Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  

Connect

    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

[address]

page break

Colleagues and Fellow-Students,—

I have chosen for the inaugural address this year the subject of University Reform: a subject which, while it is pressing itself upon the attention of university men everywhere, seems to me to be of special importance to us as founders of a new institution. We are placed in a position exceptionally favourable to the exercise of a free choice, and it is plainly our duty to decide, as soon as possible, how far it will be wise for us to follow the lines of the old universities, and to what extent we may, with advantage, introduce new methods, whether of our own devising or such as have been suggested during the past few years by Pattison, Spencer, Seeley, Huxley, Bain, Helmholtz, Arnold, and other writers of high repute. Having myself been educated outside the pale of Oxford and Cambridge, I shall be very careful in referring to the old universities, to use solely the remarks of the writers I have mentioned, and I hope thereby to combine the result of experience with the presumed fairness of the spectator. Although the need of reform was considered urgent more than ten years ago, and has since that time been pressed upon the country with increasing boldness, yet comparatively few appear at the present time acquainted with the literature on the subject.

It may happen that in this address I shall be at issue with some of my hearers, yet I shall claim their forbearance, because I believe, with Mill, that "he who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

The general idea of the functions of a university, as expressed in the language of the best writers on the subject, and these functions themselves, as embodied in actually existing institutions, are as different one from the other as can easily be imagined. Time will not admit of a full development of the contrast; but a short series of quotations, illustrative of the best written thoughts on this subject, will enable anyone who is conversant with the actual state of the universities to develop it for himself.

Helmholtz, a man who, as a discoverer and thinker, stands in the first rank amongst living men, after discussing fully the interdependence of the sciences and urging all to work, not for personal ends, but rather as fellow labourers in a great common work bearing upon the higher interests of humanity, says, "To keep up these relations between all searchers after truth, and all branches of page 4 knowledge, to animate them all to vigorous co-operation towards their common end, is the great office of the universities." Professor Huxley defines a university as "a corporation that has charge of the interests of knowledge as such, the business of which is to represent knowledge by the acquirements of its members, and to increase it by their studies." Much to the same purpose is the definition given by the Rev. Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford: "Its object is to cultivate the mind, and form the intelligence. A university should be in possession of all science and all knowledge; but it is as science and knowledge, not as a money-bringing pursuit, that it possesses it." In another place he states that "the colleges were in their origin endowments, not for the elements of a general liberal education, but for the prolonged study of special and professional faculties by men of riper age," and he quotes an old academic saying, "A university is founded on arts." The well-known titles Bachelor and Master of Arts seem to confirm this impression. At their formation therefore the colleges were what the German universities now are—the recognised homes of mature students engaged in extending the boundaries of knowledge. Mr. Pattison also shows how far of late years our old universities have deviated from this standard. In his suggestions for academical organisation, with special reference to Oxford, he tells us that "the colleges have become boarding schools in which the elements of the learned languages are taught to youths." In his address to the science congress at Liverpool, he says, "Among the middle classes it is the belief that unless to a professional man a university education is worse than useless," and he characterises the present state of things as "nothing less than a state of national destitution and intellectual blight." Matthew Arnold in his "Higher Schools of Germany" says, "It is the function of the university to develop into science the knowledge a boy brings with him from the school, at the same time that it directs him towards the profession in which his knowledge may most naturally be exercised;" and further on he says, "Our English universities do not perform the functions of a university as that function is above laid down." Professor Seeley, of Cambridge, refers to this point in his lectures on liberal education. In speaking of the poverty of our universities in original work, he says, "The present insignificance of our universities in the work of science and scholarship explains itself very naturally by the system pursued in them." He shows that the college lecturers are all engaged in giving instruction in general classics and general mathematics, without paying due attention to specialisation; and that all are working with a view to examinations. Further, he speaks of the habit and fashion of original production as having long gone out, and after stating many arguments to show how unsatisfactory all this must be, he says, "We now see that the tripos acts powerfully upon the teaching class and draws them by motives of interest and page 5 what almost seems duty into a method of instruction which makes profound study unnecessary and almost impossible." Nothing seems to me to be more contemptible than the state of mind of a student preparing for the tripos as described by Professor Seeley when he says, "Instead of enlarging the range of the student's anticipations it narrows them;" and again, "thinking of any kind is dangerous. It is the well-known saying of a Cambridge private tutor, 'If so and so did not think so much he might do very well.'" For a wonder William Thomson continued to think, and the world does not regret that he did so. Professor Seeley goes on to say that "the university student says to himself, 'It is my business now to narrow my mind, and for three years, three of the most progressive years of a man's life to consider not what is true but what will be set, not Newton or Aristotle, but papers in Newton or papers in Aristotle, and to prepare not for life but solely and simply for the Senate House.' The all-worshipped tripos produces in fact what may be called a universal suspension of the work of education. Cambridge is like a country invaded by the Sphinx. To answer the monster's conundrums has become the one absorbing occupation. All other pursuits are suspended, everything less urgent seems unimportant and fantastic; the learner ridicules the love of knowledge, and the teacher with more or less misgiving gradually acquiesces." In the introduct on he tells us that he only echoes the thoughts of very many who have had experience of the system. He shows that it is not the university alone that suffers from the defect of the system; the schools that train for the university suffer also; and the establishment of the middle class examinations practically places nearly all secondary education under their influence. "We may be sure that if these universities labour at present under any serious defect of system the whole education of the country will suffer for it."

The remarks I have quoted suffice to show that the efficiency of a college may be sadly marred by too closely following the model of the old universities, and that any attempt to build after their model without any other sufficient reason than that such a model exists, should be looked upon with great mistrust.

I think that the university, to fulfil its proper office, must take the lead in all matters relating to education and knowledge; and that it should be especially an institution for the conservation and development of the arts and sciences. I use the term art as expressing the best known method of doing anything, and science as expressing the laws of nature, and the dependence which maxims of art has upon certain of these laws. Thus I consider that the art of composition is the mode of presenting an idea before the mind in the clearest and most pleasant way; while the science of composition points out the psychological peculiarities which render this mode perspicuous and pleasing. Again, the art of smelting iron is page 6 the best mode of applying heat and re-agents to various minerals for the purpose of extracting iron, and the science of smelting shows the laws of nature that come into action during the process.

How an institution may best conserve and develop knowledge is, it appears to me, the problem which forms the starting point of all university reform. To conserve knowledge a university should be in possession of the sum of knowledge stored in libraries and museums, the lectures presenting the essence so clearly that the whole would be available—that every conclusion might be tested and every important thought expanded. The corps of a university should be organised as an army, with rank and file of working students superintended by specialist professors, who themselves would be in direct communication with professors of general science and art, and, at the head of all, a professor of general knowledge; but it should differ so far from an ordinary army that obedience would be founded only on reason, respect only on merit, and that the object of all work would be to save and make perfect rather than to maim and destroy. It should be the duty of every lecturer, whether specialist or not, to place before the students as clear and full a picture of the knowledge of his own subject as is possible in the time allotted to the course, giving an impartial account of all knowledge in proportion to its worth, without regard to the time or the place of its production, neither favouring nor neglecting his compatriots nor his contemporaries, and rendering into the current mother tongue all foreign words and obsolete nomenclature. As, in such an institution, all would be original investigators, the researches of each teacher would form subjects for a special course. The student would then enjoy such direct intercourse with original minds as would often give rise to fertile germs, which, in the genial atmosphere of such a college, would find opportunity of development, and be likely to bear many a noble fruit of genius. The object of this two-fold method, the combination of the general with the special, is to correct the faults of two orders of minds; the general when shallow and special when isolated. Close parallelism of subjects induced stagnation in the old universities, and I believe that many scientific men of the present day are suffering from the opposite extreme of specialisation, producing results superfluous and even vicious, by reason of absence of organic connection with correlated lines of work.

The other function of a university, the advancement of knowedge, is a department which has been scarcely touched by the British universities; yet I am sure that any one who has given thought to the matter will feel with Helmholtz that, "to extend the limits of science is really to work for the progress of humanity." It is upon this progress alone that the importance of these institutions will be measured by future historians.

The further development of knowledge will chiefly depend on the page 7 machinery for the discovery and training of genius, and for providing it with a suitable field and opportunity for work. It is evident that this training must begin at school, and the selection of capacity must begin there also; the final selection and training being the work of the university. It is an important question whether those studies which will best select genius, are also best fitted for general training—that is, whether studies depending on verbal memory, or studies demanding a fair share of reasoning, are best suited for mental training. If the answer be the latter, then both discovery and training may be done by the same machinery.

Is it not the undue attention to verbal memory (that paradise of lazy teachers) which has ruled so long in the schools, that has rendered possible the trite remark, "the successful schoolboy seldom makes a successful man." I do not believe that the measure of truth contained in this saying is due to the fact that the unsuccessful boy was immature compared with his fellows. The case appears to me that the world tests other faculties of the mind than those tested at school. I fully believe that the "boy is father to the man"; but that the successful schoolboy is often an unsuccessful man because the glib word-memory that makes the thousand and one inflections of the Greek verb an easy task, is not the chief requisite in the more important problems of after-life. Old Roger Ascham discusses this question in his quaint way through many pages of his "Schoolmaster," and in contrasting these "quick wits" and "hard wits," he says, "More quick to enter speedily than able to pierce far; even like over-sharp tools whose edges are soon turned; such wits delight themselves in easy and pleasant studies, and never pass far forward in high and hard sciences." He again speaks of quick wits as "of nature always flattering their betters, envying their equals, despising their inferiors." He tells us that "these do not shine in after life, except a very few, to whom peradventure blood and happy parentage may perchance purchase a long standing upon the stage"; and in showing how seldom ordinary methods select the best boys, and how the severity of the master on account of their inability to commit tasks to memory discourages the hard wits, he says, "by beating they drive away the best nature from learning,"—"an injury offered to learning and to the Commonwealth." "He (the hard wit) is smally regarded, little looked into; he lacketh teaching, he lacketh encouraging, he lacketh all things, only he never lacketh beating, nor any work that may move him to hate learning, nor any deed that may drive him from learning to any other kind of living." The same idea occurs frequently in Richter's work on education. Almost without doubt the cause of the failure of the schools to select the best man, is the substitution of verbal memory for recollection and reason. As Hazlitt says, "There is a certain kind and degree of intellect in which words take root but into which things have not power to penetrate." These intellects are the school prodigies.

page 8

School training in the past has been like an imperfect mineral dressing-floor, where something of medium value is selected and fully applied, but where the gold has passed into the same receptacle with the gangue. In one point the parallel is not good, for if mineral sorting be badly done, it is only necessary in after years to apply superior methods and the lost metal is recovered; but in the case of genius when once the frail body has passed away, the spirit no longer is recoverable, and my own experience tends to show that lost genius is one of the most common things in connection with genius. Have you ever thought how easily Faraday might have missed his mark? A little less self-confidence, a different trade, and the highest we could have expected had been a second Adam Bede.

My ideal of a system of education is one under which every child shall have his endowments, however insignificant, developed to their utmost, and at the same time no single child having in his soul the divine spark of genius shall be lost to the world.

Few persons, if any, think that it would be well for boys to spend more time at their books than at present: my own opinion is they already spend too much.

It is evident that in any reformed curriculum the study of our own language must form a large part of the training, and certainly as much time as at present must be spent in educating the eye and ear to appreciate correctly form, colour, and music, nor must modern language be wholly neglected. So then, if science is to be taught, a portion of the time now spent at Latin must be given to it. I am told, however, that too little time is even now devoted to classics if they are to be of any use; and, as Professor Seeley says, "What avail all the merits and beauties of the classics to those who never attain to appreciate them? If they never arrive, what was the use of their settng out? That a country is prosperous and pleasant is a reason for going to it, but it is not a reason for going half-way to it. If you cannot get all the way to America, you had better surely go somewhere else." I say distinctly, let the ancient classics be studied and well studied, let them form a voluntary university subject to be taken up by men who are fit for them and can fully realise their spirit. We cannot afford to lose anything of the wonderful life of ancient Greece and Rome. But do not make every boy encounter all the stormy billows of ancient grammar and vocabulary, with their attendant nausea, without the shadow of hope that he will ever reach the transmarine bowers of classic delight.

If then time cannot be spared from classics for science, we have to ask, which of the two shall be studied? The question at issue is thus narrowed down to the relative suitability of Latin and science as a means of mental training in schools and colleges. In this discussion it may be urged that as I am not proficient in classical knowledge, I am not qualified to judge. I most certainly do not wish to do so: I wish you to judge for yourselves. But I page 9 must state that practically my whole time at school was spent at classics; for to me such work in the school as required thinking offered so little difficulty that it occupied an insignificant part of my time.

I do not know what may be the method in grammar schools in England now; but during my stay at the Alton Grammar School, I know that almost the whole work of the school consisted in learning by rote. In fact Latin was taught out of the Eton Latin Grammar, a book in which all the instructions to learners are in Latin. So often did I con these rules that parts cling to my memory now; but even to this day I have never known their meaning. So that if classics are to be measured by the discipline, I am a great classic, for I believe I worked harder than most of the boys; and had certainly as much caning. If we are to speak well of the bridge that bears us safely, it is surely equally kind to tell of a way so rough, so thorny, that its image is ineffaceable.

However, not trusting my own impressions, I simply call witnesses and ask, "Is the study interesting?" Bain says, "There is, first, the dryness inseparable from the learning of a language, especially at the commencement; there is, next, the circumstance that the literary interest in the authors is not felt, for want of due preparation." Huxley, after telling us that he would as soon think of using palæontology as classics, says, "It is wonderful how close a parallel to classical training could be made out of that palæontology to which I refer. In the first place I could get up an osteological primer so arid, so pedantic in its terminology, so altogether distasteful to the youthful mind, as to beat the recent famous production of the head masters out of the field in all these excellences. Next I could exercise my boys upon easy fossils, and bring out all their powers of memory and all their ingenuity in the application of my osteo-grammatical rules to the interpretation, or construing of those fragments. To those who had reached the higher classes, I might supply odd bones to be built up into animals, giving great honour and reward to him who succeeded in fabricating monsters most entirely in accordance with the rules. That would answer to verse-making and essay-writing in the dead languages." Again he says, "The ordinary schoolboy finds Parnassus uncommonly steep, and there is no chance of his having much time or inclination to look about him till he gets to the top. And nine times out of ten he does not get to the top." Butler says of the Erewhonians: "Thus are they taught what is called the hypothetical language for many of their best years—a language which was originally composed at the time when the country was in a very different state of civilisation to what it is at present, a state which has long since exploded and been superseded. Many valuable maxims and noble thoughts which were at one time concealed in it have become current in their modern literature, and have been translated over and over again into page 10 the language now spoken. Surely then it would seem to be enough that the study of the original language should be consigned to the few whose instincts led them naturally to pursue it. But the Erewhonians think differently; the store they set by it is perfectly astonishing; they will even give anyone a maintenance for life if he attains considerable proficiency in the study; nay, they will spend years in learning to translate some of their own good poetry into the hypothetical language, to do so with fluency being reckoned a distinguishing mark of a scholar and a gentleman. * * * * If the youths chose it for themselves I should have wondered less; but they do not choose it, they have it thrust upon them, and, for the most part, are disinclined to it. * * * * In the course of my stay I met one youth who told me that for fourteen years the hypothetical language had been almost the only thing that he had been taught, although he had never (to his credit, as it seemed to me) shown the slightest aptitude for it, while he had been endowed with not inconsiderable abilities for several other branches of human learning. He assured me that he would never open another hypothetical book after he had taken his degree, but would follow out the bent of his own inclinations. This was well enough, but who could give him his fourteen years back again?" The fact is that apart from the pleasure of accomplishing anything, Latin has no delight to ordinary boys.

I ask, "Does it enable us to write English well or to read literature?" Seeley says, "the more you exalt literature the more you must condemn the classical system"; and again, "I think that an exact knowledge of the meanings of English words is not very common even among highly educated people, which is natural enough, since their attention has been so much diverted to Latin and Greek ones." Bain, through many pages, exposes the absurdities of learning Latin in order to speak English. I believe, with Hazlitt, that "we shall be better when our natural use of speech is not hung up in monumental mockery in an obsolete language."

Are the dead languages a good training of the reasoning faculties? Helmholtz says, "What strikes me in my own experience of students who pass from our classical schools to scientific and medical studies, is first, a certain laxity in the application of strictly universal laws. The grammatical rules in which they have been exercised, are, for the most part, followed by long lists of exceptions; accordingly they are not in the habit of relying implicitly on the certainty of a legitimate deduction from a strictly universal law."

Hazlitt says, "The habit of supplying our ideas from foreign sources 'enfeebles all internal strength of thought' as a course of dram-drinking destroys the tone of the stomach."

Bain says, "If, at the proper age, a pupil has mastered English grammar, he has, in point of reasoning power, gone a step beyond Latin or Greek grammar, and should therefore be relieved from page 11 further labour for perfecting his reasoning faculties in the grammatical field."

I have never heard it claimed that classics serve any practically useful part in a student's after life, so I do not feel called upon to discuss the question.

We must now try and ascertain whether science is possessed of those merits that the dead languages are so deficient in?

The most frequent complaint of schools is that boys are not taught common sense. It is probably not very easy to teach what is meant by common sense, namely, the perception of the course that is the best under the varying circumstances of life. Huxley tells us that "science is only trained and organised common sense. The man of science in fact simply uses with scrupulous exactness the methods which we all habitually use carelessly." Whilst Seeley tells us "classics should not be commenced until at least fourteen years of age." Huxley tells us "science should be commenced with the dawn of intelligence," and says, that in his opinion the stupidity of the average boy or girl, "in nine cases out of ten, 'fit, non nascitur,' and is developed by a long process of parental and pedagogic repression of the natural intellectual appetites, accompanied by a persistent attempt to create artificial ones for food which is not only tasteless but essentially indigestible."

I believe these remarks to be absolutely true. When I was offered my present appointment I was science lecturer at Winchester College. My lectures were given to the middle school; the very youngest did not attend, and the attendance of the prefects was voluntary. If I except the volunteers, at every examination I held there, the junior classes exhibited distinctly more reasoning faculty than the elder ones. I do not suppose, in this case, this was entirely due to the substitution of memory for thought. The distinct practical utility of science carries with it the idea that it is ungentlemanly, and this doubtless had some influence with the boys, and they may not have exerted themselves to the utmost. But in many other instances I have had the clearest evidence that mere memory work distinctly reduced the capacity for consecutive reasoning. I have found no difficulty in teaching elementary science to young children whose intellect was uninjured by rote lessons. In fact my own experience tends to show that if discreetly taught science cannot be begun too early.

Were science really understood, I believe there would be no two opinions as to its fitness, on all accounts, as a subject for study; but it is shrouded in misconceptions of all kinds. Of these there are two which especially need combating. The first is that this study is only valuable for its material utility, and not as mental training; the other is that science consists of vast masses of facts, and that consequently the man of science is one who is chiefly a vast memory machine. True it is that science is materially useful. Its splendid page 12 achievements hear stronger testimony to that fact than words can. Yet probably its material value in clothing, feeding, and healing man, and freeing him from the bondage of perpetual toil is as nothing when compared with the emancipation that science has conferred upon his intellectual, his moral, and his spiritual nature.

Whilst I verily believe that even the material results are small compared with that which a fair field to work in would have produced. Nothing but the mere crumbs of a scientific education have yet fallen to the lot of any people; but how marvellous the results! What an awakening then will there be, when science is both as well taught, and as fully taught as its importance deserves! Do not think that I am alone in this opinion. Bain, in his "Education as a Science," says, "It is from the sphere of the physical sciences that the inductive method has been transferred to other subjects as mind, politics, history, medicine, and many besides." Mill says, "The inductive sciences have, of late, done more for the advance of logical methods than the labours of philosophers properly so called." Flint, in his "Philosophy of History," refers again and again to the importance of scientific methods for the development of history. He speaks of the impossibility of induction being applied to history until physical science had taught men to reason; and he says, further, "It is chiefly through the growth of physical science that the notion of law in human development has arisen; and, chiefly through it also, that the path which leads to the discovery of a law has been opened up." The names Flint speaks of as having made a philosophy of history possible, are nearly all those which a scientific student recognises as workers in the field of scientific investigation. I will give one reference: "The man, however, who, of all mediæval philosophers, saw most clearly the deficiencies of antiquity and cherished the most rational hopes of intellectual advance in the future was Roger Bacon. This was due to an acquaintance with experimental science, and an insight into its possibilities very wonderful in the thirteenth century."

These are the opinions of men to whom physical science is not a special study: of scientific men who have spoken of the subject, the difficulty would be to find one who did not believe in the power of science in mental discipline.

But there are those, who, while admitting its intellectual value, consider it soulless, needing no imagination and supplying no food to the moral and spiritual nature. Yet the very first requisite of a scientific investigator is rigid conscientiousness. A scientific investigator spends his life in weighing evidence, making inductions, and testing them. The novice finds what he expects and hopes for; not so the trained experimentalist; he discovers what is actually present, what is true. Anything but this means scientific shipwreck. If he is thus forced to incessant conscientiousness in his intercourse with inanimate nature, is he likely to throw it all to the winds in page 13 his converse with his fellows? Confirmed habit is not so easily broken. Think of the training in long-sustained effort, of the patience and perseverance, of the constant inventiveness and fertility required even by a small research. If you wish to see this in its most perfect form I refer you to Faraday's "Electrical Researches," to Joule's investigations on the "Conservation of Energy," and to a still more recent work, viz., Helmholt's "Investigation on the Eye and Ear." And, with the latter author, I do believe that our age has learnt many lessons from the physical sciences, the reverence for facts, and the fidelity with which they are sought; distrustfulness of appearances, the belief that in all cases effect follows cause, and the earnest endeavour to detect the relations in all cases.

What finer training for the juridical faculties could well be conceived of than the clear unbiassed method of scientific research. The moral effect of the clear perception of cause and effect, of the certainty of a known law, is well described by Butler. He says, that "this (the certainty) is a great blessing; for it is the foundation on which morality and science are built. The assurance that the future is no arbitrary and changeable thing, but that like futures will invariably follow on the reproduction of like presents, is the groundwork on which we lay all our plans, the faith on which we do every conscious act of our lives. If this were not so we should be without a guide; we should have no confidence in acting, and hence, we should never act; there will be no knowing that the results which follow now will be the same as those which followed before. Who would plough or sow if he disbelieved in the fixity of the future? Who would throw water on a blazing house if the action of water upon fire were uncertain? Men will only do their utmost when they feel certain that the future will discover itself against them if their utmost has not been done. The feeling of such a certainty is a constituent part of the sum of the forces at work upon them, and will act most powerfully on the best and most moral men. Those who are most firmly persuaded that the future is immutably bound up with the present in which their work is lying, will best husband their present, and till it with the greatest care. The future must be a lottery to those who think that the same combinations can sometimes precede one set of results, and sometimes another. If their belief is sincere they will speculate instead of working: these ought to be the immoral men; the others have the strongest spur to exertion and morality, if their belief is a living one."

But powerfully as science has acted and is acting in giving us a clear conception of morality, how much more is our spiritual nature indebted to it? But for cosmical science. man would never have escaped from the crudest conceptions of anthropomorphic polytheism. How can a man have mean and ignoble thoughts of a deity when he sees the vast scale upon which the universe is con- page 14 structed? How can he think of him as capricious and changing when he attempts to conceive the ages which our own puny earth has taken to ripen to its present state? True it is, as Herbert Spencer says, "But for science we should still be worshipping fetishes; or, with hecatombs of victims, propitiating diabolical deities. And yet this science, which, in place of the most degrading conceptions of things, has given us some insight into the grandeurs of creation, is written against in our theologies and frowned upon from our pulpits."

I think that I have succeeded in convincing you that science has other value than that of a "comfort-grinding engine," that by far its most important function is its work among our highest faculties. I have yet to show that the study of science does not demand a mere memory of facts; but that, on the contrary, a collection of mere facts, as such, is not science; that the clear perception of nature's laws, the grouping of these laws into great generalisations and consistent cosmical conceptions constitutes science; that, in fact, the common idea that theory is not science is the greatest blunder of all. Science is incipient when a definite law is found, and ripens into consistent proven theories.

Helmholtz tells us in his "Essay on the Aim and Prospects of the Physical Sciences," that we must measure progress by the proportion in which laws more general and more comprehensive reveal themselves; that isolated facts and experiments have in themselves no value; that no matter how numerous they be, even if all were stored up in encyclopædias and classified so as to be all available, they would not deserve the name of science; and that they only become valuable as they reveal the law of a series of uniformly-recurring phenomena. "To find the law by which they are regulated is to understand phenomena." After fully discussing the tremendous importance of such conceptions as the indestructibility of matter and energy, he goes on to show the great importance of the theory of Darwin. He tells us that it contains an essentially new creative thought; that it has raised a vast number of enigmatical wonders to a great consistent system of development.

Professor Tyndall, in his "Scientific use of the Imagination," and in his American address, and Dr. Young, in his reply to Brougham, speak of law and theory; they speak of facts only as proving a law. All historians of science are historians of the discoveries of laws and generalisations. If you ask upon what Newton's fame rests, the answer is undoubtedly the "Theory of of Gravitation"; if Young's, the "Theory of Undulation"; if Darwin's, the "Theory of Natural Selection." All these men were skilful experimenters and trustworthy observers; but it is chiefly as confirming their great theories that we value their experiments and their observations; in fact, the theory of gravitation was chiefly based on the observations of others, and it is well-known that a page 15 faulty observation of the length of an are of the meridian caused New on to lay aside his theory for nearly twenty years. It was not his observations that gave him his standing as an astronomer, but the consummate intelligence with which he made his induction and deductively followed its laws into every department of the intricate planetary motions. Of course memory is essential to every intellectual effort, but it is chiefly that form of memory which bears the name of recollection that is valuable in science. So small a part does it play, that Helmholtz tells us that the physicist needs hardly any memory for detached facts, but do not therefore suppose scientific thought is easy work. He tells us "the iron labour of conscious logical reasoning demands great perseverance and great caution; it moves on but slowly, and is rarely illuminated by brilliant flashes of genius."

Surely no more argument is required to show the fallacy of the two ideas that scientific study consists in the cramming of facts, and that it results only in material utility. Is it not evident, on the contrary, that scientific study is the highest form of mental training, and best fitted on all the counts for school and college work? It supplies the most satisfactory means for the discovery of genius; for in it bad logic cannot be concealed by verbiage, but is at once detected by appeal to experiment; thus bringing the clearest mind to the front. It, cultivating all the faculties, and being "organised common sense," is the most useful in fitting men to cope with the varied problems of life.

To quote Herbert Spencer:—"Paraphrasing an Eastern fable, we may say that in the family of knowledge, science is the household drudge, who, in obscurity, hides unrecognised perfections. To her has been committed all the work; by her skill, intelligence, and devotion, have all conveniences and gratifications been obtained; and while ceaselessly ministering to the rest, she has been kept in the back ground, that her haughty sisters might flaunt their fripperies in the eyes of the world. The parallel holds yet further. For we are fast coming to the denouement when the positions will be changed; and while these haughty sisters sink into merited neglect, science, proclaimed as highest alike in worth and beauty, will reign supreme.'"

Thus far I have endeavoured to prove that a great change is needed with regard to the choice of means for the discovery and for the training of genius, and we see that our hope for the future lies chiefly in the substitution of logical and scientific studies for verbal memory. I have now to speak of the supreme function of the university—the utilisation of genius in the advancement of knowledge.

The first great question is, shall we attempt to lead original minds into one and the same definite groove, and make them all travel one beaten path, or shall the individuality of each be allowed to page 16 exert itself and grow to the utmost? If we want original work, we must have original minds; and can the original be a copy?

There is in every mind a native individuality far greater than is usually supposed. There are differences between all faces, and may we not suppose that there are greater differences between minds?

In the process of fitting square men into round holes, there are but few who do not suffer from the pinch of the mould, and of these the strongest natures suffer most, and give the most unshapely results; and after all, strive as you will, you can not make all alike, though Fashion has an appearance of succeeding and the Chinese have been almost successful. I myself do not think that any amount of bandages, of chipping and planing, will ever quite make Anglo-Saxons into machines; nevertheless if our schools and universities take their style from the worshippers of Grundy a considerable advance will be made towards this metamorphosis. Nor must we forget that Mill has said, that, unless individuality were allowed to exercise itself, Europe would bid fair to become a second China; and Max Muller adds that we are now twenty years nearer China than we were in Mill's time.

But, even if the race were capable of the change, the people who would like to establish a second celestial empire among us, whose motto is "For China direct," are certainly finite in number; and however much these may worship mediocrity, it is surely not the office of the university to do so, to plane down genius to the general level. This would ill accord with Mill's opinion that the few men of genius are the salt of the earth, and without them human life would become a stagnant pool; or with the idea of Carlyle, when he wrote, "The world's wealth is its original men; by these and their works it is a world and not a waste: the memory and record of what men it bore, this is the sum of its strength, its sacred 'property for ever' whereby it upholds itself and steers forward for better or worse through the yet undiscovered deep of time;"' and although he also says that not one in a thousand has the smallest turn for thinking, each of us can at least take his advice and "cease to be a hollow-sounding shell of hearsays, egoisms, purblind dilletantisms, and become, were it on an infinitely small scale, a faithful and discerning soul." Let us each find out the bent of his own nature and follow it, trying to add a gem, however small, to the casket of knowledge. Eccentricity is not necessary to originality, nor on the other hand should we avoid originality through fear of being considered eccentric. There is usually some one point in the character of each which is specially prominent, and fits the possessor for a certain line of action. This he should follow, rather than attempt the role of an admirable Crichton. Helmholtz has said that if a comparison be made of different men's work in allied sciences, it will be found that the most distinguished men page 17 show most clearly their individuality, the specialisation of their minds; and seem little qualified mutually to interchange the subjects of their research. Clearly and distinctly it must be stated that unless individuality grows in an environment of liberty no fruit of progress can result. The great exponent of liberty in his essay says that "the only unfailing and permanent source of improvement is liberty," and "genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom." Hence in any university the first, the absolutely essential thing for the exaltation of genius and for rendering it productive is full liberty of selection.

If the university degree is to be the mark neither of distinguished genius nor of wide culture, but the mark of a caste, the poll degree of the old universities is rightly granted. If this were dependent upon genius, it would clearly fail of its purpose. But remember this—the appliances which exalt mediocrity are not suitable for the training of genius. The machinery that cuts paste and polishes it until to the ordinary eye it seems a diamond, is not fit for the gem itself. The intractable stone will either play havoc with the machinery or will be rejected and cast out with the waste. I do not, for my part, believe that a country's endowments should be devoted to the cultivation of the manners of a favoured few. I believe that if there are any to whom their homes and companions have not given manners, their parents should combine to establish a proprietary school of deportment. When I have seen in the old school at Winchester the motto, "manners makyth man," I have thought either that the meaning of the word manners has terribly degenerated since the days when that motto was written, or that our standard of what constitutes the man has risen. We have such standards of manliness now as love of truth, moral courage, hatred of wrong and of oppression, enthusiasm for humanity, and all that is contained in that comprehensive word altruism. These may be trusted to carry manners with them, and if a being does not possess these qualities, let us keep him in the rough; let us not varnish deformity and label it a gentleman.

For our own college I do not much fear that it will so degenerate. There is at present an earnest enthusiasm for work, with which the nil admirari spirit so essential to society's neophyte will no more unite than oil with water. By work we have gained our position, and by work we must hold it—no other way remains. We have no traditions reaching back through the mists of a dozen centuries upon which to rest. Our very claim to continued existence depends upon our work, nor would I wish it to be otherwise. I heartily endorse Carlyle's words when he says, "all work, even cotton-spinning, is noble. Work is alone noble: be that here said and asserted once more. And in like manner too all dignity is painful; a life of ease is not for any man, nor for any good." Yes, work, earnest well-directed work, is our portion; for while indi- page 18 viduality is essential, it demands much care to utilise it. While we do not attempt to prune the vine that it may look like the apple, nor the apple that it may look like the gourd, yet if we wish an abundant and mature crop, each must be trained and pruned and tended, and that with strict regard to its generic character. It is the same with genius. We dare not attempt to make it a copy; yet many excrescences need to be pared away, and many a dormant bud to be developed, in order that there may be shapely and healthy growth.

The knowledge of the past is also essential to further progress. Out of it springs advancement in our own life as branches spring from the roots into surrounding air. The roots of the tree of knowledge are necessary, but their place, as Huxley says, is not in the air; and with similar meaning Carlyle writes, "The present is not needlessly trammelled with the past, and only grows out of it, like a tree whose roots are not intertangled with its branches, but lie peaceably underground." Every great genius must utilize the experience of his predecessors, and every great work must be built upon the thoughts of the past. No one can fully comprehend the present but in its relation to the past. Do not think, then, because I wish you to follow your bent, that I wish you to idle your time. You will often "weary your soul with work," but just as truly as genius is individual, so truly has it energy to overcome difficulties.

I have told you that consistent theory is the life of science, but never has a flash of genius revealed such theory, unless the mind were saturated with all the great principles involved, each in its own fulness, unless it had the clearest insight into all their inter-dependencies, and into their organic connection with the sum of knowledge.

It is the same with great works of art. There is always some feature of nature rendered truly in them; but before every feature can be seen and represented, culture is necessary, and it is only in the mind of a genius that such culture originates; for it is his essential characteristic to see a little more of the whole truth than his predecessors. No doubt Chinese pictures were true works of art in their time; but when the laws of perspective had once become known, no painting could be great that neglected those laws. A modern painter needs to know many other laws in addition to those of perspective, and in proportion as an art is capable of expressing greater complexity of ideas so will greater preparation be required. And if the art of painting now demands much study, how much more will be needed by the more complex art of language?

It is the nature of most human contrivances to pass through three stages. The first, of imperfection; the next., one of perfection in action, though cumbrous in mode; and the last, one of perfection and simplicity combined. And just as the art of language is page 19 the greatest human invention, so in it we can trace the process most clearly. Prior to the Greek, languages existed something like the present Maori, representing the imperfect stage; the Greek represents the perfect and cumbrous; and in our own tongue we see the development of perfection combined with simplicity.

But if, on the one hand, it is impossible to produce a great work of art that does not conform to the canons already discovered, so, on the other hand, it is impossible for a dead art ever to be revived. We never dream of attempting to supersede the steamship by an improved design of a galley; so in an age of simple perfection in language would it not be folly to revive cumbrousness at the expense of simplicity? No great genius would ever think of using the verse or prose of a dead language to give expression to his sublime creations. The writing of Greek verse is on a par with the imitation of Chinese pictures, or the revival of the askew heads of Byzantine saints. Orientalism, Classicism, pre-Raphaelitism, may become manias, they can never become arts. As well might you galvanize a corpse and call its contortions the express on of a living soul, as to call such attempts at resuscitation, art. I take it that he is the greatest artist, who, perceiving most clearly the thoughts and emotions of his own age in their solvent state, most successfully crystallizes them into expression. The greatest, thinker is he who brings the greatest number of facts under the domain of law, and most widely extends knowledge by his deductions.

To apply these remarks to practice, I would suggest that we should, as far as possible, do away with compulsion and give scope to all orders of minds. If, however, there is to be compulsion let those subjects which are considered essential be taken up at school, and let all compulsory examinations cease with the commencement of the university course. If we have compulsion at matriculation, other than in the use of our native tongue, let it be balanced, and not all on the side of the older studies; and let the value of the subjects be balanced also. So little does science count now in our Junior University Scholarships that although in language alone a competitor may obtain 5000 marks, yet in the whole range of the natural and physical sciences he can only obtain 1000; and this in the face of the fact of which I have spoken, that a knowledge of science has entirely revolutionised our material life, has developed our logical faculty to such an extent as to have given an entirely new direction to our methods of the study of language itself, of history, sociology, political economy, and philosophy, and even promises to give such a basis to morality as it has never had before. Surely it would not be too much to expect that the whole range of the natural and physical sciences should count equal to language.

In our university course Latin and Mathematics are compulsory subjects, and I believe they are so to their disadvantage. Real page 20 progress in both would be greater were it not so. Our own experience shows that it is seldom that men are strong both in Latin and in Mathematics. How can a student make his mark in his favourite study when he frequently has during his whole course the weight of an uncongenial one hanging about his neck? Is it good for either classics or mathematics that the mathematician shall be largely engaged in mastering the difficult idioms of an author he cares nothing about, or the student of the classics in learning the most elegant methods of the transformation of formulæ? Common sense emphatically answers "No." If it be thus better for the compulsory subjects that compulsion be abolished, who can measure the advantages to the voluntary subjects, whilst for the student it would often mean absolute emancipation? With regard to our higher degrees, I think they should be granted only to those who have added to the sum of knowledge, and in order to render this possible, I would certainly not make it necessary that the candidate should come up in the year following the one in which he graduates. With regard to the question of the endowment of research, I look with a certain amount of distrust on the idea of supporting students engaged solely in original research. I fear they would tend to degenerate, like the holders of fellowships, into youthful sinecurists. I thoroughly endorse the opinion now held by many discoverers, "that the best investigators are usually those who have also the responsibilities of instruction, gaining thus the incitement of colleagues, the encouragement of pupils, and the observation of the public." I think that as the number and importance of the professors' new discoveries increased, if they desired it, they should be relieved of their ordinary lecture work. This would make room for assistant professors, who would qualify for the post of professors by their success in the double work of teaching and research. This seems to me to be the best mode of protecting the band of investigators we would establish from incurring the stigma of the academic saying that "A fellowship is the grave of learning."

A university has, in the past, been generally the special privilege of a leisured class. The general mass could not have taken advantage of it if they would, while often the millions toiled in squalid misery to support this leisured class. Sir Thomas More in his "Utopia" makes all so frugal that each one had leisure to cultivate his mind if he wished it, and his Utopian idea was that so few as nine hours a day should be spent in labour. We, with our eight hours system, have gone beyond Utopia, but not by rigid frugality. Any artizan in full work can have a home which for real comfort would compare favourably with a nobleman's palace in Sir Thomas More's day. This has been rendered possible by the inventor. It is true he is indebted to science for his material; but it is to him we directly owe our wealth. The fact that the enjoyment of the highest culture is not now associated with page 21 millions of actual slaves, or of fellow creatures in the virtual slavery of continual toil, is due to him. All honour, then, to the inventor; his intellectual work may not be the highest, but he has rendered the highest possible. Although now a new scientific discovery often carries a whole train of arts after it, and gives them their rules, we must not forget that the inventor, and the arts he originated, preceded science; nor do we forget it. We sincerely hope that the creator of our wealth will take advantage of his leisure and share our larger life. Our university is open to all who choose to avail themselves of it. The hours of many lectures suit all, and the fees need deter none. I hope soon to see many artizans seeking the higher pleasures that wide culture carries with it. The average adult artizan has not received sufficient education to appreciate our advanced lectures, but I trust that a science and art department will soon be established in New Zealand which will enable him to do so. I can testify to the eagerness with which working men took advantage of those classes in England, and to the marked success that attended their study; yet most of these men worked ten hours a day. I see no reason why the colonial artizan with his extra two hours of leisure, should fall behind his fellows in England; nor do I believe he will. If workmen use these classes, and the more thoughtful follow on to the university, if the political and social sciences keep pace with the powers of production, and their exponents learn how to distribute fairly, then for the first time in the history of the world we shall have a people all free, all in comfort and plenty, all with leisure, and all who care about it in the enjoyment of that higher life which is rendered possible only by the most perfect cultivation of senses, mind, and soul.