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and much more stringent measure on Papal aggression. The second article is by a friend of yours-I hope you like the swagger and bounce of it. I condole with you on your defeat, for which I am really very sorry, and still more so to hear that you had made yourself ill by your exertions. If you country gentlemen are not heartily sick of Protection, it is time you were. It puts men of no standing, who make promises to the farmers to realise which would require a state of things little short of Communism, in the place of noblemen and gentlemen. It renders you so powerless in Parliament, that your leader, Lord Stanley—though perfectly willing to give us Protection-could not find any man of talent or character who would incur the discredit of joining him.
If you are determined always to be a cypher and never to have your case fairly examined, you have only to go on as you have begun, and when you have handed over the counties to tenant-farmers and the boroughs to ultra-democrats, you will begin to see that the Constitution requires that the landed gentry should not ostracise themselves. The Government have gone out under circumstances of the most discreditable kind. Never was a fairer opportunity, and yet Lord Stanley—by no means a timid man-has not dared to form a Ministry or to dissolve. The question is, therefore, lost, and the sooner you treat it as such, the better for you. As to North Notts, nothing would please me personally, in a selfish point of view, better than to see you returned. In my situation such an event would be very advantageous, as your position in London would give me a weight which I do not and cannot hope otherwise to possess. But, nevertheless, I must candidly say that, with your health, your habits, and
Ι your estate, I think you would be making a very great sacrifice by going into Parliament, for which you could hardly obtain any equivalent, more especially if you went there neutralized and deprived of all influence or power of political action by anticipation, by being pledged, as of course you would be, to the defunct cause of Protection. I repeat, selfishly I should be delighted, but for your own happiness, I should not venture to advise such a step. As for myself, if I had the good fortune to occupy the position or to hold the opinions which would commend me to that or any other respectable constituency, I should be delighted to enter the House and give up my time wholly to politics. But as that is not the case I must even be content with my own station, and console myself with being tolerably well off as times go.
Your affectionate brother,
R. LOWE. On the day when Lowe penned the above letter, Greville records in his invaluable and always interesting Journal :
• Met Gladstone yesterday morning. From the tone of his conversation, his negotiation with Stanley must have been very short indeed. ... Great excitement at night, and the Whigs in extraordinary glee, foreseeing the restoration of John Russell and his colleagues.'
On March 2, Greville makes this entry, after going to the House of Lords: “The impression on my mind was that Stanley was sick to death of his position as leader of the Protectionists, and everybody agrees that he has been in tearing spirits these last days, and especially since the announcement of his failure.'
One other point may be noted in Lowe's letter to his brother: he had evidently become an occasional contributor to the Times as early as February, though he did not join the staff until April 1851.
Before actually launching himself on the stormy sea of English journalism and party politics, Mr. Lowe reverted to the subject of university reform, to which his attention was attracted by the famous Oxford University Commission of 1850-51.
In the seventh chapter of those graphic Memoirs of the late Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln, a most powerful picture is drawn of the condition of Oxford after the rout of the Newmanites, and the incoming of the Liberals.
It was a deliverance from the nightmare which had oppressed Oxford for fifteen years. For so long we had been given over to discussions unprofitable in themselves, and which had entirely diverted our thoughts from the true business of the place. Probably there was no period of our history during which, I do not say science and learning, but the ordinary study of the classics, was so profitless or at so low an ebb as during the period of the Tractarian controversy. ...
We were startled when we came to reflect that the vast domain of physical science had been hitherto wholly excluded from our programme. ...
Whereas other reactions accomplish themselves by imperceptible degrees, in 1845 the darkness was dissipated in an instant as by the VOL. II.
opening of the shutters in the chamber of a sick man who has slept till midday. Hence the flood of reform which broke over Oxford in the next few years following 1845, which did not spend itself till it had produced two Government commissions, until we had ourselves enlarged and remodelled all our institutions.
Despite Lord Sherbrooke's eight years at the Antipodes and his keen interest in Australian public affairs, the memory of his Oxford life, and what he considered the time-honoured abuses of the place, were still very vivid in his memory. It was an exciting time for Oxford. Notwithstanding the powerful opposition of Mr. Gladstone, Lord Selborne (then Mr. Roundell Palmer), and Sir Robert Inglis, the Tory M.P. for the University, Lord John Russell appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into and report fully on the State, Discipline, Studies, and Revenues' of Oxford. The head and front of this commission was Dr. Tait, then Dean of Carlisle, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury ; and among the members were Dr. Hinds, Bishop of Norwich ; Dr. Jeune, Master of Pembroke (afterwards Bishop of Peterborough); the Rev. H. G. Liddell (late Dean of Christ Church); Mr. J. L. Dampier, and the Rev. G. H. Johnson, afterwards Dean of Wells. These names must have sounded ominously Liberal and reforming to the heads of houses ; and, what was worse, the secretaries were no less persons than Arthur Penrhyn Stanley and Goldwin Smith.
When the commissioners (whose place of meeting was Lord John Russell's official residence in Downing Street), wrote to the heads of houses and others for the requisite information and data on which to found their report, they were in many cases not even favoured with a reply. Dr. Tait, however, as he sufficiently proved in after years at Lambeth, was a man of tact as well as courage. Having put his hand to the plough, he had no intention of turning back, even though the mighty · Henry of Exeter' declared that this “inquisition' into the affairs of the University had 'no parallel since the fatal attempt of
James the Second.' Then came-as so frequently comes at such crises-a change of Ministry, and Lord Derby stepped into the place of Lord John Russell.
The commissioners went on steadily with their work, collecting all the statistical and other information concerning Oxford, which often reached them from somewhat unexpected quarters. Among the most important of the letters sent in was the following from the former Fellow of Magdalen and late member for Sydney. It is taken from the Oxford Commission Report evidence, pages 12 and 13 in the Blue-book presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty in 1852, perhaps,' remarks Archbishop Tait's biographers, from a literary point of view, the most remarkable Blue-book of our time.'
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER I
ROBERT LOWE ON OXFORD REFORM
Answers from Robert Lowe, Esq., M.A., Barrister-at-law, late Fellow of Magdalen College.
2 Paper Buildings, Temple [no date].
Sir, I have thrown together the results of my own experience (which, you know, has been as a private tutor pretty extensive) in the form of a letter, finding it easier to explain myself so than to answer questions, and availing myself of the permission given to take that course.
My observation has been that Undergraduates seldom read but for examinations, and seldom attend to instruction except from a private tutor, whom they select and pay for themselves. I do not think that you can alter this state of things, and the next best thing to be done is to direct and modify it so as to cure the defects and increase the efficiency of the system. As long as a degree at Oxford and a place in the class list shall be looked on as an important step in life, and as long as private tuition shall be looked upon as the readiest way to attain these objects, the one will be the end to which study is directed, the other the means resorted to for its attainment. It is only when students are too poor to afford this assistance that it will be foregone, and even then I have known very great sacrifices made to obtain it, and that by persons whose college tutors were men of unquestioned attainments and ability.
I entertain the strongest objections to the present tutorial system. It is a monopoly of education given to the colleges at the expense of the efficiency of the University, and has very often been grossly abused by the appointment of incompetent persons. The tutor has no stimulus to exertion beyond his own conscience; let his success be ever so brilliant, the termination of his career is not likely to be affected by it. The expected living drops at last, and, idle or diligent, learned or ignorant, he quits his college and is heard of no more. The plan also of teaching in large lectures, while it gives but little instruction to the less advanced, is inexpressibly tedious and disgusting to the more forward student. I shall never forget the distaste with which, coming from the top of a public school, I commenced construing, chapter by chapter, the 21st book of Livy. This has a bad effect on the mind. A boy-for he is nothing more-finds the requisitions of college incomparably easier than those of school; he becomes arrogant and conceited, the tutorial system has not only taught him nothing, but has actually given him no idea of the course of study required for a high degree, and in the plenitude of ignorance and self-sufficiency he wastes at least one most valuable year in idleness, if not in dissipation. The instances in which the tutorial system has worked really well are when the tutorship of a college has fallen into the hands of some celebrated private tutor—a success which affords an indirect homage to the superior system of private tuition. I am therefore opposed to the continuance in any shape of the present college tutorial system.
Of the system of private tuition the advantages are manifest. The power of selection has great efficacy in attaching the pupil to the tutor, and I can speak from experience that the tendency is strong to overrate the abilities and industry of a private tutor, a leaning which I have never observed in the case of public tuition. The unfettered intercourse, the power of stating a difficulty without incurring ridicule, the greater equality of age and position, all tend to give the system efficiency, and whether desirable or no, I am convinced that it will be the working system of the University : the Dean of Christ Church issued an order that no man of his college should read with the tutor of another college. I do not think the order an unreasonable one, and I doubt not that Christ Church contained plenty of competent persons; but I know that all the time onehalf of my pupils came from Christ Church. The system of private tuition is a necessary and unavoidable concomitant to any examination. No sooner were examinations established for the masters and mates of merchant ships, than there arose a class of men whose business was to cram the candidates.
The system of private tuition has, however, many defects. The persons into whose hands it principally falls are young men of unformed character, knowing little of the world, or probably of anything except the course of study by which they have gained distinction. They have, nevertheless, very great influence over their pupils, and are, from their youth, their sincerity, and their earnestness, the most dangerous mission. aries of whatever opinions they take up. They are the persons who are