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can never transcend, and will rarely fall beneath, the level of its erudition. In the second place, the clergy form everywhere the most numerous body of literary men; consequently, more than any other, express the general diffusion of literary accomplishment throughout a people. In the third, the clergy or those educated for the church, constitute the class from which tutors, schoolmasters, and professors, are principally taken. Their proficiency and example thus react most powerfully and extensively, either to raise and keep up learning, or to prevent its rising among all orders and professions. In the fourth; as almost exclusively bred in the schools and Universities of their country, they reflect more fairly than the rest of the educated ranks, the excellences and defects of the native seminaries. And in the fifth; as their course of academical study is considerably longer than that of the other learned professions, they must be viewed as even a highly favourable specimen of what their native seminaries can accomplish.
Now, in Scotland, on this criterion, what is the result? Simply this: Though perhaps the country in Europe where religious interests have always maintained the strongest hold, Scotland, in the history of European Theology, has, for nearly two centuries, no name or place. For nearly two centuries, the home-bred clergy of Scotland, established and dissenting, among their countless publications of a religious character, some displaying great and very various talent, have, with two, not illustrious exceptions, contributed not a single work to the European stock of theological erudition; and for an equal period, they have not produced a single scholar on a level with a fifth-rate philologer of most other countries. In these respects, many a dorf in Germany or Holland has achieved far more than the broad realm of Scotland. A comparison of the Scotch and English Churches affords a curious illustration in point. In the latter, the clergy have a tolerable classical training, but for ages have enjoyed, we may say, no theological education at all. In the former, the clergy must accomplish the longest course of theological study prescribed in any country, but with the worst and shortest classical preparation. Yet in theological erudition, what a contrast do the two Churches exhibit! And this, simply because a learned scholar can easily slide into a learned divine, without a special theological education; whereas no theological education can make a man a learned divine, who is not a learned scholar;—theology being, in a human sense, only an applied philology and history. A farther illustration. In other countries, the clergy, or those educated for the church, as a class, take the highest place in the higher departments of learning. Scotland, on the contrary, is singular in this, that all her scholars of any eminence, have, for
VOL. LIX, NO. CXIX,
almost two centuries, been found exclusively among the laity, and these, as we have noticed, rarely educated in her native institutions.
The third and last mode of appointing to academical offices in Scotland, is nomination by the Crown. There being no special department, in our Government, for public instruction, this patronage has fallen to the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The defects of this mode of appointment are sufficiently obvious. Here a great deal certainly depends on the intelligence and liberality of the individual Minister, to counteract the natural defects of the system. But, even under the best and most impartial Minister, it can accomplish its end only in a very precarious and unsatisfactory manner. The Minister is transitory; the choice of professors is a function wholly different in kind from the ordinary duties of his department; is not of very frequent recurrence; and concerns a distant quarter of the empire where the Universities are situated, and the candidates generally found. The Minister cannot, therefore, be presumed to think of specially qualifying himself for this contingent fraction of his duty. He must rely on the information of others. But can he obtain impartial information, or be expected to take the trouble necessary in seeking it? On the other hand, he will be besieged by the solicitations of candidates and their supporters. Testimonials, collected by the applicant himself among his friends, and strong in proportion to the partialities of the testifier, and the lowness of the criterion by which he judges, will be showered in, and backed by political and personal recommendations. If he trust to such information, he limits his patronage to those who apply for the appointment; and as all certificates of competence are in general equally transcendent, he will naturally allow inferior considerations to incline his preference among candidates all ostensibly the very best.
To lift this patronage out of the sphere of political partiality, and to secure precise and accurate information from an unbiassed, intelligent, and responsible authority, is what every patriotic Minister of the Crown would be desirous to effect. But this can be best accomplished by organizing a board of curators (the name is nothing) for each University, on the principles of patronage we have explained; whose province would be to discover, to compare, to choose, to recommend, and to specify the grounds of their preference, to the Minister, with whom the definitive nomination would remain-a nomination, however, which could be only formal, if the curators conscientiously fulfilled the duties of their trust. How beneficially these authorities would reciprocally act as checks and counter-checks, stimuli and counter-stimuli, is
apparent. By this arrangement, the Crown would exchange an absolute for a modified patronage in those chairs now in its presentation; but this modified patronage would be extended over all others. The definitive nomination would certainly be no longer of value as a petty mean of ministerial influence; but the dignity of the Crown would thus be far better consulted in making it the supreme and general guardian of the good of all the Universities. Nor would the sytem of curatorial boards be superseded, were a separate department of public instruction, to be established in the administration of the State. On the contrary, in most countries where this organization of government prevails, the University curators form one of the most useful parts of its machinery; and nothing contributes more to perfect the curatorial system itself, than the consciousness of the curator that his recommendations is always strictly scrutinized by an intelligent and well-informed Ministry, before being carried into effect.
In the present article, we have limited our discussion to the general conditions of a good system of academic patronage. We do not, therefore, now touch on the difficult and important question-How is a board of academic patrons to be best constituted under the particular circumstances of this country?
ART. XII.-1. Poor Laws in Ireland, considered in their probable effects upon the Capital, the Prosperity, and the Progressive Improvement of that Country. By Sir JOHN WALSH. 8vo. Second Edition. London: 1831.
2. Report of Evidence from the Select Committee on the State of the Poor in Ireland. (Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 1830.)
T is a total mistake to imagine, that women of fashion and French milliners are the only classes who claim and exercise a right of arbitrary change of opinion. Mesdames Maradan Carson, and Paÿn, are, it is true, over all things of lace and feathers, supreme; and according to the decrees of their celestial empire, the colour of feu d'enfer succeeds the eau du Nil, or the fumée de Londres combines as naturally with the boue de Paris, as the Ministers of Louis Philippe do with the Whig Cabinet. The love of Fashion, or the rule of Fancy-let us call it which we will-extends much farther, and claims among its subjects persons of a very different caste. If we consult our physician, he will admit that in his art the tide sets at times in most strange and
unaccustomed currents. At one period the rage is for tar water: books are written to prove that wits and beauties will be preserved as durably as canvas and cordage, if they will only submit themselves to be saturated with tar. At another period, all the world are directed to smoke, and stramonium and cigars poison our apartments. A contest next arises between waters hot and cold, as cures for gouty patients; and the war is carried on with varied success, till both are driven from the field by colchicum. We recollect, that for one year the growth of mustard-seed was as rapid in the prescriptions as in the parable. Opium succeeded, and stretched a leaden sceptre over the land, which was, however, soon roused from its lethargy by an explosion of blue pills from innumerable mortars, and was finally overwhelmed by a fall of powdered calomel, as formidable as were the ashes of Vesuvius to Herculaneum. At present, we believe that quinine reigns triumphant ; and that Whigs, Tories, and Radicals, however they may differ on other points, unite in the common worship of this
most salubrious bitter.
The empire of Fancy and Fashion extends still further. These powers have not only sighed for, but have discovered other worlds to conquer; and like the great philosopher of old, they place their engines on that other world, in order to move this. The seraphic doctor, and the angelic casuist of the middle ages, find representatives in our own times. Irving succeeds to Johanna, and the miracle of the tongues occupies those who formerly awaited with impatience the birth of Shiloh.
If such be the case, it is not very surprising that both literature and politics should partake of these whimsical changes. It is not surprising that our worthy and approved good masters, the booksellers and publishers, should alternately find their stock of poetry to accumulate, unread, upon their shelves, from the increasing demand for metaphysics and philosophy; or the ode and the sonnet to reclaim, after a time, the preeminence from which they have been driven. The battle between the historian and the writer of memoirs is fought with a courage worthy of the days of the Plantagenets; and it requires the weighty bullion' of Mr Hallam to rescue futurity from the necessity of daily repeating the question of Pilate, amidst the multitude of those cotemporary counsellors with whom there is no safety. Even in the more practical affairs of life, and in those scenes from which we might imagine that fashion would be wholly excluded, the results are still the same. Political Economy has its favourite colours, which distinguish the wedding garments of the chosen guests; and Politics assume badges, and give out passwords, without the adoption of which no person is allowed within the
lines. The changes of opinion which are proclaimed and defended, are not more sudden than they are at times incomprehensible; and without the continued sleep of Rip van Winkle, a very few years of absence from the world renders the pilgrim, on his return, as ignorant of many of the doctrines and opinions of his fellow-men as if he had dropped from another planet. The most extraordinary change of this description that has ever taken place, is with respect to the subject which we propose to discuss in the present article; a change which comprehends all the phenomena to which we have just adverted, besides a few entirely peculiar to itself. During the last half century have we considered that the current of opinion has set pretty uniformly in one direction. During that period, and up to the present times, have moralists, political economists, and practical statesmen, united in deploring the innumerable evils which a legalized system of relief has produced: during that period interminable have been the enquiries instituted,numberless have been the preparations made to alter the principle, or correct the administration of Poor Laws in South Britain. Bills have been presented to Parliament in as great an abundance as by tradesmen at Christmas; chairmen have reported,-the very shorthand writers have been run out of breath. Pitt, Whitbread, Sturges Bourne, Scarlett, and many others, have toiled for years seeking remedies, and finding none. Malthus has written, Chalmers has preached-debate has succeeded to debate, and pamphlet to pamphlet ; and yet, in the midst of all this intelligence and activity, the number of paupers has not as yet been reduced, and the admitted evil has as yet increased almost in the same proportion with the increasing alarm and despondency. In the meanwhile, a Royal Commission, composed of many grave and reverend persons, has been named. The individuals who compose it represent almost as many distinct species as were comprehended in the ark; they take unto themselves subordinate ministers, like the stars of heaven in number; they scour the country; they circulate their questions; they send forth their well-printed octavo as a precursor of the innumerable folios which were to follow; and just at the moment when all mankind are terrified at the picture they have drawn, and the dangers they have described, it is by others proposed solemnly and seriously to apply the system from whence these dangers have originated, to another and a less favoured land. Now, these fantastic opinions are not only wonderful, as exhibiting one of those changes to which we have adverted, and for which it is most difficult to account, but they also exhibit the phenomenon, that in the political atmosphere we are not only subject to a change of the winds, but they prove that there are times and seasons during which the two