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ECLECTIC REVIEW, ,
Φιλοσοφίαν δε ου την Στωικήν λέγω, ουδε την Πλατωνικήν, ή την 'Επι-
Clem. Alex, Strom. L. 1.
W. OLIPHANT AND SON, EDINBURGH: AND MACLEHOSE AND NELSON, GLASGOW :
FOSTER, BISBEE, AND Co., NEW YORK.
FOR JANUARY, 1841.
Art. I. 1. Regulations of the University of London on the subject of
Degrees in Arts. 2. Examination for Matriculation in the Year 1838. 3. Examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in the Year 1839. 4. Examination for Matriculation in the Year 1839. 5. Examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, 1840. 6. Examination for the Degree of Master of Arts, 1840. 7. Report of the Committee of Highbury College, London, 1839, 1840. 8. Report of the Committee of Stepney College, London, 1839, 1840. 9. Report of the Committee of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, for the
THE London University commenced its operations
in 1838, in the autumn of which year it held its first examination for matriculation. Since that period it has twice admitted to the Bachelor of Arts' degree, and once to the Master of Arts' degree, so that more than one entire course of examinations has been completed. The senate have wisely resolved to publish from time to time the examination questions, together with the names of those who have been admitted to degrees, or who have successfully contended for honors or scholarships. Its proceedings are thus before the world, and the character of the examinations to which it subjects its candidates, as well as the value of the degrees and honors which it has to confer, can be easily estimated. It is equally impossible either for its admirers and advocates to exaggerate the severity of its examinations or for its enemies to deride them as flimsy and superficial. To attempt the latter, while the examination papers of the London Univer
sity continue to be what they have been, would not only betray an utter want of candor; it would impudently contradict the common sense of every one who chooses to take the trouble to nspect them. Of all such calumnies, indeed, they afford an easy refutation. To this subject we shall return after we have made two or three preliminary observations.
It is happily no longer needful to canvass the principle on which the new university is founded; the only wonder is that it should have been necessary to contest it so long. But it is 'better’admitted ‘late than never.' The very institution of such a university concedes the principle, that honorable degrees for proficiency in the various branches of science and literature should not be restricted to the advocates of any particular form of religious belief, or confined exclusively to those who are willing to subscribe to a certain set of theological dogmas. One finds it quite difficult to understand by what sort of logic the two things have been connected together, or how the premises have been linked to the conclusion. If the system were rigidly carried out, our lawyers and doctors ought to be subjected to the same conditions; we ought to take no physic but what comes from an orthodox practitioner, nor ask advice in law except from those who have duly signed the thirty-nine articles. There is, indeed, manifest injustice and absurdity on the very face of the system. One would think it as obvious as common sense could make it, that literary degrees ought to be accessible to all who have made the requisite proficiency, and that to defraud them of such honors because they are unwilling to sign the thirty-nine articles, even although they may have made the highest attainments in science or literature, is one of the many forms of petty persecution.
The hollowness of the system, so far as its professed objects go, is only equalled by the injustice inflicted on those who are the victims of it. The avowed object is, that science and literature may exert their influence in favor of religion. Now if degrees were withheld from all those who did not show by their conduct that they were under the practical influence of the doctrines which they profess to believe; if it were demanded, not only that the aspirant for a degree should subscribe, but act in conformity with his subscription; if, in a word, an examination were instituted into his moral character and religious habits, in addition to the demand of a formal subscription to a system of speculative belief, there would at least be some consistency in the plan, however erroneous and unjust we might still suppose it to be. But who that is at all acquainted with the doings at Oxford or Cambridge does not full well know that degrees are perpetually conferred on those who have subscribed as a mere matter of form ; who have subscribed even what they do not understand,