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different branches than between first-rate ones, and that therefore its most telling effect is to exalt persons of middling acquirements in literature over their mathematical compeers. This point is the more important because it is for the sifting of the second-rate men that we require to have our instrument in the most perfect order; there will generally be no doubt about the men in the first half of the list, but it is very possible that some by taking in many subjects may force themselves into the latter half to the exclusion of those who may give an impression of greater ability and mental culture.
At the late examination, Oxford sent in about three times as many candidates as Cambridge, and the numbers of those who obtained appointments were the same in this proportion. The striking disparity in numbers arises partly from what has been stated, and partly because many of the Fellowships at Oxford as they become vacant are absorbed to found Professorships, so that their able men are worse provided for than is the case with us. For the range of University men available for this Examination varies as the difference between the number of men of fair attainments in a year and the average number of open Fellowships annually disposed of.
This also explains the fact of the Oxford candidates being of greater academical distinction than those from Cambridge. Of the three B.A.s from Cambridge who were selected, one was the twenty-fourth wrangler of 1858, one stood at the head of the second class in the Classical Tripos in the same year, and one took an ordinary degree*.
Among the nine successful Oxford candidates there were several first class men, and some who had obtained a double first
class, the highest possible distinction.
a illustration of what we have said. Since there are no Fellowships there, answering the purpose of ours, the best men present themselves for the Indian appointments, and several of the candidates from thence acquitted themselves in such a manner as to shew that they would have stood extremely high in our Triposes if they had been here.
The necessity of some emoluments in the way of Fellowships to enable a University to produce men of high acquirement is well shewn by the case of Dublin.
In the first year of the examination no candidates from thence were success
* Since the above was written, one of the selected candidates has declined the appointment, which has been given to a Cambridge undergraduate, a scholar of Caius College, who stood twenty-first on the list, and who was only eight marks behind the twentieth man. This gentleman did not take in mathematics, indeed of our four successful candidates only one did so.
ful, because the necessary stimulus had not existed; now these appointments, acting as Fellowships, have infused into that University a life and vigour which is not the least satisfactory effect of the institution of these competitive Examinations.
Thus Dublin, and the other Universities ill supplied with emoluments, may be expected to stand well in these examinations, at the same time we may be very well contented with the degree of success which the Cambridge candidates obtained, and tutors may be fully justified in supposing that a second class man in the Classical Tripos, or if the marks are fairly adjusted, a wrangler, may with proper direction as to some subsidiary subjects, make sure of one of these appointments. It was to be expected that the proportion of unsuccessful candidates would be much less among those coming from Ireland than from England, because no one would come from Dublin without a good prospect of success, while persons in or near London could present themselves without expense, and many seem to have done so merely to gain experience, just as we have here a vast number of candidates for a single University Scholarship. If the Examination had taken place at Dublin, the list of those selected would probably have remained unaltered, but we should have had many more Irish candidates and fewer English ones.
The regulation that no marks in any branch not amounting to one-tenth of the whole number assigned to it be taken into account is applied unfairly to the department of Natural Science. This branch is assigned 500 marks, and the minimum is therefore set at fifty; but it contains five distinct subjects, and therefore a person might get nearly half the marks in Geology, for instance, and would not be allowed anything, while another who got fifty-one marks by a smattering of all the subjects, would be credited with the full amount. The undue weight which the Italian language and English literature (apart from English composition) have carried in the Examination might also be noticed, but there is every reason to hope that the Commissioners will succeed in putting the Examination on a thoroughly satisfactory footing, and that alterations in the scheme of marks will be announced in time to take effect in July next.
We cannot help remarking that the result of these Examinations bears testimony in the most decided way to the value of classical studies as an instrument of education; it disposes triumphantly of the old cavil with which some used to solace themselves that those who knew Latin and Greek knew nothing besides; we see from the marks here that the best
classical scholars are generally very distinguished in English composition and literature, and have obtained high consideration for their knowledge of modern languages. The general proficiency of the few mathematicians who presented themselves in this Examination is quite as striking. If we examine a school we find the same thing, viz. that the boys who get prizes in Classics and Mathematics obtain them in modern languages and English subjects also, and when there is a purely English branch attached to a classical school, we find that the boys who learn Latin and Greek, beat in their own subjects such as History, Geography, &c. the boys who devote their whole time to these matters.
Indeed the result of the more philosophical views as to education which have arisen from the consideration which the subject has lately received, has been most fully to establish the superiority of these subjects for an educational basis, and to shew that so far from their excluding other attainments, the having these affords a strong presumption that their possessor has many besides. The outcry against these studies has now dwindled to an occasional murmur from some stranded representative of that immediate-utility school which is now fast ebbing out; but by directing inquiry it has done this good, that the place which these studies formerly held in English education by prescription only, they now occupy on the surer ground of their well understood advantages.
IV. ON THE EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS BY
For many years past it has been the custom of most of the old Public Schools in this country to invite distinguished scholars from one or other of the Universities to conduct their annual Examinations.
It seems exceedingly desirable that this excellent practice should be adopted by all Schools. But it is evidently impossible that the practice can become universal without some organised system for the appointment of Examiners. Old foundations indeed can and probably always will be able to induce competent men to undertake the office. Their funds enable them to offer a handsome fee, and the position they deservedly hold in the country is such that it is thought a compliment to be asked to visit them in that capacity. In Proprietary Schools also it frequently happens that the services of a friend of some member of the Committee or of one of the masters can be obtained. Sometimes a neighbouring clergyman is able and willing to take the task upon himself
. But it involves considerable labour and responsibility, and is not accompanied with the sort of éclat that belongs to the same office at Harrow or Rugby. Hence, notwithstanding these resources, there is often great difficulty in procuring the assistance of a stranger.
In private Schools the difficulty is proportionally greater. And however willing the masters may be to submit their pupils to the ordeal of such a scrutiny, it is on the face of the matter as a general rule simply impossible. nothing of the fact that no one's private connexion, however large, could supply men year after year whose attainments fitted them to ascertain and report upon the condition of a school, reasons will at once suggest themselves why examinations, conducted by gentlemen invited by the Head Master and responsible solely to him, will not be very searching or productive of great advantage to the boys.
Is it not possible, however, to organise a system by which an opportunity may be given to Schools of obtaining the services of competent Examiners? Cannot the University help
us in this matter? The plan that suggests itself to me is somewhat as follows. That it be made known that the Syndicate for conducting local Examinations are ready to receive applications for Examiners of Schools. That a Head Master who wishes his boys to be examined under the auspices of the University should make formal application to the Syndicate a reasonable time, say two months, before the Examination is to take place, stating at the same time whether he desires it to be in Classics or Mathematics or both. That a Report of the result be furnished to the Syndicate, copies of which shall be sent to the Committee or Trustees (if any), and to the Head Master of the School. That these Reports be either published yearly, or kept in some public place, as the University Library, where they may be readily seen. That no Report be received by the Syndicate which is not founded on an examination of the whole School.
The question that will at once arise is, where will Examiners be found? But the real difficulty appears to be absence of system, and not any lack of men duly qualified as well as willing to undertake the duty. There must be many Members of the Senate, resident in the University, who would not be indisposed to do it under proper conditions. Many too, living in different parts of the country, who would not unwillingly return to their old labours for a few days now and then. But no man can be expected to do so at the request of people of whom he knows nothing; if again he happen to live in the neighbourhood of a School, or to be a friend of some of the Governing Body, there may be very good reasons why he should decline the seat of judgment. For if he must address his Report to people among whom he lives, it is far from easy to mete out due measure of praise and blame without giving offence. And there are other inducements to hold aloof. But it is quite another thing to appear as the accredited envoy of the University, and make a Report to the Syndicate. The position is more dignified, more unrestrained by personal considerations, and therefore more attractive in itself, as well as more likely both to ensure the satisfaction of the parties who invite the Examiner, and to gain the confidence of the public. Nor I conceive would there be any objection to the Master of a School presenting the name of any gentleman able and willing to undertake the business at the same time that he makes the application, in case the Syndicate should think fit to appoint him. Of course he must be a member of the Senate, and it should be most clearly understood that the Syndicate have full liberty to accept the suggestion or name