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UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGES
DEUM TIMETO: REGEM HONORATO: VIRTUTEM COLITO: DISCIPLINIS
BONIS OPERAM DATO.-Stat. Acad. Cantab.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE is a lay Corporation, possessing privileges under charters of the Crown, and Acts of Parliament, or by prescription. The earliest royal letters patent which can now be traced as authentic, are of the reign of Henry III. These, however, do not found the University, but recognize it, as a society of Students already existing with an organized constitution and regular form. Other letters and charters were granted from time to time by subsequent monarchs, of which the most ample and the most important is the charter granted by Queen Elizabeth, in the third year of her reign, confirming former, and conferring new privileges. In the thirteenth year of the same reign, an Act of Parliament was passed, whereby it was enacted that “ The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge,” should be incorporated with perpetual succession under that title ; and that the letters patent of the Queen, made in the third year of her reign, and also all other letters patent by any of her majesty's progenitors or predecessors, should be good in law to all intents.
In the early state of the University, the students lodged in hostels, under the rule of a Principal at their own proper charges: but in process of time, Colleges were founded and endowed by various benefactors. In Dr Fuller's History of Cambridge are given the names and localities of thirty-four ancient hostels. As the number of Colleges increased, the hostels declined, and were either merged in the Colleges or disused. The Statutes of Queen Elizabeth virtually suppressed the hostels, as in that code it is implied that every student in the University was then a member of some College. Every student on becoming a member of the University, must now become a member of some College. however, still remaining in the University a few members
of the Senate, called Commorantes in Villa, the remains of a class which the code of Elizabeth appears to have allowed. These are Masters of Arts or Doctors resident in the town, who having formerly been members of some College, have been permitted to withdraw their names from it, and register themselves, so as to retain the privilege of being still members of the University. It may be remarked, that when the proposition for abolishing the existence of that class was submitted to the Senate on Feb. 17, 1853, as a part of the proposed new Statutes for the University, it was not approved by the Senate.
“ The Studies, which, of late years at least, have been carried to the greatest extent in the University, are those of Mathematical and Classical learning. Beyond all question, they rightfully challenge a prominent place in every system of liberal education, both on account of the intrinsic value of the acquirement, and as instruments of mental discipline. It is by the application of mathematical principles and processes to such branches of Natural Philosophy as admit of this exact mode of treatment, that the noblest triumphs and most useful improvements of modern science have been achieved in Mechanics, in Optics, in Astronomy, in the exposition of the system of the world. While mathematical knowledge is thus of the highest value, considered as an acquirement, the study of it is equally valuable as a discipline of the intellect. It may be regarded as the best and most effectual exercise of the reasoning powers ; habituating the mind to clearness of ideas, precision of statement, and coherence of argument. In this manner it has a wholesome influence beyond the bounds of its own immediate province, and serves to check vague and extravagant speculations, even in such popular branches of natural or moral science as are not reducible to the rigour of mathematical demonstration. Again, Classical Literature possesses high and peculiar recommendations. A knowledge of it is indispensable to the Student in Divinity, who seeks an accurate and critical acquaintance with the books of the New Testament in their original language, and with the early language of Christian Theology. In a more general point of view, the spirit of the Classical authors has infused its influence into the whole range
of modern literature, and their works were held in universal admiration as the noblest specimens of genius and purest models of taste, in all their varied styles. Moreover, Mathematical and Classical studies are in a peculiar manner fitted for the purpose of Examination. They require a much closer and severer attention, and admit of a much more exact and conclusive test of proficiency than is the case in the more popular branches of speculative or experimental knowledge. Accordingly the University has long afforded peculiar encouragement by its public honors to these particular studies.
“ The teaching of the University should be the exponent of what is highest and best in the condition of Literature and Science; and should be in part also the help and guide to her sons in their aspirations after moral and intellectual excellence. Where she has failed in this, it has been partly, we think, from the want of that legislative freedom which we would wish to give to her.
“The long continued influence of literary and philosophical examples upon the sentiments and conduct of societies, is perhaps in no place better illustrated than in Cambridge. The works of Bacon and Newton are, at this moment, influencing its Studies for good.
“One happy circumstance in the position of the University is deserving of special comment. A great majority of the College Fellowships have long been open to free competition; this has given to the University a high moral elevation, and contributed in a great degree to make her the honoured instrument of public good. The same condition marks the distribution of many valued University Prizes. It is, we think, this fact which has called forth a high sentiment of honour, and an unbending sense of public duty on the part of the governing powers and examiners, whether of the Colleges or of the University. That the rewards of competition be given to the most worthy, is a principle now so deeply penetrating the moral life of Cambridge, that its violation seems almost beyond the region of thought.
“What above all other things gives us hope for the future good of Cambridge, is the manly, free, and truth-loving