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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 15, 1890)
to whom hns been entrusted the welfare of the Unvlcrsity. If
the University would extend the sphere of its influence ns far
as possible, it must have some mode of communication with
other portions of the college world; and in what way can its
sphere be extended more quickly than by the facilities fur
nished by the publication of the Studies
The professor who edits the Studies of the University of
Nebraska has been the recipient of many expressions of
thanks from those, both in America and in Europe, to whom
numbers of this publication have been sent. Hut none of
thecummunicallons arc more appreciated by him than the fol
lowing letter from Spain, in which the writer murders English
without the slightest computation of conscience in his haste to
ack nowlcdgc the vnluablc gift he has rccicvcd.
"Editor University Studies
Lincoln, Neiiraska, U. S. ok A.
Dear Sins I thank you wtth all my heart by your
kind sending of No. 3 of your excellent Review and by your
compliments to this Riblloquc.
I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
Vknancio ma Fkrnandes,
Valladolid, Spain, July 12, 1890."
It is safe to venture that the worthy Fcrnandcs will never
be regarded as a "Well of English undcfylcd"!
The "Evolution of the University," the title of the first
annual address delivered before the alumni association of the
Univcmily of Ncbrnska, June 11, 1889, is a subject that should
prove of especial interest to till connected in any way with a
university. In this address Professor Howard has traced, with
evidence of Ms usual extreme care and laborious research,
the origin and development of those European cducntlonal
institutions after which the first American school of higher
learning was modelled.
Previous to the beginning of the twcltth century the only
institutions of learning which existed in Europe were the
cathedral and monastic schools. But at length after the new
nations were born; after they had fought and suffered in the
First Crusade against the Mahometans, had broadened their
minds by contact with the despised infidel, the educational
system which had before sufficed would do so no more. It was
in this exigency, facilitated by "the practical need ol systema
tic training in the learned professions," that the foundation
of the university of the present was laid.
Strange as It may seem to the present generation, the orig
inal union?, by the combination of which the "university"
later was formed, were composed entirely of foreigners unit
ing to resist the violence of the citizens of towns where they
gathered to hear some noted teacher Thus in the first part
of the twelfth century these unions or scholastic gilds were
formed both in Bologna and Paris, being the embryo of the
two great universities of later date, the former of the demo
cratic, the latter of the centralized, type. In Bologna civil and
ecclesiastical law were the main studies; in Paris, theology.
The English universities were modelled after the Univer
sity of Paris, theology consequently being the chief branch
taught But the one chief point of interest in connection with
the English universities is the extraordinary development of
the college as opposed to the university proper. The college
was originally not an institution of learning, but was a kind
of endowed dormitoiy. The first English colleges were de
signed for the support of needy students. The usurpation by
these colleger of functions properly belonging to the uuiver-
sity, and the low grade of scholarship which they fostered.
led finally to the degradation which has necessitated the re
cent parliamentary Investigation into university affairs. The
professors thus sums up the career of the college: "Thus it
appears that colleges were first established for the benefit of
the poor and pious, they became eventually sumptuous abodes
of the rich and dissolute."
The English college Is the direct prototype of the first
American schools. Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary,
were practically, like the English universities, state institu
tions placed in subordination to a church establishment.
I low far the classical course predominated in these schools is
shown by the provision found in the "Laws and Liberties"
of Harvard, before 1656, that 'ischolars shall never use their'
mother tongue, except that in public exercises of oratory, or
such like, they be called to make them in English."
While the constitutional organism of the American col
lege has come from Paris through the English universities
the "vitalizing influence" in them is traceable ultimately to
the the Italian Renaissance. This movement spread into Ger
many and England, but met n serious check in the religious
excitement of the times. Finally, however, the University
of Halle'.thc "first modern university" was founded in 1693.
Subsequently the preset university system of Germany was
produced. And it is the influence of German culture and
methods that is transforming higher education in America.
After thus tracing the development of the constitutional
organism, and briefly outlining the influence in subsequent
times of the humanists on educational method, the professor
devotes a brief space to a discussion of the relation of the state
university to the social organism. While admitting that his
toiy justifies the distrust with which men of affuirs( regard
the opinions of college professor on practical questions, he
predicts in future a wider field of usefulness for the college
graduate; and for three reasons: fust, professors are striving
more and more to become and keep in touch with humanity,
Instead of secluding themselves ns in former times; secondly,
college couises are now not devoted to the acquirement of Im
practical dogmas and "habits of mental helplessness," but give
one instruction preparatory to life's work; and, lastly, the stud
ies now so prominent in so many college cumculums, cuch as
administration, finance, social problems, etc., arc precisely
those the knowledge of which will soon come to lie regarded as
indispensiblc to the legislator. The professor has made his
brief discussion of this portion of his subjec so instiuclivc
and suggestive, that it is to be hoped that at some time in
the future he may amplily his ttentment of it, and thus work
a field tWt promises to bring rich icturn to the earnest investigator.
The late session of congress will long be remembered In
the history of our government as bcin a congress In which
the utmost partisanship was shown by the predominating
party. With no regard for the rights ol the opposing party,
although, according to our idea of government that party is
entitled to equal rights with the party in power except on
questions relating to numbers, the party having a mujority of
members ruled the House with an iron hand. With one
sided rules it became possible to seat and unseat members
without investigating the fairness or unfairness of the pro
cedure. .Radical measures were rushed through and the
weaker party was powerless to check them. The people,
especially ex-congressmen, looked upon these measures with
astonishment, for it was a departuie from the established
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