Page images

old roads, will find that their founda- endowments, their privileges, and tions are built on piles that have be- their rights, benighted as they were come rotten, and the institutions in the inspissated gloom of the dark themselves will sink out of sight, ages, all along haunted by spectral and be swallowed up in the treach- syllogisms, with the shade of Ariserous hollow.

totle himself leading the van, and of And what made the English Uni. Aquinas bringing up the rear, could versities monopolies of learning ? have stood against one small cluster Not the State. The genius loci of of colleges, whether composing a each time-hallowed establishment, University or not, on the banks of which was no other than religion. the Severn or the Trent or the Tyne, Since the Reformation, that religion or on whatever far better than classihas been Christianity in its purest cal stream, Unitarian or Socinian spirit. The form it has assumed is zeal might chuse to build up towers that which seemed best to those who and temples, of a style and order shaped it, and whose sacred bounty of architecture of its own, to put to gave it a power of beneficence that shame the fantastic tricks superstihas made all the wide land rejoice. tion of old played with the lime-work How prosperous now are those noble of Granta and Rhedycina! endowments! Genius, talent, learn. Professor Sedgwick“ expresses ing, sense, science, honour, religion, his surprise at the turn which the all flourish there; but how happens discussion has so far taken. We it, if they have indeed monopolized all have been wrangling upon mere these, that the high-minded, and high- antiquarian facts, and not on the souled, and opulent millions on broad principles of expediency afmillions—for so numerous, they say, fecting the future prospects of are they-who chose to separate Church and State.” That line of themselves from all connexion with argument, he says, “ was forced an the Church of England, and for so him and his friends by their oppomany generations regarded with an nents." Not so. In not very courevil eye the Universities to her so teous terms, as some think, he redear-incorporated with her very marked on the Counter-declaration existence, and prospering in the to the Petition. In the Petition it same light in which she prospered - was said, that “in praying for the how happens it that the Dissenters abolition of these restrictions, they have pot, with all their desire for rejoice in being able to assure your knowledge, and all their power to honourable House, that they are only build up establishments of their own asking for a restitution of their anfor its nurture and extension, done cient academical laws and laudable so, long before now, in rivalry with customs." In the counter-declaration those monopolizing companies com- it is said, “ we, the undersigned posed for ages, as they said, of igno- . resident members of the Senate, rant and slothful men, and to the deem it incumbent upon us, without sure destruction of a system in itself delay, publicly to protest against the 80 ruinous, and therefore naturally allegations and principles set forth so perishable ? True, the Univer- in that petition. We do not admit sities of Oxford and Cambridge that the abolition of the existing rehad got a long start—but then, they strictions would be, as alleged, a were going lazily downhill – their restitution of the ancient laws and very riches, it was said, were their laudable customs of the University; ruin; and though they might have still neither do we acknowledge that any contrived by their privileges to keep of those restrictions were imposed a hold on the country, which it would in a manner formal and unprecehave been no easy matter to force dented.” On this the Professor them to relax, yet is not the fiery zeal goes on to remark, that “if there and burning enthusiasm of young es- be any meaning in words, the two tablishments more than a match for passages above quoted are directly the lukewarm indifference and slow. opposed to one another. They con. blooded indolence of the old ? How tain an expression not of opinion, was it possible tbat a crowd of col. but of facts; if one be true, the other leges on the Cam, and a crowd ofcol. must be false.” There is an expres. leges on the Isis, whatever were their sion-and a very mild one too-both

of opinion and of facts. They pro- adopted, not of innovation, but of test against allegations and principles, prevention. The Standard shews, and though firmly, mildly; and they ibat under the laws against noncondo not admit (can words be gentler?) formity, prior to the time of James the that the abolition of existing restrić- First, private University statutes, for tions would be a restitution of an- the exclusion of nonconformists, cient laws and laudable customs. were altogether unnecessary, “and Professor Sedgwick manfully avows no more to be dreamt of than Unihis approbation of the spirit of what versity statutes for the exclusion of he believes to have been ancient centaurs or griffins." What, then, laws and laudable customs; and it may be asked, is the meaning of earnestly desires that spirit should the restitution of the University sysbreathe again in his beloved Granta. tem prior to the reign of James I. ? His opponents as manfully avow their In what did it differ, in form or spirit, dislike of that spirit, which, at the from the system then fortified by same time, they do not believe ever a confirmatory law, and enduring till did breathe there-were it hence this day-but perbaps now about to forth to be there the pervading and be dissolved ? James was a poor dominant spirit, they anticipate from creature--but good laws have been it consequences the very reverse enacted by despicable Kings, and of those anticipated by him ; more despicable Parliaments, and and surely this is an expression of still more despicable Ministers. And opinion as well as facts. “ If one how happened it, that these innobe true, the other must be false," vating restrictions, destructive of sounds harsh; yet it is, we believe, “the ancient laws and laudable cusbut scholastic language, and the toms of the University," have been words do not sound 80 in Latin. suffered to remain in force till pretty But restricting the question to facts, far on in the reign of William the the Professor has been far from Fourth - William the Liberator ? overwhelming with his facts, and has Did William the Third, who was in not any mighty cause of triumph. his way a liberator too, annul the reWe shall not join “ the wrangling strictions which James the First imupon mere antiquarian facts” which posed? Or did he and other princes he has deprecated; but where has he do what they could to strengthen shewn, that before the time of James them? Was the Oranger blind to the First, Dissenters were ever ad this flagrant crime of the Dethroned ? mitted into the University ? The Edi. Was the freed nation blind to it? tor of the Standard, with his wonted That king and people did not rejoice talent and learning, has shewn, by with one consent to rescind the base numerous quotations from the laws law of the tyrant? No. William had of Edward Sixth and Elizabeth, that the eye as well as the beak of an no Dissenter was permitted even in eagle; and the glorious Revolution of the kingdom; consequently, that no 1688 purged with euphrasy the sight Dissenter could be admitted into the of the pation till it shone, and pierced University. The 6th of James the through despotism with a glance that First was but a recital of the law of withered. But, by all men, the rethe land. Dr Giffard points out to strictiverules of the Universities were Professor Sedgwick the nature of then clearly seen to be safeguards declaratory laws and ancillary sta- to the civil and religious liberties of tutes, as they are called by Lord England. William, therefore, conCoke. They are both alike conser firmed, -not by any specific acts, vative of customs. The one merely for these were not needed, but by render more clear and certain what the whole tenor of his reign, what tbey assume to have been previously James had done; and James did no the law; the other only give effi. more than secure to the Universities cacy to principles before sanctioned by one measure, what Elizabeth had by the Legislature. King James secured to them by another-the meafound no Dissenters in the Universi. sures themselves being different, acties—no avowed Dissenters in the cording to the difference of the times. kingdom. From a new state of af. For in the reign of Elizabeth every fairs, new consequences were ap- body knows that tests were imposed, prehended; and a measure was in order to confine University edu

[ocr errors]

cation to the members of the Esta- tion?)—for a man so highly endowed, blished Church. The Puritang ob- and so eminent in science. But jected to the form of the oath of su- tbere are in the Universities many premacy, which differed from that as good as he who think very now in use, but it was not refused differently; and in saying that he except by the Roman Catholics. has numerous equals there, we mean That oath, and the act of uniformi- to do bim all honour. He is in the ty, constituted the test which was minority, whether we look to numdesigned to keep the Universities bers or intellect. To science, as he for the strict purposes of the Esta- uses the term, the appeal ought not blishment; and the act of King James in reason to be made-though, if it the First, as we have already seen, were, the decision would not be in fa. of which so many complaints have vour of the measure;-as some of the been made, bad been only in con- most illustrious men of science seem formity with the same principle-as to be neutral, or at least are silent was forcibly stated in the House-we-and many are against it. The Theo. believe, in the admirable speech of logical Professors, and the Graduates Sir Robert Ioglis. There really does in Divinity, think and feel as might not seem to us any “ wrangling have been expected of men devoutly about antiquarian facts” here, nor dedicated to the duties of that Church can we sympathize with, nor indeed whose doctrine and discipline they understand, the excessive love and have sworn to preserve immaculate; admiration Professor Sedgwick feels and Professor Sedgwick, who was for the spirit that animated the Uni- above attributing to the Petition an versity of Cambridge centuries ago, authority which did not belong to it, as if it were a spirit so much more as the Premier and other Ministers liberal and enlightened than that were not ashamed to do, says gene wbich now inspires it, and has in- rously-for there are occasions when spired it during its glorious growth; it requires generosity to be justand when it dies, will, we fear, leave “ Of those who occupy the degrees it to gradual, perhaps rapid decay. of highest dignity in the University, That the ages before James the First a large majority are unfortunately were more intellectual than those against us, and among those who which have succeeded, we cannot have signed the counter-declaration, think; 80 that even had Professor are many whose names it is impogSedgwick shewn, what he has been sible to read without sentiments of unable to shew, that the Universi. honour and respect." The Wisdom ties were open to all human beings, of the University is against the mea. and wooed men of all religious sure. creeds to their nursing bosoms, that It is far from agreeable to us to would be no argument with us for argue such a question against such a desiring that those Almæ Matres man—but till be convinces our reashould again appear as the exube- son, we must adhere to our opinions rantly-breasted sisters of Charity, -which we have formed from expeand offer sustenance to all mouths, rience-nor have our opportunities though their milk of sound doctrine of judging aright been less favourmight be “ with sputtering noise re- able than his own. In a letter from jected," and the wry faces and res a lay member of the Senate, publishvolting stomachs of Dissenters shew ed in the John Bull, April 13, we their ingratitude for the much soli- find our own sentiments so much cited but unvalued boon.

better expressed than they could be We again say, that we do earnest- in any words of ours, that we cannot ly desire to hear this great question but enrich our pages with a quotatreated on its merits by Professor tion Sedgwick himself, or some other “I will not discuss with you the Cambridge man of equal powers. question, whether the Universities On them he has let escape him but are more properly Lay or Ecclesias. a few unsatisfactory glimpses of tical corporations. The best writers light. We long for full effulgence to upon English law consider them as be streamed on the principles of the partaking of the nature of both. It is Petition. None can suspect us of sufficient for me to know, that they want of respect-(may we add, affec- have, for three centuries at least, been the sanctuaries and the source of the University, ás a University. of pure and undefiled religion to the Your principle goes to this. You laity and clergy of the land; and use the term Dissenter, but in a that they have been, under the bless. sense which necessarily includes all ing of God, amongst others, the sig- who are not members of the Church nal means of preserving, in the edu- of England, whether Roman Cathocated and influential classes of the lic, Protestant Dissenter, Jew, Turk, country, and through them in the Heretic, or Infidel. You would not nation at large, a purity and a unity have the University draw any disof Christian faith and practice. The tinction, in conferring degrees, or prevalence of dissent and infidelity admission into its governing body, may be traced to causes out of the between a believer and an unbeliereach of human control. Pride and ver. You would have the constituindependence, the offspring of a sud. ency of the University consist of a den emancipation from intellectual mixed body of Christians and infidarkness, the rapid growth of know. dels. All places of dignity and power ledge and of science, unhallowed by are to be open to them. You would the principles of Christian morality, leave it to accident, whether the have contributed to dissever the Chancellor, High Steward, Profesa bonds of the religious and social sys. sors, or other officers of the Univertem.

sity, were of any or no faith. You « Amidst all this confusion and would give persons of every creed error, through seasons of political and no creed a voice in the election anarchy and religious tempest, the of representatives, and thus deprive Church of England has ever been the Church of her only recognised the pole-star which has guided the organs in the House of Commons. bewildered mariner to a haven of The party, with which you are now rest; the Universities of England identified, would also relieve' the have stood in the gap, and unflinch. Bishops from their duties in the other ingly maintained the monarchical House of Parliament. You would institutions of the country, and the of course cease to exact attendance rights and liberties of the people. at the University church, or compliThey have with equal courage and ance with any ordinances pot purely success resisted the tyranny of a scientific. All should be voluntary. King, and the oppression of a Parlia. Such is the state of things you would ment. Has all this been accidental, see established in a Christian Uni. and the fortuitous result of tempo versity, and you would get affect to rary coincidence ? Has it not rather believe that tbe change would not arisen from the principles of Chris- affect the interests of national relitian unity and freedom, which a com- gion.” mon religious training instilled, and What was the reason assigned by a common sense of danger called in Lord Brougham, and the other foundto action ?

ers of the University of London, for " It has been the glory and the the exclusion of Theology ? The blessing of this country, that its utter impossibility of teaching docclergy and laity, as they are associa trines to which all the membersted in station, so are they trained un- who were to be of all sects—could der the same system and within the in conscience conform; and the same walls. No one can doubt, that reason was valid. Therefore all the to this cause is to be attributed, in a students are left to their own religreat degree, the absence of that in gion; and religion-except in as far fidelity which characterises the edu- as all studies of man and nature cated portion and upper classes of comprehend it-is never mentioned the laity of some other countries. within the walls. There is not even The literary cabal which, some years a chair of Natural Theology, which ago, in a neighbouring country, form- surely there might be, as it might ed something like a regular plan for be taught, one would tbink, without the destruction of the Christian reli- offending any faith. But Lord gion, included many who stood high Brougham, or the able writer, whoin the ranks of literature and science. ever he may be, of the exposition of You would have Christianity no the principles which guided the longer an essential part of the system founders, draws a distinction, which so far we think just, between that ing the other-each on its own Seminary and the Universities of grounds—and now, shame to the Oxford and Cambridge. In them hypocrisy that would thus hide its the students are all resident within hidden designs under a mask, the the walls. Each college is a dulce same set of men now declare their domum, wherein youth are instruct- own argument to be worthless, and ed in religion as in their parents' resolve that the system of religious house. If they be not, their life is instruction at Oxford and Camwithout religion. The students in bridge shall be the same as in Gow. the University of London reside er Street—that is, that there shall be with their parents or their friends, none at all. Can there be imagined and from them and with them they any thing more basely wicked than receive religious lessons, each ac- this? Yet Professor Sedgwick becording to the creed of his fathers. lieves them to be friends not only of In a college not only open to Dis- religion, but of the Church! senters, but where an immense ma- Let us turn now to the University jority of the students are Dissenters of Oxford, and to an exposition of -if not, indeed, them all-it is not the principles of the system that has easy, we confess, to see howany other 80 long been happily dominant principle could have been adopted; there, alas! we fear soon to be and that proves how pernicious the broken down,) given in a “ Letter” same principle would be if adopted in from the Rev. W. Sewell, Fellow and institutions of which the character is Tutor of Exeter College-a letter the very reverse the very reverse full of the highest Christian wisdom, their reigning spirit. “In a Univer- which makes us, while we read, sity open to individuals of all reli- often forget his mere talents, though gious opinions, it would be impos- they are of the highest order. We sible,” said Lord Brougham, or his have a pleasure and a pride in reaccredited friend,“ to institute any cording in our pages sentiments so theological lectures, and still less noble, views so comprehensive, and practicable to introduce any reli. reflections 80 profound; and what. gious observances that would be ever be the result, Oxford will for generally complied with.” Whatever honour her champion-for, said Lord John Russell to that prin- humbly as he speaks of himself, ber ciple, when quoted by Mr Goul- champion he is—and of that Church burn, in his very sensible and unan- over which has long been gathering swerable speech ? Not a word. He a cloud, soon to burst either in harmgave it the go-by, as if he had been less rain, or in destructive lightning deaf-and no matter had he been that may smite tower and temple dumb too; but his Lordship never to the dust. The University of Oxgives in his adherence either to his ford, he observes, at present is essenown long if not well-digested opi- tially and permanently changed from nions, nor yet to any of those opi. its original constitution. That is innions of his friends on which, never- deed most true. By many benign theless, he acts—for the time comes and beautiful processes has a happy when it is convenient to break off, reformation been wrought, not only and then with the utmost noncha from the times anterior to James the lance he lets them drop, like phlegm, First — of which Professor Sedgout of his mouth and his mind. wick is so enamoured—but in our He expectorates an opinion-wipes own times, and before our own eyes; his lips, and swallows a lozenge. and it is still going on-for the reLord Brougham, or his accredited formation which intellect, under the friend, judiciously adds, “ In the guidance and inspiration of ChrisUniversities of Oxford and Cam- tianity, effects, never ceases, but bridge, the students, being removed shines more and more unto the perfrom the superintendence of their fect day. parents and guardians, are placed in “ It has becomie,” says Mr Sewell, colleges or domestic establishments, “a society for education, an interwhere it is necessary that religious mediate stage of discipline and study instruction should form part of the between the necessary confinement course of education.” He was jus- of a school, and the perfect liberty tifying the one principle by justify- of manhood. Students do not fre

« PreviousContinue »