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PROFESSOR MASSOU'S INAUGURAL . LECTURE . Ox Tuesday the session of the Faculty of Arts of University College was inaugurated by an introductory lecture on college education and self-education , by Professor Masson , A . M . In addition to the students present , the theatre was graced by the attendance of a . large number of ladies and gentlemen . Professor Masson ( whose eloquent discourse ¦ Was listened to with marked attention ) commenced by observing that education , in the truest and widest signification of the term , was co-extensive with our life ; and involved not only the acquisition of knowledge or ideas , but the formation of habits . On the present occasion ,
however , he proposed to consider it in a somewhat more restricted sense , namely , as comprising only the processes of acquiring knowledge during the early period of out life—a period ceasing at the age of 20 or 25 years of age . Supposing , then , that he had before him 300 students , he should see in them 300 young men , all exhibiting more or less strongly marked constitutional differences of physical conformation , and of mental powers ; and he should , also see in each case the separate results of those different forms of schooling which they had all undergone , and which , working upon that substratum of constitutional differences , had made them , each Tviiat they were . The first school to which we were Subjected was the school of family ; arid happy were
they to whom it had been a school of kindly influences . But there might also be a home education of revolt imparting no small degree of culture—albeit a culture of strength at the ' .-expense of symmetry . ; The next school wliich we entered' was that of local circumstance—the school of . neighbourhood or parish—a school which our political system would do well to respect , to use , and to consecrate . Although it was right that a man ' s connexion with parish or neighbourhood should merge into the larger one of district or country , yet tfMfc his closest relations should be with his parish or neighbourhood , and that the apparatus for supplying all the elementary wants of life should be ' provide d there , seemed to him ( thelecturer ) " to be sound
doctrine . It might "be quite true that persons often quitted at an early period of their life the scene of their birth , but , generally speaking , there was always some locality -which every one learned to regard as his native place ; and there was no patch of habitable earth but furnished the materials for a very considerable natural education . There was no spot of earth In which there might not be found a general epitome of everything in life . Every British parish had its mineralogy , its geology ? its botany , its aoology , its meteorology , anaVhydxology . Every British parish had its wonders of nature o * art ; and , at all events , when night set in , every British parish had a splendid image of our common origin in its sapphire concave studded with stars .
There was no British parish which did not possess its gossip , its customs , its oracular individual , its oddities , andL its whimsicalities . Finally , every British parish possessed its traditions and its local histories ; and there could be no doubt that every man acquired a vast deal of all the information , lie possessed in the school of local circumstance . It appeared to him ( Mr , Masson ) that in ow educational theories we did not sufliciently attend to this matter , He thought that our schools ought to possess some means for the systematic development of tiiis kind of learning , for this he coi ^ ide rod was the true theory of " common things . " Meantime , healthy boys dnd contrive to acquire a considerable acquaintance with concrete local fact . They might be seen everywhere ,
alone or in company , prying into places where they wore allowed , and where they were forbidden , and illustrating in the most literal sense of the phrase , " the pursuit of knowledge undor difficulties . " Although < overy place possessed , as ho hnd aaid , a general epitome of everything in life ; yet no two were exnetly alike ; » ud this diversity of local circumstance was one- of the -causes of the different styles and habits of thought which prevailed amongst men . Adum Smith drew tho illustrations whereby ho proved his theories first to liio own mind , and afterwards to the world , from the potty <; iroumatancea of a small fishing and woaving community close by . Even Shaksponro himself would ho found to have made a largo use of hia early recollections of hi . s woody "W arwickshire . There were three other school * in which
TVe acquired knowledge—the school of travel , the school of hooks , and tho school of friendship . By clmngo of xoaidonco , wo enlarged tho field of observed clirinnstiincci ; find in books wo reversed the caso , for we had tlio oircumatnnccH of othor localities and of other times brought to our vory doors . Tho school of friendship oxwreiHtid n "very powerful influence upon a young mun'ti modes of thought . Tho young wove oftun told to think foxthoin-» f > lven , and no doubt , thoro -was good hgiihu in tluil . ; but tlio moot fortunate thing that could happon to u young
innn , and that which would in tins cud tunil inonfc to bin I ndependence of thought , would bo his voluntary Hub-Jection for a time to somo powerful intellectual tyranny . * ho groutoat of all tUoHG nuIiooIm was no doubt " t hat . ol nooks . Tench a man to road purfoutly nnd with oami in w * o vernacular , nnd you plaoo all other kuowlodgw within « ls power . Ho w « n no longor a Helot or a hIiivo—you « od p ut him hi possession of tho fmnohiso of books . Ierfoct nnd easy reading in oiio'm own language ) really n » ado thq distillation between tho cdiioatod and tho
uneducated classes . If we would not have national schools in which all the young members of the community might be instructed in these accomplishments alone other things being- reserved—but if we insisted on their being instructed in certain other things , then , we might be engaged in a very noble labour , "but it would bo a very long one . On the other hand , if we pitched our ideal lower , if we would be content with a national school system provided with an apparatus for thoroughly accomplishing one object—the object , namely , of teaching all the boys and girls in the community to read and write with ease , then he saw hope . But we debated and wrangled ; vre would have this and they would have that , and we would have so many things , that we did
nothing . It was our disgrace as a nation again , and again , and again to have done this ; but if only twelve of our leading men would but give themselves up , as to the work of their lives , to the object of establishing in all our parishes such an apparatus as -would render it impossible for any child born on British soil to grow up untaught to read and write , the thing would be done before twelve years had passed . Oh , had it come to this ? That a nation which by cash and courage exported to the other end of the earth could blow up a colossal citadel or re-organise a foreign peninsula , should not be able to educate its own little ones ! Mr . Masson then proceeded to discuss the tendency which had recently manifested itself to depreciate the
college system . No doubt many very able and distinguished men had been what was called self-taughtthat was to say , had not had any academic education . Even the unapproachable king of our literature himself was one that had been taught " small Latin and less Greek , " and , perhaps , no mathematics at all . But regarding the . proper function of the school to do the drudgery of simply teaching to read and write , very many private Seminaries were Teally and truly colleges . Shakspeare was taught at a grammar-school , where the boys at this day wore the square academic cap . But still there were many persons of eminence who had received absolutely nothing from pedagogy ; but who , starting from reading ; and writing ( if that ) had carried on their education themselves . Such persons , however ,
generall y manifested too great a propensity to dwell upon the labours they had gone through , and too much of the spirit of the private soldier , whose recollections of the battle-field were recollections only of his own move ^ ments . They were , likewise , generally speaking , too much disposed to remain contented with mere proximate knowledge , and to shrink from the exact , the elaborate , and the profound . Colleges 3 iad a valuable effect in marshalling young men before the mass of learning , in directing their efforts , against it , and . in preventing them from shrinking from the attack from mere love of the pleasant in preference to the lofty and difficult . After all , however , education must be self-education in the strictest sense of the word , but he trusted that while admitting that truth , they would , nevertheless , have reason to acknowledge that colleges were of some use .
NEW ZEA L A N ]) . THM NBW PAM-IAlUKN'r . Tho long-suspended constitution of thin colony lias boon called into operation . Tho event took place on the 24 th of M » y . Tho General Annombly wuh convened at Auckland hy Colonel Wynynnl , tho oflioer ndminiBtering tho Uovormiuiiit ., throe days nftor tlio departure of Kir ( Jcortfo Gray , the Into Govornor , who hnd declined to put the Constitution in force . Grout , complaints vuni umih of tlio inoon vomonce of , tho locality lor meetings tlio distance from tho other provinces being bo grunt , and meant ) of transit bo dlfflcuH ; tlio roproaoiitiitivci * of ( Hugo were nino vcoJm W tMr l » n » si » # «> T . tiV governor ' s speech
the country are in cases marked ' Pavement , Finsbury- ' Meanwhile the difficulties created by gold reach the diggers themselves . The majority are unsuccessful , and starve under the dearth produced by the abundance of the metal . Hence there is actually pauperism at the diggings , and a poor-rate will soon have to he collected from the very mouths of the pits . In the midst of fabulous wealth there is the direst destitution , and Bendigo and Ballarat contain as much misery as our own , union workhouses . There is to he a grand display of Australian produce at the forthcoming Paris Exhibition ; but the Parisians arc warned against concluding that Australia actually does what it can do . It can do everything , but the only thing it does is finding gold , and that in a manner so clumsy and rough that the Chinese immigrants , of whom there is an immense number , make their fortunes out of the refuse thrown aside by British diggers . "
This in Sydney ! a city that 1 ms claimed to rank with the capitals of trie Old World . In Melbourne things are of course worse . Trade is depressed , the markets over-stocked , the rates of discounts high , goods are- sold by auction at ruinous prices . Sociallj r thinpes are not much better . As a specimen take the instance of the marriage state : *' I fully believe , " writes a correspondent of the Morning Chronicle at Sydney— " half the marriages here are contracted on the spur of the moment , or that all that is sacred in the matrimonial tie has been annulled
before the ceremony takes place . It is useless to mince the matter—the marriage law in this colony is a mere farce . A digger rich with gold , which he does not know what to do with , comes down the country ; he meets a girl who suits his fancy—not his judgment or his taste ; he takes her into a public-house—acquaintanceship is formed . The account of his possessions inflates the vanity of the girl , and "without any preliminary courtship —that great- protection " to morality which English etiquette has provided—the parties are married after a day s intercourse , and . again , probably , after a month ' s society , are parted forever . "
It is a relief to turn from such a picture to an account of a meeting of the operatives of Sydney held for the ? purposes of establishing a weekly journal to be called the . Operative , and to be devoted exclusively to the interests of the working-classes . The proceedings were characterised by great good sense and practical knowledge of what it was about . It was stated that" The operatives required a popular organ whose teaching should direct , lead , and elevate the minds of the labouring classes . There was another great reason for the establishment of such a paper , and that was the
THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES . The most recent accounts from Australia are full of interest . The condition of tho colony is very singular , a sort of Midas starving on a pile of gold . The Session of tlic Legislative Council of Now South Wales was opened on the Glh July . Its attention was directed to the defence of the colony by fortifying Sydney Harbour and raising volunteer corps . Tlic finances of the colony aro very prosperous , there being a large increase of revenue . A number of social measures were contemplated , such as facilitating immigration , and the transit by railway , providing for the public health and education , and amending the law of marriage , which is on n most unsatisfactory footing . All this sounds well , but when one looks a littlo deeper that practically tho condition of the colony is mosC deplorable . We
learn" That nil regular industry is suspended . On a moderate computation , half tho sheep in the province are infected with n disease which spoils both the ilcsh and the wool , and , though an efluctnul cure ban been discovered , there are not hands to apply it , and no one knows how far tho ppst will go . Hay is sold by weight ut tho price of lump sugar . Vegetables of i \)\ kinds nro a luxury confined to tho rich . AVhcat in very de . nr . There is no milk to bo got . Tho rising 1 gonorution nrohidsening and pining on a diot of bc « f and bnmdy-nnd-wator . Tho hospitals arc ni * ill ofF an tho nurseries , and appeals aru made to tho charitable public to send a few , vegetables for tho patients who most require thorn . A
railway , of which only 10 miles have boon attempted , cun Hoaruly ho flubbed no far from tho riifllculty of obtaining auflloicnt funds in tlio pnimmt high price of labour . Tho oarringo of gooda 130 milon to tho diggings coat * eight limes an much us tliuir freight , from London to ttyrtjioy . Thoro arc found in the country , at . ovesry accessible distances , caul , iron , and coppur , mid vIikih and olives will llouritth t . hurc ; but , coals am from 71 . to 8 / . 10 ft , a ton—a prico that puts stwun navigation from Sydney to England out of tho qiiostion ; and all tlio othor Australian products inciiitlonod exist only in nmnfl . They aro not , actually extracted from tho mill , or f ^ rown upon it , for want of hands . Tlio garden Yog « tal / l < j 9 <«» d fruit coHdUincil in
absence in this country of anything like a national literature . He had been very much surprised to find that nothing but the . knowledge of trade was inculcated in the minds of the people of this colony . There were no intellectual works published , and the newspapers seemed to have no higher object than to encourage competition among the classes , —to teach them to cheat , to juggle , and to carry out the principles of gain . The Operative would supply this intellectual want , by publishing- in ita columns a cheap and wholesome literature for the people . " One of the speakers said :
" If here , in Australia , they should bo so fortunate as to start the Operative , he would like to see it become such a paper as tho London Leader . It ( the Leader ) was the great exponent of the British democracy , and there was not in tho -whole ran go of tho press a paper that stood higher in the esteem of men for its high manly tone , its profound philosophy , and its atom love of justice for all . Tho mun who wrote for it are thoso noble spirits whoso names have made Europe shake to its centre , whoso names mako tho hearts of oppressed Italians and Hungarians throb with hope—men -who have given expression to their sentiniants in ' words that burn , in thoughts that breathe . ' Ho hoped the Australian Leader would , ore long , come into active operation , and become tli « organ of democracy hero . "
A plan waa arranged for starting the paper by means of shares , the number of shores being 2000 at 11 . each . As regards the gold-harvest , tho mining accounts aru favourable ; gold is increasing very much in private hands ; tho price is ^ 1 / . per ounco , and the market lias not bean ufl ' ected by tlio news from Europe .
October 21 , 1854 . ] T H E L E A D E R . 993
Leader (1850-1860), Oct. 21, 1854, page 993, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse2.kdl.kcl.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2061/page/9/