Imagens das páginas

of sending their children to the more distant schools of learning; and if the preservation of the Establishment is likely to be consulted by founding a College in London, devoted exclusively to teaching churchmen, amply provided with instruction in every branch of theological learning, and indissolubly united to the church by the form of its constitution, every friend to education must be gratified by witnessing its erection,-well aware that there is in the metropolis sufficient room for two colleges, and that the prosperity of the one formed upon a principle of exclusion, could not in the least degree injure the other, established upon an opposite principle of universal admission. No one who merely looks to the interests of Learning, who desires only the unlimited increase of the means of Education, can consistently with his principles object to a measure calculated to enlarge those means, and to promote the spread of literature, because it may happen, that such a measure will also give stability to the hierarchy. As well might the charitable foundations connected with the Church be complained of, or the learning and accomplishments of its members, or the piety and virtue of their lives; for these undeniably have a tendency to augment the authority and extend the power of the Church. .

It followed from these considerations, tbat those friends of the Established Church who felt the apprehensions to which we have referred, were desirous of founding in London a College as nearly as possible upon the plan of the ancient universities; and that those who wished well to the progress of education, including many steady friends of the Established Church, were quite satisfied that nothing but good could result from the plan,-although they did not at all share in the apprehensions, and believed that two colleges upon the same unexclusive principle, would have been better adapted to the great object in view, equally safe for the Church, and more conducive to the interests of education. But there is reason to think, that the promoters of the new undertaking had not sufficiently adverted to the necessary peculiarities of a London College, when they resolved to found there an establishment connected with the Church, as the Universities are; and supposed that this could be effected by merely, planting in the capital a seminary on the model of one of the Houses at Oxford or Cambridge. We shall now take a cursory, view of the proceedings already adopted, and advert to those which must evidently be resorted to, which we think will clearly show, that with the best intentions, the patrons of the new scheme have been already compelled by circumstances which they cannot control, to deviate widely from their own funda


mental principles; and are pretty sure to end by founding a second College, on very nearly the same principles which have presided over the formation of the London University.

The objects of those who promote this institution, were distinctly stated in the resolutions adopted at their public meeting, held at the Freemasons' Tavern, on the 21st of June, with the Duke of Wellington in the chair. The first of these lays it down as the fundamental principle of the whole, that while the various branches of literature and science are made the subjects of instruction, it shall be an essential part of the system

to imbue the minds of youth with a knowledge of the doctrines 6 and duties of Christianity, as inculcated by the United Church

of England and Ireland. It is here announced that religious knowledge, according to the principles of the Established Church, is to be a necessary part of the course of instruction. Whatever else may be taught, those principles are, at all events, to be inculcated. Something, however, like a relaxation of this rule appears in the third resolution, which gives the outline of the plan. For there is a division of the College into two departments, a higher for the elder students, and a lower for the younger, and it is then expressly said, that the benefit of attending any course of • lectures in the higher branches, is to be allowed to all who may be disposed to avail themselves of it under such regulations as may be prescribed. It seems obvious, that the distinction here taken between the classes frequented by the older, and those frequented by the younger students, can only be made for the purpose of allowing the former to be attended by persons unwilling to comply with the exigency of religious instruction and observance. But nothing very explicit is given upon this subject, and we are not told, in plain terms, whether the younger students are to be all resident, and consequently more under discipline; nor, indeed, is any thing further said as to residence, except that students are to be received within the walls, under

such rules of discipline, and to such an extent, as may be here. after determined;' and that tutors are mentioned, along with the principal and professors, as the persons in whom is to be vested the superintendence of the College. In all probability, the details of the plan had not at that early period been sufficiently considered ; and little more of the difficulty attending any attempt to carry on a College in London upon the old plan, had been felt, than that some change must be made in it, and some opening afforded for students who would not conform to the strict rules enforced at Oxford and Cambridge.

In a little while, upon a nearer view of the subject, those obstacles seem to have presented themselves in greater force. For we find in the next publication from King's College, a repetition in more formal terms of the fundamental principle, but a considerably larger relaxation of it in the excepting part. The * fundamental principle,' says the official advertisement, on o which it is proposed to establish King's College, London, is • this : That every system of general education for the youth s of a Christian community ought to comprise instruction in the • Christian religion, as an indispensable part, without which, the acquisition of other branches of knowledge will be conducive neither to the happiness of the individual, nor to the welfare • of the state.'

The same position is still further insisted upon in the two paragraphs which follow, so as to leave no doubt that the religious instruction is considered an essential part of the course of study, and that both for the promotion of Christianity, and for up• holding the ancient and venerable Institutions of the country,' it is necessary that the evidences of the Christian religion

should be taught,' and the doctrines and duties which are professed and taught by the Established Church, should be in• culcated.' But although the conclusion from these premises manifestly would be, that religious instruction and discipline of the kind stated should be a necessary part of the course in King's College; or, in other words, that no one should frequent it who did not learn the doctrines, and conform to the discipline, of the Church within the walls of the institution, it must have been found impossible to act upon this plan, when a nearer view was taken of the subject; for the greatest latitude is given, and most properly given, in the regulations that immediately follow the statement of the principles. A distinction is taken between 6 students who are members of the College,' and persons who

are not regular members ;' that is, between members and all others-a distinction which really, so far from being in accord

ance' with the fundamental principle, seems to get rid of it altogether, at least to prevent it from producing any material effect in excluding persons who differ from the Established Church.

• In accordance with this principle, all the students who are members of the College, whether domiciliated or otherwise, will . be required to attend the prescribed course of religious instruc• tion, and to be present at divine service, performed within the • walls of the College, at such times and under such regulations as may be laid down by the council.

• Persons who are not regular members, will be allowed to 'attend any particular course of lectures, in such numbers and . on such terms and conditions as the council may from time to

time prescribe.

It is not, however, intended that those persons, who may "avail themselves of this permission, should be entitled to con• tend for prizes; to obtain certificates; or to enjoy any of the

privileges and advantages which it may be thought expedient hereafter to confer on the members of the College.

Therefore any person may attend the College, provided he is not desirous of being a member ; for it is obvious, that the restriction as to members, and the terms and conditions alluded to in this passage, will never be enforced to the exclusion of any, while there is room to accommodate them.

Now, to what has this ample relaxation of the principle been owing ? Clearly to this, that it was soon perceived how inconsistent the compulsory learning of theology, and observance of discipline, were with that kind of education which must needs form the bulk of the work to be done in a London College, namely, the instruction of day scholars, who do not reside within its walls, and for the most part pursue a course of study suited to their individual circumstances. Let us consider the matter for a little ; and we shall find that still further relaxation will be in all probability required; till at last the rule will only be applicable to the students residing within the walls, if indeed this shall continue to be a part of the plan.

Where young men are all living under the same roof, as in a college at Oxford and Cambridge, nothing can be more easy than to require attendance at chapel every morning, or both morning and evening, and to insist also upon religious ceremonies at times of meals, as the Catholics do in their seminaries for educating priests. But how is it possible to require this in the case of students living in different parts of London, and only coming from their homes to attend particular lectures ? There must be a fixed hour for prayers; suppose it half past nine in the morning; the student who has to attend a lecture at ten may come to prayers half an hour earlier; but what is the student to do who comes at eleven ? Is he, after attending prayers, to go home again at ten, in order to set out upon his return the moment he arrives at his own house? Or is he to walk about idle for an hour in the college cloisters? Or is accommodation to be provided for him in some reading-room during the interval? But then if he attends a lecture at one or two, and not at eleven, he cannot remain the whole morning on the spot, and must go home. Then, it may be said, he has only come to church early, instead of coming to an early lecture, from which he must go home in like manner, and return to some late lecture. But who does not see that such proceedings are wholly foreign to the habits of the people of this country, of all ages, and of all classes ? No one here goes to church daily, as many do to mass in Catholic countries; and no more effectual method could be devised of disinclining young men towards the observances of the church, and indeed towards religion itself, than forcing them to go every morning to college prayers, at whatever distance from their home. Besides, the student would be the only person in his family who went to a daily church; and why should the observance cease, he might naturally ask, upon leaving college ? The elder branches of his family must be guilty of a great neglect, in his eye, for omitting it. If it is said that there may be family worship,—then why should not the student attend that, instead of going to the college for it? And no doubt this is the foundation of college prayers. Family worship, now so generally neglected, was formerly the general practice; and young men living in college were required to attend prayers there, on the supposition that if at home, they would be at prayers with their parents. It is evident that the attending prayers at college is incident not to the instruction there conveyed, but to the residence which that instruction requires ; and where the student resides not, his attending prayers is out of the question. Suppose the case, which must constantly happen, of a person only frequenting a single class, with a view to professional pursuits-as the Law or Physic. He lives in the city, and is to come three miles to hear a lecture on surgery at three o'clock, or on conveyancing at seven in the evening. Could any thing be more preposterous than to tell him that he cannot do so unless he will also agree to come the same distance every morning at half past nine, to be present while prayers are read, and return to the city in half an hour, when they are over ? But the case is not much less clear where the student goes through a prescribed course; for though one year he may be brought to the college so early as to attend the prayers without inconvenience, the next year bis bours of lecture must be different, and he cannot begin his day's work with chapel, unless, after the example of Catholic countries, there should be repeated performances of divine service in the course of the day. - We do not, therefore, see how it is possible to enforce attendance upon any kind of public worship upon day scholars, even if they were all of the same sect, at least to any greater extent than is practised in our Scottish Universities, where the Professor who teaches the earliest class in the day, and to the younger students, begins his tuition by repeating a very short prayer. Of course this is only heard by the student, if he happen to attend that class; nor is it heard by every one who goes to college at eight in the morning, for a medical professor does not offer up

« AnteriorContinuar »