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History Notes > Intellect and Culture in Victorian Britain Notes

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'The real determinants of university reform lay in social and political change rather than intellectual and institutional developments within the universities themselves'. Discuss. Introduction

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Edinburgh Review (1809 & 1810) - criticised English classical scholarship in comparison to Continent
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Oxbridge - 'cease to lead the intellect of the country'
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Inutility of classics and maths v. German curriculum with research professors

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Sir William Hamilton - Liberal cause of next 20 years advocated in 1830s
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Utilitarian - 'a university is a trust confided by the state to certain hands for the common interests of the nation'

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National efficiency -> universities were corrupt and wasting resources

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Growth of middle classes yet universities were most confined to the elite in Europe
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Desire for democratisation - even women

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Demand for professionalisation - middle classes wanted vocational and scientific training for trade and industry Religion

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Dominated by the Church - moral education for clerical career
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First half century - more than half Oxford graduates

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Mark Pattison on Oxford of 1830s - 'close clerical corporation' -> talent has increased by 1880s due to 'the secularisation of the University'

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MP Robert Collier in 1854 - Oxford was in urgent need of reform as she excluded Dissent, modern science and art -> ignored progress
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'The close atmosphere of Oxford required ventilation'

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Growth of Nonconformism linked to social change -> industrial class Subscription to 39 Articles Conflict at Oxford between liberals and High Church Anglicans of Oxford Movement e.g. Newman
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Pattison - detracted from academic study Jowett to the Royal Commission of 1850 - public want quiet and cheap education and bury ecclesiastical differences Numerous petitions to Parliament - religious tests were partly abolished in the 1850s
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Still some subscription in higher offices up until 1871

Role of the University

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Link to wider secularisation

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Edward Pusey of Oxford Movement - 'the object of the Universities is...to discipline and train the whole moral and intellectual being'
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Pusey, Newman and Keble were some of the most influential opponents of intellectual and institutional liberalising tendencies

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Others thought clergy were incapable of teaching to a high degree

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Arnold and Jowett - liberal attitudes in favour of German forms of scholarship and professorial education and research

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Prepare for working in government and benefiting the nation

Issue of role of university
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Newman - 'the diffusion and extension of knowledge rather than the advancement'
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Henry Vaughan - research

Pressure for reform

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Ideals of utilitarianism, democratisation and liberalism

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Moderate reformers disliked emphasis on exam results
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Trend since New Examination Statute of 1800

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Realisation of need for external input
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To open to all denominations
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Broaden curricula - more 'modern' subjects => away from Classics
+ Maths
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Research

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Recognised within by men like Mark Pattison - did not have time to master all he taught, disliked cramming students and found narrowness of curricula indefensible in the face of scientific development

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Jowett's solution
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Unrestricted meritocratic fellowships
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Broader curriculum
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Specialisation of research
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Construction of university teaching career -> professorial position

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MPs such as James Heywood represented external criticism - curriculum, culture and costs

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1846 - Russell government came to power -> liberals saw possibility of intervention to change statutes

Commissions

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Royal Commissions of Enquiry - Oxford (1850) and Cambridge (1852)

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1852 Oxford Commission - recommended 'a centralised university run predominantly by professors and faculties, with a much higher emphasis on research, on the Scottish/German model'

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Vaughan and others had written to Russell and Gladstone - wanted learned men to reside in Oxford
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Jowett - creates an 'intellectual aristocracy'

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University Reform Acts in 1854 and 1856 (Cambridge)
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Gladstone on Oxford Bill - 'an emancipating measure' in releasing government from fetters which have long restrained it Reform of statutes conducted by 1854 Oxford Executive Commission and 1856 Cambridge Statutory Commission Reform largely imposed by state - to open to all denominations, modernise their curricula, increase utility and encourage research
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Goldman - greatest development was opening of fellowships and scholarships to free competition Further royal commissions investigated statutes and finances -> further reforms - increased democracy and federal position of universities

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Made them into political systems with mainly elected boards of government

External -> internal reform

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1850s acts were compromises - Gladstone gave them freedom
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Hoped for growth of professorial system alongside the tutorial system
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Continuing development up to 1914

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Even by 1853 threat of intervention led to examination of college statutes
-> many admitted need for legislation

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Heyck - external reform movement was a force without which significant reforms would not have occurred yet 'the internal reform movement did most to shape the character and direction of these reforms'

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Continuing reform was seen as a 'golden age' - 1870s
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Mark Pattison - move for further reform in the 1860s aiming to create research institutions and professional specialised careers ->
away from cramming

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Students such as James Stuart were able to become reforming dons Jowett's plans for university extension did not prevail
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Yet successful change in public image
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Stuart's lectures to 'the vast masses who desire education'
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1873 - development of a joint board for examining secondary education Secretary of the London Society for the Extension of University Teaching (1887) - 'I believe the University Extension movement has really saved the Universities' Men such as Lord Robert Cecil were concerned at 'the dangerous precedent of Parliamentary authority' Political and social threat stimulated change -> increasingly secularised with scholarship and research 1900 - enrolment at each university had increased to about 2,5000 each year
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Oxford - 8 honours courses
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Cambridge - 12 triposes
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75% undergraduates took honours exams Reflected social change in inclusion of women
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Cambridge - Girton (1869) and Newnham (1871)
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Oxford - Somerville and LMH (1879)

Science

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Most important?

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Mark Pattison - natural science alone sufficient to alter nature of universities -> need for broadened curriculum and research
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Suggestions on Academical Organisation (1868)

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Yet Michael Farady did not attend university - external associations and societies such as the Royal Institution

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Publicists T. H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer attacked neglect of natural sciences in education

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Oxbridge honours system diverted students from science

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Even in 1852 Daubeny testified to commissioners that average lectures had only 12 students Few scientific faculties and only a few professorships before the 1860s 1873 Devonshire Commission enquired into 'Scientific Instruction and the Advancement of Science' - good quality but low quantity of teaching compared to the Continent e.g. Berlin
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Not a conflict between research and education
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Neither could be neglected without 'grave detriment to the other' Scientific progress is good indicator of reform
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Affected other disciplines and led to greater alteration towards the research and professorial system
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Scarcely begun in the 1850s By the 1870s there was a growth of academic science - particularly at Cambridge with links to Newton and Darwin
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Royal Commission in 1919 saw it as 'perhaps the greatest fact in the history of the University'

Failures

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Majority of developments apart from the Oxford Movement came from outside

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Did not fulfil Jowett's aim of 'opening to the lower and middle classes an honourable way of advancement in life' -> provincial, civic higher education
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Proportion of population may even have decreased

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Cambridge extension lectures -> colleges at Sheffield, Nottingham and Exeter

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Greater cause was social change - stimulant in Oxbridge and determinant in provincial areas

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Desire for more vocational training for commercial and industrial work
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University of London (1826) - nondenominational + professional +
vocational courses
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University colleges - Owens College, Manchester (1851) and Mason's College, Birmingham (1875) -> natural sciences Conclusion

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Reform of Parliament -> inevitable that universities would not avoid social developments
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Shifting class relations and intellectual and religious influences modernisation

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Failure of Oxbridge compensated by civic universities

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University reform -> education became major focus of social advancement
- growing professionalisation and secularisation

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2 phases
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Stimulating factor of social and political change culminating in mid-century legislative reforms
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Internal intellectual and institutional development
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Social change now influenced outside Oxbridge - civic universities

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University reform chiefly due to public demand - press, political arena and Parliament
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Liberating impulse -> internal change

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Intellectual developments were the major determinants of practical reform following constitutional change

To what extent was the idea of a university transformed in this period? (2011)

Introduction

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At a time of social + political reform, it was unlikely that the universities could have avoided this reforming current, especially when there were the new developments in science + methods of teaching

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Contrast with economic dynamism of industrialising Britain - less emphasis on professional education => yet there was increasing professionalisation
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German universities - dedicated to research

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Charles Gillispie - importance of utilitarianism, liberalism + enthusiasm for natural science

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Oxford + Cambridge had Royal Commissions of Enquiry in 1850 + 1852

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University Reform Acts Oxford (1854) + Cambridge (1856)
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1850-80 great age of university reform

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Beginnings of reform came from outside - yet were based on new ideas as to the role of the university Robert Collier + James Bryce (1885) Utilitarianism and Liberalism

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Idea of benefiting the nation as a whole as opposed to elites - 'national efficiency' movement => use of human resources

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1830 - utilitarian attack on misuse of resources => values of work, productivity + efficiency
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Not perpetrators of aristocratic social system

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How was the idea of a university transformed?

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Victorian liberalism - open up institutions => meritocratic + rational
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Royal Commissioners look at schools + universities

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1809-10 Edinburgh Review => Oxford + Cambridge cease to lead the intellect of the country

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Sir William Hamilton (1830s) - 'common interests of the nation'

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Professionalisation - prepare people for work + politics => new ideas

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T. H. Green (1882) - Oxford is 'thoroughly liberalised' => more openness e.g. Nonconformists, less regulations of membership e.g. residence +
curriculum no longer limited to classical studies

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Issue of role of universities - social or intellectual?
Old education

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Concentration on classics - notion of a liberal education as superior training of the mind

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Old Oxford concentrates on making statesmen + clergy
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Whewell - permanent + progressive type => importance of maths for character
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Henry Sidgwick - The Theory of Classical Education => importance of classical education => progressive

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Natural rather than artificial

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Lack of professional education, unlike others such as Scotland - narrow curriculum based on classics at Oxford + maths at Cambridge

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Disraeli (1854) - does not go to university => unreformed Oxbridge is successful in producing elite
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Stable political establishment

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Jowett at Balliol - new model => university is for training good politicians, teachers + civil service => benefits the nation
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1900 - only 10-15% graduates ordained => new secular education Stubbs + Seeley - desire for statesmen Incorporation of history, natural sciences + law Still a 'liberal education' - not vocational training => little technical or professional education
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Bryce - luxury rather than necessity => must still train afterwards Matthew Arnold - most influential => general culture meaning that a liberal education was not just classics
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Any subject could be taught in a 'liberal' way - against purely vocational

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Moral education

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Object of major debate - Anglicans v. secular education
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Moral + religious education

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Edward Pusey - object of universities is to 'discipline + train the whole moral + intellectual being' => centre of moral education

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Pattison - Oxford was de facto, though not de jure, a close clerical corporation in the 1830s
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Secular institution + selection on merit - 1880s
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Less clerical background of students - 28% in 1870 => 17% in 1910
- had been around 1/2

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Anglican tests abolished in the 1854-6 - 39 Articles

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1871 - Secular religious tests completely abolished => English universities are opened up to all religions + backgrounds
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No longer a guardian of the Church - idea of university for creating clergymen

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Liberal education such as Jowett at Balliol still stressed moral side of education Research v. Teaching

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Newman - object of university is 'diffusion + extension of knowledge rather than the advancement'
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Oxford Movement

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Jowett - professional research institution + education for future citizens
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Arnold + Jowett - public service
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Jowett explicitly criticised German + London universities - wanted social education

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Pattison - 'places of original research' => contributed to national wealth of knowledge
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Suggestions on Academical Organisation (1868) - unique proposals
=> very few others 'Research ideal' Henry Vaughan - secular institution dominated by professors

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