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a message from the chairman of that committee, stating, that before offer. ing the report in question, he had believed that it had been seen by the resident instructers and had met their approbation; and that particularly he had expected my support. My opinion of the report has already been publicly expressed ; * and the character of the proposals it contains is of such a nature, that I feel confident, that every one, having any practical acquaintance with the concerns of the College-any one who is, or who has been, a resident officer of the institution, will concur with me generally in that opinion. I must regret that the Hon. Chairman of your committee, after finding that he had been misinformed upon so very material a point, as the approbation or acquiescence of the resident instructers, did not mistrust his information upon other subjects, concerning which it was not so easy to ascertain the truth. p. 4.
Let us now hear the committee's own account of the matter. They respectfully beg leave to report,
That they have had several meetings on the subjects referred to them, and have been greatly assisted in their inquires and deliberations by a Committee of the Corporation appointed at the suggestion of the Board of Overseers. At these meetings the most free and unreserved interchange of opinion has taken place between the gentlemen of both Committees, and every topic has been discussed in a spirit of the most liberal candour. The result is now to be communicated.
In examining subjects of such importance and difficulty, affecting the character and destiny of the University, it did not escape the Committee of this Board, that every proposal for an alteration in the existing mode of instruction and discipline in the University ought to be received with caution, and adopted only upon the fullest deliberation. The present state of the University affords just cause of congratulation among its friends. At no period, perhaps, has it been more flourishing, or possessed more reputation. On examining the history of its past state, there will be found a steady progress in useful knowledge, in the means of instruction and in the adaptation of those means to the public wants, constantly advancing with the public patronage. It may be safely affirmed, that at this moment the University stands the first in rank and honour in the nation; and it ought not to be forgotten, that its present elevar tion is, in a great measure, owing to the disinterested services of some of our most enlightened citizens.
It is not therefore with any notion of detecting faults in the past management of the concerns of the University, that the Committee have entered upon their laborious duties. On the other hand, their present inquiries have led to the belief, that as much has been hitherto accomplished at the University, for philosophy, science, and classical learning, by the President, Professors, and Tutors, as the means placed within their power could reasonably enable them to accomplish. In point of fact, the University has undergone very great changes by the increase and subdivision of Professorships, and in the modes of instruction, within the last twenty years. These changes have not perhaps ac
"* In ‘Remarks on a Report of a Committee of the Overseers of Harvard Col. kege: By One, lately a Member of the Immediate Government of the College.""
complished all that was expected, because they were engrafted upon the existing system, from time to time, without that system itself hav. ing undergone a general and correspondent modification.
In a society, like ours, which is continually expanding and embracing more elevated objects of research, the nature and extent of an University education, and the methods of instruction, must be, in some degree, liable to change, so as to be adapted to the spirit of the age. A course of studies, fully adequate, at one period, to all the wants and wishes of the community, may be ill fitted for another of higher cultivation. A moderate knowledge of classical literature, of philosophy, and the sciences, may satisfy all that the ordinary business of life requires, at an early period of national existence; and yet it may fall far short of the demands, even of humble education, in a more aspiring age. The same thing may be affirmed as to the discipline and economical arrangements for the internal government of an University. A system is not therefore necessarily good for the future, because it has accomplished much good in the past. The great question must always be, what modes of instruction are best adapted to the present exigencies of our society, so as to give the most finished education in the shortest period that our pursuits require. It is as unwise to resist improvements called for by the spirit of the age, as it is to court innovations merely to gratify a restless love for new experiments.
This seems a remarkable result. 66 A dissatisfaction with the condition of the College exists in the minds of the resident officers, and others who have an opportunity of a near view of its present state.” An application is made to the Corporation for redress and reform. The application is supposed to have been ineffectual. Resort is then had to the Overseers; and their committee, assisted by a committee of the Corporation, find “that the present state of the University affords just cause of congratulation among its friends ;"
that at no period perhaps has it been more flourishing, or possessed more reputation,” &c. &c.—and that " it is not with any notion of detecting faults in the past management of the concerns of the University, that the committee have entered upon their laborious duties. On the other hand, their present inquiries have led to the belief, that as much has been hitherto accomplished at the University, for philosophy, science, and classical learning, by the President, Professors and Tutors, as the means placed within their power could reasonably enable them to accomplish.” The resident officers are the friends of the University or they are not. If they are not they should be turned out; and the College cannot be considered in a good condition, while they remain. If they are friends, they should, by this report, have “just cause of congratulation," on account of its present state. But they are said to
be dissatisfied with its present state, and surely if they are reasonable men, they can render a reason for their disapprobation. Were their objections altogether groundless, or were the committee, which was appointed, it would appear, in consequence of this dissatisfaction, ignorant of its existence? Or was there no real and general dissatisfaction among the resident officers ? It seems an “intricate impeach," and we cannot understand why a dissatisfaction, which was clearly some thing more than the spirit of the age," and which was sufficient to call the attention of the superior boards of the College, should not have been examined into and censured if it were groundless, or explained if it were well founded. The preamble of this report is obscure and wanting in that distinctness which is necessary to make any thing intelligible to common understandings. It seems to be implied, that the present mode of instruction and government is not the best adapted to the exigencies of society, so as to give the most finished education in the shortest period that our pursuits require.” Why not? What are its particular defects ? are natural questions, to which no answer is given in the Report, except what is to be inferred from scattered passages in it. We do not find in it any clear distinction between the faults of the system, and those of the governors of the College. Thus in one part of the Report we are informed, that the expenses of the students are too great, and such as require a system of sump. tuary laws; but sumptuary laws are a part of the present system, and if they are not well constructed or well administered, there is surely mismanagement somewhere—either on the part of the Corporation, who frame-of the Overseers, who sanction or reject-or of the Immediate Government, who execute.
We intended to present to our readers a full analysis of the new system proposed by this committee, but shall omit this as likely to occupy much more room than we can well afford. Some of the propositions certainly appear to be judicious, as the shortening of vacations and the discountenancing of ser vants. But on these points opinions differ much among those acquainted with the subject
. The committee propose, among other plans for lessening the expense, that “all the students shall be required to board in commons," and they seem to take it for granted, that this will lessen the expenses of College on the whole. But this is by no means evident. In foreign universities, where no commons exist, a larger propor tion of the students subsist at a rate considerably lower than
they could in any common establishment, which could well be constructed. For the price and arrangement of commons, after all,'must be established according to some average. The poorer students must pay more than they otherwise would, while the rich will pay less, and all will be dissatisfied. Relinquish commons altogether, and the College will at once be freed from the trouble and expense of managing this part of the establishment. But commons, it is said, are a necessary check upon private boarding houses, which, without this, would be extravagant; which is to suppose that boarding. houses in Cambridge will be conducted upon principles dit: ferent from those in any other town, where competition always reduces the rate of profits to the lowest possible point; not to mention that in many instances the students could procure their own provisions at a still cheaper rate than they could be furnished either in commons or in a boarding-house. Besides, it is obvious that the boarding houses might then, as in point of fact they are now, be under the control of the government, which will always have the power to deprive them of their boarders. We said the trouble as well as the expense of commons, and this is a point of great importance, since it is well known that by far the greater number, as well as the most serious, of the disturbances in Harvard College have been more or less connected with the establishment for commons. We do not, however, intend to recommend the relinquishment of this establishment, or any other measure. We are sensible of the objections and difficulties that beset any project for reform, however plausible in appearance.
We mean merely to show that the advantages of the positions, taken with such decision by this committee, are not quite so evident as they seem to have imagined.
The Report, to which we have alluded, was taken into consideration at the meeting of the Overseers on the first day of June, 1824. From the vote passed on that day we should suppose that the majority of that board were of opinion that they were not sufficiently enlightened by it, respecting the actual state of the College, which, as we have been contending, was the proper object of investigation. They appointed another committee, “ with instructions to make a report setting forth in detail the finances of the University and its ways and means; an estimate of its expenses for the present year, and an account of the compensation, obligations, and duties of the instructers; of the course of study and progress of
the students, and of the practical inconveniences, if any, arising from the present organization of the Immediate Government; and to propose such specific regulations as they should deem conducive to the prosperity of the Institution; and to revise the College Laws, and reduce them to a simple and brief form.” To this committee was also referred a Memorial of certain of the resident officers. Of this Memorial, and the discussions to which it led, we shall speak in another part of this article, endeavouring thereby to keep distinct two several series of proceedings and arguments, which we believe have been frequently confounded by the public.'
[To be continued.]
The Travellers. A Tale. Designed for Young People. By the
author of Redwood. New York. 1825. 18mo. pp. 172. A work from the pure and instructive pen of the author of Redwood cannot fail to be welcome; and as we eagerly seized on this little volume, so we read it with pleasure, and assure our readers that they will do the same. It has much of the same sweetness and beauty of style and sentiment which characterized the former work; though it seems somewhat hasty and unfinished. We might make objections to a few particulars; but as it would neither show our ingenuity nor profit our readers, we prefer to express in general terms our approbation.
The idea on which the story is built is very happily conceived, easily uniting the interest of a fictitious narrative with the description of real places and the memory of actual events. A family is represented as making " the grand tour of Niagara, the lakes, Montreal, Quebec, &c." This affords an opportunity for describing places and local habits, which has been just sufficiently used. Some beautiful though short descrip tions of natural scenery occur, and a few romantic events; and a great many moral reflections drop from the mouth of the mother for the instruction of her children. Upon the whole it is a pleasant book, as may be guessed from the few morceaux which we are able to serve up on our pages. We will just remark, in passing, that the author has sometimes forgotten to keep herself down to the level of young people, and writes in an elevated and poetical strain, which it belongs 10 the mature to appreciate.