33 Epilogue m . g . b ro c k `p ro b le ms . . . r em ot e fro m u s' None of the University's preoccupations during the last academic year before the First World War will surprise a reader of the preceding pages. In November 1913 Convocation killed the proposed Diploma in Commerce and Economics mentioned in the last chapter.1 This unhappy saga, initiated by Curzon, illustrates a recurrent theme of the volume. Those who had received the University's stamp during Queen Victoria's later years held the transmission of the cultural heritage to be their overriding concern. As Chapter 25 shows, they were disinclined to extract money from a `plutocrat' who would provide it only if the University dropped compulsory Greek.2 They did not think it their role to help in keeping Britain ahead of its competitors. Their country was one of the world's richest; but even for the British there was no general diffusion of af¯uence. In that world two assump- tions were easily made, ®rst, that Britain would retain its leading industrial and ®nancial position, and secondly, that, when an undergraduate chose his career, he might well put the likely material reward above all other considera- tions: his chief temptation would be towards materialism and avarice. In the Congregation debate on the proposed diploma the Warden of New College pleaded against `too much of the brains and vigour of the country' being drawn towards the `wealth-amassing career of commerce or business' to the neglect of `the more ennobling careers of the clergyman, the student, the man of science, the teacher, the lawyer, the doctor, and even the public servant'.3 Dr Spooner's remarks were not representative of Oxford opinions. Indeed they hardly did justice to his own, for he was a member of the Political Economy Club and lectured on that subject.4 Their connection with the 1 Gazette xliv. 189. Birmingham University, by contrast, had a faculty of commerce in 1914. See Joseph Chamberlain's speech to the Court of Governors: The Times, 15 May 1905, 12d, e. 2 See p. 631 above. 3 OM xxxii (29 Jan. 1914), 163. The article from which this quotation is taken was by H. E. Morgan, an executive with W. H. Smith, for whom see Pt 1, 499. See also Eustace Percy's attack on `the superstition of the ``liberal professions''': Education at the Crossroads (1930), 53. 4 William Hayter, Spooner (1977), 90. 856 edwardian oxford salient facts was tenuous. The Oxford men then in industry included Lionel Hichens from the Warden's own college, who had just rescued Cammell Laird. He wanted a recognition that industry was `primarily a national service', the object of those engaged in it being `®rst and foremost the good of the community as a whole'.5 Some at least among the lawyers of the time seem to have been less high-minded than this. F. E. Smith was not thought to be indifferent to the size of his fee. In less eccentric and extreme guises, however, opposition to materialism applied far beyond the clergy and characterized universities other than Oxford.6 Curzon's proposed diploma was wrecked by Congregation's insistence that it should be con®ned to graduates. What was `dangerous', in the view of a correspondent of the Oxford Magazine, was `to bring young men to Oxford merely to follow a technical preparation for business'. A principle being at stake, it could not be helped that very few would be willing either to combine the diploma with a pass degree, or to lengthen their residence by working for it after taking honours. The proposal went down, not under the attacks of opponents, but because in its postgraduate form its friends deserted it.7 The mission to the undergraduates which the Bishop of Oxford conducted in February 1914 drew large crowds: the Union was denuded of most of its best speakers that week.8 Interest in the social side of the Church's work was as strong as ever. Oxford House held its annual meeting in the Union's debating hall on 10 May, when a thousand attended to hear about Bethnal Green.9 Meanwhile, unlike the undergraduates, the Bishop had to be con- cerned about heresy, and he therefore warned the diocesan clergy against such deviations as the latest swerve into `Modernism' by the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity. Professor Sanday's defence was published in The Times on 13 May.10 T. H. Green's heirs were naturally less worried than the Bishop 5 Lionel Hichens, Some Problems of Modern Industry (1918), 22. Hichens had become chairman of Cammell Laird in 1910. For a general survey of Oxford men going into industry during the Edwardian period see Pt 1, 499±500. Of 155 men admitted to Wadham, 1903±8, twelve were reckoned to have gone into business: Wadham College, ed. C. S. L. Davies and Jane Garnett (1994), 60. 6 See Rothblatt, Revolution of the Dons (ch. 32 n. 98), 257; Rudyard Kipling, Rectorial Address, St Andrews University, 10 Oct. 1923: Independence (1923), 31. Cambridge, according to Rothblatt, was most reluctant to accept the pleas of Karl Breul, its Professor of German from 1910, that it should treat modern language studies with proper respect. 7 OM xxxii. 176. For a similar emphasis on `culture and enlightenment', as opposed to vocational skills, see pp. 471±7, and 701±2 above; G. Sutherland (ed.), Studies in the Growth of Nineteenth-Century Government (1972), 283 (the `Holmes Circular', 6 Jan. 1910); Jose Â Harris, `Political Thought and the Welfare State, 1870±1940', Past and Present, no. 135 (May 1992), 137±8. The Circular is discussed on pp. 841±2 above. 8 OM xxxii. 201. 9 Isis, 16 May 1914, 10. See Elmhirst, Diary 85±6 (entertaining `the Bethnal Green people', May 1912). 10 The Times, 7 Apr., 6d, 20 Apr., 9e; 13 May, 6c. The Hulsean Professor at Cambridge (W. E. Barnes) had been embroiled with the bishops over the Athanasian Creed a few weeks earlier: The Times, 4 Mar., 7e. epilogue 857 about the spread of `Modernism'. After visiting von Hugel in 1910 C. C. J. È Webb wrote in his diary: `He spoke of the fanatical anti-religion current at Cambridge, from which I think our Greats School has preserved Oxford';11 and in 1917 R. W. Macan, the Master of University College, reviewing ®fty years of religious change in Oxford, called Green `a master-mind in our spiritual building . . . a missionary of the spirit'. By 1914 the views which had once persuaded Pusey to have Macan expelled from Christ Church had become Oxford's academic orthodoxy.12 Those items might suggest that attitudes had not changed greatly in Oxford since the 1890s; but any such conclusion would be mistaken. The undergraduate protests round the turn of the century, when Ruskin College and the Rhodes scholarships were founded, had by now faded into history. In February 1912 the Union had voted nem. con. to congratulate Ruskin on the laying of the foundation stone for its new buildings.13 In 1913 Ruskin students had taken six of the thirteen distinctions in the Diploma in Eco- nomics and Political Science and seven of the ®fteen passes. The Professor of Political Economy was by now supported by one in Political Theory, and by a Reader in Economic History and an All Souls fellow in Political Eco- nomy.14 The fears about allowing the study of contemporary topics were lessening all the time. In 1915, the compulsory ®nals paper on modern English history would include questions about the Victorian age to 1885: the second-year historians who were studying this modern era naturally did not know that conditions would have changed a good deal by the date for their ®nals.15 Among the B.Litt. subjects approved by the Modern History Board in 1914 may be found: `The incidence of local rates and of taxes upon the unearned income of the land'.16 During Lloyd George's time at the Exchequer there were few topics more controversial than that. These incremental changes caught the eye less than the defeat in Con- gregation of the new Responsions statute in the summer of 1914 by 110 votes to 73.17 Persuading the colleges to turn Responsions into a modern-style entrance examination on School Certi®cate lines had been a foredoomed operation. The Bursar of Worcester had no dif®culty in showing that a multi-subject entrance exam which included compulsory Latin and Greek amounted to a formula for emptying his college.18 The vote simply empha- 11 Webb diary, 31 Dec. 1910: Bodl. MS Eng. Misc. e 1157 fo. 17. 12 R. W. Macan, Religious Changes in Oxford During the Last Fifty Years (1917), 13: paper read to Oxford Society for Historical Theology, 14 June 1917. 13 OM xxx (22 Feb. 1912), 228. For the earlier expressions of disdain see p. 810. 14 Norman Chester, Economics, Politics and Social Studies in Oxford, 1900±1985 (1986), 15± 16, 21. One of the `passes' in the Diploma was secured by Jean Paul Getty (see Ch. 7, n. 28). 15 Gazette xlii (19 June 1912), 958. 16 `State insurance, with special reference to England and Germany' and `The British tax system' had been approved in 1913: OUA, FA 4/11/2/2, pp. 13±14, 33±4. 17 Gazette xliv (17 June 1914), 881. 18 OM xxxii (11 June 1914), 389±92, F. J. Lys. 858 edwardian oxford sized that no effective reform of Responsions was possible as long as Con- vocation insisted on compulsory Greek. The Hebdomadal Council was none the less expected to make another attempt at the apparently impossible. `It is,' the Athenaeum's Oxford correspondent commented bleakly, `what they are there for.'19 There was something unreal about the vote in June. As the end of Chapter 23 shows, the members of Council had known since early May that `compulsory Greek' was almost certainly doomed. Some at least of the Greekless Etonians about whom Lyttelton had sent his warning would not apply to Oxford if this entailed being crammed for Responsions; and, even assuming some to be willing to face the prospect, such cramming would hardly be feasible. It was one thing to defend the classics in the last ditch when the number of potential applicants being deterred thereby was quite uncertain: to bar the door deliberately to the country's most famous school would be quite another. Where the pleas of the many had failed this threat from the privileged would be devastatingly effective.20 Public ®gures were much seen in Oxford during this academic year. On 30 October 1913 the Union debated the motion `That military power is eco- nomically and socially futile'. With the help of the visiting speaker, Norman Angell, this was carried by 284 votes to 244. Angell returned to Oxford on 14 November and explained in New College hall, with the Warden in the chair, that military conquest brought no pro®t to the conqueror; and in February a meeting was held to form an `Angellite' Peace and War Society in the University. Gilbert Murray presided, and the organizer of the Garton Foundation, which had been formed to spread Angell's views, made the principal speech.21 A few days later the Navy League provided a counter- blast with the support of the Warden of Wadham and the Master of Uni- versity. The League's chief secretary explained that, while the British Navy was `unchallengeable' for the present, its future strength was a cause for concern.22 In the Trinity term the threat of civil war in Ireland brought heavyweights to Oxford. In May 1914 Milner spoke for Ulster at a mass meeting in the Town Hall: six Oxford heads and many fellows had already signed the Ulster Covenant.23 A few weeks later Haldane addressed a joint 19 Athenaeum, no. 4522 (27 June 1914), 890. 20 See pp. 564; E. Lyttelton to the Vice-Chancellor, 28 Apr. 1914: HCP98 (1914), 81±2. The Master of University (Macan) was soon warning about the danger for Oxford if it continued to demand `antiquated accomplishment' of all its candidates: Oxford Times, 8 Aug. 1914. 21 Isis, 1 Nov. 1913, 5; OM xxxii. 88; Oxford Chronicle, 21 Nov. 1913, 5d; Oxford Times, 7 Feb. 1914, 10a, b. See also J. D. B. Miller, Norman Angell and the Futility of War (1986), 8±9. `We did not know until the war revealed it,' Murray wrote, 7 Sept. 1914, `what this German system meant': Duncan Wilson, Gilbert Murray, OM (1987), 218. 22 Oxford Times, 14 Feb. 1914, 16e. The president of the Navy League had given the same warning earlier in the Union: OM xxx (15 Feb. 1912), 213. 23 Oxford Times, 14 Mar. 1914, 16; 30 May, 11 a±e. See also ibid., 20 June, 6, for the joint University±City meeting chaired by the Mayor. Strachan-Davidson, though a Conservative, thought signing the Covenant incompatible with his position as Master of Balliol. epilogue 859 meeting of the Russell, Palmerston, and Eighty Clubs on the Ulster question and the rise of the Labour Party.24 Britain's continental neighbours aroused far less controversy than the Irish. In January the University French Club had entertained the French Ambassador, who told them that the Entente Cordiale was perfect and complete. In two years the Club's numbers had risen from 54 to 271.25 But Oxford's German students outnumbered the French by far, and as the Encaenia was to show, German scholarship commanded immense respect among the University's senior members.26 When the German Ambassador, Prince Lichnowsky, visited Oxford on 3 June to receive his DCL he was greeted everywhere with enormous enthusiasm. It was the centenary of the King of Prussia's visit after Napoleon had been despatched to Elba; and an `English Studies Course for Foreigners', recently instituted, had proved particularly popular with young Germans. At the dinner in the Masonic Hall the Master of University College recounted how a seedling ®r brought home from the Black Forest was now deeply rooted in his garden and growing well. This parable was received with much thumping of champagne bottles upon the tables. No one who was present, the Oxford Magazine commented, `could doubt the wahlverwandtschaft between German geist È and Oxonian kultur'.27 Four evenings earlier the Union, when entertaining visiting speakers from the Cambridge Union, had agreed, by 96 votes to 60, to `Condemn the Triple Entente as embodying both an unnecessary and an unnatural policy'. This debate reveals a good deal about the Oxford of 1914 and merits a word of explanation. It was not a mere anticipation of the reception which awaited Lichnowsky. Oxford's undergraduates were less likely than their seniors to be impressed by Germany's academic achievements. The speakers for the minority stressed that Britain had been bound to choose between Germany and France, and had made the right choice: if the Triple Entente were to be weakened war would be inevitable. For the majority it was argued that a rapprochement with Germany would be possible for Britain if only the link with France and Russia could be severed. The opening speaker com- bined this with a little isolationism: we `should not', he said, `dabble pro- miscuously in problems that were remote from us'.28 These were the standard arguments to be found then in the press and periodicals: the evening carried no hint of undergraduate radicalism and revolt; anything less like the 24 Ibid. 13 June 13 c,d . 25 Ibid. 31 Jan. 1914, 16d. 26 Four Frenchmen matriculated in 1913±14, thirty-four Germans. The University's Anglo- German club had a `new extension': Isis, 9 May 1914, 6. For the German Honorands in summer 1914 see The Twentieth Century, 3. 27 The Times, 4 June, 10c; OM xxxii. 393, 11 June; E. M. Wright, `My Life at Oxford, Pt 2', Oxford, xiv. 3 (Dec. 1956), 88±92. Macan had studied at Jena as a young man. 28 OM xxxii. 375: Cambridge speaker. 860 edwardian oxford `King and Country' debate of 1933 could hardly be imagined. The Oxford President, who condemned the Entente for `dividing the European powers into two armed camps, and so encouraging rivalry in armaments and strained relations', bore no resemblance to the `angry young men' of a later day. He was a Conservative who had reorganized the ®nances of Oxford's New Tory Club. He had rowed in two winning Boat-Race crews, held a commission in a Territorial battalion of the Black Watch, and was active in a scheme for helping working-class youngsters to ®nd a better future through emigra- tion.29 Distrust of Russia and sharply opposed views about German inten- tions were well-worn themes in the Oxford Union as elsewhere.30 Doubts about the Entente were not con®ned to `Little Englander' Liberals. The History of `The Times' records of these years that while its military correspondent . . . continued trying to win support for the turning of a vague Entente into a precise military and naval alliance, his appeal was listened to in the country generally with great reluctance. To admit openly that Britain was no longer free to act independently was unpalatable to Englishmen.31 If a new feature can be discerned in the debate, it lay in the strength of Norman Angell's appeal among paci®c British people who had long relied on the supremacy of their Navy. Talk of a war between the European powers had been repeated too often to sound convincing either to undergraduates or to their seniors. `Perhaps,' the Oxford Magazine commented after Angell's visit in November 1913, `the armies of 2913 will still be preparing for the ``inevitable war''.'32 Neither these views nor the sporting calendar led to any slackening of interest in matters of defence. On 23 May 1914 the barges were crowded to see University, which had made seven bumps in Torpids and won the rugger cup, `go head' in Eights;33 but ®ve days later a demonstration arranged by 29 Isis, 25 Apr. 1914, 9, A. H. M. Wedderburn (Balliol) as the week's `Isis Idol'; G. C. Drinkwater and T. R. B. Sanders, The Boat Race: Centenary History (1929), 127±31. 30 See, for instance, OM xxix (16 Feb. 1911) 208 (L. N. G. Monte®ore, S. H. Wall), xxx (14 Mar. 1912) 277 (L. F. Urwick), xxxi (15 May 1913) 342 (Viscount Sandon). The persecutions in Russian universities were well known in Oxford. Paul Vinogradoff (Corpus Professor of Jurisprudence, 1903±25) and Alexander Glazunov (Hon. D.Mus., 1907) had both resigned from Russian academic positions in protest at them; and the fame among mathematicians of Sofya Kovalevskaia (1850±91) had done little for Russia's academic reputation. After studying at Heidelberg and Gottingen she had been appointed to a chair at Stockholm. See P. Vinogradoff, È `Russian Universities', Pelican Record, vii (Mar. 1905), 147±50. 31 The Twentieth Century Test, 1884±1912 (History of The Times, vol. 3, 1947), 704. The passage refers to the aftermath of the Agadir crisis of 1911. 32 OM xxxii (20 Nov. 1913), 88, in a comment on Norman Angell's visit: see n. 21 above. For the ®ctional output about `the coming war' see I. F. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War (1966), 131± 61. For a skit on these stories see P. G. Wodehouse, The Swoop, or How Clarence Saved England (1909). 33 University bumped Christ Church, Magdalen, and New College to go head on the third day. It was `many years' since any except the three latter colleges had held either headship or second place. New College had been head since 1911. The Times, 25 May, 38e, 28 May, 13d. epilogue 861 the Imperial Air Fleet Committee was followed by a mass meeting in the Town Hall, where Lord Desborough spoke on the `imperative need for aerial defence'.34 On the day of the Union debate Sir William Robertson inspected more than a thousand of the University contingent of the Of®cers' Training Corps. He arrived late after confusion about his rendezvous with his horse, but pronounced the `turnout and performance of all arms to be excellent', the parade being watched by `a large and, for Oxford, fashionable crowd'. The OTC's military tournament and gymkhana was held in Headington Hill Park on 30 May.35 The contingent's second-in-command was a son of C. R. L. Fletcher, who rowed bow in Oxford's eight and its Henley four. He was to be killed in action ®ve months later.36 Warlike precautions were not con®ned to Oxford's young men. In 1913 a daughter of the Secretary to the Press Delegates was given the task by the University's Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment of obtaining promises of help `in the event of mobilization for war'. One of those from whom she sought a promise was the headmaster of Magdalen College School. He asked her when she expected war to come. `I answered,' May Cannan recorded, ```After the harvest in 1914. The Kiel Canal will be ®nished by then.'''37 By 1914 some parts of Oxford at least were showing an intention of emulating German scholarship. A week or so before the Encaenia the Rector of Exeter brought out an impressive bibliography of `the literary and scien- ti®c work produced by his college's fellows and tutors in recent times'.38 On 6 July The Times's correspondent noted: `Research students still throng the Three of the University College crew were Etonians. Five of them were members of the OTC. All nine were commissioned and served overseas in the war. Two were killed in action. Five received war decorations or `mentions'. No. 6, the stroke-side `heavy man', J. J. Llewellin, attained Cabinet rank in 1942, was made a peer in 1945, and became Governor-General of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953. The Trinity College eight, which went head in 1938 (Twen- tieth Century Oxford, xii±xiii and Plate 7.1) were to suffer still worse: six of those nine (four of the six being RAF pilots) did not survive the Second World War. 34 Isis, 23 May 1914, 12, 30 May, 9. 35 Ibid. 23 May, 9, 30 May, 4: Oxford Times, 6 June, 7c. The Oxford and Cambridge OTCs had also been represented at the Olympia Military Tournament, 15 May. 36 Being a University candidate for a regular commission, R. W. Fletcher had been in action as an of®cer of a Howitzer Brigade since the Marne Battle: Balliol College Register, 1833±1933, ed. I. Elliott (1934), 318. An elder brother (Balliol, 1907±10) was killed on 20 March 1915. 37 May Cannan, Grey Ghosts and Voices (Kineton, 1976), 68. For predictions that 1914 would be the year of greatest danger see Coming of the First World War, ed. R. J. W. Evans and H. Pogge von Strandmann (1988), 165 (M. Brock). Once the Kiel Canal had been widened to take `Dreadnoughts', the German leaders preferred the prospect of an immediate war to one of `war later', because Russian military strength, which already seemed formidable, was due for a further large increase. 38 L. R. Farnell, Bibliography of the Fellows and Tutors of Exeter College in Recent Times (1914); Athenaeum, 28 Mar. 1914, 450; p. 339 above. Membership ®gures for the Royal Society and the British Academy indicate the position of Oxford and Cambridge in British research and scholarship. In 1910 they had 37.6% of the Royal Society fellowships (science) held by British university members, and 74% of the British Academy fellowships (arts): A. H. Halsey and M. A. Trow, The British Academics (1971), 217±18. Oxford's improved position in the world of 862 edwardian oxford 39 Bodleian.' The mixture of military precaution, preoccupation with Ireland, and unre¯ecting con®dence persisted through the ®rst six weeks of the long vacation. At the end of June the OTC camps at Frimley and Aldershot were in full swing. Keble supplied Frimley with two complete platoons, while at Aldershot Oxford's scouting detachment under the Prince of Wales operated with marked success. Primed with their reports, the Oxford commander, J. F. Stenning, an Aramaic scholar who was dean of Wadham, drove `a wedge', as The Times recorded, `into the Cambridge force and split it into two detach- ments'.40 A number of undergraduates had made plans to join in further military operations across the Irish Channel. Carson's army seems to have been the most powerful magnet; but the Nationalist volunteers also had their partisans.41 A newly elected Christ Church lecturer, J. C. Masterman, was completing a year's study at Freiburg. After the assassinations at Sarajevo he was advised by Wolfgang Michael to go home. He had, however, as he later recorded, `a more than average share of that supposed moral and intellectual superiority which is . . . the curse of British Liberals'. Having read Norman Angell's Great Illusion on the futility of aggressive war, and being con®dent that the statesmen would draw back from the brink, he disregarded this advice and was interned.42 On Friday 31 July some 300 foreign students assembled in Oxford for the Extension Delegacy's summer school.43 Forebodings grew during the weekend, especially among the middle-aged. Vera Brittain, who Â had won a Somerville exhibition (and whose ®ance and brother were to be killed in the war), recorded in her diary on 3 August: `The great fear now is that our bungling government will declare England's neutrality.'44 By con- trast, C. C. J. Webb had thought two days earlier: `Things could scarcely look blacker.' On the Sunday evening (2 August), however, Magdalen's high table had some reassuring news. `Bryce told Hogarth today,' Webb noted in his diary, `that our Govt was determined not to go to war and would declare our neutrality tomorrow. But . . . they make some conditionsÐe.g. that Ger- man ships should not pass the straits of Dover.'45 learning had been stressed earlier in Brodrick 344±5, 359, and W. Tuckwell, Reminiscences of Oxford (1900), 6±7. 39 The Times, 6 July, 4d. The Bodleian's holdings had risen since 1888 from 440,000 books to more than a million. 40 Ibid. 24 June, 6e, 27 June, 8e. 41 Information given by the sixth Earl of Harrowby (d. 1987) and S. P. B. Mais (d. 1975). The ®rst (then Viscount Sandon) was in residence. Mais, who had taken his MA in 1913, was then a master at Sherborne School. 42 J. C. Masterman, On the Chariot Wheel (1975), 96±7. 43 Oxford Times, 8 Aug. 44 Vera Brittain, War Diary, 1913±1917, ed. A. Bishop and T. Smart (1981), 84. 45 Bodl. MS Eng. Misc. e 1159. Hogarth, like Webb, was a fellow of Magdalen. At the ®rst Cabinet meeting of 2 Aug. it had been decided to reassure the French about the Channel. For similar fears and hopes in Cambridge on that Sunday see Walter Layton, Dorothy (1961), 56±7. epilogue 863 Webb did not know that a German ultimatum had just been delivered in Brussels, and that even Bryce had admitted `violation of Belgium' to be a casus belli.46 On 3 August Bryce's world, in which the German armies might be hoped to respect Belgian neutrality, at least to the extent of con®ning their advance to the Ardennes, faded away; and H. H. Asquith and Edward Grey, the Balliol pair who ran British foreign policy and dominated the Commons, moved quickly.47 `War declared on Germany before midnight yesterday,' Webb recorded on 5 August, `the Schools converted into a hospital . . . Greats list out: Edward Bridges and Hauer Firsts: wrote to both. It was odd writing to Hauer, who is a German subject.'48 Thomas Case, who was at Weymouth, told various Corpus undergraduates that, if they volunteered and served with the colours beyond the end of the long vacation, they would no longer be regarded as members of the college. When this became known in Oxford, an informal meeting of Corpus fellows drew up a countermanding circular which was despatched urgently to reassure the college's actual and prospect- ive volunteers.49 ` m r ra e b u r n ' lo o k s bac k We didn't listen to Matthew Arnold. We've never thoroughly turned out and cleaned up our higher schools. We've resisted instruction. We've preferred to maintain our national luxuries of a bench of bishops and party politics. And compulsory Greek and the university sneer. . . Well . . . we've got to plough through with itÐwith what we haveÐas what we are. In his novel about the home front in the war's early years H. G. Wells has `Mr. Raeburn' saying this towards the end of 1915.50 `Raeburn' was a portrait of C. F. G. Masterman, with whom Wells was friendly. Masterman had lost his parliamentary seat on promotion to the Cabinet early in 1914 and had failed to ®nd another. Obliged because of this to resign a year later, he had become director of wartime propaganda in Wellington House.51 The 46 Wilson Harris, J. A. Spender (1946), 38. 47 On the expectation of the German advance not crossing the Sambre±Meuse river line see Coming of the First World War (n. 37), 149±51. 48 J. W. Hauer was allowed after some delay to register for an Oxford postgraduate degree: Webb diary, 2 Dec. 1914. 49 G. B. Grundy, Fifty-Five Years at Oxford (1945), 110. Con®rmed by W. Phelps (1882± 1963), Vice-President of Corpus in 1914. According to Grundy, Case had to be removed from a Weymouth street where he was blocking the movement of a company of recruits. 50 H. G. Wells, Mr Britling Sees it Through (1916), 348. On the `Oxford manner' see p. 819 above and Donald Hankey, A Student in Arms (17th edn 1917), 160±1. This collection of pieces about the war had been published ®rst in book form in Apr. 1916. Hankey (Corpus Christi, 1907±10) was killed in action, Oct. 1916. 51 Lucy Masterman, C. F. G. Masterman (1939), 372. Masterman had been at Christ's, Cam- bridge, and had taken a ®rst in the Natural Sciences tripos (1895) and another in Moral Sciences, Pt 2 (1896). He had been president of the Cambridge Union and had been elected to a fellowship of Christ's in 1900. 864 edwardian oxford aftermath of the Battle of Loos was hardly the time for producing a balanced appraisal of English secondary and higher education during the ®fty years since the Taunton Report; but Masterman was a person of greater capacity than some of Oxford's pre-war critics. His strictures on British education, as it was seen under the harsh test of war, are not to be dismissed lightly, although any judgements advanced eighty years later are likely to be less sweeping than his. Oxford's progress was dogged during the nineteenth century by two disadvantages peculiar to itself. First, creating a proper system of teaching and examining had entailed giving classical learning something close to a monopoly: the ordained fellows of the Oxford colleges had not been capable in 1800 of teaching anything else. Secondly, the University had a strong High-Church tradition and the only professional group seeking its accred- itation consisted of those aiming at the Anglican priesthood. Britain did not have an administrative cadre whose members needed university quali®ca- tions. Consequently the disappearance of the `confessional state' involved Oxford in a period of intense controversy. The college fellows emerged from this disliking not merely controversial theology, but any undergraduate studies which seemed novel, speculative, or potentially divisive; and their tradition biased them against university subjects, such as modern languages and engineering, which could be thought materialistic or commercial. There were no `forced marches' for the British during the century: unlike their continental neighbours they escaped revolution, invasion, and civil war. The removal of the twin initial drawbacks was therefore bound to be slow. It was made still slower by the fact that the University, like its rival, was sited in a fairly small town, and consisted of colleges which commanded large endow- ments and strong allegiance from their old members. Oxford was thus dif®cult to reform, but, as newer, more centralized, and less well-resourced institutions found, almost equally dif®cult to challenge.52 These basic constraints are quickly summarized: the dif®culty lies in evaluating their effects. In any university the arrangements may tend to correspond to yesterday's climate rather than today's; and the service pro- vided may re¯ect not so much society's current needs, however interpreted, as the professional interests and inclinations of the academic staff. The natural bias of academics tends to be anti-vocational, since an instrumental view of higher education can hardly be welcome to them. Universities may thus give a distorted and out-of-date image of social attitudes and intensify mental habits which have lost some of their value. Did Oxford's particular dif®culties, combined with the more general ones in higher education, mean that the University was responsible for a large share in the British (and still more the English) defects to which `Raeburn' referred? 52 See pp. 64±5 above. epilogue 865 It is tempting to give a largely negative answer. As `Raeburn's' remarks implied, the crucial defects lay in secondary education: Oxford's heads and fellows had to do what they could with those sent to them by the schools. If `towns and parishes' had been authorized in the 1860s to levy rates in order to establish secondary schools, as the Taunton Commission recommended, only the merest handful might have used the authority.53 It would have been beyond any university's power to eliminate the social snobbery which under- lay the least desirable features of classical schooling in Victorian England. The central control over secondary and higher education which Matthew Arnold admired in Germany made without doubt for a certain kind of ef®ciency; but the price was high. By the end of 1915 C. F. G. Masterman was as eager as anyone to spread the news of Treitschke's baleful in¯uence, and to point out how badly the few rebels had been treated in a university system staffed by state servants.54 The Greats course, which resulted from Oxford's preponderant classical tradition, was the admiration of the univer- sity world; and in philosophy it provided a remarkable combination of classical and modern. Britain had probably received some damage by 1914, whether for peace or war, from Oxford's inclination to disparage entrepreneurship. The extent of this damage, especially where the country's industrial leadership was con- cerned, remains a disputed question.55 It may have been a misfortune that England lacked Technische Hochschulen. That resulted, however, not from Oxford's defects, but from the fact that in English cities the need for higher technical education had become apparent just as the university colleges were being founded.56 Some English employers were immovable in the belief that lads should start in the works when in their teens: if they needed college training they ought to have it near to the factories and the forges.57 Working- class educational opportunities did not depend greatly on the University. Even after the 1902 Education Act the number of poor boys who stayed in 53 SIC (1864), pt 1, 656. 54 M. E. Sadler, `Government and the Universities', McGill University Magazine, xiv. 4 (Dec. 1915), 484±90, republished, Selections from Michael Sadler, Studies in World Citizenship, ed. J. H. Higginson (Liverpool, 1979), 105±7. C. E. McClelland, State, Society, and University in Germany, 1700±1914 (1980) gives an account of restrictions which applied to German univer- sities before 1914: see especially pp. 268±9, 315 (Max Weber's articles, Frankfurter Zeitung, 18 June, 20 Sept. 1908). Friedrich Paulsen, The German Universities, trans. F. Thilly and W. E. Elwang (1906) had made similar criticisms. Sadler had alluded delicately to these in the preface to the English edition, p. xii. 55 For a survey of recent discussion see R. D. Anderson, Universities and Elites in Britain since 1800 (1992), 37±46. 56 Eric Ashby, Technology and the Academics (1958), 64±5. See, however, p. 638 above. 57 PP 1910 xxii. 630 (Board of Education Report, 1908±9); H. G. Wells, The New Machiavelli (2nd edn 1911), 168±9, 173; C. Erickson, British Industrialists: Steel and Hosiery (1959), 35. For views on where higher technology training should be located see p. 12. In 1870 1% of British 17-year-olds had been in full-time education: in 1902 the ®gure was still only 2%: British Social Trends since 1900, ed. A. H. Halsey (1988), 269. 866 edwardian oxford secondary education to 18 was too small to produce many applicants for Oxford despite any alteration which might have been made in Responsions to attract them. The MacDonnell report on the civil service, published in April 1914, drew attention to the insuf®ciency of the facilities for progress up the educational ladder from the primary school to the university. Finally, Oxford was not the only English university to leave its graduates ignorant of the modern world. In 1901 a fellow of a Cambridge college received the Archbishop of Canterbury's invitation to become Bishop of Rangoon. He found that his brother, also a Cambridge fellow, was as ignorant as himself of Rangoon's whereabouts. They decided to start the search for it in the map of Africa.58 These are the elements of a partial, but not of a total defence. Oxford had been accused, with justice, since the 1870s of distorting the school work of many boys who would never reach any university.59 By 1914 the arguments for `compulsory Greek' were far outweighed by those against it:60 by im- peding the creation of a multi-subject entrance examination to Oxford it encouraged a generation of schoolmasters to allow the premature and one- sided specialization which has long been the scourge of English secondary schooling.61 A country in which some of the most capable boys and girls can still remain almost ignorant of science may not have seen the last of `compuls- ory Greek's' ill effects.62 At the other end of the scale, an honours course attracting most of the ablest undergraduates which impinged on the modern world only through some eminent philosophers had long been recognized as one-sided. The 1850 Royal Commission may have underrated the dif®culty 58 PP 1914 xvi. 36. For local education authority award-holders at Oxford and Cambridge, 1911±12, see p. 553. The `ladder' created by the Education Act, 1902, had not been put in place until 1907 when grants to secondary schools were made dependent on the provision of 25% of free places for pupils from public elementary schools: British Social Trends, 232. A. R. Whitham (1863±1930), a scholar of Magdalen College, 1881, and Herbert Ward (1866±1938), a scholar of Corpus Christi College, 1885, had both reached Bradford Grammar School from public ele- mentary schools. Both took ®rsts in Greats and achieved careers of some distinction: PP 1914 xvi. 277. H. J. C. Knight, the brother consulted, told the Rangoon story to a meeting years later: D. H. S. Cranage, Not Only a Dean (1952), 34. 59 P. 11. 60 Curzon, Principles and Methods of University Reform (1909), 101±7; C. M. Bowra, Memories (1966), 331. Council schools apart, in 1912 154 of 503 secondary schools `on the grant list' in England and Wales taught Greek: it was taught in only 29 of the 382 council schools: Educational Statistics, 1911±12, table 38: PP 1913 xlix. 544. 61 Michael Sanderson, The Missing Stratum: Technical School Education in England, 1900± 1990s (1994), 163±5; Letters to `The Times', 1884±1922, Written by Thomas Case, ed. R. B. Mowat (1927), 58±95. In Case's view the classics were central, all the other subjects which schoolmasters tried to introduce being `specialisms'. He wanted `those who proceed to Oxford and Cambridge' to learn, when at school, `Greek and Latin classics, modern languages, mathe- matics, and mechanics, the mother of natural sciences': ibid. 71. 62 See Advancing A Levels (1988), `the Higginson Report', 11. While the harm done by general ignorance of science and technology is undoubted, whether this educational defect has contributed to shortages of scientists and technologists remains doubtful. epilogue 867 63 of combining ancient and modern history in an undergraduate syllabus; but a lament by Raymond Asquith about his education remains eloquent. He had just capped his ®rst in Greats and University prizes with an All Souls fellow- ship; yet he was `®lled', he wrote, `with a kind of intellectual despair. . . the feeling of being behind hand with one's foundationsÐa blank ignorance of history and economy'.64 To put a high value on classical education was anything but a mistake. Pre-war Oxford's faults were, ®rst, to adhere to a classical entrance requirement which not merely did widespread damage to secondary schools, but, according to some of the best judges, actually harmed classical studies themselves, and, secondly, to leave most of the University's ablest undergraduates ignorant of the modern world's history, languages, cultures, institutions, and scienti®c achievement. In his evidence to the MacDonnell Commission in 1912 Stanley Leathes (for whom see p. 814) referred to Greats as `the widest and completest School that exists in any university'. Professor Christopher Brooke's judgement that the attitude of some `proponents' of Greats approached the `mystical' hardly seems unfair. Some of Oxford's classical tutors were still following the path which Jowett had worked out. To them the study of Plato seemed to offer what Professor Turner has called `a humanistic path toward the secular'. In a work published in 1912 R. W. Livingstone wrote: `If anyone comes to these pages looking for a portrait of the ordinary Greek he will be disappointed . . . To understand [the Greek] genius, we must look . . . at the men . . . in whom it was most fully realized, at its ``saints''.'65 This enormous prestige of Greats, allied to a reluctance to see the poss- ibilities in the study of modern languages, had helped to mask the peculiar- ities of a system in which neither of the two largest honours schools provided a well-balanced syllabus. For centuries such a syllabus had been seen as involving two elements, ®rst, useful knowledge, and, secondly, a training in techniques for handling and organizing it. Modern history was strong in the ®rst component, Greats in the second: neither combined both in substantial amounts. The Greats tutors either maintained that use- ful information was not needed in an honours course, or exaggerated the extent to which an acquaintance with short periods of Greek and Roman history could be relevant to current problems.66 Their opposite 63 P. 42. 64 To H. T. Baker, 28 Dec. 1902: John Jolliffe, Raymond Asquith, Life and Letters (1980), 101. As a candidate for University scholarships Raymond had maintained his skill in Greek and Latin composition, and the minutiae of classical scholarship, after completing Classical Moderations. 65 PP 1912±13 xv. 139 (cf. n. 60 above); C. N. L. Brooke, History of the University of Cambridge, 1870±1990 (1993), 243; F. M. Turner, The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (1981), 35; R. W. Livingstone, The Greek Genius and its Meaning for Us (1912), 18, 19. 66 To some effect: Curzon based his (deeply mistaken) argument against the evacuation from the Dardanelles on the disasters of the Athenian retreat from Syracuse: M. Bowra, Memories (1966), 141. R. M. Ogilvie pointed out in Latin and Greek (1964), 121, that the study of the 868 edwardian oxford numbers in Modern History saw Firth's proposal to increase the element of technique, not as improving the mental training which the course provided, but as making it a narrow vocational affair for intending teachers.67 The pamphlet of 1909 headed `Wanted! A New School at Oxford' had been well named.68 Important projects and proposals were afoot in Oxford in 1914. The Engineering Laboratory was being completed: Oxford degrees for women and a Modern Greats course were under discussion; but it would be years before Britain's leaders would bene®t from these changes.69 A great deal had been left to the terrible accelerator of war. A. L. Smith, who had tried as hard as anyone to relate Oxford's studies to the modern world, saw the war, on its outbreak, as providing `a splendid educational opportunity'. He was not wrong, although the ®rst of his adjectives could hardly have been less felicitous.70 In March 1915, for instance, `Representative Government' was added to Oxford's Modern History special subjects, evidence given in 1914 to the select committee on parliamentary procedure being included in the texts set for it.71 Two months later the Hebdomadal Council agreed to appoint a committee `to report on the advisability of instituting a course of study and examination in political economy, political science, and public law leading to a degree, and, if thought desirable, to prepare a scheme for the consideration of Council'.72 By creating a pause in the battles between parties, and evoking both a demand for ef®cient national organization and great social changes, the war removed many of the obstacles to moderniza- tion which have been described in Chapter 25. The story of their removal has been told in the concluding volume of this History; but some of the reforms enacted in Oxford during and soon after the war have been named for convenience in the appendix to this chapter. Even in the aggregate they did not amount to root and branch reform; but, by the end of 1920 when the radical post-war mood had begun to ebb, Oxford, like the world in which it operated, had been much changed. The criticisms of Oxford, overt and implied, which the war stimulated, all pointed one way. In June 1916 the Board of Education's Consultative Committee on Scholarships reported: Roman Empire provided little guidance on the problems of race, religion, and colour which the British faced in India. See pp. 347±9 above. 67 Pp. 370±2. 68 Bodl. G. A. Oxon 88 761 (12). The pamphlet called (p. 4) `for, as it were, a modern-side Greats'. See Sir William Osler, The Old Humanities and the New Science (1919) and The Twentieth Century, 112. 69 By 1914 the term `Modern Greats' was familiar to Oxford undergraduates: see Isis, 13 June 1914, 2±3 (quotation from Sidney Ball's article in The American Oxonian). 70 Rowy Mitchison, `An Oxford Family', Arthur Lionel Forster Smith, ed. E. C. Hodgkin (privately printed, 1979), 76. 71 Faculty Board notice, 13 Mar. 1915: Gazette, xlv (22 Apr. 1915), 533. 72 Chester (n. 14), 24. epilogue 869 The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge should remodel their ®rst examinations (Responsions and Previous) and make them a satisfactory test of the general educa- tion necessary for useful study at a University. No minor reform would be more useful.73 A year later the committee under Stanley Leathes, appointed to revise the Civil Service examination, produced a scheme which they hoped would be A corrective at once to the narrowness of interests and knowledge and the lack of useful accomplishment which may be the defects of the specialist, and to the ignor- ance of modern conditions which may be the defect of students too exclusively devoted to ancient learning . . . The effects of the war in suspending university studies, breaking up traditions, and shaking preconceived ideas, render possible changes more fundamental than any committee would have proposed in ordinary times and than the various vested interests would have tolerated before the war.74 In August 1916 the Prime Minister had appointed committees to investigate the position of modern languages and science in schools and universities. Both reported early in 1918. The ®rst, noting that a national scheme of university scholarships had just been recommended, stressed the importance of awarding some of these in modern languages.75 The science committee reported: All the witnesses we examined who have expressed any opinion on the subject have been unanimous in condemning the retention of Greek as a necessary subject for a degree at Oxford and Cambridge, and with this condemnation we are fully in accord.76 A Swansea steel-master, giving evidence before the Royal Commission on University Education in Wales in 1917, said: I took the chemistry school at Oxford . . . and have been engaged in the production of special steels ever since I left college; and I can see very well now what was lacking in the Oxford chemistry school in my time, and the enormous advantage which might have accrued if we had been in touch with the practical industries . . . The opportunity is there now. It was not there before the war.77 These statements and recommendations were important in themselves; but their real signi®cance lies in the glimpse which they give of the climate change brought by the war in every institution, and in Oxford not least. `Mr Raeburn' had too close a concern with the war's progress to look at its effects. He was dominated by the thought that defects in the school and 73 PP. 1916 viii. 388. The Committee had been appointed in March 1913. 74 PP. 1917±18 viii. 131. See also p. 497 above (Strong, Oct. 1916). 75 PP. 1918 ix. 433. 76 Ibid. 529. See also resolutions of conference chaired by Lord Rayleigh, 3 May 1916. 77 PP. 1917±18 xii. 619. The last two remarks quoted refer to the Welsh university colleges rather than to Oxford. 870 edwardian oxford university systems were preventing the British from ®ghting the war with the ef®ciency needed. `Three times this year,' he said, `we have missed victories because of the badness of our staff work . . . It's because the sort of man we turn out from our public schools has never learned how to . . . do anything smartly and quickly.'78 That there was evidence to back this view can hardly be doubted, although at Loos the commander-in-chief had been far more at fault than his junior of®cers, and in war the search for scapegoats seldom ceases.79 Possibly Oxford had failed some of its young men as badly as had their public schools; but `Raeburn' may have been overlooking the change, much stressed already in this volume, between the `muddied oafs' about whom Kipling had written in 1901 and their successors ten years later.80 Ronald Poulton, whose doings in Balliol were mentioned in Chapter 31, exempli®ed this change. He captained the University's rugby ®fteen in 1911, and the England team three years later. During this captaincy England won the `triple crown' for the second year running; and in the ®nal match in 1914 against France he set a record by scoring four tries.81 By then he had been capped seventeen times for England; but, though constantly muddied, he was no oaf. Poulton's Oxford record, which included a second in the new Engineering school, reveals a thoughtful man whose capacity to work hard was not limited to rugby. By going to be trained in a large Manchester engineering ®rm, and taking an evening course in the city's college of technology, he learned a good deal about the working class. He regarded trade unionism as `the workman's only redress against exploitation', but was concerned that some trades should have so much more political muscle than others. He supported the Workers' Educational Association strongly, and pleaded in the Sportsman for putting rugby `on an immovable basis among all classes of the community'. After England had defeated Ireland at Twickenham in Febru- ary 1914 he was found deep in theological argument with a member of the Pusey House staff. He had been the secretary of the Balliol Boys' Club and much of his time after he had gone down was given to boys' clubs and to studying the problems of running them. Holding a Territorial commission (after service in the Oxford OTC), he joined his battalion on 2 August 1914, volunteered at once for overseas service, and was killed by a sniper at the age of 25 on 5 May 1915. The tributes to him give a glimpse of the qualities which contemporaries then hoped to ®nd in an Oxford man. `He . . . played,' in the words of the Irish rugby captain, `for his side and never for himself . . . It was as much a pleasure to play against him as with him.' A sergeant in 78 Mr Britling (n. 50), 349. 79 John Terraine, The First World War (1984 edn), 92±3. 80 For Kipling's phrase see Ch. 31, n. 101. 81 E. B. Poulton, Life of Ronald Poulton (1919), 222±7. For convenience the name of Poulton is used here. For the change of name in the spring of 1914 see Ch. 31, n. 71. epilogue 871 a neighbouring battalion of a different regiment wrote that in his unit Captain Poulton had been `looked on as a personal friend, and I think he was known by every man in the British army'.82 The complaints of late 1915 concerned Oxford's latest products. Even if their education had not brought them to the highest competence, it had certainly done nothing to impair their courage and tenacity. A rather differ- ent question concerns the education of those Oxford men of earlier genera- tions, including Asquith and Grey, who exercised a controlling in¯uence on British policy in the immediately pre-war years. Why was the threat from Germany, which seems (as always) so clear in retrospect,83 not seen clearly at the time? Its nature may be brie¯y summarized. In Germany an unstable and discredited Kaiser, and a Chancellor who commanded little political or constitutional authority, were confronted by army leaders used to military supremacy and convinced that it was slipping from them. This regime, lacking both effective parliamentary control and a guiding hand, was drawn always towards demagogic militarism, and eventually to the wild gamble of war.84 The various German leaders had the rickety Austro-Hungarian em- pire as their one reliable ally. By 1914 they dared not restrain Vienna from seeking prestige by crushing the Serbs; and, once they judged the best time for the `inevitable war' to have come, they had little inducement to exercise this restraint. In May 1914 it took no more than a few days in Berlin for Colonel House from Texas to realize how things stood.85 The question posed is not one about the war crisis itself. Asquith's con- duct of that is hard to fault. He held his Cabinet together with great skill until the German government left him and his colleagues with only one possible course of action. `A House of Commons,' Harold Begbie wrote, `that had hesitated an hour after the invasion of Belgium would have been swept out of existence by the wrath and indignation of the people.'86 No British policy devised to deter Germany from making war could have over- come isolationist attitudes at home, or had the slightest effect in Berlin, without informed and determined leadership over a span of years from both Liberals and Conservatives. Oxford does not seem to have contributed much to supplying such leadership. Four men who stood high in British 82 Ibid. 214, 219±20, 258±60, 298±306, 366; P. Guedalla, Supers and Supermen (1920), 248±53. Engineering honours had become available in 1910. Poulton was one of four to gain them in 1911. 83 Coming of the First World War (n. 37), 164±5; R. C. K. Ensor, England, 1870±1914 (1936), 469±71, 481±3; Lord Vansittart, The Mist Procession (1958), 99. 84 On the `gamble' see Avner Offer, `Going to War in 1914: a Matter of Honour?', Politics and Society, 23 (1995), 222; P. M. Kennedy (ed.), The War Plans of the Great Powers (1979), 213 (L. C. F. Turner). 85 Burton J. Hendrick, Walter H. Page (2 vols, New York, 1923), i. 295±6, 299; Charles Seymour, Intimate Papers of Colonel House (4 vols 1926±8), i. 267±70. 86 [Harold Begbie], The Mirrors of Downing Street (1920), 51. 872 edwardian oxford politics during the pre-war periodÐLeo Amery, Herbert Samuel, J. A. Simon, and F. E. SmithÐhad all gained Oxford ®rsts in the 1890s. Amery and Simon had won ®rsts in Greats and All Souls fellowships. Both of the Liberals had become cabinet ministers by 1914: both of the Conservatives were prominent spokesmen on defence problems.87 None of the four helped colleagues with fewer educational advantages to go beyond party slogans and to think seriously about the dangers by which the country was faced. Simon and Samuel spoke during the war crisis with a notable disregard for what had long been known everywhere, namely the German commanders' war plan to attack France by way of Belgium.88 At Manchester on 25 July Simon adjured his hearers to resolve that, during the crisis, `the part which this country plays shall from beginning to end be the part of a mediator.'89 He did not explain how the British could remain mediators if summoned either to help the Belgians under the terms of the 1839 treaty, or to stop the German navy from using the Channel to bombard the French coast. On the evening of 2 August Samuel told his wife of his continuing hope that the German army would not `invade Belgium'.90 Amery, having been in Berlin during the Boer War, had no illusions on that score; but his view of British policy now seems remarkable. `We are not a part of Europe,' he told Milner in May 1915, even if the most important unit of the British community lies off the European coast. The war against a German domination of Europe was only necessary because we had failed to make ourselves suf®ciently strong and united as an Empire to be able to afford to disregard the European balance.91 F. E. Smith wrote to his wife from France in October 1914 to express his remorse for the extravagance which had left her short of money; `but the one thing,' he added, `I never anticipated was what has happened.' Unfortunately he had not been confronted by Miss Cannan's remark about the Kiel Canal.92 On this issue the Prime Minister was a better advertisement for high achievement at Oxford than any of these four. As early as November 1908 he told Balfour that the Germans' `internal conditions . . . were so unsatis- factory that they might be driven to the wildest adventures'.93 But his later 87 See, for example Parl. Deb. 4 July 1912, 5S xxxx. 1340±52 (Amery); F. E. Smith, Unionist Policy and Other Essays (1913), 77±8. 88 Amery referred to this plan openly, 4 July 1912 (n. 87 above). 89 The Times, 27 July, 7e. See also Manchester Guardian, 27 July, 8c. 90 Samuel Papers, House of Lords Record Of®ce, A 157/697, fos 54±5. 91 To Milner, 26 May 1915: Leo Amery Diaries, 1896±1929, ed. John Barnes and David Nicholson (1980), 116. 92 P. 861. 15 Oct.: John Campbell, Birkenhead (1983), 384. In Sept. 1914 F. E. Smith told a London meeting that Germany's aggressive intentions had been known for years, but that, until 4 Aug., they had been spoken of only `with a delicacy and reticence which were proper in times of peace': The Times, 12 Sept., 10c, d. 93 Balfour to Lansdowne, 6 Nov. 1908: K. Young, A. J. Balfour (1963), 271. epilogue 873 remarks did not show much understanding of the countries with which he was dealing. He compared Bethmann Hollweg to Abraham Lincoln, and attributed the harshness of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia (23 July 1914) to `the Austrians [being] quite the stupidest people in Europe'.94 He did not ask whether these impossibly harsh terms might imply Berlin's sanction for the Austrian leaders to shore up their crumbling in¯uence by smashing Serbia.95 The `tranquil consciousness of effortless superiority' which he had identi®ed humorously as Balliol's hallmark was no longer enough for a statesman.96 These eminent Oxonians had never been taught to apply their trained minds to the institutions and the problems of the world in which they operated.97 The need for syllabuses which might throw light on the present day had scarcely been appreciated in Oxford until the last years before the war; and it would be some time before the dif®culties in teaching and examining which applied to honours courses stretching to the contem- porary world could be fully mastered. Only then would the validity of such courses be unquestioned everywhere.98 An absence of insight about the European situation certainly did not betoken frivolity or lack of concern in the Premier or his colleagues. `War,' Asquith wrote to Venetia Stanley on 3 August, `or anything that seems likely to lead to war is always popular with the London mob . . . How one loathes such levity.'99 Like his juniors he knew his University's defects: like him they bore its stamp and held it in affection. During the First World War C. R. Attlee would take an imaginary walk through Oxford when under shell-®re or as zero hour neared;100 and as an ex-Prime Minister of 70 he testi®ed to the `abiding love of the city and the University, and especially for his own college' which his undergraduate years had given him.101 Lawrence Jones took much the same view. Looking back after thirty-six years, he wrote: 94 A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe (1954), 460 n.1; Asquith to Venetia Stanley, 26 July 1914: H. H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia, ed. M. and E. Brock (1982) 125±6. 95 For Berlin's knowledge of, and sanction for, the unacceptable terms of the Austrian ultimatum see S. E. Miller, S. M. Lynn-Jones, and S. Van Evera, Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War (1991), 266, 273. 96 Asquith was speaking at the dinner of Balliol MPs to celebrate his premiership: The Times, 23 July 1908, 12c. 97 For Philip Kerr's forecast about a German attack on France through Belgium see Ch. 31, n. 210. 98 See Chester (n. 14), chs. 3, 4, and 5. 99 Letters to Venetia, 148. Asquith's third son, Arthur (New College), who was to have a distinguished war career, spoke in the same way: Champion Redoubtable: Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1914±45, ed. Mark Pottle (1998), 205. 100 Earl Attlee mentioned this when receiving the Freedom of Oxford City, 28 Feb. 1956. I am grateful to Professor M. R. D. Foot, who was present, for this information. 101 C. R. Attlee, As It Happened (1954), 16. Clearly Attlee was not worried by having gone through life `looking at things through Oxford spectacles' (John Perry, 1903, Pt 1, 502). He might have been equally unimpressed by the theory (advanced in Walter Ellis's book, 1994) about an `Oxbridge Conspiracy'. 874 edwardian oxford Towards the end of the ®rst Great War, when I was ill, severely wounded, half- starved, sleepless, and a prisoner of war among the sands of Pomerania, it was Balliol Chapel that rendered me ®rst-aid . . . When my attention had wandered during . . . sermons, I had been used to read the memorial tablets on the Chapel walls . . . One of these . . . was inscribed in Greek, a passage, not from the Gospels, but from . . . Aris- totle. I knew just enough Greek to construe it after a fashion, and it was . . . in Greek that I repeated it to myself for comfort in my troubles.102 102 Edwardian Youth, 31±2. The tablet commemorates Evelyn Abbott and Sir John Conroy. Translated the inscription reads: `Yet even in these [chance events] nobility shines through, when a man bears with resignation many great misfortunes, not through insensibility to pain but through nobility and greatness of soul': Nichomachean Ethics, I. 11, 1100 b 30. Aristotle is discussing whether chance can affect virtue and happiness. For Abbott's misfortunes see pp. 337±8 above. For Cecil Rhodes and an Aristotelian doctrine see the commentary to Plate 9.