The Idea of a University

“I will venture to give you my thoughts,” I then said, writing to a friend, “on the object of the Evening Public Lectures lately delivered in the University House, which, I think, has been misunderstood.

“I can bear witness, not only to their remarkable merit as lectures, but also to the fact that they were very satisfactorily attended. Many, however, attach a vague or unreasonable idea to the word ‘satisfactory,’ and maintain that no lectures can be called satisfactory which do not make a great deal of noise in the place, and they are disappointed otherwise. This is what I mean by misconceiving their object; for such an expectation, and consequent regret, arise from confusing the ordinary with the extraordinary object of a lecture,—upon which point we ought to have clear and definite ideas.

“The ordinary object of lectures is to teach; but there is an object, sometimes demanding attention, and not

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