Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/458

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chief features for which we have every reason to be proud in a comparison with other nations of Europe—freedom in teaching and freedom in learning. Teachers and pupils have still that independence and self-reliance which promote vigilant responsibility and exclude strange control. The freedom in teaching in particular, which was preserved till the dissolution of the German Empire through the special concessions of the emperor and the nobles, has in our time become a constitutional right. The free choice of the rector by the regular professors has also remained to us, and the corporate character of the university has not been attacked.

Several other privileges, indeed, which originated in the time when the student body was almost sovereign and the customs of the middle ages determined the form of the student's life, exist no more. The academical jurisdiction has been reduced to a few disciplinary rights; our scepters, which were conspicuous on days like this, are more ornaments than real insignia of power. The student is now in full sense subject to the civil law. He is a citizen like the others, and he knows that he has no other privilege than the right of freedom to learn preserved to him on the ground of what he represents, and the right won by proficiency in university studies of obtaining money and a part of the highest positions in the state. In other respects we have no academical freedom different from general civic freedom. The student has no special right. The academical citizen like the citizen of the state looks for the source of his right in the constitution of the state. But this constitution has given him more rights than he formerly had; especially the right, under limitations prescribed by the constitution and the law, to participate in political life without being subjected to any exceptional rule.

Therefore, dear fellow-students, take the sincere counsel to pursue learning as your first and most important object, with full knowledge of all its results and with devoted earnestness. Self-evident as this advice may seem to be, experience teaches that it can not be repeated too often and too impressively. This is true as well for the later semesters as for the first. The more difficult and comprehensive the branch the entering student selects, the earlier should the methodical study begin, for the instruction of the later semesters is comprehended only on the basis of the earlier instruction. The temptation to the young student first to enjoy academical freedom in not-learning is certainly very great. To one who passes from the constraint of the gymnasium into the golden freedom of the university it is a privilege to stretch his limbs and to conduct himself without regard to later things. We all know this, and are accustomed to exercise “academical indulgence” toward this way of using academical freedom. But there