One means of fostering the genius loci was by the establishment of generous scholarships. Newman maintained (perhaps somewhat optimistically) that often,
‘the most studious are the best principled and most religiously minded of the young men; at least a certain share of self-command, good sense, and correctness in deportment they must have; and, by bringing them forward in the way I am proposing, the respect due to successful talent comes in aid of order and virtue, and they become the centre of influence, who are likely to use influence well.’ (Report for the Year 1854–55)
‘Scholars are resident members of a lodging-house, who exercise certain collegiate functions and have certain small privileges, such as privileged access to the dean’s and tutors’ rooms, and their special confidence; and thus, without having a shadow of jurisdiction over the rest, they would constitute a middle party between the superiors and the students, break the force of their collisions, and act as an indirect and spontaneous channel of communicating to the students many an important lesson and truth, which they would not receive, if administered to them from the mouth of a superior.’ (Report for the Year 1854–55)
There is more than an echo here of the prefect system introduced by Thomas Arnold at Rugby School which played a key part in reforming the public-school system. During the middle decades of the nineteenth century it gradually became accepted that character training was enhanced by a delegation of authority to the boys themselves and that, besides instilling virtues, self-government had two practical advantages: it made the headmaster’s job easier, and it prevented rebellion by uniting some of the most influential boys with the masters. Though theologically at odds with Arnold’s latitudinarianism, Newman clearly admired his use of surrogate authority and employed it himself.