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From many striking instances within my own observation, or only one remove from it, of the way in which a Cantab carries a thing through, let me relate a case that occurred just before I entered the University. A high Wrangler, then a Trinity Bachelor, went to see a relative who was largely engaged in the manufacture of plate glass. While lionizing the premises, he learned that the chief difficulty and expense lay in the polishing. Forthwith our Trinity man sets himself to "get up the subject,” and after he has acquired all the information he can from those on the spot and such other sources as are available within a short time, he goes to work to calculate the formula of a law according to which two plates of glass rubbing together will polish each other. The result was an improvement which realized a handsome fortune for the manufacturer, who did not forget how he had obtained it, and evinced his gratitude in a substantial manner.

And now let us see how such a man will write on any subject—the consideration of which I may seem to have unduly delayed, for the first and almost the only test of a young man's ability that occurs to many of us (except making a speech) is his writing. What training has he had for this ? Directly very little ; he may not have written a dozen set essays-nay, not half a dozen-all the time he was at the University. But he has been accustomed to reproduce the thoughts of others, rapidly, tersely, and accurately, upon paper. He has never had room for verbiage any more than for ornament. He will have a tendency to say whatever he says correctly, concisely, and pointedly. He will not write




fluently at first, for want of practice, nor elegantly, for he has not cultivated the graces of style, but he will write understandingly and from a real, conscientious study and knowledge of his subject. He will be ready to detect misstatements, inaccuracies, and false logic in others, and for himself will not be likely to commit an ignorantia elenchi ; to miss the drift of a question to find fault for instance with literature for not being science, as a very showy writer on this side the water did not very long ago.

As to his style it will soon improve—thanks to another result of his education without which those mentioned would be very imperfect—an elegant and refined taste which arrives late at maturity only to approach nearer perfection. His mind is imbued with the influence of the choicest classic models, through which he reads and by which he interprets those of modern literature. Applied to his case the argument so often urged against the study of the Classics in our Colleges, " that they are forgotten in a few years," would be false and meaningless. His Latin and Greek are not forgotten. They stick to him through life. They explain his reading and adorn his writing. They bring him into fellowship with the scholars, the men of elegant literature, the gentlemen of the intellect throughout the world. He does not have to hunt after Classical quotations and allusions to be brought in as bits of “ business” for the purposes of making an impression on others still more ignorant than himself; they drop from him as naturally as a figure or an antithesis, and he feels they will please men of his own stamp, because he feels pleased to meet them elsewhere : they are his wvõrra OUVET0TOIV, vocal to the intelligent, though for the multitude they may need interpreters.

This is a brightly coloured picture that I have drawn ; are there no dark shades in it? Have I represented a man educated xar' {uxriv just as I should wish my son or yours to be in every respect? There are one or two little deficiencies to consider, which we will look at in all candor.

The first may have been anticipated from my silence. The two great results of College education which most of our people, including most of the students themselves, look to, are public speaking and writing. Whatever else a young man knows how to do, he must be able to write fluently and showily and to address a meeting. Now the Cambridge system of education is certainly not calculated to make public speakers. By this I do not mean that it will spoil a man who has the material of a real orator in him as much as the system of a New England College will spoil a man who has a tendency to be a good scholar ; but that it is not favorable to the production of those pretty good debaters and ready haranguers whom our places of instruction turn out in such numbers. I have mentioned in a former chapter that some of the cleverest men in the place despised and undervalued public oratory on principle ; and the authorities do nothing to encourage it, except giving here and there a College prize. But it is not merely in this negative way, and from want of opportunity and encouragement to practise frequently, that the young speaker suffers. The education he goes through


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is positively unfavorable to fluency on his legs. The habit of weighing every word accurately, may be all the better in the end for a man who has real oratorical genius, but is certainly all the worse for an ordinary debater. The general run of public speaking requires redundancy and repetition, nor does it admit a fastidious choice of words except in some elaborate concluding period. Just before leaving Cambridge I found myself falling off in ability to address an audience, and that in a greater degree than the mere want of practice would account for. This admission will settle the business in the

eyes they will deem it enough to counterbalance all the benefits claimed for the Cambridge system. My own opinion is, and I shall endeavor to prove it farther on, that we value this faculty too highly and pay too large a price for it. Still there is a medium here as in everything else; viewing the art of public speaking merely as an accomplishment, it deserves more attention. A gentleman at a public dinner, for instance, ought to be able to extemporize some appropriate observations when called upon, without stumbling over his own words and making himself and every one else uncomfortable, as an Englishman is apt to do on such occasions. And here, I think, lies the English error on this point; they regard a certain proficiency in public speaking as a purely professional matter, for the barrister or Member of Parliament to learn subsequently to his academical course. But besides its professional value it is an accomplishment which a highly educated man may be expected to possess, and should therefore form a part of a liberal education.


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The second deficiency is one rather more complicated and not so easy to explain or understand. I may state it thusa tendency to make men too exclusively consumers and not sufficiently producers of knowledge. The Cambridge man is great in acquiring a mastery of a subject and using it for his own benefit, in his profession for instance, but his inclination to promulgate his acquisitions and the fruits of them to the world, does not keep pace with his ability to do so. this exemplified in the resident Fellows, who, reading as many books as the German professors, write a great deal less. It is not idleness that causes this ; between teaching and study their time is pretty well filled up; the indolent and rusty Don who does nothing but drink port and play whist has become nearly a tradition. It is not any selfish or priestly feeling in regard to knowledge—no men are more ready to communicate information when you ask it of them. The tendency in question rather springs from false modesty and an excessive fastidiousness produced by hypercriticism. Accustomed to scrutinize with the greatest severity the performances of others, the English graduate is not indulgent to his

He is just as hard upon them, and more dissatisfied with them. A friend who was with difficulty induced to write a few pages now and then for a Mathematical journal which he did with great clearness and force, once said to me on the occasion of my having a prize essay printed, “I should not like to publish anything myself ; when you put a thing in print it seems as if you were perfectly satisfied with it, and I never am with what I write.” This is the spirit that

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