Imágenes de página


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




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, the first intellectual rank. What is a in the University of Paris, those high still more remarkable result than that authorities to whom, as far separated they should often have been men of from all sublunary influences, King genius, there is scarcely an instance Henry of England proposed, in the of a lord rector having been a clamortwelfth century, to refer his disputes ous quack or a canting fanatic. with the Papal power. In England they In Edinburgh there is no such relic are represented at the present day by of the ancient university commonthe formidable proctor, who is a wealth, and the students have interror to evil-doers without being any stinctively supplied the want by praise or protection to them that do ' affiliating their voluntary societies, well. But it may safely be said that and choosing a distinguished man to the chubby youths who in Glasgow be the president of the aggregate and Aberdeen go through the annual group. The constitution of the Colceremony, as procuratores nationum, lege of Edinburgh, indeed, was not of representing the votes of the na- matured until after the old constitutions in the election of a rector, more tion of the universities had suffered a legitimately represent those procura- reaction, and, far from any new ones tors of the thirteenth and fourteenth being constructed on the old model, century, who maintained the rights the earlier universities with difficulty of their respective nations in the great preserved their constitution. Some intellectual republic called a Univer- person called a College Bailie is the sitas. The discovery, indeed, of this dignitary who presides over the intelatent power, long hidden, like some rests of the University of Edinburgh palæontological fossil, under the peda- as one of the appendages of the Town gogical innovations of modern days— Council. By that body the greater which tended to make the self-gov- part of the patronage of the instituerning institution a school ruled by tion is administered, and now it is masters-created astonishment in all decided that they have the sole and quarters, even in those who found absolute right of making bye-laws for themselves in possession of the privi- the regulation of this, the leading lege. In Aberdeen especially, when educational institution of Scotland. some mischievous antiquary main- There is sometbing transcendently tained that by the charter the election ludicrous in a civic corporation - a of a lord rector lay with the stu- conclave of demure tradesmen, indents themselves, the announcement tensely respectable-extending those was received with derision by a dis- functions of administration which are cerning public, and with a severe appropriately applicable to marketing frown, as a sort of seditious libel, en- and street-cleaning to the direction ticing the youth to rebellion, by the and adjustment of the highest ranges indignant professors. But it turned

But it turned of human instruction. Yet somehow out to be absolutely true, however it has worked well, on account of the astounding it might be to those who very anomaly involved in it. The are unacquainted with the early town-councillors, in selecting a prohistory of universities, and think that fessor, like the students in choosing a everything ancient must have been rector, are afraid of their own powers, tyrannical and hierarchical. The and never venture to use their own young ones made a sort of saturnalia discretion. Absolutely ignorant of of their fugitive power, while the pro- the branches of knowledge to which fessors looked on as one may see a the rules they frame apply, they besolemn mastiff contemplate the gam, come a medium through which these bols of a litter of privileged spaniel rules are moulded by others, and a paps. The privilege was, however, certain commercial sagacity enables used effectively, we may say nobly. them to divine who are the most There has been no fogyism, or adhe- sagacious advisers. So also in the rence to any settled routine of hum- exercise of their patronage, being drum respectability, in the selection utterly unable to test the capacity of a of the rectors. From Burke to Bul- candidate, they dare not give way to wer Lytton and Macaulay, they have any partiality founded at least on this with a few exceptions, been men of ground, and they are generally acute enough to find out who is most highly learning with a noble reliance and a estimated by those who are competent zealous energy which it would ill beto judge.

come the present age to despise or That principle of internal self-ac- forget. And even if it should all tion and independence of the contem- have proceeded from a blind confiporary constituted powers, of which dence that the Church placed on a the rectorship and some other relics rock was unassailable, and that mere remain to us at this day, is one of human wisdom, even trained to the the most remarkable, and in many utmost of its powers, was, after all, respects admirable, features in the to be nothing but her handmaiden, history of the middle ages. It is let us respect this unconscious siminvolved in mysteries and contradic- plicity which enabled the educational tions which one would be glad to see institutions to be placed in so high unravelled by skilful and full in- and trusted a position. The Church quirers. Adapted to the service of supplied something then, indeed, which pure knowledge, and investing her we search after in vain in the present with absolute prerogatives, the sys- day, and which we shall only achieve tem was yet one of the creatures of by some great strides in academic that Romish hierarchy, which at the organisation, capable of supplying same time thought by other efforts from within what was then supplied to circumscribe human inquiry, and from without: and the quality thus make it the servant of her own am- supplied was no less than that cosbitious efforts.

mopolitan nature, which made the It may help us in some measure to university not merely parochial, or the solution of the phenomenon to merely national, but universal, as its remember that, however dim the light name denoted. The temporal prince of the Church may have shone, it might endow the academy with lands was yet the representative of the and riches, and might confer upon its intellectual system, and was in that members honourable and lucrative capacity carrying on a war with brute privileges, but it was to the head of force. Catholicism was the great the one indivisible Church that the rival and controller of the feudal power belonged of franking it all strength and tyranny of the age- over Christendom, and establishing informe ingens cui lumen ademptum. throughout the civilised world a freeAs intellect and knowledge were the masonry of intellect, wbich made all weapons with which they encountered the universities, as it were, one great the sightless colossus, it was believed corporation of the learned men of that the intellectual arsenals could not the world. be too extensive or complete-that It must be admitted that we have intellect could not be too richly cul- here one of those practical difficulties tivated. Like many combatants, they which form the necessary price of the perhaps forgot future results in the freedom of Protestantism. When a desire of immediate victory, and were great portion of Europe was no longer for the moment blind to the effect so attached to Rome, the peculiar cennervously apprehended by their suc- tralisation of the educational systems cessors, that the light thus brought in was broken up. The old universiby them would illuminate the dark ties, indeed, retained their ancient corners of their own ecclesiastical privileges in a traditional, if not a system, and lead the way to its fall. practically legal shape, through LuPerhaps such hardy intellects as Abe- theranism and Calvinism carrying the lard or Aquinas may have antici- characteristics of the abjured Romanpated such a result from the stimulus ism, yet carrying them unscathed, given by them to intellectual inquiry, since they were protected from injury and may not have deeply lamented and insult by the enlightened object

for which they were established and But however it came about - endowed. When, however, in Prowhether in the blindness of all, or the testant countries, the old universities far-sightedness of some—the Church, became poor, or wheu a change of from the thirteenth to pretty far on condition demanded the foundation of

fifteenth century, encouraged a new university, it was difficult to

the process.

restore anything so simple and grand prizes and rewards among their own as that old community of privileges alumni, but to invest them with inwhich made the member of one uni- signia of literary rank current for versity a citizen of all others, accord- their value over the world—it would ing to his rank, whether he were be equally difficult for any of the laureated in Paris or distant Upsala ancient universities in Protestant -in the gorgeous academies close to states to claim an exclusive right to the fostering influence of the Pope, or such a power, since this could only be in that humble edifice endowed after done through Papal authority. It will the model of the University of Bo- be said that there isjust the same praclogna, in an obscure Scottish town tical difficulty in this as in all other named Glasgow.

departments of human institutions, and The English universities, by their especially those which, like rank, are great wealth and political influence, transferable from country to country, were able to stand alone, neither giv- so as to require and obtain an estiing nor taking. Their Scottish con- mate of their value in each. It will temporaries, unable to fight a like be said that the exelusiveness which battle, have bad reason to complain denies the Heidelberg Doctor of Phiof their ungenerous isolation; and as losophy a parallel with the LL.D. of children of the same parentage, and Oxford is just the same as that which differing only with their southern will by no means admit the count or neighbours in not having so much baron who is deputy-assistant highworldly prosperity, it is natural that ways controller, as on a par with an they should look back with a sigh, earl or baron in the peerage of Engwbich even orthodox Presbyterianism land. The Kammer Junker of Dencannot suppress, to the time when the mark is not_looked on as a privyuniversal mental sway of Rome, how- councillor. The Sheriff of Mecca, the ever offensive it might be in its own Sheriff of London, and the Sheriff of insolent supremacy, yet exercised that Edinburgh, are three totally different high privilege of supereminent great personages, and would feel very much ness to level secondary inequalities, puzzled how to act if they were to and place those whom it favoured be- change places for a while. Some yond the reach of conventional hu- Eastern dignitaries-- Baboo, Fudky, miliations.

and the like, must occasionally puzzle To keep up that characteristic even the adepts of Leadenhall. Nor which the Popedom only offered, are we without our instances near at the monarchs of the larger Protestant hand. What is the Knight of Kerry, states have endeavoured to apply the what the Captain of Clapranald, incorporation principle to universi- what The Chisholm-and how do the ties. In small states and republics authorities at the Herald's Office the difficulty of obtaining a general deal with them? Has not an Archsanction to frank their honours to any bishop of York been suspected of distance from the place where they imposture in a Scottish bank when he are given is still greater ; yet it is in signed with the surname of Eborac; such places that, through fortunate and have not our Scottish judges, with coincidents, an academy sometimes their strange-sounding peerage-titles, acquires a widespread reputation and made mighty confusion in respectable influence. To what eminence the English hotels, when my Lord Kames universities in the United States are is so intimate with Mrs Home, and destined who shall predict ? yet, in the my Lord Auchinleck retires with Mrs estimate of many, they have no right Boswell? But admitting the confuto be called universities at all; and sion to be irremediable in the departof the doctors' degrees which they ment of political and decorative rank, freely distribute in this country, much the absence of a uniform intellectual doubt is entertained of the genuine- hierarchy is not the less to be regret

Yet if it would be difficult to ted, while the great effort made to lay down how it is that these Ameri- secure it in an early and imperfect can institutions have acquired any condition of society should be conpower to grant degrees—that is to templated with a respectful awe. say, the power not only to confer There is just one man who professes


« AnteriorContinuar »