30 JANUARY 1926, Page 18


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.

Sni,—Experience at Cambridge, examining in History Greats at Oxford and much external knowledge of their teaching and school, and residence also as a teacher at Harvard make me venture a few observations on Mr. E. F. Carritt's criticism of Professor Morrison's views on Oxford.

(1) I think-the average working time of a supervises of history either at Oxford or Cambridge, together with certain other indispensable college duties, makes, it difficult or almost ha- possible for Such a man to produce "first-class books." I think it will be found tuch books cadonly be produced by men with the relative leisure of a Reader or a Profeisor. This is beeause *a residential university, like Oxford Or Cambridge, imposes Obligations on the aVerage college don from which a university, like the average 'American one, is exempt. For my experience it that suPervision is more exhausting than any amount Of lecturing. * (2) It seeilig to Me quite ii possible to contend that the general historical education, 'undoubtedly conferred by the cut-denim!' at Oxford and Cambridge, in any way trains and fits a min for research.. In Stet, if it does 'Sc,, it fails- of its object, which is to give a man an acquaintance with political, historical and economic subjects likely* to be useful to him in after life, and it is just the general, and not the special type of education which is cultivated fcir this pur- pose. '(3) To be a trained historian a man wants a special training, just as he does to be a lawyer, a bureaucrat, or a soldier. My own experience would suggest that only the very best men can afford to dispense with such skilled direction. The D.Phil. at Oxford and Ph.D. at Cambridge have produced at both universities a type of researcher who needs skilled aid and advice. Cambridge has met this difficulty by creating_ a Research Board which .appoints and pays a Director of Studies to each individual historical student researching for the Ph.D. If Oxford does not already do this, 1 feel sure she will ultimately adopt the same method, which I believe preferable to that of a The Athenaeum, Pall Mall, S.W.1. .