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ever, for using the Roman dialect, will be seen by the initiated from the opening paragraph of that fruitless missive:
“Kal. xii, Nov. 1871. *. Ad Dr. CAROLUM J. Stillé, Præfectum, etc.:
“CARE DOMINE.-Quando eram in urbe amena tua, nuper, visitabat tuum auditorium. Volebam per multum te videre, sed infeliciter foris eras. Verum est, certé, quod Prof. Johannes McElroy valde comis et jucundus erat. Equidem, si placet tibi, vellem multas gratias illi, per te, agere pro urbanitati suæ."
When it is borne in mind that in the same epistle we used such other complimentary expressions as “docta et inclyto Universitatis tuæ," it can hardly be said that the learned provost had any good reason to take offence. And if he was not offended-if the University of Pennsylvania was not offended --why did he not at least acknowledge the receipt of that communication? But to return to the “injunction of secrecy,"
It is but justice to Dr. Stillé to say that we have learned in the course of our researches that the experience of the University of Pennsylvania, in regard to the admission of strangers of an inquiring turn to the class-rooms, is by no means favorable. It seems that in former times that institution was as liberal in that respect as any other having pretensions equally lofty. But once a German traveller was permitted to see all the mysteries. Aware that the faculty were at best rather shy of savants, this gentleman disclaimed all knowledge of “the dead languages," and other abstruse branches of study, beyond the merest smattering. To this he added, we are told, that he had two young nephews to educate—lads whose primary education had been neglected—that he was assured that the University of Pennsylvania would be an excellent place for them; and that although he could not pretend to be a judge in such matters, yet it would gratify him very much to see what progress other lads had made in that institution. We are not sure that Dr. Stillé was the provost then, but whoever that learned functionary vas, he at once admitted our German friend.
But what does the latter do after he has seen all ? He has the ill-nature, the ingratitude, probably the “ma
lice aforethought," etc., to inform all who ask his opinion, that the University of Pennsylvania is really of no higher grade, as an educational institution, than a second or third rate grammar school! This was bad enough in itself, but it was made a hundred-fold more so by certain indiscreet editors, who not only told the whole story in their papers, but affected to believe that the German traveller was correct in his estimate! We are assured that up to this time there was no secrecy in regard to the recitations. Perhaps we should not wonder then that a resolution was passed about this time, that all strangers suspected of being of an investigating or fault-finding turn should be strictly prohibited from being present at any recitations in the University of Pennsylvania! It seems, however, that soon afterwards a clause was added, the substance of which is the following: “Resolved, that nothing in the foregoing Rule be construed as excluding reporters of the daily papers employed at proper intervals to praise the faculty, individually or collectively, as the case may be, and to impress on the public, at the same time, and in the same way, the wonderful progress the students are making in all the departments of human knowledge."
We may remark, in passing, that these "rules and regulations" will remind many of our readers of such Catholic institutions as Seton Hall, N. J., and Fordham, N. Y. But if they remind them of any of the better class of either Catholic or Protestant colleges, it is only by contrast. Need we inform our readers that it is only inferior colleges and universities of any sect—those really such only in namethat attempt to surround their classes with any secrecy or mystery? Who needs to be reminded that the institutions of the opposite character, far from making objections, or throwing obstacles in the way when a wish is expressed by any intelligent person to observe the working of their systems, cheerfully afford every possible facility for such observation ? Nay, whether the heads of the latter class are Protestants or Catholics, whether they be called Rev. Doctors or Rev. Fathers, or merely Brothers; or whether they call themselves president, provost, director, or rector—they are much more likely to invite
those who profess to take an interest in education to see their classes, and to urge that they examine them, than to evince the slightest unwillingness in that respect. We can say, without fear of contradiction, that this has been our invariable experience, both in Europe and America. But in the present instance we need not go beyond the United States for illustrative examples.
Thus, if we inquire which are confessedly the best educational institutions in America, we shall find that the same are the most willing to admit visitors to their class-rooms. We hold that there is not a single exception in the whole United States to this rule. Thus, take Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the University of the city of New York. There is not one of these whose president, or chancellor, has not most cheerfully afforded us every possible facility to form an opinion of its system of teaching. The warmest admirers of Dr. Stillé can hardly claim that he is so able and accomplished an educator as President Barnard, President Woolsey, or President Eliot, each of whom has done us the honor of introducing us in person to his class-rooms, and giving directions that we be allowed to hear any recitations we wished. As for the venerable Chancellor Ferris, he has invited us to the same privilege many a time,
Nor have those colleges, universally recognized as the best of our Catholic institutions, evinced any different feeling. Georgetown, Holy Cross, and Manhattan, have manifested as much willingness in this respect as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc. Even Dr. Ferris has not urged us inore strongly to visit his class-rooms, and to examine his classes, than the Jesuits, Father Clark and Father Early; and still more emphatically may we say so of such other “monks” as Brother Patrick and Brother Paulian.
But we know no exception to the rule, that those who perform good, faithful work, are not afraid to have their work seen, or even examined; neither do we know any exception to the opposite rule, that all inferior colleges and universities are very decidedly unwilling to admit any strangers to hear the recitations of their classes, except they be illiterate strangers, or strangers whom they have good reason to believe belong to the admiring class. What is, perhaps, still more remarkable, and equally undeniable, is the fact that this unwillingness is evinced more or less rudely in proportion as the degree of inferiority is low.
It is true, that, considered in this light, the University of Pennsylvania is comparatively respectable. Thus, so far as we know, there are only two other colleges in the United States who refuse to allow their recitations to be heard by any intelligent person, not known to belong to the “appreciative" class. These two are Fordham and Seton Hall. The standard of education at Fordham is about the same as that of the University of Pennsylvania, except that, perhaps, billiard playing does not receive so inuch prominence as a branch of education at the latter institution, if it be taught there at all, as it does at the foriner. Be this as it may, either is many degrees above Seton Hall; or, in other words, either has many degrees to sink before it reaches the “ lower depth ” of that institution. Accordingly, Dr. Stillé evinces no unseemly feeling further than to refuse ; his refusal is couched in gentlemanly language. Father Shea does not, perhaps, manifest his unwillingness in a manner quite so polite as Dr. Stillé, but he says nothing discourteous. Upon the other hand, the Very Rev. Father Corrigan is not merely discourteous under similar circumstances, but abusive. An apple-woman, whose “cart” is upset by accident or design, so that her wares are in danger of being picked up and devoured by the passing urchins, could hardly manifest more rage, or make use of lower or more debasing expressions than the Very Rev. President and Professor of Christian Ethics at Seton Hall, although, as long as he thinks that all that is required is to show the billiard saloon, the drinking saloon, or the dormitories, he is as mild as a lamb, and as cheerful and loquacious as a purple-head parrot, who has just dined on almonds and red pepper. Thus, then, the order of rank is, Dr. Stillé, Father Shea, Very Rev. Father Corrigan; in other words, University of Pennsylvania, St. John's College, Fordham, Seton Hall College, New Jersey.
We shall now see whether there are any other circumstances which seem to prove that the rank we assign to the University
VOL. XXVI. —NO. LI.
of Pennsylvania and its very discreet, if not very learned Provost, is in accordance with their merits. But let us first transcribe one or two of the letters alluded to above, omitting only the names of the writers :
PHILADELPHIA, April 10, 1872. “ Dr. E. I. SEARS :
“Dear Sir—There are hundreds here who think you rather slight your Pennsylvania friends, especially those of Philadelphia. I have read at least a dozen of your articles on colleges, and in almost every instance have been delighted with your criticisms. I confess that in no instance have I concluded the perusal of one of those discussions, without feeling convinced that your strictures were eminently just. I have veen all the more anxious on this account, in common with many other friends of higher education, that you would turn your earnest attention to some of our Pennsylvania colleges, especially to the University, which Philadelphia pampers so much, but which, like most other pampered things, is only made worse and worse the more it is pampered.
"Allow me to say, in all kindness, that you are all the more lo blame for not exhibiting this pompous affair in its true character, from the fact that some allusions you have made to it from time to time show that you are by no means ignorant of its radical and glaring defects. Mere allusions do little if any good in a case like this. If you want to serve us, you will take up your probe and scalpel and perform complete operations. If I can aid you in obtaining information, you are welcome to call upon me at any time.
“ Faithfully yours,
Another gentleman, who is also entirely competent to judge for himself, writes as follows:
“PhiladELPHIA, Feb. 18, 1871. “Edw. I. SEARS, LL.D. . “Dear Sir:-Although I have not the pleasure of your personal
acquaintance, I have been familiar with the National Quarterly for ten years past. May I take the liberty, on the latter ground, to suggest that you would render Philadelphia an incalculable service by overhauling the University of Pennsylvania, as you have certain other institutions, male and female, to which it bears a remarkable similarity ?
“You need not fear that any of our leading journalists will regard