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EVERY RIGHT of which he has been defrauded. But good men fear, lest, by involving in one apparent censure those institutions which deserve it, and those which do not deserve it, you might eventually injure that cause, in which all the best and wisest of their generation wish you success.
The most anxious care, then, ought to be taken in a subject of such moment; lest, under a vague impression of equal abuses in all charitable foundations, these institutions, which have in general nobly served the purposes for which they were founded, which have dispensed for centuries, and are yet, in the eye of a great nation, dispensing the greatest good ;- lest such institutions should be classed with those charity schools, the funds of which have been monopolised and grossly perverted ;--and lest those abuses of charity, which are most foul and flagrant, might seem to derive a kind of covering, in consequence of their being involuntarily associated with institutions which the public yet regard with reverence.
Whatever, upon a fair and dispassionate view, may be found faulty in the administration of Winchester College, it is an insult to humanity that it should be mentioned in the same day, nay, in the same century, with Yeovil, and other places of that description.
And this generous distinction is the more necessary to be kept in mind, when, besides the uninerited tone of obloquy, among respectable writers, there are not wanting, in the present day, writers of W coarser grain,” who, for political purposes, insidiously or openly direct their attacks, with particular hostility, against those seats of learning.
Whilst I am now writing, in the same public paper, Winchester and Yeovil, for obvious purposes, are pointed out, as it were, to the same indignation of the public; though the plain facts relating to one are heart-rending, and though, to give any color to the allegation of abuses in the other, the accuser is obliged to falsify the meaning of the Latin statutes, and to bring forward garbled extracts from your examination, and partial and exaggerated circumstances, purposely and deliberately placed in the most invidious and injurious point of view. I will mention one instance. William of Wykeham, by his statutes, constituted the two wardens, &c. examiners of the boys, who are to be placed on the roll for New College. The word " influence” is introduced, as if the necessary ... consequence must be, that an undue influence was exerted, by those whom the founder constituted judges, against that founder's intention! How base is the insinuation !' The examination is the fairest that can be conceived.
This will be sufficient, I hope, to shew in what spirit the article is written.
The article I read, with almost involuntary shudderings, at such
base insinuations and artful colorings, in the Bath Chronicle, copied, no doubt, from a London paper. I shall trust to the wellknown liberality of the editor, to print some extracts from this Vindication, in any way he may think just.
The article I speak of, was furnished originally, by either a most ignorant or niost malicious commentator. Without attributing feelings of this kind to you, we cannot but perceive that they are the effects of that zeal which, like ambition,
“ And falls on th' other side;" a zeal which, whilst it is actuated by charitable motives, wounds the bosom of charity herself.
These are the effects, we fear, on the public mind, and of which we already perceive the traces; and when we reflect on the great body of moral and intellectual worth, which has been silently nurtured in these seats of education, and sent forth to adorn and dignify society; we mourn the injudicious haste of that zeal, which would, in its effects, tear off the decent draperies from that class, which it is the interest of the state to protect in its legitimate claims, fairly appreciated, as well as to restore the garment to the “ poor and needy" in the English sense of those words, of which they have heen robbed.
I cannot conclude without again lamenting the circumstances which have deprived the country of the honorable services of the Marquis of Lansdowne and the Bishop of London ;' characters in every respect most suited to do justice to so momentous and arduous an inquiry; of “inflexible integrity,” to screen no real abuse; of “superior understanding,” accurately to discriminate between gross offences and trifling objections; of " dispassionate judgment,” to view what is submitted to their investigation, in all its bearings, without prejudice or partiality; and of “experimental knowledge,” where the great public schools are concerned, to appreciate their high character and general importance. The loss of such men, on such an occasion, a whole nation will feel; but none more than myself, who, in early life, have wandered with one of those eminent personages, in the studious shades which are the objects of your unjust animadversions, and
“ Both together heard
and who, from the other, have received those kindnesses which have added enjoyment to a retired and unambitious life.
· Since this was written, I have ascertained that the honorable services of the Bishop of London were solicited; and every friend to humanity must lament, that owing to professional avocations, he was obliged to decline acting.
If it were worth while, I could bring example after example, which would completely determine the sense in which the word pauper is used by ancient writers, in nineteen instances out of twenty.
But I cannot close these observations, without setting before the public some circumstances, which, happening in the age, during the life, or under the eye, of the FOUNDER himself, most decidedly declare his intention, respecting the situation in life, of some of those for whose benefit his establishments were endowed.
Bishop Waynfleet, the illustrious founder of Magdalen College, Oxford, received part of his education at Winchester school, during the life of William of Wykeham; and he was of an ancient family, son of Richard Patten, esq. by a daughter of Sir Richard Brereton, knight, of Cheshire.
Chichely, the founder of All-Souls, emulating the pious munificence of which he had partaken, was admitted to New College the year after its opening, in the life of Wykeham. In his epitaph it is said,
“ PAUPER eram natus,” &c. Yet we find from Wood, that he was born honestis et ingenuis parentibus.
Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, the constant friend and liberal patron of Erasmus, was admitted to New College in 1475, seventyyears
after the death of the founder. If he entered at Winchester at nine years of age, it must be only sixty-two years after Wykeham's death.
Was he rejected, as not answering the description of “poor and indigent scholar,” though he was, says Weever, (Funeral Monuments,) a gentleman of an ancient house in Hampshire ?- All this great good, which has thus been derived to piety, to virtue, to literature, to individual enjoyment, and general improvement, would have been annihilated by one rash stroke of the pen of a reformer, unacquainted with the original principles of the establishment, and the conscientious adherence to those rules, under which it has florished for centuries!
I could add numerous examples, which crowd on me on every side, but I think it needless; as I believe every person, not prejudiced, will consider the case as proved, and that your reflections have been as premature, as they are unfounded. That you have misunderstood the very language of the statutes, which peremptorily deny the power that you think they grant, the extract from them, in the Appendix, will shew. Perhaps it would be best to translate it, to prevent cavil; but I leave it to the learned and liberal as it is.
Though the examples which have been adduced, will, I trust, completely satisfy every one, the least conversant with the language in which the statutes of William of Wykeham were written, of the real meaning of the word pauper, as used in those statutes, yet the following examples, which I have met with, since the first sheet was printed off, are too apposite and incontrovertible to be omitted.
“ PAUPER :-cui parra et angusia res familiaris est ; qui non affluit opibus, nec tamen eget ; tenuis, medius inter EGENUM et DIVITEM." Cicero
6 M. Manilius PAUPER fuit ; habuit, enim ÆDICULAS in Carinis et FUNDUM in LABICANO.”-Forcellini Thesaurus.
“ PAUPER:-proprie medium quid est inter DIVITEM et MENDICUM; nempe, cui necessaria tantum suppetunt, NIHIL SUPER EST, eum PAUPEREM vocant ! !”—Gesneri Thesaurus.
RUBR. 46. “ Statuentes nihilominus, et etiam ordinantes, quod si forsan temporum invalescente malitiâ, casibus fortuitis, possessiones, redditus, et proventus spirituales et temporales dicti nostri Collegii in tantum DECREVERINT, quod dictus Custos, necnon Presbyterorum, Scholarium, et Clericorum de Capellâ numerus per nos superiùs definitus, de exitibus possessionum, reddituum, et proventuum prædictorum, ceteris omnibus oneribus eidem Collegio incumbentibus debitè supportatis, non poterunt juxta formam ordivationum et statutorum nostrorum commodè sustentari ; tunc, commuiræ singulorum ipsorum Presbyterorum duodecim depariorum summam in septimanâ aliqua non transcendant, nec amplior quàm duodecim denariorum summa, pro eorum septimanatim communis de bonis dicti Collegii communibus aliqualiter persolvatur ; deinde si redditus et proventus præfati'Collegii Custodi, necnon Presbyterorum et Scholarium ac Clericorum numero non sufficiat, in hâc parte, tunc necessitate cogente, annua liberata vestium de quâ in dictis nostris ordinationibus et statutis sit mentio, a quolibet subtrahatur. Demum si posthæc infortuniis, quod absit, convalescentibus, numerus supradictus de redditibus, exitibus, et proventibus possessionum dicti nostri Collegii tunc existentibus, in formâ prædictâ non poterit sustentari ; permittimus quod tunc, et non ante, nec aliàs quovismodo, juxta decrescentiam dictorum reddituum et proventuum, decrescat successive numerus Sociorum et Scholarium nostri Collegii supradicti. In his tamen omnibus, Custodis et Sociorum Presbyterorum dicti nostri Collegii, qui pro tempore fuerint, conscientias apud altissimum arctius oneramus :
ordinantes, ac etiam statuentes, ut si, necessitatibus et infortuniis supradictis cessantibus, tempora mutentur in melius ; possessionesque, redditus et proventus dicti nostri Collegii per Dei gratiam iteratè felicia recipiant incrementa ; juxta ipsorum crescentiam numerus supradictus, sic ut præmittitur, in dictis casibus minuendus, augeatur etiam et accrescat, ac alias in omnibus percipiant, sicut prius.
The word “ accrescat” is contrasted with “ decrescat."
The numerus superius definitus,” and “ numerus supradictus,” refer to Rubr. 1; the very title of which is, “ De totali numero Scholarium, Clericorum, Presbyterorum, et Personarum aliarum dicti Collegii prope Wintoniam." Then the founder enumerates—a Warden ; seventy Scholars;
seventy Scholars; ten Fellows; three Chaplains; three Clerks; sixteen Choristers; an Informator; and Hostiarius.