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English rhetoric, Irish, the organ and Gregorian Chant, and sacred eloquence and elocution.* In addition, the more advanced students of the Dunboyne establishment have a prefect for their own special direction and instruction, though they also attend the classes of some of the other professors. Thus for a body of students numbering six or seven hundred there is a teaching staff of only seventeen. Moreover, the duties of the great majority of the staff are purely professorial, the tutorial system of private help and instruction being practically non-existent.
If the student is not attending the lectures of a professor, which are given to large classes of some fifty or a hundred, he is left to private study in his room or in the common study-hall. It is obvious that such a system of instruction, with little personal suggestion and direction, cannot be adequate and efficient in such subjects as the classics, mathematics, science, and natural philosophy; and, if proof were needed, the long experience of the great universities is decisive on the point. With a strictly professorial system, and large classes, justice cannot be done to the more promising students, and there is an inevitable tendency for the standard of teaching to be lowered to the level of the most backward. The Report of Royal Commissioners in 1855 drew marked attention to this point as urgently needing reform, but their suggestions for improvement were vague.t Dr. Murray, in his evidence, suggested the abolition of the professorial system altogether, and the substitution of the tutorial, for the teaching of the classics. It appears that one of the purposes for which the Dunboyne
* Healy, p. 513. There appear to be some slight changes for 1900. There is an additional professor of Sacred Scripture and Oriental languages, and also a new professor of canon law, and lecturers are substituted for professors, in the subjects of sacred eloquence and elocution. Lectures on biology and physiology are also given by a layman, and an ex-Dunboyne student assists the professors of theology. It is to be noted that the Propaganda in Rome, in granting Maynooth power to give degrees in theology and philosophy, dwelt on the necessity of having separate professors for mathematics and natural science. Insuper, quod spectat ad disciplinas cursui philosophico adnexas, necessarium existimatur ut duo distincti professores habeantur, unus pro disciplinis mathematicis abstractis, atque unus saltem pro scientiis naturalibus tradendis.' The Rescript is dated May 1899, and degrees have since been granted ; but the recommendation or condition has not been carried out. See · Maynooth College Calendar,' 1900-1901, pp. 63, 111, 175.
+ Royal Commission Report, pp. 53-55.
students were originally established and maintained was to supplement the professorial teaching by private instruction, and a programme was drawn up to this effect, but was quickly abandoned without any alternative provision being made." In 1815, when the students were not half the present number, the authorities seem to have been alive to this deficiency, for in that year six lecturers were appointed to assist the professors, and (to use Dr. Healy's language) "to bring the sluggards and dullards up to the average
standard'; but after a year they were not reappointed. The historian of the College seems fully alive to the drawbacks of the present system, but he does not tell us why no substantial change has been made, and why the several attempts to amend it have been prematurely abandoned.
As to the list of professorships given above, the reader will make his own comment. There is no special chair for Latin, nor for Greek, the Professor of Rhetoric doing duty for both; there is no professor of either ancient or modern history; for all modern languages there is but one chair; and the immense field of mathematics and natural philosophy was taught in 1895 by one professor, and in 1899 apparently by none.
Whilst for the purpose of residence and discipline the students are separated into three main divisions, for purposes of instruction they are divided into seven classes, corresponding to the seven-year course. In the first class the Latin, Greek, and modern languages form the curriculum; in the second and third classes instruction is mainly devoted to logic, metaphysics, and natural philosophy; in the last four years to the various branches of theology and canon law. After leaving the class of rhetoric, no provision is made for continued instruction in Latin or Greek, and during the four years' course of theology, the Ordo Scholarum does not provide for the keeping up of any branch of study pursued in the junior classes, except the Celtic language.f
This deficiency was also noticed by the Royal Commissioners of 1855 in their Report, based on the evidence of the professors themselves.
Dr. Healy (as was to be expected from a sound and wide scholar) admits, to a great extent, the justice of the criticism
sponding to the they are divided main divisions,
* Healy, 'History,' p. 493, and see also p. 233.
+ Full particulars as to the course of lectures and daily routine will be found in Appendix xix. of the Centenary History,' p. 742. See also · Maynooth College Calendar' (1900–1901), pp. 200-201.
of the Commissioners, but urges the lack of funds as an excuse for not appointing additional professors. Probably, however, some adjustment could be made which would secure the advantages of the tutorial system with little extra expense; and the arrangement of the Syllabus of Studies does not seem to be at all a question of finance. Moreover, the College authorities do not seem to have made serious effort to make their wants in these matters known to the Catholic public, who probably would have readily responded to such an appeal, as they have already done in regard to the building fund for the new church in the College grounds.
It is obvious that the course of studies we have described does not give either time or opportunity for acquiring an accurate and scholarly knowledge either of Greek or Latin, (not to speak of other subjects), if that knowledge has not been previously attained. It is very questionable whether that early training is any better now than in 1855, when Dr. Murray, Dr. Russell, and other members of the College staff deplored the defective preliminary education in the classics, English, and science exhibited at the entrance examination of students.
In spite of the Intermediate System (some persons would say, because of that system), it is to be feared that much of the work of the classical professor consists in teaching the rudiments of scholarship. Attendance at theological lectures in Latin is no substitute in this respect for the careful study of classical authors; yet, as we have seen, this work is broken off at the beginning, and is never resumed.*
The matter does not end there. If the training at the schools affects Maynooth, the Maynooth system reacts on the schools, the imperfections perpetuating themselves in a vicious circle. As the bishops themselves recognised in the Synod of 1875, it is from the selected and advanced students of Maynooth that ultimately are chosen the professors at Maynooth and the subordinate diocesan seminaries. Nevertheless, for the picked students of the Dunboyne establishment, who after the end of the ordinary college course pursue a course of higher studies, there is no entrance examination (success in the theological classes being the primary qualification); so that, as the Royal Commissioners stated, a student may enter that establishment, having entirely lost his previously acquired classical and scientific knowledge,
* Healy, p. 525; Report of Royal Commission of 1855, pp. 93, 113, 114, Appendix.
and (to use the words of the Report) we have reason to believe this is generally the case.
Inasmuch as neither science, nor classics, nor history, form any part of the programme of the Dunboyne course, we can judge of the probabilities of such a system producing accomplished teachers, or a liberal-minded and cultivated higher clergy.* Though the curriculum for the Dunboyne students does not extend beyond theology, ecclesiastical history, Hebrew, and modern languages, it does not appear that there was any such limitation in the original gift of Lord Dunboyne, as he left his property to the trustees 'to be * disposed of as they thought best for the benefit and use of the said College.'
It is not surprising, considering the facts we have stated, that the literary productions of the clergy have been generally mediocre; but what is more striking, considering the natural oratorical gifts of the Irish people, is the low standard of pulpit preaching. Alike in their public utterances and their writings one cannot fail to notice (a part from lack of depth or originality) a want of simplicity and method, a diffuseness and turgidity of phrase, which probably an inbred familiarity with classical models would have purged away.
In the field of national history and archæology, to which the Catholic clergy have specially devoted their attention, we may also note a want of discrimination in the use and citation of authorities, and a lack of perspective and of orderly method. In spite of their praisewortby and patriotic efforts, it cannot be said that the work of the secular Catholic clergy in this department will bear comparison with the original and scholarly productions of such men as Petrie, Curry, O'Donovan, Wakeman, Stokes, Reeves, and Graves; and probably the historian of Maynooth (himself no mean
* Dr. Healy frankly recognises the evil. "Whilst special training, he states, 'is deemed necessary for successfully discharging the office of teacher, even in a primary school, no technical training of any kind is considered necessary to discharge the functions of a professor in our ecclesiastical seminaries. As a natural consequence the work is often indifferently done, and it usually happens also that when the professor by long experience has come to be a master of his art, he is then transferred to other duties. Seminaries governed on such principles can never become very successful. It is evident that some special training is necessary for the Maynooth students who are about to become professors in seminaries, especially in science and classics.' ( Centenary History,' p. 522.)
authority on the subject), would be the first to admit the truth of this observation.
Outside the field of Irish history, and the domain of theology and kindred subjects, the literary efforts of the alumni of Maynooth have hardly extended ; and we confess to a feeling of sadness in comparing the results of the last century's literary endeavours (as described in Dr. Healy's pages) with the learning and scholarship of the Irish monks that were famed throughout Europe in the early centuries of the Church.
It will be seen that the substance of our case is, that the clergy fail to exercise legitimate influence in many directions where the results would be beneficial, and that in great part their inertness, or want of power for good, is to be attributed to a narrow and incomplete training. We are not referring to the case of acts or tendencies unmistakably criminal. In the early phases of the land movement, when Whiteboys and Hearts of Oak brought about direct injury to person and property, the clergy, as Sir George Cornewall Lewis has effectively shown, always denounced these secret societies and their methods. In stating this, we are far from denying, that in the later forms of agitation, where the subtle influence of boycotting has been substituted for personal outrage and terrorism, many of the clergy, if not openly approving of these methods, have been culpably lethargic in denouncing them. But the influence of the clergy in this matter must not be exaggerated. Timely words of rebuke, in the spirit of the Papal Rescript denouncing boycotting and the Plan of Campaign, might have sensibly diminished the use of these uncivilised and unchristian methods, but neither in its origin nor in its growth did the spread of the great agrarian movement depend upon clerical initiative and approval. The most that can be said is that if the clergy in their earlier years had imbibed less crude and one-sided views of the political and social history of their country; if they had learnt something more of the condition of other agrarian populations, and something of political economy, they might have done much in softening prejudices, and in importing moderation and a better temper into the movement. But the suggestion, often vaguely made, that extreme views on the land question have originated and spread mainly because of clerical leadership and support, is not, on the whole, well founded. This view, we consider, would be as erroneous as