Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/29

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21
AN ENGLISH UNIVERSITY.

augmented from the university chest. The continual repairing of the old laboratories and scientific apparatus, the salaries to lecturers, to proctors, bedells, and other officers, cause a continual drain on the exchequer, which, with the rapidly growing need for larger laboratories and newer apparatus, has finally resulted in an appeal to the country for the sum of half a million pounds.

It has been seen that the drains on a student's pocket are very considerable at Cambridge, owing to the number of perquisites showered by the colleges on their Fellows, and it may appear that this state of things is unjust and wrong. At present Oxford and Cambridge are practically within the reach of only the moneyed population. According, however, to a plausible and frequently repeated theory, it is not the function of these universities to meet the educational needs of the mediocre poor. The writer's critical attitude toward the financial system in vogue at Cambridge is a proper one, only on the assumption that a maximum of education to all classes alike at a minimum of expense is the final cause and desideratum of a university's existence.

PSM V56 D0029 Donald MacAlister.png
Donald MacAlister, M. A., M. D., St. Johns.
Linacre Lecturer of Physics.

But if one assumes that Oxford and Cambridge exist for a different purpose, that the chief end they propose to themselves is individual research, and the advancement, not the promulgation, of learning, it must be admitted that their system has little that is reprehensible. According to this standpoint the students only exist by courtesy of the dons (a name for the Fellows), who have a perfect right to impose upon the students, in return for the condescension which is shown them, what

terms they see fit. And they argue that this view is the historic one. The colleges were originally endowed solely for the benefit of a certain limited number of Fellows and scholars. The undergraduate body, as it at present exists, is a later growth, whose eventual existence and the importance of which to the university was probably not anticipated by the college founders. Starting