11 OCTOBER 1873, Page 3

The most remarkable feature of the new Owens College buildings

is the Chemical school, where Professor Roscoe has a laboratory, that is said—on as good authority as we can have, that of the Professor himself—to be far the best in Great Britain, and second to none in the world for convenience and suitability to its proposed uses, The eminent Professor's introductory lecture on Wednesday,—a very able one, though we have great difficulties as to its main thesis,—was devoted to the subject of "original research as a means of education," in which, if we understand him rightly, he took a position, if not inconsistent with that of his Principal on the preceding day, at least of somewhat cold neutrality towards it. He described the method by which original research penetrates into the secrets of nature as one utterly " subversive " of all education founded on authority, declared that the followers of the old system could have no kind of claim to be called scientific, and while speaking with generous appreciation of the older studies,--of language, philology, logic, and so forth,—declared that even in relation to these, the scienti6e method (by which we suspect Professor Roscoe meant the in- ductive method, for the deductive method in ethics, logic, and mathematics, for instance,- begins with assumptions which it is impossible in any real sense to prove), must be carried out in all weft and to the fullest extent, while every attempt " to shackle the mind or stifle free inquiry " " must be repelled with all our vigour." We should like to know how Professor Roscoe would deal on that principle with elementary ethical education. Is it not one of the first data of a child's conscience, that there are thoughts which it well knows ought not to be experimented with, or made the subject of " research," at all,—which indeed simply ought not to be thought ? And is such a notion to be " repelled with the utmost vigour " ? We fancy Professor Roscoe's principle would carry him further than he intends, and that some principle of authority, and even of inexplicable authority, must be retained, by the most ardent devotees of " original research," if those duties which students owe to society, on which Principal Greenwood descanted so eloquently on the previous day, are not to disappear altogether under the discipline of science.