CHURCH AND COLLEGE
USE AND ABUSE of LITERARY AND ECCLESIASTICAL ENDOWMENTS.
General Argument in Favour of Endowments.
1. It has not been found
necessary to endow an establishment for supplying a population with any of the
articles of ordinary merchandize. We have not, for example, a national
establishment of bakers, or tailors, or masons, as we have of school-masters,
professors, and clergymen. And the reason is quite obvious why the former kind
of establishment is uncalled-for. The physical wants or appetites of our nature
guarantee an effective demand for the various articles of physical indulgence.
Rather than want food, or clothes, or lodging, man will exert himself to the
uttermost, that, either by his labour or the price of his labour, he may be
enabled to purchase these indispensable accommodations. They whose office it is
to provide such accommodations, do not need to be remunerated by the State for
their services; for, in the price which customers are willing to give rather
than want them, they find a sufficient remuneration. It is thus that the
providing of a nation with what may be termed the physical necessaries of life,
may be safely confided to the spontaneous operation of the principle of demand
and supply. It is in fact a se1f-regulating interest, and should, in as far as
government is concerned, be simply let alone.
2. The same is true of what may further be termed the common, or the physical luxuries of life. For these the vanity and the sensuality of man together, will secure a sufficiently energetic demand, on the part of all who can afford to purchase them. There is no danger lest, up to the measure of their wealth, men will not be induced to expend enough for the higher gratifications of appetite; or that, rather than want them, they will not afford a full remunerating price for the various articles of parade and luxury. The tradesmen, or the merchants who provide these articles, do not need to have their recompense helped out by Government; for they can find a full recompense in the wealth and good-will of their own customers. And, even should there not be the will along with the wealth, there is no national interest at all hurt or put to hazard, although so many of the affluent of our land should choose to live penuriously, or to abridge the style and splendour of their establishments. At least, it does not seem to be any object of national policy, to stimulate, by public encouragement, and at the public expense, the supply of luxuries beyond what is called for by the native demand and disposition of the people themselves. This, too, therefore, is treated by Government as a self-regulating interest; and, as such, is also let alone.
3. It is this principle of letting things alone, which, a truly wise and beneficent principle in its application to all the articles of ordinary merchandise, forms the essence of the philosophy of free trade. In general commerce, the two elements of demand and supply should be left to balance each other, and to find their own proper adjustment. The hand of legislation, when it intermeddles with this mechanism, only deranges it; and, whether it does so by its artificial restrictions, or its artificial bounties, it is sure to lessen and to retard the prosperity of a nation. There is no patriotic interest served by the commodities of ordinary trade being multiplied beyond what the people of the land are both willing to use, and able to pay for. It is thus that an endowment in behalf of the wine trade, or the tobacco trade, or the sugar trade, or, which is the same thing, the annexation of a bounty either to the production or the importation of these articles, would, in these days, be deemed an outrage on all the maxims of a sound political economy. It would rank among the senilities of a darker age, which are now exploded, and have long gone by alike disowned by the present generation of statesmen, and revolting to the liberal and enlightened spirit of our modern science.
4. Now, this principle, of such undoubted truth and value in its application to the business of trade, has also been applied to the business of education. The same exceptions have been taken against an endowment in behalf of learning, which are now taken, by every sound economist, against a bounty. It is held to be an interference with the free operation of that demand, to which it is imagined that the whole supply of a nations scholarship may be left. Thus it is that Dr Adam Smith has, by what we cannot help regarding as an unlucky generalization, transferred his masterly argument for freedom in trade, and transferred it in all its secularity, to the question of literary and religious establishments. It is needless, by any artificial encouragement, to stimulate the supply of mercantile commodities beyond what the nation shall spontaneously require. And by many it has been held alike needless to stimulate, by artificial encouragement, the supply either of literary or Christian instruction beyond what the nation shall spontaneously require. And so, opposition to endowments, whether of a scholastic or an ecclesiastical nature, has assumed, in some degree, a philosophical aspect; or, which is still more imposing, it stands forth with a certain aspect of noble and generous liberty.
5. This hostility to the cause of such endowments meets also with powerful reinforcement from other quarters. In addition to those who have arrayed themselves against them on speculative principles, or as the disciples of a school, there are many who view them with an evil eye, from a secret disaffection towards the existing or established order of things. It would appear that, in this country, where a political opposition is often so powerful, and perhaps at all times so necessary, there is engendered, in regard to them, from this source alone, an adverse feeling, the leaven of a certain distaste or dislike for these endowments. One of the mightiest bulwarks in the hands of an administration, for perpetuating their own security and strength, is their church and university patronage - nor should we wonder, therefore, if it be one of those objects of attack against which the hostility of assailants is directed. Among our more temperate oppositionists, this feeling may amount to little more than coldness towards a system of literary and ecclesiastical benefices. But many are the fiery and resolute spirits of our age with whom it amounts to a fierce and keen antipathy. This we hold to be a reigning ingredient in the spirit of radicalism, whose champions eye, with like disdain, the pampered sluggards of our church, and the monks of our colleges.
6. Certain it is, that, by a corrupt and careless exercise of patronage, much has been done to call forth, if not to justify, even the warmest invectives that have been uttered upon this subject. When one thinks of the high and the holy ends to which an established priesthood might be made subservient, it is quite grievous to observe the sordid politics which have to do with so many of our ecclesiastical nominations. Endowments cease to be respectable when, in the hands of a calculating statesman, they degenerate into the instruments by which he prosecutes the game of ambition; or, when employed as the bribes of political subserviency, they expose either our church or our universities to be trodden under foot by the unseemly inroads of mere office-mongers. It is thus that a land may at length be provoked to eject from its borders the establishment either of an indolent or immoral clergy, wherewith it is burdened; and to look, without regret, on the spoliation or the decay of revenue in colleges. It is truly not to be wondered at, if the poverty neither of lazy priests, nor of lazy and luxurious professors, should meet with sympathy from the public. The same generous triumph that was felt on the destruction of the old monasteries, still continues to be felt on the destruction of every old and useless frame-work; so that, when either a church becomes secularized, - or universities, instead of being the living fountain-heads, become the dormitories of literature, they will, sooner or later, be swept off from the country ky the verdict of popular condemnation.
7. The evils of a corrupt ecclesiastical patronage are more patent to society at large; but the evils of a corrupt literary patronage are not less revolting, or less fitted to scandalize the feelings of those who are exposed, in the place which they happen to occupy, to the painful observation of them. They are evils to which, we should imagine, a provincial college may be more peculiarly liable; and especially, if it have become the freehold of some great courtier, who, awake to no generous impulse of literary enthusiasm himself, can make unfeeling havoc of that learning which is so fitted to grace and dignify a land, at the shrine of his own ignoble politics. It completes the heartless deformity of such a spectacle, when the subordinate agents of this foul desecration do themselves mingle in the proceedings of the academic body, tn virtue of the place or the occupancy which they so unworthily hold within the venerable walls. It is truly a wretched contemplation, when, in the busy management of present or pending vacancies, one can behold the play of no other elements than the basest elements of sordidness. The effect is, that those chairs whence the richest wisdom and philosophy might have emanated on the youth of our nation, are remorselessly filled by individuals who may have nought whatever of the breath, or temperament, or talent of academic men. Their literary corporation may become, in every way, as coarse and unintellectual, as any secular corporation in the land. And we are not to wonder if its respectability cannot long withstand this gothic invasion of lordly power, and reckless or unprincipled patronage.
8. In these various ways, then, the cause, whether of literary or religious endowments, has fallen into discredit; and he who undertakes to plead for them, has strong prepossessions to strive against. The tendency is, to treat learning as we should any marketable commodity; that is, leave it to the effective demand of those who may incline to purchase it, and which demand is sure to meet, as in every other instance, with a proportionate supply. In this way, it is imagined that the public eye will cease to be offended by the spectacle of an obnoxious patronage; and that we shall have the same security for a sound, and good, and valuable literature, that we have for sound and good. articles in ordinary trade - that is, free choice amongst the buyers, meeting with an equal and unfettered competition amongst the sellers or providers of the thing in question. This monopoly of education will cease, it is argued, when the bounty or the exclusive privilege is withdrawn from it; and the impression, founded on an obscure analogy is, that, as by the abolition of all other monopolies, the public will be better served. We have no doubt of a preference, in many minds, for the London University over those of Oxford and Cambridge, grounded on the economic consideration which we now specify, and greatly strengthened by the experience of many corrupt appointments, and of much indolence and inefficiency in these privileged seats of learning. Nevertheless, though in opposition both to popular feeling, and to the principles of a certain philosophic school, we venture to plead the cause of literary and ecclesiastical endowments, convinced as we are that Learning, on the one hand, and Christianity on the other, would suffer from the extinctioin of them in the land.
9.. For, first, Learning is not like an article of ordinary merchandize, or at least is not like to it in that only respect which would make endowments unnecessary. It is not true that, upon this artificial encouragement being withdrawn, there would remain an adequate encouragement in the native and spontaneous demand of the people for education. There is an utter dissimilarity between the mental appetite for knowledge, and the physical appetite for those necessaries, or even those luxuries of life, which constitute the great materials of commerce. It is not with the desire of knowledge, as it is with the desire of food. Generally speaking, the more ignorant a man is, the more satisfied he is to remain so. But the more hungry a man is, the less satisfied he is to remain so. In the one case, the starvation of the mind is followed up by the apathy of an utter disregard for the food of the mind. In the other case, the starvation of the body is followed up by the agony of an intolerable desire after the food of the body, and to appease which any exertion or sacrifice will be made. There is no such appetite for knowledge as will secure a spontaneous and originating movement towards it, on the part of those who need to be instructed. There is such an appetite for food as will secure a spontaneous and originating movement towards it, on the part of those who need to be subsisted. In the matter of education, the supply of the article cannot be confided to the operation of demand and supply; for there is not a sufficiently effective demand. There is an abundant guarantee in the laws and constitution of sentient nature, for an effective demand in the matter of human subsistence.
10. It is this difference truly in the strength of the desire,, or the demand, which forms the real distinction between the two cases; so that, while an endowment may be necessary in the one, it may, in the other, be wholly uncalled for. Government does not need to erect shops for the sale of the necessaries of life; or to help out, by a salary to the dealers, that price which customers, rather than want the necessaries, are willing to give for them. But Government may need to erect schools; and to help out, by a salary to teachers, that price which the people are not willing to give for education. It is because of the strength of the physical appetite, and because of the languor of the intellectual or the spiritual appetite, that the same political economy which is sound in matters of trade, is not sound in matters either of literary or Christian instruction. This is a subject on which the people need to be met half way. The motion for their education will not be begun, or be made, in the first instance, by themselves. It must therefore be made for them by others. A people sunk in ignorance will not emerge from it by any voluntary or self-originated act of their own. In proportion to their want of knowledge, is their want of care for it. It is as necessary to create hunger amongst them, as it is to make the provision. They will not go in quest of scholarship. The article must be offered to them; and offered to them with such recommendations of a payment that is moderate, and a place that is patent and easily accessible, as may at least draw their notice, and call forth their demand for it.
11. And after the aggressive movement has been made in this way; after, for example, the schoolhouse has been raised, and a moderate school-fee has been proclaimed throughout its vicinity, there is a charm in the very juxtaposition and name of such an edifice, which will at length operate more powerfully on the side of general education, than even the argument of its cheapness. Some families will avail themselves of such an arrangement at the outset; and others, by the mere force of imitation, will be led to follow them; and the official fabric, known to all the neighbours by its familar and oft- repeated designation, will at length bind itself to the habits and affections of them all. What was at first an occasional practice will grow in time to a constant and regular one, till at length the scholarship of the young shall beeome one of those recognized and established decencies which all hold to be incumbent upon them. It will come to be incorporated with the habits of families, and be transmitted from one generation to another with the mechanical certainty of any local or geographical peculiarity in the customs of the people. They never would have made the initial movement themselves, either for building the school, or for making out a full remuneration to the schoolmaster. Yet, when once the school is built for them, and partial payment has been made of the fee, by means of a salary, the fabric thus raised and endowed becomes a signal of invitation, that is at length responded to by all the families of the district. So that, while, without this expedient, the country may, in respect of scholarship, be one desolate and unprovided waste, or at least present many large and intervening tracts, among the rare occasional spaces reclaimed by a gratuitous philanthropy; with this expedient, the blessings of popular education may come to be fully and equally diffused over the surface of the land.
12. Hence the universality of education in the lowland parishes of Scotland. The people are not taught gratuitously; for, by a small quarterly payment, they are made to share in the expense of the education of their families; but the remaining share is, by the law, devolved upon others. It consists of a salary which enables the schoolmaster to teach upon moderate terms, and of a school and school-house, with a garden, by which education is visibly obtruded upon the notice of every little vicinity. To this extent, the offer of education may be said to have been made; and it is an offer that has been, met by the nearly unexcepted consent and co-operation of the Scottish peasantry. Had it not been for this aggression upon them from without, the people would have. felt no impulse towards educatIon from within, and so would have stood fast in their primeval ignorance. It is the scholastic establishment of our land, that has called its people out of that quiescence and lethargy, in which every people are, by nature, so firmly imbedded. It has drawn them forth of this strong-hold; and awoke from their dull imprisonment, those higher and greater faculties which lie so profoundly asleep among a people, who, till addressed by some such influence, are wholly engrossed with animal wants and animal enjoyments. In other words, it is to a great national endowment that our national character is beholden. Those generous sensibilities, which have been so vehemently wreaked in ire and hostility against the cause, may perhaps be pacified, and even enlisted upon its side, when it comes to be understood that it is to an endowment in fact, to that against which some of the sons of liberty and patriotism have been heard to lift their eloquence, that Scotland stands indebted for her well-taught and well-.conditioned peasantry.
13. But more than this. We now see that the parochial establishment of schools not only provided, in part, the learning; but, what was of greater importance still, created the appetite for it in the minds of the people. Nor is this an appetite that would go suddenly into extinction, even were the establishment swept away. After the habit of scholarship has been formed and matured among a people, it might, though left to its own energy, abide and linger with them for several generations. There was, in the first instance, no native demand for the article to encourage a supply of it; but, in the course of time, such a taste, and such a demand may have been excited, that the people, now led to regard education almost in the light of a necessary, may, on the aid of endowments being withdrawn, be willing to part with the whole price for it rather than want it altogether. In proof of this, we may refer to those cases where the people are dissatisfied with the established schoolmaster, either from his incapacity or from some other cause. They send their children to a subscription school.; and, in the shape of a higher fee than the parochial one, give the whole price for education. The same thing is observed in towns or populous parishes, where the number of families outstrips the established means of instruction. The people now do what they would not have done a few generations ago. Independently of the establishment, and without any aid from its provisions, but on the strength of their own payments alone, they defray the whole expense of their childrens scholarship. But it is in virtue of a taste which the establishment has created. Its endowments have thus elevated our plebeian classes, and given them this higher mental ambition. But for those endowments, the people of the land would still have been in a state of mental apathy; and, to the parochial establishment of schools, do we owe not merely a provision of knowledge for our peasantry, but the creation among them of an appetite for knowledge beyond what itself can at all times supply.
14. It were a mistake, however, to imagine, that, after having achieved this service, it would be safe to dispense with an establishment; or that, after having raised the appetite for education, the future supply of education might be left to the working of this appetite alone. This, at best, were a hazardous experiment; and, even though it could be attempted without any decline on the part of the common people from the level of their present scholarship, the upholding of an establishment were still desirable as an instrument for raising, and that infinitely, the standard of popular education.
15. It is thus that the effect which we now advert to may be made palpable. Conceive, that, with the aid of the parochial endowment, the average quarterly payment for education is at present two shillings and sixpence; but that the people, rather than forego an advantage which they have now learned to value, would, of their own accord, pay five shillings a-quarter. It would, in this case, be all the more safe to pull down the establishment, and leave the interest of education to be sustained by the now effective demand of the people for it. But a far better use to make of their now advanced taste would be, by retaining the establishment, to advance the quality of that scholarship which it was wont to deal out among the families. If, for two shillings and sixpence a-quarter, with the endowment superadded, men can be found to furnish the people with their present homelier education; then, for five shillings a-quarter, with the same endowment, men could be found to furnish them with a higher education. This effect might be enhanced by a contemporaneous increase of the salary along with the fees; and those schools where English reading, and writing, and the most elementary arithmetic, are now all that is taught, might come to have a higher and more extended course, including a classical education for some, and a popular mathematics, with its most useful application, for others, and even natural history, in some of its more pleasing and accessible departments, for all. Such seems to be the readiest way of bringing teachers, more accomplished than before, into contact with the general population; while they, on the other hand, may be carried indefinitely upwards, as if, by successive lifts from one generation to another, along the career of an ascending scholarship. The cause of popular education would thus move forward with other things. And these endowed schools, at every step in this advancement of the plebeian taste, might, by a concurrent force, help the people forward to those higher acquisitions after which they had now learned to aspire.
16. But this virtue which there is in endowments for giving effect, in future, to the eventual demand of the people for a higher scholarship, carries the attention upward to those higher seminaries which exist at present, for the education of the more affluent classes in society. It is a mistaken imagination, that their affluence alone forms a sufficient guarantee for such an effectual demand as could itself call forth all the philosophy and all the science that have flourished in time past, and that might be made to flourish still more under a system of endowments. There might be enough of individuals in society, who have the means of giving an adequate price for this higher scholarship. But there might not be enough of individuals who have the taste that would incline them to the expensive purchase of such a scholarship. What is to every one acquainted with the Parish Schools of Scotland during the last thirty years, the improvement which has taken place in popular education must be quite obvious. It were most desirable, however, that the salaries of the masters were augmented, even though, to maintain the balance between that part of their income which is fixed, and that part of it which fluctuates with their own exertions, there should along with this be a contemporaneous increase of the fees. In this way, the burden of the whole augmentation would be divided between the heritor and the parents of the scholars. There is a very general disposition to under-rate the capabilities of the latter, and, accordingly, it is alleged that they are not able to bear their share of the burden. They, notwithstanding, do pay larger fees than they did half.acentury ago and they are often found, for the sake of a better education to their children, to pay the much larger fees of a subscription school true of a people in total ignorance with reference to elementary learning, is also true of the people who have been only schooled thus far in reference to the more arduous and loftier acquisitions of learning. They who occupy the lowest platform, even that of entire destitution in regard to knowledge, will not, if left to themselves, aspire and move upward to the platform which is immediately above them. But neither will they who occupy this second ascent, look, with a sufficient force of desirousness, above their existing level, so as to work themselves up to the third or fourth stages of this ascending progression. If, at the outset, there is such an apathy to knowledge in the land, that endowments were called for to originate and continue even the humblest kind of scholarship; still there is such a want of all lofty mental ambition, that endowments are yet called for to originate and sustain the higher kinds of scholarship. When people are at zero in the scale of knowledge, it is not by any native buoyancy of theirs, but by the application of a force from without, that they are elevated one degree in the scale. And, when raised thus far, it is still not by any inherent buoyancy, but by an external power, that they are brought and upheld higher in the scale. Now, they are the universities, the endowed and privileged universities, which act with this external power upon society. They are so many forces whose tendency is to draw the people upward from that state, as to education, to which they would subside, and in which they would settle, if left to themselves. Insomuch that, upon the existence of such endowments, well patronized, turns all the difference between a high and a low state of philosophy in a nation.
17. To make this familiar by instances. A people, though universally accomplished by schools in elementary learning, will not lift up themselves by any inherent buoyancy of their own, to the level of that learning which should be taught in colleges. Over the whole country, there is not enough of spontaneous demand for the higher mathematics, to guarantee a sufficient maintenance for even so much as one teacher. There is an effective demand, we are aware, for as much of the science as is popular and practical, and of which the uses are quite palpable and immediate. A man without the aid of endowments will gain a livelihood, by teaching any thing that is of obvious application either to an art or a calling which is gainful. But, for all that is arduous and sublime in mathematics, for the methods of that higher calculus, the uses of which lie far remote, or are wholly invisible to the general understanding, for those lofty devices and inventions of analysis, by whicci we may hope to accomplish solutions hitherto impracticable, or to unravel mysteries in nature, which have yet eluded the keenest search of philosophy, for all these, we contend, there is ne such public request as might foster the growth and the production of them to the extent that is at all desirable. The science which germinates these in sufficient abundance, can only flourish under the shade of endowments. Without this artificial encouragement, the philosophy of our land would wax feeble, and dwindle at length into evanescence; and in all the prouder and nobler walks of discovery, we must consent to be outrun in glory by other nations.
18. Here it occurs to us to say, that what Dr Smith has stigmatized as a statute of apprenticeship in colleges, is of still greater effect in the encouragement of all loftier sciences, than what is properly an endowment. The salary enables a teacher of these sciences to live, and admit scholars on a moderate fee to his course of instruction. In this way the obstacle of expense is lessened. But it is not by the removal of an obstruction alone that a sufficient number of pupils will be drawn to a class of arduous and recondite philosophy. There must, beside this, be the operation of an attractive force; and we fear, that, for the purpose of giving sufficient intensity to such a force, something must be superadded to that native charm which is conceived to lie in the scholarship itself. And it is thus that the vulgar incentive of gain has been made to reinforce those higher incentives, which operate only on a few of the more ethereal spirits of our race. This is done by a statute of apprenticeship. To make use of a Scottish term in an argument, the purpose of which is to expound the system of Scottish universities, it is done by therling to certain of our classes all those students who are under process of education for some one of the learned professions, and making a complete course of attendance upon these classes an indispensable qualifica.. tion for the holding of its lucrative offices. For example, no one can receive a licence, or, of course, be admitted to a living in the church, what has not fulfilled a university course of natural philosophy. And we have no doubt, that, to this regulation, the college classes throughout Scotland of this noble science, are indebted for at least a sevenfold greater attendance than they would otherwise enjoy.
19. It is not a pure mental ambition which carries to these classes the majority of their pupils. Yet we have no doubt that during the attendance there, such an ambition is in very many instances awakened. The love of science was not the impellent force at the outset, which urged forward such a number of disciples to its lessons. But after they had been thus brought within the view of science, it recommended its own loveliness to the taste of many an aspiring intellect, that would have otherwise been lost to the cause of learning. Philosophy did not attract them by any native charm of her own, till, by the power of a grosser inducement, they were brought within the sphere of attraction. But it is a prodigious service to philosophy thus to bring them within the sphere; and this service is done by our statutes of apprenticeship. There have been thousands in our land, the enamoured votaries of science, who never would have felt the generous inspiration, had it not been evoked by the eloquence and the demonstrations of an academic chair, attended by them not of free will, but in conformity to those qualifying statutes, which have been so much complained of. The latent spark that was in them would still have remained in its dormancy, had it not been for the kindred touch which developed it. Philosophy at length became the mistress of their affections, but not till they were made to see her engaging mien, and to hear the music of her voice. It was a good thing to have conducted them, even though as if by a hand of violence, along the way of her fascinations. It is well that the youth of our country should thus be brought in yearly hundreds within reach of the academic influence. It will not tell beneficially upon all; but it will elicit a responsive sympathy from those who have the kindred spirit and enthusiasm within them. The flame is not awakened by the property of spontaneus ignition; but it brightens into life and lustre, at a shrine of costly maintenance, and of hallowed guardianship.
20. There are five college classes of natural philosophy in Scotland; and, by a statute of apprenticeship in our church, every aspirant to the ministry must pass through one or other of these, ere he can be admitted to his theological studies. We feel quite confident in affirming, that, but for this statute, with salaries to professorships, there would not be enough of attendance from the whole land, for securing a decent livelihood even to one professor of the science. And this scarcity of pupils would be aggravated, just in proportion to the pure, and lofty, and philosophic character of the course. If, for example, it were the transcendental aim of the professor, to accomplish his students for the perusal of La Places Mechanique celeste, we doubt if all Scotland together would furnish him with so many as twelve, that would listen to is demonstrations. At this rate, it is obvious, that no class could be formed, just because the proceeds of it could afford no adequate maintenance to a teacher. This arduous and recondite philosophy behoved to disappear, simply by ceasing to be transmitted from one generation to another. The record of it, in unknown hieroglyphics, might still be found in our libraries; but it would have no place in the living intellect of our nation.
21. Still there would be a natural philosophy taught, and even, it is possible, numerously attended by those who, in obedience to their own taste, repaired in crowds to the exhibition of its wonders. But to attract these crowds, there behoved to be a woful descent from the dignity of a high academic model. All repulsive mathematics would be exploded; and, instead of being conducted through the mysteries of astronomical science, by that arduous path on which Newton trod with gigantic footstep, it would be held enough by the pigmies of a superficial age, that they learned of orbs and of cycles from the evolutions of an orrery. The profounder studies of nature would be abandoned; and for these we should behold experimental class-rooms, filled, it might be, with hundreds who came to bestow their silly admiration on the pueriities and the paradoxes of a wretched necromancy. To uphold the severe intellectual training of our land, there must be endowments for the teacher, and compulsory statutes of apprenticeship for the taught. Without these, the philosophy of our land would sink down from the colossal strength and stateliness of a former generation into a mere popular empiricism. It would lose the masculine vigour which it once had in the Augustarin age of Englands mathematics, and fast drivel into effeminacy, with nought to feed upon but the syllabub lectures of fashionable institutes.
22 When a distinguished professor of this country hazarded the assertion, that there were not twelve British mathematicians who could read La Places great work with any tolerable facility, we fear that, alive as the whole nation is to its honour in the field of war, or political rivalship, there are but few indeed of the nation who felt the affront of being left so immeasurably behind in this highest of all intellectual rivalship, both by France and Prussia. It is verily one of the worst symptoms of our degeneracy, that almost nowhere, in the most cultured society, is the expression of regret ever heard, because that glory which a Newton shed over our country has now departed from us. Yet is it refreshing to observe in what quarter of the island it was, where the quickest sensibility was felt for the honour of British mathematics. It was in the academic bowers, - the lettered retreats of Cambridge. There the somewhat precipitate charge of our northern collegian met with a resentment in which so few can sympathize; and there also, we rejoice to behere, that it met its best refutation. And if, in that wealthy seat of learning, even twenty individuals could be found to master the difficulties of the French analysis, this, in the midst of surrounding degradation and poverty, of itself speaks volumes for endowments.
23. There would need. to be a similar descent, too, from the altitudes of moral and metaphysical science, ere a professor, who depended wholly on the spontaneous demand of his pupils, could assemble a sufficient number of them to enable him to, earn for himself a livelihood. We venture to affirm, that, but for a statute of apprenticeship, Dr Thomas Brown could not have upheld a class of fifty students, even in the metropolis of Scotland; and that to enlarge its numbers, he behoved to have let himself down from those arduous heights of recondite and original speculation on which he acquired such eminent distinction in the, walk of mental philosophy. In other words, the lustre and the glory of his discoveries might have been altogether lost to. our land, had it not been for that system of endowments which we advocate, though sometimes stigmatized as an odious and illiberal monopoly. It, is just such a monopoly as secures, to the nation, a better article, than the nation, by any free and popular movement, would have sought for itself. For philosophy, to be made palatable, must be diluted, and made of easy digestion. Like other wholesome draughts, it cannot be entirely left to the choice of those who are bettered by the administration of it. A certain degree of compulsion is necessary; and it is just such a compulsion as a statute of apprenticeship secures, and by which it commands a numerous attendance on classes that would otherwise revolt by the depth and difficulty of their subjects. There is another way, indeed, by which to overcome this native distaste of the popular understanding for the profound, the solid, and the elaborate. There might be presented to it declamation instead of disquisition;, the effusions of a shining but superficial eloquence, instead of the processes or the results of a powerful analysis; an offering of sweets and flowers to the imagination, instead of a call upon the intellect to gird itself for combat with the sophistries of Hume, or for accompanying the sounder argumentations of Bacon, and Locke, and Clarke, and Reid, and Campbell, and Butler. In this way, a class-room might be thronged with auditors, lured by the oratory of him whose lectureship is bespangled all over with the tinsel of a gaudy sentimentalism. But it is evident, that such a wretched compromise as this with the appetite of the multitude, is not the way by which to uphold a firm staple of philosophy in our land. What we gain in popular fascination, we shall lose in weight, and in massiveness; and, with no demand for the products of arduous or severe thought, we shall sink down into a generation of little minds and of little men.
24. It is certainly desirable, that a professor should be placed above the reach of a temptation So humiliating, as that of stepping down from a higher to a lower walk in science, for the purpose of there meeting with a proper number of students. Rather, if necessary, let a greater number of stepping-stones be provided, by which they may be helped upward to his level, than that he should let down his efforts, and waste himself on such lessons as are merely popular and elementary. in other words, let the system of education in schools be extended, and a far higher scholarship exacted from all who propose to enter within the limits of a college. There should be as great a distinction between the work of a university and that of a school, as there is between manhood and boyhood. Even the language professors, relieved in a greater measure than they now are from the drudgery, of those lessons, of which the sole object is to increase the practical acquaintance of their pupils with Greek and Latin, should be able to expatiate more at large on the field of taste, and criticism, and ancient history. In this event, we should not have such juvenile classes as we have at present; for the change of practice would give rise to a later, and, therefore, also to a more limited attendance of students. It would operate against the pecuniary interest of the professor, in deducting from the number of university scholars; but it would operate also in dignifying his employment, by the additional vigour and manhood that might then be imparted to university scholarship.
25. The work of a teacher may be regarded as twofold. It is his business, first, To conduct what may be called the gymnastics of education; and, secondly, By his own proper and peculiar arrangements, or by his own original views, to illustrate and extend its topics. In the former employment, it is his object to convey to the students minds the existent lessons of science or scholarship, whether these lessons have been bequeathed to him by others, or have been matured by himself. In the latter employment, he acts the higher, though not the more useful part - of either by his powers of discovery making new lessons, or by his powers of distribution making a new assortment of them. By the one exercise, he may guide his pupils over all the actual philosophy or literature of his department: by the other, he may shed upon it a brighter illumination, or push forward its boundaries. It is obvious, that, in the classical and mathematical provinces of education, there is greater room for the first of these offices; while in mental, or moral, or economical science, there is greater room for the second. It would be well, if, previous to their admission into universities, our youth described a more extended course of task-work and examination among the details of practical scholarship; not, indeed, so as altogether to supersede task-work and examination after they had left the more juvenile seminaries - but so that they might be better prepared, both by their habits and their years, for accompanying the professors in their most original speculations, and through the most arduous of their enterprises. It is thus that the country would secure a constant supply of those more exalted functionaries in science, part of whose vocation it is to build her up to a prouder altitude than before, or to extend the range of her discoveries. They might become the chief instruments for the advancement of philosophy, - the labourers who, by successive lifts, from age to age, made perpetual additions to the intellectual and literary wealth of our species.
26. A university should not be a mere gymnasium. We admit that it is too little so in Scotland, and perhaps too much so in England. Certain it, is, however, we repeat, that it were most desirable, if in our own country, the preparations of the gymnasium were greatly further advanced at the entrance of our young men into colleges. This could be managed by the establishment of a thorough scholastic system in each of our university towns, If our students came to us more advanced both in years and in scholarship, then the original and excursive and independent methods of our professors in all the higher sciences would not be so indefensible; - when, instead of having to address an audience of boys, they felt themselves sustained, even in their loftiest endeavours, by the intelligent sympathy of those who had now reached the man - hood of their understandings. It is obvious, that, in this way, the style of education might be indefinitely heightened; while, as the fruit of the services of those who laboured in the upper departments of it, there might come forth of our universities, from time to time, the richest contributions to our literature and philosophy. A college might thus be an organ, not merely for bringing the scholarship of a country up to the level of its science, but for creating a higher science, wherewith still more to raise and refine its scholarship, The colleges of Scotland, with all the defects which attach to them as practical seminaries, have, in regard to the latter of these two functions, been of the most important service in promoting both the honour and the advancement of our national literature. The truth is, that greatly more than half the distinguished authorship of our land is professorial; and, till the present generation, we scarcely remember, with the exception of Hume in philosophy, and Thomson in poetry, any of our eminent writers who did not achieve, or at least germinate, all their greatest works while labouriug in their vocation of public instructors in one or other of our universities. Nay, generally speaking, these publications were the actual product of their labour in the capacity of teachers; and passed into authorship through the medium of their respective chairs. Whatever charges may have been preferred against the methods of university eduecation in Scotland, it is at least fortunate for the literary character of our nation, that the professors have not felt, in conducting the business of their appointments, as if they were dealing altogether with boys. To this we owe, the manly, and original, and independent treatment, which so many of them have bestowed on their appropriate sciences, and by which they have been enabled to superadd one service to another. They have not only taught philosophy; they have also both rectified its doctrine , and added their own views and discoveries to the mass of pre-existent learning. They, in fact, have been the chief agents in enlarging our countrys science; and it is mainly, though not exclusively, to them that Scotland is indebted for her eminence and high estimation in the republic of letters. For the truth of this averment in regard to natural science, we may appeal to the works of Colin Maclaurin, and Robert Simson, and Matthew Stewart, and Wilson of Glasgow; and Dr Black, and Professor Robison, and the Monros, and Gregories, and Cullen and Playfair and Leslie of Edinburgh; and Hamilton of Aberdeen. And, in regard to moral and political science, we appeal to the writings of Hutcheson, and Adam Smith, and Reid, and Miller, and Campbell, and Beattie, and Dugald Stewart, and Tytler, and Ferguson, and Brown. We would, further, appropriate to the honour of our universities, the publications of Principal Robertson in history, and Dr Hill in theology, and Blair and Barron in taste and criticism, and Dr John Hunter of St Andrews in classical learning, and the philosophy of grammar. With one or two exceptions, all the authorship which we have now enumerated was of direct college fabrication; in the first instance, designed and executed for the class-room, till fitted, by successive rectifications, for presentation on a wider theatre. The colleges were the manufactories of all this literature, which they never could have been, had professors been mere practical teachers; and hence, if, along with the expedients for giving that more practical character to the education of Scotland, which it certainly requires, something be not done to uphold the independence and the contemplative leisure of its professors, the nation may come to be shorn of its intellectual greatness.
28. Dr Smith, who appears, in his Wealth of Nations, to have erred so eggregiously in his economic views on the subject of literary and ecclesiastical endowments, gives, in the same work, some very sound and admirable observations, the results, we have no doubt, of his own professorial experience, on the effect of professorial work, in perfecting the views of a master, and enabling him at length to come forth with a mature and well digested course of lessons on his own peculiar subject, for the instruction of the public at large. It is thus that his own Theory of Moral Sentiments was ripened for publication; and it is thus that his still more enduring Theory of National Wealth was at least germinated, if not a great way advanced, at the time when he relinquished his academic situation. We cannot, indeed, imagine a more favourable condition for the formation of a great literary work that shall have solid and enduring excellence, than that which is occupied by an ardent and devoted professor, whose course, by means of reiterated elaborations, receives a slow, it may be, but withal a sure and progressive improvement. Only conceive him to be fully possessed with his subject, and giving the full strength of his mind to its elucidation; and then, with the advantages of perseverance, and time, and frequent periodical reiteration of the topics of his lectureship, he is assuredly in the best possible circumstances for bequeathing to posterity some lasting memorial of industry or genius. It is by the remodellings and the revisals, every year, of his yet imperfect preparations; it is by strengthening what is weak, and further illustrating what is obscure, and fortifying some position or principle by a new argument, and aiding the conception of his disciples by some new image or new analogy; it is thus that the product of his official labours may annually acquire increasing excellence, and gradually approximate to a state of faultlessness, till at length it comes forth in a work of finished execution, and becomes a permanent addition to the classic and literary wealth of the nation. It is not so often by flashes of inspiration, as by power and patience united, that works are reared and ripened for immortality. It is not in the hasty effervescence of a mind under sudden and sanguine excitement, that a service so precious to society is generally rendered. It is when a strong, and, at the same time, a steadfast mind gives its collected energies to the task; and not only brings its own independent judgment, but laboriously collecting the lights of past erudition, brings them also to bear on the subject of its investigations; it is thus that treatises are written, and systems are framed, which eclipse the volumes of their predecessor, and, taking their place, become themselves the luminaries of future ages.
29. Such objects as these never can be carried into effect without endowments. The leisure and independence of the men who wield these high services, must in some way or other be secured. This, indeed, is as good as conceded by Dr Smith himself, in the beautiful exposition which he gives of the comparative states of literature in England and Scotland. In the former country, the church is better endowed than the universities, which, therefore, generally becomes the ultimate landing - place of her more eminent literary men, the line of preferment being in that direction. In the latter country, the universities were, in the days of Smith at least, better endowed than the church, which reversed the line of preferment, so that, in as far as patronage was associated with merit, the men of abilities who signalized themselves in Scotland, found their final destination to be among the employments of a college. In other words, there is a process for the absorption of talent going on in England - the occupier of an ecclesiastical office there, in so far as he is removed from the stimulus and the sympathies of academic converse, not being in such likely circumstances for literary exertion. A process, the opposite of this, is going on in Scotland - where the conspicuous talent of the church is more drawn to its universities; and so, in the midst of a congenial element, and amongst congenial duties, expands into greater power and productiveness, than in any other situation. It is thus that while more than half the literature of Scotlandis professorial, it is a much smaller fraction, indeed, of the literature of England which is contributed by those who are connected, by office or by employment, with either of its universities.
30. Now, from this fact, the inference deducible in favour of endowments is obvious. They contain in them that adhesive virtue, which both draws men of literary power to the places of literary employment, and detains them there. Were the value of our endowments lessened, the process of Scotland might be reversed into that of England. Or, were the endowments done away, and the remuneration of lofty science left to the payments of those who had a spontaneous demand for it, then all lofty science would depart from our universities; and the men who were most capable of sustaining the toils and advancing the honours of an arduous philosophy, would easily find a more liberal reward for the exercise of their talents, in some of the gainful walks of civil or secular employment. We have sometimes regretted, that it was in the power even of one of our most affluent noblemen, to tempt Dr Smith away from his professorship in Glasgow; or, if the injury which litérature suffered; in consequence of this divorce, was more than compensated by the gain that accrued to economic science, from his opportunities of travel and observation on the continent, there is at least one, and that the last of his preferments, which must ever be deplored by the friends of philosophy. We allude to his appointment as a Commissioner of customs, which blasted one of his greatest literary undertakings. The public lost by this, his projected work on jurisprudence; and all they got in return was a service which hundreds could have rendered as well as he, among the details and drudgeries of an official employment. We hold it to have been quite a gothic deed in our country, thus to fritter away the fine mental energies of one of the most accomplished of her soils, by setting him down with mere penmen or practitioners at a board. Surely it would have been better, if a provision, as ample as this incongruous situation afforded, could have been found for such a man within the asylum of a college, where, exempted from the fatigues and the vulgarities of ordinary business, and in the midst of a kindred society, he might have been upheld at a high pitch of literary effort and enthusiasm to the last. He ought to have been sustained, to the end of his days, in the simple and venerable capacity of a sage; and that was a disgraceful economy, which rifled from him his intellectual leisure, and robbed the commonwealth of all those fruits, wherewith, in the mellowness and maturity of his wisdom, he might still further have enriched the authorship of his land.
31. Yet hostility to such endowments often assumes the garb of a generous and high-minded patriotism. This is an evil fruit, or rather one of the evil accompaniments, of our liberty. Its jealousy, both of expense and of patronage, has given rise to a penurious system of encouragement for literary merit; and in the style of its rewards, when it does bestow them, we behold at times all the grossness of the mercantile spirit. It is because there is so much of the a la bourgeoise in the reigning policy of the land, that it gives no offence to the feelings even of our most refined and polished society, when told of Sir Isaac Newton having been Master and worker of the Mint, and Dr Smith Commissioner of Customs, and Henry Mackenzie being Comptroller of the Tax-Office, and Wordsworth an agent for stamps in the county of West-moreland, and Dugald Stewart recorder of prices in the Edinburgh Gazette; and, lastly, Sir Walter Scott a clerk to the Court of Session. It is the dread of that popular odium which attaches to pensions and sinecures, that gives rise to such incongruous and untasteful combinations, and which, under the mask of purity and public virtue, has impressed a certain taint of sordidness and plebeian coarseness on this department of the countrys affairs. At the same time, the real freedom and substantial prosperity of the inferior classes, are in no way promoted by it; and, in truth, it were a better tempered society, and would be conducive to the welfare of all its classes, if, by means of more amply rewarded talent, an aristocracy of letters could be upholden, by which to qualify and to soften the vulgar aristocracy of mere rank and power.
32. We have a continued historical illustration in favour of endowments, in the princely establishments of England. Grant that neither of her universities has been so productive of learning as it might have been, yet, who can imagine for a moment, that, apart from benefactions, and under the fostering influences of the public demand and patronage alone, either the erudite and classic lore of the one illustrious seminary, or the profound science of the other, could ever have been realised. It is, indeed, highly instructive to mark the progress of these two great literary institutes. One cannot do so without being convinced, that, but for the liberalities of patriotism or piety, the education of the land never would have risen to its present altittide, - that, in no one instance, has their constantly growing scholarship been indebted, for any new addition, to the encouragement of an anterior demand, or market, for science, from without; but that it has originated in the emanating force of some additional endowment from within, - that the learning which now wells but upon the nation from these venerable fountain-heads, did not arise at first in the shape of a previously required service by the country, and for which the country was willing to pay; but that it arose in the shape of a gift, which had to be pressed for acceptance on the country, and which had to be urged perseveringly, and against the opposition of many moral and many natural difficulties, ere the country would be prevailed on to accept it. It is, in truth, the history of a perpetual struggle on the part of a few lofty and large-hearted men, with the mental apathy and indolence which naturally, and, but for appliances from without, lord it over the great bulk of our species. It is only through the force of aggressive movements, and by dint of successive advances, that the cause of learning has gained, on an otherwise passive or reluctant public; or that they have laboriously and at length been nurtured into their present habits of education. Teachers had not only to be paid by endowments for their lessons; but students had to be paid, or bribed, for their attendance. There was a real practical necessity for all this forcing and fostering. The fellowships and bursaries, or scholarships, of the English colleges, have not been thrown away. They have, upon the whole, fulfilled their destination, - and to them we owe a loftier science, a far more lettered and refined society, than ever would have spontaneously arisen out of the barbarism of past generations.
33. We cannot conclude this passing notice of the Universities of. England, without the mention of how much they are ennobled by those great master-spirits, those men of might and of high achievement, - the Newtons, and the Miltons, and the Drydens, and the Barrows, and the Addisons, and the Butlers, and the Clarkes, and the Stilllngfleets, and the Ushers, and the Foxes, and the Pitts, and Johnsons, who, within their attic retreats, received that first awakening, which afterwards expanded into the aspirations and the triumphs of loftiest genius. This is the true heraldry of colleges. Their family honour is built on the prowess of sons, not on the greatness of ancestors; and we will venture to say, that there are no seminaries in Europe on which there sits a greater weight of accumulated glory, than that which has been re.flected, both on Oxford and Cambridge, by that long and bright train of descendants who have sprung, from them. It is impossible to make even the bare perusal of their names without the feeling, that there has been summoned before the eye of the mind, the panorama of all that has upheld the lustre, whether of Englands philosophy, or of Englands patriotism, for centuries together. We have often thought what a meagre and stinted literature we should have had without them; and what, but for the two universities, would have been the present state of science or theology in England. These rich seminaries have been the direct and the powerful organs for the elaboration of both; and both would rapidly decline, as if languishing under the want of their needful aliment, were the endowments of colleges swept away. It were a truly gothic spoliation; and the Rule of that political economy, which could seize upon their revenues, would be, in effect, as hostile to the cause of sound and elevated learning in Britain, as would be the Rule of that popular violence which could make havoc of their architecture, and savagely exult over the ruin of their libraries and halls.
34. There is much to be learned upon this subject from The failure of many sectarian academies in England. The dissenters of that kingdom have made the richest contributions to the cause of vital Christianity, by the publication of an immensity of practical works, replete both with piety and experitnental wisdom. We are not, indeed, acquainted with any department of authorship, where so much of this precious treasure is to be found as in the writings of the Nonconformists. Yet it is not to be disguised, that, with all their powerful appeals to conscience, there is not among them that full and firm staple of erudition which is to be found among the divines of the establishment, to whom, after all, the theological literature of our land is chiefly beholden. To them we are, in the main, indebted for a species of literature, which in no country of Europe is carried to such a height as among ourselves. We allude to the part which We trust that the strenuous exertions which have recently been made in favour of the Homerton and Highbury Colleges, will lead to the secure and permanent establishment of these excellent institntions. This, however, will require, I should imagine, a perseverance of liberality from year to year, on the part of contributors, whose annual subscriptions perform in fact the part of an endowment. But we must not here forget the lasting obligations which Lardner has conferred on the world, by those erudite and laborious researches which have been of so much benefit to the Christian argument. It must, at the same time, be remarked, that the most conspicuous of the early Nonconformists belonged originally to the Church, and had the benefit of University Education. They have sustained in the deistical controversy, and to the masterly treatises wherein they have so thoroughly scrutinized and set forth the Christian argument. But it is not in the war with infidelity alone that they have signalized themselves. A bare recital of the names associated with Oxford and Cambridge would further convince us, that, from these mighty strongholds have issued our most redoub ted champions of orthodoxy; and that the church of which they are the feeders and the fountain-heads, has, of all others, stood the foremost, and wielded the mightiest polemic arm in the battles of the faith.
35. Upon the whole, then, the great argument for literary endowments is founded on the want, or the weakness of the natural appetency for literature in our species. There is not that spontaneous demand for it, which wouldbeeffective to thebringing forth of an adequate supply; and the higher the literature is, the more is it placed above the reach of any such effective demand. This is not a subject on which we can with safety wait. for mankind, but a subject on which mankind need to be assailed with offers, or which they must be beckoned to approach by all the signals and facilities of invitation. The importunity is not, as in many other things, on the side of the customers who receive, but the importunity must be on the side of the sellers or the providers, who bestow. Rather than want the articles of ordinary merchandise, men will give a price for them above their prime cost, so as to afford a profit. But science is not one of these articles, and will infallibly languish and be neglected, unless it is pressed on the acceptance of men at a price greatly below prime cost; and the purpose of endowments is to make up the difference. The operation of these is exemplified in miniature, when a munificent patron of literature or the arts aids the publication of those massy and expensive folios, for which the demand is so limited, that all the money given by purchasers would amount to but a fraction of the cost. It is to his largess that the world is indebted for all the delight or instruction which this publication affords. So is it, likewise, with the expense of an educational apparatus; and, more especially, when the education is of a lofty scientific character. The scholars do not yield the full remuneration; and, but for the benefactor, there would have been no such scholarship.
36. It is mainly by the same argument that we would vindicate the policy of ecclesiastical endowments. The necessity for the one is founded on the natural want or weakness of the literary appetite ; and the necessity for the other is founded on the natural want or weakness of the spiritual appetite. But we are sensible that each requires its own peculiar modifications, and these we shall separately discuss in the two following chapters. We shall attempt, first, a more special application of the argument to the Endowment of Colleges; and, afterwards, an application of the same general argument to the Endowment of Churches.
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