Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

which beforehand we might expect; trath is never laid before us naked and palpable to observation ; and even of those objects which are most familiar, the real essence is generally concealed under a load of accidental circumstances, which it requires great labour and patience to detect and separate. According to the nature of the object-matter, there are two methods of arriving at the knowledge of facts. 1. The former and more complete is by direct experiment, or analysis : it is pursued chiefly in physical science, and in all cases where the subject of investigation can be brought completely under our control.

For this reason all philosophy is said by Plato to begin by reasoning atò àpxūv eig åpxàs—that is, from assumed principles or hypotheses, to real principles, by way of experiment. 2. But there are several kinds of facts wbich do not admit of direct experiment, but elude our analysis; to this class belong moral actions, the principles of taste, and the like. . . . In these cases we are obliged to be conteot with a mere approximation to the truth; but it is to be observed, -(1) that this is only resorted to in consequence of the impracticability of direct analysis, and never when the latter is possible; (2) that its force consists, not, as might be supposed, in authorizing us to infer the remaining instances of the same class, which it does not, but in rendering it probable that the view which we take of the first instance is correct; (3) no universal, and therefore no real principles can be gained in this manner, but only presumptive tests of the presence of a quality stili partially concealed ; hence all practical principles are liable to exception ; not that the number of our examples is insufficient, but that we cannot fully ascertain the real essence of the one ; in a complete induction (for instance, the law of gravitation), new examples add nothing to our certainty. All knowledge is built upon faith ; and the synthetic acts of reason, although antecedent to independent analysis, are themselves the result of a previous dependent analysis.”

Among the pupils trained under John Woolley during his tutorship at University College, we may name Dr. George Rawlinson, brother of Sir Henry Rawlinson, K.C.B.,--the former the author, and the latter the editor of the best translation of Herodotus the world has yet seen. Dr. Rawlinson is now professor of ancient history at Oxford.

On Trinity Sunday, 1840, John Woolley took holy orders, and was ordained a clergyman of the Churcb of England, and proved an acceptable preacher, although devoting himself intentionally more to scholastic than to ecclesiastical duty, and looking rather for preferment in the former than in the latter path of life. In 1842, he was appointed head-master of King Edward VI.'s Grammar School, in the ancient, interesting, Wye-washed city of Hereford ; and began a career as a teacher which bade fair to lead him to a topmost place in his profession. His reputation attracted the notice of the managers of the Northern Church of England Schools, established in 1844, at Rossal, about two miles south of Fleetwoodupon-Wyre, on Morecambe Bay, in Lancashire. The council purchased the Rossal estate from Sir P. H. Fleetwood, with the object of founding thereon schools at which the sons of gentlemen might receive a good classical education at a less cost than at the older public schools, allowing at the same time such prominence to the modern languages, mathematics, and natural philosophy, as befitted the requirements of the times. The Rev. John Woolley was invited, in 1845, to accept the head-mastership of that important insti.

courses.

tution. In 1846 he became a candidate for the principalship of the university of the island of Corfu, which had been founded in 1824 by Lord Guilford, and was successful in his candidature. In consequence, we believe, of his father's death, and the need thence arising of providing a home for his mother, he respectfully resigned the position, which was thereafter conferred upon (now Sir) George F. Bowen, present governor of Queensland, in Australia.

In 1847 a volume of “ Sermons preached at Rossal,” by the Rev. John Woolley, A.M., were published, and at the time attracted more attention than is usually accorded to printed pulpit dis.

We have been unable to procure a copy for perusal, and are hence constrained to make this statement on trustworthy hearsay. In 1849, at the request of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, now Dean of Westminster,* who had been co-fellow with him in Uni. versity College, he was induced to become head-master of King Edward VI.'s Free Grammar School in Norwich, of which the dean's father, Bishop Stanley, held the patronage. To this position there was attached an endowment of £200 per annum, besides a residence, and the usual income derivable from pupils other than foundationers. In Norwich he became highly popular, taking great interest in all social and religious questions, in the literary and scientific associations of the city, and in the management of the large and valuable libraries which the capital of Norfolk pos

He was rising rapidly in popularity and usefulness, and was recognized by the wealthy as a man of worthy capability and earnestness, and by the poor as a friend and sympathizing benefactor.

In the same year (1849) the establishment of a university at Sydney, in New South Wales, was determined on by the local legislature of Eastern Australia. A charter of incorporation was passed in 1852, and in that year the Rev. John Woolley, M.A., received the appointment of principal and professor of logic and classics in the University of Sydney.

Of the self-sacrifice involved in his acceptance of this arduous and difficult position, the following opinion has been publicly expressed by a member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, W. C. Windeyer, Esq.:-" Enjoying a highly honourable and lucrative post in England as master of one of her public schools, one in emolument worth double anything he received here, and with a reputation such as insured him, had he remained there, preferment either in the Church or in that venerable university where his distinguished attainments were well known, he threw up all his home-prospects to emigrate to this colony. In the spirit of a true apostle, without counting the cost of the sacrifice, he gave up the old country for the new, with the exalted ambition of founding a school of learning and of thought in these southern seas. And he accomplished his purpose

sesses.

* Whom we have to thank for kind communication of information.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

serve

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

:: purpose as steadily pursued as it had been wisely formed. He held that

A university is not the handmaid, but the nursing-mother of literature: her office is not to reach only, but to regulate and guide, sometimnes er.couraging that wnich is unduly appreciated, restraining within Jirnits that which is valued beyond its worili. To lay firmly and broadly the foundations of such an insti. tution requires a clear and impartial view of education and the requirements of ontr'ow b' age a forethought which ventures to surrender a present au väntage to a distant and prosprctive good, a courage which, in seeking to convince and pers suade, shrinks not, if need be, from misunderstanding and reproach.'.,

Such was the spirit in which he undertook his mission. Such was the spirit in which he worked out the great problem given him to do, vizi, in a new and untried institution to mark out and pre

“ the boundaries of education and secular instruction.After a long sea-voyage, having taken farewell of friends, and having mated himself to a wife of worth and intelligence, in August 1852 he passed from the winds and swells of the Pacific, round Middle Head, and sighted Macquarrie Tower, the lighthouse on South Head, and steamed into Sydney Cove. He was among new men, strange faces, other minds.” The harbour and city delighted and amazed him. The beauties of nature and the works of men united to astonish and entrance him. “The stately stores and sumptuous structures” of the city gave evidence of commercial prosperity and advancing civilization. He saw not gin-palaces and taverns merely, but, “ in numbers which may challenge comparison with Europe, bookshops abundantly and judiciously supplied with varied intellectual food." These helped to give him hope, and to dispel " the rising misgiving lest the lust of gold had choked the desire of mental improvement." He was welcomed fondly, was adopted at once by the heart of the colony, and found himself “at home,” with strange emotions of change within him, and high hopes bounding in his breast, as the full stretch of his ambitious project opened up to him-to plant amidst the other “ seeds of vast and momentous change” a seminary of “learning and science” where civilization had shot up in rank luxuriancy.

On the 11th October, 1852, the ceremonial inauguration of the University of Sydney took place. Impressive as this was as a spectacle, it was much more so " by its moral significance.” As principal of the university it fell to him to deliver an inaugural oration. This was done with modesty, effect, and taste. He spoke as one who owed "whatever is most cherished in the past, or brightest in the future, to an English college;" and "as the representative, not only of one of our ancient universities, but of the oldest collegiate corporation in Christendom," come " to congratulate this far-off, youngest accession to the sacred sisterhood.' He invoked the memory of Alfred the Great, and the spirit of "the noble and good schoolmaster, Thomas Arnold ;” and expressed a hope “ that ere this generation has passed away, the waters of the

66

Parramatta river, or the quiet bays of our beautiful harbour, will mirror in their crystal depths many a reverend chapel, and pictured hall and solemn cloister, and pleasant garden, like those which gem the margin of the Isis and the Cam. The entire composition is pure in taste and excellent in matter, and we cannot but imagine that a strange wild throb of enthusiastic rapture must have rushed through the hearts of the students then, when they heard his voice saying, “ Onward with your untarnished but yet, undecorated shield, in the proud and high resolve, that whatever has already been achieved by your predecessors in the field of glory,--that, by God's blessing, Sydney university shall achieve.”.

From this oration we quote the following passages cognate to our purpose as recorders of the thoughts of modern logicians." Speaking of the intended disciplinal course of the university-the study of classics, with logic and mental philosophy; and mathematics, with the elements of physical science, he says,

[ocr errors]

Singly powerful, but partial and one-sided, they form, united, a perfect discipline of reflection. How, except through mathemnatical babit, should we attain that power of abstraction, of sustained attention, of patient reasoning long drawn out, every link in the chain só essential, that the slightest error invalidates and breaks the whole ? Mathematics is the discipline of necessary reasoning; philology of the probable and contingent. Speech is the vehicle and outward form of thought, as the body to the soul; as in the features of the face we love to read the characters of the mind, so in the analysis of speech is involved the observation of the facts of thought; and in the marvellous languages of Greece and Rome, with their minutely delicate inflections, their profound und subtle syntax, their allsufficing apparatus for expressing the variations of ideas, we possess, as it were, ap authentic and stereotyped record of mental operations in the most intellectually gifted people of the earth. Thus, whether we analyse the formation of words, and, comparing the members of a common family, or teaching the changes of meaning in a single term, investigate the association and connection of ideas, or in the laws of syntactical arrangement develop the fundamental principles of inward discourse, we are, by healtby but not painful effort, practised to turn the mind back upon itself, to learn the rudiments of our internal being, to place our feet upon the threshold of that holy portal which bids us, as the end of all knowledge, to make acquaintance with ourselves.

* The science of the laws of thought, that faculty by which alone man is distinguished, is of so plain and palpable an importance. that despite the proverbial disinclination of our English race to purely intellectual pursui's, an explanation must be sought of its long-continued neglect and disrepute in England. And in this explanation is involved the disciplinal import of our experimental teaching. All sciences, as of the outward world, so equally of ibat within ys, can be rig btly and safely pursued only by the method of experiment and induction ; not, the knowledge of nature alope, but of language, of reasoning, of metaphysical truth, must be equally and alike attained by a careful analysis of observed phenomena. But to subject to a real analysis the phenomena of consciousness is of all tasks the most difficult; that partiality which is the inherent vice of the human mind, aggravated by circumstances and inveterate association, presents a temptation from which few can escape, to a 'one-sided contemplation of our mental states; por do the conclusions which follow our hypothesis avail to warn us of our error, and guide back to truth.

1

530,"Real and important as is the influence of speculative opinion upon the daily lives of men, it is neither direct nor immediate. Few are the theorists who recognise the ultimate tendeney of their favourite principles ; by a fortanate inconsistency we daily reconcile practical soberness with theoretic falsehood : generations must elapse before the sensuism of Locke and idealism of Berkeley attain that development which they always logically involved. Even, therefore, those who acknowledge the inductive character of mental philosophy are in continual danger of falsifying their profession by vague and arbitrary speculation : and of this weakness what corrective can be found more efficacious than the experimental observation of physical facts ? The physical philosopher will not lightly build upon an uncertain or incomplete induction; he knows by the evidence of his seases the necessity of a scrupulous and thorough analysis; he has learned that the minatest error, the most trifling addition, diminutiou, omission, is enough to render all his labour vain; he has seen a variation, in proportion alone, convert a wholesome natriment into a deadly poison ; the change of a single element entirely reverse the properties of a compound body. Nor is this less true in mental facts; not less true, but less readily perceived, unless clearly and unequivocally recalled to our attention. Whilst I, therefore, on this occasion pass by for a time the consideratiou of the independent purposes and intrinsic importance of this science, we cannot but recognise the soundness of that decision which has included in a comprehensive and balanced mental discipline, at least, an elementary acquaintance with physical experiments."

[ocr errors]

" The name of Woolley will be cherished,” said W.C. Windeyer, Esq., " as his who first infused into the teaching at Sydney university the love of truth that dreads no discussion of first principles, of liberty which teaches toleration to all, and that spirit of love for men which makes all gifts but trusts for the benefit of others." Sir Charles Nicholson, who had the advantage of long personal intercourse with him and his family,” bears testimony, " that he possessed qualities of mind, bigh attainments, an unselfish and genial disposition, and a goodness of heart which won the admiration and secured the love of all who enjoyed communion with him;" and that “he succeeded in a very marked degree in winning to himself, and moulding the tastes and character of the young men placed under his care. The gentleness—almost feminine-of his nature, the warmth and generosity of his heart, his distinguished attainments as a scholar, and the eloquence and earnestness with which he was wont to impart instruction, not only to the undergraduates of the university but to the members of various popular institutions with which he was connected, are well known, and will be long remembered.” W. B. Dalley, Esq., speaks to a similar effect: "The class-room of mechanics yearning for instruction was to him a place as full of interest as the studious cloister of the uni. versity." • With all his wondrous and varied scholarship, he lived as earnestly and as conscientiously in the present as the man w

whose intellect had never been distracted by the splendours of antique civilization. Amidst all his numerous engagements he found time to place his incomparable scholarship and his religious earnestness at the service of the bumblest of his fellow-citizens."

" He ever gave you,” Mr. Windeyer said, “the best of his thoughts. He was

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »