Abbildungen der Seite

the range of a university system, upon any such grounds, we contend, it is impossible not to include physical studies, as a department of the very highest and most indispensable importance.

If the proper character of academical studies be that of opening the mind to the reception of truth;—of exercising it by the contemplation of the vast objects which the material universe presents; of strengthening the reasoning powers by their application to those accurate investigations, where demonstration gives a precise line of deniarcation to the territory of truth, and where exact definition reveals error;

if academical institutions are specially designed to encourage and inculcate those abstract studies, which in the ordinary career of professional preparation might be overlooked from the want of direct and immediate convertibility to the purposes of practical utility, or the acquisition of wealth ;—then we say, taking the matter in any point of view in which these undeniable first principles are recognized, the physical sciences must be allowed to hold a most important position in the system. We do not mean physical investigation carried to all those refinements which abstruse research into the more recondite laws of material agency requires; but we mean a general elementary acquaintance with those common principles, whose application is witnessed in the daily phenomena of the natural world around us. Now to the acquisition of such knowledge as this, it cannot be said that any faculties, however limited, are incompetent; for the neglect of such elementary studies no want of genius can be pleaded. The very redundancy of imaginative power, which may feel a reluctance to submit to the trammels of sober investigation, will yet, in the unbounded region of contemplation here opened to it, derive the purest gratification. Thus if we make the most liberal allowance for the fair indulgence of individual tastes, and for accommodation to all kinds of intellectual wants, still we can fairly contend, that a course of study in which physical knowledge forms no necessary part, is marked by a most palpable defect.

From what we have just said, it is evident that we are contending for the recognition of these studies, not merely in the

way of reward and encouragement to those few who are, by natural taste and ability, disposed to cultivate them to a great extent; not merely by university prizes and honours, to be contended for at the option of the student; but by making some attainments in these departments, however humble, obligatory on all. We would by no means neglect any judicious methods of bringing forward distinguished merit;



but we look upon it as a far more important portion of the objects of a general system of liberal education, both to require some acquaintance with those subjects from all, and at the same time to hold out all possible inducements to those of all degrees of pretension to improve themselves to the utmost of their ability. The perfection, in short, of a system of academical honours is, we conceive, to bring out to the utmost, every amount and every variety of talent which may exist, and every degree of improvement which may have been attained, among students of every grade of ability.

The object can only be denied to be a just and desirable one, by those who are blind to every consideration connected with intellectual improvement, and are incapable of appreciating its advantages; and we have the satisfaction of having ascertained, that many in the university, even of those who do not concur in some of the particular measures which have · been suggested as the means of promoting it, yet fully agree with the proposers of them in the importance of the object.

In our remarks on the plan suggested in Professor Powell's pamphlet, referred to in our former Number, we have all along distinguished the end from the means. The end is the general cultivation of physical science throughout the university—the means proposed were certain measures connected with the better arrangement of the examination system, and the class-paper. These particular measures even their advocates have professed themselves willing to give up or modify, as far as it can be shown that any alteration in them will better tend to promote the object in view. Nothing of this kind, however, has been made to appear, and we still remain convinced, that the publication of the names in the 5th, or o qoroi class, would tend to make the 4th and 3rd more valuable, they being at present rather shunned than sought for;—that the adoption of a graduated scale of classification, instead of the present alphabetical arrangement in each class, would render the line of separation between each less painfully marked to the unsuccessful aspirant; and, coupled with the necessity imposed on every candidate of doing something, of appearing somewhere, in the physical as well as the classical department, would induce more activity in those studies, from the conviction that, although but a very few could be at the top, yet that those of all degrees' and ability would find their places somewhere, within the present invidious and marked distinctions. Thus an encouragement would be held out to all to do their best, and few would content themselves with barely passing the lowest grade, and, as at present is the case with the great majority, aiming at nothing else than the very lowest amount of qualification necessary to carry them through their examination; neglecting every thing which lies beyond that limit, and following out just so much as does fall within it, in the most servile and unimproving spirit of compulsory drudgery.

In the absence of all recognition of the great principles which we have been contending for in the system of the university, we cannot conclude without mentioning, with due praise, one solitary and partial instance of improvement.

The present dean of Christ Church has introduced a measure, (applying of course only to his own college, but certainly the greatest and most valuable step in the amelioration of the course of study which has yet taken place. He has enjoined upon every undergraduate in that college, to attend one course of the public lectures on experimental philosophy, and has secured its efficiency by an examination. This has now gone on with great success for about three years.

Thus, it has been for the first time discovered (though only in one college) that academical education ought to include some knowledge of physical science. Yet it is not in any degree the less creditable to the individual head, that immediately on coming into office he did what his predecessors ought to have done long ago; and what ought to be adopted not only in and by every other college, but as a public university measure.

Just as we are bringing these remarks to a close, another curious instance of academical legislation has occurred.

Certain property, producing about 301. per annum, has recently become available for university purposes. It was agreed to found a scholarship to encourage some branch of learning. In the present appropriation of academical patronage in Oxford, what branch would it be supposed was selected as standing most in need of such assistance? When we consider that classical literature, in all its branches, is already the privileged road to scholarships and fellowships, besides being the main qualification for the degree; that, among the several departments of these studies, the knowledge of the Latin language, and a facility of composition, have always been regarded as of principal importance in all the examinations, and that, moreover, it is encouraged by two public prizes annually; that the mathematical and physical sciences have only one scholarship bestowed upon them and are purely optionalfor the degree examination, and that modern literature has no encouragement or prize whatever :-our readers will be prepared to anticipate, that Latin Composition

[ocr errors]

was of course fixed upon by the legislators of the university, And though an opposition was got up by a few of the real friends of science, (from which some of its professing friends nobly absconded,) yet Latin-already overgorged with all the good things of rich endowments-was allowed to snatch up this one trifling mouthful more, out of the lips of the starving sciences, by a majority of twenty-eight to nine.


IN ENGLAND AND WALES. The term Unitarian is here used to designate generally those Christians who do not admit the doctrine of the Trinity. It includes, first, those who have formed themselves into religious societies, expressly under the name of Unitarians; secondly, those who, agreeing in opinion entirely or for the most part with the Unitarians, yet retain the name Presbyterian, (or English Presbyterian,) by which they have been long distinguished from the Independents and Baptists; and thirdly, the Unitarian General Baptists. These last, though the original stock of the General Baptists, are now only a small part of that body ; they agree with other Unitarians, in rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, but differ from them in practising baptism on adults and by immersion. Of the aggregate numbers of those who are designated by the above appellations, it is difficult to form an accurate estimate, since no exact census can be taken of those who acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority, and whose association for public purposes is entirely voluntary. Perhaps we shall not be very far wrong in estimating the English Presbyterians or Unitarians at 75,000, and the Unitarian General Baptists at 3,000. These numbers include the whole Unitarian community, and of course the children ; but not Day and Sunday school children, whom we shall presently enumerate, and many of whose parents seldom attend religious worship, or are not in communion with any Christian church.

The means of education among these bodies of Christians may be stated as follows:

1.-Colleges. 1. Manchester College, York, for an account of which see the following article.

2. The Carmarthen Academy. This institution may be said to owe its foundation to the eminently learned Rev. Samuel Jones, (the friend of South,) who was, by the Bartholomew Act, ejected from his living in Glamorganshire. He, after this, devoted his time to the

business of education, and with his other pupils received into his house several young men designed for the ministry among the Nonconformists. On the formation of the Presbyterian Fund in 1689, the managers granted exhibitions to students under his tuition, designed for the supply of the Welsh Dissenting churches. After Mr. Jones's death, the education of divinity students was undertaken in succession by several other ministers of eminence, in South Wales, sometimes at one place, sometimes at another, as proper tutors could be found. For a while the Academy was held at Carmarthen, afterwards in Radnorshire, then at Abergavenny, and next at Haverford West, whence it was brought back to Carmarthen. It was afterwards, for several years, at Swansea, but, for more than thirty years, it has been again stationed at Carmarthen. During the whole period, the Presbyterian fund has provided the principal part of the exhibitions for the students, and of the salaries for the tutors; and, for upwards of seventy years, the whole expense has been borne by that institution, aided only by occasional exhibitions from other sources. There are, at present, two tutors,—the Rev. — Peter, who teaches Theology, and the Rev. D. Lloyd, M.A. who teaches the Classics, Mathematics, Belles Lettres, &c. The ordinary number of students maintained on the foundation is twelve, and the course of instruction extends through four years. No doctrinal test is imposed, and students are in consequence admitted who hold various opinions on religious doctrines.

3. To a certain extent, Unitarian students have the benefit of eight exhibitions of 401. each, on the late Dr. Williams's Foundation, at Glasgow.

4. The Unitarian General Baptists have an Education Fund, on which they have always one, and sometimes two students training up for the ministry. These students are educated in the Metropolis, and, since the opening of the London University, have attended the classes of literature and science in that institution.

II.--Schools for the Middle Classes. There are annong the Unitarians no endowed schools whatever for the education of boys from the middle classes of society; but many of the ministers in this connexion keep private schools, which are, of course, supported chiefly by those of their own denomination.

III.-Schools for the Poor. In order to ascertain what is done by the Unitarians in

« ZurückWeiter »