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But I must bring these extracts to an end. To-day I have confined

myself to saying that that training of the intellect, which is best for

the individual himself, best enables him to discharge his duties

to society. The Philosopher, indeed, and the man of the world

differ in their very notion, but the methods, by which they are

respectively formed, are pretty much the same. The Philosopher

has the same command of matters of thought, which the true

citizen and gentleman has of matters of business and conduct. If

then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I

say it is that of training good members of society. Its art is the

art of social life, and its end is fitness for the world. It neither

confines its views to particular professions on the one hand, nor

creates heroes or inspires genius on the other. Works indeed of

genius fall under no art; heroic minds come under no rule; a

University is not a birthplace of poets or of immortal authors, of

founders of schools, leaders of colonies, or conquerors of nations.

It does not promise a generation of Aristotles or Newtons, of

Napoleons or Washingtons, of Raphaels or Shakespeares, though

such miracles of nature it has before now contained within its

precincts. Nor is it content on the other hand with forming

the critic or the experimentalist, the economist or the engineer,

though such too it includes within its scope. But a University

training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end;

it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating

the public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying

[178] true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to popular

aspiration, at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the

age, at facilitating the exercise of political power, and refining

the intercourse of private life. It is the education which gives a

man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments,

a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them,

and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they

Knowledge Viewed In Relation To Professional Skill. 207

are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought,

to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant.

It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any

subject with facility. It shows him how to accommodate himself

to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to

bring before them his own, how to influence them, how to come

to an understanding with them, how to bear with them. He is at

home in any society, he has common ground with every class;

he knows when to speak and when to be silent; he is able to

converse, he is able to listen; he can ask a question pertinently,

and gain a lesson seasonably, when he has nothing to impart

himself; he is ever ready, yet never in the way; he is a pleasant

companion, and a comrade you can depend upon; he knows when

to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which

enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with

effect. He has the repose of a mind which lives in itself, while it

lives in the world, and which has resources for its happiness at

home when it cannot go abroad. He has a gift which serves him

in public, and supports him in retirement, without which good

fortune is but vulgar, and with which failure and disappointment

have a charm. The art which tends to make a man all this, is in

the object which it pursues as useful as the art of wealth or the

art of health, though it is less susceptible of method, and less

tangible, less certain, less complete in its result.”


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