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attendance on prescribed classes for a certain period, and passing an examination more or less severe, are the requisites for obtaining the appropriate degree. On the continent of Europe, universities are generally composed of the several faculties of law, theology, medicine, and philosophy or the arts, the last corresponding to our undergraduate course. The different faculties give out their respective degrees, the requisitions being a certain time passed in the institution, or attendance on prescribed courses, and a certain degree of proficiency in several branches, as made apparent by an examination, or presumed from the fact of residence. As an entire set of professional schools is attached to Harvard College, each giving its proper diploma ; the title of a university may be justly assumed by this institution, the President and Fellows being the common centre and board of supreme direction, in whose name all the degrees are conferred, and therefore performing the functions of the university proper.

An attempt to copy still further the European scheme must proceed by imitating peculiarities, which are mere accidents of the system, brought about by circumstances in the nature of the country and its civil and literary institutions, and are not essential features of the university plan. Thus there are many offices in these countries, which are conferred upon evidence of remarkable qualifications in some one branch of learning, as the offices under government, and those in the universities themselves and other literary institutions of the country, which are often distributed after a concourse, as it is termed, or an open competition before a board of inquiry. This opening to lucrative and honorable situations naturally creates a large body of students, who take what the French call a speciality, and either with or without obtaining an ordinary degree for general acquirements, devote their whole time and labor to one department of science or letters, in the view of fitting themselves for office. They remain at the universities for an indefinite period, following their own selected studies. The number of such students, with whom a diploma is no object, naturally lessens the importance attached to common degrees, and therefore many, even of those who do not belong to this class, leave the university without graduating. But the important point for us in the present discussion is, that these degrees are never conferred but upon evidence afforded of proficiency in certain prescribed studies, a greater or less amount of classical learning being an invariable requisition. A student cannot reside at a college for a few years, pursuing what studies he likes, and then claim a degree as a matter of course. The two writers, whom we are now reviewing, appear to think, that this introduction of the voluntary system at Cambridge is a step of approximation to the European university system, whereas, in fact, it is a direct departure from it. It is of great importance to the interests of science and sound learning in this country, that a class of general students should be formed in our colleges, who would devote all their powers to one subject; but the circumstances of the country as yet offer no encouragement for its formation. There are no fellowships here, as at the English universities; professorships are few in number, small in value, and are never conferred after open contest; and public offices are conferred by popular favor on a far different criterion from that of scholastic attainments. Harvard College did all that was possible for this end sixteen years ago, by throwing open the institution to persons not candidates for a degree, who wish to pursue particular studies. She offered to receive such students, but the issue proved there were hardly any to be had. measure is nugatory for this purpose, and directly destructive of the only remaining object which our colleges have to pursue, - the maintenance of a high standard of scholarship as essential to a degree.

The plan of allowing undergraduates to select their own studies, never adopted abroad except under the circumstances explained above, is rendered peculiarly objectionable here by another circumstance, by which our own colleges are distinguished from European ones, — the great youthfulness of the students. Except two or three members of each class, whom peculiar circumstances have obliged to commence their education later in life, and the average age of the remainder does not probably exceed sixteen at the time of admission. Many enter two or three years earlier. Is it judicious, or even prudent, to allow such mere boys to select their own studies, and thereby to determine their own education ? Will not indolence, or caprice, or the love of novelty, be likely, in a great majority of instances, to direct their choice ? Can they, at best, be so competent to decide this point, as men who have made the theory and practice of

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education the constant subject of their thoughts and the business of their lives ? Many of our most distinguished classical scholars have made themselves such by studies pursued after graduating, youthful carelessness or whim having induced them to neglect in great part the precious advantages of their college life. But the preparation which they were compelled to make, the foundation deep and strong, which they almost unconsciously laid, rendered the task of resumption easy, when the taste and judgment of maturer years, or the force of circumstances, directed a return to the neglected pursuits. To diminish by one half the required amount of classical knowledge in the college course would be to render such a future resumption of these studies impossible, or, at least, to surround it with difficulties which few would have the ardor and perseverance requisite to encounter with success.

But the plan requires that all students, who are under age, should obtain the consent of their parents before relinquishing any branch of study ; and it is thought, that in this way the danger of a rash choice will be obviated. Those who urge this feature of the scheme have surely never considered the characters and situation in life of most persons, who in this country send their sons to college. Many have not received a liberal education themselves ; nearly all are engaged in the bustle of commerce, the labors of husbandry, or the toils of a profession, and have neither time nor thought to bestow on such a subject. The answer of a parent, consulted for advice by his son under such circumstances, would very naturally be, “ Why, that is the very thing for which I sent you to college, to have your studies selected and your education determined by the authorities there. I know nothing about these things. Take your own choice.” In respect to classical studies, the reply of an uneducated parent might chance to be still more peremptory, or very much in the style of the Dutch professor immortalized in the “ Vicar of Wakefield.”

“ You see me, young man; I never learned Greek, and I don't find that I have ever missed it. I have ten thousand florins a year without Greek; I eat heartily without Greek, and, in short, as I don't know Greek, I do not believe there is any good in it.” This is only too faithful an epitome of the common arguments against classical learning ; but we still hope never to hear it sanctioned by the authority of a future Professor at Cambridge. Yet on one of its public days, since the introduction of the new system, it was our lot to hear from one of the ingenuous youth an argument reminding us strongly of the view of the Dutch professor.

It is argued in favor of the new plan, that it “ will tend to connect in the minds of the students their college studies with the pursuits of later life.” Their preparatory exercises, it is said, will be better adapted to their future destination, being chosen with direct reference to the profession which they intend to follow. Such reasoning, we cannot but think, shows an imperfect acquaintance with the position and views of the great body of the undergraduates. Not one in ten of them has any idea about choosing a profession till very late in his college course, and the great majority do not decide upon this point till after graduating: At this early age, their own minds are necessarily unseuiled upon a subject of so great importance, and what prudent parent will venture to mark out a career in life for his son so many years before he is to enter upon it ? The common and very

wise course is to leave this matter to be decided by the pupil after he has finished his college studies, and ascertained, from some intercourse with the world at large, what employment is most likely to suit his taste and capacity. Besides, even if it were practicable, would it be worth while for the student, by a special selection and arrangement of his studies, to commence fitting himself for a profession or for any active employment at an earlier period, ihan is now common in this country? Is there any reasonable apprehension of time being lost before the youthful aspirant is fairly embarked on bis voyage ? It is the peculiar misfortune of this country, that, the openings into active life being numerous and easy of access, young men are tempted into them with hurried and imperfect preparation, and with their minds still in doubt, whether they have really hit upon the desired and appropriate profession after all.

We have lawyers and clergymen enough, who have not attained their majority, and even legislators whose beards are hardly grown. Is it advisable to have them younger still, to abridge still further the period of general studies, to bring down the necessarily narrow and exclusive training for professional pursuits to the very brink of childhood ? It is admitted, that the pupil ought first to obtain


“the elements of a general culture ;” and how weak, beggarly, and insecure must be this common basis of all effort, if the preparation of it, even by the most highly educated class in the community, must stop short in the student's sixteenth

It is the curse of professional life, that its jealous nature requires the abandonment of all taste for general literature and science, and the resolute sacrifice of all the discursive exercises of the intellect and the imagination. The neophyte lawyer must imitate the example of Fearne in making a hecatomb of all bis books, that are not bound in law-calf, and all his papers, that are not writs or instruments of conveyancing, before he can look forward to the higher honors of the bar and the bench. It is cruel to anticipate the period of this sacrifice, to nip in the bud the first flowers of taste and fancy, to check the earliest developement of the many-sided mind. Such a partial culture may indeed produce an able lawyer, a skilful physician, or a sound divine, though even this effect may reasonably be questioned ; but for the education of the whole man it is profiless and wrong. It is one branch of that vast system of distributed labor, which condemns some individuals to spend all their lives in making the eighteenth part of a pin.

We have spoken with freedom of the introduction of the voluntary system, and the consequent depreciation of classical studies, at Harvard College, because it seemed to us an unnecessary concession to the utilitarian spirit of the times, and a departure from the wise and generous purposes, for which the institution was established. The change, unless we greatly err, was not desired by the great body of the community, who feel little interest in the conduct of the College, being affected only by its more remote results. And they are wise enough to see, that the higher interests of science and learning, the preservation of a high standard of education and general scholarship, are indissolubly connected with the honor and welfare of the country. The smaller class, who have a more lively regard for the institution to which they are indebted for their own early training, or to whose guardianship and instruction they are about to intrust their sons and relatives, look with surprise and regret upon a measure, which seems like a total departure from the former principles of management, and the effect of which must be to lessen the amount of sound scholarship in the country, and

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