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TO THE READER.
AT the principles of a science or a society can be rightly apprehended only when studied in their historical development, is a maxim oftener admitted than acted upon, at least in this country'. Nor is it the scientific accuracy of our conceptions alone which suffers from this neglect: our institutions also, contemplated externally and in the abstract, lose main elements of their strength, the spell of old associations and the reverence due to the great men whose characters they have moulded.
Happily however for the cause of learning and of truth, the very heats of present controversy often
1 Why do not our text-books, like the German, open with a sketch of the literature of their subjects? Why do they not trace the varying use of the technical terms employed ? In general, why is bibliography so discountenanced among us? We see the inevitable result in researches which scarce stir the surface of fields long since exhausted, while richest veins lie elsewhere unwrought.
force us to consult the oracles of the past. Changes, whether returning towards, or receding from, an ancient discipline, add unwonted interest to the question, what the ancient discipline was, in itself and in its effects.
Hence, doubtless, it has come to pass, that the last thirty years have witnessed more, and more important publications on Cambridge history than any previous century' Still, indeed, there is lack
1 The following list, though certainly incomplete, is sufficient to confirm the statement in the text. Cooper's Annals, Cambridge Memorials, Cambridge Portfolio, Lamb's Documents and History of C. C. C. C., Sherman's History of Jesus, Prickett's History of Barnwell and edition of Fuller's Cambridge, Gunning's Reminiscences, Heywood's Statutes of King's, and University Transactions, Peacock On the Statutes ; various pamphlets and treatises on education, visitatorial power, &c. by Dr. Whewell, Dr. Corrie and others ; publications of the Cambridge Commission and Cambridge Antiquarian Society; Zurich Letters, Original Letters and Parker Correspondence published by the Parker Society ; Monk's Life of Bentley, Lives of D’Ewes, Worthington, Henry Newcome, Newton's Correspondence. Many particulars of university life may also be gleaned from Birch's Court of Jas. I. and Chas. I., Cary's Memorials, &c. Add the Catalogues of MSS. or early printed books, or both, in the libraries of Trinity, St. John's and Caius Colleges, the special Catalogue of Baker's MSS. and the general Catalogue (now in the press) of MSS. in the Public Library. Valuable collections were made for the Athena Cant. announced by the ill-advised Eccl. Hist. Soc. These, no doubt, will be forthcoming whenever the Syndics of the Press are at liberty to undertake a work so peculiarly their own.
ing a comprehensive review of university studies and university life; but we reconcile ourselves to the delay when we reflect, that the generalizations of such a work can have little authority, unless based on a wider induction than is even yet possible. For in this, as in most other departments of English literature, we need workmen to clear the ground and lay the foundations, to shape and dispose the materials for the builder's use; in other words, the time for a general history will only then arrive, when antiquaries and commentators have prepared the way by special studies or monographs; exercises in which the greatest historians have been trained for their high vocation. Many such preliminary inquiries might be proposed to those
1 Histories of Colleges : some exist in MS., e.g. Baker's of St. John's, Bennet's of Emmanuel, Dr. Ainslie's of Pembroke.
Histories of the puritan, Socinian, deistic, and other controversies; of the disputes regarding subscriptions, visitatorial power, the authority of heads of colleges, &c.
Biographies (on the plan of Ward's Gresham Professors) of the occupants of important posts.
Biographies, original or selected, printed or MS., of single individuals or groups of contemporaries : e.g. Hacket's Life of Williams, Whiston's Life.
Transcripts (for the Library) of portions of Cole's Athenæ, and the like collections.
Publication of original letters, wills, petitions, &c.:
Of MS. notes on important works, e.g. Baker's on Strype's Parker, and on Calamy's Account:
who would devote to the honour of their university habits of accuracy and industry either originally implanted or more deeply rooted in them by her care: for myself, I long since designed a series of Cambridge memoirs, partly on the plan of Dr. Wordsworth's well-known collection. In no other form are original records less repulsive to that
Of registers, grace books, &c. of the University or colleges from the earliest times.
Accounts of foundations, gifts, bequests, &c.; of college portraits, plate, &c., and of the donors.
Lists of select preachers, of holders of college livings, &c., of men who have entered or matriculated, but not graduated, &c.
Critical reviews, with extracts and bibliographical notices, of Cambridge biographies (arranged chronologically and alphabetically) ; of controversies ; of the text-books successively used in the university or colleges ; of congratulatory verses, epicedia, &c.; of funeral sermons ; of prefaces, and verses printed before or after books ; of Hulsean and other sermons and prize compositions ; of determinationes publice habitæ, &c.; of the works, and editions of the works, of Cambridge men ; of books on education, e.g. Ascham's Scholemaster, Brinsley's Ludus Literarius, Webster's Examination of Academies, and the answer to it, Vindiciæ Academiarum (Univ. Libr. Dd. 3. 28).
Catalogues of the university and college libraries, of their rarer books or MSS.; histories of the same, recording their formation, and tracing their growth, assigning (at least in some cases) the books to their donors.
Lists of Cambridge printers, and of books printed in the town.
Towards works of this kind the Syndics of the Press and Library, the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and the several colleges, may fai be expected to lend ready assistance.
“reading public,” for which books are but a fashionable means of killing time; while those whose requirements demand more respectful consideration, students of a sterner mould, gladly fill up the outlines of their knowledge with such individual traits as find no place in more formal documents. The wants which had thus suggested my purpose seemed as pressing as before, when I was invited to take a share in cataloguing the Cambridge MSS. With Baker's, which fell to my lot, I was already familiar, and had for some years seized every occasion for proclaiming the merits of that most judicious, modest, and conscientious scholar, whose unrivalled mastery of the sources of English history was ever at the service of contemporary authors, and still commands the reader's admiration. In his volumes I met with Ferrar's life, and at once saw in it an artless tale of a period too much neglected, and of a man whom to know is to venerate.
The son of a pious and bountiful merchant, whose public spirit deserved the friendship of Hawkins and Drake, Middleton and Raleigh, Nicholas Ferrar grew up under no ordinary incentives to diligence and virtue. To some, perhaps, of these men, and to others of a different stamp, such as Antony Wotton and Francis White, the child, even then known as Saint Nicholas, was endeared by an earnest thoughtfulness beyond his years, by