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REV. S. R. MAITLAND, D.D.
MY DEAR DR. MAITLAND,
AMONG the customs of the age to which this little book relates I have long thought that of dedications very deserving of our imitation. For, while they render merited homage to those who have furthered our intellectual or moral growth, they encourage us to exertion by the recollection, that there are readers for whom it is worth while to work. I rejoice therefore that a contribution to ecclesiastical history, slight though it be, gives me an excuse for acknowledging thus publicly the benefits which I have derived from your writings, from your catholic spirit and devotion to historical truth. If we no longer deem it a just ground for indiscriminate abuse of the middle ages that they are “dark to us;" if we can be protestants without implicit faith in Fox and Burnet; if we are beginning to discover that books not popularly read may yet repay our study, and that, to see further than the giant, the dwarf must stand on the giant's shoulders; it is to you that this advance is mainly to be ascribed. Still, though you will at once remark defects hidden from the casual reader, I will not pretend to feel alarm in submitting my work to your judgement: for frequent experience assures me, that the true master now, as of old, “will gladly learn and gladly teach:” that wilful and self-satisfied ignorance alone need tremble beneath your rod; that, knowing how hard it is to be everywhere accurate and impartial, you will recognize any sincere endeavour after accuracy and impartiality.
TO THE READER.
M HAT the principles of a science or a society can
I 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 ricbest 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 Athence 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: