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age amount of the battels. Many men 'battel' at the rate of a guinea a week: I did so for years: that is, at the rate of three shillings a day for everything connected with meals, excepting only tea, sugar, milk, and wine. It is true, that wealthier men, more expensive men, and more careless men, often 'battelled' much higher; but, if they persisted in this excess, they incurred censures, more and more urgent, from the head of the college.
Now, let us sum up; premising, that the extreme duration of residence in any college at Oxford amounts to something under thirty weeks. It is possible to keep 'short terms,' as the phrase is, by a residence of thirteen weeks, or ninety-one days; but, as this abridged residence is not allowed, except in here and there a college, I shall assume- as something beyond the strict maximum of residence thirty weeks as my basis. The account will
3. Servants, (subject to the explanations made above,) say.
4. Battels, (allowing one shilling a day beyond what I and others spent in much dearer times; i. e. allowing twenty-eight shillings weekly,) for thirty weeks, .
40 4 0
£66 9 0
This will be a liberal calculation for the college bill. What remains? 1. Candles, which the reader will best calculate upon the standard of his own general usage in this particular. 2. Coals, which are remarkably dear at Oxford - dearer, perhaps, than anywhere else in the island; say, three times as dear as at Edinburgh. 3. Groceries. 4. Wine. 5. Washing. This last article
was, in my time, regulated by the college, as there were certain privileged washerwomen, between whom and the students it was but fair that some proper authority should interfere to prevent extortion, in return for the monopoly granted. Six guineas was the regulated sum; but this paid for everything, table-linen, &c., as well as for wearing apparel; and it was understood to cover the whole twenty-eight or thirty weeks. However, it was open to every man to make his own arrangements, by insisting on a separate charge for each separate article. All other expenses of a merely personal nature, such as postage, public amusements, books, clothes, &c., as they have no special connection with Oxford, but would, probably, be balanced by corresponding, if not the very same, expenses in any other place or situation, I do not calculate. What I have specified are the expenses which would accrue to a student in consequence of leaving his father's house. The rest would, in these days, be the same, perhaps, everywhere. How much, then, shall we assume as the total charge on account of Oxford? Candles, considering the quantity of long days amongst the thirty weeks, may be had for 1s. 6d. a week; for few students — unless they have lived in India, after which a physical change occurs in the sensibility of the nostrils-are finical enough to burn wax-lights. This will amount to £2 58. Coals, say sixpence a day; for threepence a day will amply feed one grate in Edinburgh; and there are many weeks in the thirty which will demand no fire at all. Groceries and wine, which are all that remain, I cannot calculate. But suppose we allow for the first a shilling a day, which will be exactly ten guineas for thirty weeks; and for the second, nothing at all. Then the extras, in addition to the college bills, will stand thus:
Washing for thirty weeks, at the privileged rate,
£24 6 0
The college bills, therefore, will be £66 9s.; the extras, not furnished by the college, will be about £24 6s. making a total amount of £90 15s. And for this sum, annually, a man may defray every expense incident to an Oxford life, through a period of weeks (viz. 30) something more than he will be permitted to reside. It is true, that, for the first year, there will be, in addition to this, his outfit; and for every year, there will be his journeys. There will also be twenty-two weeks uncovered by this estimate: but for these it is not my business to provide, who deal only with Oxford.
£6 6 0
2 5 0
5 5 0
10 10 0
That this estimate is true, I know too feelingly. Would that it were not! would that it were false ! Were it so, I might the better justify to myself that commerce with fraudulent Jews which led me so early to commence the dilapidation of my small fortune. It is true; and true for a period (1804-8) far dearer than this. And to any man who questions its accuracy, I address this particular request that he will lay his hand upon the special item which he disputes. I anticipate that he will answer thus: -'I dispute none: it is not by positive things that your estimate errs, but by negations. It is the absence of all allowance for indispensable items that vitiates the calculation.' Very well but to this, as to other things, we may apply the words of Dr. Johnson 'Sir, the reason I drink no wine, is because I can practise abstinence, but not temperance.' Yes: in all things, abstinence is easier than temperance; for a little enjoyment has invariably the effect of awaking the sense of enjoyment, irritating it, and
setting it on edge. I, therefore, recollecting my own case, have allowed for no wine parties. Let our friend, the abstraction we are speaking of, give breakfast parties, if he chooses to give any; and certainly to give none at all, unless he were dedicated to study, would seem very churlish. Nobody can be less a friend than myself to monkish and ascetic seclusion, unless it were for twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four.
But, however this be settled, let no mistake be made : nor let that be charged against the system which is due to the habits of individuals. Early in the last century, Dr. Newton, the head of a college in Oxford, wrote a large book against the Oxford system, as ruinously expensive. But then, as now, the real expense was due to no cause over which the colleges could exercise any effectual control. It is due exclusively to the habits of social intercourse amongst the young men; from which he may abstain who chooses. But for any academic authorities to interfere by sumptuary laws with the private expendi ture of grown men, many of them, in a legal sense, of age, and all near it, must appear romantic and extravagant, for this (or, indeed, any) stage of society. A tutor being required, about 1810, to fix the amount of allowance for a young man of small fortune, nearly related to myself, pronounced £320 little enough. He had this allowance, and was ruined, in consequence of the credit which it procured for him, and the society it connected him with. The majority have £200 a year: but my estimate stands good for all that.
Having stated, generally, the expenses of the Oxford system, I am bound, in candor, to mention one variety in the mode of carrying this system into effect, open to every man's adoption, which confers certain privileges, but, at the same time, (by what exact mode, I know not,) con
siderably increases the cost, and in that degree disturbs my calculation. The great body of undergraduates, or students, are divided into two classes - Commoners, and Gentlemen Commoners. Perhaps nineteen out of twenty belong to the former class; and it is for that class, as having been my own, that I have made my estimate. The other class of Gentlemen Commoners, (who, at Cambridge, bear the name of Fellow Commoners,) wear a peculiar dress, and have some privileges which naturally imply some corresponding increase of cost; but why this increase should go to the extent of doubling the total expense, as it is generally thought to do, or how it can go to that extent, I am unable to explain. The differences which attach to the rank of Gentleman Commoners,' are these: - At his entrance, he pays double 'caution money' that is, whilst Commoners in general pay about twenty-five guineas, he pays fifty; but this can occur only once; and, besides, in strict point of right, this sum is only a deposit, and is liable to be withdrawn on leaving the University, though it is commonly enough finally presented to the college in the shape of plate. The next difference is, that, by comparison with the Commoner, he wears a much more costly dress. The Commoner's gown is made of what is called prince's stuff; and, together with the cap, costs about five guineas. But the Gentleman Commoner has two gowns an undress for the morning, and a full dress-gown for the evening; both are made of silk, and the latter is very elaborately ornamented. The cap also is more costly, being covered with velvet instead of cloth. At Cambridge, again, the tassel is made of gold fringe or bullion, which, in Oxford, is peculiar to the caps of noblemen; and there are many other varieties in that University, where the dress for 'pensioners,' (i. e. the Oxford Commoners,') is specially