Prof. Max Müller

    Abstract

    IT was decided at a Convocation held at Oxford on Tuesday that an inducement should be offered to Prof. Max Muller to continue to honour Oxford by remaining connected with that University. It would certainly have been a disgrace had no effort been made to retain the services of so eminent a scholar, which other countries are eagerly anxious to obtain. The proposal made by the Dean of Christ Church, which was carried by a large majority, was to relieve Prof. Müller of the obligation to lecture, and to provide for the appointment of a deputy, who should receive one-half of the salary of the present Professor. This scheme is confessedly somewhat of a makeshift; time was of importance, and the proper course, by statute, because lengthy, was not available. Vienna had offered the Professor a Chair of Sanskrit and provision for the publication of his books; and to this offer an immediate answer was necessary. The present, the Dean wished it to be understood, was a provisional arrangement in view of impending changes. The Dean was authorised to state that the Government “Universities” Bill would constitute an Executive Commission, with powers to receive schemes from Colleges, and to base upon them the new University and Collegiate organisation. He pledged himself there should be an opportunity given for considering in constitutional form the permanent arrangement of the matter at present in hand. He defended the decree from the charge of robbing Comparative Philology, for Sanskrit studies were an essential part of it, and the arrangement would give an admirable opportunity fulsome young man to make out his claim to the Professorship. He could have wished the arrangement had been more liberal, but, in fact, the University had come to the end of its tether. The Dean then dwelt on the high value of the Professor's services. He told how Mr. Max Müller had “audaciously” projected, when but a youth and a pupil of Burnouf, an edition of the Rigveda. For this he was forced to come to England, for which purpose he raised funds by translations, &c. Bunsen, on whom he called without introduction, had forwarded him to Prof. Wilson, and the India House, with sagacious liberality, took him up. Dean Gaisford had bidden men read Homer, with some ancient commentator, as the key to Greek literature. If these had been only accessible in manuscript, involving the reading, indexing, and perpetual annotation of infinite other MSS., who would have undertaken the task? And this was what Max Müller had done. Dean Liddell knew not whether to admire and wonder at most—his ardour in commencing, his perseverance in continuing, or his genius in the execution of his work. With regard to a recent statement as to Prof. Mailer's future work, the Dean stated the fact to be that the University had accepted the offer of publishing a choice selection of translations from Sacred Books—at the utmost, twenty-four volumes. But this, it was obvious, was sufficient to prevent the Professor from enjoying the position of a sinecurist. The Dean concluded, by enumerating a list of the Professor's distinctions, and urged the University to keep him if it could, how it could, while it could.

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