Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/42
An Academic Sketch
left it marble; or, if the inverted form be preferred, Laud found Oxford marble, and left it brick: for it is the amount of the transformation, and not its quality, that I seek to indicate. This change was not wrought by a man having as yet the Star Chamber and High Commission at his back, but seemingly by his force of character and will. He went out into the world. He obtained hold of the helm. He gave to the Anglican polity and worship what was in the main the impress of his own mind. He then sank to the ground in that conflict of the times, which he had much helped to exasperate. But his scheme of Church polity, for his it largely was, grew up afresh out of his tomb, and took effect in law at the Restoration. And now, with the mitigations which religious liberty has required, it still subsists in all its essential features, not as personal or party opinion, but as embodied alike in statute and in usage, with no apparent likelihood of disappearance or decay. Dealing still exclusively with the quantitative aspect of the case, and wholly apart from merits or demerits, I conceive that he, with Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth, forms the triad of persons, who have had the largest share in giving to the momentous changes of the sixteenth century so much of their form as is strictly and specifically British. Such is an outline of the facts which have led me to appreciate so highly the brain-force of Laud.
So far, then, it would appear that the energies of Oxford have more largely taken effect than those of Cambridge in the world of action, as it is distinguished from the world of thought.