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THE INTRODUCTION will contain what would naturally fall into a Preface. That gives an account of what has been done by others, towards a History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge, and of what is meditated in the following attempt. Still a Preface may supply a few omissions, without aiming to forestall the reader's private judgment. To that a writer is not only bound in duty, but compelled of necessity, to submit. Yet, when two fellow-travellers, before setting out on a journey, agree to leave weightier matters to an after-reckoning, it may be prudent in them to settle smaller by a few simple preliminaries, and ordinary arrangements.
Many years ago I had some fancies in my mind of what materials a History of Cambridge should consist, and, indeed, had, imprudently enough, put them down upon paper. This, however, was merely building a castle in the air, raised, indeed, with something of seriousness in design, but without any danger from experiment. It was a castle which I never thought of inhabiting: but on finding I am to be ' tenant, as well as builder, I perceive my aerial voyage proved a serious adventure, that I have ensnared myself with my own devices, and that I am like the legislator, who became the first victim of his own laws.
But with fairy fancies I intermeddle not now, and with my dreams readers have no concern; not being on fairy ground, but on the Terra Firma of realities, I proceed in a regular progress, and with undisturbed feelings, to a direct point.
Universities are like those springs, which flowing from high grounds, and forming brooks and rivers, and lakes, overspread the face of a country, and give it some peculiar features. They necessarily become interesting; and, as on travelling over extended regions, and observing various bodies of waters, taking different courses, men are gratified in beholding their source, so, after seeing the progress of our