Advertisement

No Headline

The Oberlin Review brings us up very roundly for our audacity in hazarding the statement that the preparation required for entrance at Harvard, taken together with the prescribed work of the freshman year, amounts, probably, to as thorough a grounding in the leading departments of human knowledge as the entire course of many of our Western colleges affords. The Review confronts us with such a mass of statistics in reply as well nigh to appall us. Nevertheless, we are willing to accept the statistics with a good grace, and yet not recede from the essential point of our thesis. We instanced Oberlin as an example of such a Western college; in this, perhaps, we do a partial wrong. On the plain ground of requirements and of subjects prescribed for freshman recitations, the statement could by no means justly apply to her course. But, in as far as relates to standards of thoroughness of preparation and amount of general intelligence given by the Eastern preparatory schools, which supply a large proportion of Harvard's students, and by the schools which prepare for Oberlin, taking into consideration, at the same time, the comparative ages of students at admission with their consequent maturity or immaturity of mind, and also the relative breadth and liberality of culture imparted during the freshman year by influences, both direct and indirect, at either place, the substantial truth of our first thesis as an illustration remains still unimpaired. We would, by no means, be willing to use the University of Michigan in this statement as also representative of Western colleges of mediocre stamp, as the Review would seem to wish to have us do. That would be manifestly absurd, and we refuse to be cajoled into such a course, even by the staid Review. The Review treats of this whole question with so much patriotic ardor and industry and so much native vigor of style, that we are, after all, inclined to admire its work, even though it be done at our own expense. Such force and intelligence as the Review often displays, will go far to advance outside opinion of the intellectual condition of the students at Oberlin College, which the illiberal and often narrow policy of its faculty so frequently tends to diminish. As to the argument itself, against which the Review so eloquently musters the forces of its indignation, we have still to reiterate our belief in its essential truth, although we are bound to admit that its statement is too broad to be applied, in a literal interpretation, to the case of Oberlin. And, as for the other sins the Review lays at our door-sectional prejudice, lack of candidness, disingenuousness, and what not-we utterly repudiate any intent of harboring such qualities. We have the highest appreciation for Western energy and intellectual vigor. More and more every year this ancient mother of learning is receiving into her veins new and fresh currents of the warm blood of the West. Let not the Review imagine that, on the other hand, the world of intellectual vigor is bounded on the East by the Hudson-that it has any boundary in fact: let it know that it is a world whose presence is felt everywhere-at Harvard as at Oberlin. Then, dear Review, we may be content to lie down in peace together, and cease our wordy wars about "sectional prejudice."

Advertisement