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nized and upheld by regal favour and public authority; that religious instruction was a primary feature, and formed the fundamental basis of the system of education, and that they were closely connected with ecclesiastical establishments, and under the supervision and control of episcopal functionaries.
Much traditionary narrative is mixed up with the history of these primitive seminaries, in which their existence is attributed to the munificence of kings, and the protection of royal authority. Although the result of voluntary efforts as already stated, there yet appears to be every reason for supposing, that they speedily attracted and engaged the attention of the reigning monarchs. To Charlemagne is ascribed the honour of founding the University of Paris. The character of this sovereign as recorded in the pages of history, justifies the belief that he was sincere in his efforts to “ diffuse among his subjects generally some portion of education, and particularly among the clergy and those designed for the sacred profession. For this purpose he enacted that schools should be established in all episcopal and collegiate churches, and that these should be open to all students.”(a) The public recognition of the University of Paris by other sovereigns is clearly established. In 1169, Henry II. of England offered to refer his dispute with Becket to this school ;(6) and we find that the influence exercised by it speedily aroused the jealousy of the Roman
a. Professor Malden, on the Origin of Universities. [We acknowledge our obligations to this little work, for many of the statements here given. It is replete with information of the most curious and valuable description, and in the absence of many of the authorities referred to, we have freely availed ourselves of the fruits of his industry and researches.]
b. Hallam, Middle Ages, chap. ix. part 2.
Pontiffs. Decrees were issued by Alexander and Innocent, declaring the qualifications of teachers, regulating the fees, and confirming the validity of titles and degrees. The teachers and learners were not tardy in perceiving the advantages of the unity thus conferred upon them by the highest power in Christendom; and in the most ancient deed of the University which has been preserved, of the date A. D. 1221, they adopt the style, “We, the University of the Masters and Scholars of Paris.”(c) During the pontificate of Nicholas IV., the privileges of this University were extended in a remarkable manner by a decree which conferred upon the doctors who were there approved, the valuable distinction of being accounted doctors everywhere, and the power of teaching, lecturing, and directing public schools.”(d) The right of any sovereign to erect a University in his own dominions was never questioned, but it was the
pope alone who could make the degrees valid beyond the limits of the university in which they were conferred, and give them an authority through Christendom. This doctrine appears to have been expressly stated in the bull of Nicholas V., by which the University of Glasgow was (established.(e) Louis VII. and his son Philip Augustus conferred upon the members of this University several peculiar privileges and legal exemptions. (f) These privileges were confirmed and extended by subsequent monarchs, Philip the Fair, Philip de Valois, John, Charles V. and Charles VI., having each and all bestowed upon it some marks of royal favour; in the instance of the latter king,
C. Malden quoting Crevier. d. Malden as above.
From the report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Universities of Scotland.
f. Du Boullay, History of the University of Paris.
these were of such a liberal nature as to have given rise to the style of “the first-born daughter of the king,” as applied to the University.(g)
In 1158, the University of Bologna was similarly empowered by the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, and under the guidance of the celebrated Irnerius it continued to derive, from time to time, great countenance and authority from the Republic of Bologna, the Emperors Henry V. and Lothaire. Nor was the interest thus manifested confined to mere acts of recognition or decrees of authority, but it was displayed in beneficial deeds of a substantial nature, which evinced a strong personal regard for the welfare and character of the institution. Thus the Emperor Frederic II., about the year 1220, transmitted to the philosophical school certain works of Aristotle and other philosophers, which he had caused to be translated into Latin from the original Greek or from Arabic versions. (h)
The University of Salerno, principally and justly celebrated as the first and most famous school of medicine, is said to have been established by Roger I., Prince of Salerno; and subsequently received a constitution from Frederic II., (i) who also founded the University of Naples. This latter establishment never attained any great celebrity, nor were its degrees much regarded by other Universities; a circumstance which is ascribed by Savigny to the fact, that the degrees were formally conferred by the King himself, and not by the academical faculties. Malden curiously
8. On the authority Conringius from Filesac.
enough explains it by supposing, “that as Frederic was always denounced as the enemy of the Church, the degrees never received from the Popes that catholic extension, which the Pope alone was considered to have the power of giving.”
The oldest tradition concerning the University of Oxford is, that it was founded by King Alfred, about the year 890, a statement which is thus defended by Mr. Hallam: “Since a school for dialectics and rhetoric subsisted at Oxford, a town of but middling size, and not the seat of a bishop, we are naturally led to refer its foundation to one of our kings; and none who had reigned after Alfred appears to have manifested such zeal for learning.”(j) The accuracy of this tradition appears to be questioned, but however this may be, there is no doubt that it received the countenance and favour of Henry II. and Richard, and that during their reigns it grew up into a most flourishing condition. It was called a University in a public instrument of John A. D. 1201, a date earlier than any at which the word is applied to Paris.(k) Its earliest charter was conferred by John; its privileges were confirmed and extended by Henry III., Edwards I., II., and III., and by succeeding kings.(2) The privileges of both Oxford and Cambridge, now depend upon an act of incorporation, which was passed in the 13th of Elizabeth, A. D. 1570. The University of Oxford was also confirmed by papal authority, and was mentioned in the constitutions published by Clement V., after the Council of Vienne A. D. 1311; the authority of the popes, however,
j. Middle Ages, chap. ix. part 2. k. From Dyer. 1. Malden.
was but little regarded by several monarchs. Edward I. published a brief, which was confirmed by the parliament, against the proceedings of the preaching friars at Oxford, although supported by papal bulls.(m) Edward III. also issued an ordinance, in consequence of petitions from the Universities on the one hand, and the mendicant orders on the other, by which it was enacted, “that all bulls and processes issuing from the court of Rome, and procured by the friars against either of the Universities or any person in them, should thenceforth be absolutely null and void.” (n) Collegiate foundations were established in Oxford at a very early period; University and Baliol Colleges, during the reign of Henry III. ; Merton College, in that of Edward 1. ; and Oriel with the license of Edward II. “So little honour,” says Professor Malden, is “ attached in history to the memory of this unhappy prince, that it will be charitable to bear in mind his connection with a foundation which is now the institution of the greatest utility and highest reputation in the University.”
In 1109, Joffred, Abbot of Croyland, “sent over to his manor of Cotenham, nigh Cambridge, Gislebert, his fellow monk and professor of divinity, and three other monks who followed him into England. From Cotenham they repaired daily to Cambridge, and there, in a public barn hired for the purpose, made open profession of their sciences, and in a little time drew a number of scholars together.”(o) Such was the unpretending origin of the now famous University on the banks of the Cam. Mr. Hallam states that the
m. Ayliffe's History of Oxford. n. Dyer. 0. Malden on the authority of Dyer.