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present time, have been in the full enjoyment of the fruits which his intuitive perception anticipated. One generation would have grown up, the children of this benign, intellectual parent. How much fierce contention, arising from the insanity of party spirit and mercenary politics, might have been spared! But we trust that it is not yet too late for the accomplishment of the end, notwithstanding the powerful tendency of the separate states to an insulated political existence, and the multiplication of powerful local interests, which make it next to impossible to devise acceptable plans for any object of general concern.
The course of these remarks now leads us to some observations on the nature, scope, and usefulness of universities, especially of those established on the continent of Europe. The richness of this subject must lead us to be brief, in dwelling on the separate topics comprised in it. Our remarks will be general, with a view to afford our readers an opportunity of discussing the comparative merits of the literary institutions of different countries, in such a manner, as may assist in rendering them competent judges in deciding the question which has, for some time, attracted the attention of the English public; • What most effectually administers to the present wants of the nation? The institution of new universities on a different plan, or the enlargement of the plan of the old ones?' We begin with an historical sketch of universities in general, to which we shall annex a concise description of a German university. The latter division of our subject may perhaps be postponed to a future number of this journal.
Universities were, originally, privileged communities of instructers and students, invested with limited or unlimited power of establishing statutes and laws for their discipline and modes of teaching ; with the rights of exercising their own jurisdiction; of appointing magistrates, instructers, and other academic officers from their own body; of conferring degrees, and of sending delegates to the seat of government. They, besides, enjoyed immunity from certain taxes and other onerous duties, and were independent in all their proceedings, as far as they did not interfere with the law of the state. Privileges of such a nature became the source of great abuse and extravagance. Italy, the mother of universities, first bestowed these liberal advantages on Bologna, the oldest literary establishment in Europe. Theodosius the younger, laid the foundation of the Instituto delle Scienze in that city, of which the study of the law was the main object, as early as the year 425. The period, however, at which Bologna assumed the constitution of a university, is to be dated from 1140, when the legal faculty began to confer degrees on distinguished members of its community. At this time and during the three subsequent centuries, similar Italian colleges constituted themselves into bodies, and were endowed by the pope or by princes. Padua, Lucca, Pisa, Pavia, Parma, Florence, Cremona, Mantua, Milan, and Siena, once famous seats of learning, and rich colonies of scholars, have, ages since, passed through all the stages of existence, and have either declined, or are now lingering under a jealous or despotic government.
Europe is greatly indebted to Italy for the first experiments of this kind, which not rarely, however, disturbed her own tranquillity, and involved her states in considerable dangers, against which other countries could guard themselves, by limiting academic liberty, and by reducing the too great prerogatives of the students. The legal privileges and exemptions of the academic population have been nowhere greater than at Padua, surnamed la Dotta. Some thousands of students, divided into distinct nations (a general custom of the oldest universities on the continent of Europe), were not only exempted from paying duties, taxes, and tolls, but the public treasuries even granted them compensations for everything of which they happened to be robbed. The little restraint, under which an indulgent discipline placed them, and the independent spirit with which they managed their own affairs, often extorted bitter complaints from the inhabitants of the cities in which the universities were established. The students at Padua elected the representatives of their nations, the president and counsellors of the university, and, for some time, even their instructers, whom they likewise dismissed at pleasure. The consequences resulting from this wild extravagance, were severely felt by the rulers, who had proceeded with an inconsiderate liberality, in order to procure popularity to their institutions, principally among foreigners, who were allured by greater privileges than the home students. The early records of Bologna inform us, that the students from the north of Europe were placed on an equal footing with the senators of that city,
The numerous literary institutions of Spain, venerable for their antiquity, flourished when everything else was flourishing in that beautiful country. The same causes that have imparted a torpor to her political frame, have benumbed her mental energies. Several of her universities have disappeared, as that of Toledo, in New Castile, since 1808, formerly celebrated for its medical faculty. Others have been stationary for centuries, or declining, as that of Salamanca in Leon, of Barcelona in Catalonia, and of Santiago in Gallicia. Ecclesiastical education is their principal object. The hierarchical government, watching over their constitution, suffers no liberal idea to spring up, or to enter within their walls. The same observation applies to Coimbra, the only university of Portugal, transferred to that city in 1308 from Lisbon, where it had been in operation since 1291. It contains, however, in spite of the wretched political state of the country, one thousand students, and all the requisites of a good university, except the spirit.
The most richly endowed universities of Europe are, as is well known, Oxford and Cambridge, the only establishments of the kind in England, before the recent organization of the London institution, the success of which is already such as to satisfy the most sanguine hopes. Oxford surpasses Cambridge in the amount of its funds and revenues, and in the extent of its privileges. Oxford has nineteen colleges and six halls; Cambridge, but twelve. Oxford has nearly three thousand students; Cambridge, one thousand five hundred. The library of Oxford is said to contain, besides thirty thousand manuscripts, five hundred thousand printed volumes; that of Cambridge, two hundred thousand volumes. Oxford sends, in union with the city, four delegates to Parliament; Cambridge, two. Both universities, however, have, from the time of their foundation (Cambridge adopted its present constitution in 1280) to this day, faithfully defended and preserved their independence in the administration of their affairs. Their jurisdiction, in fact, not only extends over their own academic population, but partly, also, over the cities in which they are established. This prerogative, together with the right of sending delegates to parliament, is peculiar to England, in which the other parts of Great Britain have no share.
The university of Dublin has never risen to great notice, although its graduates are admitted ad eundem at Oxford. It has but one building, with three hundred students living in it. The Irish gentry, from motives of pride and fashion, still continue to prefer the English colleges. Theological education
for the Roman catholic church, is conducted with success in the royal college of St Patrick, at Maynooth, in Ireland.
The course of instruction, on the British system, is most thorough at Edinburgh, the first of the universities of Scotland, which are both schools and colleges, as the English universities formerly were. The college was founded in that city in 1681, and has been particularly famous, at all times, for distinguished professors in the medical department. building, for the use of the university, was commenced in 1789, but is not yet finished. The library contains but fifty thousand volumes, and the number of students is about one thousand seven hundred. The classical High School, in the same city, teaches the preliminary branches of knowledge requisite for admission into colleges. Great exertions have been recently made for the improvement of the system of education at Glasgow; and the late professor Jardine describes its success, as chiefly owing to the beneficial influence, which public lectures derive from private tuition.
But the general acquaintance possessed in this country of English institutions of every description, leads us to pass the more hastily over them all,
and to proceed to the continent.
The universities of France and Germany are very different from those of Great Britain, in their general spirit and their modes of instruction. Paris may justly be called the prototype of the literary institutions of Germany; and these again have become models for the universities of Holland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, and Poland. A brief sketch, therefore, of the rise and progress of the university of Paris, cannot but give pleasure to those who take an interest in the advancement of learning.
This institution owes its fame and prosperity to the liberal principles, on which its constitution rests; principles, that will be the main spring of success, wherever they are used for a good purpose, and put into vigorous operation. Paris exhibited an illustrious example of a free and independent community of instructers and students, who had constituted themselves into several bodies, without the aid or interference of the royal government, as early as the beginning of the twelfth century. A number of literary men, by the novelty of their lectures on subjects of divinity, philosophy, and rhetoric, and by the charms and usefulness of their instruction, attracted crowds of pupils not only from France, but from many other countries of Europe, which their celebrity had reached. No princely influence exercised power over its origin; no charters were petitioned for ; no grants and privileges requested. The professors, in the successive ages, established their rights, and confirmed their prerogatives, by their own zeal and fidelity, and framed their own constitution, which met with the tacit assent of the higher authorities ; till king Philip Augustus acknowledged and sanctioned their jurisdiction, and proclaimed their independence of all royal courts. In the beginning of the thirteenth century (1206) the professors of the various departments of science and art, who had hitherto formed several bodies, and elected their several presidents, formally agreed to choose one president in common. From this time they formed one community. The students of the institution, then for the first time styled universitas magistrorum et scholarium, were divided into four nations, the French (including the Italians and the Spaniards), the Picardian, the Norman, and the English, to which last the Germans, and those from countries north of Germany, belonged, and which was afterwards styled the German.. Each of these four nations, so called, had its own principal procurator), its own treasury, and its own statutes and laws, and was considered as a literary association or fraternity. The first instructers in Paris did not receive salaries from the state. Regular professorships and fixed salaries were unknown before the sixteenth century. The students paid certain fees for each lecture, and attended, at their own discretion, as many as the plan of their studies required. The pecuniary advantages derived from lecturing, depended exclusively on the knowledge, ability, and popularity of the teachers. A man of talents and high reputation commanded a large audience, which procured him an ample income. The early records of Paris mention, also, liberal presents occasionally offered to the most eminent instructers, by the magistrates of the city, who, in order to promote their own interests, endeavored to secure the permanent residence of distinguished literary characters, as the greatest ornaments of their metropolis. The rapidly increasing number of students and instructers, however, rendered, on the part of the government, several regulations necessary for the security of the city. An encroachinent upon the academic rights, and a public offence, for which the due satisfaction, solicited by the principals, was refused by the royal court, exasperated the students, and occasioned a rebellion, the re