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advancement. Selfishness assumes the sacred character of paternal tenderness, and affection lends its sanction to the most deplorable illusion.
From the lowest to the highest ranks of society, this fatal restlessness conspires against the peace and serenity of men's minds, and its influence is the more universally and irresistibly felt, the greater the result of that fictitious state of mental improvement, which is universally mistaken for education. Thus the poor, ignorant husbandman may perhaps covet for his son no higher preferment than a humble place among the pampered menials of his landlord's household, and the footman or butler perhaps aspires no higher than to have his son apprenticed to a woollen draper's shop, but the shop-keeper's clerk is sure to send his son to the university; so that after two or three generations, at the most, by a regular gradation, if not by a sudden transition, the good farmer's most sanguine hopes are sure to be realized, and he may rest at peace in his grave under conviction of having spoiled a good farmer to make an indifferent doctor.
It is true that such a state of rebellion against the dispensations of providence is as ancient as man himself; as ancient at least as the “ qui fit, Mecænas" of Horace. It is true that it is more general and more active in those countries which boast a higher degree of social improvement, that nowhere are so many strange metamorphoses to be seen as in America, where the same individual is by turns a farmer, a merchant, a physician, a clergyman, a professor of a university, and a member of congress : but besides the peculiar circumstances in which that country, as we have said, is happily situated, the American is almost as ready for a downfal as for a rise; and it is not uncommon in that country, during one of those commercial crises that go by the name of " hard times," to see hundreds of Boston or Philadelphia merchants, accustomed to all the splendour and luxuries of life in their Atlantic cities, repair to their western backwoods with holy resignation, and betake themselves to that hard but wholesome planter life from which themselves perhaps, or at least their fathers, have sprung.
But in our old countries there is no unexplored region to fall back upon. Once fallen, our speculator has nothing to do but to sit down in despondency, bemoan his losses and encrease the list of hangers-on and malcontents. Italy has no navy or army, no houses of parliament, and scarcely any but the most passive commerce and trade. There is no career open to juvenile ambition but the university. Whoever is too lazy to be a farmer or tradesman or too proud to be a shopkeeper; whoever has no voice to be a singer or no courage to starve as an artist, must necessarily set up for what is there emphatically called " a professional gentleman.' Thanks to the liberal endowments of the numerous academical institutions, nothing can be easier in Italy than to become a doctor. Almost every town of any consequence boasts its university, besides a number of colleges, lyceums, gymnasiums, seminaries and other preparatory schools. Every thing seems calculated to smooth the path to that happy goal which appears to the many the ne plus ultra of sublunary felicity. Not only is instruction afforded utterly free of expense, but not a few poor young men of “promising genius” are maintained out of the funds of the establishments. Their directors seem to pride themselves above all things in seeing their halls swarming with crowds of expectant students from every class, and setting every year new batches of hungry M. A.'s, D. D.'s, LL, D.'s and M. D.'s loose upon society.
This may seem in the abstract, and will be considered by many, as the greatest of blessings for the country; and yet, however it may sound paradoxical, we do not hesitate to affirm that education in Italy ought to begin by a suppression, or at least a reform and rigorous exclusiveness, of no less than two-thirds of its poble and ancient universities.
We may appreciate the generous and philanthropic spirit that presided over the foundation of these truly republican institutions. They arose in dark ages, wheu the mind first engaged in its glorious struggle against brutal strength. Its champions were few and weak, and, feeling the necessity of numerous allies and coadjutors, they left nothing unattempted to enlist new proselytes in their cause. But now the battle has been fought and won. Now the motto of the doctors of Bologna, “ Cedant arma togæ," has become the order of the day, and all civilized nations are ruled by, what was the bug-bear of Napoleon and his fellow-campaigners, the avocats. Now scholarship has become a profession, a trade, more neat and decent, inay be, but not more useful or respectable, than a great many others. Modern science no longer requires men of extraordinary genius any more than modern religion has need of prophets and martyrs. A man endowed with very common understanding can make an excellent surgeon or solicitor. Diligence and assiduity are more important requisites for a "professional gentleman” than the brightest imaginative faculties.
Why then should we be so anxious to throw open the academical halls to throngs of famished candidates who would otherwise find more suitable and profitable employment in a humble but safer walk of life? Why should we stand in such a dread lest we should fail in securing to the learned professions the highest capacities-lest forsooth
Full many a gem," &c. &c. ?
We repeat there is need of a universal reaction, of a general re. volution in the notions of mankind. It is necessary that men should fall back from those professional pursuits, which they have so improvidently invaded and overflowed, to those more tame and homely, but more sure and practical undertakings, which may admit of an indefinite number of applicants without jarring and jostling, without snarling and wrangling for that sole, meagre bone of contention the doctoral laurel. It is necessary that by a rational retrogression they should be driven back to the field which they have so unwittingly and ungenerously deserted.
All this is to be effected by a sound and truly moral system of education. Were the world to proceed on the same footing in the long continuation of these blessed, piping times of peace;were the zeal of the promoters of popular instruction to be crowned with complete success, and the threshold of the university to be made accessible to all, as it is already a great deal too much to many :-and this without a previous temperament and modification of the ambitious tendencies of the human mind—without a general submission to the decrees of Providence, such as result from the established order of things—without feeling that all men may have an equal share in Adam's sad inheritance, even though all be not doomed to “ eat their bread in the sweat of their brow;" that happiness and contentment are doled out with wise and paternal impartiality to all the members of the human family, however wide their differences of ranks and social condition, and that our efforts should be directed not to overstep the barriers that divide us from the upper classes, but to fill with credit and dignity our own station in life—without, in short, adopting as the universal social device the precept of the poet:
" Act well your part, tbere all the honour lies;"— the institution of primary and preparatory schools would have no better effects than to create a general rush of the whole rising generation to those learned professions which are considered as the most direct path leading to power and wealth and worldly distinctions; and the first intellectual enfranchisement of the labouring classes would be attended either with an agrarian distribution of property, or, if men were too wise and moderate for an open violation of laws, to a mutinous secession to the Mount Sacer, from which the limbs might not be as easily brought back to minister to the wants of the vital organ as in the days of Menenius Agrippa.
Hitherto man has only been kept to his work through want, ignorance or compulsion. Be it the boast of education to pene
VOL. XXVII. NO, LIV.
trate him with a sense of his duty and persuade him to work through reflection.
We have been assured, though the fact appears too beautiful and unprecedented for us to vouch for its authenticity, that there lives among the swamps and morasses of the island of Sardinia, a rude, primitive population of goatherds and woodmen, among whom knowledge is pursued for its mere sake, and without any secondary views of personal ambition. The young herdsman comes down rough and uncouth from his forests and hires himself as a servant to some of the rich burghers in Cagliari or Sassari, stipulating for some leisure to attend lectures at college, and after “ eating his terms” in want and humiliation, and going through all the academical degrees, he repairs to his honie in the moun: tains, hangs his laurel on his father's hut and walks out-a shepherd doctor after his father's flocks, with as much philosophical dig. nity and stateliness as Abdalonimus, the shepherd-king.
Strange that one of the most uncivilized spots in Christendom should offer so luminous a specimen of what society ought to be in its highest degree of rational improvement!
Yet until the universality of men are like the Sardinian shepherds, induced to cultivate learning merely for the soothing, cheering, humanizing influence that it is apt to exercise over the mind and heart—until they study principally, if not exclusively, in order better to understand their mission on earth, better to enable themselves to fulfil their duties and to vindicate their true rights-until they derive from their knowledge the means of ennobling their nature, and approaching, as near as can be obtained by mortal means, that future state of perfection to which divine clemency entitled them to aspire-until, in fine, education is essentially moral and religious, we have no hesitation in denouncing the university and all its accessory establishments as so many active instruments of evil.
This evil, then, has attained in Italy to the most alarming extent in consequence of political misfortunes. The ancient divisions of the territory, in so many small states and republics, naturally tended to multiply universities with indiscriminating profusion. In proportion as the different towns began to be incorporated into larger states, it would have been necessary likewise to reduce the number of their academical institutions. But as it has always been the policy of those vile governments to cultivate and foment all that remained of old emulous municipalism, they never dared or never cared to interfere with those superannuated establishments, which, useless or dangerous as they had become through the general degeneration of public
spirit and activity, still flattered the vanity of the deluded Italians as monuments of their forefathers' munificence.
Thus we understand, for instance, that Charlemagne in 800, or Theodosius in 425, or whoever else it was that did it, conferred a great blessing on the human race by the installation of the university of Bologna; and we conceive also that Boniface VIII. was right, when, in 1300, Bologna not acknowledging the papal rule, he felt the necessity of a similar establishment in the metropolis of Christendom, and we equally applaud the generous intentions of Nicholas III. of Este, who, placed at the head of a rich and flourishing state, bestowed large sums for the foundation of the university of Ferrara; but now that both the republic of Bologna and the Duchy of Ferrara, with many more illustrious states, have been brought under the sway of the pope, and that, thanks to the priestly improvidence of its rulers, the aggregate has been plunged into the utmost squalor and beggary, is it not absurd to hear that the ecclesiastical state boasts, besides its two ruling universities of Rome and Bologna, six other institutions of secondary rank, at Ferrara, Perugia, Camerino, Macerata, Fermo and Urbino, all of wbich, bad of course as they may be expected to be, are equally entitled to fit young starvelings for the doctoral gown? But there is worse. The evil is not every where, as in the Roman states, hereditary. In the terra firma of the Sardinian monarchy there were before 1820 only two universities, one at Turin, the other at Genoa, and they were numbered among the most flourishing in the country. But the active part that the ardent Piedmontese youth took in the insurrection of 1821, called forth the wrath of their despots, who wreaked their vengeance against those obnoxious seminaries of learning. The two leading universities were dissolved, and dismembered into eight secondary gympasiums, situated in almost all the petty towns of the kingdom, and, for a better security, placed under the paternal direction of the Jesuits. Pavia and Padua, in the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, suffered severely from the political commotions of 1821. Bologna and all the other universities of Romagna were closed for two years after the troubles of 1831, and the university of Parma was by order of Maria Louisa divided into two branches, situated at Parma and Placentia, the small compass of the duchess's territory happily admitting of no further subdivision.
In Tuscany alone some attempts have been made to give a simpler and more compact organization to public instruction. Ever since the Florentines had established their sway over Pisa, they transported their university into that town, which their jealousy had dilapidated and deserted. Pisa increased and throve under the patronage of all the dukes of Tuscany, and almost