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universities, it may be pleasing to trace their origin. There is much to excite our curiositymuch to employ our most serious meditation: for whether viewed in a favourable or unfavourable light, it must on all hands be allowed, they have a material influence on the manners and character of a nation.

And hence the necessity of considering our Universities on the largest scale, of adapting their history to the public feeling ; and, in accommodation to general readers, of giving their true character, and genuine appearance.

At the same time, though it is necessary and expedient to meet the expectations of general readers, it is desirable to meet, more particularly, those of such, as have been members of the University : and as the former, it


be sumed, may find much interest in its history, the latter, it may be expected, will find most pleasure. It is as natural for people to receive gratification from the history of the places where they were educated, as from revisiting them. In both cases, where there is a consciousness of having passed the years of early life in literary pursuits, and virtuous conduct, there will arise a thousand pleasing recollections, not affected much by the remembrance of departed friends, (for what we call melancholy feelings, are our better and more salutary ones) nor much by a



sense of the intermixture of some follies, like the ivy twining about the oak; for time acts by our follies, as by our resentments, it teaches us to forgive and forget.our own infirmities, not less than those of others : so that, generally speaking, in retracing the scenes of early life, and not less in reading their history, there will be found a preponderance of pleasure : and hence the propriety of combining together a particular with a general interest.

This regard to particular interests is more strictly required on subjects, which involve the exercise of the human understanding. Every man of letters supposes he has a right to think for himself: and, on a review of the history of those who have been members of a university, we shall find, as might be expected, all possible variety of opinion; and this variety will be seen as well in philosophy, politics, and even poetry, as in metaphysics and theology.

And here, it being evident that those who have been members of our University are so various in their opinions, it is as evident, that one who writes the history of them shonld not be obtrusive of his own opinions, nor censorious of theirs. He should be of no party, or seem to be of none. He is thrown on a quiet spot, sacred to literature; a narrow neck of land, where he may look all around him, and see each uninterruptedly take his own course; but not with leisure to listen to the eulogiums of parties in their own favour, nor with a right to adopt their railings against their opponents. His destination is fixed by the genius of literature, with respect to philosophy and politics, and more particularly to theology: to borrow a happy expression of Dr. Henry More's, “ God has placed me in a dispensation above any sect, and wilt thou throw me down?" what was dietated to him by his own turn of thinking, may be imposed upon others by their employment.

But to leave generalization for particulars. When it seemed to fall to my lot to attempt a History of Cambridge, I soon perceived that, however inadequate to the task, I was called to a serious undertaking. I considered a University as a great object, a body of learned men, its colleges as so many aggregates, which composed it; and my duty became clear: I determined to proceed with candour and liberality, both with respect to its members departed, and with respect to general readers.

After reflection, without determining where the narrative should begin, I saw where it should end. It seemned expedient to confine it to the dead; and I was ruled by reasons of delicacy, as well as of necessity: those reasons are obvious, without explanation. So I


took a hint of Dr. Fuller's, “ that when men's memories do arise, it is time for history to go to bed :" it seemed at least the rule of prudence in my case; and by this rule I have regulated myself, except where the exercises of our professors, and the course of our public history, required a little variation from a general rule.

But notwithstanding my aim at impartiality, readers will, I suspect, notice a few weak

It has been my fortune, through a period of years, not very short, and from early life, to have had a large and intimate intercourse with learned members of our University: nor has this been interrupted, but rather assisted by any peculiarities in my turn of thinking. These, like letters of recommendation, introduced me to different and opposite parties, as well literary, as political and theological: so that I can truly say, notwithstanding my present seclusion, there were but few colleges, in which there did not occur the names of several members deceased, whom I formerly reckoned among my friends or acquaintance. With some I enjoyed a similarity of pursuit--with others, though my intercourse was accidental, it was interesting—from many I experienced singular kindness * Readers, I am


* I have, I think, expressly mentioned only two among the deceased members of the University, as my friends ; such persuaded, will often discover some partiality of affection, where there is no avowal of friend


particularizings did not suit the nature of this work, and might, besides, have subjected me to unpleasant imputations. In other respects, they would have authenticated my testimony: for an acquaintance with men leads to an acquaintance with their writings. In the two cases alluded to above, "I was insensibly led on, by powerful recollections; in one, of an early college intimacy; in the other, of a long and lasting friendship, in more mature life; in both of a combination of great and good qualities.

But the omission of such a notice was, perhaps, blameable, in the case of Dr. Askew, who was my earliest friend, the patron of my youth; and, though he died before I went to college, and he could realize his friendship, it was natural, under Emmanuel College, that my recollections should be awakened, and that I should feel a pleasure in paying every respect to his memory. Besides, my knowledge of Dr. Askew, though so many years ago, was not without its uses on the present occasion. I was honoured with his notice when I was not above 14 years old, and during four or five years I enjoyed very frequent opportunities of seeing many of the Cambridge literati, who frequented his house-men well known to the learned world-most of those, whom I recollect, have been long since dead; but I live to remember them. And this early knowledge, with Dr. Askew's communicativeness, though interrupted by different connexions and different pursuits in after-life, made at the time a strong impression on my mind, and had left matter for much pleasing recollection. These impressions and recollections have, in several instances, excited a curiosity, and assisted inquiries, much connected with the following undertaking.

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