Imatges de pàgina

-his first speech was in support of a bill to repeal the civil disabilities of the Jews. He defended the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, and when a member for the city of Edinburgh, in 1846, supported a grant to Maynouth College and other measures, calculated to correct abuses in the government of Ireland, and remove just discontent from that portion of the Empire. For this magnanimous policy he was ousted of his seat in 1847, but was returned without any personal effort on his part by the same constituency in 1852. In the Melbourne Ministry he was made Secretary for the Board of Control for India, and in 1738 he went out to India as a member of the Supreme Council. Here his chief labor was in the preparation of a new penal code, and a system of public instruction. To his study on the spot of British rule in India we owe his masterly essays on Clive and Warren Hastings.

In 1840 he was appointed War Secretary, and it would seem as if under its inspiration, he appeared in 1842 as the author of those martial ballads, the Lays of Ancient Rome. In 1846 he was made Paymaster-General. In 1848 appeared the first two volumes of his History of England from the accession of James II., in which he produced not merely the lives of kings, statesmen, and generals, but the development of arts and sciences and the progress of the people in every rank, in domestic comforts and good government. In 1849 he was chosen Lord-Rector of the University of Glasgow; and in 1855, the third and fourth volume of his History appeared with a rush for copies on the publishers and circulating libraries, such as only a popular novel usually exhibits.' In 1857 he was elected a foreign associate of the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences; and in the same year he was made Baron Macaulay of Rothley, and in Dec. 28, 1859, he died. His remains were buried in Westminster Abbey. His works, which are his best monument, have been published in a uniform edition, by Lady Trevelyan.

From first to last he was the advocate of a broad and liberal system of public instruction—from the elementary school for the entire mass of the people to universities for the highest science and literature, as well as for the greatest practical utilities, in every section of the Empire ; and he was one of the first to recognize the special value of different studies in mental culture, and helped, by his report on the mode of appointment to office in India by competitive examination, to inaugurate a civil service based on educational qualifications.

ACADEMICAL EDUCATION IN ENGLAND 1826. * That there are defects-great and radical defects in the constitution and studies of the two Universities we are strongly inclined to believe. What those defects are we shall attempt to state with frankness and candor. We would earnestly entreat the admirers of the two Universities to reflect on the importance of this subject, the advantages of calm investigation, and the folly of trusting, in an age like the present, to mere dogmatism and invective. If the system which they love and venerate rest upon just principles, the examination which we propose to institute, into the state of its foundations, can only serve to prove their solidity. If they be unsound, we will not permit ourselves to think, that intelligent and honorable men can wish to disguise a fact which, for the sake of this country, and of the whole human race, ought to be widely known. Let them, in tead of reiterating assertions which leave the question exactly where they found it; in: tead of turning away from all argument, as if the subject were one on which doubt partook of the nature of sin; instead of attributing to selfishness or malevolence, that which may at worst be harmless crror, join us in coolly studying so interesting and momentous a point. As to this, however, they will please themselves. We speak to the English people. The public mind, if we are not deceived, is approaching to manhood. It has outgrown its swaddlingbands, and thrown away its play-things. It can no longer be amused by a rattle, or laid aslecp by a song, or awed by a fairy tale. At such a time, we cannot doubt that we shall obtain an impartial hearing.

Objections to Oxford and Cambridge. Our objections to Oxford and Cambridge may be summed up in two words, their wealth and their privileges. Their prosperity does not depend on the public approbation. It would therefore be strange if they deserved the public approbation. Their revenues are immense. Their degrees are, in some professions, indispensable. Like manufacturers who enjoy a monopoly, they work at such an advantage that they can venture to work ill.

Every person, we presume, will acknowledge that to establish an academic system on immutable principles, would be the height of absurdity. Every year sces the empire of science enlarged by the acquisition of some new province, or improved by the construction of some casier road. Surely the change which takes place in the state of knowledge, ought to be accompanied by a corresponding change in the method of instruction. In many cases the rudc and imperfect works of early speculators ought to give place to the more complete and luminous performances of tho e who succeed them. Even the comparative value of languages is subject to great fluctuations. The same tongue which at one period may be richer that any other in valuable works, may, some centuries after, be poorer than any. That, while such revolutions take place, education ought to remain unchanged, is a proposition too absurd to be maintained for a moment.

If it be desirable that education should, by a gradual and constant change, adapt itself to the circumstances of every generation, how is this object to be secured? We answer-only by perfect freedom of competition. Under euch a system, every possible exigence would be met. Whatever language, whatever art, whatever science, it might at any time be useful to know, that men would surely learn, and would as surely find instructors to teach. The professor who should persist in devoting his attention to branches of knowledge which had become useless, would soon be deserted by his pupils. There would be as much of every sort of information as would afford profit and pleasure to the possessor- and no more.

• Elinburgh Review: February, 1826. The London University.

But the riches and the franchises of our Universities prevent this salutary rivalry from taking place. In its stead is introduced an unnatural system of premiums, prohibitions, and apprenticeships. Enormous bounties are layished on particular acquirements; and, in consequence, there is among our youth a glut of Greek, Latin, and Mathematies, and a lamentable scarcity of everything else.

University Studies too Few and not of the Right Kind. We are by no means inclined to depreciate the studies which are encouraged at Oxford and Cambridge. We should reprobate with the same severity a system under which a like exclusive protection should be extended to French or Spaoishi, Chemistry or Mineralogy, Metaphysics or Political Economy. Some of these branches of knowledge are very important. But they may not always be equally important. Five hundred years hence, the Burmese language may contain the most valuable books in the world. Sciences, for which there is now no name, and of which the first rudiments are still undiscovered, may then be in the greatest demand. Our objection is to the principle. We abhor intellectual perpetuities. A chartered and endowed College, strong in its wealth and in its degrees, does not find it necessary to teach what is useful, because it can pay men to learn what is useless. Every fashion which was in vogue at the time of its foundation, enters into its constitution and partakes of its immortality. Its abuses savor of the reality, and its prejudices vest in mortmain, with its lands. In the present instance, the consequences are notorious. We every day see clever men of four and five-and-twenty, loaded with academical honors and rewards,scholarships, fellowships, whole cabinets of medals, whole shelves of prize books,-enter into life with their education still to begin, unacquainted with the history, the literature, we might almost say, the language of their country, unacquainted with the first principles of the laws under which they live, unacquainted with the very rudiments of moral and political science! Who will deny that this is the state of things? Or who will venture to defend it?

This is no new complaint. Long before society had so far outstripped the Colleges in the career of improvement as it has since done, the evil was noticed and traced to its true cause, by that great philosopher who most accurately mapped all the regions of science, and furnished the human intellect with its most complete Itinerary. “It is not to be forgotten," says Lord Bacon, “that the dedicating of foundations and donations to professory learning, hath not only had a malign influence upon the growth of sciences, but hath also been prejudicial to states and governments: For hence it proceedeth, that princes find a solitude in respect of able men to serve them in causes of state, because there is no education collegiate which is FREE, where such as were so disposed might give themselves to hi tories, modern languages, books of policy and civil discourse, and other like enablements unto causes of state.” The warmest admirers of the present system will hardly deny that, if this was an evil in the sixteenth century, it must be a much greater evil in the nineteenth. The literature of Greece and Rome is now what it was then. That of every modern language has received considerable accessions. And surely, "books of policy and civil discourse are as important to an English gentleman of the present day, as they could be to a zubject of James the First.

We repeat that we are not disparaging either the dead languages or the exact sciences. We only say that, if they are useful, they will not need peculiar encouragement, and that, if they are useless, they ought not to receive it. Those who maintain that the present system is necessary to promote the study of classical and mathematical knowledge, are the persons who really depreciate those pursuits. They do in fact declare, by implication, that neither amusement nor profit is to be derived from them, and that no man has any motive to employ his time upon them, unless he expects that they may help him to a fellowship.

Utility of Mathematics. The utility of mathematical knowledge is felt in every part of the system of life, and acknowledged by every rational man But does it therefore follow that people ought to be paid to acquire it? A scarcity of persons capable of making almanacs and measuring land, is as little to te apprehended as a scarcity of blacksmiths. In fact, very few of our academical mathematicians turn their knowledge to such practical purposes. There are many wranglers who have never touched a quadrant. What peculiar title then has the mere speculative knowledge of mathematical truth to such costly remuneration ? The answer is well known. It makes men good reasoners: it habituates them to strict accuracy in drawing inferences. In this statement there is unquestionably some truth A man who undertands the nature of mathematical reasoning, the closest of all kinds of reasoning, is likely to reason better than another on points not mathematical, as a man who can dance generally walks better than a man who cannot But no people walk so ill as dancing-masters, and no people reason so ill as mere mathematicians They are accustomed to look only for one species of evidence; a species of evidence of wh'ch the transactions of life do not admit. When they come from certainties to probabilities, from a syllogism to a witness, their superiority is at an end. They resemble a man who, never having seen any object which was not either black or white, should be required to discriminate between two near shades of gray. Hence, on questions of religion, policy, or common life, we perpetually see these boasted demonstrators either extravagantly credulous, or extravagantly sceptical. That the science is a necessary ingredient in a liberal education, we admit. But it is only an ingredient, and an ingredient which is pecularly dangerous, unless diluted by a large admixture of others. To encourage it by such rewards as are bestowed at Cambridge, is to make the occasional tonic of the mind its morning and evening nutriment.

Classical Literature, The partisans of clas: ical literature are both more numerous and more enthusiastic than the mathematicians; and the ignorant violence with which their cause has sometimes been assailed, has added to its popularity. On this subject we are sure that we are at least impartial judges. We fcel the warmest admiration for the great remains of antiquity. We gratefully acknowledge the benefits which mankind has owed to them. But we wouid no more suffer a pernicious system to be protected by the reverence which is due to them, than we would show our reverence for a saint by erecting his shrine into a sanctuary for criminals.

An eloquent scholar has said that ancient literature was the ark in which all the civilization of the world was preserved during the deluge of barbarism. We confess it. But we do not read that Noah thought himself bound to live in the ark after the deluge had subsided. When our ancestors first began to con ider the study of the classics as the principal part of education, little or nothing worth reading was to be found in any modern language. Circumstances have confessedly changed. Is it not possible that a change of system may be desirable ?

Latin Language and Literature. Our opinion of the Latin tongue will, we fear, be considered heretical. We cannot but think that its vocabulary is miserably poor, and its mechanism deficient both in power and precision. The want of a definite article, and of a distinction between the preterite and the aorist ten es, are two defects which are alone sufficient to place it below any other language with which we are acquainted. In its most flourishing era it was reproached with poverty of expression. Cicero, indeed, was induced by his patriotic feelings to deny the charge. But the perpetual recurrence of Greek words in his most hurried and fatni.iar letters, and the frequent use which he is compelled to make of them, in spite of all his exertions to avoid them, in his philosophical works, fully prove that even this great master of the Latin tongue fe't the evil which he labored to conceal from others.

We do not think much better of the writers, as a body, than of the language. The literature of Rome was born old. All the signs of decrepitude were on it in the cradle. We look in vain for the sweet lisp and the graceful wildness of an infant dialect. We look in vain for a single great creative mind,-for a Homer or a Dante, a Shakspeare or a Cervantes. In their place we have a crowd of fourth-rate and fifth-rate authors, translators, and imitators without end. The rich heritage of Grecian philosophy and poetry was fatal to the Romans. They would have acquired more wealth, if they had succeeded to less. Instead of accumulating fresh intellectual treasures, they contented them elves with enjoying, disposing in new forms, or impairing by an injudicious management, those which they took by descent. Hence, in most of their works, there is scarcely anything spontaneous and racy, scarcely any originality in the thoughts, scarcely any idiom in the style. Their poetry tastes of the hot-house. It is transplanted from Greece, with the earth of Pindus clinging round its roots. It is nursed in careful Beclusion from the Italian air. The gardeners are often skilful; but the fruit is almost always sickly. One hardy and prickly shrub, of genuine Latin growth, must indeed be excepted. Satire was the only indigenous produce of Roman talent; and, in our judgment, by far the best.

We are often told the Latin language is more strictly grammatical than the English ; and that it is, therefore, necessary to study it, in order to speak Engli li with elegance and accuracy. This is one of those remarks which are repeated till they pass into axioms, only because they have so little meaning, that nobody thinks it worth while to refute them at their first appearance. If those who say that the Latin language is more strictly grammatical than the Engli h, mean only that it is more regular, that there are fewer exceptions to its general laws of derivation, inflection, and construction, we grant it. This is, at least for the purposes of the orator and the poet, rather a defect than a merit; but be it merit or defect, it can in no possible way facilitate the acquisition of any other language. It would be about as reasonable to say, that the simplicity of the Code Napoleon renders the study of the laws of England easier than formerly. If it be meant that the Latin language is formed in more strict accordance with the general principles of grammar than the English, that is to say, that the relations which words bear to each other are more strict!y analogous to the relations Letween the ideas which they represent in Latin than in English, we venture to doubt the fact. We are quite sure, that not one in ten thousand of those who repeat the hackneyed remark on which we are commenting, have ever considered whether there be any principles of grammar whatever, anterior to positive enactment, -any solecism which is a malum in se, as distinct from a malum proh bitum Or, if we suppose that there exist such principles, is not

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