Page:Essays on the Higher Education.djvu/24

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institutions, their existing and prospective structure and work, must be chiefly taken into our account, for they furnish the material from which, and the conditions on which, the development of the university must, for the most part, take place. If this material and these conditions are dealt with ill, no amount of talk and enthusiasm will save us from pursuing an unattainable or an unworthy ideal.

One word more should be premised upon this point. The American university must be developed on its own soil, and out of the existing materials, and under the existing conditions. It cannot be imported, or constructed de novo, as it were, from the brain and purse of any one man, or of any small number of men. "The University of Oxford," says Mr. Maxwell Lyte, "did not spring into being in any particular year, or at the bidding of any particular founder; it was not established by any formal charter of incorporation." Particular institutions bearing the name of universities may, of course, be founded in this country in a particular year, and at the bidding of a particular founder. But these will not give us the true norm or type. This will come only as the result of a living development.

Nor can I believe that it will be possible to create our university by using large importations of finished foreign goods. Would that the German