15 AUGUST 1829, Page 9


LADY MORGAN, in her Book of the Boudoir, makes this remark- " I suspect that the current admiration for the mathematics, as an in- strument of mental discipline, arises much more from the safety of such pursuits, and their disconnection with moral and political interests, than from the rigour and exactness of their methods of argumentation. At the end of a five years' College course, the student is not more likely to ques- tion established abuses than if he had spent the time in playing shuttlecock. His moral faculties have been kept perfectly quiescent. Indignation at pub- lic and private Wrong, contempt for falsehood and dishonesty, the kindling glow of approbation at patriotic self-sacrifice, have remained unawakened and cold. The perusal of abstractions has shut out all interest or feeling for realities; and the University whippers-in have trained the young hound quite awa,y from the pursuit of forbidden truths. A mere mathematician is. the fittest raw material for manufacturing a passive obedience parson, or an. all-confiding country gentleman."

The reasa4ug is ingenious, and Is only at variance with one con- sideration wMeh persons of the volatile temperament of our authoress seldom take into their calculations,—namely, THE FACT. Men of the world, on visiting our two Universities, are especially struck by the activity of the Cambridge intellect compared with that of Oxford, and the livelier interest which the gownsmen of the former University take in the affairs of the day. They ought perhaps, according to Lady Monoasis philosophy, to calculate themselves to the condition of the philosophers of Laptita ; but the fact is, that they do concern them- selves .more closely about passing events and discussions than the more professedly moral students of the sister University.

Another example may be adduced, to show that the certain sciences do not necessarily stagnate the moral intelligence.

The French; of whom, as a nation, Lady MORGAN professes inti- mate knowledge, have of late years applied mainly to mathematics in their educations,' and yet their moral observation was never so active or enlightened as at the. present time. We have more than once in France found shop-boys poring over books of the higher brandheS. Of mathematics; While here, &Union Crusoe or Moll Randers, would be the studies of the class correspond- ing with them in age and condition. But the remark of the set of the French mind to the certain sciences, requires no exemplification--it has long been observed and admitted; and Lady MORGAN will, we are confident, not argue that our neighbours are behind us either in moral practice or moral intelligence.