows and takes for granted, of that multitude of small truths which fall upon the mind like dust, impalpable and ever accumulating; they may be unable to converse, they may argue perversely, they may pride themselves on their worst paradoxes or their grossest truisms, they may be full of their own mode of viewing things, unwilling to be put out of their way, slow to enter into the minds 10 of others; but, with these and whatever other liabilities upon their heads, they are likely to have more thought, more mind, more philosophy, more true enlargement, than those earnest but ill- 15 used persons, who are forced to load their minds with a score of subjects against an examination, who have too much on their hands to indulge themselves in thinking or investigation, who devour 20 premise and conclusion together with indiscriminate greediness, who hold whole sciences on faith, and commit demonstrations to memory, and who too often, as might be expected, when their period of education is passed, throw up all they have learned in disgust, having gained nothing really by their anxious labors, except perhaps the habit of application. Yet such is the better specimen of the 30 fruit of that ambitious system which has of late years been making way among us: for its result on ordinary minds, and on the common run of students, is less satisfactory still; they leave their place of education simply dissipated and relaxed by the multiplicity of subjects, which they have never really mastered, and so shallow as not even to know their shallowness. How much better, I say, 4° is it for the active and thoughtful intellect, where such is to be found, to eschew the college and the university altogether, than to submitt to a drudgery



How much more profitable for the independent mind, after the mere rudiments of education, to range through a library at random, taking down books as 5 they meet him, and pursuing the trains of thought which his mother wit suggests! How much healthier to


der into the fields, and there with the exiled prince to find tongues in the trees, books in the running brooks!' How much more genuine an education is that of the poor boy in the poem a poem, whether in conception or in execution, one of the most touching in our language—who, not in the wide world, but ranging day by day around his widowed mother's home, a dexterous gleaner' in a narrow field and with only such slender outfit

As the village school and books a few Supplied,

contrived from the beach, and the quay, and the fisher's boat, and the inn's fire

side, and the tradesman's shop, and the shepherd's walk, and the smuggler's hut, and the mossy moor, and the screaming gulls, and the restless waves, to fashion for himself a philosophy and a poetry of his own!

But in a large subject, I am exceeding my necessary limits. Gentlemen, I must conclude abruptly; and postpone any summing up of my argument, should that be necessary, to another day.



1 Crabbe's Tales of the Hall. This poem, let me say, I read on its first publication, above thirty years ago, with extreme delight, and have never lost my love of it; and on taking it up lately, found I was even more touched by it than heretofore. work which can please in youth and age, seems to fulfil (in logical language) the accidental definition of a classic. (A further course of twenty years has past, and I bear the same witness in favor of

so ignoble, a mockery so contumelious! 45 this poem.)

THOMAS CARLYLE (1795-1881)

Early struggles and privations, followed by acute dyspepsia, embittered Carlyle's temper. The son of a Scottish stone-mason, he walked eighty miles from his native village of Eccle fechan to Edinburgh to study at the university and prepare himself for the ministry. The latter purpose was soon abandoned on account of unsettled religious convictions; after graduating he earned a scanty living by teaching and tried in vain to obtain various professorships. Having married Jane Baillie Welsh, a woman of brilliant wit and some property, he retired with her to the manor house of Craigenputtock, where for six years he studied German literature and philosophy and wrote essays for the reviews, among them his first great work, Sartor Resartus. Under the disguise of a translation from the papers of a German professor, it is an imaginative account of his own school and college experiences, his falling in love with Margaret Gordon of Prince Edward Island, who returned to that colony as wile of the governor, his spiritual and intellectual struggles, and his philosophy of life. It had just been published in Fraser's Magazine, when, in 1834, the Carlyles determined to risk their little all, and leave Craigenputtock for London. Carlyle chose a house in Cheyne Row, Chelsea, and kept it for the rest of his life. The peculiar style of Sartor did not commend it to the public. Fraser wrote that it excited universal disapprobation,' and several sube} scribers to the magazine refused to take it any longer. Carlyle was more fortunate in his next subject, The French Revolution,' suggested by John Stuart Mill. When the manuscript of the first volume was finished, Carlyle lent it to Mill to read: Mill lent it' in turn to a friend, whose housemaid found it on the table one morning and lit the fire with it. Carlyle was in despair at the loss of so much labor; he felt incapable of doing the work over again, and spent three months in reading Marryat's novels before he could bend his energies to the unwelcome task. The book was completed in 1837, and at once won the favor of both critics and public. He was also successful about this time as a lecturer, and his wife said that the public had evidently made up its mind that Carlyle was worth keeping alive at a moderate rate.' One of the courses he gave, that 'On Heroes. Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History,' when published in 1841 became one of his mos popular works; it contains in the shortest and simplest form Carlyle's favorite doctrine that the history of the world is at bottom the history of its great men. After setting fort his ideas on social and political questions in Chartism and Past and Present, he returned. to the study of history, and his Life and Letters of Oliver Cromwell made a remarkabl change in the current estimate of the great Protector. The labor of a dozen years is contained in his last historical work, Frederick the Great (published 1858-65). The year after this was completed, Mrs. Carlyle died suddenly in her carriage from the shock caused by an accident to her pet dog, which was run over when she was driving one afternoon in Hyde Park. Carlyle in heartbroken remorse determined to tell the public not only his wife's virtues but his own unkindness to her. The publication after his death of the record of their unhappy married life injured his reputation, and led to a controversy which has not yet ended, the discretion and even the good faith of J. A. Froude, who edited the papers, being attacked by Carlyle's admirers.





One thing I do know: Never, on this Earth, was the relation of man to man

faire, Competition and Supply-and-demand, start up as the exponent of human relations, expect that it will soon end.

Such philosophies will arise: for man's 5 philosophies are usually the supplement of his practice;' some ornamental Logic-varnish, some outer skin of Articulate intelligence, with which he strives to render his dumb Instinctive

long carried on by Cash-payment alone. 10 Doings presentable when they are done. Such philosophies will arise; be preached

If, at any time, a philosophy of Laissez

as Mammon-Gospels, the ultimate Evan-
gel of the World; be believed with what
is called belief, with much superficial
bluster, and a kind of shallow satisfac-
tion real in its way; - but they are omi-
nous gospels! They are the sure and even
swift, forerunner of great changes. Ex-
pect that the old System of Society is
done, is dying and fallen into dotage,
when it begins to rave in that fashion. 10
Most Systems that I have watched the
death of, for the last three thousand
years, have gone just so. The Ideal, the
True and Noble that was in them having
faded out, and nothing now remaining 15
but naked Egoism, vulturous Greediness,
they cannot live; they are bound and in-
exorably ordained by the oldest Destinies,
Mothers of the Universe, to die. Cu-
rious enough; they thereupon, as I have 20
pretty generally noticed, devised some
light comfortable kind of 'wine-and-
walnuts philosophy' for themselves, this
of Supply-and-demand or another; and
keep saying, during hours of mastication 25
and rumination, which they call hours
of meditation: Soul, take thy ease; it
is all well that thou art a vulture-soul;'
-and pangs of dissolution come upon
them, oftenest before they are aware!


son droning to you, glance into your New Testament, and the cash-account stated four times over, by a kind of quadruple entry,- in the Four Gospels there? 5 I consider that a cash-account, and balance-statement of work done and wages paid, worth attending to. Precisely such, though on a smaller scale, go on at all moments under this Sun; and the statement and balance of them in the Plugson Ledgers and on the Tablets of Heaven's Chancery are discrepant exceedingly; - which ought really to teach, and to have long since taught, an indomitable common-sense Plugson of Undershot, much more an unattackable uncommon-sense Grace of Rackrent, a thing or two! In brief, we shall have to dismiss the Cash-Gospel rigorously into its own place: we shall have to know, on the threshold, that either there is some infinitely deeper Gospel, subsidiary, explanatory and daily and hourly corrective, to the Cash one; or else that the Cash one itself and all others are fast traveling!

[ocr errors]

For all human things do require to have an Ideal in them; to have some 30 Soul in them, as we said, were it only to keep the Body unputrefied. And wonderful it is to see how the Ideal or Soul, place it in what ugliest Body you may, will irradiate said Body with its own nobleness; will gradually, incessantly, mold, modify, new-form or reform said ugliest Body, and make it at last beautiful, and to a certain degree divine! - Oh, if you could dethrone that Brute-god Mammon, and put a Spirit-god in his place! One way or other, he must and will have to be dethroned.


Cash-payment never was, or could except for a few years be, the union-bond of man to man. Cash never yet paid one man fully his deserts to another; nor could it, nor can it, now or henceforth 35 to the end of the world. I invite his Grace of Castle-Rackrent to reflect on this; - does he think that a Land Aristocracy when it becomes a Land Auctioneership can have long to live? Or that Sliding-scales will increase the vital stamina of it? The indomitable Plugson too, of the respected Firm of Plugson, Hunks and Company, in St. Dolly Undershot, is invited to reflect on this; 45 for to him also it will be new, perhaps even newer. Bookkeeping by double entry is admirable, and records several things in an exact manner. But the Mother-Destinies also keep their Tablets; 50 in Heaven's Chancery also there goes on a recording; and things, as my Moslem. friends say, are written on the iron leaf.'

Your Grace and Plugson, it is like, go 55 to Church occasionally: did you never in vacant moments, with perhaps a dull par

Fighting, for example, as I often say to myself, Fighting with steel murdertools is surely a much uglier operation than Working, take it how you will. Yet even of Fighting, in religious Abbot Samson's days, see what a Feudalism there had grown, a 'glorious Chivalry,' much besung down to the present day. Was not that one of the impossiblest' things? Under the sky is no uglier spectacle than two men with clenched teeth, and hell-fire eyes, hacking one another's flesh, converting precious living bodies, and priceless liv

« AnteriorContinuar »