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that the services of the poor student from Devon were warmly appreciated from the first. Almost immediately on his arrival at Oxford he selected the Hebrew Scriptures for his especial study. Corporate bodies are usually indifferent to the necessities of the learned, but the university was foremost in applauding the talents of Kennicott. During his undergraduate days he ventured upon the publication of two theological treatises. They were received with such favour that their author was allowed to anticipate the usual period of residence before taking a degree, and excused from paying the regular fees. His next stroke of good fortune was the election to a Devon fellowship at Exeter. At an early period of his college life he conceived the idea of publishing an edition of the Hebrew Bible which should contain particulars of all the various readings in the existing manuscripts. To enforce the importance of this undertaking he issued two preliminary volumes, containing observations on some of the most important manuscripts. Although some opposition was manifested to the design, it was encouraged by Archbishop Secker, and the handsome subscription of nearly 10,0001. was raised for defraying the cost of the publication. Nine years were spent in collating six hundred manuscripts. In 1776 the first of his volumes appeared; the second in 1780. number of discrepancies, though most of them were of slight importance, were discovered in the readings of the MSS., and Dr. Johnson expressed the feelings of the laity with the remark that, although the text might not be greatly improved, ' it was no small advantage to know that we had as good a text • as the most consummate industry and diligence could procure.? In course of time the worthy scholar acquired a proper degree of his own importance in college life. In the gardens of Exeter is still preserved a fig-tree, called after his name because one summer, when the fruit had arrived at perfection, he carefully fastened labels to the tree, with the words, Dr. Kennicott's ' fig-tree. One of the undergraduates, with little reverence for the great Doctor, and with an uncontrollable passion for figs, anticipated its owner in eating the fruit, and added insult to injury by altering the words on the labels into a fig for • Dr. Kennicott.' The widow of the learned Hebræan’ seems to have been imbued with her husband's admiration of Scripture learning. She was one of the fortunate persons who shared in the bounty of the munificent Bishop Barrington. At her death she bequeathed the savings of her life for the foundation of two scholarships for the study of Hebrew at her husband's university.
Stephen Weston, who rivals Kennicott in the honour of being the most distinguished member of Exeter at this period, was also a native of Devon, though of a very different rank in life. He matriculated in 1764, and, after obtaining his fellowship, accompanied a baronet from his native county as hear• leader' on the Continent. It was at this time that he acquired that love of foreign life which he never lost throughout a lengthened career of more than eighty years. He was one of the many Englishmen who took advantage of the breathingtime afforded by the Treaty of Amiens to revisit the scenes of their early wanderings, and the enthusiastic description of the libraries and picture-galleries of Paris contained in his · Praise
of Paris' (1803) attest his partiality for the life of that fair city. After the victory of Waterloo he crossed and recrossed the Channel. The ruling passion for change of scene was strong within him even after he had passed his eightieth year; for in the summer of 1829 he might be seen enjoying himself in the pleasure-haunts of Paris. His first work in 1784 consisted of conjectures on Athenæus, and from that time until 1830 scarcely a year passed without some fresh publication from his busy pen. His name is to be found among the hundred or more scholars who have turned Gray's · Elegy? into Latin or Greek; and when he published a new edition of Horace, he added to it Greek versions of the odes. O Fons, and Intermissa Venus.' These, however, were not his greatest feats of scholarship; for there could be found in England in his day many classical scholars more deeply skilled in the intricacies of the languages of Greece and Rome, and more thoroughly acquainted with the works of their chief writers. The fame of Weston rests on his knowledge of the Asiatic tongues. He was a Hebrew scholar, and ventured on an attempt to explain by the aid of Kennicott's collations the difficulties in the story of Deborah. He was a Persian scholar, and edited a collection of Distichs' from Persian authors, and a volume of the annals of their kings. He was intimate with Chinese, and astonished his countrymen by presenting them with a specimen of a Chinese dictionary. At one time he was passing through the press a poem in French ; at another he was completing a supplement to the German grammar; and at a third he was tracing out the vestiges of the Arabic still existing in the languages of Spain and Portugal. Add to all this
that his love of humour found vent in many fugitive poems on the foibles of Cracherode and the other eccentric book-buyers and booksellers of his time; that his varied knowledge of foreign tongues and accurate acquain
tance with other countries had supplied him with a profusion of illustration and richness of anecdote, and it will readily be conceded that his attainments were almost without parallel in the history of English scholarship.
Early in this century a very small modicum of classical learning was sufficient to satisfy the demands of the tutors at the English universities, and discipline was but slightly enforced even within the college walls. It was an age
when any deviation from the ordinary costume was considered a greater offence than a breach of college rule, when excess of political zeal more than compensated for any deficiency in knowledge. Cambridge vied with Oxford in the strictness with which it enforced a Chinese uniformity of dress. White waistcoats, silk stockings, and low shoes formed the authorised attire for Cambridge undergraduates at the dinner in hall, and any variation in this costume was punished with strict severity. The bold reformer who successfully resisted the mandates of his superiors died but a few years ago. When the nation mourned at the loss of the Princess Charlotte, the fiat went forth that all undergraduates should show their sorrow for her death by adopting trousers as mourning for one term, but for one term only. The command was cheerfully obeyed, but when the time came for the resumption of the old knee-breeches one young collegian insisted on retaining the simpler attire. The dons thundered against him, but his bold mind wavered not. He was deprived of one term and yet another. Then sympathisers began to range themselves on his side. The authorities were borne down by weight of numbers, and knee-breeches were no longer an integral part of college discipline. A few years earlier the same struggle had been waged at Oxford. In 1810 no gownsman was permitted to appear in hall unless he submitted to wear shorts, silk stockings—which cost about 18s. a pair, and constituted a heavy tax on the resources of undergraduates—and tight pantaloons. Breeches of cord or kerseymere, with white cotton stockings, made up at the same time the morning dress de rigueur. An Exeter fellow is entitled to the credit of having brought about the abolition of these ridiculous customs. Rigaud, who held the professorship of astronomy from 1827 to 1839, and published a valuable collection of the correspondence of scientific men of the seventeenth century,* was proctor for the year
Demainbray, an Exeter fellow, was Astronomer to George III, at Richmond, 1782-1840. Two of its present staff are not the least distinguished fellows of the Royal Society.
1810, and, being of an enlarged mind,' connived at the öffence of a gownsman wearing trousers. Succeeding proctors consequently found it impossible to enforce the adoption of attire which a predecessor had tacitly condemned. Under the influence of years of neglect the reputation of Exeter College seemed tarnished beyond repair. It swarmed with the gilded youth of the Western districts, who either enjoyed or anticipated the possession of large estates, and had no energies save for the favourite amusements of their class. Its rector had accompanied the future sailor-king in his voyages to the Mediterranean, and imported into the common room of the college some of the manners of the quarter-deck. The chronicler of Oxford life at this epoch has stated that he enforced his sentiments by the use of strong nautical language, even
in a certain solemn place of meeting.' In laxity of discipline and disregard of learning most of the tutors followed in the footsteps of their rector, and the undergraduates were not slow in imitating the vices of their superiors. There were fellows who applied themselves assiduously to the duty of instructing their pupils, and there were undergraduates who repaid such exertions by close application to their studies, but both tutors and pupils of this class were in a hopeless minority. Dyce matriculated at Exeter in 1815, and before he had taken his degree had shown the natural bent of his inclinations by editing Jarvis's Dictionary of the Language of Shakespeare. Surrounded with young men who occupied themselves in hunting or fishing, he found no one to share his tastes or to sympathise with his love of Elizabethan literature. Lord Yarmouth, better known to this generation by the title of Lord Hertford, was the college contemporary of whom he most frequently spoke, and Dyce's stories (says his biographer) of that young nobleman are very strange.
very strange. In the same year that Dyce entered upon his academical career the late Sir J. T. Coleridge had taken his degree, and three years previously he had been admitted to a Devonshire fellowship at Exeter. Dr. Cole, its rector, was vice-chancellor in June 1814, when the Prince Regent brought his crowned visitors from the Continent to witness the ceremonies of an Oxford Commemoration, and to receive from the university that honorary degree which has since been conferred on so many students of literature and science. Coleridge and another fellow of Exeter were called upon to recite in the Theatre the English verses in honour of the royal guests, and Coleridge's lines were flowing and melodious, well worthy of the auspicious occasion. The college was then awakening from the lethargy which had weighed it
down for generations. The bright future in which it has since basked in the full light of day was just dawning. There was renewed activity both among those who taught and those who listened. The evil influences which had grown up within the college walls and deadened the vitality of its members were soon to be eradicated, and the names of the alumni of Exeter were once more to appear in the list of England's foremost sons. Deepened influences in learning soon developed into deviations in religious feeling. Three at least of its members, all of them connected with the · Three Towns 'of Devon, seceded from communion with the Established Church, and became the devotees of that novelty in religious doctrine which was identified with the name of Plymouth. In the great struggles at Oxford when the partisans of Tractarianism crossed swords in deadly combat with those who sympathised with the opinions of preceding generations, the influence of the more active graduates of the college was exerted in behalf of the innovations in belief and practice. One of the fellows -a gentleman who had succeeded to the post previously filled by one of the most erudite bishops now on the English bench, and was himself followed some years later by the learned and accomplished author of the Vestiarium Christianum'-passed the Rubicon which separates the English from the Roman Church. The injury which the national Church sustained by the withdrawal of many of Oxford's sons from her communion seemed irreparable at the moment. Time has hardly yet obliterated all the traces of the defection. But we can now find some consolation in the thought that these diversities in doctrinal opinion are but the outward evidences of an intenser earnestness, of a keener longing after intellectual life.
Several of the most cminent alumni of Exeter College have been born in positions of extreme poverty, and have owed to the advantages of a college education their advancement in after years. Kennicott, as we have already seen, passed his early life in imparting the rudiments of a scanty education to the children that attended a charity school in a small town of Devon. His father held no higher position than that of parish clerk.
A similar post in an obscure church on the border of Dartmoor was the goal of the ambition of Prideaux; and when he failed in the competition for what seemed to him then one of the prizes of life a feeling of dismay pressed heavily on his mind. Samuel Wesley, the eminent father of two more eminent sons, entered himself at Exeter, with the insignificant sum of fifty-six shillings in his pocket, and by giving private tuition to his wealthier companions contrived to complete his course