Abbildungen der Seite

If the number of instructors in these institutions excites our surprise, the variety and multifarious nature of their pursuits are no less wonderful. Besides the four great “faculties," as they are termed, theology, jurisprudence, medicine and philosophy-or rather under cover of the last, almost every thing that can interest or amuse the cultivated mind-is taught, and painting and music, dancing, fencing and horsemanship, are intermingled with the severest studies.* It should, perhaps, be mentioned that the students after entering the Universities, are no longer confined to any particular course of study; each directs his attention to those objects which relate to his future purposes in life, and attends such professors as he pleases.Three years is the period generally allotted to the University, but from the wide field and unrestricted course of instruction opened to their view, from the learning of the professors, and the advantages to be derived from the libraries, museums and collections, public and private, many young men are tempted to linger six, eight or ten years in qualifying themselves for future eminence. It is unnecessary, we believe, to add that we have no one institution in the United States that in Europe would be considered as an University.

The academic terms (Semesters) are two in the year, each of about five months continuance. The following notices taken from the “ Index Lectionum," to be de. livered at Berlin during the winter semester of 1825-1826, and which has been subjoined by Mr. Dwight as an appendix to his Travels, will show the variety of the subjects to which the attention of the students is attracted. In the Theological Faculty there are four ordinary professors—three extraordinary, and four teachers-among them as a sample, Dr. Neander will lecture, Publicly-1 Ævi apostolici imaginem adumbrare, apostolorumque hist: illustrare

conabitur-twice each week.

2 De insignibus ecclesiæ doctoribus—twice each week. Privately3 Hist: posteriorum ecclesiæ sæculorum enarrabit-five times each

4 Epistolas ad Corinthios et unam alteramve, ex minoribus D. Pauli

Epist. interpretabitur-five times each week.
In the faculty of jurisprudence, the teachers are still more numerous.
Of these, Dr. Schmalz offers to lecture,
Privately-1 Jus Germanicum privatum-five times each week.
2 Jus naturæ,

four do. do.
3 Jus publicum Germaniæ, six do. do.
4 Disciplinas Camerales, six do. do.
5 Privatissime offert lectiones in processum civilem cum practicis ex-

ercitationibus conjunctas--this at no fixed hours. The others are all nearly as industrious

In philosophy, there are nineteen ordinary professors, sixteen extraordinary, and tourteen teachers. In this latter department, besides the lectures that might be expected on history, geography, mathematics, natural philosophy, logic, metaphysics, natural history in all their branches, one lectures on Shakspeare, another on Dante, one on Calderon, another on a tragedy of Sophocles, a third on the four last books of Homer-one selects Thucydides, another Quinctilian-others teach the Gothic, Syriac, Chaldaic, Arabic Languages, etc. and as the subjects of these lectures are generally changed every semester, it is easy to perceive how extensive, and, in most instances, how thorough the knowledge must be that is acquired in these great schools, when the professors limit the range of their lectures within so small a space.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

There are in the Universities of Germany three classes of instructors-ordinary professors, extraordinary professors, and teachers--of these, Mr. Dwight gives the following account:



“ The professors are divided into two classes, Ordinary and Extraordinary. The former receive from the government a salary, never less than eight hundred, and rarely more than two thousand rix dollars, for they are paid in proportion to their reputation. When the fame of a professor has extended throughout Germany, and still more when it has become European, his name alone, particularly if he belongs to one of the professional departments, often adds sorge hundreds to the num: ber of students. Hugo and Eichhorn the son, in the legal department here, Gesenius in the theological at Halle, and Savigny in the legal at Berlin, by their European reputation, have become 10 a considerable degree, identified with the prosperity of the institutions where they reside. As every university in Germany has the right of inviting the professors of any other to one of her chairs, such scholars as I have just named, are constantly receiving invitations from other institutions, accompanied with the most flattering pecuniary offers. Even monarchs sometimes write to them, making proposals which few would decline accepting, if the governments under whose jurisdiction they reside, did not counteract them by making others still more advantageous. Such professors have, of course, the power in their own hands, and there are few who do not make use of it. In no other country are literary men thus thrown as it were into the inarket, and struck off to the highest bidder.

“For a long period after the establishment of this university, it was the custom not only here but elsewhere, for all the professors to deliver lectures gratis. They received but a limited support, as their salaries were then much smaller than at the present time. Michaelis opened a course of private lectures, and met with such pecuniary success, that his example was soon followed in other schools. To secure the greatest possible income, and still comply with the laws, they make the least interesting course public, and those which are the most valuable, private. The public lectures, which were at first delivered four or five times a week, soon dwindled to two, and even one lecture weekly. Within a few years, many have entirely abandoned their public courses, and vo student now attends their lectures without paying his Frederic d'or.From their private lectures they are very handsomely rewarded, when they possess talent and an extensive reputation, and their receipts are exactly in proportion to their fame. There are two semestres or terms in each year. The lectures commence ten minutes after the sound of the clock, and terminate the moment it strikes ; the professor detaining them no longer than to finish his sentence. To a greater delay they would not submit, not even to finish his paragraph, as it might prevent them from reaching the lecture room of some other professor; it being considered indecorous for a student to enter after he has commenced.

Many of the professors give two and three distinct courses, and cases have been known where they have given four. Most of these include four or five lectures per week, during four months and a half.



From the receipts of their private lectures, united with their salaries, some of the most distinguished professors, particularly those in the legal departments, receive five or six thousand dollars per annum. One or two of them have a still larger income, for they have not unfrequently from two to three hundred auditors at each course. The income even of these will not exceed that of many of the Oxford and Cambridge professors, some of whom do not deliver a dozen lectures yearly. This is a striking exhibition, of the difference which necessity produces, in the efforts even of literary men.

“The German professors are, as'a body, the most indefatigable students in the world. They are not, like the French and Italian literati, social in their habits. They reside chiefly in small towns, where there is little without to attract them. They consequently find it much easier than their western neighbours, to pass fifteen or sixteen hours a day in their lecture rooms, and in the society of folios. Even those residing in the large cities have acquired such habits of application, that they are almost as ignorant of the amusements around them, as strangers. In most of the cities where they reside, there are no intellectual foci, like the Institute and the numerous literary and scientific societies, which form so many mental groups at Paris. A Frenchman is born for society, and nothing but an ardent love for literature, united with long habits of application, will make him so independent of the living, as to be willing to converse only with the mighty dead. A German scholar, from bis retired life, finds society a burden, and never does he feel more at his ease, than when surrounded by his auditors or his manuscripts.


“In describing this university, I have spoken only of the ordinary professors. The next, and the inferior class, are called extraordinary. They receive a very limited salary from the government, not enough to support them, even in celibacy. They also deliver lectures on what subjects they please, for which they receive from their auditors the same fees as their brethren above them. This station is a stepping stone to the ordinary professorship, but one on which they have usually to rest from eight to ten years, and, if not active in their pursuits, for life. they select their own subjects, they often become the rivals of their older brethren, who are compelled, frequently, to gird themselves anew for the race, or see themselves not only overtaken, but left behind. Of the beneficial effects of this arrangement, no one can doubt who has passed a fortnight at a German university.

“ There is also a third class, who are called lecturers or teachers, which, I believe, is peculiar to the German universities. Students who have completed their course, and who aim at a professor's chair, usually remain several years at the institution, pursuing some particular department of literature or science, with the intention of eventually giving lectures. They then make application to the government for permission to deliver a course. On being examined and found qualified, they are enrolled on the humble list of teachers. They commence their career under circumstances sufficiently gloomy to discourage any one who is not influenced by an intense love of literature and fame. Before them VOL. IV.NO. 7.


they see the extraordinary professors rising to eminence, while the rooms of most of the older teachers are thronged. Whatever their talents may be, they have to lay the foundation of their reputation, and that, too, against rivals whose fame is, sometimes, European. Years roll away, and they see their lecture-rooms only here and there attended by auditors. Most of them are in indigent circumstances, and with all the inconveniences of poverty, they often find that the receipts from their lectures, even for years, do not equal the annual rent of their rooms. Without any resources, they would abandon their employment in despair, were they not able, as private instructors, to gain enough to prevent the lamp of life from being extinguished. For a very moderate compensation, they devote three or four hours a day to the instruction of as many students in languages, or in their particular provinces, and not unfrequently toil on in this manner for years, when the death of a rival lecturer, or some fortunate circumstance, fills their rooms with students, for a time at least, and thus brings them into notice. They are now no longer under the necessity of losing a large part of their time in this course of instruction, but devoting all their hours to their particular department, they advance rapidly. The sufferings, which they must of necessity experience, during the first five or six years of their progress, are enough to depress the most courageous minds. Fortunately for them, there is one medium of appearing before the public, where they will meet with justice, viz. the press.

To this most of them resort, and before they have been occupied many years as lecturers, some ponderous octavo is published, in which, not unfrequently, eight or ten languages appear in the form of illustration. If the work has merit, it receives its due commendations in some dozen or more of the literary journals of this country; and the author is immediately regarded, by those around him, as a new star of greater or less brilliancy, just rising above the literary horizon. A single work of this description, not unfrequently procures, for a lecturer, the extraordinary chair, sometimes even the offer of it from several universities.” pp. 59, 60–63, 66, 67.

The influence of this arrangement is thus happily described :

" With us, as well as in Germany, the professors are chosen for life, but here the resemblance ceases. In the United States we give them a sufficient salary, to enable them to live pleasantly; and when once chosen, they realize that their fortune is made, that they have reached the ultimatum of ascent. Here they receive only half a subsistence for themselves and families ; and whether they acquire the other half or not, depends entirely upon their own efforts. They perfectly understand, that nothing but a reputation for talents and attainments will fill their lecture rooms, and that to acquire this fame, the most indefatigable application and industry are necessary. Every department has its four or six professors and teachers, who deliver lectures on subjects so nearly similar, that a constant rivalry is produced. For example, to a student pursuing Greek literature, it is of very little importance whether he reads Sophocles or Euripides, but it is very necessary that the professor whose lectures he attends should be thoroughly acquainted with the

author he attempts to explain. These gentlemen perfectly understand, as well as the stage and steamboat proprietors of our country, that if they are negligent, they will be deserted. This is not a little increased by the division into ordinary and extraordinary professors and teachers. The latter class who are paid vothing by the government, but are only permitted to deliver lectures, receive a Frederick d'or from each of the pupils, and are almost universally stimulated by necessity. Besides this they feel all the ardour of youth, and the consequent longing for reputation. To acquire subsistence and fame, they make unwearied exertions Before them they see the extraordinary professors, whose title in the eyes of the students, gives them a prior claim; and to overtake them in the race, they strain every nerve. The extraordinary professets see below them a number of young men, putting forth all their energy, while above them they behold the ordinary professors who have reached the highest point of ascent. This class are placed under the influence of two most powerful stimulants, the fear of being overtaken by the teachers, and the desire of surpassing the ordinary professors. The ordinary professors see below them two classes, at different distances, rapidly rising towards them, often almost treading upon their heels, and not unfrequently taking the lead in the number of their auditors, as well as in reputation. Under such a stimulus, they very rarely fall asleep, or relax their efforts, until age or debility arrives.

“This continued strife has the happiest effect on the literature of this country, and in this respect, the German universities are better organised than any others in Europe. It is folly to suppose that the mere influence of principle will induce most professors who do not feel great enthusiasm in their departments, to make the necessary efforts to arrive at excellence. They will often find bad weather in winter, and real or imaginary debility the rest of the year, an excuse for relaxation or indolence.” pp. 178, 179.

All things, however, may be viewed under different aspects, and Mr. Russell, who acknowledges that an English professor “could not hold out one year" among this "race, patient of toil,” but who seems anxious, on every occasion, to ascribe the conduct of the Germans to the worst motives and impulses, makes the following remarks on this subject. If we were not accustomed to receive, constantly, such kindness ourselves, we should be surprised at the views he invariably imputes to German professors and scholars. No dignified principle, neither patriotism, nor honour, nor common honesty is supposed to exist. In bis estimates, the love of letters, the impulse of duty, the thirst for reputation and pre-eminence pass for nothing. The love of money, or a mean jealousy, are the only springs of action :

" Göttingen is manned with thirty-six ordinary professors, three theological, seven juridical, eight medical, including bolany, chemistry, and natural history; the remaining eighteen form the philosophical faculty.

« ZurückWeiter »