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powers which commanded their voices had no sufficient interest in warping their decision. The fact, that they not only tolerated, but expected, the personal solicitations of candidates and their friends, proves also, of itself, that they had no true conception of their office; that they thought of granting a favour, not merely of performing a duty. Patrons who exercise their power only as a trust, will spurn all canvassing as an insult, if candidates do not feel it as a disgrace. Judges were once courted in this and other countries in a similar manner. We look back on such a practice as on a marvel of political barbarism; and it will not, we trust, be long until we recollect with equal wonder the abomination of solicited trustees.
That municipal magistrates could possibly exercise, of themselves, the function of academic patrons, seems in no other country to have been imagined; and even in Edinburgh, the right of choice was originally limited by conditions which the Town Council have only latterly evaded. Their election formerly expressed only the issue of a public concourse of candidates, and disputation in the Latin tongue; and the decision, too, we believe, was only valid when sanctioned by the approval of the Presbytery. We recollect only two foreign Universities in which the municipality were patrons, Louvain and Altdorf. In the former, this right, which extended only to certain chairs, was controlled by the faculties, whose advice was to be always previously taken; and the decline of that great and wealthy seminary was mainly determined by its vicious patronage, both as vested in the University and in the town. Altdorf, on the other hand, founded and maintained by the free city of Nuremberg, was about the poorest University in Germany, and long one of the most eminent. Its whole endowments never rose above L.800 a-year; and till the period of its declension, the professors of Altdorf make at least as distinguished a figure in the history of philosophy, as those of all the eight Universities of the British Empire. On looking closely into its constitution the anomaly is at once solved. The patrician senate of Nuremberg were not certainly less qualified for academical patrons than the Town Council of Edinburgh; but they were too intelligent and patriotic to attempt the exercise of such a function. The nomination of professors, though ratified by the senate, was virtually made by a board of four curators; and what is worthy of remark, so long as curatorial patronage was a singularity in Germany, Altdorf maintained its relative preeminence,-losing it only when a similar mean was adopted in the more favoured Universities of the Empire.
These observations are, in their whole extent, applicable only to the old Town Council; but it is manifest that all the principal
circumstances which incapacitated that body, under its former constitution, for a competent exercise of their academic patronage, continue still to operate under its present; and if some minor objections are removed, others, perhaps of even greater moment, have arisen. On these, however, we cannot at present touch. Indeed, it is only in a country far behind in all that regards the theory and practice of education, that the notion of intrusting a body like a municipal magistracy with such a trust, would not be treated with derision; and we have so high an opinion of the intelligence and good intentions of the present Town Council, that we even confidently expect them to take the lead in depositing in proper hands that important part of their public trust, which they are unable adequately to discharge themselves.
Their continuance as patrons would, in fact, seal the downfall of the University of Edinburgh; unless, which is now impossible, systems of patronage still more vicious should continue to keep down the other Universities of Scotland to their former level. All of these are superior to Edinburgh in endowments; and if the one decisive superiority which Edinburgh has hitherto enjoyed over them, in the comparative excellence of her patronage, be reversed in their favour, the result is manifest.
From the best of our Scottish systems of patronage, we now pass to the worst; and public opinion is even in this country too unanimous in condemnation, to make it necessary to dwell upon its vices.
In the unqualified form in which it has so long prevailed in Scotland, it was tried, in the darkness of the middle ages, in a very few of the continental Universities; and in these the experiment was brief. In an extremely modified shape, and under circumstances which greatly counteracted its evils, it was tolerated for a considerable period in the German Universities; experience, however, proved its inexpediency under every mitigation, and it has been long in that country, as we have shown, absolutely and universally condemned.
As established in Scotland, this system violates, or rather reverses, almost every condition by which the constitution of a board of patrons ought to be regulated. In the first place, by conjoining in the same persons the right of appointment and the right of possession, it tends to confound patronage with property, and thus to deaden in the trustee the consciousness of his character; in fact, to foster in him the feeling, that, in the exercise of his function, he is not discharging an imperative duty, but doing arbitrarily what he chooses with his own.' In the second place, as it disposes the patron to forget that he is a trustee, so it also primes him with every incentive to act as a proprietor. Natural
affection to children and kindred;* personal friendship and enmity; party, (and was there ever a University without this curse ?); jealousy of superior intelligence and learning, operating the stronger the lower the University is degraded; the fear of an unaccommodating integrity; and finally, the acquiescence even of opposite parties in a job, with the view of a reciprocity ;-these and other motives effectually co-operate to make the professorial patron abuse his public duty to the furtherance of his private ends. The single motive for bestowing on professors the power of nominating their colleagues, was the silly persuasion that they were the persons at once best able to appreciate ability, and the most interested in obtaining it. If this were true-if it were not the reverse of truth, we should surely find our professorial patrons in Scotland, like the curators of foreign universities, looking anxiously around, on every vacancy, for the individual of highest eminence, and making every exertion to induce his acceptance of the chair. But has it been heard that this primary act of a patron's duty was ever yet performed by a college of professorial patrons? In the nature of things it could hardly be. For why? This would be an overt admission, that they were mere trustees performing a duty, not proprietors conferring a favour. Were the highest qualifications once recognised as the sole rule; why not make its application universal ? But then, the standard of professorial competence would be inconveniently raised; the public would expect that the reputation of the University should not be allowed to fall; and the chairs could therefore no longer be dealt about as suited the private interest of the patrons. The private interest of the patrons, therefore, determined an opposite policy. The standard of profes sorial competence must be kept down-it seldom needed to be lowered to the average level of their relatives and partisans. Not only must no invitation be given to men of reputation, they must be disgusted from appearing as candidates. The value of the chairs as places of honour must be reduced; that, as places of emolument, they might not, and that in an unlearned country, be beyond the reach of ordinary men. Instead of receiving an unsolicited call to take his seat among the members of an illustrious body, the man of highest reputation, to obtain the chance even of a chair,
Hence the hereditary successions in colleges which are thus patronised the firm and infrangible compacts which sometimes last for generations, cemented as they are by the affinities of blood and relationship-the decaying lustre of chairs once occupied by men of highest celebrity and talent, but the very ascendency of whose influence when living, or of whose names after they were dead, effected the transmission of their offices to a list of descendants.'-Dr Chalmers,
must condescend to beg the lowered office as a favour, from a crowd of undistinguished individuals, to obtain whose voices was no credit, and not to obtain them would still be felt as a disgrace; and submit to the humiliation of being fellow-candidate of all and sundry, whom the humble vanity of standing for a chair, or personal and party interest with the electors, called and with probable suc cess into the field. To be left to divide the cake in the shade, has been the aim of all professorial patronage. We do not assert that under this system no men of distinguished merit have illustrated our Universities ;-far from it; but we assert that of all others it tends to make celebrity the exception, obscurity the rule. And of the small number of great names to which the professorial patronage can lay claim, some conquered their appointments by other reasons than their merits, and more took their patrons and the world by surprise in their subsequent celebrity. We know something of the history of foreign Universities, and something at least by negation of the history of our own. And this we affirm, that if a premium were given to the University which could exhibit among its professors the largest proportion of least distinguished names, the Scottish Universities, where self-election is prevalent, would have it only to contend for among themselves.
As the worst administrators of their trust, the professorial electors will consequently be the most tenacious of its possession. But with them it will not be necessary to ascend to principles to show the justice of relieving them of this duty. An intelligible hint in certain quarters, touching the effects of an exposure of the illegal exaction of fees, will at one paralyse resistance. Sed hæc olim.
We may here anticipate an objection we have often heard, that, however bad in theory, the patronage of the Scottish Universities is found, in practice, to work well; these seminaries fully accomplishing their end, as shown by the flourishing state of learning in the country.
Assuming, with the objector, the effect produced, as a test of the instrument producing,* this patronage must on the contrary be granted to have wrought almost worse in practice, than reasoning could have led us to anticipate; erudition, in every higher acceptation, being in Scotland at a lower pass than in any other country almost of Europe. Without, we think, any overween
*Though the principal, we do not, of course, hold that a good academical patronage is the only condition of high learning in a country. An exposition of all the concurrent causes of this result would form the subject of an important discussion.
ing patriotism, we may assert, that no people in modern times has evinced more natural ability than our own; and in all the departments of knowledge where intellectual vigour, rather than extensive erudition, may command success, the Scotch are at least not inferior to any other nation in the world. Animi illis,' says Barclay, in quæcunque studia inclinant, 'mirifico successu inclyti; ut nullis major patientia castrorum, ' vel audacia pugnæ, et Musæ nunquam delicatius habeant, 6 quam cum inciderunt in Scotos.' Nor, assuredly, have they shown an incapacity for the highest scholarship, when placed in circumstances disposing them to its cultivation. On the contrary, no other people has achieved so much in this department in proportion to their means. From the petty portion of her scanty population, whose education was not stunted in her native seminaries, Scotland can show at least some three or four more consummate masters of a Latin style, and that both in prose and verse, than the other nations of the British Empire can exhibit, with ten times her population, and so many boasted schools. Nature gives ability, education gives learning; and that a people of such peculiar aptitude for every study, should remain behind all others in those departments and degrees of erudition, for the special cultivation of which Universities were established, proves, by the most appropriate of evidence, that those of Scotland are, in their present state, utterly unqualified for the higher purposes of their existence. Of these correlative facts, we shall supply two only, but these, significant illustrations.
It will be admitted, that a very trifling fraction of the cultivated population of any country can receive its education and literary impulsion in foreign lands; consequently, that if the seminaries of Scotland were not incomparably inferior, as instruments of erudition, that the immense majority of Scottish scholars must have owed their education exclusively to Scottish schools. Now, what is the fact? Of Scottish scholars, all of the highest eminence, and far more than nine-tenths of those worthy of the name of scholar at all, have been either educated in foreign seminaries, or their tastes, and the direction of their studies, determined in the society of foreign learned men.
Nor is the second illustration less remarkable. It will be admitted, that the erudition of a national (we do not mean merely established) church, affords not only a fair, but the most favourable criterion of the erudition of a nation. For, in the first place, Theology, comprehending (or rather being itself contained in) a far wider sphere of scholarship than other learned professions, and its successful cultivation necessarily proportioned to the degree in which that scholarship is applied; it follows, that the Theology of a country