not indeed, Mrs. Sidgwick, who has definitely said we shall acquiesce', but Professor Sidgwick, who has definitely told the Senate that he is prepared to go the whole hog', though he still would prefer half a loaf to no bread' (Reporter, March 3, 1896). Armed with the titles of B.A. and M.A., these stalwarts will say that the titles have been voted not to satisfy ardent women students, but to catch weak men voters; that they for their part asked not for titles but for degrees; that, though they may have a qualification for appointments, they had beforehand made six further demands still left unsatisfied; that in these ways they still remain inferior to women of other Universities; that the want of a title for appointments was no more a practical grievance than is still the uncomfortable feeling of intrusion into lectures and laboratories without a right; that it is hair-splitting to allow a woman to call herself B.A. and M.A. of Cambridge, and not to be those things, when the real B.A. is no more than a title, and even the real M.A. is little more when a master has taken his name off the books; that the titles were given in their view as an experiment towards giving the degrees as a consequence; and that the unanimous Commission of Secondary Education, of which Mrs. Sidgwick and two other ladies were members, strongly emphasized Mr. A. Sidgwick's evidence in favour of women's degrees. (Report, vol. i, pp. 232-4.) They might even use this report as an appeal to the Government, who might make light of a hollow compromise. But enough-bona verba quaeso.

The logical line which the Universities have hitherto drawn between what they can and what they cannot do for women is the only logical line they can draw. They afford a standard of education by examining women. On the whole, they hereby avoid two dangers, the one the danger of destroying

the specialities of female education, the other the danger of contracting a permanent responsibility to women. If they went beyond this limit by giving titles of degrees, the official relation of the Universities towards the education of women would enter on a new and irrevocable movement on an inclined plane, male and female education would gradually gravitate to each other till they coincided, and the classical foundations of male education would practically disappear, because the better half' of the Universities would not want to learn Latin and Greek. At last to keep women out of real degrees would not be worth a contest. Hence ten years ago, when this same question of women's degrees agitated Cambridge, the Council of the Senate very rightly and logically drew the line at the admission of women to examinations. (Reporter, March 6, 1888.)

In conclusion I would press on the compromisers that the compromise is not only no settlement, and therefore bad, but also unnecessary. They feel that something must be done and they do not see what else to do, in order to give women some outward and visible sign. Well, it will not be a true sign after all, because it will not require Greek and Latin, and yet it will make women quasi-members of the University; for a woman will say I am a 'Master of Arts of the University of Cambridge'. Meanwhile why should not women, without losing their present relation to men's University examinations, have a true sign of women's education in Universities of their own with their own degrees? The immediate but not invincible answer is, Women do not want it. Of course, so long as they are flattered into thinking that they can storm the citadels of Oxford and Cambridge they will not want a citadel of their own. But if they are told now at Cambridge, as they have already been told at Ox

ford, that these two men's Universities are impregnable, then they will want and be anxious for Universities of women, which will at once give the qualifications for appointments, with many other advantages, and where women would breathe a brighter and better atmosphere at peace from controversies for men's rights in Universities of men. On the other hand, if Cambridge should now take the false step of making a beginning of degrees for women it will make a beginning of evils, and amongst these evils not the least will be the future impossibility of women's Universities and of womanly education in England.

PS. Since I wrote this letter the discussion of the Report of the Syndicate has been published in the Reporter, March 26. I see that Professor Sidgwick now throws doubt on titles leading to agitation about degrees for women. I will answer him by a fact in my Oxford experience. During the struggle last year at Oxford, after the degree had been rejected and an alternative proposal to give women a diploma was before the University, the eminent Master of a renowned College wrote to a friend of mine asking him to vote for the diploma on the ground that afterwards it could easily be turned into the degree.

[ocr errors]


Greek was a compulsory language in Responsions, the examination which was usually taken by intending undergraduates before entering Oxford, and which, in any case, had to be taken by all undergraduates some time before they could proceed to the First Public Examination with a view to obtaining a degree. Frequent efforts were made between 1890 and 1920 to abolish Greek as a compulsory subject in Responsions, and proposals to this end were made not merely in the University but in the Head Masters' Conference (Public School Head Masters) and other bodies. Case took the most prominent part in opposing such proposals, and gave time, labour, and money unstintingly to the defence of Greek. There were existing divisions in Congregation (the resident Masters of Arts) and in Convocation (all the Masters of Arts who keep their names on the books); Case organized the opposition with great skill, being for years secretary of an informal University organization for the defence of Greek. Compulsory Greek was maintained until 1920.

Mr. Welldon was Head Master of Harrow, later Bishop of Calcutta, Dean of Manchester, and ultimately Dean of Durham.

FROM The Times, JANUARY 1, 1891.

The apparent effect of Mr. Welldon's resolution, if carried at the Head Masters' Conference, would have been, as 'An Oxford Tutor' said in your columns, to relieve non-classical students of a minimum of Greek in the preliminary examinations of the Universities. But the real effect is what Oxford and Cambridge have to discover, by considering Mr. Welldon's proposal in all its bearings. He has somehow satisfied himself that Greek is not an essential part of a liberal education. He proposes that from the first all boys should have a general education, including Latin, not Greek; that at the preparatory schools they should learn no Greek; that at the public schools they should continue this general education, adding during the ages of 14 and Is either Greek or German and more French, or

mathematics; and that at the age of 16 they should be divided into four classes, all devoting half their time to the general education, and each class devoting the other half of its time to a special subject, which would be either classics, including Greek, or mathematics, or natural science, or modern languages. Only one of these four classes of striplingspecialists would learn Greek. In the interest of the other three classes Mr. Welldon proposed his resolution,' that it would be a gain to education if Greek were no longer a compulsory subject in the Universities'.

The real object, therefore, of Mr. Welldon, is to diminish the study of Greek at school; the real effect would be to diminish the study of Greek at the Universities. For schools are nurseries of Universities, and Universities are seminaries of schoolmasters. In the first place there would be fewer boys than formerly learning Greek, and more learning non-classical subjects at school; therefore, there would at the Universities be fewer students of Greek in comparison to the students of other subjects, for Mr. Welldon's object is that, while fewer boys should learn Greek at school, more, who learn other subjects, should be admissible without Greek to the Universities. Secondly, distributive justice would thereupon demand that more prizes, in the shape of scholarships and fellowships, should be transferred from Greek to other subjects. Thirdly, fewer masters would be wanted from the Universities to teach Greek at schools, and more to teach other subjects. Finally, and as a result of all the previous consequences, there would be fewer candidates, with fewer motives to read for honours in Greek, in the classical examinations for a University degree. It is impossible to diminish the supply and demand for Greek at schools without interfering with the study of Greek at Universities.

« VorigeDoorgaan »