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Rome, as the other kings of Europe were", and schools and colleges of literature, insignificant as they may be thought, depended, I suspect, on them for their foundations.
It seems, by the archbishop of Canterbury's letter, A. 1309, that the University was subject to his visitation ; and, as the kings of England had the investiture of -bishops, and the power of suspending or bestowing church livings, (quia reges Angliæ unguuntur in capite,) so were the archbishops of Canterbury considered, tanquam alterius orbis papæ.
. I do not deny that there are indulta in the black book : but I suspect there are no such bulls relating to the foundation of the University, in the archives ;, and yet, as we have seen, an university of schools, under a rector and masters, existed long before.
It seems, then, and I am willing to believe it, that alma mater, considered as the fruitful mother of literary-civil societies, was rather an elève of our kings, than of popes. Kings gave the charters of foundation, with deeds of mortmain, and their founders, generally, or some one acting under their authority, gave statutes. thought themselves entitled to bestow on them any privileges, yet, if those privileges became oppressions, the king, with his parliament, could remove them: and we accordingly, find, in the famous dispute between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, on the one part, and the four orders of friars mendicant on the other, an order of Edward III. Nostre seignur le roi en parlement, com
And if popes
Sir Robert Cotton's Posthuma, p. 76. Precedency of the Kings of England.
b 2 Edward 2. Hare.
c Cottoni Posthuma.
manding the friars to renounce and suspend the execution of all papal bulls. As to constitutions and decretals, of which more in another place, if one prince might think it a privilege to have them read, a royal order could also set them aside; and as a matter of authority, they had none, but so far as they were consistent with the law of the land, and in our common law courts, they had no power at all; non currit lex.
But the pope had ecclesiastical authority here, certainly; and, as by that he exempted the University of Oxford from the jurisdiction of the bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese Oxford lay, so did he the University of Cambridge, from that of the bishop of Ely. The affair was referred to the decision of pope Martin V. who gave it in favour of the University, the spurious bulls of Honorius and Sergius, A. 624, and 699, being produced on the occasion, and the exemption was confirmed by pope Eugene IV.
In the year 1288, as stated in our histories, (and this might have been mentioned before,) Peter House was founded; and as my limits do not admit of a regular history of the University, when I come to treat of particular colleges, I shall speak of several things that properly belong to this place. I must content myself, as I have all along, with being very general now.
. Et auss voet le roi, que l'execution de touz les impetracions des bulles & proces, faitz ou pursuite, ou affaire ou pursuer en temps avenir en la court de Rome, et aillours par les freres des ditz ordres, ou nul persone singulere de ycelles en general ou especial, countre la dite Universitie, ou ascune persone d'ycelle, puis la fesance du dit estatut, cesse de tout, et soit mys a neant. Parl. 40. Edward 3. 9, 10, 11. This remarkable order may be seen, too, at large, in the Appendix to Ayliffe's Hisa tory of Oxford, p. 22. It is in Norman French,
In the first year of his reign, Henry gave them a most ample charter, reciting and confirming the principal charters of Edward II. and letters patent of Edward III.
In the year 1401, the second of Henry IV. the archbishop of Canterbury, -as the alterius orbis papa, though with power from the crown, made an official visitation of the University, and, by commission, to the distinct colleges; inquiring, whether the statutes of the University had been observed, and the college chests carefully kept; whether the scholars were obedient to the chancellor, and peace preserved in the University; and as an important branch of his authority, whether there were any suspected of holding Wickliffe's opinion, or any other heretical pravity; ordering, that no book of Wickliffe's should be read or taught, that was not first approved, by either of the Universities. But provision was made, that the visitation of the archbishop being an appeal, the jurisdiction of the University should be preserved.
Archbishop Arundel was this visitor; but he acted under the king, not the pope: so, at least, I apprehend, and for the following reasons.
A University, as judge Blackstone correctly observes, is a civil, not an ecclesiastical corporation. And several years before this period, we find an English king, in his PROHIBITION, relating to archbishops &c. visiting colleges, several years before, at Oxford, speaks of those opposing that visitation, as opposing his right and crown, (sunt nonnulli nitentes jus nostrum regium enervare, et coronam nostram in hac parte enervare, &c. 5); and we
a Anno 1408. Hare's Collections.
b Pat. 17. Ric. 11. The Prohibitio Regis, &c, may be seen at length in Ayliffe's History of Oxford, vol. ii. p. 24.
find, that, though Arundel, who exercised this office of general visitor, was an ecclesiastic, the next, lord Cromwell, under Henry VIII. was a laymana.
I must not forget to observe, under this reign, that Henry gave them a MOST AMPLE CHARTER, viz. one, which confirmed former privileges, and recited the principal charters and letters patent of Edward III. nor that famous, rather infamous act, passed in this king's reign", de Heretico Comburendo, it being connected with this power of the archbishop, to punish religious opinions.
a It is not meant to say, either here, or elsewhere, that the pope did not claim power to grant privileges to monks, and to the schools, in their mo, nasteries: and that some of the Saxon and Danish kings did not so humble themselves as to receive powers from him, in respect of schools, abbies, and churches. Thus our Danish king, Canute, obtained power of the pope, and paid him for it, to found a free school, that is, one endowed with ecclesiastical privileges. Chronicon Joannis Abbatis sancti de Burgo: and, on another occasion, we find our royal saint and monk, Edward the Confessor, obtaining authority from pope Nicholas II. in these memorable words: Vobis verò, et posteris vestris regibus committimus advocationem et tuitionem ejusdem loci et omnium totius Angliæ ecclesiarum, et vice nostra, cum concilio episcopi, ut abbat. constituatis ubiq. quæ justa sunt. But, whatever superstitious princes might concede, or popes grant, our English kings laid claims, in their own right, to such power in ecclesiastical matters, as the Roman emperors possessed before the fall of the empire, by dividing bishoprics, granting investitures, and making laws, both ecclesiastical and civil. Laws were made against papal encroachments, in Edward I. and Edward III. and Richard II.'s reigns, with re. spect to investitures, and the pope's bulls had no legal authority without the king's licence. The pope, however, would be still, often presuming on his authority. But the matter was brought to issue, in Henry VIII's reign, in favour of the ancient rights of the kings of England, in the important cases of investiture, appeals, legates, and other articles of the papal usurpation, as clearly stated in Bishop Burnet's History of the Reformation.
b Rymer's Federa.
In the ninth year of Henry V. the University obtained two remarkable privileges: one was, a statute of the kingdom, that no one should practice the art of medicine but those admitted in the Universities, and approved by them; offenders were to be punished at the discretion of the privy council: and the College of Physicians in London sympathizes with this principle so far, still, that though they authorise others to practice medicine, as licentiates, they admit none to be fellows of their college, but graduates of Oxford or Cambridge. The other privilege was obtained by a mandate of the archbishop, with the consent of his brethren, and prelates of his province, that patrons should bestow ecclesiastical benefices only on graduates and students of the University -,
I might enumerate disturbances under Hen. VI. For, as in former reigns, there were commotions between the townsmen and gownsmen, so were violent disturbances excited in this, by some Irish members of the University. In consequence of these, the communitas Angliæ presented a petition to parliament, and by a statute of the realm, it was ordained, that Irish scholars should not reside in either University, but as subject to certain regulations .
In this king's reign (A. D. 1430 and 1431,) the University obtained those two most important public instruments, entitled, PROCESSUS BERNWELLENSIS, and Bulla Papæ Eugenii IV, by which the jurisdiction of the
• Hare's Collections.
0 Statutum Regni de Hibernis ob impia scelera sua ex Anglia ejiciendis, et quod scholaribus Hibernicis in utraq. academia adhuc morari licet sub certis conditionibus. 1 Henry VI. Hare's Index, vol. i. p. 41. The petition expresses it, impia flagitia Hibernorum, Scotorum, et Wallorum, tam in villa et comitatu Cantab. quam alibi perpetrata.