19 NOVEMBER 1921, Page 16


SCHOLARSHIP AND SERVICE.* THE university plays a much greater part in the life of America than it does as yet in the life of England: Happily, however, this disgrace, for it is a disgrace to us to have kept university training as the privilege of the few, is rapidly passing away. Very soon we shall have here most of the advantages which the Americans get from their system of widespread university life and in addition certain other advantages which they do not enjoy. No great town or great centre of population without its university should be the ideal, and to that we are rapidly approaching. The sympathy with, and comprehension of, universities, which is the nett step, will not be long in coining. When the thousands of young men who are now being trained in the provincial universities, and just entering the professions and public callings, become pillars of the State, we, too, shall have a university atmosphere—an atmosphere in which a book

4ciagarakipand Service. My Nicholas Murray Butler. New York Scrihners.

like that before us will awaken interest and sympathy, in the minds not of the few, but of the mass of educated Englishmen.

Though Dr. Murray Butler, President of Columbia 'University, can appeal to so vast an audience on the topic of "Scholarship and Service," meaning thereby the policies and ideals of a national university in a modern democracy, it must not be supposed that everything is perfect in the American university system. There are plenty of hopes and dreams to be carried out, plentyof failings to be set right, plenty of old errors to be got rid of and of new lights to be introduced. The true university is the very last place which can rest and be thankful, be content to live upon its reputation or to enjoy the things that others understand- " the home of slumber and of thoughtless meditation." Unless it can be quickened by new thought and the spreading of new ideas its doom is certain.

Therefore, Dr. Murray Butler's book is no mere panegyric, but full of wise warnings and sound advice. - Particularly excellent is the Introduction. There the author goes straight

to the point and attacks the foolish error that the university is a school—a mere place of education. The introduction is so excellent and so concise that we shall not hesitate to quote it in full :- " Of all institutions which modern man has built to give form and purpose to his civilization, the university is least understood. The Law, the State, the Church are eagerly dis. cussed and disputed, but their meaning is a matter of general agreement. That the same may not be said of the university is due in large part to the university itself. The university has persisted in looking upon itself, and therefore has been largely looked upon, as merely an advanced type of school for the training of youth. In fact, however, the training of youth is a mere incident in the work of the Modern university, which has been brought into being primarily to satisfy and to give body to the restless search of the human spirit for truth. It is the business of the university untiringly to seek for truth in all its forms, to hold fast to truth once gained, and to interpret it. The university in modern life represents, as did the cathedral in the Middle Ages, the noblest convictions and emotions of the human spirit. The cathedral was used as a place of religious worship to be sure, but its pointed arches, its pinnacles, and its majestic and harmonious beauty added to worship a physical expression of the noblest aspiration of those peoples who were then in the van of civilization. In like manner the university is certainly a place where youth are taught, but its existence, its many-sided activity, and its widespread influence give evi- dence of the purpose of mankind to make new conquests of the unknown and now uses of those conquests. The university that is not conscious of its real meaning and of the part which it may play in the history of the life of civilized man is e university in name only. The papers that follow are an effort to interpret the modern university in terms of its ideals, of its problems, and of its counsels. Although the illustrations are drawn from the life of but one university, the principles which they make plain are common to all universities worthy of the name that seek to minister to the mind and the spirit of man, organized in his modern democratic society."

That is admirably put. We like particularly the comparison of the university to the cathedral of the Middle Ages. Those who founded the mediaeval university like the Mediaeval cathedral had laid hold of one very important principle. There

must always be open doors at the university. It must be a place to which men starving for knowledge and with a hunger

for learning new and old could throng how and when they wished. The light was burning. All were free to seek its illumination, and none dared to put it out or to dim or hide its radiance. The modern university must still keep this ideal before it as strongly as "ever. No doubt we cannot have quite the unehar-

tered freedom that the mediaeval university had. That often led to riot, disorderly conditions and unrest, which suited ill with learning and the discipline of the mind. It prevented the growth

of the very things that the university wished to encourage. Still, the idea of free access to free minds, the opening wide of the windows of the soul upon the glorious and divine prospects of sky and earth must never be forgotten. He who refuses to the thirsty soul the cup of learning, though he has drunk of it himself, must be held accursed. He is as base as the man who on the battle-field will not share his crust with a comrade. lie

should all be Sidneys on the battle-field of the soul, and in her

great adventure to overcome the powers of darkness. The claim that the university is primarily a place of learning and

not a place of education is, of course, no new discovery. It is, however, just one of those things which, though true and obvious and well known, are almost sure to be forgotten. The

education of youth is so necessary, so attractive per se, and .5‘ little able to wait, that it is often difficult to get more than hp-

service for the idea of pure learning and research. But let no on suppose that those who insist that the university is essentially the place where the Vestals of the mind guard the sacred flame -do not realize that the university should also be a place of education. So long as Education does not claim a monopoly, -nothing could be better than that the university should be bicameral. In one chamber the student should be discovered unsphering not merely Plato but the universe. In the other, -the youths should be trained to be good citizens and good scholars. There is nothing so stimulating to young minds, nothing so likely to keep them eager and keen, as the sight of great men doing greet things in the intellectual field. Therefore, it is always wise that the State should do honour to its universities and to those who preside over them, and encourage men of light, leading and invention to remain therein.

But here we are approaching a matter of great practical -difficulty. Save ip exceptional circumstances, you will soon be unable to induce the best men to remain in the British universi- ties. They must be able to earn something equivalent to what they would earn if they brought their brains to the business market, and this they cannot at present do. We do not need to pay a great chemist as much as he would earn if he were at the head of the fermenting department in a mass-production brewery or distillery, but he must be given enough to live upon without the anxieties of penury. But, unfortunately, in our universities, though this does not, of course, apply to America, wo are very far from this ideal. If our universities, and especially Oxford and Cambridge, are to maintain the glories of their past, and none are greater, something must be done, and done quickly, to increase the pay of the rank and file of the dons, and to create prizes which will keep the ambitious within their -doors.

We have said so much about the generalities of this fascinating book that we have left little room to mention the various essays in detail. The subjects are many and various, and range from criticism of university professors by the public and the Press to university organization. Lynching, Poetry and Democracy come under -special discussion. The article on the " criticism of university professors" is amusing as well as being very much to the point. Dr. Murray Butler tells us how one of the most absorbing occupations of a College President is his correspondence and the extraordinary nature of the com- plaints with which he has to deal. Take the following example

During the past year one amiable correspondent has attacked a university officer under the caption of a Snake at large.' The fact that the gentleman in question was not a snake but a professor and that he was not at large but in retirement, had no weight in the eyes of the writer of the letter. It appears that in this case the offence was the expression in public of a favour- able opinion as to the nutritive qualities of beer. The effect of this reported utterance on the mind of the objector was to deprive him of any modicum of reason that he may have hitherto possessed. He was and still is very much offended that the officer in question was not:subjected to some public humiliation and rebuke."

On the question of university government and administration, we are interested to note that the essay begins with the follow- ing sentence :-

" Some years ago the London Spectator invited Lord Salisbury, then Prima Minister, to read to his colleagues in the Cabinet the eighteenth chapter of Exodus, beginning at the thirteenth verse:' Murray Butler goes on to apply the principles of Exodus to a university with admirable success. The article in question ends up with the quotation of a perfectly admirable judgment by Mr. Justice Barrett, of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York. It deals with the question, of the power of the governors of a university to dismiss one of their staff. The principles of dismissal -could not be better or more fairly set forth, and apply just as well to 'English as to American condi- tions. Indeed, we defy anyone reading the judgment apart from the context to know whether he was reading from an English or an American report. And then people, both here and in America, have the hardihood to tell us that the American population has become so dilated with non-English admixtures that the great Republic) must be regarded as a completely foreign country --one as remote from us as France, Italy or Spain

Before we leave Dr. Murray Butler's book we desire to quote, though without comment, the following admirable reflection :—

" It is significant, too, that in this period of vigorous and able-bodied reaction the world should be without a poet, without a philosopher, and without a notable religious leader. The great voices of the spirit are all stilled just now, while the mad eaEssion for gain and for power endeavours to gratify itself

through the odd device of destroying what has already been gained or accomplished."

Excellent essays are those on " The New Paganism " and " The Building of Character." The first is from the Annual

Report of the President of Columbia University on Juno 30th, 1920, and the other is an opening address to the students given in 1905. These short addresses to the students are admirable for the purpose for which they are delivered. They are simple, easy, direct, and without pomposity or sense of intellectual patronage.

Taken as a whole, the book is in every way worthy of the great university over which its author presides.