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(speaking generally), the pastor is brought into rare collision with those who style themselves noble; whilst, in towns, the clergy find people enough to countenance those who, being in the same circumstances as to comfort and liberal education, are also under the same ban of rejection from the "nobility," or born gentry. The legal profession is equally degraded; even a barrister or advocate holds a place in the public esteem little differing from that of an Old Bailey attorney of the worst class. And this result is the less liable to modification from personal qualities, inasmuch as there is no great theatre (as with us) for individual display. Forensic eloquence is unknown in Germany, as it is too generally on the continent, from the defect of all popular or open judicatures. A similar defect of deliberative assemblies such, at least, as represent any popular influences and debate with open doors-intercepts the very possibility of senatorial eloquence.* That of the pulpit only remains. But even of this - whether it be from want of the excitement and contagious emulation from the other fields of oratory, or from the peculiar genius of Lutheranism—no models have yet arisen that could, for one moment, sustain a comparison with those of England or France. The highest names in this department would not, to a foreign
*The subject is amusingly illustrated by an anecdote of Goethe, recorded by himself in his autobiography. Some physiognomist, or phrenologist, had found out, in Goethe's structure of head, the sure promise of a great orator. "Strange infatuation of nature!" observes Goethe, on this assurance, "to endow me so richly and liberally for that particular destination which only the institutions of my country render impossible. Music for the deaf! Eloquence without an audience !"
ear, carry with them any of that significance or promise which surrounds the names of Jeremy Taylor or Barrow, Bossuet or Bourdaloue, to those even who have no personal acquaintance with their works. This absence of all fields for gathering public distinctions coöperates, in a very powerful way, with the contempt of the born gentry, to degrade these professions; and this double agency is, a third time, reinforced by those political arrangements which deny every form of state honor or conspicuous promotion to the very highest description of excellence, whether of the bar, the pulpit, or the civic council. Not the fluent Murray," or the accomplished Erskine, from the English bar-not Pericles or Demosthenes, from the fierce democracies of Greece —not Paul preaching at Athens - could snatch a wreath from public homage, nor a distinction from the state, nor found an influence, nor leave behind them an operative model, in Germany, as now constituted. Other walks of emolument are still more despised. Alfieri, a continental "noble," that is, a born gentleman, speaks of bankers as we in England should of a Jewish usurer, or tricking money-changer. The liberal trades, such as those which minister to literature or the fine arts, which, with us, confer the station of gentleman upon those who exercise them, are, in the estimate of a continental "noble," fitted to assign a certain rank or place in the train and equipage of a gentleman, but not to entitle their most eminent professors to sit down, except by sufferance, in his presence. And, upon this point, let not the reader derive his notions from the German books: the vast majority of German authors are not
"noble ; " and, of those who are, nine tenths are liberal in this respect, and speak the language of liberality, not by sympathy with their own order, or as representing their feelings, but in virtue of democratic or revolutionary politics.
Such as the rank is, and the public estimation of the leading professions, such is the natural condition of the universities which rear them. The "nobles" going generally into the army, or leading lives of indolence, the majority by far of those who resort to universities do so as a means of future livelihood. Few seek an academic life in Germany who have either money to throw away on superfluities and external show, or who have such a rank to support as might stimulate their pride to expenses beyond their means. Parsimony is, therefore, in these places, the governing law; and pleasure, not less fervently wooed than at Oxford or at Cambridge, putting off her robes of elegance and ceremony, descends to grossness, and not seldom to abject brutality.
The sum of my argument is that, because, in comparison of the army, no other civil profession is, in itself, held of sufficient dignity; and not less, perhaps, because, under governments essentially unpopular, none of these professions has been so dignified artificially by the state, or so attached to any ulterior promotion, either through the state or in the state, as to meet the demands of aristocratic pride - none of them is cultivated as a means of distinction, but originally as a means of livelihood; that the universities, as the nurseries of these unhonored professions, share naturally in their degra
dation; and that, from this double depreciation of the place and its final objects, few or none resort thither who can be supposed to bring any extra funds for supporting a system of luxury; that the general temperance, or sobriety of demeanor, is far enough, however, from keeping pace with the absence of costly show; and that, for this absence even, we are to thank their poverty rather than their will. It is to the great honor, in my opinion, of our own country, that those often resort to her fountains who have no motive but that of disinterested reverence for knowledge; seeking, as all men perceive, neither emolument directly from university funds, nor knowledge as the means of emolument. Doubtless, it is neither dishonorable, nòr, on a large scale, possible to be otherwise, that students should pursue their academic career chiefly as ministerial to their capital object of a future livelihood. But still I contend that it is for the interest of science and good letters that a considerable body of volunteers should gather about their banners, without pay or hopes of preferment. This takes place on a larger scale at Oxford and Cambridge than elsewhere; and it is but a trivial concession in return, on the part of the university, that she should allow, even if she had the right to withhold, the privilege of living within her walls as they would have lived at their fathers' seats; with one only reserve, applied to all modes of expense that are, in themselves, immoral excesses, or occasions of scandal, or of a nature to interfere too much with the natural hours of study, or specially fitted to tempt others of narrower means to ruinous emulation.
Upon these principles, as it seems to me, the discipline of the university is founded. The keeping of hunters, for example, is unstatutable. Yet, on the other hand, it is felt to be inevitable that young men of high spirit, familiar with this amusement, will find means to pursue it in defiance of all the powers, however exerted, that can properly be lodged in the hands of academic officers. The range of the proctor's jurisdiction is limited by positive law; and what should hinder a young man, bent upon his pleasure, from fixing the station of his hunter a few miles out of Oxford, and riding to cover on a hack, unamenable to any censure? For, surely, in this age, no man could propose so absurd a thing as a general interdiction of riding. How, in fact, does the university proceed? She discountenances the practice; and, if forced upon her notice, she visits it with censure, and that sort of punishment which lies within her means. But she takes no pains to search out a trespass, which, by the mere act of seeking to evade public display in the streets of the university, already tends to limit itself; and which, besides, from its costliness, can never become a prominent nuisance This I mention as illustrating the spirit of her legislation; and, even in this case, the reader must carry along with him the peculiar distinction which I have pressed with regard to English universities, in the existence of a large volunteer order of students seeking only the liberalization, and not the profits, of academic life. In arguing upon their case, it is not the fair logic to say: These pursuits taint the decorum of the studious character; it is not fair to calculate how much is lost to the man of letters