Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

presented in parliament, under the title of the university, and that each separate college must be in some degree a public institution, entitled to its own share of power and influence in the return of the representatives of the associated body of all the colleges.

But it is not only with reference to the House of Commons that the Colleges possess political power: the two honorary offices of the Chancellor and the High Steward of the University, are now invariably bestowed on members of the House of Lords; and, in fact, the two noblemen selected for these offices are the representatives, in the House of Lords, of the interests of the majority of the senate of the university : and the Duke of Northumberland and Lord Lyndhurst would, in all probability, be expected, by their constituents, to advocate the privileges and the exclusiveness of the university and the colleges, in the case of any further change being proposed in parliament with respect to any of those ancient bodies.

From this double advantage of being specially represented in both houses of parliament, the constitution of the university itself and of its colleges becomes interesting in a public point of view, and their governing principles may thus be closely examined as in the case of all other public institutions.

The present state of the predominant ecclesiastical feeling among the college authorities in the University of Cambridge, is well expressed in the following words from an address delivered to the Cambridge Camden Society, on the 28th March 1840, by its president, the Venerable Archdeacon Thorp, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College.

“ There was a time, indeed, and it is not even yet quite gone by, when the Universities were considered worthy of no higher office or honour, than as an arena, where men were to contend in the generous conflicts of the intellect, to strive for scholarships and fellowships, to win medals and degrees.”

“ But we trust that a sounder notion of our duties and our privileges is beginning to prevail; and that it is not considered here to be bigotry, to maintain, that though their doors are open with a liberal interpretation to all, who have on their part no conscientious grounds for refusing to conform to usages in which the Church's doctrine and discipline are recognized without compromise, still they are properly nurseries of Churchmen and for the Church.”

It must not be supposed, however, from these remarks, that the students are now compelled to attend at the sacrament in Cambridge. The ancient law of compulsion on this subject still remains a disgrace to the university statute book, but modern practice permits the attendance of the students at the Eucharist to be voluntary, and this change of system is thus deservedly praised by the Rev. Professor Sedgwick, M.A., and Senior Fellow of Trinity College :

“ There are no forced Eucharists at Cambridge. At Trinity College, (and I believe I may include in the remark every College in the University,) there has not, for many years, been the semblance of a punishment for absence from the sacrament. Within my recollection of Cainbridge there was a nominal punishment for absence, but it was never intended to have the force of a compulsive law : and among the earliest lessons the students of my own year received from the public tutor, was an exhortation to attend the Eucharist, accompanied at the same time with a solemn caution, that those who could not go with a clear conscience should keep away. Let me add, (and I speak from the experience of a thirty years' residence,) that on no occasion, either public or private, have I seen this holy rite of our Church performed with more solemnity and devotion than it is at the altar of a College Chapel. A hypocrite may sometimes have knelt down amongst us ; but who can dare to look into the mazes of a man's heart?"*

Attendance at the reading of the morning or evening prayers of the Church of England is still insisted upon from all the students, with hardly any exception, at Cambridge, but their attention to the service is not required, and it is seldom given, unless on Sundays, or occasionally on week-days; but they are always careful to maintain decorum, and a mechanical uniformity during the service.

In this respect, too, ancient laws are now obsolete ; for all the students of Trinity College were ordered to be severely reprimanded, according to the statutes of Elizabeth, if they took no part in the Common Prayer, or if they did not attend to the Lessons. At the present day, the repetition of responses is entirely voluntary, and must remain so, unless it should be wished to exclude dissenters from the chapel, which they are now compelled to attend.

It would indeed be most unreasonable to expect that the Unitarian members of any college in Cambridge should be obliged to repeat aloud the responses to the invocation to the Trinity, at the commencement of the Litany; and especially, as at present, dissenting students are only expected to remain quiet, and their thoughts may, consequently, be directed far away from the service, in which they cannot thoroughly and conscientiously join.

Many of the ancient laws, both of the University and of the * Letters to the Editors of the Leeds Mercury, in reply to R. M. Beverley, Esq., pages 30 and 31; printed in 1836.

studenta, accordion Prak da

fellowshmitted to reside in Catholics, Dissentered Church of this

Colleges at Cambridge, were obviously intended to confer exclusive privileges on the clergy of the Established Church of this country; but as Roman Catholics, Dissenters, and Jews, are now admitted to reside in the colleges, and as laymen obtain fellowships in the society which was once the principal college of divines, the ecclesiastical spirit of exclusiveness is manifestly in some degree modified, and there is ground to hope for further concessions to the spirit of the times, and to the pecuniary interests of the university and the college corporations.

It is quite possible, for instance, that without the abolition of any test, the senate of the University of Cambridge may perhaps be induced to suspend the ecclesiastical subscription required for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, until the creation of the Master of Arts, thereby preserving to the senate of the university its ancient ecclesiastical character, while the degree of Bachelor of Arts may thus be conferred on Dissenters and Roman Catholics, as well as on members of the Church of England.

If, with this boon, the suffrage should also be extended to Bachelors of Arts, so that votes may be given for the members of Parliament, without any ecclesiastical restriction on the franchise, Dissenters and Roman Catholics should be contented to sign a moderate declaration, that they will not exercise any power, authority, or influence, by virtue of their office of Bachelors of Arts, to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law established in England, or to disturb the said church, or the bishops and clergy of the said church, in the possession of any rights or privileges to which such church, or the said bishops and clergy, are or may be by law entitled.

Such a declaration is already required from the officers of all English corporations, in the place of the sacramental tests, by the 9th George IV. chap. 17, and uniformity and expediency appear to demand it as a substitute for the present declaration of decided membership with the Church of England, for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in the University of Cambridge.

The predominant fears of change which influence some of the leading resident members of that university, are not connected with the security of the universities, but with the security of the Church of England, and on this account, the suspension of an ecclesiastical test would be preferred to its abolition, as the former laws of ecclesiastical exclusiveness might thus remain on the statute-book for the degree of Master of Arts, while the exercise of them would be suspended for the degree of Bachelor, and the senate of the university would still meet in its ancient form of an ecclesiastical corporation.

J. H.



Things wanted. Towards the termination of my last paper I ventured to make the suggestion, that in teaching the young in our popular schools to know themselves, it was of consequence that we should communicate to them some first notions at least, of the qualities of the human mind, of its healthful and unhealthful states, and the conditions on which its sound action is known to depend. I consider such instruction to be of so much importance, that I wish distinctly to mark the opinion, by placing it in the prefront of my present communication. It is not, however, impossible that this opinion, and others which I have advanced, may have led some to consider me as somewhat of an educational visionary. I have certainly no wish to be so deemed. At the same time I do not profess to feel any great anxiety about the results which may ensue to myself from the temperate enunciation of my deliberate convictions. How dear soever I may regard the favourable estimate of my fellow men, truth, and frankness of speech must be held by me dearer still. Nor would I knowingly give utterance to any opinion, especially on so important a subject as that which occupies our thoughts from any other consideration than an assured conviction of its truth, and a high estimate of its value. There is already but too much affectation of educational novelty in society. I know not whether there is any thing in the subject itself which invites and favours such affectation, but every great educational reform has been attended by a larger share of pretension than falls to the lot of other social transitions. In Athens these empty and showy declaimers, the sophists, who would prove for you almost any thing from any premises, make the worse appear the better reason, and upturn the grounds and pervert the practice of morality itself, appear from the keen exposures which we have of them from the lips of Socrates and the pens of his disciples, to have availed themselves of the educational excitement of their day, to trade in large promises and extravagant pretensions, which they had scarcely the will, even if they had the ability to perform. The revival of letters throughout Europe, was another great educational crisis, which presented similar empirical displays. Public disputation became a prevailing passion. Men undertook to teach every thing by short cuts, as if by patent inventions—to adopt the words of the great satirist as well as moral painter of his day

words which he puts into the mouth of Bianca's music-master in his “ Taming of the Shrew,"

“ I must begin with rudiments of art;

To teach you gamut in a briefer sort,
More pleasant, pithy, and effectual,
Than hath been taught by any of my trade.”

And how splendid soever may have been the talents—how extensive soever the attainments of the Admirable Crichton, we at this time of day cannot but think there was no small degree of empiricism in a man, who, though he died at the early age of twenty-two,“ professed himself before the most learned bodies of Europe ready to dispute in all the sciences, to answer any questions, and to repel any objections either by logic or a hundred kinds of verse, or by analytical investigations and mathematical figures ;” and who, in addition to skill in corporeal exercises, held himself out as a proficient in music, and in no fewer than ten languages, which, says a biographer, “ were as familiar to him as his mother-tongue.”

Not dissimilar grandeur of profession have we at the present day. Read the cards of terms and the advertisements which are put forth. Persons who are unable to write grammatically, undertake to teach grammar,—who cannot follow out on paper a correct sequence of ideas, offer themselves as instructors in logic; persons who know scarcely more of the sciences than their names, the very pronunciation of which some are not masters of, profess to expound for the edification of the young, the mysteries of “the Globes," as it is phrased, Astronomy, Algebra, Mensuration, Book-keeping, Stenography, and as many other branches as you choose, each and all by methods no less expeditious than infallible. Surely there must be men with whom knowledge comes by intuition, and skill in teaching is an instinct; with whom the old Platonic doctrine, that we bring into the world with us ideas gained in our previous state of existence, is established by happy experience, and the obvious facts of the case ; for as to the orthodox and rugged way of learning before you teach, their genius is of too transcendent a nature for such antiquated drudgery. No matter what their former calling, nor what their former failures, they are now expert at every science, and deeply read in every tongue, or, as Sly describes himself in the same drama

“ I, Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath, by birth a pedlar, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »