The question of a national university at New York has received considerable discussion during the summer. We have already presented the arguments of one of the advocates of New York as a favorable situation. The University Cynic, a paper published at the University of Vermont, takes up the question of a national university, which, although not directly connected with the former discussion, is more or less in the same line, as it has always been taken for granted that New York would be the seat of the national university. The writer in the Cynic opposes the idea of a national university in very positive language. "Hundreds of colleges in America owe their origin to certain wants that a national university could not supply. The small colleges are usually less expensive than the large. Men whose means are limited discover in these institutions the facilities which are suited to their needs; while those who shun excitement find in the same places the calm and the quiet so favorable to meditation and research. It must be apparent that, were the proposed plan carried out, the usefulness of such colleges would be seriously impaired. If the government assumes to educate, it puts an end to private benevolence; and, in building a new structure, it undermines the old. The same logic applies to the universities under state control. Would it not be folly for Michigan to support a great university within her borders, and, at the same time, to expend wealth for the maintenance of one without? It seems to the writer that a plan which promises injury to our colleges, both large and small, would not be truly promotive of education. In the quest for higher culture, Mr. R. B. Hayes, Mr. Andrew D. White, and the other advocates of this measure have forgotten that the safety of our system lies, not in the learning of the few, but in the intelligence of the many. A national university could not diffuse education, it could only impart to a very few a degree of learning which most men are not ambitious to possess, and which is powerless to make them better citizens or more upright men." Our Vermont friend is also of the opinion that a national university would be a fruitful source of political corruption, and that the management would be fettered by congressional experiments and investigations. "It means that the revolution of parties would be succeeded by the revolution of faculties." Although it will probably occur to our readers that our friend of the Cynic is a little too easily frightened at the idea of a university he has created, still all will probably agree with him when he urges that instead of devoting our energies to the establishment of a national university, we should "build larger the universities that we have." If states and public-spirited citizens could only realize the fact that their money expended in the interests of some university or college already firmly established would be productive of much more good than if used to found a third rate school the cause of higher education in this country would be greatly benefited.
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