PROFESSOR VAUGHAN ON OXFORD REFOR3f.*
No very laborious study of the recent discussions on University Reform is needed to gain the clue to the wide differences of opinion, both in general principles and details, which have been maintained by those who have given evidence before the Commissions, or have contributed independently to the settlement of the question. Under every possible form, from abstract argument down to the price of weekly "commons" or " battels," the sentiments and views of the disputing and suggesting parties are broadly marked off into two divisions. It is a conflict between the advocates for a Univer- sity and the advocates for Colleges; between those who would create an efficient Professorial staff and give to its teaching the predomi- nence in University education, and those who uphold College dis• cipline with Tutorial superintendence as absolutely essential, and entitled in virtue of its superior efficacy and superior importance to hold the first place. In the eyes of the one party, the promo- tion of learning and science in their various branches—both the absolute advancement of knowledge and its communication to the students—forms the main object aimed at by such institutions as the Universities. To the other party this is avowedly a secondary object, the principal end of these institutions being, by the inten- tion of their founders and the unbroken tradition of past usage, to train up youth in the discipline and doctrine of the Church of England, so that they may be religious in character, moral in act, and sound in theological opinion. So far as the rudiments of learning and science are available as gymnastic exercises for the mind, so far only do they form a main object of the teaching at the Universities as contemplated in its ideal perfection by this class of writers. We are not putting two systems into trenchant opposi- tion for the sake of pointing an antithesis. So far from this, we believe that the class to whom we have imputed this latter opin- ion would themselves accept our statement, as not an unfair mode of briefly expressing the difference between them and their opponents, however they might object to it as a complete exposi- tion of their views of education. Colleges are dear to this class because they facilitate discipline and minute personal superin- tendence, because in Oxford and Cambridge they have a common chapel and a compulsory religious service, and because in these two Universities their officers are mainly clergymen. Take away these last two attractions, and the College system would have lost its chief ground of preference in their eyes. In other words, let Col- leges be established at Oxford and Cambridge without a compul- sory religious service, and under the sole superintendence of lay- men, and we find the strongest reason in the printed statements of the persons of this class for concluding, that they would no longer see in the simple fact of personal superintendence and catechetical teaching that marvellous instrument for the formation of character and thought and morals of which they are now enamoured. On the other hand, it seems probable that the advocates of University extension without reference to Colleges, and of the superiority of a well-endowed Professoriate as a means of promoting knowledge and conducting education, may have been led to their conclusion by the same facts in the constitution of our English Colleges from which their opponents have reached a point precisely antipodal. If laymen could be permanent teachers in Colleges, and if theolo- gical uniformity of profession were not made a condition of ob- taining such teacherships, it may well be questioned by one who has candidly studied the evidence, whether the remaining circum- stances of College life and discipline would not have appeared to overweigh in benefit the advantages of unattached students, and whether catechetical teaching would not have been thought the most appropriate method of communicating instruction in many departments of knowledge. It may furthermore be remarked, that College teaching may assume the form of "delivered lectures" on such subjects as demand that method, while Professorial teaching may, though not so easily where the class is large, be- come at pleasure catechetical. We have made these remarks not for the sake of nice distinctions that are wholly unpractical and beside the question, but because the phrases " Professorial " and " Tutorial," "College teaching" and "University teaching," have been to a great extent throughout the controversy made to stand not for what they necessarily and under all circumstances re- present, but for what they have happened to represent at Oxford or Cambridge during the last half-century. The peculiar conditions of these two Universities are, as we have before said, that the Col- leges are mainly under clerical government, and founded on a theological basis, and that the University is nothing but the col- lective body of Colleges ; and furthermore, that the studies of these institutions have until the last four years been almost exclusively
• Oxford Reform and Oxford Professors t a Reply to certain Objections urged against the Report of the Queen's Commissioners. By Henry Milford Vaughan, M.A., Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford. Published by Parker and Son.
confined to the Greek and Latin languages and literatures and to mathematics. Before, therefore, any discussion can be carried on, with respect to the proper constitution of these Universities, with the hope of arriving at a result that shall generally commend it- self to men's convictions—before we can hope to settle the rival claims of Professors and College Tutors, or strike the balance between the advantages of residence in a College under Tutors and residence in private independence while attending a Professor's lectures—we certainly ought to know whether Oxford and Cam- bridge are for the future to retain their present conuexiou with the Church of England. And we must know further, whether science in all its vast variety is to be cultivated there, and to form the test of merit and the avenue to honour and emolument,—or whether, as heretofore, every pursuit that can interest the human mind is to be treated as amusement merely, and all the honour and profit to be reserved for those who make themselves accomplished masters of ancient literature and of the fundamental but limited sciences of mathematics pure and applied. The changes that would be necessary or desirable on the one supposition would be widely different from those to be aimed at on the other ; and in proportion as the one hypothesis or the other is distinctly present to the mind as a guiding principle, will the changes proposed vary in direction and extent. It appears to us, that few of those who have given evidence before the Commissions, few of those who have written on the subject, have sufficiently attended to this important consider- ation. Those who assume the permanence of the present state of things, and argue as if Oxford were safe at anchor while every- thing else is in motion, seem constantly to forget the great expan- sion of her studies recently adopted, and of which the brief time elapsed can have given only the faintest indication of its probable effects. On the other hand, those who recommend changes of the most " advanced " order appear not fully to apprehend Oxford as she would be without her clerical predominance and her theological tests, and while they wish these things abolished, yet to be so haunted with them as to propose arrangements that suppose their perpetuity. If the Colleges are for ever to be governed by eccle- siasties—if the Fellowships that should go to the maintenance of men devoted to learning and science are to be retained for the al- most exclusive use of the clergy—we should be disposed to look leniently on extensive diversions of the College property to support Professors not connected with the Colleges. If, again, the Pro- fessors themselves are to be for the most part clergymen, we should regard their power and position in the University as mat- ters of comparative indifference to what they would be in the case of a staff of the most eminent men of letters and science selected from the whole University without this restriction. We do not say that University Reform is to be postponed till this theological or rather ecclesiastical question be settled. But we do say, that no scheme of University Reform can be definitive till it be settled, and that in material points any scheme which does not include this must be provisional. Meanwhile, the presence of this unsettled question has confused and complicated discussion, by giving to phrases a largeness and vagueness of meaning that only accidentally and locally belong to them, and by presenting educational systems as opposed which are only mutually complementary. Perhaps the most striking in- stance is furnished by the Report of the Committee of the Oxford Heads of Houses, to which Professor Vaughan's pamphlet is in form and substance an answer, as well as to the Report of the Oxford Tutors' Association. The pamphlet is among the ablest contributions to the discussion of University education as it should be that we have seen ; and the Professoriate, in its double capacity of a staff of ancient teachers and a body of men devoted each to a special branch of knowledge, has not within our recollection found a more thoughtful and eloquent defender. The tone of controversy and hardly-suppressed indignation that sharpens the argument, and heightens the eloquence, might seem to a casual reader mis- placed; but it certainly would not so be judged by any one who has gone through the dreary task of reading the report and evi- dence issued by the Oxford Heads, and more particularly Dr. Pusey's evidence, which fills nearly two hundred pages of the volume. It is not saying too much of that evidence to character- ize it as malignant and perverse,—the statements of a man who can neither observe correctly what is before his eyes, narrate cor- rectly what is furnished by books, nor argue candidly from the facts universally admitted. He tells us in this evidence, that it has pleased God to make him peculiarly acquainted with the temptations to which the young are exposed—we presume, as con- fessor-general to young Tractarians and Tratarianesses in the various dioceses under his spiritual superintendence. Perhaps it would have profited the holy man more had it pleased God to let him dwell somewhat less exclusively on the temptations of the young, and pay some attention to those which beset the contro- versialist and religious leader. We would not have our readers imagine that Professor Vaughan has in any degree been tempted
Regius Professor is needful against Professors, and that lips ogr sighuman te oo fohnagiooter, r,o:Ivbhic ht tlitnelpnne'dteanddlhumanizedk can never supply. The silenced without a hearing by Oxford, for unsound doctrine, are professor sees refl ie on Jolla and student's still at Oxford welcome monitors against dangerous instruction." presence. He sees him kindle jienetonhismaubject ; he Professor Vaughan deals first with the objections of the Tutors' bited in him his manner and his earnestness—the general power of the ad-- Association to the place and power assigned to the Oxford Profes- ence to engage, delight, and absorb a human intelligence. His natural sym- pathy and admiration attract or impel his tastes and feelings and wishes for sorts in the constitution recommended by the Commission. The the moment into the same current of feeling, and his mind is naturally and Commission proposed to create a legislative body, in place of the rapidly and insensibly strung and attuned to the strain of truth which is
existing Hebdomadal Board, that should consist of all Heads of offered to him. • * *
Houses, all senior Tutors of Colleges, and all Professors and public "One peculiarity and advantage, too, in this mode of communication, at- Lecturers. As the whole power of originating measures is now tends a comprehensive lecture, which is not shared by a book. All who it must hear it at the same moment; it affects a large number of indi- viduals in the Hebdomadal Board, consisting of the Heads and 11,;gra the two Proctors, it must be admitted that the change was exten- topic losf antotnhveemsazeontiomrec;onivt" therefore becomes straightway more or less a icoohmtheemparisonland sive. When it is besides remembered that the Professors at pre- ' contribution of impressions conversational diffuse, 'an windegree equalize, sent have absolutely no power in the University, and that the ' the benefit; especially in an academical city, where the dispersed proposed plan would have transferred to them a preponderance yniversity within a few hours.its the lecture-room to meet again in the halls and common rooms of the over all other classes together, inasmuch as with the contemplated 1 "We have been accused, indeed, of forgetting in OUT whole view of this increase to their staff they would have outnumbered all the other ' subject, that the great professor will b a members of the Board, it is not surprising that the class most in- turer will be but an occasional ional however, v nature on:terested in College preeminence should have taken alarm and pro- less rare will be the greatest books, for the same laws of lau tested. Moreover, the powers of the New Board would have con- which produce the one rarity give existence also to the other. Now this very rarity of transcendent men and transcendent works will also confer on siderably exceeded the present powers of the Hebdomadal Board, and the proposed change would practically have effected a total appearance eaabrlaenaaanduflearned avteraefigoertporr human his constant utility. Between the utimonoan ogreenntsdean and another theret her e must be revolution in the government of the University. Had the Uni- I wine interval. Meanwhile, observe versity been in fact a real and efficient body, distinct from and theories are corrected by experience ; small contributions often pourin" superior to the Colleges, as it is in theory, the proposed constitu- and to harmonize these together, to use them for illustration, modification, or even correction of the latest work of stupendous genius, and to impart the ton would have been perhaps the fittest arrangement. But it must be confessed, that, apart from the personal feelings interested uwfhtoillearleasaurniteolf allleto the embarrassedenharrassed student, is the fit and practicable task jmoiyciotaulamprnofeassodn professor. Even etteelinanownudal set of lee- in such a shifting of power, it does appear somewhat startling to ' tures, on many sulijeancts, raise a body of men, at once, by a single step, from absolute they are made . giving them a place in preestablaed theories, or pointingas insignificance to absolute and irresponsible authority. We ere out their effeceto invalidate what has been accepted for true, in a manner to which-a tutor, not entirely devoted to nor generally eminent in a par- happy to see announced, only this week, that Oxford Reformers of ticular subject, never could attain."
;g the ordinary mode of the comparison— the mind of the student is not improved . or did they open up truths revo- " It must be observed, however, that this mode of comparing the merits of lutionary in their conception, stupendous in their breadth, and 'solid' as this universal frame; laws that since that time have sustained all astro- the book and the lecture as organs of communicating knowledge, is not quite
just nor to the purpose. The truer and fairer judgment must pass upon the n. omical thought like a foundation, even as before that time and since that time, and through all time, (for aught which we are yet permitted to see,) book read for an hour, and the lecture listened to for the same length of space ? all matter and penetrated all time. The book unread—the book possessed—does not instruct at all, nor they underlay and sustained communicate at all: on the other hand, the book read once, twice, or thrice, should be compared to the lecture heard once, twice, or thrice. The listen- ing to the lecture, therefore, for a given space of time, and the reading of the book for the mime time, are the two proper terms of comparison. "Now, while the type is so admirable a contrivance for perpetuating knowledge, it is certainly more expensive, and in some points of view less effective as a means of communication than the lecture. The type is a poor substitute for the human voice. It has no means of arousing, moderating, and adjusting the attention. It has no emphasis except italics, and this meagre notation cannot finely graduate itself to the needs of the occasion. It cannot in this way mark the heed which should be specially and chiefly given to peculiar passages and words. It has no variety of manner and in- tonation, to show by their changes how the words are to be accepted, or what comparative importance is to be attached to them. It has no natural music to take the ear, like the human voice ; it carries with it no human eye to range, and to rivet the student when on the verge of truancy, and to corn- the University formally acknowledged the rank and functions of this science mend his intellectual activity by an appeal to the common courtesies of life. Half the symbolism of a living language is thus lost when it is committed by accepting the foundation of a Professorship. Anarchical fanaticism sup- to follow this bad example. He is sarcastic, not spiteful; and his sarcasms point arguments,—as when he describes the evidence fur- nished to the Heads as "disclosing on its face that the aid of a various shades have effected a judicious compromise on this mat- ter ; and that a scheme has been presented to Lord Sohn Russell which assigns ample powers to the Professoriate, as at present ex- isting and working, without giving them at once a preponderance for which neither they nor their College rivals and cooperators are prepared. From the bearing of Professor Vaughan's remarks able, and will be 'but sticking up lights in some corner of the subject.' stripped of their immediate controversial application, we should "Now, first of all, it may be observed that our academical cultivation of suppose that the new scheme would fully satisfy his demands for Latin and Greek Dr. Pusey and others are not slow to defend: yet is not
the body to which he belongs. the University study of these languages (almost the oldest topics of instruc- tion of the place) all based upon the investigations of the last sixty With such an adversary as Dr. Posey there can be no compro- years? Do our students at Oxford learn from the grammars of the time of raise. Considering, somewhat inconsistently with his own tenure Edward VI., or from Mathia and Kiihner? and are not these grammars a of a very well-endowed Professorship, that the Professorial sys- long text composed from the collective results of Porson, Hermann, Elmsley, tern is an unmitigated evil, he has directed his ingenuity and Buttman, Lobeck, and other recent philologers ? When it is the object of learning to connect with it as necessary and universal conse- mweenheatordmefuenulti otlfie the migiusotraseof the philological urateteaknenwleill tehebUniverroost, quences the direst and most deadly influence on morals, religion, tion of subtile distinctions, and the possyession of unmarketgable LecrsP. But intellect, and learning. This would appear incredible as the de- when inquiry is to be discouraged and professors to be shown useless, then liberate solemn judgment of an eminent scholar presented offi- ' are we told of 'the great principles of the subject known long ago' ; we are cially to the governing body of Oxford University for its guidance warned against ' lesser points in which knowledge mainly is to be enlarged,
and against a superficial and elating knowledge of new results really inju- in a most important crisis. Having read Dr. Pusey's evidence
' nous to the mind of the student, and made at the cost of more solid know- we can answer for the under-statement of the following five pro- ledge.,
positions, gathered from its confused heap of arguments and as- "But the principle itself, that investigations and discoveries in old studies sections by Professor Vaughan. are generally uninstructive because they are of a special nature, or that they
On each of these heads Professor Vaughan vindicates his office, cidelnuatliwtnhichrea, feonrtv:irimoesus regenns,tooilnorltaeontutand sgoiohTstorlirraantive has never and the system of which it forms a part. His treatment of the to communicate the spirit and life too, whole centuries by minute may do last two convicts Dr. Pusey. of a onesided plan of dealing with running through a few important or active years, than by a general review historical statements, furnished correctly to his hands by the of all the historical facts or a long sera; though of course it must require German authors whom he quotes as his authorities, that would be scarcely consistent with common honesty, if we did not see every day that the intellects and consciences of men possessed with a ruling passion are incapable of acting except as swayed by it. It is amusing, too, to find the Dr. Pusey of twenty-five years ago brought up as a witness against the assertions of Dr: Posey of today ; the facts not having altered in the mean time, nor the knowledge of the witness ; what has altered being the Doctor's theological opinions. One of the common arguments against the utility of professorial lectures is, that they are at best a bad sub- stitute for books. Professor Vaughan remarks upon this, after to paper ; and that symbolism is the very means by which the forces of the hearer's mind can be best economized, or most pleasantly excited. The lec- ture, on the other hand, as delivered, possesses all these instruments to win :lido hold, and harmonize attention ; and above all, it imports into the whole wiupanet rare, thatthe id;lsoandhoperfect lee-
Another very popular objection to the plea that professors ad- vance science is here admirably met- " We are told, that in all old studies, knowledge can be advanced mainly upon lesser and finer points, by which the mind of the student is not im- proved ' end that to address the student upon such must ever be unseason- not only research and imagination but high critical power also to do this with effect. Original views, too, on what is called the philosophy of history, are in fact discoveries, and shed a broad and important light upon the main features of the subject. "And in more scientific studies—even old ones, even the most old—it is far from true, it is the reverse of true, that the discoveries which advance them are really but lights stuck in a corner.'
"No science is older than that of astronomy. At the opening of the seven- teenth century it had been studied for ages, and in every quarter of the globe, and that not casually, not by small intellects and negligent observers, but by the marvellous Aristotle ; and yet what was done for this sublime, universal, time-honoured knowledge, in the century of Kepler and Newton ! Did they inform the world upon the lesser and finer questions by which 13eleageal
"1st. Professorial lectures do not communicate knowledge well. are of a special nature because they grow out of special inquiries, are both 2dly. Professorial lectures do not give a discipline to the faculties. unsound. The falsity of both might be illustrated from every department of 3dly. Professors do not aid the advancement of truth. knowledge. The cardinal facts of history lie buried often in brief or ne- 4thly. Theological Professors are the causes of heresy and scepticism. gleoted documents, which supply lamentable omissions or give the lie to ae- 5ttdy. Professors are the causes of immorality in the Universities to counts composed by interested men or on hearsay evidence. Even the gene- which they are attached." , ral truths of history are often betrayed in casual expressions, or by petty in- " The magnet was known to the Greek philosophers. Electricity, too, was spoken of cursorily by the Ionic school. A word was then enough for such phenomena ; for they were then and long after the corners of a sub- ject.' But what have those Danish and English professors done for us, who stuck lights' into these corners? have they not revealed powers, facts, and laws which are the very principles of principles known long ago, which give a strange unity of life to the dull iron in the bowels of the earth and the magical sun-beam which paints the forest leaves. "Adam Smith, a Scottish Professor of Morals, in the middle of the last century, as he ranged through the great topics of moral and social life, wan- dered into one of these corners, and the Wealth of Nations was the first result. Of this corner-struck light' gradually, slowly, and inevitably, millions have felt the genial warmth and brightness, not indeed within the brain as yet, but tingling in the shape of comfort and nutrition through every artery of their frame ; and, what is more to-the present purpose, in the year 1826 pressed this science by force in the University of Paris in the year 1848, as religious enthusiasm might perhaps suppress it now, because it does not base itself upon principles (Christian or social) which approve themselves 'to many who think alike ' ; but, notwithstanding all discouragement, in the year 1849 it was formally embodied at Oxford in the very curriculum of University studies, by the sober and general judgment of men not over-hasty in improvement.
"In these, as in many other branches of knowledge, some bold bright man has visited the corner and put up his light, and soon a strange humour has seized the whole chamber and all the palace of knowledge.. The light set up has burnt on and brightened, and the corner, and the walls which made it, have been seen to be no corner nor walla at all, but the creatures of dark- ness, ignorance, and fancy ; and as these partitions have dissolved away, 'the corner light of the httle room' has become the central light of a great palace; and round it all the more ancient lamps stand ranged, with paler effect and in a subsidiary position."
Mr. J. Conington, of University College, has contributed a valuable appendix on the recent scholarship of Germany, in an- swer to Dr. Pusey's assertion that a Professorial System does not tend to produce good books. It forms an excellent guide to the best editions of the classical writers now in use, as well as a triumphant reply to the Regius Professor of Hebrew.
Perhaps we should have pleased our readers better had we given a full analysis of Professor Vaughan's pamphlet, instead of mis- cellaneous talk of our own about Oxford and Cambridge Reform. We would have done this, had we not preferred that such an able and pleasingly-written work, compressed into a hundred pages, should be read without curtailment. Some of Professor Vaughan's opinions are not exactly in correspondence with our own, but they are opinions not dogmatically stated without ample argumentative justification, and they deserve careful attention.