« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
of biography beyond the founders and benefactors: with respect to them it contains much useful information; on other subjects answerably to its name, it is a mere skeleton, distinguished from the preceding accounts, principally by giving at large those surreptitious ancient charters, to which they only allude, which, while not received as authority, are amusing enough to curiosity; but of which more hereafter.
Next in order is Dr. Fuller, one who undoubtedly possessed much of historical and biographical knowledge a. He, I suppose, thought that Dr. Caius had trifled enough
I relative to the Antiquity of the University, and therefore, dismissing the subject with a joke--for no man exceeded him in humour-he is content that the beginning of his history should be at the Conquest: he closes it in 1643. It is not claiming much for Fuller, to say, he is the most agreeable of the Cambridge historians, who in general are so very barren and dull : and he proceeds in chronological order. But on comparing him with my sure guide, Hare, I have sometimes found his dates incorrect; and a gross mistake is pointed out by the MS. historiette, entitled, Aborigines Jesuana, in Jesus College Library,
Fuller dates the foundation of the nunnery of St. Radegundis, (now Jesus College), in the year 1134, whereas the author of the above historiette fully proves, from the testimony of the best Scotch historians, that Malcolm IV. did not begin his reign till 1154, and that he died in the twenty-fifth year of his age; so that as he could not have been born till the year 1140, all his actions that he performed as king' must have been—in which testimonies too
a History of the University of Cambridge, 1655. b Hist. University of Cambridge, page 84,
the same writers agree~in the space between 1154 and 1165. Nor does Fuller seem to have been aware that there was a cell for monks here prior to this monastery of nuns. Fuller, misled by Caius, makes Dr. Capon the first Master of Jesus College, whereas the same MS. historiette shews that he was the fourth, and the three first masters they both omit. It has often been observed of Fuller, that a man may be too great a punster for a sound historian.
In succession to Fuller's History, may be mentioned the Account of the University of Cambridge, and the Colleges there, being a plain relation of many of their oaths, and statutes, and charters. This appears in form of a proposition to both houses of parliament, and is wholly engaged in the point just mentioned. It was printed in 1717.
I shall only add, it is to be lamented this account was not seriously attended to. The author, Edmond Miller, Esq. Serjeant at Law, appears to have been of Trinity College -his principal references being made to the statutes of that college--and to have written on serious conviction, and much observation, after having resided in the University many years.
The last History I shall mention is Mr. Carter's History of the University of Cambridge, from its original to the year 1753, &c. together with an accurate List of the Chancellors, &c. Pity, that word should have been added; for never was printed a more inaccurate book. To particularize nothing further now, the so accurate list is a tissue of inaccuracies ; names misplaced, names mis-spelt, names inserted only once, which should have been repeated; three or four names omitted, and every name antedated : this has been observed by Mr. Robert Smyth; in short, as every body knows, this book is so full of blunders and inaccuracies, as to be altogether unaccountable, without supposing that Mr. Carter was rather the compiler than the author. The historical part is evidently taken almost verbatim from Mr. Parker, as that of the Ejected Loyalists is from Mr. Walker, and without any acknowledgment. I presume, Carter was furnished with most of the materials, of which he did not know the proper use, by others; that his book was brought through the press by some one (not Mr. Carter, I hope), who was scarcely in his sober senses: so that the very persons,
page of this a Mr. Carter was a schoolmaster in Cambridge.
from whom the work was derived, would not choose perhaps to own it; no preface being prefixed, and no name of person appearing to whom Carter must have been indebted, except in his list of subscribersa.
But to do justice, after all, to this strange work, it is the best outline for a History of the University, which we possess: the materials are sadly put together, the superstructure bizarre, and the work altogether petit and slight; but the design is good: full of blunders and inaccuracies as it is, the account of eminent men is the only attempt of the kind in any History of the University, if we except the names of founders, benefactors, chancellors, bishops, and masters, and the bare mention of a few names in Dr. Fuller: yet there is no attempt at a general survey of its learned men, though unquestionably the principal feature, as we cannot too often repeat, in the history of a learned body.
We must not pass unnoticed, Mr. Loggan's Cantabrigia Illustrata ; for, though not a history of the University, it is a splendid, valuable, and useful illustration of all its principal buildings; consisting of copper-plate engrav, ings, the better perhaps for being rather ancient, for it is
often necessary to compare the state of modern edifices with their former state : the brief statement of founders and benefactors too is neatly done. Mr. Loggan had executed a similar work, and upon the same scale, for the University of Oxford, before this: most expensive undertakings, in which the author professes to have engaged from pure love of the employment, with his own types, and at his own charges : it may, however, be presumed he was properly remunerated, and met with better fortune than the present Mr. Harrowden, who has given a very beautiful exhibition in water-colours of two of the windows of King's College Chapel.
The perspective of King's College Chapel in these plates is extremely fine, and was, I suppose, the ground
, work of Mr. Britton's view of the same chapel, in his second part of the Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain, in which the plans and picturesque elevations of King's College Chapel are given in a fine style of art.
The last book I shall notice, as referring in general to the University, is the Collectanea Cantabrigiensia', or collections relating to Cambridge by Francis Blomefield, formerly of Caius College; they are concerning the University, town, and county, and though principally relating to monumental inscriptions they incidentally throw light on old members of the University and College-concerns, being in general (for some of his dates I have found inaccurate) of good authority, and, therefore, valuable. It is to be lamented, I think, that in the edition, 1751, the 20 first pages of the edition, printed at Fersfield, in 1742, are cancelled: they notice the very curious and ancient table, of which an account is given in Mr. Bentham's valuable History of Ely; for, Ely being in the county of Cambridge, this table, as an article of great antiquity, made no improper part of Blomefield's subject, though it certainly makes no part of mine“.
2 The Edition I mean of 1751,
So much for our University writers. I must add, that Mr. Masters, late Fellow of Bene't College, is the only writer who has published any thing like an attempt at a complete history of a private college, of Cambridge. He justly observes, “ It must be no small reproach to learned societies to be deficient herein. They cannot be ignorant of their foundations, without being liable to be censured, nor suffer the memories of their benefactors to perish without betraying a want of due respect and gratitude; whilst yet, I fear, too many have been negligent in making this small return for their benevolence.”
The severitiy of these observations should, however, bę tempered with the testimony of a well informed inquirer, confirming an observation that I made a few pages back. “Our registers," says he, “are so imperfect, that, as far as I understand such things, it is hardly possible to give a perfect account of any thing b.”
“Mr. Masters made his remarks from the laudable desire of exciting others to similar undertakings; and from the same desire they are quoted here. Works of this kind are very useful, and require no extraordinary genius or learning; moderate industry, and common sagacity, the possession of some good feelings, and a free access to the archives of a college, are the great requisites, and to whom
a I shall however just add, that Mr. Bentham has given a fine engraving of it, and that it contains the effigies, names and arms of forty soldiers, who came over with William the Conqueror, (so Mr. B. thinks), together with as many monks of the monastery of Ely, with whom they lived as guests, but over whom they were in fact guards, to prevent an insurrection.
A description of it may also be seen in Fuller's Church History, p. 168,
1 Mr. Baker,