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study. There are professors of that language at University College, and King's College; at Oscot, at Bristol, at Highbury, at Homerton, at Spring Hill, it is considered of great moment, and in some of them of almost co-ordinate importance with the study of Greek and Latin. Yet in the curriculum of the London University there is no notice whatever taken of it; not even the option is given,—which is all we plead for,-of taking an examination in the elements of this language in preference to some other subjects.
With regard to the proposed substitution in the B.A. examination, no one will pretend that the addition of Whately's Rhetoric and some portions of the writings of Bacon and Locke would not be a fair exchange. With regard to the propriety of introducing any of the writings of Bacon and Locke, some doubts might be entertained, on the ground that though the greater part of the matter they contain is so precious, they contain errors which a more recent philosophy has corrected, and that therefore as text-books such writings would be antiquated. We answer, first, that they would be taught, and therefore interpreted and commented upon in every college recognized by the university; mental philosophy is, we believe, already taught in them all, and that to a far greater extent than is at present demanded by the university. Secondly, those portions of the writings of these illustrious men might be selected to which but little error attaches, and which have been and will be the admiration of all ages. Thirdly, that the writings of such men, even when not unmixed with error, will do more to stimulate the mind of the learner, and imbue it with the spirit of genuine philosophy than a far more accurate text-book destitute of the energy and life-giving power of exalted genius. For this very reason, we continue to read the works of the greatest philosophers long after they have become antiquated; we derive profit not only from the thoughts they have bequeathed us, but from the very manner in which their authors have expressed them. We think, therefore, that Oxford and Cambridge have done well in retaining Locke's great work amongst their text-books, and that they would have done still better if they had added to it the first book of Bacon's Novum Organum. We verily believe there is nothing whatever which would so tend to form an enlarged and philosophical spirit of speculation and investigation in all departments of philosophy as a thorough study of this portion of Bacon's writings. We do not think it should be put into the hands of a student till he has been pretty well disciplined in Greek, Latin, and mathematics; but this would be precisely the case with one who was just closing his course of preparation for the B.A. degree. We are happy to quote, in support of our views, the following sentences from Hallam’s Critique on Bacon
contained in the third volume of his recent History of European Literature. Though we cannot concur with him in his slight estimate of the value of the Aristotelian logic as expounded by such writers as Whately, we do think his views of the benefit which might be derived from at least adding to it the first book of the Novum Organum perfectly just. “The study of Bacon,' says he,“ is difficult, and not, as I conceive, very well adapted to those who have made no progress whatever in the exact 'sciences, nor accustomed themselves to independent thinking.
They have never been made a text-book in our universities; • though, after a judicious course of preparatory studies, by · which I mean a good foundation in geometry and the philosophical principles of grammar, the first book of the Novum Organum might be very advantageously combined with the instruction of an enlightened lecturer.'
Fourthly. It seems but due to these illustrious men,—the glory of our country,—that some notice should be taken of them in every course of university studies; at all events the option should be granted, which is all we ask-of studying some portion of their writings in lieu of some other subjects. Surely the youth of England, if not required to possess, might be encouraged to acquire some knowledge of the history, writings, opinions, and doctrines of these great luminaries of all philosophy. It is not a little curious that no portion of Bacon's writings has been the subject of examination at any English university. It is in the power of the London University to set the first example of due reverence for the memory of this great reformer of all science. There would be especial propriety in its so doing, as it lays so great a stress on all those departments of science which are so much indebted to the spirit he awakened, and to the principles he developed.
But, whether portions of these classics of English philosophy be substituted or not, some such exchange as is now pleaded for might easily be made. There is an additional propriety in allowing the student the option of exchanging for the chemistry, physiology, and botany, some further portion of moral or mental science, if we consider the plan (a very judicious one) on which the university confers its degrees of M.A. The candidate is allowed to take it in any one of the following departments : I. Classics. II. Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. III. Logic, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of the Mind, Political Philosophy, and Political Economy. The examination is of course severe in proportion as the subjects are limited. Now, if a student takes his M.A. degree, in the last of these departments, his studies in preparing for his B.A. degree will be of but little service to him; a very small proportion of those studies being connected with the third department just specified. Indeed, we
cannot help thinking that such an extensive examination in the third department for the M.A. degree ought to imply a larger acquaintance with mental and moral science for the B. A. degree: at all events, if anything like proportion be maintained. We admit, indeed, that this extension of subjects for the B.A. examination could not be effected while all the rest of the curriculum is retained, or in any other way but that of substitution (at the option of the student) of some subjects for others; but if that substitution were allowed, it would at once be in perfect harmony with the principle of the M.A. examination, in which an option is given of being examined in any one out of three departments, and would allow those who intend to take their M.A. degree in the third department to derive advantages from their studies for the B.A. degree, equal to those which are now enjoyed by the men who intend to take the M.A. degree in the first or second.
Such are the modifications of a part of the plan of study which, if we had a voice in the matter, we should venture to suggest to the university of London ; such also are some of the reasons which would seem to authorize such a modification, so far as the university itself is concerned. The reasons which should prompt it, in kindness, and we will even say justice, to a large class of students, to make some alteration similar to that proposed, are still stronger and more obvious. These we now proceed to point out.
We have already explicitly stated, that as regards the principal subjects of the curriculum, we do not think too much is demanded; that in the classics, history, logic, moral philosophy, the mathematics, and the sciences to which the pure mathematics are applied, nothing is required but what ought to be required of all students, and ought to be taught in all colleges. It is only in the department of chemistry, physiology, and botany, that we seek any alteration, and that merely of such a nature as shall allow to the student the option of being examined either in these or some other subjects. Now,
1. If such an arrangement can be made as will meet the case of a considerable class of students without injury to any other class, it would surely be not less wise than kind to make it. That it is no inconsiderable class of the candidates who are interested we have already shown; at least one half of those who passed the matriculation examination in the autumn of 1840, having been designed for the Christian ministry, in connexion with different religious communities. And as all the colleges which have recently sought the privileges of the university, and those which are at this moment contemplating that step are theological, it may be reasonably expected that the number of the students of this class will be in a still larger
proportion. We have given our opinion, that if the alteration for which we plead could be effected, at least fifty of the students of theological colleges would present themselves for one or other of the university examinations every year. Unless some alteration be made, we can hardly expect this, and the consequence will be that some of the students in question will be deprived of an opportunity of taking their degrees. And yet
2. Surely the students in these colleges fairly come under the description of those for whose peculiar benefit the new university was founded. They cannot take their degree at the old universities, and it does seem rather hard to shut them out of the new one by demanding proficiency not only in those branches of study which have always been considered essential to a sound education (for this is perfectly reasonable), but in those which have never been so considered, and which lie so exceedingly remote, not only from their strictly professional studies, but from those which are necessarily subsidiary to it. We do think it would be almost as reasonable to demand a knowledge of Hebrew from a medical student, as to exact a knowledge of botany from a theological one.
3. It must be obvious to men possessing the good sense of those who compose the senate of the London University, that it is not possible that any of the many subjects which this class of students are compelled to study, but which the university course does not embrace, can give way to those it does, when these last are totally unconnected either with theology or the course of preparation for it. Now, not only is theology itself so vast a field, but it requires such an extensive and varied apparatus of instruments and appliances, purely philological or philosophical, that it is impossible much time can be given to any studies very remote from it.
4. It is equally obvious that the departments of knowledge, to which we take objection, cannot be effectively taught in many of the institutions whose connexion with the university has nevertheless been already recognized. As regards all the principal departments required in the curriculum, we have already said they are and ought to be taught in every such institution, for they are essential, either in the shape of knowledge or discipline, to the successful prosecution of pursuits strictly professional. But in a college, the object of which is so specific and limited as that of theology, and where the tutors or professors are necessarily few, how is it possible to teach with the due accuracy chemistry, physiology, and botany? These can be taught effectually only in colleges which have a very general object, and a full corps of professors ; in fact, only in two or three of those which the university itself recognizes. In the
rest, the student would be compelled to acquire the knowledge of all these branches by himself,~unaided by museums, specimens, experiments--merely out of books, with such general directions as could alone be given him.
And therefore we remark
5. That those students of our theological institutions who shall seek to obtain their degrees under existing circumstances will be likely, as far as the departments in question are concerned, to cram the requisite knowledge; that is, to obtain it for the occasion; but with such haste that it finds no place in the memory, and is immediately afterwards forgotten. None know better than examiners themselves, that it is possible to acquire, in an almost incredibly short space of time, a sufficient knowledge of a subject to make (while it is yet fresh on the mind) considerable display with it, while yet, from the rapidity with which it has been acquired, it has never produced that impression on the memory which renders it either permanent or accurate. This process is technically called cramming, and a very appropriate and expressive term it is, indicating the reception into the mental stomach of a great deal more food than can be healthfully digested, or assimilated into the good red blood of serviceable knowledge. Now, it is impossible that theological students can, in addition to all else they have to do, acquire a knowledge of the departments in question in any other way; and thus one of two things must follow-either they must forego the honor and advantage of taking their degree, or, if they do so, will waste a portion of their time.—We are, moreover, convinced that the object of the university is to secure a sound education—not to necessitate the system of cramming. Now, as regards the departments in question, and so far as theological students are concerned, we are persuaded it is defeating its own object.
6. We may look at the matter under another, but a most important aspect. We have already repeatedly said, that the greater part of the subjects, a knowledge of which is demanded in the university course, are equally important (either from the discipline they secure, or the kind of knowledge they involve), in relation to every department of professional life; they ought therefore to enter into every system of liberal education, and it is perfectly fair to demand that all alike should study them. But when these have been prosecuted to a sufficient extent to secure the appropriate benefit, it is a matter of great moment that the student should spend his remaining time upon those studies which (though not strictly professional) are likely to be most conducive to his success in that department of professional life to which he will probably attach himself, or to which, as in the case of theological stu