Obrazy na stronie


The continued teaching for a long period, without interruption of holidays, is a great advantage, especially in the general course of education for the younger students. The system of examinations is still more important. Every professor, without any exception, is to devote a part of each week to this essential duty; without which there can be no security that any of the pupils makes due progress, and no doubt that many, probably the bulk of them, would fail to do so. Nor is the obligation to undergo these examinations dispensed with, unless the student is willing also to forego the benefit of the certificates.

There is an arrangement made for permitting men of eminence in various branches of learning to give Occasional courses of Lectures; and it is understood that foreigners of high reputation are now in treaty with the Council for delivering such

Among the professors of foreign literature regularly appointed, are already to be found names of distinguished eminence; and the outlines given by them in the statement before us, sufficiently attest their capacity for performing the tasks assigned to them.

Another laudable peculiarity of the London University, is the introduction of new branches of academical tuition. The Professorships of Foreign Literature, are among the number of these ; for they are designed not merely to teach the languages of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the Northern nations, but the refinements of those tongues, and the genius and history of the literature belonging to them. The Chair of General Jurisprudence is also a most important addition to the School of Law, an improvement, indeed, for the sake of which alone the foundation of a College would have been an inestimable service. The application of the several Branches of Physical Science to the Arts, presents a third improvement upon the ordinary system of instruction, although the admirable lectures of Professor Farish at Cambridge touch upon this ground; and, indeed, may afford a hint to the Council for a separate course. A separate Professorship for Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, there being of course one for Geology and Mineralogy, is also a very advantageous arrangement.

The following extract from the Statement, beside other important information, refers to a very material department of the medical school—the collection of drawings by which morbid structure is to be illustrated. We believe it may be very confidently asserted, that every promise held out in this paper, published last June, has been realized; and that before these pages see the light, the Museums will be thrown open to the public, in such a state as to justify every hope of complete success in the great work of instruction.

* The Council have set apart a portion of the funds at their disposal for Collections in Anatomy, Natural History, Books, and Philosophical apparatus ; and they propose in the month of October to open the small Library and Anatomical Museum, They have to acknowledge donations of nearly 400 volumes, some of them of great value; and before the opening of the University there will be a large collection of books in the several branches of study, which will be amply sufficient, at least for the purpose of reference, and in many cases far beyond it. The Anatomical Museum will be more complete, and will, even in the first instance, contain all that the Professor of Anatomy and other Medical Professors are likely to require, with provision for its rapid and indefinite extension. The Council have availed themselves of an opportunity of adding to this Museum a more perfect collection of drawings of morbid structure than, it is believed, has hitherto been applied to the purposes of teaching and study, and which will be peculiarly valuable to the student of the Practice of Medicine. Dr A. T. Thomson is collecting a Museum of Materia Medica on a more extensive scale than has hitherto been attempted in that branch of medical science. Care will also be taken that specimens for the illustration of Zoology, Botany, and other departments requiring them, shall be provided.

· Dr Lardner, who has been specially employed in the collection of philosophical apparatus, has given the following report of his proceedings :

*“ Since the period of my appointment I have employed several of the most eminent artists, and a collection is now in a very forward state, which, in scale and extent, is commensurate with the great objects of this institution. In the selection and adaptation of this apparatus, although the means of original research and philosophical investigation have not been overlooked, yet the object which has been principally contemplated is public instruction. Instruments of scientific research are frequently, either from their minuteness or delicacy, unsuited to the lecture-room. Models of these on a larger scale or coarser construction have therefore been provided. Where models, of sufficient size to give the smaller parts visible magnitude in a large theatre, would be unwieldy, well executed drawings have been resorted to: To explain the operation of machines having any degree of complexity, it is desirable to exhibit their internal structure, and to show the several parts in actual motion. This having been accomplished by sectional models, which will be very extensively used, every principal fact in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy will be represented by an experimental illustration, and every piece of apparatus will be on a scale calculated to render these illustrations impressive."

• In the other departments of science the apparatus is not of so ditficult or expensive a nature. In Chemistry, Dr Turner is preparing all that is necessary to render the laboratory complete and efficient. In those departments of Mathematics where diagrams, the parts of which are not in the same pla are used, Mr De Mo gan proposes to construct apparatus, by which he will be enabled to exhibit the se. veral lines and planes in their true positions, so as to give to solid VOL. XLVIII, NO. 95.


geometry and its applications, all the simplicity and clearness which students find in the elements of plane geometry.'

But though the difficulties, inseparable from the commencement of all novel enterprise, have now been overcome by the London University, it will still have to surmount the lesser obstacles which impede the free operation of all new mechanism. It will not at first reach its full speed ; its halls will not be fille ed with their full number for some time; the habits of the Londoners may not for a little while incline or enable them to furnish that complement. But we confidently expect

that a year or two will not elapse before this consummation is effected. The King's College will then be ready to open ; and it will both find the ground smoother, and will be able to profit in various ways by the experience of its predecessor. To the improvements made by the University, the College may add others; and if errors have been committed, these may be avoided. Every wise and good man will heartily desire to see both these great Institutions so conducted, as that he may wish for their unbounded prosperity, and perpetual duration.

ART. XI.-Outline of General History, Part I. Published under

the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. London, Baldwin; Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd; Glasgow, Robertson and Atkinson; Dublin, Wakeman; New York, Causels. 1828.

EFORE calling the reader's attention to these very able and

interesting publications, it seems fit that we take some notice of an objection, not certainly in its substance very new, but urged, of late, in a novel manner, against the labours of all who occupy themselves in promoting the mental improvement of the great body of the people. However well meant such efforts may be, it is said, they are producing a serious mischief, which will, in no long period of time, alter the face of society. We are far, say these objectors, from urging the old exploded argument, that the common people will cease to work, if you teach them to read or to think, and to take a delight in learning; and from pressing the still more chimerical apprehension, that learning will puff them up, which it assuredly never can do, when it is no distinction. 'But there are fears of a very different nature, they contend, and which deserve serious attention.—The poor will work, and, as regards one another, they will not be elated, because they will rise equally in the progress of improvement; but they will fill a new situation as regards their superiors; they

will no longer give rank and property their due respect; the distance will be removed, which made it easy to confront them; and the body of the people, being now better informed than the upper classes, as they are incalculably more numerous, the union of physical and moral power must shake the whole order of society, and may destroy its frame entirely. Hence, say these reasoners, although a certain share of knowledge may be both safe and wholesome for the people, it is unnecessary for their sakes, and will prove unsafe for the state, to give them a complete education in matters of science, and other liberal branches of knowledge.

We admit the inference deduced, if the fact here assumed were correctly stated. The assumption is, that the people are to acquire a liberal education, or improve rapidly, while the upper classes must remain ignorant, and stand still. If this were the case-if it were necessary that the line should be drawn to exclude the rich from the pale of knowledge, as it must needs be to exclude the mass of the people from that of wealth,—if, in a word, there were any thing to give the body of the people a monopoly of the power which resides in knowledge, as they already have, and must always have, that which resides in numbers,-it is manifest that there would be an end of the present state of society altogether. But this is not only unlike the truth; it is the reverse of the truth; and nothing but a degeneracy and self-abandonment, utterly inconceivable on the part of the upper classes, can ever make it approach to the truth. The easy circumstances in which they are happily placed, give them such an enviable command of their time, that they can always, with hardly any sacrifice, far outstrip, in mental improvement, their less fortunate neighbours. The daily labours of the working classes affix narrow limits to their studies; and although they may well, within those bounds, and without encroaching upon their hours of needful toil or repose, cultivate their faculties, store their minds with knowledge, and elevate their tastes above low pursuits, they can never hope to rise as high in these respects as persons whose time is almost entirely at their own command, and whose wealth gives them a thousand helps to learning.

We are supposing, however, that the rich, who have the means of retaining their superiority, have also the will to do so; and that for the sake of preserving their station in society, they are disposed to keep pace with the advancing knowledge of the times they live in. If there were no other reason to expect they would feel this disposition, the necessity of their doing so would be a sufficient security. It is no longer a matter of choice; they must bestow the requisite care upon their education. And here we speak of the middle as well as the upper classes of society; indeed our observations apply to them fully more than to the

aristocracy, properly so called. The progress of their inferiors will soon impress them with this truth; but steps are most judiciously taken, in the meantime, to excite in them, as well as in the working classes, a desire of knowledge, and the labours of the society are avowedly extended to the improvement of all ranks of the community. We have taught the poor to read, say they; it is our duty to see that proper books are provided for them, lest, having given them the appetite, it should seek unwholesome gratification. But it is no less our duty, they add, to stimulate the like desire of knowledge among the middle and upper classes of society; and to afford them the means of improvement which we have taught the common people to use. The truth of these positions is undeniable, and this institution; from its commencement, has acted upon it. Its plan has been to furnish plain lessons in science, and in art, at so cheap a rate, that any one may afford to possess them, and so easy to follow, that any one, with a little attention, and without the belp of a master, may be able to learn by them. So that the

So that the poor, who cannot afford time or money for instruction, may learn something, and such of their superiors as have neglected their education, when knowledge was less an object of pursuit, may now teach themselves, and make up for lost time.

The Society's first work, and the one to which it has hitherto devoted most attention, is the Library of Useful Knowledge; and of this it has now published thirty-four treatises. Of their cheapness, we have frequently had occasion to speak. They compose a mass equal to near four thousand ordinary octavo pages, and are sold for seventeen shillings. The figures are numerous, original, and admirably executed. We may, in reference to this head of price, advert to the Treatise on Vegetable Physiology, published since the subject was last under discussion. It contains eighty-one figures, many of them of exquisite workmanship--and matter equal to that which would fill an octavo of about 110 pages-and is sold for sixpence.

As to the subjects, the course of Natural Philosophy, with the exception of Astronomy, is finished--that of Elementary Mathematics is begun--there being admirable treatises on Arithmetic and Algebra, Navigation, Mathematical Geography, &c. But since we last adverted to the subject, the Society have begun its series of Historical and Biographical Works; and a general meeting of the members being held in May, some material information was given as to the designs of the committee in publishing a second great work, and in adding to the first some treatises more peculiarly suited to the capacities of ignorant persons. It has been suggested, that several of the scientific publications which have already appeared are not sufficiently adapted to the common class

« PoprzedniaDalej »