The University of the State of New York has made it an important factor in its work, and in certain features is especially suggestive. Among these are the insistence upon full courses of ten lectures each, and an elaborate syllabus, often of seventy five pages, containing, besides the outline of the lectures, very full illustrative extracts. The new University of Chicago deserves especial recognition, as the first great educational institution to include University Extension among its fundamental purposes. This portion of its teaching is in charge of a special faculty, altogether distinct from that of the University proper, but at the same time in every sense an organic part of it. The administrative and teaching staffs are appointed by the trustees of the University, its director is a member of the University Council, members of its Faculty give lectures in the class-rooms, while professors and instructors from the University give courses of lectures in each department of the Extension Teaching

The elaborate preparation of the University thus to extend its influence has, from the first, met with a most gratifying response, exceeding the highest hopes entertained by those who believed in the plan, and justifying the great outlay involved. No claim is made by the University of Chicago that the Extension work supersedes any agency in education already approved, but rather that it undertakes to do what has hitherto not been provided for. It will still be necessary for those who desire the full privileges of a College or University course to come into residence for a term of years ; but, with these institutions crowded to the doors, and with every other appliance of liberal, technical, or popular education in full operation, it will still be true that men and women of every class who cannot and who do not care to enter the class-rooms will gladly use much that the Universities, and they alone, can offer.

Although in no other portion of the United States has the movement advanced so rapidly, or its pecuniary demands been met in so liberal a manner as in the State of Illinois, the great North-West and the South have not been behind the East in their prompt recognition of what has become so valuable a factor in the educational life of America. The space allotted in these pages prevents even a sketch of what has been accomplished in nearly every State and Territory of the Union, since the formation of the first Society in 1890.

It is somewhat difficult to state definitely what intellectual progress in America may fairly be considered the result of the Extension of University Teaching; although to those who are unprejudiced, to those who are in touch and sympathy with the progressive movements of this age of ours-and, above all, to those who welcome eagerly a powerful ally of all those forces which tell for the common brotherhood of man, it is not so difficult to read the signs. In countless instances it has awakened and fed an interest in higher things, and put new and worthy objects of thought into the lives of people who before had been content to remain in what Emerson aptly calls low and squalid conditions of intellectual life. It has turned the current of thought and discussion in whole communities from everyday gossip into the great, broad stream of human history and science; they have been set talking about 'Shakespeare, Milton, Copernicus, Napoleon, Bismarck, and Gladstone, instead of about their neighbours’; and it is not too much to claim—it is absolutely true that often the entire social life of a village or country town has thus been changed.

The demand for the best literature has increased enormously, and not only have the public libraries been unable to lend what was required, but the booksellers even in our great cities often find it difficult to supply sufficient copies, especially of books on history and literature in general. University Extension has proved to be one of the most powerful social solvents; it has brought together in one undertaking the labourer and employer, the rich and poor, the professional man and mechanic, and has demonstrated in a new and convincing manner that the interest in higher things and capacity for their enjoyment are by no means limited to the college graduate or the wealthy. The influence upon the Universities in America by this extension of their teaching has been great, though not always fully recognised; it has been of mutual advantage that some of the ablest professors of Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania, and of many others have been willing to devote time and effort to this work.


P.S.-I am requested to give a few details of the influences which led me to take up the courses of study, and enter into the competition for the Prize Essay which follows. The lectures delivered by Professor R. G. Moulton at the beginning of the movement in Philadelphia aroused a strong conviction that great advantages would be gained through an earnest following of the work in history and literature as then outlined.

The most powerful motive, however, was that, being teacher of history, geography, and civics, in one of the leading private schools for girls in Philadelphia, I gladly availed myself of the opportunity for such valuable assistance in my work. When, therefore, in 1890 and the following years there came from Cambridge and Oxford such men as Professor R. G. Moulton, Mr. M. E. Sadler, Mr. H. G. MacKinder, Mr. W. Hudson Shaw, and Mr. J. Churton Collins, I attended their courses of lectures, read the books advised, and passed the examinations required.

In 1892 the Americans who were present at the Oxford Summer Meeting subscribed, with other friends of the work on this side, to a scholarship of the amount of thirty pounds to belp defray the expenses an American Extension Student to the meeting in Oxford in August 1894.

Mr. Sadler, of Oxford, in assigning the conditions of the competition, determined that each candidate must hold on the 1st of April, 1894, two University Extension Certificates, granted by some recognised Centre ; both obtained on subjects lying within the general field of either history and economics, or literature. Any candidate with these qualifications was free to enter into the competition; which took the form of an essay on one of the following subjects :

1. Trace the influence of Puritanism on National Character.

2. Compare the treatment of the American Colonies by France and England respectively.

3. Bimetalism.

4. In what way did the Renaissance favour the development of Dramatic Literature ?

5. Discuss the differences between Tennyson's treatment of the story of Arthur and that of earlier writers on the same subject.

The Essay to be sent to the Secretary of the American Society in Philadelphia, on or before the 1st of April, 1894, judged by a Committee, and the best five forwarded to Mr. Sadler, for final decision.

As I had fulfilled the conditions required, having attended sereral courses of lectures on history, written the class papers, passed the examinations, and received two University Extension Certificates from the Philadelphia Society-one for • Florentine History,' the other. The Puritan Revolution'-I entered upon the competition, with the result which follows as the Prize Essay.



One of the most significant events-the one which marks the beginning of a new era --was the migration of English Puritans across the Atlantic, to repeat in a new environment and on virgin soil the work which had been wrought in Britain. Two hundred and seventy years ago our fathers left whatever was beautiful at home in obedience to conscience, and faced without flinching the sea and the savage; they sought not high things, and were joyfully ready to be stepping-stones for others if they might advance the kingdom of God. The same indomitable Puritan spirit survived the early colonial times, always seeking to assert personal freedom under God, and leading the march towards better ages; for somewhere in the heart of Puritanism was hidden the power which, partly by development and partly by reaction, was to produce the freedom of these modern days.

It is the English-speaking race which has moulded the destiny of this continent, and the Puritan influence is the strongest influence that has acted upon it, for its essence is simply individual freedom-from that spring religious liberty and political equality. The story, in its larger relations involving the whole modern development and diffusion and organisation of English liberty, is proudly repeated by every successive generation of the race, and lives and breathes in legend and in song. To trace the influence of this spirit on character in both England and America is too large a task for one essay ; let us confine ourselves to England, for to what land upon the globe beyond his own shall the countryman of Washington turn with pride and enthusiasm and sympathy, if not to the land of John Hampden and John Pym, Sir John Eliot and Sir Henry Vane, Oliver Cromwell and John Milton ?

* The Puritan, who has done so much for the modern world, was not the product of any one race or country.' He was born out of the uprising against the abuses of the Church of Rome; he came to maturity in upholding liberty against the assaults of kingly power; in him were represented the principles of religious and civil freedom. The name Puritan in the days of Queen Elizabeth and the Stuarts was applied to anyone whose mode of life was religious and moral, who avoided gambling and profanity, and thus protested against the license of the time-never was a higher tribute paid to any religious party, better than volumes of testimony it evidences the work that it was doing. In its strictest sense, however, it meant those whose Calvinistic tendencies sought for reform within the Church of England--they were in that Church from the days of Wicliffe, and their spiritual ardour and unconquerable fortitude had done much to make it indeed a living Church. The reign of Queen Elizabeth had been a long struggle for national existence--a struggle as to whether England should still remain England, or become a dependency of Spain; Rome had placed herself in the front of the nation's enemies, and the Puritan was the irreconcilable foe of Rome. No historical sketch of Puritanism, however, can afford to ignore the influence exerted upon the English character by the refugees from the Low Countries, who, driven from their homes by the bigotry and cruelty of Philip of Spain and the Duke of Alva, found in the time of Elizabeth a peaceful resting place in the Eastern and Southern counties of England, bringing with them a greater intellectual development of the lower classes, and above all a religious spirit and devotion which have rarely been equalled. Many thousands of these Netherlanders settled in the fens and marsh country, which reminded them of their beloved Holland, and it is interesting to note that, nearly a century later, many of the Puritan leaders of the great Civil War, Cromwell, Ireton, and Hampden, came from the south of England, while the greater portion of Cromwell's famous Ironsides were recruited there. No people on earth have a higher order of virtues than the English middle classes. They have a courage which never falters, an earnestness of purpose which brooks no obstacles, a love of justice and fair play, a devotion to home and country, and an instinctive morality and belief in a higher Power, which are not so common among the Latin races. In the midst of such a people these Netherlanders settled down and made their homes; they came from a land where education was universal, each man brought his Bible which he could read for himself and neighbours, and this influence throws much light on the subsequent history of England : the extent to which the Bible was read among the working people in some parts of the country, and the intense moral and religious earnestness which was followed by the demand for equality before the law, came to the surface when Parliament organised its army.

It is not to be denied that the Paritans used the Old Testament to justify acts of cruelty and intolerance, that they applied the denunciations against the heathen to their enemies, and the promises of reward to themselves; but it is to their lasting honour that, in appropriating the promises, they were willing to assume the obligations. They felt that their God was a stern judge, that every word was to be accounted for hereafter, that they were His chosen people and so must do His will. Devoting themselves thus almost exclusively to the Old Testament, these men naturaliy became narrow-minded-in such an age it would have been a miracle had it been otherwise. We are told that their lives were often made gloomy and severe by such thoughts: this is certainly true; even the immortal • Shakespeare, Fancy's child,' was oppressed by the problem of living in his later days; how then must it not have weighed upon men who had an intense consciousness of a heaven and a hell, who thought much and deeply of their own personal responsibility, and carried it finally from religious opinions to the problems of the State, to the alleged Divine Right of Kings and National Morality? But there was that in them which would lire-the belief in the paramount claims of duty, the faith in a Divine order in political, in social and in domestic life, which bas stamped itself indelibly on the English mind, this is the spirit which animated Puritanism, which made it irresistible in its own time and lends it grandeur still.

It was the Puritan whose assiduous preaching had slowly won the mass of English people to any real acceptance of Protestantism. To Elizabeth, whether on religious or political grounds, Calvinism was the most detested of her foes; but it was in vain that she strove to check its advance: this was seen at the beginning of her successor's reign, the bulk of the country gentlemen and wealthier traders had by that time become Puritan, and thus James's first Parliament was largely composed of them.

When he arrived from Scotland to fill the vacant throne of Elizabeth, he found a strong desire that there might be some change in ecclesiastical arrangements. Roman Catholic and Puritan alike were desirous that the laws against them might be modified : if James had possessed a tithe of the tact of his great predecessor, the history of the succeeding years would have been very different ; her aversion to them was political, his was personal, At the Hampton Court Conference all that they demanded was permission, while remaining in the Church, to omit certain ceremonies of which they disapproved. This was refused, and James attempted to enforce uniformity more strictly thau had been done even in Elizabeth's reign. The results were continual bickerings between himself and Parliament, and the alienation of a large portion of the people from the crown, until the reign of the first Charles; the Protestantism of the age of Elizabeth had assumed a distinctly Calvinistic form.

There were two parties however in the House, one who wished to see a certain liberty of religious thought, together with a return under modified Episcopacy to the forms of worship which prevailed before Laud had taken the Church in hand,—the other side desirous that the Puritan creed should prevail in all its strictness, Charles, by his unwise action in the attempt to seize the five members, threw power into the hands of his opponents, and the result was civil war with varying fortune until the appearance on the scene of a new leader, at the head of a force to whose composition victory was justly ascribe d. The trial and execution of the King followed. Whether this was a crime or a political blunder does not strictly concern us as part of our subject, but its results were far-reaching in the establishment of the Protectorate against which, eventually, the majority of the upper and middle classes who had united to oppose Laud were now re-united to oppose Oliver Cromwell. The nation would not be conciliated; that unconquerable spirit which had wrested Magna Charta from John, which when thoroughly roused had daunte Elizabeth, which had stood with Hampden in the Exchequer Chamber and had blasted as with lightning the proud front of Strafford, rose up against Cromwell and put the question: "By what right dost thou rule in England ?":

When the Parliament of the Restoration met in 1662, the Act of Uniformity entirely excluded all idea of reform in the Puritan direction, and ordered the expulsion from their benefices of those who refused to use the Book of Common Prayer; for the first time, therefore, all who objected to the established religion were forced not to try to alter its forms, but to gain permission to worship in separate congregations. There are few acts more heroic in history than the quiet manner in which the Puritan element thus expelled from the Church of England calmly chose persecution for conscience sake. The Test Act, making the reception of the Sacrament according to the forms of the Church of England a qualification for any office, weighed heavily upon the Puritan or dissenting element, and although a strong effort was made by the more liberal minds in the Church to so modify its prayers and ceremonies as to enable them cheerfully to enter in, unfortunately the greater part of the clergy were opposed to it. One of the most unjust provisions of the Test Act was that it closed the great Universities to the Dissenters and thus shut them out from all means of liberal education. As Matthew Arnold says: The great English middle class, the kernel of the nation, the class whose intelligent sympathy had upheld a Shakespeare, entered the prison of Puritanism and had the key turned on its spirit there for two hundred years.' The impossibility of crushing a body which had grown to be of such numbers, weight and political strength, finally wrested from English statesmen the repeal of this Act, and with this the last legal barrier which had divided the nation was swept away.

Closely following any historical sketch of Puritanism we must trace its influence upon national character by a brief review of some of its representative men, and attempt to show how strong and enduring was the impression they made, not only upon their own time, but upon constitutional law and liberty for all time, both in England and America. We cannot but notice the fact that the popular impressions of the Puritans, drawn chiefly from the pages of those antagonistic to them, are erroneous and unfair. The friends of liberty laboured under the disadvantage of possessing few cr no authors of any literary ability, while on the other side are the most widely read and interesting historical works. For many years they were the theme of derision, and both press and stage held them up to ridicule; they were as a body unpopular, and all the minor points as regards dress, manners, and amusements seemed to their opponents to be fitting subjects of laughter and contempt.

But in the light of modern historical research, in the wealth of documents, diaries and letters brought to our notice by Thomas Carlyle, Professor Gardiner, and others, we are, in all fairness, obliged to change our opinions and ideas of many of the Puritan leaders. They loved England with a glowing, a proud affection; they stood up against Laud and Strafford because they were binding new chains about their beloved country: a large proportion of the party were persons of high breeding, of noble culture, of refined intelligence, in morals pure, in faith earnest, in devotion sincere. Many of them were of the aristocracy, the body of the party consisted of country gentlemen

« ElőzőTovább »