Jubilee celebrations 1902
Professor Mungo MacCallum's address on "University Influence", 1 October 1902
At 11.30 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, October 1st, a large audience assembled in the Great Hall to listen to Professor Mungo MacCallum's address on "University Influence."
The chair was taken by the Chancellor, and among those seated on the dais were the visiting delegates, the Vice-Chancellor (Mr. Justice A. H. Simpson), the Right Hon. Sir Samuel Griffith (Lieutenant-Governor and Chief Justice of Queensland), Dr. Sydney Jones, and Judge Backhouse.
Professor MacCallum was received with applause, and heard with undivided attention by the audience.
Mr. Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In regard to most Universities it may be difficult to say what was the motive cause that brought them into existence, the germinal idea from which they have grown. Such is not the case with the University of Sydney. Whatever we may owe to the pious aspirations and tentative efforts of his predecessors, it is with Wentworth's intervention that our history begins; and he has left a clear and unmistakable record of the conception he formed of the function of the University, the conception that enlisted his energy, influence and eloquence on behalf of the scheme. As he told the Council when recommending to them what he said would be "their crowning act," "their crowning mercy," the new institution was "to enlighten the mind, to refine the understanding, and to elevate their fellow-men."
This then is the raison d'etre of Sydney University, not merely a characteristic that has belonged to it from birth, but the very principle of its life; what in certain by-gone systems of philosophy would have been termed its virtue or its form. Doubtless a corporate organism is not quite the same as an animal organism. The latter, however much it may be affected by its habitat, its food, the thousand and one chances of its environment, can never lay aside its original nature or change into something else. The former, with the same name and much the same resources and personnel, may have its purpose so altered as to be barely recognisable. Still it will seldom altogether break with its history or belie its origin, and in the present case it has not done so.
It is perfectly true that the University of Sydney now possesses professional schools, in all of which one object is to enable the student to earn his living, and in some of which one object is to increase the material resources of the State. But the justification of these in the economy of the University is that their training, by the knowledge it involves and the methods it enforces, has its own place in a system of advanced instruction. Not only in the theoretical sciences and the liberal arts, but in the practical departments of Medicine, Engineering, Law, Mining, and in others that may yet be added, it is claimed that the requisite discipline promotes such insight into principles, such exact observation, calculation and inference, as themselves constitute an intellectual education. No one is less competent than I from experience to form an opinion on such a subject, but I venture to support the assertion of those who are better able to do so; for it seems pretty clear that there are very many mansions in the house of culture, and very many doors to each, moving "on such strange geometrical hinges that you may open them both ways," as well by theory as by practice ; and that access to them is afforded both by general knowledge and by specialism.
I assume then that the purpose set forth by Wentworth is still being fulfilled and is still the main purpose of the University. It is combined in various measures with other purposes, but this is an essential element in all departments and a piedominant element in some.
Now, is this, as it ought to be? There are not wanting in this community as in the general community of the English speaking areas, critics to disparage precisely this, which we take to be the distinctive note of the University: If one could get them to utter their real thoughts they would say that the pursuit of material affluence ought to be the first object of all who are still without it, and that with a view to this they should mould their lives. In sofar as advanced teaching minister to this, they would tolerate it, but they would scan its claims to help man ia the race for riches with grave suspicion, and all of it that could not be shown to pay, in the most literal sense of the word, they would reject.
That such are the latent sentiments of many I feel sure from this, that they have received quite frank exposition in the writings, of a self-made millionaire, who is no mere worshipper of Mammon, but a credit to his class, a man of active philanthropy, with some real width of outlook, with no small gift, of literary utterance, What Mr. Carnegie, the munificent founder of libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States, the benefactor of the Scottish Universities, the author of books; which, whatever else one may say of them, are written with great directness and vigours - what he says on such a subject may well be taken as expressing the feeling of large numbers with whose opinion the Universities have to reckon. And when he says it, hedbes not, to use the homely German metaphor, wear a leaf before his mouth. No doubt he owns that the University course may be a good thing to the leisured classes and a necessary thing to the professional. No doubt he even owns that it may give "higher tastes and aims" and "a world to enjoy, into which the mere millionaire can never enter;" But these admissions are after-thoughts, which Mr. Carnegie seems to insert on reviewing his spontaneous utterance. He is too able a man not' to see their urgency, but they do not come to him when he is putting his case, and they do not affect the drift of that argument. His ideal is the "fortunate poor young man" who, by honourable and assiduous efficiency, which heme influences, and innocent recreations keep in due repair, amasses a huge fortune, and then employs it for the benefit of his fellows.
I think this is a fair statement of Mr. Carnegie's attitude. It appears in advice like this: "Do I not rest content for a moment in your thoughts as head-clerk or foreman, or general manager in any concern, no matter how extensive. Say each to yourself, my place is at the top. Be King in your Dreams. Make your vow that you, will reach that position with untarnished reputation, and make no other vow to distract your attention: - except the vow of marriage, when you can afford it. To fit a man for the strain thus imposed, Mr. Carnegie inculcates a taste for reading, though, if on subjects apart from his occupation, chiefly as a relaxation, and therefore chiefly for the reading of novels, good works of fiction, "being when one is exhausted in mind and body, and especially in mind", among the best means of enjoyment and rest; and he gives a very good list of novelists from this point of view. Finally, in regard to the attainment, he adds the weighty admonition: "As an end the acquisition of wealth is ignoble in the extreme. I assume that you save and long for wealth only as a means of enabling you the better to do some good in your day and generation."
These things then seem to give the gist of Mr. Carnegie's ideal. I am only, for convenience sake, taking him as a typical figure, as the franker and abler exponent of views that are less articulately held here, there, and everywhere; so I do not intend to discuss how he works out this ideal in details. In them it would be easy to show, as some of his critics have done, a good many odd contradictions and mistakes. Thus he has an unmitigated contempt for the past, especially for the classical past, of which it is permissible to suppose that he knows very little, and of which he affirms that its "chief province is to teach us not what to adopt, but what to avoid," while its history is made up of the "petty and insignificant skirmishes of savages'; but nevertheless he has a good word to say for Milton, half of whose inspiration, material and manner, is of classical origin. He makes no secret of looking down on the "salaried graduate", who yet, on his own admission, may, with his "higher aims and tastes," be a much more useful person than his millionaire master. He rashly asserts that "from the cottage of the poor all these (i.e., teachers, martyrs, statesmen, poets, and men of affairs) spring"; which, of course, is mere claptrap. Inspiration, like the wind, bloweth whither it listeth, and in point of fact, the great achievements in the history of human progress are the monopoly of no particular class. Mr. Carnegie has been somewhat roughly dealt with for blunders like these. Really, he was bound to make them, starting as he does from his ideal of the fortunate poor young man, cheered by family affection and refreshed by light literature, struggling by honourable means to wealth which he will use for social aims.
Now I wish to say at once that this seems to me an ideal worthy of all respect. It is infinitely preferable to no ideal at all, to an existence "everything by starts and nothing long," drifting this way and that, without anything to give it consistency and meaning. And it is infinitely preferable to some other ideals. The mere pursuit of wealth is better than the mere pursuit of pleasure or ease or comfort: apart from the additions it brings to the world's stores, it involves in the process something at least of strenuousness, concentration, self-control. And this gospel of the modern millionaire does not preach the mere pursuit of wealth. Its attainment is limited by moral provisoes; it is accompanied by the humanising influences of the domestic circle, and at least by some of those of literature; it is dignified with the prospect of using the riches acquired for the benefit of mankind.
Moreover, it is an ideal that has done much for us as a race. Substituting sermons for novels, and, I fear, deducting something from Mr. Carnegie's diffusive liberality, it is not unlike the spirit that for more than two hundred years has animated the bulk of the British nation and that has carried British commerce and colonies all round the globe. We certainly do not wish that spirit to flag. We are filled with apprehension at any symptom of its doimg so. The grasp of the British Empire and its constituent States and its constituent members, on the industrial and mercantile world needs to be tightened rather than relaxed, and one of the problems of the time is to infuse new intelligence and efficacy into the methods of its enterprise.
It would be childish to mistake the significance of all this. It is not merely the jingoism of trade, the pride of purse in a nation of shop-keepers, that inspires such feelings. It may be desirable to supplement this appreciation of the value of wealth with other considerations, but in itself it is perfectly legitimate and perfectly right; and will probably continue to subsist as an element in any general scheme of living. For the tendency of the modern spirit in Europe and in communities of European origin is to recognise that the results of a higher civilisation are not to be divorced from material resources. In no department can an adequate standard be reached unless the individual or the community is possessed of a certain measure of opulence, which again implies successful, earnest and unremitting effort and thrift. Socially there cannot otherwise be any great amelioration in the condition of the people. It is no apostle of trade or materialism, but the poet Heine who says: - "We have measured lands, weighed the forces of nature, calculated industry; and, lo, we have found that if we all work, and don't live one at the cost of the other, this earth is big enough to offer every man room to build on it the cottage of his content, and that we need not refer the larger and poorer ... Or is that the intellecual domain of science, the ... researches into nature, involving as they do costly laboratories and apparatus, are impossible without accumulation of capital in private or public hands. It is the same with the elevated enjoyments of art; how without wealth are any, far less many, good pictures to be made accessible. Even books, the cheapest and most universal medium for the transmission of spiritual treasures, are not to be had in any sufficiency and variety, save in libraries that can only be provided by the power of gold. Take even the typical examples of those who, in modern times, have lived for the contemplative life and reduced their physical wants to a minimum. Take Spinoza, earning a frugal livelihood by polishing optical glasses that he might be unfettered in his thought; or Wordsworth communing with nature among his mountains, and content with the coarsest clothes and the simplest fare. Would they have become what they were without the study and travel for which their early resources furnished the means? And would they have been able to carry out their programme but for the fact that the one lived in a wealthy community, for whose highly specialised wants he catered; and the other was made independent by the generosity of a wealthy friend? Turn where you will, you find that though the human spirit may assert its infinitude in the austerest restrictions, though in Hamlet's words, it might be bounded by a nutshell, and not only be counted, but be " a king of infinite space yet to realise its possibilities", to attain its full development, it must have command of this material world.
And yet admitting all this, I think we feel that there is something wrong about Mr. Carnegie's doctrine. It is a doctrine congenial to the age and tacitly held by very many, and it is not without its cogency and nobility. Still, "make it your vow, and your only vow, to be at the top," with whatever qualifications, is not so inspiriting an appeal as has sounded in the ears of the young men of other generations, whom prophets, apostles, poets, patriots, sages exhorted to count gain as dross, and vow themselves to fatherland, or liberty, or truth, or religion. I do not think it is quite so satisfactory as the ideal which Wentworth promulgated for this institution, to enlighten the mind, to refine the understanding, and to elevate mankind.
For, in the first place, as one who is not a mam of affaire may be excused a certain malicious gratification in pointing out, it is a little visionary, a little sentimental and fantastic; it shows a certain deficiency in practical common-sense. There is no infallible prescription that will turn a man into a millionaire. As was truly remarked by Iago three hundred years, age, "We cannot all be masters." If the young men Mr. Carnegie was addressing were so innocent and so romantic as to take him at his word, and register their solemn oath to attain wealth, or in his own expression, to become "Bosses," nothing is more certain than that the majority of them must be disappointed. Such a disappointment would be a small matter if they had not given their hearts to the golden dream. If they had set their affections on other things and trained their minds to an intelligent participation in the various interests, whether of pleasure or duty, that lie at the doors of us all, they would find it very tolerable to move in a subordinate sphere during their business hours, and put up with plain living plus high thinking in their leisure. This would be the resource of others of whom Mr. Carnegie has a low opinion, those who pray, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," and divide their lives between the various calls of our multiple human nature. Their ambition is practicable, and the chances are that they will realise it. But I fear that most of those who have narrowed their outlook to the one particular end of self-aggrandisement will have small reason to thank their monitor. In their hallucination of millions, they will sacrifice the modest happiness that could nourish and satisfy their souls; and one might say to them as the old gentleman in Rabelais said to Picrochole of his design to conquer a thousand kingdoms: "I am very much afraid that all this enterprise will be like the farce of the milkjug, with which the cobbler made himself rich in his day-dreams; and then, the jug being broken, had not the wherewithal for his dinner."
Even in the cases where the purpose is accomplished, one questions if it is a very desirable thing. We need not consider the danger to character which absorption in the pursuit of material success brings with it; for the hypothesis is that this danger has been victoriously withstood. We are to assume that "the Boss" has won his millions with hands unstained and heart unchilled, and is now eager to apply them liberally. But admitting all this; admitting that he is an upright man, a good family man, one who has studied his own business and read for recreation, and is actuated by the purest philanthropy, does it follow that he will wield his power aright! For remember that his money gives him enormous power. The millionaire is, if he likes, the plutocrat. He is the uncrowned king of modern society, and the divine right by which he reigns is acknowledged by thousands of loyal subjects as fully in republics as in monarchies, perhaps even more so. Now, granting his commercial rectitude, his domestic virtues, his business efficiency and his goodwill, is he the fittest person to hold such sway? Mr. Carnegie himself is an admirable example of the type he describes. Yet surely his munificent gift to the Scottish Universities might have been more productive of good had it been freed from some of the conditions that his rather subjective estimate of the circumstances and his misappreciation of certain great interests imposed. He has his severe limitations, and he has been able to make his own caprices count more than it is expedient that they should. In one place he advises professors and professional people: "Do not invest in any business concerns whatever; the risks of business are not for such as you." It is sensible advice, as some of us have reason to know. But in countries like Germany, where a wonderful system of education is organised by experts, not by amateurs, he might possibly receive the advice in return: "Do not try to legislate on any academic matters whatever; the problems of Universities are not for such as you." Such an answer would be impossible in a British community, for in all departments we refuse to admit the infallibility of the expert and allow great scope to the mother wit of the individual. Both systems have their own advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of ours appears most strikingly when a private opinion, however honestly held, receives undue influence merely on account of the wealth of its advocate. For not all who have the means and will for princely beneficence, have the wisdom to direct it to the best ends, or, like our own Challis, the equal wisdom to sink any fads of their own, and put their resources without limitation at the disposal of those who may be expected to know. I believe that if Challis himself instead of his mere marble counterfeit could be present to-day, he would look round on us well pleased that the Senate had used his unrestricted bequest to promote the study not only of science, theoretical and applied, but of such ideal subjects as mental philosophy. Generally, however, the Emperor of Business will be a little apt, like other emperors, to insist with the best intentions on having his own crude and arbitrary notions enforced. How many instances have we of pernicious charities and crotchety foundations! And Mr. Carnegie's panacea, that the plutocrat should donate the money in his lifetime, instead of bequeathing it at his death, seems likely to make things worse rather than better. For it prevents the lawyers from exercising their philanthropic ingenuity in getting more good out of the benefaction than the benefactor intended.
The truth is that the cult of material success, as a universal, or, indeed, an ordinary principle, means, even with such qualifications as Mr. Carnegie sees fit to introduce, a displacement in tbe true order of human interests. As he himself can be shown to admit. He stipulates that wealth shall be honestly come by and that it shall be usefully employed. He says that he assumes these things. They are thus his presuppositions, essential and indispensable, and as such they have the prior claim. The one is the condition and postulate, the other the purpose and goal; both, therefore, take precedence of any scheme of means. But the honesty and good will are moral qualities, and the ability to use wealth beneficently implies intellectual enlightenment. So it turns out that these matters, after all, must be the prime objects of the ideal fortune builder. And if only the author of the "Empire of Business" had made this explicit to himself, he would have seen things in their true perspective, and given them in their proper sequence. Amended to meet the necessities of the case, his message would have become, so to speak, a modernised version of the old recept: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." And of the truth of that, very often for the individual, and almost always for the community, there can be no doubt. How do we account for the material advance of Germany in the beginning of the 20th century, but by the sturdy morality of her people, and the tenacity of thought and depth of vision that were taught her by her philosophers and poets, her Hegels and Fichtes, her Goethes and Schillers, at the beginning of the 19th? And these possessions count more than any physical prosperity. The Germany of 1802 was divided, unequipped, poor. It could be said of her that while France had the empire of the earth, and England the empire of the water, she had only the empire of the air. The Germany of 1902 has unity, authority, resources: she has her armies on land, and her fleets at sea. And yet, perhaps, the future historian of civilisation will consider that the world owes more to the Germany of a hundred years ago than to the Germany of to-day.
But not only are the things of the spirit productive of and superior to the things of sense, they supply the only tenure by which we can hold them. If we swerve from the more ideal aims, "Little thinking if we work our souls as nobly as our iron," the result will surely be the loss of the tangible wealth or prize. Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you to remember that such views are not merely a devout imagination of the dreamer, the enthusiast, the recluse, but the sober conviction of every thinker worth the name who has touched on these questions at all. I suppose it would be difficult to find a mind more immersed in practical interests than Bacon; in some ways the most typical philosopher of our race; that one, at any rate, who for a long period most fully expressed the national character. His object is to make philosophy rich and powerful, he despises solitary meditation, he hopes to extend the Kingdom of Man; i.e., his control of the resources of nature. Well, even in Bacon, you will find running through his treatises and essays and aphorisms a hearty homage to the disinterested pursuit rather than to the palpable result. Here is his mature opinion on wealth: "I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue - the Roman word is better, impedimenta; for as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue: it cannot be spared, nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory." In the same spirit he has a contempt for those who prefer the experiments that bring fruit to the experiments that bring light; say, for those who think more of the inventions of Mr. Edison than the discoveries of Lord Kelvin. He summarily dismisses the judgment of Midas, "that, being chosen judge between Apollo, president of the Muses, and Pan, God of the flocks, judged for plenty." Midas, you will remember, was the millionaire of his day, whose touch turned all things to gold, and who, for the very judgment to which Bacon refers, was accommodated with a pair of ass's ears. And of those who are too eager for immediate and positive gains, he says: "Like Atalanta they leave the course, to pick up the golden apple, interrupting their speed, and surrendering the victory."
I think, then, that not merely poetical and idealistic high-flyers, but Bacon, with his naturalism and experimentalise, would agree with Wentworth as to the function of the university, "to enlighten the mind, refine the understanding, and to elevate mankind."
I should like to say a word or two on these points. Enlightenment of the mind and refinement of the understanding - these refer, in the first place, to the intellectual influence which the University should exert. The elevation of mankind refers rather to the ethical and social influence.
Now the intellectual influence cannot better be summed up than in the word culture. It is a word that one is rather shy of using, since it has been appropriated by the "superior person," for whom we have all, I trust, a becoming detestation. But it is a good word, too good a word to resign to such hands, and it is the only one that serves my present purpose. Do not be afraid; I am not going to try to give you a definition of culture. I only wish to point out that it has at least two important aspects, and that these are indicated respectively by the two intellectual influences which Wentworth says this University should exert, the enlightenment of the mind and the refinement of the understanding.
What gives light to the mind is knowledge. But knowledge, though more or less of it is implied, is not the same as culture. We may have a knowledge of many facts, even of laws and principles, and remain quite uncultured people. The result may be merely the accumulation of comparatively useless and unvitalised information. A man may be a walking encyclopaedia, and yet be only a pedant - for there is a pedantry in science and the professions, as well as in scholarship.
Refinement of the understanding, on the other hand, refers rather to the mental activity itself. It is the process by which the intelligence is made a finer, a subtler, a more delicate instrument. And this, too, is required in culture, but is not the same. thing. We have, doubtless, met many very clever persons, who are capable of the most dexterous intellectual gymnastics, whom we should refuse to call cultured men.
As inert knowledge leads to pedantry, so formal adroitness leads to sophistry. And each object, when pursued merely for itself, defeats its own aim. .Knowledge, when not intelligently manipulated, soon ceases to be discriminating, confuses the great and the small, and thus, in a world where there is an infinite number of things to be known, misses the most important, and really becomes ignorance. A barren and empty cleverness, again, loses its grasp, forgets how to distinguish between the show and the substance, the plausible and the true; and ends in a fatuousness that may rightly be called stupid.
Now, of culture, whatever more may be said, I think we may say at least this: that in it each of those elements is present - in various proportions, it may be, but always in such a way that each saves the other from corruption, and enables it to fulfil its own end and the end of both. Knowledge is not merely obtained and inserted, but is so assimilated by the mental process, that it passes, as it were, into the blood of the intelligence, and thus maintains and equips it for the acquisition of new truth. And the intelligence does not revolve in the void, consuming its own machinery, but is so exercised on the realities of things that it is not merely an activity but a storehouse. Knowledge that has life, motion, growth; intelligence that has seriousness, verity, substance - these, I think you find in all true culture; and if that is so, there is no reason why we should be ashamed of the word.
Now this culture, according to our first great spokesman, it is the function of the University to create or increase. Surely he was right in this. In each one of its departments it has the double task, of imparting knowledge - but knowledge that will kindle with its own heat; and of enforcing a mental drill - but a drill that will prepare less for the parade than for battle and conquest. To fulfil this twofold object must at least be the aspiration of the highest educational institution in the State. And it cannot be questioned that such culture in both of its aspects - as knowledge, from the direct intuitions of poetry to the reasoned demonstrations of mathematics - as training, from the disciplined observation of science to the disciplined sympathy of criticism, tends to the elevation of human nature. But when we talk of elevating mankind we generally mean something more directly practical than this. And what is 1 the moral somewhat that the University is, in the second place, specially summoned to supply? Of course every activity and every organisation has some kind of
bearing on conduct; and I shall not weary you with an enumeration of the various modes in which University pursuits, like all other pursuits, have their conscious or unconscious or reflex action on character. What we have to consider is, whether the University has anything to give in this regard that cannot be attained so well or so fully elsewhere. Has it a distinctive contribution to make to the influences that go to form the good man and the good citizen? Ladies and gentlemen, I think that it has; and this was a point on which, if I may be allowed the reminiscence, in my own student days, the Principal of my old University failed not to insist. The members of a University form a society that, in some important respects, differs from most other societies in this workaday world, and differs from them in being more rational and ideal. The youth who compose it are held together by the similarity, that permeates all difference of detail, in their aims and methods. They are directly or indirectly equipping themselves for life by the enlightenment of their minds and the refinement of their understandings. And not only is there thus a oneness of spirit seldom found elsewhere; the bond of union is surely a peculiarly noble and beautiful one. Neighbourhood, race, force, defence, gain have had a good deal to do with the formation of other communities; but in this the principal of combination is supplied by the intellect itself. There ought, therefore, to be, I rejoice to think that there is, among our undergraduates a sense of citizenship in no mean city, a high spirit of fellowship that comprehends and pervades their various groups, that is mot hindered but fostered by their honourable rivalries, and that culminates between individuals in those University friendships which we, the University men of an older generation, can tell you are among the grand prizes of life. And in accordance with its origin, the arrangements of this society are more rational than those we find in the rough make-shifts of ordinary existence. The polities of the world are only gradually organising themselves by the rule of right reason. In them the possession of title or birch, of wealth and influence, of blatant impudence and unscrupulous push, accidents or irrelevances or veritable defects, often weighs heavily against the claims of real desert and ability. It is not so in the Platonic Republic of the University. It is a republic which one may call an aristocratic democracy. The career is open to everyone, and preeminence goes to the capable; merit is all in all. The student who does well will come to the front; the idle or incompetent will fall to the rear. Of course even here there are qualifications to be made. So far as academic distinctions are concerned, the test is for the prescribed studies and at a particular stage of mental growth. It no doubt occurs that the youth who has most in him does not always take a foremost place, because, for instance, his gifts demand another field, or because his mind is slower to mature. But in the particular thing at the particular time, the machinery of the University, allowing for the limitation of human faculty, does provide for the promotion of efficiency, and - which Huxley considered even more important - the demotion of inefficiency. And if it occasionally happens that the meritorious fails of his due in the lecture-room and the examination hall, there are the comitia out of doors, athletic, social, technical, literary, where, if he have it in him, he has the opportunity of "wielding at will our fierce democracy."
Well, the whole constitution of our society seems to me more perfect than that of almost any other that could be named. One might without irreverence describe it as a Civitas Dei, the divine pattern to which other human societies slowly tend. And I cannot but believe that membership for three years or more in this ideal republic, which is founded on reason and right, must remain an inspiring and effective memory in later years, when our youth go forth as graduates to do their part in perfecting the State, the Commonwealth, the Empire of fact, in which they are to live and work.
This aspect of the University is indeed so characteristic that from it the name is derived. The Universitas meant the society, the community, as though the circumstance of the fellowship between the members were the one essential thing. And yet it has another side, which is perhaps even more important still. When I was young, the original meaning of the word was generally forgotten, and it was popularly explained as referring to the universality of the knowledge which a University imparts. The gradual displacement of the old meaning by the new seems to me most significant; for, despite the derivation, this is the idea which in point of fact we associate with a University now. And observe, when we think of this universality, we do not mean a mere omnium gatherum of subjects, "a litter .. of facts", a "bazaar," or "cattle fair," to quote Newman's vigorous expressions in reproof of such a conception. We imply that there is a certain order and connection in the sum of the parts, so that together they form what Bacon finely calls a globus intellectualis, an intellectual world rounded and complete. This aspect of the University as a whole may not indeed be prominently before the consciousness of the individual student, who is working at a particular group of subjects or at a typical selection from several groups; but even such fractional studies imply it, and the sense of it is about him and above him. He only needs to stand up and look round, and it will be borne in on him at all hands.
And I do not know whether this special influence is more for the mind or for the heart, whether it makes more for culture or for conduct; but I am sure it is helpful to both. This ordered system, this hierarchy of universal knowledge and teaching, brings home to us the solidarity of the various departments of human existence: because the same principle, the same reason, the same inner necessity, underlies and interpenetrates them all, in some more externalised and therefore more demonstrable; in others, more pervasive, and therefore harder to grasp. It is present in the relations of space, number and motion; in the free mechanism of the heavens, and the applied mechanics of men. The physicist traces it in the processes of heat and light, of electricity and magnetism; and the chemist in the action of his elements and compounds. It has moulded the history of the world as revealed by geology, and works in the organic life of plant and animal. The same rational law inheres in the structure of the human body, and its behaviour in health and disease. In the human mind it appears identical yet different, and in all the objective creations of that mind, its speech, its laws, its literature, its speculations; in their development in history; and in the history of the human race; and it reaches something like completion in the account that philosophy gives of itself. In short, the University, which is greater than all its members, greater than all its faculties, aims at giving a synoptic view of human knowledge. Doubtless it is far from doing so. It has many lacunae, and even in the departments which it recognises, the building is never finished, is often unfurnished, and even of temporary materials. Nevertheless, it is a witness to the totality of civilised man's view of the world, as that view is a witness to the totality of the world itself. With all its imperfections it testifies to the connection and completeness of that other greater Universitas, the All, of which we are petty parts, yet of which it is our prerogative to form some conception. And we cannot say whether this great spectacle is more stimulating to the intellect or to the heart. To the intellect; for it furnishes an ideal, which we may, if we like, dedicate ourselves to fallowing further in each special branch, without losing ourselves in special research, or forgetting that it is only one degree in the scale of being. To the heart; for it brings home the insignificance of each of us, and yet his dignity in being privileged to conceive the whole, in which he is included, and even in a sense co-operate with its activity. Let me illustrate the sort of influence these considerations may have in enlightening the mind, refining the understanding, and elevating human nature, from the words of the old Elizabethan, who devoted his life to giving his countrymen an account of what Mr. Carnegie calls those "petty skirmishes of savages" which Homer described, and who, in his original work, was animated with the thought of that past which, we are told, only teaches us "what we should avoid." This is what the "religious and temperate" Chapman, in proud humility, deemed the sum "of all the discipline of manners and of manhood":-
" A man to join himself with the Universe,
In its main sway, and make (in all things fit)
One with that All, and go on round as it,
Not plucking from the whole his wretched part
And into straits or into nought revert,
Wishing the complete Universe might be
Subject to such a rag of it as he:
But to consider, great necessity
All things, as well refract as voluntary,
Reduceth to the prime celestial cause;
Which he that yields to with a man's applause,
And, cheek by cheek, goes crossing it no breath,
But like God's image, follows to the death -
That man is truly wise."
After the Address
Well pleased with the mental fare provided by Professor MacCallum, the audience then departed to enjoy physical refreshment, and to prepare for the Harbour Excursion, given by the Teaching Staff.