The London Working-Men's College

IN what is now as near the centre of the Map of London as any house can properly be said to be is an old-fashioned dwelling-house on Great-Ormond Street, which is occupied, and densely occupied, by Frederic Denison Maurice’s “ Working-Men’s College.” The house looks, I suppose, very much as it did in 1784, when Great-Ormond Street bordered on the country, — when Lord Thurlow, the Chancellor of England, lived in this house, — when some thieves jumped over his garden-wall, forced two bars from the kitchen-window, entered a room adjoining the Lord Chancellor’s study, and stole the Great Seal of England, “ inclosed in two bags, one of leather and one of silk.” London has grown so much since, that anything that is stolen from the Working-Men’s College will not be stolen by thieves entering from the fields. I may say, in passing, that this theft “ threw London into consternation”; there being an impression, that, for want of the Great Seal, all the functions of the Executive Government must be suspended. The Privy-Council, however, did not share this impression. They had a new seal made before night; and though the Government of England has often moved very slowly since, it has never confessedly stopped, as some Governments nearer home have done, from that day to this day.

In view of what is done in Lord Thurlow’s old house now, it is worth while to linger a moment on what it was then and what he was. He was the Keeper of George III.’s conscience, until he caballed against Mr. Pitt, and was unceremoniously turned out by him. As Lord High-Chancellor, he was guardian -inchief of all the wards in Chancery; and I suppose, for instance, without looking up the quotation in Boswell, that he was the particular Lord Chancellor to whom Dr. Johnson said he should like to intrust the making of all the matches in England. Louis Napoleon has just now undertaken to make all the frictionmatches in France, — but Dr. Johnson’s proposal referred to the matrimonial matches, the dénouement of the comedies and tragedies of domestic life. To us Americans, Thurlow is notable for the strong and uncompromising language which he used against us all through our Revolution, which excessively delighted the King. As to his faculty for keeping a conscience, it may be said, that, though he never married, he resided in this GreatOrmond Street house with his own mistress and his illegitimate children. Lord Campbell, who mentions this fact, informs us, that, as early as his own youth, the British Bench had reached such purity that judges were expected to marry their mistresses when they were appointed to the Bench, He adds, that it is long since any such condition as that was necessary. In Thurlow’s time this stage of decency had not been attained even by Lord Chancellors. His humanity may be indicated by his stiff opposition to every reform ever proposed in the English criminal law, or in the social order of the time, He battled the bills for suppressing the slave-trade with all his might. “I desire of you, my Lords, in your humane frenzy, to show some humanity to the whites as well as to the negroes,” — illustrating this remark by a picture of the sufferings of an English trader who had risked thirty thousand pounds on the slave-trade that year. When an entering wedge was attempted for the improvement of the bloody code of criminal law, Thurlow opposed it with passion. The particular clause selected by the reformers was one which demanded that women who had been connected with any treasonable movements should be burnt alive. It was proposed to reduce their punishment to the same scale as men’s. Thurlow made it his duty to defend the ancient practice. He was, in short, mixed up with every effort of his time, which we now consider disgraceful, for arresting the gradual progress of reform.

Now that Thurlow’s wine-cellar is a college-chapel, that young men study arithmetic in the room the Great Seal was stolen from, that Mr. Rusk in teaches water-color drawing in Thurlow’s bedchamber, that Tom Brown, alias Mr. Hughes, presides over a weekly tea-party in the three-pair back, and drills the awkward squad of the working-men’s battalion in the garden, it seems worth while to show that at least some places in the world have improved in eighty years, whether the world itself is to be given up as a mistake or not. We will let Lord Thurlow go, as Lord Campbell does, with this charitable wish :—“ I have not learned,” he says, “ any particulars of his end, but I will hope that it was a good one. I trust, that, conscious of the approaching change, having sincerely repented of his violence of temper, of the errors into which he had been led by worldly ambition, and of the irregularities of his private life, he had seen the worthlessness of the objects by which he had been allured; that, having gained the frame of mind which his awful situation required, he received the consolations of religion ; and that, in charity with mankind, he tenderly bade a long and last adieu to the relations and friends who surrounded him.” There is not an atom of fact known on which to found Lord Campbell’s hope. But I, also, will leave Lord Thurlow with this charitable wish, and I will now ask the readers of the “ Atlantic,” who may be enough interested in social reform and a mutual education, to see what has happened between his wine-cellar and ridge-pole since the “London Working-Men’s College” was established there.

The founder of the Working-Men's College, as I have intimated, is the Rev. Frederic Denison Maurice, the eminent practical theologian. Its age is now six years,— as it was founded in the autumn of 1854. He says himself, in a striking speech he made at Manchester not long since, that the plan originated in that “awful year 1848, which I shall always look upon as one of the great epochs in history.” He says that “ a knot of men, of different professions, lawyers, doctors, parsons, artists, chemists, and such like,” thought they saw, in the convulsions of 1848, a handwriting on the wall, sent them by God himself, testifying, “that, if either rank or wealth or knowledge is not held as a trust for men, if any one of these things is regarded as a possession of our own, it must perish,” In a real desire, then, to “make their own little education of use to such persons as had less,” and, in so doing, to establish a vital and effective relation between themselves and the men of the working-classes below them, they looked round for opportunties to work in the education of men. Anybody who remembers “ Amyas Leigh ” will remember how earnestly Charles Kingsley there presses the theory that most of what we learn as children should be left to be learned by men, as it was in the days of Queen Bess. I suppose that Maurice’s “ knot of parsons and such like ” shared that view. At all events, they lectured to Mechanics’ Institutes, and did other such wish-wash work, which is not good for much, except for the motive it shows; and having found that out, they were all the more willing to join in arrangements more definite and profitable. According to Mr. Maurice, the formation of the People’s College in Sheffield started them on the plan of a college, and determined them, as far as they could, to give consistency to their dreams by carrying out the plan of an English college in their arrangements for workingmen.

At this point I must beg the accomplished company of readers to recollect what an English college is. In its organization, and in much of its consequent esprit du corps, it is as different from an American college as an Odd-Fellows’ lodge is from a country academy. The difference is also of precisely the same sort. The man or the boy who connects himself with an English college is, in theory, still the student of a thousand years ago, who came on foot to Oxford or Cambridge, because he had heard, in the wilds of Mercia or of Wessex, that there were some books at those places,— and that some Alfred or Ethelred or Eldred had given some privileges to students coming there. When he has arrived, he joins one or other of the societies of students whom he may find there, just as the Mercian Athelstan may have done. From the moment that the established society has tested him, — and the tests are very mild, — he is admitted as a member of a fraternity, sharing the privileges of that fraternity, and, to a certain extent, its duties. He is at first a junior member, it is true. Among his duties, therefore, will be obedience to some of the senior members, and respect to all. But none the less is he a neophyte member of a corporation which extends back hundreds of years perhaps, — he Is a co-proprietor of its honors and privileges, is responsible for their preservation, and is, from the first, inoculated with its esprit du corps.

Now in an American college there is esprit du corps enough, and sense of college dignity enough. But the student’s esprit du corps is one thing, and the government’s is another. The Commons Hall, for instance, has died out of most of our colleges. Why ? “Why, because it had ceased to be a Commons Hall. It was not the place where the junior and senior members of a college, the pupils and all their instructors, met together. It was the place where the undergraduates were fed, — and where a few wretched tutors were fed at their sides. But every member of the governing body who could possibly escape did so. At our Cambridge, they even went so far as to set apart a Commons Hall for each class of undergraduates at last,— for fear men should see each other eat; as at “ Separate Prisons” the idea of communion in worship is carried out by introducing each prisoner into a state-pew or royal-box whose partitions are so high that he cannot see his neighbors. This was before they gave the coup-de-grace to the whole thing, and scattered the members of their college just as widely as they could at meal-times, as at all other times. The recitation, again, probably the Only occasion when an American student meets his instructor, is conducted according to an arrangement by which the instructor meets all of a large section or class together, meeting them for recitation simply. In a word, the American college differs from any other American school chiefly in having larger endowments and older pupils.

In the English college, on the other hand, before a freshman has been there three months, he may have established his claim to some “ scholarship,” which shall be his post and his “foundation” there for years. From the very beginning, one or another honor or prize is proposed to him, — which is the first stepping-stone on a line of promotion of which the last may be his appointment to the highest dignities in the University or in the Church. From the beginning, therefore, he has his duties in the college assigned to him, if he have earned any right to such honors. Thus, it may be his place to read the Scripture Lesson at prayers, or to read the Latin grace at the end of dinner,— the President and Vice-President of his college having done the same at the beginning.

These arrangements are not to be confounded with the services rendered by charity students. We have imitated some of these, which are so sadly described in “ Tom Brown at Oxford.” But we have no arrangements which correspond at all to those of the system which in England brings graduates and undergraduates to a certain extent into a common life, mutually interested in the honor and popularity of “ Our College.”

When Mr. Maurice and his friends spoke of “ a college,” they meant to carry to the utmost these social and mutual views of college life. They wanted to come into closer connection witIi the working-men of London, and formed the WorkingMen’s College that they might do so. They had, therefore, something in mind very different from sitting for an hour in presence of a dozen students, hearing them recite a lesson, saying then, ”Ite?, missa est,” and departing all, every man to his own way. They foresaw their difficulties, undoubtedly, and they have undoubtedly met some which they did not foresee. But they meant to establish, on. paper, if nowhere else, a mutual society, — a society, it is true, in which those who knew the most should teach those who knew the least, but still a society where the learners and the teachers met as members of the same fraternity,— equals so far as the laws of that society went, — and with certain common interests arising from their connection with it.

Not only does the necessity for such an undertaking appear in England as it does not here, but the difficulty of it is, on a moderate calculation, ten thousand times greater than it is here. Here, in the first place, if the “working-man” as a boy has felt any particular fancy for algebra or Greek or Latin, (and those fancies, in a fast country, are apt to develop before the boy is eighteen,) he has e’en gone to a high-school, and, if he wanted, to a “ college,” where, if he had not the means himself, some State Scholarship or Education Society has floated him through, and he has gained his fill of algebra, Latin, or Greek, or is on the way to do so. Or, if he have not done this, — if the appetite for these things, or for physical science, historical science, or political science, has developed itself a little later in life, he has hoarded up books for a few years, and has made himself meanwhile rather more necessary to his master than he was before, so that, when he says, some day, "I think, we must arrange so that I can leave the shop earlier in the afternoon, ’ the master has bowed submiss, and the incipient chemist, historian, or politician has worked his own sweet will. Or, thirdly, if he wanted instruction from anybody in the category we first named, who had tried the high-school and college plan, he had only to go and ask for it. Very likely the man is his brother; at all events, he is somebody’s brother: and there is no difference in their social status which makes any practical difficulty in their meeting together, man-fashion, to teach and to learn. But in saying all this, we speak of things which London understands no more than it does the system of society of the Chinese Empire. To begin : the thriving Oxford-Street retailer will tell you very frankly, perhaps, that he had rather his son should not learn to read, it he could only sign his name without learning. Reason: that the father has observed that his older son read so much more of bad than good, that he is left to doubt the benefits conferred by letters. I do not mean, that, practically, the London tradesman’s son does not learn to read ; but I do mean that that process meets this sort of prejudice. Grant, however, that he does learn to read, and has appetite for more ; grant that he gets well through with A B C, and what follows; grant that he can read well enough to read the translations from French filth which his father is afraid of; but grant that his father and his mother, working with the blessing of his God, have kept him pure enough to steer clear of that temptation ; grant that he becomes one-and-twenty, eager for algebra, for chemistry, for Latin, or for Greek. What are you going to do about it then ? Then comes in the necessity which Mr. Maurice wanted to meet, — and there comes in, by the same steps, the exceeding difficulty of his experiment.

it is the difficulty of caste. I do not know how many castes there are in England ; but I should think there were about thirty-seven. Any member of either of these finds it as hard to associate with a member of any other as a Sudra does to associate with a Brahmin, or a Brahmin with a Sudra. It is not that people are unwilling to condescend to the castes below them. At least, it is not that chiefly. It is, quite as much or more, that, with a good, solid, English pride, they do not care to be snobbish, and do not choose to put themselves upon people who are above them. They “ know their place,” they say. And, for a race which, has as good reason as the English for pride in its ability to stand firm, to “know one’s place” is a great thing to boast of. People who have travelled on the Continent have been amused to see how zealously Sir John and Lady Jane and Miss Jeanette talked together at the table d’hôte for a week, never by accident speaking to Mr. Williams, Mrs. Williams, and Miss Willianmina, who sat next them. This is not inability to condescend, however. The Ws are as unwilling to speak to the Js. This difficulty is the same difficulty which Mr. Litchfield describes in an account of his “ Five Years’ Teaching at Working-Men’s College.” “ When a man first comes to our college,” he says, “he is apt to walk into his class-room in the solemn and discreet manner befitting an entry into a public institution, and generally for a night or two will persist in regarding his teacher as a severely official personage, whose dignity is not to be lightly trifled with. Now nothing, I believe, can really be done, till this notion is extinguished,— till teacher and students have got to understand each other, and have agreed to banish the foolish mauvaise honte which makes every Englishman shy of talking to a fellow-creature. The freer the colloquial intercourse between teacher and students, the more is learned in the time. To establish this is not easy ; but harder still is the task of setting the students on a familiar footing with each other. There seems to be some impassable obstacle to the fraternization of a dozen Londoners, though sitting side by side, week after week, doing the same work.” The truth being, that the dozen Londoners might belong to twelve different castes. And just as in “ the Rifle Movement” the clerks in the Queen’s civil service could not serve In the same battalion with architects’ clerks on the one hand, or students at law on the other, — you may have, in your algebra class, a goldsmith who is afraid of being snobbish if he speaks to a map-engraver, or a tailor who does not presume to address an opinion on Archimedes’ square to a piano-forte maker.

But the Brahmin and the Sudra may both be converted to Christianity. In that case, though it seems very odd to both, the distinction of caste goes to the wall. And the “ knot of parsons and such like,” spoken of above, having, very fortunately for the world, been born into the Christian Church, made it, as we have seen, their business to face the difficulty because of the necessity,—and the Working-Men’s College is the result of their endeavor. Mr. Maurice himself took the first step. Before the College itself was opened, he undertook a Bible-class. He invited whoever would to come. He read a portion of the Scriptures, explained its meaning as he could, — and invited all possible questioning. He testifies, in the most public way, that he got more good than he gave in the intercourse which followed. “ I have learned more myself than I have imparted. Again and again the wish has come into my mind, when I have left those classes, ‘ Would to God that anything I have said to them has been as useful to them as what they have said to me has been to me ! ’ ”

If now the American reader will free his mind from any comparisons with an American college, and take, instead, his notion of this “ Bible-class,” we can give him some conception of what the Working-Men’s College is. For there is not a clergyman in America who has not conducted such a class, for the benefit of any who would come. And such classes are considered as mutual classes. Everybody may ask questions,—everybody may bring in any contribution he can to the conversation. Very clearly there is no reason why chemistry, algebra, Latin, or Greek may not be taught from the same motive, in classes gathered in much the same way, and with a like feeling of coöperation among those concerned. This is what the Working-Men's College attempts. The instructors volunteer their services. They go, for the love of teaching, or to be of use, or to extend their acquaintance among their fellow-men. The students go, in great measure, doubtless, to learn. But they are encouraged to feel themselves members of a great coöperation Society, So soon as possible, they are commissioned as teachers themselves, and are put in a position to take preparatory classes in the College. A majority of the financeboard consists of students. Let us now see what is the programme which grows out of such a plan. I have not at hand the schedule of exercises for the current year. I must therefore give that which was in force in the autumn of 1859, when by paying half-a-crown I became a member of the Working-Men’s College. As I make this boast, I must confess that I never took any certificate of proficiency there, nor was I ever “ sent up ” for any, even the humblest, degree. For the Working-Men’s College may send up students to the University of London for degrees.

Remember, then, that to accommodate London working-hours, all the classes begin as late as seven o’clock in the evening. There are some Women’s Classes in the afternoon, but they are under a wholly different management. From seven to ten every evening, Lord Thurlow’s house is, so to speak, in full blast. Mr. Ruskin is the earliest professor. He comes at seven on Thursday, to teach drawing in landscape from seven till halfpast ten. Work begins on other evenings and in other classes at half-past seven. Four other teachers of drawing are at work with their pupils on different evenings of the week. Monday and Thursday are the Latin days, Monday and Wednesday the Greek, — all taught by graduates of the Universities. The mathematics are Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry in two classes, and Trigonometry. There was a class in Geology the winter I knew the College, — there had been classes in Botany and Chemistry. There were also classes in French, in German, in English Grammar, in Logic, in Political Economy, and in Vocal Music, a class on the Structure and Functions of the Human Body, and some general lectures or studies in History. There were also “ practice classes,” where the students worked with others more advanced than themselves on the subjects of the several exercises, — there were preparatory classes, and an adult school to teach men to read.

Now this is rather a rambling conspectus of a curriculum of study. Rut it teaches, I suppose, first, what the right men would volunteer to teach, — second, what the working-men wanted to learn. It is pretty clear, that, if the plan succeeds, it will bring up a body of young men who will know what is the advantage of a systematic line of study a good deal better than any of them can be expected to know at the beginning. Meanwhile here is certainly a very remarkable exhibition of instruction to any man in London for a price merely nominal. After he has once paid an entrance-fee, — half-a-crown, as I have said,—he may join any class in the College whenever he wishes, on the payment of a very insignificant additional fee. For the drawing-classes this fee is five shillings. For the courses of one hour a week it is two shillings sixpence, for those of two hours it is four shillings. The drawing-classes are a trifle more costly, because the room for drawing is kept open ready for practice-work every evening in the week. There is also open for everybody every evening a Library, and the Principal’s Bible-class is open to all comers.

So much for the instruction side. Now to describe the social side, I had best perhaps give the detail of one or two of my own visits at the College. Walk into the front room on the lower floor of any house in Colonnade Row in Boston, where the entry is on the right of the house, and you see such a room as the present “ Library ” was when Lord Thurlow lived there. Here is the office of the College. Here I found Mr. Shorter, the Secretary, in a corner, at a little desk piled with catalogues, circulars, “ WorkingMen’s College Magazines,” etc. There was a coal fire in a grate, [Mem. Hot-air furnaces hardly known in England.] a plain suite of book-shelves on one or more sides of the room, and a suite of narrow tables for readers running across. There were, perhaps, a dozen young men sitting there to read. This is virtually a clubroom for the College, and serves just the same purpose that the reading-room of the Christian Union or the Christian Association does with us, but that they take no newspapers. [Mem. 2d. If you are in England, you say, “ They take in none.” In America, the newspapers take in the subscribers.]

I told Mr. Shorter that I wanted to learn about the practical working of the College, He informed me very pleasantly of all that I inquired about. It proved that they published a monthly magazine, “ The Working-Men’s College Magazine,” which was devoted to their interests. The subscription is a trifle, and I took the volume for the year. It proved, again, that I could become a member of the College by paying half-a-crown ; so I paid, was admitted to the privilege of the reading-room, and sat down to read up, from the Magazine, as to the working of the College. It appeared, that, after my initiation, I might join any class, though it were not at the beginning of the term. So I boldly proposed to Mr. Shorter that I would join Mr. Ruskin’s class. To tell the whole truth, I thought the experiment would be well worth making, if I only gained by it a single personal interview with the Oxford graduate, though I was doubtful about the quality of my impromptu skies.

“ Says Paddy, ‘ There’s few play
This music, — can you play? ’ —
Says I, ‘I don’t know, for I never did try.’ ”

I could at least have said this to the distinguished critic,, if I found that his class was more advanced than I. But it proved that their session was within quarter of an hour of its end,— and with some lingering remains of native modesty, I waited for another occasion, — a morrow which never came, — before putting myself under Mr. Ruskin’s volunteer tuition. But I tell the story to illustrate what might have been. Had I been legitimately a working-man in London, whatever the character of my work, I had a right to that privilege.

The Library proved to be one of those miscellaneous collections, such as all new establishments have, so long as they rely on the books which are given to them. I took down a volume of the “ Reports of the Social Association,” — an institution which they have in England now, for the double purpose of giving an additional chance to philanthropists to talk, and of saving the world from the Devil by drainage, statistics, statutes, and machinery generally. But I looked over the edge of the book a good deal to see who drifted in and out. As different classes finished their work, one and another member came in, — and a few lingered to read. The aspect of activity and resolute purpose was the striking thing about the whole. The men were all young, — seemed at home, and interested in what they were doing. Halfpast nine, or thereabouts, came, and a bell announced that all instruction was over, and that evening prayers would close the work of the day. Down-stairs I went, therefore, with those who stayed, into Lord Thurlow’s wine-cellar, which, as I said, is the chapel.

The arrangements for this religious service, if I understood the matter rightly, are in the hands of Mr. Hughes, the wellknown biographer of Tom Brown at Rugby and at Oxford. In an amusing speech about his connection with the College, Mr. Hughes gives an account of the way his services as a law professor were gradually dispensed with, and says, “ Being a loose hand, they cast round to see what should be done with me.” Then, he says, they gave him the charge of the common room of the College,— and that he considers it his business to promote, in whatever way he can, the “ common life,” or the communion, we may say, of the members who belong to different classes. In this view, for instance, in the tea-room, where there is always tea for any one who wants it, he presides at a social party weekly;— he had charge, when I was there, of the drill class, and, I think, at other seasons, conducted the cricket club, the gymnastics, or had an eye to them. In such a relation as that, such a man would think of the union in worship as an essential feature in his plans. And here I am tempted to say, that in a thousand things in England which seem a hopeful improvement on English lethargy, one catches sight of Dr. Arnold as being, behind all, the power that is moving. Hodson, in the East-Indian army, seems so different from anybody else, that you wonder where he came from, till it proves he was one of Arnold’s boys. Price’s Candle-Works, in London, and Spottiswoode’s PrintingHouse have been before us here, in all our studies for the Christian oversight of great workshops,— and it turns out that it was Arnold who started the men who set these successes in order. The Bishop of London would not thank me for intimating that he gained something from being Arnold’s: successor ; but I am sure Mr. Hughes would be pleased to think that Arnold’s spirit still lives and works in his cellar-chapel.

The chapel is but one of the recitationrooms,—and, like all the others, is fitted with the plainest unpainted tables and benches. Two gentlemen read the lessons and a short form of prayer, prepared, I think, by Mr. Maurice himself,— and so adapted to the place and the occasion. Thirty or more of the students were present.

I dare not say that it was a piece of Working-Men’s College good-fellowship, — but, led either by that or by English hospitality, one of the gentlemen who officiated, to whom I had introduced myself with no privilege but that of a “ fellow-commoner ” at the College, not only showed me every courtesy there, but afterwards offered me every service which could facilitate my objects in London. This fact is worth repeating, because it shows, at least, what is possible in such an institution.

After an introduction so cordial, it may well be supposed that I often looked in on the College of an evening. If I were in that part of the town when evening came on, I made the Library my clubroom, to write a note or to waste an hour. I am sure, that, had it been in my power, I should have dropped in often,—so pleasant was it to watch the modest work of the place, and the energy of the crowded rooms, — and so new to me the aspects of English life it gave. I felt quite sure that the College was gaining ground, on the whole. I can easily understand that some classes drag, — perhaps some studies, which the managers would be most glad to see successful. But, on the whole, there seems spirit and energy, — and of course success.

My travelling companion, Chiron, is fond of twitting me as to the success of one of the “ social meetings ” to which I dragged him, promising to show him something of working-men’s life. We arrived too early. But the Secretary told us that the garden was lighted up for drill, and that the working-men’s battalion was drilling there. It was under the charge of Sergeant Reed, a medal soldier from the Crimea. At that time England was in one of her periodical fits of expecting an invasion. For some reason they will not call on every ablebodied man to serve in a militia; — I thought because they were afraid to arm all their people, — though no Englishman so explained it to me. They did, however, call for volunteers from those classes of society which could afford to buy uniforms and obtain “ practice-grounds three hundred yards in length.” This included, I should sav, about eleven of the thirty-seven castes of English society. It intentionally left out those beneath, — as it did all Ireland. Mr. Hughes, however, seized on it as an admirable chance for his College, — its common feeling, its gymnastics, — and many other “good things,” looking down the future. In general, the drills which were going on all over England were sad things to me. This idea of staking guineas against sous, when the contest with Napoleon did come, — staking an English judge, for instance, with his rifle, against some wretched conscript whom Napoleon had been drilling thoroughly, with his, seemed and seems to me wretched policy. But — if it were to be done this way — of course the best thing possible was to work as widely as you could in getting your recruits; and, — if England were too conservative to say, “ We are twentyeight millions, one-fifth fighting men,"— too conservative to put rifles or muskets into the hands of those five or six million fighters, — the next best thing was to rank as many as you could in your handful of upper-class riflemen. However, I offered my advice liberally to all comers, and explained that at home I was a soldier when the Government wanted me, — was registered somewhere,—and could be marched to San Juan, about which General Harney was vaporing just then, whenever the authorities chose. So it was that I and Chiron stood superior to see Sergeant Reed drill thirty-nine working-men. Mr. Hughes was on the terrace, teaching an awkward squad their facings.

Sergeant Reed paraded his men, — and wanted one or two more. He came and asked Mr. Hughes for them, — and he in turn told us very civilly, that, if “ we knew our facings,” we might fall in. Alas for the theory of the Landsturm ! Alas for the fame of the Massachusetts militia! Here are two of the “one hundred and fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifty non-commissioned officers, musicians, artificers, and privates ” whom Massachusetts that year registered at Washington,— two soldiers for whom somebody, somewhere, has two cartridge-boxes, two muskets, two shoulder-straps, and the rest; —here is an opportunity for them to show the gentlemen of a foreign service how much better we know our facings than they theirs, — and, alas, the representative two do not know their facings at all! We declined the invitation as courteously as it was offered. Perhaps we thus escaped a prosecution under the Act of 1819, when we came home, — for having entered the service of a foreign power. Certainly we avoided the guilt of felony, in England; for it is felony for an alien to take any station of trust or honor under the Queen,—and when Mr. Bates and Louis Napoleon were sworn in as special constables on the Chartists’ day, they might both have been tried for felony on the information of Fergus O’Connor, and sent to some Old Bailey or other. None the less did we regret our ignorance of the facings, and, after a few minutes, sadly leave the field of glory.

My last visit to the Working-Men’s College was to attend one of Mr. Maurice’s Sunday-evening classes, and this was the only occasion when I ever appeared as a student. It was held at nine in the evening,—out of the way, therefore, of any Church-service. There gathered nearly twenty young men, who seemed in most instances to be personally strangers to each other. Mr. Maurice is so far an historical person that I have a right, I believe, to describe his appearance. He must be about fifty years old now. He looks as if he had done more than fifty years’ worth of work, — and yet does not look older than that, on the whole. His hair is growing white; his face shows traces of experience of more sorts than one, but is very gentle and winning in its expression, both in his welcome, and in the vivid conversation which is called his lecture, He sat at a large table, and we gathered around it with our Testaments and note-books. The subject was the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, — the conversation turning mostly, of course, on the “rest” which the people of God enter into. This is not the place for a report of the exposition, at once completely devout and completely transcendental, by which this distinguished theologian lighted up this passage for that cluster of young men. But I may say something of the manner of one so well known and so widely honored among a “ present posterity” in America, for his works. He read the chapter through, — with a running commentary at first, — blocking out, as it were, his ground notion of it. This was the first éhauche of his criticism ; but you felt after its details without quite finding them. In a word, the impression was precisely the uneasy impression you feel after the first reading of one of his sermons or lectures,— that there is a very grand general conception, but that you do not see how it is going to “fay in” in its respective parts. One of the students intimated some such doubt regarding some of the opening verses, — and there at once appeared enough to show how frank was the relation, in that class at least, between the teacher and the pupils. Then began the real work and the real joy of the evening. Then on the background he had washed in before he began to put in his middle-distance, and at last his foreground, and, last of all, to light up the whole by a set of flashes, which he had reserved, unconsciously, to the close, He dropped his forehead on his hand, worked it nervously with his fingers, as if he were resolved that what was within should serve him, went over the whole chapter in much more detail a second time, held us all charged with his electricity, so that we threw in this, that, or another question or difficulty, — till he fell back yet a third time, and again went through it, weaving the whole together, and making part illustrate part under the light of the comment and illumination "which it had received before, — and so, when we read it with him for the fourth and last time, it was no longer a string of beads, — a set of separate verses, — Jewish, antiquated, and fragmentary,— but one vivid illustration of the “peace which passeth all understanding” into which the Christian man may enter.

With this fortunate illustration and exposition of the worth and work of the Working-Men’s College my connection with it closed. It seems to me a beautiful monument of the love and energy of its founder. Perhaps we are all best known through our friends, or, as the proverb says, “by the company we keep.” Let the reader know Mr. Maurice, then, by remembering that he is the godfather of Tennyson’s son,—

“ Come, when no graver cares annoy, Godfather, come and see your boy,”—

that Charles Kingsley has a Frederic Maurice among his children,—and that Thomas Hughes has a Maurice also. The last was lost, untimely, from this world, in bathing in the Thames. The magnetism of such a man has united the group of workers who have formed the WorkingMen’s College. We need not wonder that with such a spirit it succeeds.