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Washing for thirty weeks, at the privileged rate,



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£24 6 0

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be about £24

The college bills, therefore, will be extras, not furnished by the college, will 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.

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

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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 expenditure 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


varied in almost every college; the object being, perhaps, to give a ready means to the academic officers for ascertaining, at a glance, not merely the general fact that such or such a delinquent is a gownsman, (which is all that can be ascertained at Oxford,) but also the particular college to which he belongs. Allowance being made for these two items of 'dress' and 'caution-money,' both of which apply only to the original outfit, I know of no others in which the expenditure of a Gentleman Commoner ought to exceed, or could with propriety exceed, those of a Commoner. He has, indeed, a privilege as regards the choice of rooms; he chooses first, and probably chooses those rooms which, being best, are dearest; that is, they are on a level with the best; but usually there are many sets almost equally good; and of these the majority will be occupied by Commoners. So far, there is little opening for a difference. More often, again, it will happen that a man of this aristocratic class keeps a private servant; yet this happens also to Commoners, and is, besides, no properly college expense. Tutorage is charged double to a Gentleman Commoner — viz., twenty guineas a year: this is done upon a fiction (as it sometimes turns out) of separate attention, or aid given in a private way to his scholastic pursuits. Finally, there arises naturally another and peculiar source of expense to the 'Gentleman Commoner,' from a fact implied in his Cambridge designation of Fellow Commoner,' commensalis viz., that he associates at meals with the fellows' and other authorities of the college. Yet this again expresses rather the particular shape which his expenditure assumes than any absolute increase in its amount. He subscribes to a regular mess, and pays, therefore, whether present or not; but so, in a partial sense, does the Commoner, by his forfeits for absent commons.' He subscribes also to a

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regular fund for wine; and, therefore, he does not enjoy that immunity from wine-drinking which is open to the Commoner. Yet, again, as the Commoner does but rarely avail himself of this immunity, as he drinks no less wine than the Gentleman Commoner, and, generally speaking, wine not worse in quality, it is difficult to see any ground for a regular assumption of higher expenditure in the one class than the other. However, the universal impression favors that assumption. All people believe that the rank of Gentleman Commoner imposes. an expensive burden, though few people ever ask why. As a matter of fact, I believe it to be true, that Gentlemen Commoners spend more by a third, or a half, than any equal number of Commoners, taken without selection. And the reason is obvious: those who become Gentlemen Commoners are usually determined to that course by the accident of having very large funds; they are eldest sons, or only sons, or men already in possession of estates, or else (which is as common a case as all the rest put together) they are the heirs of newly acquired wealth sons of the nouveaux riches a class which often requires a generation or two to rub off the insolence of a too conscious superiority. I have called them an 'aristocratic' class; but, in strictness, they are not such; they form a privileged class indeed, but their privileges are few and trifling, not to add that these very privileges are connected with one or two burdens, more than outweighing them in the estimate of many; and, upon the whole, the chief distinction they enjoy is that of advertising themselves to the public as men of great wealth or great expectations; and, therefore, as subjects peculiarly adapted to fraudulent attempts. Accordingly, it is not found that the sons of the nobility are much inclined to enter this order: these, if they happen to be the eldest sons of Earls, or of any

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