Imatges de pÓgina
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If this extreme be avoided it would be scarcely less disastrous to identify the functions of Oxford and Cambridge with those of the London and provincial universities, for they are essentially different. It is with the ordinary citizen seeking equipment and culture suitable for the various avocations open to him that the latter are mainly concerned ; it is the education of specialists and of those who are to fill the chairs and form the staff of the minor universities that the former have primarily to consider. It is with civic life on all its sides that the latter must be in closest touch both socially and educationally, adapting themselves generally to its needs as well in the teaching given within their walls as in intellectual influence without. On Oxford and Cambridge depend the standards, the calibre, the tone generally of the teaching and discipline imparted and prescribed in those centres of educational activity which are locally what the mother universities are in the wider sphere. In all that pertains to the humanities, at least, Oxford and Cambridge stand in the same relation to our other universities as parents stand to children. On what was imparted in their classrooms, and on what took its ply and its colour from their influence, and their atmosphere, depend the quality and character of the teaching in these seminaries. Nothing, therefore, could be more disastrous than to confound or to identify the functions of bodies which stand in such relations as these, and every step taken in such a direction is to be deprecated and deplored.

To turn from this long but necessary digression to the immediate purpose of this paper, the question of provision for an essentially modern course of education and the possibility of establishing in connexion with it a School of Journalism. Let us consider first what real needs the organisation of such a course of instruction would meet, and next what should be its constitution and its relation to existing curricula. Every year, as I have already said, hundreds of young men are turned out into the world who have no intention of adopting any of the callings for which a university education, whether received at Oxford or Cambridge, or in the minor universities, directly qualifies them, and for which any diploma at present accessible guarantees what diplomas in the subjects recognised in education do guarantee. The Church, the learned professions, the various departments of the government service, and every department included in the vast sphere of scientific and technical activity, know where to find trained recruits. The only class unprovided for is that comparatively small class-comparatively small and yet numerous—consisting of young men of means and fortune who are interested in social and political questions, and whose ambition and probable destiny is to enter public life, and that very large class of youths who with literary tastes and plenty of energy and ability are not attracted by the Schools, but prefer to go their own way and will, on leaving their university, almost inevitably take to journalism. Now it may be at once observed,

and should, indeed, be emphasised, that a young man who has taken a good degree in the Classical Schools in the older universities, and more particularly in Moderations and Literae Humaniores at Oxford, has laid the very best foundation possible for either of the callings under consideration. By virtue of the magnificent training there received he has become qualified to provide for himself whatever superstructure and additional equipment either of these callings may require. To a man so trained and equipped probably less than a year's practical experience in a newspaper office and exercise in writing leaders, leaderettes, and notes would-assuming what must always be assumed in the profession of journalism, natural aptitude for the art-suffice to complete the only education needed by him. And what applies to journalism applies to parliamentary life. The aristocracy of both has emerged from the Classical Honour Schools of Oxford and Cambridge-pereant qui illas evertant.

But it is not with minorities that legislation has principally to reckon or is most concerned. The question is, what are we to do with the vast and rapidly increasing majority of those who swell the ranks of these two callings? It was Jowett's policy to encourage those who represent the first of the two classes to which I have referred to attach themselves loosely to Balliol and ramble generally about the university browsing here and there on such lecture-fodder as they could find palatable, or likely in any casual way to meet their needs. Sometimes they looked in on lectures on political economy, or on English history, or on art, or even on Greek philosophy. They were encouraged to visit the various museums and art galleries. They were also invited to write essays and go walks with their patron or with some other illumining pundit. This he called giving them a flavour of Oxford life. We smile at this very rudimentary conception of a course of 'modern education at a university. And yet it was all that Oxford could offer, and all that could be made out of existing institutions. With a confused smattering of political economy--for even this subject perplexed with professorial conceits and theories is not taught in any practically useful or really informing way-begins and ends what pertains to the needs of these youths. For the rest, all that they can acquire of what is in immediate touch with the world of to-day on any of its sides, politically, socially, or economically, is what they can pick up for themselves in the only institutions which are of service to them--the University and College Clubs. The Union, with its excellent library, news-room, and above all, debating society, has indeed long represented the sole nursery and training-place of all who at the universities desire to qualify themselves directly for public life or for journalism. The question now is whether the universities themselves can, as part of their system, develop and organise what Jowett adumbrated, and what the young tiros we are

VOL. LXIII–No. 372

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considering have at present to acquire casually and as best they can for themselves. It is a problem by no means easy to solve, as Jowett himself felt when a scheme similar to what I am here advocating was suggested to him some years ago by the editor of this Review. At Oxford and Cambridge, in spite of the pressure put on the former university by such a chair as the chair founded by Mr. Beit, and the obligations tacitly implied in the Rhodes Bequest, such an innovation as would be involved in a scheme for purely modern study to meet purely modern requirements would, if possible, be hardly desirable. It would tend to make confusion worse confounded by multiplying institutions already far too numerous ; it would tend to decentralise and identify the functions of Oxford and Cambridge with those of the newer universities, and it would therefore be of disastrous precedent. Nor could such a curriculum be adjusted to their present provisions for the teaching of modern subjects, as the conceptions of the methods and aims of literary and historical study on which such teaching is based are not framed on the principles or directed to the objects which would be of primary importance in the scheme here contemplated. An important step might indeed be taken in this direction by a reorganisation or even modification of the Pass curricula in history and literature, and by the establishment of a Pass degree in economics interpreted in the widest sense of the term.

Such a course of instruction is, however, altogether alien, both in its aim and in its principles, to the educational system of the older universities, and exceedingly difficult to graft on existing provisions and regulations. It would be in accordance with none of its surroundings. Soil and atmosphere alike would be unpropitious. But at the London and provincial universities nothing could be more appropriate. Its aims would be precisely the aims which those universities are designed to meet; it would involve nothing more than an extension of their existing curricula, and an extension on precisely the same lines. Of the increasing need of the organisation of such a course of instruction there can be no doubt; let it be their ambition as it is assuredly their prerogative to supply it.

Up to this point I have, in advocating such a course of instruction, been considering the needs and interests of a comparatively small class. We have now to consider those of that very large class whose education, or at all events an important part of whose education, would also be included in it. And this brings me to the main theme and principal object of the present article.

In the whole annals of human experience there is nothing analogous to the constitution and condition of that mighty republic or rather ochlocracy which has, during the last fifteen or twenty years, superseded the old oligarchy in journalism.

There goes a story that one of the Dukes of Norfolk, hearing, in a charitable mood, that some of the distant connexions of his family were not only unknown to him, but in need too, issued a general invitation to all who could in any way claim kinship with the Howards, causing it to be known that on a certain day he would be glad to entertain them and consider their cases. The day arrived. The butler, about the hour fixed for the entertainment, entered the Duke's room, and, with a scared face, announced that he feared there was something wrong in the park. The Duke went to the window, and his heart sank within him. As far as the eye could see a motley jumble of landaus, barouches, dogcarts, vans, donkey-carriages, costers' carts, and even wheelbarrows with sickly forms in them, piously propelled by kindred scarecrows, were, amid mutual impediment, slowly making their way to the castle. In their front and on foot, close to the window at which the Duke stood, three impudent fellows whose features were as the features of Bardolph and four more whose lineaments plainly proclaimed them to be of the Hebrew persuasion, were loudly wrangling as to the right of priority in entering the hall. It would be no exaggeration to say that this is precisely parallel to what has befallen the profession of journalism. If we go a little way down there are few editors who are not in the position of that benevolent Duke, though without, perhaps, his sinking heart. A large majority of those who at present represent this profession have in truth as little title to belong to it, if indeed it be considered a respectable and honourable calling, as the impostors and ragamuffins who had the impudence to claim kinship with the Howards.

The present condition of at least two-thirds of what claims to be journalism is, considering the high degree of intelligence possessed -thanks to our improved system of elementary and secondary education—by people generally, not only a national disgrace to us, but simply unintelligible. It can only be explained on the theory that editors and caterers for popular newspaper entertainment are indifferent to everything but 'smartness' and the knack of what the Americans so happily describe as “ effectually slinging ink'-effectually, that is to say, in the New York and Chicago sense of the term. All conscience, whether moral or intellectual, seems to have disappeared, being neither possessed nor indeed affected by those who scribble, or either desired or expected in them by those whom they entertain. Journalism in this sense of the term-and in this sense of the term it is coming more and more to be regarded -is the only calling for which literally no other equipment is requisite than the knack referred to. It is in truth as independent of other credentials as Bullamy's waistcoat-carrying capacity was to the directors of Dickens’ AngloBengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Insurance Company when they were on the look out for a chief porter. The sight of the man's stomach was enough: no further inquiry was needed; to see was to engage.

In thus speaking I am saying nothing more than is acknowledged and deplored by none more emphatically and mournfully than by those to whom journalism still is, what a comparatively few years ago it was generally, a most important and most honourable profession. But with a central cancer eating into the very vitals of a power so mightily influential for good or for evil, what can we expect ? It is now notoriously the deliberate and openly professed policy of many of those whose wealth is gradually enabling them almost to monopolise the control of this power to convert it simply and wholly into a means of increasing that wealth. With them journalism is a mere huckstering trade, solely concerned with what sells and with what finds purchasers where purchasers are most numerous. What would appeal to and be appreciated by educated people or by people with any flavour of education, what would be welcome to the intelligent middle and artisan classes for example, is of no consequence conpared with what suits the tastes of the rabble--the grosser forms of sensationalism, horse-racing, billiard matches, athletic sports, barmaid shows, tit-bits and racy gossip served up with appropriate condiments in the shape of leaderettes and notes; to say nothing of still viler methods of prostituting the use of the Press.

Into the production and manufacture of this sort of thing, more or less modified by what such occupation is not wholly able to stifle, men of letters and even men of genius are, through dire necessity, being more and more coerced. Indeed, if a writer be dependent on his pen for a livelihood, he has no alternative, and if he wishes to make money, his conscience is not likely to be proof against the enormous bribes which those who wish to buy it for these purposes can offer. This is in truth one of the most repulsive features of the new journalism. If this corruption were within limits and more or less accidental, there would be less reason for apprehension, but it is spreading; its effects are apparent–increasingly so—throughout the whole realm of journalism, and all attempts to counteract it are attempts against fearful odds. The only hope lies in what education can effect both in relation to demand and in relation to supply. Journals in comparatively large numbers there still happily are, both in London and in the provinces, and journals, if in decreasing numbers, there must always be, in which the older and better traditions of the profession are and will be upheld. In the preservation of these, and that in the utmost degree of efficiency, and in their multiplication, which will follow as a consequence, lies salvation in the future. No doubt the general body of those who find in the daily journals their chief source of relaxation and instruction are, for very obvious reasons, coming to feel little respect for their entertainers, and still less confidence in them, yet it is perfectly competent for a newspaper

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