Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/18

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15
An Academic Sketch

its existence to no exercise of authority either by the State or by the Church, but to that free and spontaneous impulse, which some of the most learned inquirers into academic origins regard as the noblest feature of their early history.

At a later date, in the year 1318, and at the request of King Edward II, Pope John XXII issued for Cambridge what purported to be a document of foundation. But the institution had been long at work, and it may probably then have been suffering from temporary difficulty or decline. At one time, in 1229, she gave shelter to a body of students from Paris. At another, in 1240, she performed the same hospitable office for Oxford. For the vicissitudes of academic existence were at that time no less rude and chequered than that existence itself was masculine and intense, and from time to time compelled a resort to such shelter in several quarters. But Cambridge did not attain the fulness of her stature until a much later date.

It is Paris which among the Mediaeval Universities, say, from the twelfth until the fourteenth century, towers above all the rest as the mart of teaching and of learning, but especially of theological learning. She drew men, as other great markets draw, along the converging lines gradually formed by mental as well as by material traffic. Paris had that potior principalitas, which, in the earliest Christian ages, so largely brought about a confluence of ecclesiastical causes towards Rome. She had much of that command from circumstances and situation which now makes London the money-market of the world at large. Youth flocked