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BY THE REV. DR. HOOK,
DEAN Q CECKTAI, AND LATELY VICAB OT L EXDL.
Devered at the opening of the last Winter Session of the Edinburgh
Dr. Hook began by stating that his subject was “ The Influence of a High Standard of Academical Culture upon the Moral and Intellectual Conditions of society." He then proceeded, in the first place, to consider what the leading principles of a University education ought to be. By a University education, he said, we mean a liberal education; and by a liberal education we mean a non-professional education-an education conducted without
any direct or immediate reference to the future profession of the person educated an education which is to be regarded not merely as a means to something else, but as in itself an end. But here it will be necessary to explain that when the word "profession” is used, it is not intended to confine its application to what in former times were called the three learned professions; but we apply it to any calling in life which requires mental as distinguished from manual labour. Manual labour constitutes a trade-mental labour a profession. When a man devotes himself to any specialty of science, that science becomes to him a profession.
Literature and bookmaking have in these days become a distinct profession. The army and navy,
so far as the officers are concerned, under the circumstances of modern warfare, have a just right to be classed among the learned professions. In like manner the commercial men-the manufacturer acting as the living soul to the machinery which, by a practical application of science, their genius has called into existence,--these, too, must be regarded as professional men. And when we speak of the professions, I presume that we shall, all of us, admit that the highest eminence can only be obtained by the concentration of the mind, with a piercing intensity and singleness of view, upon one field of action. Every one, in order to excel, must hare his specialty. He may know many things well
, but there is one thing upon which he must be preeminently well informed. He must have his profession. Without this he will have no end, no purpose
in life, and, as we often see to be the case, the most splendid powers will be wasted. The professional man may be compared to a man whose eye is fixed upon a microscope; all the rest of the world is abstracted from his vision; and the eye, though narrowed to a little hole, sees what is indescribable by others; and by revealing his observations he becomes a benefactor of his kind. Now all this we not only admit but assert; but then we stand opposed to those who, asserting this, at once conclude that the minds of their children cannot be too soon directed to studies which will bear upon their future vocation in life.
A man tells us that his son is to be a lawyer, physician, or a man of business, and that he shall therefore select a school where he will be at once initiated into the elements of law, physic, or com. merce, and obtain the knowledge which will be of use to him hereafter. The position assumed by the advocates of academical culture is the very opposite to his; they would delay a young man's professional education as long as possible, or rather they would
insist upon the importance of the concentrated edux cation being preceded by a liberal education; and they would apply to the training of the mind, a discipline analagnus to that which common-sense suggests in what relates to bodily exercise.
When in ancient times a father was ambitious for his son, that he might win the prize "at the Olympian games or Pythean fields,” his attention was directed, Dot to the technicalities of the game, but to the general condition and morals of the youth; for the success of the athlete depended upon the fact of his first becoming a healthy man. And precisely so, we say,-Educate the man before you educate the professional man; before you send your grain to the mill, look to the raw material. Or, reverting to an illustration already employed—before the eye is narrowed to the microscope, be sure that the eye iş itself it in a healthy condition. Expand the mind before you contract it; educate the mind, as such, before you bend it to the professional point. It is not what we eat that supports the body, but what we digest; and instead of seeking to cram the mind with facts before it has power to digest its food, send it to & school where the mind itself shall be educated; where the object will be, not to impart professional knowledge or miscellaneous knowledge of any kind, but to give strength and activity to the mind itself; not to accumulate information in the memory, but to invigorate the powers which sum up the scientific capabilities of our nature by habituating the mind to ezastness of thought; where the mind is regarded, not as an animal to be fatted for the market, but as an instrument to be tuned, a metal to be refined, a weapon to be sharpened; where the object is, not to for the divine, or the physician, or the lawyer, or the statesman, or the man of business, or the botanist, or the chemist, or the geologist, nor even the scholar,
- but the thinker; where the soil is ploughed, and barrowed, and drained, that when afterwards the professional seed is sown, it may produce not twentyfold, or thirty-fold, but a hundred-fold.
How often we see the mere professional man (the man who has not received a liberal education early in life), fail when he is called unexpectedly, or in the ordinary course of affairs, to some entirely new situation and a different order of circumstances. We often hear of men who are eminent in their profession as lawyers, failing when they enter the House of Commons; but we seldom hear of these failures in those who have had the advantage of more than a professional education. And commercial men also, when, without having had the advantage of a liberal education, they bave entered the House of Commons, are seldom prepared to take part in public affairs. Endowed with high faculties of mind, they are most useful in all the details of business, but they have seldom succeeded in debate. Compare, for example, the founder of the Peel family, a man of the highest rank in his profession as a manufacturer,-with the illustrious statesman his son. But perhaps the most striking instance we can produce, is that of Lord Castlereagh. Of Lord Castlereagh's natural powers of mind there can be but one opinion. Yet there was just wanting in him that which a liberal education would have imparted or sustained. His father regarded a liberal education as a mere waste of time, and he entered thus unprepared into his profession that of a statesman. Lord Castlereagh's natural abilities, in conjunction with his position in society, notwithstanding his blunders of speech, which were occasionally ludicrous, enabled him to take a lead in party warfare; but he never occupied and never will occupy the high position which is assigned in public estimation to Canning, or to Peel, or to Lyndhurst, or to him, the first among the foremost, to whom the mind must instinctively advert whenever the subject of education coines before us--Henry Brougham.
We may also refer to the result of those competitive examinations for certain public appointments which have been instituted by government. After making the necessary deduction for the success of intellectual powers of unusual magnitude, to which no rule can apply, it has been admitted that those who succeeded best were those who had been most thoroughly grounded, as it is called—that is to say, whose minda have been disciplined before they had been employed in mastering details,—who had possessed more or less the advantages of a liberal education. And here we may remark that where this principle is conceded, we must cease to be in the number of those who declaim against the discipline in Latin, Greek, and mathematics, to which the mind of youth is subjected in all the Universities of Europe, on the ground that an acquaintance with these subjects is not likely to be of service to them in after life. If your physician were to prescribe a daily walk to the Calton Hill and back, his object would be simply to make you a healthy man; and he could only have respect to the walk as one near at hand, and with reference to the salubrity of the air. You might or you might not gather the wild flower on your way, in order that it might be of servico in your future botanical studies; you might or you might not collect geological specimens for future use; you might or you might not encourage the spirit of poetry within you,
When looking forth
Set on her hilly throne;
Her stately halls and holy towers. This, and more than this, he could feel that you could do if you were wise; but the one end he would have in view would be to secure your health by air and exercise. And so in prescribing classical or