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41
An Academic Sketch

I shall not, however, attempt to enter, even in the most general way, on the history or condition of Oxford or Cambridge during the nineteenth century. The enormous efforts which they have made for self-renovation and extension prove that, after so many ages, they still are young; and afford the brightest promise for their future. But it cannot be, as it was in the last century, a future of somnolent predominance. Youthful and active companions have come into the field, to extend the range of culture, and to insure its adaptation to modern wants: perhaps also to forbid relapses into lethargy, and to provide a fresh access of material for the finishing hand to work on. To secure their position, as well as to attain their proper ends, the nation will ask from her ancient and still paramount Universities a constant increase of energetic exertion. Doubtless they may learn one from the other; but neither, I trust, will ever be ashamed of its distinctive character, which has been maintained through the vicissitudes of so long a time. We have each, whether individuals or institutions, to recognise the determining lines of our own several formations, which are in truth conditions essential for turning those formations to the best account[1]. The chief dangers before them are probably two: one that in research, considered as apart from their teaching office, they should relax and consequently

  1. 'En toutes choses, l'individualité est une des premières conditions de succès: on ne fait bien que ce qu'on fait en demeurant soi-même.' Chastel, Décadence du Paganisme dans l'Orient.