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FELLOW AND MATHEMATICAL LECTURER OF CLARE HALL, CAMBRIDGE.
Cambridge; MACMILLAN AND CO.:
London; GEORGE BELL: Dublin; HODGES AND SMITH:
A FEW years' experience, both as Student and as Tutor, has led me to a grateful appreciation of the method of teaching which is at present pursued by our University; one of the highest aims of which is to promote habits of rapid and accurate thought, and in this it is eminently successful. But the nature of the training adopted for this purpose has proved injurious to the style of our Mathematical Literature, more especially in the department of Natural Philosophy. Our educational books of Natural Science, in seeking to fulfil the requirements of the Senate-House, have become mere collections of definite propositions; generally containing, it is true, all the known facts and the mathematical deductions dependent upon them which appertain to the respective subjects, but seldom offering the smallest relief to the barrenness which is incidental to such compositions: in this shape they have lost all the fulness and freshness of life; all popular illustration, all freedom of expression has been denied them; they have been deprived, in fact, of nearly all the charms that usually render the pursuit of science fascinating to the young.
This evil, great as it must be confessed to be, and difficult of complete removal, yet seems easily susceptible of alleviation. If it be found that the mathematical framework of a