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[357] was only a President, who sometimes lived permanently in Boston, and a few tutors, who kept a school in Newton; for the number of scholars was so small that it was possible to teach only by classes, and each student, the number being also small, could pass through the hands of every one of them, and receive from every one all the instruction he could give. But now the state of the case is reversed. There are twenty or more teachers, and three hundred students, and yet the division into classes remains exactly the same, and every student is obliged to pass through the hands of nearly or quite every instructor. Of course, the recitations become mere examinations, and it cannot be attempted to give more than the most superficial view of very important subjects, even to those who would gladly investigate them thoroughly, because they must keep with the class to which they are bound, and hurry on from a teacher and a subject to which they have, perhaps, important reasons for being attached, to another teacher and another subject, wherein their present dispositions and final pursuits in life make it impossible for them to feel any interest. But at the same time that we at once perceive this system . . . . has been carried too far, . . . . we must still feel that it has in some respects its peculiar advantages. The majority of the young men who come to Cambridge should not be left entirely to themselves to choose what they will study, because they are not competent to judge what will be most important for them; and yet no parent would wish to have his child pursue branches of knowledge which he is sure can never be of use to him in future life.

A beneficial compromise can, however, as it seems to me, be effected between the old system still in operation and the most liberal concessions that would be demanded by one of the merely free and philosophical universities of Europe.

Mr. Ticknor went on to describe in explicit terms the actual condition of the College in all matters of discipline, morals, and instruction, and closes this part of the subject with saying,—

Now if this be the condition of the College, which I do not doubt, or if anything like it exist there, which nobody will deny, it is perfectly apparent that a great and thorough change must take place in its discipline and instruction; not to bring it up to the increasing demands of the community, but to make it fulfil the purposes of a respectable high school, to which young men may be safely sent to be prepared for the study of a profession.

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George Ticknor (1)
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