That the English Universities have, throughout, proceeded on the principle, that the intellectual association of mankind must be founded upon articles, upon a promise of belief in certain opinions; that the scope of all they do is to prevail upon their pupils, by fair means or foul, to acquiesce in the opinions which are set down for them; that the abuse of the human faculties so forcibly denounced by Locke under the name of “principling” their pupils, is their sole method in religion, politics, morality, or philosophy—is vicious indeed, but the vice is equally prevalent without and within their pale, and is no farther disgraceful to them than inasmuch as a better doctrine has been taught for a century past by the superior spirits, with whom in point of intelligence it was their duty to maintain themselves on a level. But, that when this object was attained they cared for no other; that if they could make churchmen, they cared not to make religious men; that if they could make Tories, whether they made patriots was indifferent to them; that if they could prevent heresy, they cared not if the price paid were stupidity—this constitutes the peculiar baseness of those bodies. Look at them. While their sectarian character, while the exclusion of all who will not sign away their freedom of thought, is contended for as if life depended upon it, there is a trace in the system of the Universities that any other object whatever is seriously cared for. Nearly all the professorships have degenerated into sinecures. Few of the professors ever deliver a lecture. One of the few great scholars who have issued from either University for a century (and he was such before he went thither), the Rev. Connop Thirlwall, has published to the world that in his University at least, even —is not taught; and his dismissal, for this piece of honesty, from the tutorship of his college, is one among the daily proofs how much safer it is for twenty men to neglect their duty, than for one man to impeach them of the neglect. The only studies really encouraged are classics and mathematics; , though the last, as an instrument for fashioning the mental powers, greatly overrated; but Mr. Whewell, a high authority against his own University, has published a pamphlet, chiefly to prove that the kind of mathematical attainment by which Cambridge honours are gained, expertness in the use of the calculus, is not that kind which has any tendency to produce superiority of intellect. The mere shell and husk of the syllogistic logic at the one University, the wretchedest smattering of Locke and Paley at the other, are all of moral or psychological science that is taught at either. As a means of educating the many, the Universities are absolutely null. The youth of England are not educated. The attainments required for taking all the degrees conferred by these bodies are, at Cambridge, utterly contemptible; at Oxford, we believe, of late years, somewhat higher, but still very low. Honours, indeed, are not gained but by a severe struggle; would not be worthless. But what have the senior wranglers done, even in mathematics? Has Cambridge produced? How many books which have thrown light upon the history, antiquities, philosophy, art, or literature of the ancients, have the two Universities sent forth since the Reformation? Compare them not merely with Germany, but even with Italy or France. When a man is pronounced by them to have excelled in their studies, what do the Universities do? They give him an income, not for continuing to learn, but for having learnt, not for doing anything, but for what he has already done: on condition solely of living like a monk, and putting on the livery of the Church at the end of seven years. They bribe men by high rewards to get their arms ready, but do not require them to fight.
A topical and thematic approach to the subject with essays by six American historians of early modern France; covers the state, social groups, rural and urban economies, gender and family, religion and religious conflicts.
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comprise the main body of Mill’s writings specifically on political and social theory, including and his most valued contributions to this area. Given his abiding interest in the application of theory to experience, and the testing of theory by experience, and given also his view of the “consensus” that obtains in social states, it is impossible to isolate essays that deal only with political and social theory, or to include in one volume (or even in several) all his essays that touch on such matters. Perhaps the most obviously necessary exclusions in a volume of this kind are the final Books of the and the both of which are essential to an understanding of Mill’s ideas. The decision to include or exclude particular essays is in large measure a pragmatic one, and students of Mill’s political and social thought will want to refer, to some of his essays and newspaper writings on economics, on particular political and social events, and on law and equality, which will be found in other volumes of the The main characteristics determining the selection of the essays in this volume are the focus on abiding and theoretical questions, and thematic interdependence.