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I have just perused a Pamphlet, which has appeared within the last few days, under the following very precise title— Thoughts on the Present System of Academic Education in the University of Cambridge. By Eubulus.? The author represents himself to be a member of this University; a fact which his readers would never have suspected, so incredible is the ignorance which he betrays of the real pursuits of the place. He condemns with vehemence the exclusive attention paid to mathematics; and after having settled that not above twelve or fifteen of the graduates of each year pursue their mathematical studies after they have taken their degree, he decides that, to all the remainder of the young men, their total acquirements, and the whole of their University education, are absolutely useless. He then takes up the matter in a financial point of view, and by estimating the expenses of each student at 7001. or 8001., the result of his calculation is, that from 100,0001, to 136,0001. are annually expended for no good purpose whatever to any body, except to those twelve or fifteen individuals !

In making this statement, Eubulus appears to be ignorant that there exists such a thing as education in the respective Colleges that any thing but the mathematics may possibly be studied, even by the unhonored class, (whom he is pleased to style loxol!) -or that any other advantages can be derived from an University education, and the numerous facilities for acquiring useful and interesting knowledge of other descriptions, which this place supplies.

But the most remarkable feature of Eubulus's pamphlet is, his complete misapprehension of the real object which the University has in view, when it encourages the study of philosophy among its youth. He does not appear to have the slightest suspicion, that it is intended by this course of reading to strengthen the reasoning faculties, to produce habits of close attention, accuracy, and discrimination, to exercise acuteness, and to improve the memory. The only utility of the study is, he thinks, to promote new discoveries, or practical mathematics : and as this effect is but seldom found to take place even among his twelve or fifteen select worthies, he leaves it to be inferred, that Academic education is totally useless, and all the vast sums expended upon it are thrown away. His arguments upon this subject defy all description; it would be

impossible to give an adequate notion of them, except by quoting his own words:

“ Are not practical mathematics the great source of useful inventions; and are not the Cambridge mathematics alorost erclusively speculative ?

“Take a junior or senior optimé, or even a wrangler, into an irregular field with a common land-surveyor, and ask them severally to measure it; which will do it soonest and best?

"Let one of each of these academic graduates and a practical sailor be sailing towards an unknown coast; which will soonest make a correct observations

“Build a bridge across the Thames; who will do it best, Mr. Rennie (supposing him still alive,) or a committee of senior wranglers ?

“If it should happen that in these cases the practical mathematicians would have the advantage, may it not be said, that our mathematics are more for show than use ?Eubulus, p. 8.

If this gentleman be really a graduate of the University, and if this be the fruit of Cambridge logic, it is indeed an argument that our system ought to be altered without delay. It does not occur to him, that he might as well have asked similar questions respecting most other human studies. Nor has he the least idea that bis Senior Wranglers may possibly experience other benefits from their attainments, even if they be not able to build a bridge across the Thames better than Mr. Rennie, ( supposing bim still alive!)

The inevitable tendency of the doctrine of Eubulus is, to show that mathematics ought no longer to be encouraged as a branch of our University studies; since, according to him, they lead to nothing but a prodigal and almost criminal waste both of time and of money. But, strange to say, this gentleman (whose title does not altogether correspond with his writings) is disposed to spare them, useless as they are, and even to allow them the precedence of other studies: in this respect his conclusion is completely at variance with the whole of his argument.

He then proposes general examinations in divinity and in the classics : and it gives me some concern to find desirable measures recommended by a writer who reasons like Eubulus. He has a scheme for this purpose, some parts of which are original :—First, he would institute an examination in divinity of all students at the end of their second year, which should confer no hovors, and concede no exemption.' Each of the Examinants (such is the name by which he designates the young men under examination!) is then

to declare whether he intends to graduate in mathematics or classics, which should not preclude him from offering himself for examination in the Senate-house in both.' At the degree-time, he means to have one tripos, or list of honors, in each department, which is on no account to exceed forty. Whenever this plan is proposed, there will, I fear, be two fundamental objections to it: first, that it leads to, and sanctions an entire neglect of one or other branch of knowledge, which it should be the object of our regulations to prevent; and secondly, that it subverts the very principles of our University system, in limiting the honors, not by the merits of the students, (whose number and whose proficiency will vary,) but by a sort of Procrustean rule, to which all cases must be adapted.

My only motive for noticing this pamphlet at all, is to mark with due reprobation its unfair and unfounded statements respecting our present University examinations. For his first complaint, that the mathematical questions are puzzling, his readers will perhaps be at no loss to account; he may have found them such; and if so, his case is not an uncommon one, although his manner of describing it is peculiar enough:

“ Ever since the days of Samson, riddles have been thought a great test of the acuteness of the human mind. After the time that he puzzled the Philistines, the sphinx puzzled the Thebans, and the Queen of Sheba tried to puzzle Solomon. And, in conformity with this custom, in which sacred and profane histories alike concur, after a lapse of between three and four thousand years, the examiners in the Senate-house still propose riddles to their EXAMINANTS.

“What is the greater part of that examination but a set of mathematical conundrums, in which each examiner tries to display his ingenuity by quibbling subtleties, by little riceties, and knackeries, and tricks of the art, &c.?"- Eubulus, p. 9.

But he continues, in the same strain, to declare that we have deserted the track of geometry, and forsaken the path our mighty master trod;' in short, that the labors of Newton are neglected' at Cambridge. Now that this is inconsistent with fact, every body, at all acquainted with the place, will testify. It may be true, that within the last six or seven years, too much stress has been sometimes laid upon the French analytics; but not in any degree which can justify the statements of Eubulus.

In the Senate-house examination which has just taken place, I have reason to believe that as much inquiry has been made respecting all parts of the Principia, as the most zealous Newtonian could wish. And the late appointment of Professor Turton to fill the chair of our immortal Philosopher, while it affords the utmost satisfaction to all friends of the University, gives us a security, that the philosophical studies of our youth will receive the most judicious and most useful direction.

But let us admit, that for his last complaints, however overstated, he

may

have had some sort of foundation : for another of his reflections upon our system, Eubulus has not a pretence or shadow of justification : in his nineteenth page, he is pleased to pronounce,-

“ That our range of Greek reading is at present too much confined. We labor about the dramatic writers too much, to the erclusion of the rest. We weary ourselves with adjusting iambics, and trochaics, and anapæsts, and twisting monostrophics into choruses and dochmiacs, and almost seem to neglect the sense for the sake of the sound."

Where did Eubulus learn this ? What single instance can be produce to countenance this bare-faced assertion? I must, in candor, suppose that he is really ignorant of the matter on which he writes: but had he made the least inquiry, he would have found that the dramatists occupy no larger share of attention than their excellence and their extent demand; and that the study of the poets and the prose authors is equally encouraged. I have always heard it re marked, that the peculiar merit of our classical examinations consists in the care taken that no department of literature should be neglected : by allowing full credit to all, they encourage the youth in the free pursuit of those models, which can best form the taste, enlarge the mind, and purify the judgment. Eubulus recommends other authors, which he complains are excluded, and specifies Plato, Xenophon, Thucydides, Polybius and Demosthenes; fixing upon books which do happen to be as frequently, or possibly more so, than any others, the subjects of examination!!! As for his sentence about metre, (which sounds as if it were taken from the Edinburgh Review,) I shall not stop to conjecture what his own conceptions may be of 'monostrophics,' or of choruses, and dochmiacs, but I will ask him, whether ever he heard that at any classical examination (and of such he is speaking) the students were called upon to exercise their ingenuity in twisting' compositions of that description? Or, if this be a sheer piece of invention, how can he reconcile to any honorable feeling, the having put forth such groundless and pitiful insinuations; which he thinks - will be discreditable to the University, and to which he means that his character of one of its members should give currency? There

are, in Eubulus's pamphlet, two or three sentences respecting the pursuit of Christian knowledge, which I so cordially approve, and which appear so honorable to the writer, that Í would have forborne to notice the weakness of the rest of his performance, had he not called for this mention of him, by such unparalleled misrepresentations of our University; for which it is difficult to imagine either provocation or apology.

LETTER

TO

PHILOGRANTUS,

BY EUBULUS:

BEING

A SEQUEL TO A PAMPHLET,

ENTITLED

THOUGHTS

ON

THE PRESENT SYSTEM OF ACADEMIC EDUCATION

IN THE

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.

me lectori credere malo

Quam Professoris fastidia ferre superbi. " A false quantity, a direct insult to all the laws of prosody! But we cannot expect gentlemen who do not weigh their words, to be very exact in measuring their syllables."

“ Take physic, Pomp."

LONDON:

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