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STUDENT LIFE IN SCOTLAND.
IF the latest lingering summer tour- have been sufficiently tutored in the ist in Scotland should perchance delay economy of their more serviceable his departure until he is driven south- clothing, have not made acquisitions ward by the chill evenings of Novem- in the school of finery, or acquired a ber, he may chance to see arising weakness for decorative vanity. We around him, in some considerable remember an instance of a hard-featown, a race of young men, whose tured mountaineer, who afterwards loose robes, varying from the bright rose to distinction in an abstruse deest of fresh scarlet to the sombrest hue partment of science, being charged by which years of bad usage can bestow his fellow-students with having so far on that gay colour, attract him as desecrated the gown as to have perpeculiar and funny, and as, on the ambulated the streets with a barrow whole, a phenomenon provocative of hawking potatoes, by the cry of “Tainquiry. He is told that the session ties—taties !” He admitted the comhas begun, and these are the students mercial part of the charge, but denied of the university. The information the admixture of potato-vender and will perhaps be surprising to him, student by the desecration of the whoever he be : if he be an Oxonian robes. He was careful to put off his or Cantab, a sneer of derision will gown while he cried “taties." perhaps curve his lips when he remem- With all these and other indications bers the gentleman commoners, and of poverty, there is something to our tufted noblemen, who crowd the eyes extremely interesting in the Scotstreets of his Alma Mater in haughty tish universities, as relics preserved exclusiveness and unmeasured con- through all changes in dynasties, contempt of the citizen class, who evi- stitutions, and ecclesiastical polities, dently have no respect whatever for through poverty, neglect, and enmity, the scarlet gown men of poor Scotland. of the original characteristics of the Indeed, the luxurious academic ease, university system, as it existed in the placid repose of dignified scholar- all its grandeur of design in the middle ship, are strangers to these wearers ages. of the flowing toga. It is evident that A collection of remarkable papers, many of them have felt the pinch of now before us, opens up and presents, poverty. No pliant gyp attends the in valuable and full light, the progress toilet, or lays forth the table for the of a portion of our Scottish universijovial "night-cap.” Hard work and ties. They consist of two works of hard fare are their portion, and their that class commonly called “ Club raiment shows that they have been Books." The one is a collection of rubbed roughly against the world, in- records and other documents connectstead of being set apart from its toilsed with the University of Glasgow, and cares and vulgar turmoil in aris- printed under the auspices of the Maittocratic isolation. Some of the gowns land Club; the other a Fasti Aberare bright and new, indeed, and the donenses," appropriately collected by faces in which they culminate are that northern association which, in ruddy, fresh, and warm. Yet the honour of the Cavalier annalist of youths endowed in these blushing “ The Troubles,” is called the “Spalhonours seem not to exult therein, ding Club." Both works are edited but rather to give place to the hard- with that peculiar archæological strictfeatured brethren, whose threadbare ness which has been applied to this togas bear the grim marks of mud class of documents, through the spcand soot, or bang in tatters like a cial skill of Mr Cosmo Innes. They beggar's cloak. The truth is, that are both edited by him, with some the wear and tear of the gown is held partial aid, in the case of the Glasgow indicative of advancement in the aca- documents, from his ablest coadjutor demic curriculum, and is rather en- in Scottish archæology, Mr Joseph Rocouraged than avoided. And of those bertson. These volumes form a very who wear it, many, though they may apt supplement to that collection of
VOL. LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXVI.
ecclesiastical records which, arranged infinitely above him in the more illosand printed under the same able trious character of the functions for management, are an honour to our which his constituents were incorcountry. With the exception of their porated, stood forth as the head of his curious and agreeable prefaces, neither republic, and its protector from the the chartularies nor the volumes be- invasions either of the subtle churchfore us profess to be readable books. men or the grasping barons. The They are collections of records, and rector, indeed, was the concentration must have all the substantial dryness of that peculiar commonwealth which of records. But then they contain in the constitution of the ancient unithemselves the materials of the social versity prescribed. Sir William Haand incidental history of the classes milton has shown pretty clearly that, of persons to which they refer, and in its original acceptation, the word contain imbedded within them the Universitas was applied, not to the materials of instruction, both valuable comprehensiveness of the studies, but and curious. With some labour we to that of the local and personal have driven shafts through their strata, expansion of the institution. The and we may have occasion to lay be- university despised the bounds of profore our readers a few of the specimens vinces, and even nations, and was a we have excavated-confining our- place where ardent minds from all selves, in the mean time, to the charac- parts of the world met to study toteristics developed by the collection gether, and impart to each other the of documents.
influence of collective intellect workThe direction of these is chiefly to ing in combination and competition. show how thoroughly these remote The constitution of the rectorship was institutions partook in the great calculated to provide for the protecsystem of the European universities, tion of this universality, for the elecand how many of its vestiges they tion was managed by the procurators still retain. The forms, the nomen- or proctors of the nations or local clature, and the usages of the middle bodies into which the students were ages are still preserved, though some divided, generally for the purpose of of them have naturally changed their neutralising the naturally superior character with the shifting of the influence of the home students, and times. Each university bas still its keeping up the cosmopolitan character chancellor, and sometimes a high imparted to the system by its enlightState dignitary accepts of the office. It ened founders. Hence in Paris the was of old a very peculiar one, for it nations were France, Picardy, and was the link which allied the semi- England, afterwards changed to Gerrepublican institutions of the univer- many, in which Scotland was insities to the hierarchy of St Peter. cluded. Glasgow is still divided into The bishop was almost invariably the four nations: the Natio Glottiana, or chancellor, unless the university were Clydesdale, taken from the name subordinated to some great monastic given to the river by Tacitus. In institution, when its bead was the the Natio Laudoniana were originally chancellor - as in Paris the Prior of St included the rest of Scotland, but it Genevieve exercised the high office. was found expedient to place the In the Scottish universities the usual English and the colonists within it; Coutinental arrangement seems to while Albania, intended to include have been adopted prior to the Re- Britain south of the Forth, has been formation—as a matter of course, the made rather inaptly the nation of the bishop was the chancellor.
foreigners. Rothesay, the fourth naBut while the institution was thus tion, includes the extreme west of connected through a high dignitary Scotland and Ireland. In Aberdeen with the Romish hierarchy, it pose there is a like division into Marenses, sessed, as a great literary community or inhabitants of Mar, Angusiani or with peculiar privileges, its own great men of Angus, which we believe inofficer electively chosen for the pre- cludes the whole world south of the servation of thoso privileges. It had Grampians as the Angusiani, while its rector, who, like the chief magis. the northern districts are partitioned trate of a municipal corporation, but into Buchanenses and Moravienses.
The procurators of the nations were, in the University of Paris, those high authorities to whom, as far separated from all sublunary influences, King Henry of England proposed, in the twelfth century, to refer his disputes with the Papal power. In England they are represented at the present day by the formidable proctor, who is a terror to evil-doers without being any praise or protection to them that do well. But it may safely be said that the chubby youths who in Glasgow and Aberdeen go through the annual ceremony, as procuratores nationum, of representing the votes of the nations in the election of a rector, more legitimately represent those procurators of the thirteenth and fourteenth century, who maintained the rights of their respective nations in the great intellectual republic called a Universitas. The discovery, indeed, of this latent power, long hidden, like some palæontological fossil, under the pedagogical innovations of modern dayswhich tended to make the self-governing institution a school ruled by masters-created astonishment in all quarters, even in those who found themselves in possession of the privilege. In Aberdeen especially, when some mischievous antiquary maintained that by the charter the election of a lord rector lay with the students themselves, the announcement was received with derision by a discerning public, and with a severe frown, as a sort of seditious libel, enticing the youth to rebellion, by the indignant professors. But it turned out to be absolutely true, however astounding it might be to those who are unacquainted with the early history of universities, and think that everything ancient must have been tyrannical and hierarchical. The young ones made a sort of saturnalia of their fugitive power, while the professors looked on as one may see a solemn mastiff contemplate the gambols of a litter of privileged spaniel pups. The privilege was, however, used effectively, we may say nobly. There has been no fogyism, or adherence to any settled routine of humdrum respectability, in the selection of the rectors. From Burke to Bulwer Lytton and Macaulay, they have, with a few exceptions, been men of
the first intellectual rank. What is a still more remarkable result than that they should often have been men of genius, there is scarcely an instance of a lord rector having been a clamorous quack or a canting fanatic.
In Edinburgh there is no such relic of the ancient university commonwealth, and the students have instinctively supplied the want by affiliating their voluntary societies, and choosing a distinguished man to be the president of the aggregate group. The constitution of the College of Edinburgh, indeed, was not matured until after the old constitution of the universities had suffered a reaction, and, far from any new ones being constructed on the old model, the earlier universities with difficulty preserved their constitution. Some person called a College Bailie is the dignitary who presides over the interests of the University of Edinburgh as one of the appendages of the Town Council. By that body the greater part of the patronage of the institution is administered, and now it is decided that they have the sole and absolute right of making bye-laws for the regulation of this, the leading educational institution of Scotland. There is something transcendently ludicrous in a civic corporation — a conclave of demure tradesmen, intensely respectable-extending those functions of administration which are appropriately applicable to marketing and street-cleaning to the direction and adjustment of the highest ranges of human instruction. Yet somehow it has worked well, on account of the very anomaly involved in it. The town-councillors, in selecting a professor, like the students in choosing a rector, are afraid of their own powers, and never venture to use their own discretion. Absolutely ignorant of the branches of knowledge to which the rules they frame apply, they become a medium through which these rules are moulded by others, and a certain commercial sagacity enables them to divine who are the most sagacious advisers. So also in the exercise of their patronage, being utterly unable to test the capacity of a candidate, they dare not give way to any partiality founded at least on this ground, and they are generally acute
enough to find out who is most highly estimated by those who are competent to judge.
That principle of internal self-action and independence of the contemporary constituted powers, of which the rectorship and some other relics remain to us at this day, is one of the most remarkable, and in many respects admirable, features in the history of the middle ages. It is involved in mysteries and contradictions which one would be glad to see unravelled by skilful and full inquirers. Adapted to the service of pure knowledge, and investing her with absolute prerogatives, the system was yet one of the creatures of that Romish hierarchy, which at the same time thought by other efforts to circumscribe human inquiry, and make it the servant of her own ambitious efforts.
It may help us in some measure to the solution of the phenomenon to remember that, however dim the light of the Church may have shone, it was yet the representative of the intellectual system, and was in that capacity carrying on a war with brute force. Catholicism was the great rival and controller of the feudal strength and tyranny of the ageinforme ingens cui lumen ademptum. As intellect and knowledge were the weapons with which they encountered the sightless colossus, it was believed that the intellectual arsenals could not be too extensive or complete-that intellect could not be too richly cultivated. Like many combatants, they perhaps forgot future results in the desire of immediate victory, and were for the moment blind to the effect so nervously apprehended by their successors, that the light thus brought in by them would illuminate the dark corners of their own ecclesiastical system, and lead the way to its fall. Perhaps such hardy intellects as Abelard or Aquinas may have anticipated such a result from the stimulus given by them to intellectual inquiry, and may not have deeply lamented the process.
learning with a noble reliance and a zealous energy which it would ill become the present age to despise or forget. And even if it should all have proceeded from a blind confidence that the Church placed on a rock was unassailable, and that mere human wisdom, even trained to the utmost of its powers, was, after all, to be nothing but her handmaiden, let us respect this unconscious simplicity which enabled the educational institutions to be placed in so high and trusted a position. The Church supplied something then, indeed, which we search after in vain in the present day, and which we shall only achieve by some great strides in academic organisation, capable of supplying from within what was then supplied from without: and the quality thus supplied was no less than that cosmopolitan nature, which made the university not merely parochial, or merely national, but universal, as its name denoted. The temporal prince might endow the academy with lands and riches, and might confer upon its members honourable and lucrative privileges, but it was to the head of the one indivisible Church that the power belonged of franking it all over Christendom, and establishing throughout the civilised world a freemasonry of intellect, which made all the universities, as it were, one great corporation of the learned men of the world.
But however it came about whether in the blindness of all, or the far-sightedness of some-the Church, from the thirteenth to pretty far on fifteenth century, encouraged
It must be admitted that we have here one of those practical difficulties which form the necessary price of the freedom of Protestantism. When a great portion of Europe was no longer attached to Rome, the peculiar centralisation of the educational systems was broken up. The old universities, indeed, retained their ancient privileges in a traditional, if not a practically legal shape, through Lutheranism and Calvinism carrying the characteristics of the abjured Romanism, yet carrying them unscathed, since they were protected from injury and insult by the enlightened object for which they were established and endowed. When, however, in Protestant countries, the old universities became poor, or when a change of condition demanded the foundation of a new university, it was difficult to
restore anything so simple and grand as that old community of privileges which made the member of one university a citizen of all others, according to his rank, whether he were laureated in Paris or distant Upsala -in the gorgeous academies close to the fostering influence of the Pope, or in that humble edifice endowed after the model of the University of Bologna, in an obscure Scottish town named Glasgow.
The English universities, by their great wealth and political influence, were able to stand alone, neither giving nor taking. Their Scottish contemporaries, unable to fight a like battle, have had reason to complain of their ungenerous isolation; and as children of the same parentage, and differing only with their southern neighbours in not having so much worldly prosperity, it is natural that they should look back with a sigh, which even orthodox Presbyterianism cannot suppress, to the time when the universal mental sway of Rome, how ever offensive it might be in its own insolent supremacy, yet exercised that high privilege of supereminent greatness to level secondary inequalities, and place those whom it favoured beyond the reach of conventional humiliations.
prizes and rewards among their own alumni, but to invest them with insignia of literary rank current for their value over the world-it would be equally difficult for any of the ancient universities in Protestant states to claim an exclusive right to such a power, since this could only be done through Papal authority. It will be said that there isjust the same practical difficulty in this as in all other departments of human institutions, and especially those which, like rank, are transferable from country to country, so as to require and obtain an estimate of their value in each. It will be said that the exelusiveness which denies the Heidelberg Doctor of Philosophy a parallel with the LL.D. of Oxford is just the same as that which will by no means admit the count or baron who is deputy-assistant highways controller, as on a par with an earl or baron in the peerage of England. The Kammer Junker of Denmark is not looked on as a privycouncillor. The Sheriff of Mecca, the Sheriff of London, and the Sheriff of Edinburgh, are three totally different personages, and would feel very much puzzled how to act if they were to change places for a while. Some Eastern dignitaries-Baboo, Fudky, and the like, must occasionally puzzle even the adepts of Leadenhall. Nor are we without our instances near at hand. What is the Knight of Kerry, what the Captain of Clanranald, what The Chisholm-and how do the authorities at the Herald's Office deal with them? Has not an Archbishop of York been suspected of imposture in a Scottish bank when he signed with the surname of Eborac; and have not our Scottish judges, with their strange-sounding peerage-titles, made mighty confusion in respectable English hotels, when my Lord Kames is so intimate with Mrs Home, and my Lord Auchinleck retires with Mrs Boswell? But admitting the confusion to be irremediable in the department of political and decorative rank, the absence of a uniform intellectual hierarchy is not the less to be regretted, while the great effort made to secure it in an early and imperfect condition of society should be contemplated with a respectful awe. There is just one man who professes
To keep up that characteristic which the Popedom only offered, the monarchs of the larger Protestant states have endeavoured to apply the incorporation principle to universities. In small states and republics the difficulty of obtaining a general sanction to frank their honours to any distance from the place where they are given is still greater; yet it is in such places that, through fortunate coincidents, an academy sometimes acquires a widespread reputation and influence. To what eminence the universities in the United States are destined who shall predict? yet, in the estimate of many, they have no right to be called universities at all; and of the doctors' degrees which they freely distribute in this country, much doubt is entertained of the genuineness. Yet if it would be difficult to lay down how it is that these American institutions have acquired any power to grant degrees-that is to say, the power not only to confer