The privileges of graduates in arts, in law
physic, and divinity, when they can be obtained 
only by residing a certain number of years 
in certain universities, necessarily force a certain 
number of students to such universities
independent of the merit or reputation of the 
teachers. The privileges of graduates are a 
sort of statutes of apprenticeship, which have 
contributed to the improvement of education
just as the other statutes of apprenticeship 
have to that of arts and manufactures. 
The charitable foundations of scholarships
exhibitions, bursaries, &c. necessarily attach 
a certain number of students to certain colleges
independent altogether of the merit of 
those particular colleges. Were the students 
upon such charitable foundations left free to 
choose what college they liked best, such liberty 
might perhaps contribute to excite some 
emulation among different colleges. A regulation
on the contrary, which prohibited 
even the independent members of every particular 
college from leaving it, and going to 
any other, without leave first asked and obtained 
of that which they meant to abandon
would tend very much to extinguish that 
If in each college, the tutor or teacher
who was to instruct each student in all arts 
and sciences, should not be voluntarily chosen 
by the student, but appointed by the head of 
the college; and if, in case of neglect, inability
or bad usage, the student should not be 
allowed to change him for another, without 
leave first asked and obtained; such a regulation 
would not only tend very much to extinguish 
all emulation among the different 
tutors of the same college, but to diminish 
very much, in all of them, the necessity of 
diligence and of attention to their respective 
pupils. Such teachers, though very well 
paid by their students, might be as much disposed 
to neglect them, as those who are not 
paid by them at all or who have no other recompense 
but their salary
If the teacher happens to be a man of 
sense, it must be an unpleasant thing to him 
to be conscious, while he is lecturing to his 
students, that he is either speaking or reading 
nonsense, or what is very little better than 
nonsense. It must, too, be unpleasant to 
him to observe, that the greater part of his 
students desert his lectures; or perhaps, attend 
upon them with plain enough marks of 
neglect, contempt, and derision. If he is 
obliged, therefore, to give a certain number 
of lectures, these motives alone, without any 
other interest, might dispose him to take 
some pains to give tolerably good ones. Several 
different expedients, however, may be 
fallen upon, which will effectually blunt the 
edge of all those incitements to diligence
The teacher, instead of explaining to his pupils 
himself the science in which he proposes 
to instruct them, may read some book upon 
it; and if this book is written in a foreign 
and dead language, by interpreting it to 
them into their own, or, what would give 
him still less trouble, by making them interpret 
it to him, and by now and then making 
an occasional remark upon it, he may flatter 
himself that he is giving a lecture. The 
slightest degree of knowledge and application 
will enable him to do this, without exposing 
himself to contempt or derision, by saying 
any thing that is really foolish, absurd, or 
ridiculous. The discipline of the college, at 
the same time, may enable him to force all 
his pupils to the most regular attendance upon 
his sham lecture, and to maintain the 
most decent and respectful behaviour during 
the whole time of the performance
The discipline of colleges and universities 
is in general contrived, not for the benefit of 
the students, but for the interest, or, more 
properly speaking, for the ease of the masters
Its object is, in all cases, to maintain the authority 
of the master, and, whether he neglects 
or performs his duty, to oblige the students 
in all cases to behave to him as if he 
performed it with the greatest diligence and 
ability. It seems to presume perfect wisdom 
and virtue in the one order, and the greatest 
weakness and folly in the other. Where the 
masters, however, really perform their duty
there are no examples, I believe, that the 
greater part of the students ever neglect 
theirs. No discipline is ever requisite to 
force attendance upon lectures which are 
really worth the attending, as is well known 
wherever any such lectures are given. Force 
and restraint may, no doubt, be in some degree 
requisite, in order to oblige children, or 
very young boys, to attend to those parts of 
education, which it is thought necessary for 
them to acquire during that early period of 
life; but after twelve or thirteen years of age
provided the master does his duty, force or 
restraint can scarce ever be necessary to carry 
on any part of education. Such is the generosity 
of the greater part of young men, that 
so far from being disposed to neglect or despise 
the instructions of their master, provided 
he shews some serious intention of being 
of use to them, they are generally inclined 
to pardon a great deal of incorrectness in 
the performance of his duty, and sometimes 
even to conceal from the public a good deal 
of gross negligence
Those parts of education, it is to be observed
for the teaching of which there are no 
public institutions, are generally the best 
taught. When a young man goes to a fencing 
or a dancing school, he does not, indeed, 
always learn to fence or to dance very well; 
but he seldom fails of learning to fence or to 
dance. The good effects of the riding school 
are not commonly so evident. The expense 
of a riding school is so great, that in most 
places it is a public institution. The three