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addition to the Principal. The students students, preventing them from ever in each faculty are gathered from far seeing themselves all together, and and wide. A considerable nucleus in obliging their dispersion into classes, each consists of Edinburgh natives or meeting simultaneously and indepenresidents. Of the rest many are from dently at all sorts of hours ; and partly, other parts of Scotland ; but a goodly I think, it is the chill elegance of the proportion are from England, Ireland, quadrangle itself. For a strangerand the Colonies. There is no means of student, after a walk in a dull Novemdiscriminating the students of the dif- ber morning through a city all otherwise ferent faculties from each other, so long strange, to arrive for the first time in as they are wending their way to the this quadrangle, with its columns, its college portico from the surrounding balustraded stone-walk, and its doors streets, unless it be by the comparative leading he knows not whither, is perjuvenility of most of the students of haps a unique experience of inquisitiveArts, and by those ninute physio- ness struggling with loneliness. He gnomic differences which enable an ex feels that he is committed to a mode of pert to distinguish a jolly young medical life of which the possibilities are unfrom a prematurely-sharp leguleian, and discerned, and, in retrudging his way either from the solemn dedicatee to through the streets, thinking of it all, divinity. Nor, indeed, is there any he wonders what is to come of it. What means in Edinburgh of distinguishing is to come of it! There is to come of between Town and Gown in the streets it, if all goes well, and the connexion at all. The taste of modern Athens with the University lasts long enough, has disdained, or long discarded, any a love for the University, and a pride in academic costume for the students. having belonged to it, as great as any While in Oxford or Cambridge, the man can feel anywhere for the place townsmen, awed by the constant stream where he has been educated. Not even of caps and gowns, must feel themselves the affection of Oxford and Cambridge but as Vaisyas and Sudras in a city of men for their universities, or for the the Brahmins, and while in all the particular colleges where they had Scottish University-towns, except Edin rooms on well-remembered stairs, can burgh, the streets in winter days are exceed that which the alumni of Edinmade picturesque by the far-seen bits burgh University bear to it, though of scarlet on the backs of the students their recollections of it are not of resiof Arts, in Edinburgh you might walk dence within its walls, but chiefly of about the streets all day without know- attendance on their appointed classes in ing that there was a student in it.
it for three or four consecutive winters. On the whole, to a stranger-student For the University was not only the from any other part of Scotland the con- building, but the whole student-life ditions of Edinburgh University, on his of which the building was the cenfirst arrival, and for some time after tre. The walks and talks with fellowwards, do seem unsocial. It is not only students all over the city and about its that the students do not reside in the suburbs, no less than the solitary readUniversity, meet at no common table, ings and ruminations of individual live in no sets of chambers built for the students at their firesides, were part of purpose, but are scattered all over the the University, and had their occasion town, where they will and how they will, and inspiration from within its walls. in lodgings or with relatives. In this the And within the walls themselves what University of Edinburgh does not differ memorable things happened! What from the other Scottish Universities. enthusiasms swept round the cold quadNor does the absence of academic cos- rangle, what glorious scenes there were tume contribute much to the feeling in its class-rooms, what varied excitement though it may contribute somewhat. It was there communicated, what friendis partly the numerousness of the ships were formed, what breaks there
were into the woods and forests of knowledge, showing vistas along which it might be a delight to career throughout a long future, till only the sunset of life should close in the enchantment!
Much of the peculiar power and distinction of the Edinburgh University has consisted in its having generally had among its professors contemporaneously two or three men not merely of admirable working ability, but of exceptional genius or greatness. The professorial system, on which this, like the other Scottish Universities, is constituted, certainly has its drawbacks. In these modern times, when the whole encyclopædia of knowledge, in every department, is accessible in books, colleges and universities, it may be plausibly argued, are cither of no use, or are of use only in so far as they organize the business of private reading, promote it, direct it, make it more accurate and exquisite, and surround it with splendid moral and sentimental accompaniments. To some extent, in the English Universities, they have conformed to this notion of the universities as a means for organizing, aiding, and drilling private perseverance in reading. They speak there of reading mathematics, reading physics, reading chemistry, reading political economy. The phrase, in this generalized sense, is unknown in Scotland. Pinkerton's complaint, made seventy years ago, that his countrymen, with plenty of natural ingenuity, were unable to turn it to substantial account for lack of a sufficient nutri. ment of learning, and were often whirling their ingenuity elaborately in vacuo, is true in a great measure yet. Connected with this deficiency, partly as cause, and partly as effect, is that professorial system in the Scottish universities according to which knowledge in the great subjects of liberal study is supposed to be acquired by listening to courses of lectures on those subjects, prepared and delivered by men who have made them especially their own, Aware of the defects of this professorial method, the Scottish Universities have recently been taking pains to remedy them, not only by an increased use of that spur of examina
tions of which there has been so general an application of late throughout the country, but also by introducing as much of the tutorial method as possible in aid of the professorial. And yet, on the other hand, no one whose experience is wide enough to enable him fully to appreciate the merits of both methods but vill maintain the enormous superiority, in certain circumstances, and for certain effects, of the professorial over the tutorial. It is not only that the majority of young men will not read and do not read, and that it is at least something if these are physically detained for a session or two in a room where certain orders of notions are kept sounding in the air, and where, unless they are deaf, they must imbibe something of them. In addition to this there is the fact that certain subjects—they are those, I think, which do not consist so much of a perpetually increasing accumulation of matter as of a moving orb of ideas, undergoing internal changes — do admit of being more effectively learnt, with something like symmetry and completeness, from competent oral exposition to large numbers at once than from reading under tutorial superintendence. But, whether in these subjects or in any others, the grand advantage of the professorial system lies in the chance it affords of the appearance of men of great intellectual power in a position, relatively to the rising generation, of the utmost conceivable influence. Nowhere is there such an action and reaction of mind, such a kindling and maintenance of high intellectual enthusiasm, as in a university class-room where a teacher whose heart is in his work sees day after day before him a crowded audience of the same youths on the same benches, eager to listen, and to carry away what they can in their note-books. Nowhere is a man more likely to be roused himself by the interest of his subject, and nowhere are the conditions so favourable for the expeditious and permanent conveyance, not only of his doctrines, but of the whole image of himself into other minds. Whenever, accordingly, it does chance that men of exceptionally powerful
personality are found in this position, sionally there would be a stranger or there society has the benefit of a didactic two of distinction. Punctually a few use of these men incalculably more minutes before the hour the Doctor energetic and intimate than if they had would arrive among the gathered gronds been confined to authorship, or to that expecting him. His manner on arriving comparatively cooler exercise of personal was generally hurried and absent, and influence for which conversation in short he disappeared at once into his vestry flights with a few at a time affords or ante-room, there to put on his opportunity. Now, if we were to look gown, and his little white Geneva for the university whose history has bands, a pair of which he usually kept afforded the most striking illustra- in an odd brown-covered old volume of tions of this matchless advantage of the Leibnitz that lay handy for the purprofessorial system, what university pose on a side-table. Sometimes one would suggest itself sooner than that or two of the strangers would follow of Edinburgh? There may have been the Doctor into the vestry to bid other universities where till lately the him good morning before lecture, but drill in Latin and Greek, and the general he did not like the intrusion. Meanhabits of class-work, were more exact, while, the doors of the Hall having sound, and business-like. But there has been opened, the audience had entered been no university more conspicuously and filled it. It was more like a dingy fortunate in the possession always of, ill-contrived little chapel than a classsay two, or three, or four men simulta- room, having a gallery raised on iron neously, of the highest power, shedding pillars over the back rows of seats so as lustre over the whole body of their col- to darken them, and a pulpit opposite leagues, and exercising an influence this gallery rising to a level with it. incalculably beyond that of ordinary The students, properly so called, the scholastic reckoning
number of whom was from 100 to 130, Two or three and twenty years ago occupied the seats below, clear of and one of the great attractions in Edin- under the gallery; and in the comburgh University was the class-room of paratively empty gallery, not much Dr. Chalmers, called the Divinity Hall. minded of the Doctor, who generally It was on the right of the quadrangle, looked downwards to his students, sat immediately after entering through the the strangers of distinction and the portico from the street, and the access to military veterans. Emerging from the it was by a narrow flight of stone stairs vestry by its private entrance into the leading to a kind of stone-gallery looking Hall, the Doctor, now in his gown and upon the quadrangle. In this stone- bands, still rather hurried and absentgallery, or about the portico and quad- looking, mounted the pulpit, a sight for rangle, would be lounging at an early any physiognomist to see. Then genehour in the forenoon, waiting the doctor's rally, after a very brief prayer, which arrival, the members of his audience. he read from a slip of paper, but in such They were mostly young Scotsmen of from a way that you could hardly detect he eighteen to five-and-twenty, destined for was reading, the business of the hour the Scottish Kirk; but there was a con- began. Not unfrequently, however, it siderable sprinkling of young Irish Pres- would turn out that he had forgotten byterians, together with a group of oldish something, and, muttering some hasty military officers, who, after their service intimation to that effect instead of the in India or elsewhere, had settled for the expected first words of his prayerquiet evenings of their lives in Edin- once, I am told, it was this surprising burgh, and, partly to while away the communication, delivered with both his time, partly from a creditable interest in thumbs up to his mouth, “My artificial theological matters awakened at last in teeth have gone wrong"--he would their grizzled noddles, had taken to at- descend again from the pulpit and go tending Dr. Chalmers's lectures. Occa- back to his vestry. On such occasions
was a chantate comercians of enine the
it was a chance if he did not come upon with frequent references to Butler, one or two late comers availing them- Paley, Jonathan Edwards, the Theologia selves of that quiet means of entrance, Elenctica of Turretin, and, by way of engaged while they did sc in the general text-book, to Dr. George Hill's interesting process of measuring their Lectures in Divinity. But really it was heads with his by furtively examining a course of Chalmers himself, and of and trying on his vast hat. Suppose Chalmers in all his characters. Within all right, however, and the lecture two or three consecutive sessions, if not kegun. It was a perfectly unique per- in one, every listener was sure to be led so formance-every lecture a revelation, completely and with so much commotion though within so small and dingy a through the whole round of Chalmers's chapel, of all that the world at large favourite ideas, that, if he remained had come to wonder at in Chalmers. ignorant of any one of them or unFor the most part he sat and read, saturated with some tincture of them either from his manuscript or from all, it could only be because he was some of his printed books, from which a miracle of impassiveness. But through he had a most dexterous art of helping all and over all was the influence of a himself to relevant passages—sat and nature morally so great that by no array read, however, with such a growing and exposition of its ideas, repeated excitement of voice and manner that never so often, could it be exhausted, whether he was reading or not reading and by no inventory of them represented. was never thought of. But every now Merely to look at him day after day was and then he would interrupt his read a liberal education. ing, and, standing up, and catching off O ne of Chalmers's colleagues in the his spectacles so that they hung from Theological Faculty of the University his little finger, he would interject, with (in which faculty there were then but much gesticulation, and sometimes with three professors in all) was a certain a flushing of the face, and an audible clerical old gentleman, with a great squab stamping of the foot, some little passage bald head, fat pinkish-white cheeks, of extempore exposition or outburst. portly and punctiliously clean general No one lecture passed in which the appearance, and very fat calves neatly class was not again and again agitated encased in black stockings, who proby one of those nervous shocks which fessed to teach the Oriental languages. came from Chalmers's oratory whenever Considering the little I have to say of and about whatsoever he spoke in other him, I need not name him ; but we public places. Clamours of applause had, used to call him sometimes “The Rabbi," indeed, become habitual in the class- in compliment to his Orientalism generoom ; and, as, in spite of their apparent rally, and sometimes “Waw," from a indecorousness in such a place, they certain occult idea of the fitness of the were justifiable by the audience on the name of one of the Hebrew letters, as plain principle, “ If you lecture like pronounced by himself, to represent the that, then we must listen like this," he total worth of his existence. How so had been obliged to let them occur. fat-faced and placid a man, in such Only at the natural moments, however, specklessly-clean linen and apparel, would he tolerate such interruptions. should have been so near an approach He was sensitive to even a whisper at to Inutility personified, I do not know; other times, and kept all imperiously but, to this day, when I think of the hushed by an authority that did not matter, it is one of the most baffling need to assert itself. To describe the problems that have come across me matter of his lectures would be more personally, what reason there was, I difficult than to give an idea of their will not say for the Rabbi's existence form. It was called Theology, and on earth, but for his existence in the pothere certainly was a due attempt to go sition of Professor of Oriental Languages over the topics of a theological course, in the University of Edinburgh. He had been appointed to the post as long have been acquired by six evenings of ago as 1813, and I suppose there were sleepy inspection of the Hebrew grammar then some authorities whose business it and the Hebrew Bible at home. What was to make such appointments. It do I remember of the class ? I rewas within our knowledge also that he member the Rabbi in his chair, looking was the widower of a lady who had listless and placidly-peevish, as if he been of some distinction as a novelist thought the whole thing a discomfort, at a time when lady-novelists were rarer and wanted to be home to his cats. I than they are now, that he cherished remember the insipidity of the Hebrew her memory in his old age with a fond according to his wretched system of proand faithful affection, and that, in his nunciation, which neglected the points, own house, he was a kindly, innocent stuck in an indefinite sound of the old gentleman, who had one or two pet vowel e between every two consecutive cats and fed them at his breakfast-table. consonants, and made the great unutterMoreover he had been a parish-clergy- able name sound as a series of the man-in which capacity, for aught I feeblest human vowels, IEUE. I know, he may have been most exemplary remember that, with one or two exand worthy of all respect. I speak of ceptions, easy to be accounted for apart him only as Professor of Oriental from the Rabbi's influence, none of us, Languages; and, in the conjoint names when called up to read to the Rabbi, of Gesenius, Renan, and Max Müller, I could construe or translate three lines will have my say about the Rabbi, dead of Hebrew, unless he had a torn leaf though he is, in this capacity. For thirty- of the English Bible clandestinely in. five years he was the man upon whom the serted in the Hebrew volume by way of Kirk of Scotland depended, so far as the help. I remember, in short, that it metropolitan university was concerned, was a disgust and weariness to us all, for the teaching of Hebrew, Syriac, and that from no fault of our own, but Chaldee, and Persic. I forget whether from a perfectly just estimate of the Arabic was included in his course, but possibilities here afforded us by a great it is all the same whether it was or was university, for fees which we had paid not. As for the Syriac, the Chaldee, down, of learning what we were comand the Persic, if the Syriac, Chaldee, pelled at least to profess to learn within and Persic alphabets had been written its walls. Perhaps my own most vivid out on pieces of paper, and these pieces recollections of the Rabbi's class-room of paper had been steeped in a bucket are of letters to friends which I wrote of water, and each student of the Rabbi's in it, by way of an economy of time had drunk a tumblerful of the water, that would otherwise have been useless, that would have been about the meta- and of a large course of reading, on the phorical measure of the Syriac, the same principle, in books of witchcraft, Chaldee, and the Persic that the Rabbi which I took with me for the purpose, contrived to impart. But take the beginning with Defoe's “ History of Hebrew, on which naturally would be the Devil.” In justice to myself, I must laid the stress. We were, I can answer beg the reader to believe that, from for it, a docile set of students, willing, mere respect for routine, I would have and even eager, to learn anything that given the work of the class the preoffered itself with a touch of human ference, had I been able to see there interest; and we were bound by rule was any. Now there would be no to attend the Rabbi two years. Yet need for such behaviour. The opporI undertake to say, with the most tunities of instruction in Hebrew and literal exactness, that, eo far as it de its cognates now furnished by the Scotpended on attendance on the Rabbitish Universities are as good, I believe, during these two years, all that was as any in the kingdom; and in Edinacquired, or that it was possible to burgh University there has been reacquire, of Hebrew scholarship might cently founded, in addition to the gene