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be tempered with candour; and to appeal to any other species of candour, or to any other species of judgment, would be trifling. Let it suffice. I proceed to general observations.

It is easy to condemn or to admire in the gross. This is the folly of weak minds, the disease of indolence, the self-idolizing affection of conceit and vanity.

Some years ago, the dispute concerning the superiority of the ancient or modern learning was a popular topic. In the reign of Charles II. when the Royal Society was established, Stubbs and Glanvile, and bishop Sprate, compared the old and new philosophy, more particularly in reference to the state of that institution. In France the question was examined on a larger scale, in reference to the full extent of science. As the Royal Society originated with Oxford men, the question at first was discussed principally by members of that University; afterwards, it was taken up by writers who were members of the University of Cambridge. Sir William Temple was for giving the crown to the ancients ; Dr. Wotton more generally to the moderns; and Mr. Baker thought there was not overmuch among either, or that we should have known better where to find it. Allusions have already been made to the two last. Bacon, too, we have seen, had some years before, not so much holden the balance of comparison, as given something of weight to that scale, where only it could be useful. And it was rather by the pointing out of defects, than dwelling on excellencies, that he improved philosophy.

In an historian, even this is not requisite. He may content himself with a less arduous, less inviduous task,


a Bishop Sprat wrote a History of the Royal Society. See part 23.

that of stating facts : and be his private judgment what it may, public facts are of the nature of general appeals : for the occasional interferences, actual establishments, or even experiments and attempts, made within a University, by those of their own body, and by royal or private patronage, ought to have, and with individuals, at least, will have, their proper authority. .

It might have appeared, perhaps, rather popular to bring the question concerning literature nearer home, by enquiring, which of the two Universities, Oxford or Cambridge, had most excelled. For there is a spirit of rivalry, which is wont to pervade societies, as well as individuals : and he who gratifies an academical propensity, might, plausibly enough, presume on some prejudice in his favour. But on the other hand, those dissatisfied with the question, which is the most ancient University ? might not have been warmed by the other, Which is the most excellent? They might have maintained, that the whole truth cannot be on both sides of the question, nor on either, though something of the truth might; and that if both Universities have had defects, both too have had excellencies.

It has been insisted on, by several members of this University, as a sort of fundamental in a literary society, that no restraint should be put on the human understanding. It is maintained by others, that no restraint has been laid here; and I am glad to hear it. Where should we have found Bacons and Newtons, and Bentleys, if their understandings had been held in leading-strings, by an obedience to the fancies of preceding ages ?

We have taken a short view of our dark and scholastic ages of literature in the University. They are not the wise men of Cambridge, but of Goshen, who assert that in those

ages, Cambridge had nothing but dreams and drones. There was ample room for the entrance of succeeding philosophers; but Cambridge always had its great, and wise, and good men. In systems of science, even falsely so called, there are many sparks of truth, which, when elicited, may be concentrated, and become the light of future ages. Let us tread manfully, but not scornfully, over the sepulchres of our ancestors. Bacon not only improved upon the writings of the ancients, but, as before observed, was greatly indebted to them : the doctrine of Newton was not unknown to Empedocles, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle “ : by travelling more eastward, we .shall find many doctrines, deemed more modern, there";



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Thus, in the formation of the world, Timæus the Locrian, is made by Plato, to maintain the two powers, projection and gravitation imposed by the Demiergus of Nature, ω ποτεμιξε δυο δυναμεις, αρχας κινασιων, τας τε ταυτω, και τας τω ετερω· α και δυσμικτος εασσα, ουκ εκ τω ρασω εγγεκιρνατο: λογοι δ' ουδε παντες εντι κατ' αριθμους συγκεκαρμενοι» ως λογως κατα μοιραν διηρηκες ποτ' επιςαμαν ως μη αγνοει εξ ων αψυχα, xai di'wv, ouveçanel. Platon. Op. Edit. Steph. Vol. 2. p. 95, 96. I forbear quoting the other authorities : they may be seen in Dutens at large, B. 2, ch. 6. Though they are copied incorrectly, yet it will be seen from them, that the law of universal gravitation, if true, is no modern discovery; the demonstrations and explanations only are new : nor is the famous problem of Kepler's, in relation to the planets, concerning the inverse proportion of the quantity of matter, and the square of its distance; nor would Newton have claimed these as new discoveries, however some moderns have chosen to talk. See the authorities of the ancients on these subjects admitted and confirmed by Gregory and Maclaurin in Dutens as above.

That some other of the modern theories, claimed as discoveries by the moderns, were known to the ancients, see clearly shewn in Pliny's Natural History, lib. 2.

b I more particularly allude to the doctrine of Æther, as maintained by the ancient Chaldæans. See Stanleii Hist. Philosoph. Orient. by Le Clerc. lib. 1, s. 2, cap. xiii. xiv. and the Zwpoas de noy.a, which, whether genuine or not, contain some fragments of their ancient philosopby.


and in our schools at Cambridge, we still maintain many points which the old schoolmen maintained long before a.

But, who will pretend to deny that advances and improvements have been made ? Ages of ages of learned men cannot have succeeded each other, occupied in calm studies, without acquiring something from those who went before, and adding to the common stock : and in our own University many circumstances have favoured improvements. At the revival of literature, something of liberation from a superstitious adherence to authority gave greater scope to theological enquiry; an extended acquaintance with languages, opened a wider field to criticism; an increase of light, the discovery and improvement in useful instruments and machines, all have aided experiments, developed new facts, and enlarged the regions of philosophy. That advances have been made in algebra and geography, who will deny? We have been breaking off from old laws, and the authority of great names. But custom stands still ; and reformers, in their zeal, sometimes go back.

But let us now leave the higher grounds, and proceed in the more humble path of public encouragement, regular prosecution, and gradual improvement. This is the more popular way, as it will exhibit a short view of the literature of our University, in actual practice, and in modern time. To point out some barren spots, too,

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a Franconis Burgersdicii, sive Methodus Definitionum et Controversiarum Lugd. Bat. 1627. Hac de causâ Authores citavi non antiquos illos Græcos, Arabas, et Latinos Interpretes, Aphrodisium, Ammoniun, Philoponum, Simplicium, Themistium, Avicennam, Averroem, Boethium, Thomam, &c. qui autoritatem habent ab antiquitate; sed doctores, Conimbricenses, Zabarellam, Pererium, Toletum, aliosq: novos Scrip. tores, ex quibus ducere soletis prima lineamenta Philosophiä.


may lead some happier genius to useful speculations and projects of improvement.

To speak directly to facts, no one can doubt, that the attention of the literati at Cambridge has been more steadily directed to various branches of literature, by the founding of professorships in Hen. VIII.'s reign: that is one of the more memorable epochs, whence the present establishments in our University may be dated. Other professorships succeeded them. Thomas Lucas, Esq. in 1663, founded a professorship, which has been filled by the most eminent mathematicians. Of these, Sir Isaac Newton gave no public lectures himself, being wholly occupied in his mathematical researches ; but Mr. Whiston, his successor, aimed to render his researches popular, by giving lectures in the public schools, as it was formerly very common to do. The present Lucasian professor, is Dr. Isaac Milner, master of Queen's College.

The Plumean professorship was founded by Dr. Plume, in 1704, and superadded the great desideratum of experiment to demonstration; as now illustrated by Mr. Vince, formerly of Sidney College. The Plumean lectures are accommodated to the mathematical studies of the University, relating to mechanics, hydrostatics, optics, astromy, magnetism, electricity, and galvanism.

The Greek and Hebrew professorships, (those founded by Hen. VIII.) had, from their origin, no doubt, a liberal tendency; but as the salary continues the same, as in the Founder's reign, (merely £40. a year), we must not be surprised, if the labour of them does not increase ; and that they have been for many years considered as only a feather in the cap. (Mr. Richard Porson, the late Greek professor, once meditated to deliver a course of lectures

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