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of the trust, and to be able to realize completely its intention. It is evident that the problem here, is, simply, how to find a patron, or how to constitute a board of patrons, that shall most certainly, and in the highest degree, possess these two qualities-Good Will and Capacity.
In regard to good will,-a patron will be well disposed precisely in proportion as he has motives more and stronger to fulfil, fewer and weaker to violate his duty. The aim, therefore, of an enlightened scheme of patronage, is, in the first place, to supply him with as many as possible of the one class, and in the second, to remove from him as many as possible of the other.
As to the supply of direct motives :-Independently of the general interest which academic patrons, in common with all intelligent and patriotic citizens must feel in the welfare of their Universities, it is evident, that motives peculiarly determining them to a zealous discharge of their trust, will be given by connecting their personal honour and dishonour with the appointment of worthy and unworthy professors; and that this motive will be strong or weak, in proportion as, on the one hand, the honour or dishonour is more or less intense and enduring in its application, and on the other, as the patrons are persons of a character more or less alive to the public opinion of their conduct. These conditions determine the following principles, as regulating the organization of a board of academical patronage.
I. The patrons must be few: to the end that their responsibility may be concentrated; in other words, that the praise or blame attributed to their acts may not be weakened by dissemination among numbers.
2. The board of patrons must be specially constituted ad hoc; at least, if it discharges any other function, that should be of an analogous and subordinate nature. Nothing tends more directly to lower in the eyes of the patron and of the public, the importance of an academical patronage; consequently, nothing tends more to enervate and turn off the credit or discredit attached to its acts, and to weaken the sense of responsibility felt in its discharge, than the right of appointing professors in general, or, still more, of appointing to individual chairs, being thrown in as an accidental, and consequently a minor duty, to be lightly performed by functionaries not chosen as competent to this particular duty, but constituted for a wholly different purpose.-But with its patronage is naturally conjoined as an inferior function, the general superintendence of a University; academical curators and patrons should in fact always be the same.
3. Where a country possesses more than one University, each
should have its separate board of patronage; in order that the patrons may have the motive of mutual emulation, and that public opinion may be formed on a comparative estimate.
4. The patrons should be, at least, conditionally permanent; that is, not holding their office for life, but re-appointed, from time to time, if their conduct merit approval. And this for two reasons. Because honour and dishonour apply with less effect to a transitory patron-seldom known and soon forgotten; and because as it is only after a considerable term of years that patrons can effect the elevation or decline of a University, so it is only a permanent patron who can feel a strong personal interest in the celebrity of a school, and to whom the glory of being the author of its prosperity, can operate as a high inducement.
5. To impress more deeply on the patrons the obligations and importance of their office, they should make oath, in the most solemn manner, on their entrance upon office, to the impartial and diligent discharge of their duty; and perhaps in every report to the higher authority, they should declare upon their honour, and with special reference to their oath, that their choice has been determined, without favour, and solely by the preeminent qualifications of its object.
6. The patrons will be most likely to appreciate highly the importance of their function, and to feel acutely the praise or reprobation which their acts deserve, if taken from the class of society inferior, but only inferior, to the highest. If a patron is appointed from his rank or station;-he is perhaps above the influence of public opinion; the office is to him only a subordinate distinction; and the very fact of his appointment, while it tells him that its duties are neither difficult nor momentous-for, was he selected for his ability to discharge them?—is in fact the most pernicious precedent to him in his own disposal of the patronage itself. If the patron be of a low rank, he is probably patron only by official accident; is too uninstructed to understand the importance of a duty thus abandoned to hazard; is too grovelling to be actuated by public opinion, and too obscure to be its object; while at the same time he is exposed to incentives to violate his trust, strong in proportion to the impotence of the motives persuading its fulfilment. That patron will perform his duty best, who owes his nomination solely to his competence; who regards his office as his chiefest honour; and who, without being the slave of public opinion which he should be qualified to guide, is neither above nor beneath its salutary influence.
The removal from a patron of all counter motives to the discharge of his duty, or of all ability to carry them into effect, determines the following precautions:
7. The patrons must be a body as much as possible removed from the influence of personal motives, apart from or opposed to their preference of the most worthy. The professorial college will therefore, of all others, not constitute the body by which it is itself elected.
8. The patrons should have the virtual and recommendatory, but not the formal and definitive appointment. This should belong to a higher authority-say a Minister of State. A nonacquiescence in their recommendation, which would of course necessitate their resignation, and throw them back on their electors, could never take place without strong reason: but its very possibility would tend effectually to prevent its occurrence.
9. With the report of their decision, the patrons should be required to make an articulate statement of the grounds on which their opinion has been formed, that the object of their preference is the individual best qualified for the vacant chair.
Touching the quality of capacity—that is, the power of discovering and making effectual the discovery of the best accomplished individuals-this affords the following conditions:
1. The patrons should be appointed specially ad hoc, and from their peculiar qualification for the discharge of the office.
2. They should be men of integrity, prudence, and competent acquirement, animated by a love of literature and science, and of an unexclusive liberality-in short, either knowing themselves, or able to discover, who are the individuals worthy of preference.
3. The patronage should be vested in a small plurality. In more than one ;-to obviate the errors of individual judgment, and to resist the influences that might prove too powerful for a single will; to secure the animation of numbers, a division of labour, more extensive, applicable, and impartial information, opposite views, and a many-sided discussion of their merits. Not in many; that the requisite intelligence, &c., may be possessed by the whole body; that the presence of all may be ensured; that each may feel his importance, and co-operate in the enquiries and deliberations; that they may understand each other; take, in common, comprehensive and anticipative views; and concur in active measures to obtain the object of their preference: for, be it remembered, a numerous body can elect only out of those whom a situation suits; a small body out of those who suit the situation. Reasoning and experience prove that this patronage is best vested in a board varying from two to five members. Four is perhaps the preferable number; the senior patron having, in case of divided opinions, a decisive suffrage.
4. The office of academical patron should be permanent, under the condition we have already stated; as no other is more
dependent for its due discharge on the experience of the functionary, on the consistency and perseverance of his measures.
The principles thus manifest in theory, have been universally and exclusively approved in practice. Precisely as they have been purely and thoroughly applied, have Universities always risen to distinction; precisely as they have been neglected or reversed, have Universities always sunk into contempt.
The intrinsic excellence of a school is not to be confounded with its external prosperity, estimated by the multitude of those who flock to it for education. Attendance may be compelled by exclusive privileges, or bribed by numerous endowments. The accident of its locality, as in a great city; the cheapness of its instruction; the distance of other seminaries, or seminaries of superior character; and, withal, the low standard of learning in a nation, and the consequent ignorance of its defects, may all concur in causing the apparent prosperity of a University, which merits, from its real excellence, neither encouragement nor toleration. It is only when Universities are placed in competition, and that on equal terms, that the two attributes are convertible. To this explanation we must add another. Our assertion only applies to Universities in the circumstances of their more modern coexistence. When the same religion, studies, and literary language, connected Europe into a single community; when Universities, cosmopolite in character, few in number, and affording the only organs, not of instruction and exercise merely, but of publication, counted by myriads the scholars they attracted from the most distant countries; when, opening to their graduates a free concurrence in the then all-glorious field of academical instruction, prelates, and even princes, sought to earn from the assembled nations the fame of talent, eloquence, and learning; then the best instructor naturally found his place, and an artificial patronage was as inexpedient as it would have proved impracticable. Its necessity arose during the progress of a total change of circumstances. When Christendom was shattered into fragments; when the Universities, multiplied to excess in every country, and dwindled to sectarian schools, no longer drew distant nations to their seat, and concentrated in a few foci the talent of the Christian world; when the necessity of personal congress at points of literary communication was superseded by the press; when the broad freedom of academical instruction was replaced by a narrow monopoly, and even the interest of the monopolists themselves remained no longer solely dependent on their ability and zeal ;in this complete reversal of all old relations, the necessity of a careful selection of the academical teacher arose, and hencefor→
ward the worth of Universities was regulated by the wisdom and integrity of those to whom this choice was confided.
The excellence of a University is to be estimated by a criterion compounded of these two elements:-1. The higher degree of learning and ability displayed by its professorial body; and, 2. By the more general diffusion of these qualities among the members of that body.
Taking a general survey of the European Universities, in their co-existence and progress, and comparing them by this criterion, we find three groups prominently distinguished from the others, by the higher celebrity of a larger proportion of their professors. These are the Italian-the Dutch-and, for nearly the last hundred years, the German Protestant Universities. On examining their constitution, we find that the only circumstance of similarity among themselves, and of contrast to all others, is the machinery of their patronage, consisting of a board of trustees specially constituted for the purpose, small, intelligent, perennial.
Of the three great Universities of Italy, Bologna, Padua, and Pisa, our information is less precise in relation to the first; but, although the most wealthy and ancient of the Italian schools, Bologna did not continue to equal her two principal rivals in the average celebrity of her teachers. Of Pavia we need not speak.
The Italian were originally distinguished from the Transalpine Universities by two differences;-the early introduction of salaried teachers; and the restriction of privileged instruction to these teachers, who in Italy, as throughout the rest of Europe, enjoyed their salary under condition of gratuitous instruction. The evil consequences of such a system were, however, in Italy, counteracted by the circumstances under which it was carried into operation.
The endowed chairs were there of two kinds-Ordinary and Extraordinary. The former, fewer in number, were generally of higher emolument than the latter. For each subject of importance there were two, and commonly three rival chairs; and a powerful and ceaseless emulation was thus maintained among the teachers. The Ordinary Doctors strove to keep up their celebrity-to merit a still more lucrative appointment and not to be surpassed by their junior competitors. The Extraordinary Doctors struggled to enhance their reputation to secure their re-election-and to obtain a chair of higher emolument and honour.
The appointment, continuance, and dismissal of professors, long appertained to the students, who, in their Faculties and Nations, annually or biennially elected to all, or a large proportion of the chairs. In Padua, the policy of the Venetian Senate was, from