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But in the year 1763, Dr. Walker, vice-master of Trinity College, with the assistance of Mr. Miller of Chelsea, formed a regular establishment. A mansion was bought, formerly a monastery of St. Augustine, of which there are still some remains, with a garden and five tenements in Pembroke lane, on the south-east side of the town, for 16001. These premises were given in trust to the University, for a public botanic garden, and Dr. W. left by will the chancellor trustee; in his absence, the vice-chancellor, the master of Trinity College, the provost of King's College, the master of St. John's College, and the professor of physic, and their successors, for the time being, were appointed inspectors and governors, with full powers to regulate and arrange the new institution.
A botanical garden is a great ornament to a seat of learning ; always useful, too, as a place of research and curiosity to students. With respect to this garden, it abounds, as may be expected, with a great variety of foreign, as well as aquatic and indigenous plants, with trees of our own country, as well forest trees, as aquatic and mountain; but, principally of beautiful, curious trees of foreign growth: those of peculiar distinction are of American origin, some derived from the East and West Indies, others from Botany Bay: the last introduced were brought from Greece and Egypt, and more northern climes, by Dr. Clarke and Mr. Cripps. This garden is understood, too, to be kept in excellent order, though there are at present, no regular lectures given in that science-for which solely it was instituted—botanya.
But the old house has been long since removed, new buildings have
a This is said merely in a way of statement, not of censure. There may be reasons for the omission, with which I am not acquainted.
been erected in its place, two lecture-rooms been built, and every provision made, suited to the purpose of giving lectures in botany and chemistry: and as for the former the garden itself presents a sort of natural apparatus, so, for the latter, an appropriate one has been provided on the spot by the University: here lectures are given in mineralogy, experimental philosophy, and chemistry. Here too, are delivered the experimental lectures of Mr. Farish, of which mention has already been made.
Who loves a garden loves a green-house too.
An account of
I shall not describe the green-house. its order, economy, and varieties,
foreigners from many lands, They form one social shade, as if convened By magic summons of the Orphean lyrea.
belongs to the botanist, and there is a copious catalogue of the contents of this garden, by the late botanical gardener, Mr. Donn.
It is obvious to observe, that the impression made upon the mind, on contemplating such a spot as this, is not connected with that pleasing science, called landscapegardening, so well illustrated, as before observed, by Monsieur d'Ermenonville, and Mr. Mason. In the latter case, the pleasure depends on design, (for it is a species of painting,) on detail, the fitting of parts to each other, and to the face of the country; to the effect of perspective, of proper distances, and the influence of lights and shades. Nor does it arise from any stateliness, or magnificence, by which art combines with nature, to form the majestic, extended park,
* Cowper's Description of a Greert-house, in book iii, of the Task.
where over-head upgrow
nor does it arise from a mere diversity of tints, nor the agreeable variety of odorous sweets, as in a flower-garden. A university botanic-garden combines the gratifications of sense with those of association and intellect: and in reference to its more peculiar object, resembles the closet of a student, which comprehends the productions of genius in every climate. This is the more habitual feeling. Occasionally walking in such a garden, composed of trees, and plants, and flowers, of different countries, and different growth, resembles conversing with people of all climates and languages; as the delight experienced in a plain English garden, does a conversation with a more intimate friend. And this must suffice for the Botanic Garden.
Art thou, young student, the child of fancy? Then, may'st thou indulge it in yon Botanic Garden.
It is a rural seat, of various hue.
Thou may'st occasionally choose, perhaps, to adopt the theory, and borrow the language of one of your predecessors, a Cambridge-poet, and to say with him, “Whereas, P. Ovidius Naso, a great necromancer, in the famous court of Augustus Cæsar, did, by art poetic, transmute men, women, and even gods and godesses, into trees and flowers, I will undertake, by similar art, to restore some of them to their original animality, after having remained prisoners so long in their respective vegetable mansions*:" And if criticism authorizes poetry to give to “airy nothings a local habitation and a name,” Who shall say thou art not justified in giving to the vegetable tribes animal existence, and by an easy, regular ascent, to endue them with delicate passions, and to confer on them pretty, feminine names?
And thus far is general in reference to the University, Here, perhaps, I might descend still lower, from generals to particulars : for, what concerns the admission and examinations of youth, when entering a college, and the course of studies, pursued by undergraduates; as well as the exercises in the public schools and senate-house, previously to the taking of degrees, together with the ceremonies to be performed, the prizes to be obtained, the honours to be conferred, and the subscriptions to be required; and, again, the different orders and ranks of graduates, and the various officers of the University, with their habits, duties, fees, and emoluments; nor less the defects in some offices, with the improvements which might be made in them; these particulars, I allow, might all find their proper place in an University-history professing minuteness: but my history does not, and cannot admit of it. Besides, there are distinct accounts, where such subjects are separately handled, and exclusively considered: and, I believe for they are drawn up by official, at least by college men, with critical correctness and professional
* Proem to Darwin's Botanic Garden.
Further still, the present state, the settled funds, the government of the University, with the regulations of private colleges; the condition of the pressa, with an account of the books printed, and a comparison, in regard to its finances, condition, and management, with the Clarendon-press at Oxford, all these things might afford some amusement, and are naturally enough connected with the Literary History of the University of Cambridge.
But each of the above subjects, with suitable reflections, might form a distinct chapter, and all together, compose a tolerable volume: a brief zigzag account would have been trifling, scarcely consistent with the dignity of history; and one, extended, would have been too multifarious for my present views : so I shall pass them. He who wishes to be amused, and properly in
a I cannot help noticing here, that the first book supposed by Mr. G. North to have been printed here, was only compiled; it was printed at St. Alban's in 1480. The Correspondence between Mr. North and Mr. Ames on the subject may be seen, vol. v. p. 431, of Nichols's Anecdotes, and the matter is set right by Mr. Ames, Typograph. Antiq, vol. v. 431, by Herbert. Mr. A. supposes the book first printed at Cambridge was in 1521.
Nor can I forbear just noticing one extraordinary improvement, introduced into the printing office, by means of the Stanhope stereotype press, by which the copies of more saleable books are wonderfully multiplied ; which, whether it be a discovery, or only the realizing of a discovery, and giving effect to it, matters not; it is an improvement of prodigious extent and utility, for which we are indebted to the ingenious nobleman, whose name it bears: he has carried the same principle into engravings, which may be multiplied in a similar proportion: the new Porsonian Greek type, also, (called after the late Greek professor, who introduced it) may be mentioned as an improvement on, and giving a more elegant and beautiful form to, the Greek letters. Specimens of this type may be seen in Mr. Blomfield's edition of Æschylus's Prometheus, and in Mr. Monk's edition of Euripides's Hippolytus Coronifer.