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which has ceased to exist. That the number of schools is not sufficient for the population, if the attendance is to be proportionate to what we find it in England and Scotland, cannot be denied; it is a question of arithmetic, not of opinion. But it is hardly encouraging to those who are making every effort to press the matter on the attention of Government, to see that comparatively so little use is being made of the existing schools. When I first came into the country I accounted for this by the presumed incapacity or want of energy of the teachers, of which the complaints were general. Since I have been living in Wales I have had the opportunity of judging for myself in several cases, and in each have satisfied myself that these complaints had no sound foundation. Two years ago I was invited to examine a Grammar School in North Wales, but warned at the same time that it was in a very poor condition, the master incompetent, and the number of pupils correspondingly low. When the papers reached me I was surprised to find everywhere the marks of patient, thorough work. The translation of an unprepared piece of Latin, than which there is no more searching test o thoroughness, was remarkably well done by the upper form, and yet there had been no neglect of the more backward boys. In the following year, happening to be in the same neighbourhood, I attended the prize ceremony, curious to see how the school had impressed a different examiner. The report confirmed in every particular that which I had presented in the previous year. Here was a school doing excellent work at a nominal fee, which was only half full and commonly denounced, especially in the immediate neighbourhood, as grossly inefficient. An Intermediate Bill is badly wanted. Without Government aid it would be impossible to establish a Modern Side, the endowments of most of the schools being insufficient for the maintenance of a double staff, and to found schools in districts at present unprovided for. But the inadequate attendance at the existing schools forms a most serious obstacle to the passing of any such measure, because it makes men who do not know Wales suspicious of the sincerity of the popular demand. And further, this prejudice induces many parents to send their sons at great expense to distant English schools, of the management of which they can, from the nature of the case, have little knowledge. I do not for one moment question the excellence of English schools as a class, but in England, as elsewhere, bad schools are to be found as well as good, and it may be fairly asked of those who apparently have so little knowledge of those in their own neighbourhood, what better knowledge they can expect to have of an institution a hundred miles distant. Others, again, unable to afford this expense, keep their sons at home, intending to send them to one of the University
Colleges when they reach the age of admission. course not only injures the prospects of the lads, it seriously interferes with the legitimate work of the colleges; for Government never made a grant of twelve thousand pounds a year to the Welsh colleges merely in order that the Latin and Greek declensions should be taught by Professors instead of Schoolmasters. There are signs that this evil is abating: At Bangor it has been found possible to curtail some of the elementary work this session, and at Cardiff the Senate has instituted a vivâ voce entrance examination for several of the classes. All this is encouraging, but this cardinal maxim cannot be too strongly impressed on parents who wish to give their sons a University education: "The door of the College is the School."
We now come to the University Colleges. For their present duties these are, except in endowment, fairly equipped. The teaching staff is sufficient for the degree course of London University, and as long as we have no degree of our own to offer, we must, with however bad a grace, be content to work for that course, for a University degree is equivalent to several hundred pounds capital when a man enters a profession, and few can afford to forego such an advantage. The majority of the young men who come to us will desire to work for the London B.A. or B.Sc., the only valuable degree in England which can be gained without residence. The annual Government grant of four thousand pounds, aided by subscriptions, ought, it may be thought, to suffice, at least for present needs, and no doubt it would were teaching the only work which had to be done. At present, however, in the absence of any system of scholarships connecting the schools with the colleges, that work has to be undertaken by the colleges themselves. This is a strain they can hardly continue to bear. Either the scholarships or exhibitions must be in large part, if not altogether, abandoned, a course which in a poor country like Wales would keep down a larger proportion of clever lads than it would in England, or the colleges must receive additional endowment. There is no alternative, and the sooner Welshmen face the question boldly the better.
To pass on to the academical position of the Welsh Colleges, there are few who believe or hope that the present enforced connection with London is likely to be permanent. Events are moving in the opposite direction. It would be ingratitude to deny the great services that London University has rendered. Socrates spoke of himself as an intellectual midwife: he assisted the parturition of other men's thoughts. We may in like manner call the University of London an academical midwife; but for the assistance of its degree examinations the Provincial Colleges which are now scattered over the country, and which will in all likelihood play an important part in the
future social development of Great Britain, might never have seen the light. But the function of the midwife is temporary; the great Examining University has done its work, and already a movement has been set on foot for its conversion into a local teaching University for the capital. By its founders, indeed, it was undoubtedly regarded as an attempt to embody a permanent ideal. But the permanency of a mere examining corporation has been practically given up by the scholastic world. It is based upon the now exploded idea that examination is a complete test of education, and not, as we have seen it is, a partial, and often misleading, test. I will not, however, dwell upon this; it is now so generally admitted that the practical question which should interest us is not whether this connection with London should be broken, but how soon. Shall we begin to press the question of the Welsh University at once, or shall we wait for some years till we acquire strength and experience? The disadvantages of the connection are two-fold : —(i.) In the first place it involves the absolute separation between teachers and examiners, which in spite of every effort on the part of the former must tend to substitute "cram" for education. (ii.) In the second place, all free growth in the Welsh educational system is absolutely checked. The University course must be accepted in its entirety or the Welsh student must be content to do without a degree. Now the London course is essentially one-sided, being the brand-new product of a particular school of thinkers at a particular epoch. It is devoid of all catholicity. The ideal University is an institution in which every branch of human knowledge is or may be studied. The University of London excludes some subjects from its curriculum altogether, and of other admits only a partial treatment. History is hardly studied at all; the philosophy is the philosophy of one, and that a discredited, school. Now it is notoriously difficult for the admirer of one philosophical system to see any good in another. This is so well recognised that at Oxford care is usually taken that the logic or philosophy papers in the Final Classical School shall be looked over by representatives of different schools of thought. I remember hearing, on pretty good authority, that in a certain year a philosophy paper was sent in which one of the two examiners considered as good as any he had ever looked over, and the other classified as a bad third. The University of London, however, has the reputation of being entirely in the hands of one philosophical school, and that not the most favourable to religion or high morality. The student who takes up philosophy as a subject for the London course must not merely study materialism, but to a certain extent he must study it with acceptance of judgment. I do not for one moment mean to imply any unfairness on the part of the examiners. But examiners are men, and not angels.
Again the earlier examinations cover far too extensive a field. In the Matriculation examination every candidate is required to pass in no less than seven different subjects, including three foreign languages and two branches of science; in the Intermediate five subjects are obligatory. Whether such a scheme can operate beneficially in any case is open to question; it is beyond all doubt that on many minds it has a most injurious effect. Discursive intellects find full scope for the superficiality which is their besetting sin; but to those which lack that dangerous facility these regulations are a Procrustean torture. There are many men who have made themselves names in some branch of literature or science who, had they had no door of entry to the temple of knowledge but that provided by the University of London, might never have crossed the threshold. Superficiality is inseparable from such a system, and hence it is that the London degree is oftener the badge of information than of education.
These disadvantages form the heavy price which has to be paid for the continuance of the London system. Do we gain no counterbalancing advantages? During the infancy of the colleges, yes! Had these been incorporated immediately on their foundation into a university, they would have been without experience and without the strength that comes from experience to resist the demands of an ill-informed and enthusiastic constituency. The academical standard would probably have been lowered in deference to popular clamour, and it might have been discovered too late that the letters M.A. had lost their talismanic virtue when they lost the greater part of their meaning. Again a reaction has begun in England against excessive examination. Delay will enable the Welsh Colleges to take advantage of this growing feeling, and so to provide for the reduction of the examination system in the future Welsh University within more reasonable limits. Such a reduction there must be, unless we are to be contented "cælum non animum mutare," to get change of air without change of spirit.
On the other hand it should be borne in mind that the first years of a new institution are unusually rich in experience, and marked by unusually rapid growth. Precedent, too, favours speedy action. The year 1849 saw the establishment of the three Queen's Colleges in Belfast, Cork, and Galway: in less than four years they were incorporated into the late Queen's University, which did excellent work, till, in one of those fits of legislative experiment which seem fated to prevent anything from coming to maturity in that unlucky island, it was swept away by Lord Beaconsfield's Government, and the Colleges were merged in the Royal University of Ireland, a corporation embodying the principles, and, therefore, the defects, of the University of London.
Finally nothing can now be extorted from the over-tasked Parliament except by long and steady pressure. The subject of a University for Wales has hardly yet been mooted, and it will be some time before a new idea of this kind can soak into the minds of public men and win its way into the category of measures which the worried statesman accepts with resignation as inevitable. Let those then who deprecate the immediate establishment of a Welsh University, and desire to wait three or four years for strength and experience, be assured that there is not the slightest danger that what they apprehend will take place. Years are certain to elapse between the opening of the campaign and the crowning victory. Immediate action will certainly not give us a University in 1887, but it may make the date 1897 instead of 2007. Let Welsh politicians then, who regard the future of the Principality as knit up with the future of Welsh education, begin to work for the establishment of a Welsh University from this moment.
But suppose these efforts successful and the charter of incorporation ready to be drawn up. What form should it take, what lines should it follow? Nothing more can be expected at present than general outlines and suggestions which further examination may reject, modify, or complete. I will confine my remarks to a few points which have especially caught my attention.
(i.) The University should be a teaching, not a mere examining, body. That is to say, no one should be allowed to sit for a degree examination who has not passed through a certain specified course of teaching at one more of the colleges composing the University. (ii.) No subject of knowledge should be expressly excluded from the list of possible faculties. (iii.) The University should direct and control the Intermediate Schools by some system of inspection, and local examinations. (iv.) The degree examination should be simplified. With regard to the second point I must guard against a misconception. It is not meant, of course, that the teaching of every subject should be provided for at the outset, that professorial chairs should be established whose occupants would have to lecture to empty benches. But perfect freedom should be left for the creation, should it become necessary, of new faculties. A University which formally pledges itself never to give degrees in a particular faculty has forfeited all title to the name. There is one subject, and one alone, in which such exclusion is to be seriously apprehended: I mean theology. By their charters the University Colleges are expressly debarred from teaching theology of any kind. It is superfluous to inform an audience of Welshmen that the motive of this exclusion was neither contempt nor dislike; it was rather jealousy arising from reverence. Nobody would consent to allow